MAY 9, 1940
NEW YORK, Wednesday—One can not help but have an anxious feeling about Holland at present. Hitler's claim that he is ready to "protect" Holland against the aggression of France and England, fills one with curious foreboding. These "protections" so often seem to mean aggression under a veiled form. The difference between attack and protection seems hard to discover these days.
Last evening, at our table, there was much talk of old wars and new wars, history already written and history in the writing. When all is said and done, and statesmen discuss the future of the world, the fact remains that the people fight these wars. I wonder that the time does not come, when young men facing each other with intent to kill, do not suddenly think of their homes and their loved ones and, realizing that those on the other side must have the same thoughts, throw away their weapons of mass murder. They might insist that their public servants—the statesmen of the world—get together and, on a rational and peaceful basis, solve the problems for which wars are fought. Of course, this would take willingness to cooperate, but it should not be impossible to great minds who plan war.
I read in the morning newspapers that some of our "greatest minds" gathered together at the University of Rochester, told the college students that new frontiers (of economic achievement) would always exist, because they always had, and that the contention that everything had been discovered made no appeal to them. I suppose that they might contend that wars would always exist because they always have. If we agree with the second idea, however, that there are always new things being discovered, then we must take heart and hope that statesmen will also discover new ways of solving the economic and national urges which today involve nations in war, and which should be as easily defeated by the elders of the nations as the internal troubles should be handled by the youth of nations.
I wish I could have heard that whole Rochester symposium. What I read of it seemed to sound a note of confidence on the part of men who are the heads of great corporations, but it did not seem to touch the actual specific difficulties which face men seeking jobs in industries which seem to have disappeared.
I gather that the main thing that youth must have is confidence. I have heard that said about business. "If business had confidence today, it would expand," but it trembles before the vagaries of government! Perhaps that is the trouble with youth! It is equally fearful of a government which imposes limitations on what it may do for it, and of a business system which is constantly restricting jobs.