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Column, April 11, 1935, Page 2

What We Think

            Together with the intensive activity being engaged in by militarists throughout the country, there is a growth of military training on the American campus.

            While Congress has not as yet imposed conscription laws upon our youth, the National Defense Act of 1920 provides for the training of civilians in Reserve Officers Training Corps and in Citizens Military Training Corps. The result is the establishment of fledged-fedged R.O.T.C. units in one hundred and twenty-six colleges and universities, and one hundred and two secondary schools. The number of American students who are preparing to slaughter and be slaughtered is 147,999. An impressive number of "trainees" for a country that has no war-like purpose!

            In 1932, $6,000,000 was appropriated by Congress for the R.O.T.C. and thel C.M.T.C. Theoretically their purpose is to provide officers for the Reserve army so that we may "be prepared" when the day comes. But the high school squads furnish no such officers. Of 103,894 students enrolled in 1924, only 3,317 became commissioned officers and 746 graduated with certificates. Yet the R.O.T.C. is the "apple of the Army's eye." Why? Because militarizing the mind of young America is fully as important for war- makers as having officers ready to assume command.

            When the Superintendent of Schools in New York City, William J. O'Shea, retired last year, he expressed the belief that his most important work as an educational official had been done during the World War. Under his supervision the hands, eyes, and energy of the children in the schools were conscripted for the manufacture of wartime accessories. Hundreds of students were lured, cajoled, or goaded into the army. Every high school now has a bronze plaque listing the many students who died to protect Morgan's millions.

            Under the supervision of the War Department, a committee on Education and Special Training set up a Student Army Training Corps according to the Selective Act of August, 1913. The object of the Corps was to "utilize the organization of colleges for selecting and training officer candidates and technical experts for service in our existing emergency." The wartime propaganda duped the American students to an unbelievable extent.

            About 6,500 American students were killed in the World War. Tens of thousands were injured. Thwing, in The American College and Universities in the Great War, tells us:

            "The mood in which all was borne was such as becometh the gentleman. The college man fought with determination, discrimination, and exaltation."

            The students' objection to "dying like gentlemen" has given rise to the international annual student anti-war movement. Its culmination is the April 12 strike. "Why not a parade, or demonstration, or exhibition, instead of a strike?" asks the pacifist. "Why interrupt school routine?"

            The answer is found in the Strike Committee Manifesto, which states:

            "No other weapon but STRIKE; is potent enough to meet the fatal threat hurled down to us by diplomatic crises in Europe and sky-rocketing arms budgets in the United States, No other weapon but STRIKE will make the war makers desist from turning the schools into trumpets to blare forth their propaganda, for STRIKES alone will show our ability to halt the functioning of schools turned to that nefarious purpose, and STRIKE is a dress rehearsal for a more grim role to be played if we let war break out!"



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May 20, 2004