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Editorial, April 12, 1934, Page 2

Why We Protest

           It has been maintained that we are making too much of a fuss over the war problem. Our advocation of tomorrow's protest has been called an outgrowth of hysteria and emotionalism. Until now, our point has seemed so obvious that we hardly felt it necessary to defend ourselves against the accusation that we were being childishly idealistic.

           Certain well worn tenets have been held concerning the student attitude on world problems. The college, until now, has been considered a cloister where the youth of the nation prepared itself for getting on in the world. During their college years, it was assumed, students would spend their time as their temperaments dictated, some in the library, others on the athletic field. During this time, their knowledge of the world was to be gained from textbooks, not from actual contacts.

           It has been difficult for the people outside of our colleges to realize that the student, while gaining a knowledge of the cultural, political, social, and economic forces of varying civilizations, has also gained a knowledge which has helped him to formulate ideas for governing himself. Even in the face of youth movements which have influenced the ideology of countries like Russia, Germany, and Italy, the people of the United States have gone on assuming that the youth of our country was so much engrossed in its studies that world events did not enter into its calculations.

          It took the youth of Germany a long time to gather up its forces and show that it was a tremendous factor in its country's government; it has taken the youth of America even longer to realize that it possesses a great deal of potential power which it can use to the country's ultimate advantage. What we do with this power depends on what ideals we have formulated and what steps we mean to take to carry those ideals to fruition.

         So far as war is concerned, most of us, though we were too young to see actually what immeasurable harm the last war did, have suffered from its effects indirectly. We are afraid of the effects of another war. The daily newspapers show, editorially and otherwise, that the imminence of another war, infinitely more devastating than the last, is clearly indicated. Munitions manufacturers, through newspapers which they own, are building up a war preparation hysteria through all kinds of illogically emotional arguments. The United States government is even now conducting an investigation into the machinations of war agitators. So definite a war consciousness has been aroused that one of the book clubs has chosen "Merchants of Death," a story of the international traffic in armaments, as its May selection.

          The students in our colleges will be the ones to fight if war is declared. If we use our combined efforts in an attempt to outlaw war, we will have accomplished a great deal. War propaganda which is designed to line the pockets of a few must be counteracted by anti-war propaganda designed to save the lives of the many. For this reason we propose to endorse any protest which has as its goal the ultimate outlawry of war.


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May 20, 2004