Editorial, November 10, 1933, Page 2
ARMISTICE OR PEACE
Tomorrow the world celebrates the fifteenth anniversary of the Armistice. More than one hundred end twenty million people in the United States will observe a two minute silence period in honor of the brave men who laid down their lives to make the world safe for democracy. During those two minutes, the youth of this country will have a great deal to think about. To college students especially, Armistice Day must be a challenge, must be considered merely the beginning of a national movement to make world forces aware that fifteen years have not quickened our fervor for the glories and terrors of war.
In our OPEN FORUM column today, we publish a letter from a student who thinks that we are not sufficiently alive to present-day problems; that as the official organ of the Women's division, we ought to shed our "smug complacency" and concentrate upon the effect upon us of a world-wide nationalistic doctrine which may eventually involve us in a war even more destructive than the last. We admit that we have been silent, but we do know that the students of Brooklyn College are not "asleep to existing conditions." Just as the youth movement has gained impetus in other colleges throughout the world, so here it has definitely not been dormant.
Symposia, straw votes, and even class-room attitudes have shown which way the wind is blowing. Today's college generation is intelligent enough to see the dangers of over-concentration on any one nationalistic ideal and of blind respect for outdated principles. During all the years of its existence, this newspaper has not "petted Student Council on the back" without justification. Its aim has been primarily to keep its columns open to student discussions of topics locally important. For several years this newspaper has published accounts of club meetings where the eventuality of war was the topic of discussion.
The students of Brooklyn College, it is true, are pursuing their individual ideals with a single-mindedness which sometimes does not make enough allowances for collective thinking. We believe that the time for considering college walls a shield from the world has long since passed. The exigencies of drastic financial upheavals, of slowly fomenting international discord, leave no alternative open to the present-day college generation. Armistice, which, by definition is only a temporary cessation of hostilities, must be replaced by peace, if we are to preserve the doctrines formulated by great Americans of the past and present.
Seven and a half million lives were lost in the World War. One hundred and eighty-six billion dollars were expended by world powers from August 1, 1914, to April 30, 1919. The loss of morale occasioned by the War is immeasurable. During the Civil War Lincoln with sincere intensity, pleaded that "these dead shall not have died in vain." More than seventy years have passed–and still men have not profited by the lessons of war. Tomorrow fifteen years have gone by since the Great War–and men are again fearful of the possibility of a war even more devastating than the last.
If the college youth of
American takes its history seriously, if American college institutions
have instilled into their students the lessons of leadership and quick
thinking which have been an even greater part of their business than
the granting of degrees, then there can never be another war. Life, at
its best, is too uncertain for us to blind ourselves to the awful
situation which will face us in the event of another war.