Kohn Calls Law Only Alternative to Chaos
Vesiting Lecturer in Government, and Professor of History at Smith.
This article is composed of selections from the first of a series written of THE CRIMSON by Harvard Faculty members on the problems of the Post-War World, Later articles will cover the specific problems of various by the War and their possible solutions.
Hans Kohn, distinguished historian and authority on nationalism, was born in Prague and educated at the university there. During the first World War he served as an officer in the Austrian army and was taken prisoner by the Russians. There he received his first teaching experience in a minature university organization within the prison.
A Long and tough war Bes before us, a period trying and testing us; the peace will be shaped by the events the, war and by each one's sacrifices victory. Victory in itself will be a tremendous achievement; survival in freedom, unachievable without complete concentration of united nation on it, will be a cause for grateful rejoicing. But beyond that, victory will offer the opportunity for building an international under of law and peace.
Myth of Versailles
Nothing has helped the aggressors before than the myths and misunderstandings about the nature of war and the Treaty of Varsailles, propagated for twenty years, a confusion, created by directing attention to incidental rather than to central points. Mankind suffers room many moral and economic ills, but a peace treaty can establish economic justice or moral perfection, or wait for them. Peace can create favorable conditions for social progress and spiritual peace; in itself it does not depend upon them. It depends upon the enforcement of law by the united force of law-abiding nations.
This is the task before the organization in the United Nations, held together by the sense of responsibility of a strong nucleus. If--as an indispensable minimum--the British Empire, the Soviet Union and the United States cooperate, they are strong enough to maintain peace; if they fail to cooperate, there will be war. The Axis, in 1940-41, triumphant in proclaimed the disintegration of the British Empire and of the Soviet Union.
British Gained in Trial
But the British Empire, which stood on the lonely and glorious bulwark of freedom in the critical day of 1940 and which has set the world the example of community of different peoples held together by a system of unparalleled flexibility and by an uninterrupted growth of liberty and respect for law, emerges from the trial in new strength. and events have proven that the ruthless process of the revolution has released the creative, abilities of the Soviet masses and awakened them from age old lethargy to unexpected vigor. The United States will be strong, yet not strong enough to tell everybody what to do and to have bases all over the world, as its super-imperialists desire.
The maintenance of peace must be joint responsibility. We do not wish British of Soviet interference with our affairs, nor should the Russians fear that we wish to impose our democracy upon them, nor the British, that we wish to dismember or take over their empire. These powers must cooperate, as they are, not as many of us wish them to be. They must cooperate in mutual tolerance of their differences without any interference in their own evolution.
Their cooperation can solve the very difficult problems pending between the Soviet union and her western neighbors, or between her and China; it can oppose aggression from wherever it comes, and thus create the atmosphere in which mutual distrust will dwindle and new avenues will be opened for free economic intercourse, for rising standards of living in There-American, Africa, and Asia, for greater and more universal concern for public welfare.
The organization of the United Nations will have to elaborate and to enforce a universal bill of rights, guaranteeing in the constitutions of all countries equality before the law and respect for human personality, Impossibility of aggression and total demilitarization will also produce a change of heart in Germany and Japan and assure their cooperation in peaceful progress under law.
to Achieve a Good World
The peace treatise will not create a good world by themselves, injustices and exploitation will remain with us internationally, as they remain with as nationally. The steadfast fight against them will have to continue for many generations to come.
But as preceding generations have succeeded, nationality, in regulating and inspiring the continuous struggle for greater freedom and justice, with its concomitant conflicts and tensions, by a framework of peace under law, so can this generation create a similar framework internationally by collective responsibility for, and enforcement of peace by the United Nation, which include representatives of all climates. All races, China and Brazil, France Norway, Iraq and Ethiopia.
That will demand natural adjustment and compromise. Many of us may like, for different and contrary room the present administrations of the United States, of the British Empire on the Soviet Union, but they are the available cornerstones upon which can be actually built. Peace under was established nationally, without waiting for ideal conditions, in all the infection of human nature and human situations. It has worked on the whole well. The same task is before us internationally. It is the only alternately lawlessness and chaos