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The History of Harvard's Commencement, Explained

WAR AND PEACE

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

For five thousand years there has been human strife. There have been wars of religion, of imperialism, and of revenge, but there is seldom an honest war. Battles give birth to peace settlements that are, as a rule, as futile and as insincere as the combats themselves. The Congress of Vienna which sought so earnestly to roll up the map of Europe forever was followed by a system which several decades later was to leave Europe in the throes of revolution. Disraeli in 1878 said he had won "Peace with honor" for England, and in 40 years she was embroiled in a conflict that struck at the respectability of the world. But out of that conflict there grew an ideal which may become the most constructive plan ever decided upon by a peace conference. Heretofore the tools of peace have been in the hands of individual statesmen: they have now been given to intelligent citizens. In 1919 Woodrow Wilson established a League of Nations whose purpose was to solve international disputes by arbitration without the help of arms. It has been a respected and influential institution but its full power can only be known in the course of time.

In order to promote a clearer understanding of its work and also of its problems several universities of New England have founded a model of the League of Nations in which students, acting as representatives of the various countries, convene to argue and debate. This replica has no power save that of increased knowledge, its dictums settle little beyond friendly controversies, but its activity fills as definite a need as its parent overseas. The generation which fought in 1917 will not live to fight again, but their children may and it is important that they school themselves so they may not. Th League which meets in Wellesley this year should do as much in its limited way for war prevention as the League which will meet in Switzerland to play the larger part in future years.

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