Learn about Life in the 1920s

Education to Break the Cycle of War

GREAT WARS RECUR at intervals that suggest that they are started by new generations who have forgotten the evils of the conflicts fought by their fathers. The present generation seems fully determined that wars shall cease, but in a few decades new hands will be at the helm. Will they carry on the anti-war crusade, or will they embark on new conflicts with new inventions that will devastate humanity? To help forestall such a failure of our great peace endeavor, Governor Cox of Massachusetts makes the inspiring suggestion that all college and school students in his State follow the doings of the Armament Conference as part of their education, and to extend the benefit of this idea throughout America, we at once telegraphed the Governor of every State for his opinion of it. Replies have come from all but a very few, who may be absent from home or prevented by other reasons, and all are filled with an enthusiasm that insures the success of this far-reaching plan. Some had even forestalled the Massachusetts Governor in calling upon their schools to study the Conference. Governor Cox said in his message:

"In the Armament Conference the political and economic history of the modern world is to be studied. All of us hope that the future political and economic history of the world may be given new direction as the result of it. I can conceive of no better way to train the citizens of to-morrow for the discharge of their most important duties than by encouraging their study of the proceedings of the great Conference."

The messages of the other Governors follow, arranged geographically:


PERCIVAL P. BAXTER, GOVERNOR OF MAINE—As Governor of Maine and head of the School Department, I began early in October to make an official inspection of the schools of the State, and from the outset have urged both superintendents and teachers to have their classes study and follow the proceedings of the Disarmament Conference. I consider this Conference the greatest event of history and believe that the rising generation should become conversant with the problems of the Conference and with the discussion that takes place there. A careful daily study of the Conference proceedings will teach world history, geography, economics and politics, and will give our students a wide range of information. The importance of such a program can not be overstated.

EMERY J. SAN SOUCI, GOVERNOR OF RHODE ISLAND—The Conference called by President Harding offers a definite plan for removal of the causes of war by limiting huge armaments and removing international misunderstandings, and the President should receive the support of every American in his efforts to assure permanent peace to the world. The school children especially should study the proceedings of the Conference so that the coming generation may be well fitted to aid in the cause of permanent peace.

EVERETT J. LAKE, GOVERNOR OF CONNECTICUT—The boys and girls of school age throughout this country played a large part in our activities which rendered the part of the United States so effective in the recent World War. During the past few years they have learned much of our Allies and of those countries in Europe which bordered on the confines of the war area, and in the years immediately to follow their interest will be keen in watching the developments of the various nations and all the changes that the war has produced. If now it could be imprest upon all our school children to watch intently and to study by all means at hand and to inquire from the sources available to them concerning the proceedings now taking place at the Armament Conference at Washington, I feel sure that the men and women of the next generation, which will be composed of these same boys and girls, will be well equipped to understand the points of view of people of other countries and of other flags, and the aims, ambitions and fears of these same countries, and I believe also that in the years to come, as these children grow to mature years, their influence will be molded into a public opinion which will brook no secret understandings intended to further the particular ambitions or designs of any one nation or people, but which will insist upon an amicable adjustment without force of arms of all differences, and that this public opinion will also make such amicable adjustment effective to prevent further wars among civilized nations.


NATHAN L. MILLER, GOVERNOR or NEW YORK—I gladly second the appeal of THE LITERARY DIGEST and strongly recommend to the teachers and the boys and girls of New York the earnest study of the proceedings of the Disarmament Conference which already gives such promise of a new era. The rising generation should be taught the lessons of this Conference and be made to understand the high aims and unselfish purposes of America.

WILLIAM C. SPROUL, GOVERNOR OF PENNSYLVANIA—In my proclamation calling for the observance of American education week from December fourth to eleventh I am calling upon the fifty thousand public school teachers in Pennsylvania to particularly lead their students into the study of the proceedings of the great Conference at Washington in the belief that they will thus see in the making historical events which may lead to results comparable only to the promised millennium of peace and good will.


WARREN T. McCRAY, GOVERNOR OF INDIANA—There has never been a time in the world's history when the deliberations and decrees of a selected group of international representatives meant more to the future of civilization than the decisions resulting from the Armament Conference now in session at Washington. The question of limited armament is so vital to this and succeeding generations that every suggestion or movement of the Conference should be closely studied by the public school children of our land, thus inculcating in their minds the idea that the apostles of peace are no less deserving of the eternal gratitude of a liberty-loving nation than are the heroes of war.

LEN SMALL, GOVERNOR OF ILLINOIS—Warring between nations must cease. Humanity demands it; economics demand it. I can see no better way to bring about this ultimate end, should we not immediately succeed, than to educate the twenty million American school children to the horrors of war and the necessities of peace through close study of the proceedings of the present Disarmament Conference.

ALEX.J. GROESBECK, GOVERNOR OF MICHIGAN—War as Europe knows it has been waged for conquest. Those wars America has fought were in the cause of human freedom. The Peace Conference is a challenge to the other world Powers to emulate our example and recognize the right of every people to be free and independent, and to secure them in that right the disarmament program should be extended in its scope and cover a period of at least fifty years. To it should be coupled our agreement to enforce peace. Our boys and girls should closely follow the proceedings at Washington and thus take advantage of a wonderful opportunity to study history in its making.

JOHN J. BLAINE, GOVERNOR OF WISCONSIN—The causes of war which are political and economic are eminently proper in the curriculum of the schoolroom. The study of the news of the Armament Conference in connection with the political and economic history of the world and the causes of war will give us enlightened future generations in aid of World Peace.


J. A. 0. PREUS, GOVERNOR OF MINNESOTA—The Conference on Limitation of Armament is the most important gathering in many decades, and every student who desires a complete knowledge of history must read and watch its proceedings. This is the most opportune time to begin reduction of armaments. If anti-war feeling is inculcated in this and other countries we may hope for continued reduction in the future.

ARTHUR M. HYDE, GOVERNOR OF MISSOURI—I cordially agree with the idea that the history of the Washington Conference should be studied from both the political and the economic side by the school children of America. The outstanding feature of the Great War is the fact that America has lost her isolation. The citizenship of the America of the future must be informed not only upon domestic problems but upon the political and economic history of the whole world in order to give America the service that the America of to-morrow must have. There can be no better way to train citizenship than by the study of the history and the present conditions, political, economic, and social, of the other nations of the world. All of these conditions will form a part of the great Conference now being held in Washington, and for that reason the study of the proceedings of the Conference will be of vast educational value to the school children of America and to the citizenship of the future.

W. H. McMASTER, GOVERNOR OF SOUTH DAKOTA—May the school children of America study every phase, act and utterance of the Disarmament Conference. America has challenged the world to cease from the age-old policy of unrestrained military preparation. Acceptance of Secretary Hughes's proposals would constitute a historical event of unparalleled importance. Every detail and circumstance of the Conference should be a vital part of the daily study and thought of the twenty million school children of America. If the Conference fails to reach agreements these children twenty years hence will translate into international agreements a policy of reduced armaments, adopting for their day and generation a policy that leads toward a world's permanent peace.

SAMUEL R. McKELVIE, GOVERNOR OF NEBRASKA—I think it is an excellent idea that school and college students should keep carefully informed of the work of the Disarmament Conference. The facts that. will be deduced out of the discussions there are of tremendous importance to our national life, to say nothing of the wide-spread influence that this Conference must have upon the other nations of the world. A knowledge of national conditions is a prime requisite of good citizenship, and of almost equal importance is a knowledge of international affairs.

HENRY J. ALLEN, GOVERNOR OF KANSAS—I know of nothing more timely than your suggestion for the study in the schools of the present proceedings of the Arms Conference. Its fundamental educational value alone would justify it. It marks an impor-tant epoch in future history. The greater value in your suggestion will come from the tremendous effect upon the thought and feeling of the present and the future. Germany prepared her people for war by a process of teaching the children through two generations that all the nations were preparing to make war upon the Fatherland. We can aid the present moment by the intelligent background of study which you suggest. The study of the present will also perpetuate a sane anti-war spirit for the future.


ALBERT C. RITCHIE, GOVERNOR OF MARYLAND—I heartily urge the school children of America to study the proceedings of the Disarmament Conference as they develop from day to day. No such opportunity for learning the political and economic history of the world, the hopes and ambitions of its peoples, has ever been presented. We have witnessed the greatest war of all time, and we pray the last for all time. We are now to witness an international discussion which is designed to direct the whole world into channels of permanent peace. It is a rare privilege that is afforded us. There can be no greater or broader educational advantage than to study intently the proceedings of the Conference.

EPHRAIM F. MORGAN, GOVERNOR OF WEST VIRGINIA—The International Conference on Limitation of Armament, together with existing world-wide sentiment for the substitution of the rule of reason for the rule of force, coupled with political and economic discussions concerning Far East problems, a vital part of the Conference program, give to American students unparalleled opportunities to study and acquaint themselves with world problems that will be of great service to their nation in the coming years.

ROBERT A. COOPER, GOVERNOR OF SOUTH CAROLINA—Study of the proceedings of the Disarmament Conference will have a tendency to enlighten the public concerning international affairs. Enlightenment, together with a sense of justice, is essential for the proper solution of questions arising between nations. Many stupid blunders and costly wars have resulted because the general public was not informed. The old order is unsuccessful. There must be a substitute for old-line diplomacy if there is to be a substitute for war. Such great things come about through the people, and the people can act wisely only when in position to act intelligently. I heartily approve suggestion that proceedings of Conference be studied in all schools.

THOMAS W. HARDWICK, GOVERNOR OF GEORGIA—In my opinion, the limitation of armament, on land and sea, is both imperative and necessary for the tax-burdened and debt-laden nations of the world. I do not expect nor desire complete disarmament, because there will be wars and rumors of wars and danger of wars until the millennium shall come. Still, every effort to reduce the expense and lighten the burden on capital and labor and production and to avert wars wherever possible should be made, not only in the interest of humanity and Christianity, but also in the interest of sound business. By not striving for the impossible and unattainable we may hope to accomplish something practical and real. I believe that a study of this question by the college students and school children of the country is most important.

GARY A. HARDEE, GOVERNOR OF FLORIDA—It is well that the twenty million school children of America should study proceedings of the Washington Conference. It is perhaps a mountain-peak in the political and economic history of modern world. While developing sentiment among our own people for limitation of armaments we ought to know that the peoples of other nations are willing to meet us half-way. No concessions must be made limiting America's relative ability to protect her world-wide interest.


EDWIN P. MORROW, GOVERNOR OF KENTUCKY—A drama as great in its possibilities for the children of men as the crucifixion of the Son of Man is in progress in the Capital of the Republic. The youth of America, its boys and girls, should watch with the keenest interest and the fullest understanding the ever-shifting scene of the Disarmament Conference to the end that they may forever say, "I behold the progress of the event which took fear and distrust out of the hearts of nations and out of the hands of humanity and brought confidence in each other to nations and a newer sense of brotherhood to the peoples of the earth."

ALF A. TAYLOR, GOVERNOR OF TENNESSEE—There can be no better way to train the citizens of to-morrow for the discharge of their most important duties than by encouraging them to study the proceedings of the great Conference now in session at Wash-ington. That Conference will deal with the political and economic history of the whole world, and its study and discussion of these subjects will afford a source of enlightenment on matters of vital concern and inestimable value to the rising generation of boys and girls. A close study of these proceedings will afford them a fund of knowledge indispensable when they are at the helm.

THOMAS E. KILBY, GOVERNOR OF ALABAMA—School and college students everywhere should study the proceedings of the pending Conference for the Limitation of Armament, to the end that they may be adequately educated concerning warfare and its awful consequences. I can conceive of no way by which those who are to be our future citizens can be trained more effectively for the political and economic development of our country and of the world. THE LITERARY DIGEST is to be commended for its patriotic activity in promoting the cause of world peace.

LEE M. RUSSELL, GOVERNOR OF MISSISSIPPI—If the Armament Conference will do its duty billions in money will be saved the world and war be made a thing of the past. All disputes should bo settled by arbitration, thus saving millions of lives and billions in money, and the nations of the earth will be made to realize the goal of all right-thinking people, "Peace on Earth and Good-Will to Men."


THOMAS C. McRAE, GOVERNOR OF ARKANSAS—I hasten to commend the move of Governor Cox of Massachusetts wherein he calls upon school and college students of his State to study the news of the Armament Conference in Washington. Fortunately the people generally are watching this epochal move for reduction of chances of international wars, but every school child and college student in the United States should be required to study closely the proceedings of this great Conference. They should know the significance of it alt. Teachers and school and college officials will cooperate to this end, I believe.

JOHN M. PARKER, GOVERNOR OF LOUISIANA—The four American members of the Armament Limitation and Far Eastern Conference now in session represent in the highest degree ability, sterling integrity, patriotism and ripe experience. The nation, and especially coming men and women, as represented by our school children, should carefully study its every document and loyally in every way assist in striving for a satisfactory solution of those prob-lems which mean everything for civilization and world prosperity and happiness. Frankness, honesty and integrity of purpose mean more than all the diplomacy of the ages. May America take this lead and establish a new beacon light for the guidance and welfare of the world.

J. B. A. BOBERTSON, GOVERNOR OF OKLAHOMA—The Limitation of Armament Conference in Washington will accomplish through its deliberations the most thor-ough, illuminating, and practical survey of the past development and future progress of our civilization that can ever be achieved. This study of the history and discussion of the future of the nations and the peoples of the world is of such vital importance that the proceedings of the Conference should be read and reviewed as a part of the daily course in all our schools, colleges and universities in order that the rising generation may be fully educated upon the cost and folly of war.

PAT M. NEFF, GOVERNOR OF TEXAS—— The history that is now being made by the Disarmament Conference at Washington will be frequently referred to by writers, speakers and thinkers for generations to come. It constitutes an epoch-making mile-post that ineffacably marks the march of man. The students of to-day who are to be the men and women of to-morrow should have as a part of their daily curriculum the detailed proceedings of this world-wide Conference now assembled in our country, as it socks to turn the tide of civilization away from the war-wrecked shores of the past.


Jos. M. DIXON, GOVERNOR OF MONTANA —The Disarmament Conference marks a mile-stone in world history. Upon its success or failure largely depends the permanency or failure of the present social order. The last number of THE LITERARY DIGEST was a veritable treasure-house of information regarding the scope and possibilities of this historic international Conference. The public schools and colleges of the country can perform no greater service to the nation than that of giving courses, during the sitting of the Washington Conference, to their students regarding the great questions involved. If we can fully impress upon the minds of these young people the tremendous danger involved and the impelling necessity for world disarmament, the possibility of future war will be greatly reduced.

D. W. DAVIS, GOVERNOR OF IDAHO—It will be my pleasure and privilege to request our Department of Education to follow out the forward-looking and statesman-like suggestion of the Governor of Massachusetts. We need more thoughtful and constructive educational suggestions such as this to truly build the intellects of our future citizens. There is an astonishing lack of sound information among our citizens of the political and economic history of the world. Should the true situation be spread before the boys and girls to-day there would dawn a better to-morrow, because the dominating characteristic of the average citizen is his desire for betterment.

ROBERT D. CAREY, GOVERNOR OF WYOMING—The history of the Disarmament Conference should be imprest upon the minds of the school children of America. The United States leads in a movement that promises more for the peace of the world than any gathering of statesmen since the dawn of history. Through our Educational Department I have requested that the schools of Wyoming shall study every phase of the Conference, from its inception to final adjournment. With the minds of the students of the nation focused upon the proceedings of the Conference, the chief actors will feel a keener incentive to make their conclusions conform to the dominant will of the peoples of the earth. Wyoming is for disarmament and the peace of the world.

OLIVER H. SHOUP, GOVERNOR OF COLORADO—We can conceive no better way to train the citizens of to-morrow for the discharge of their most important duties than by encouraging their study of the proceedings in Washington at the great Conference. While the program laid down was to many a complete surprize and is far-reaching in its effect, yet we believe it consistently carried out it will be the foundation of a permanent peace that will be world-wide for all time to come.

MERRITT C. MECHEM, GOVERNOR OF NEW MEXICO—I think it vitally important to instruct the youth of the country relative to the great historical event now transpiring at the Washington Disarmament Conference. America contributed her mighty strength and influence to make the world safe for humanity. America is now taking the lead in the demand for reduction of war machinery, and our children should be helped to understand thoroughly what is being done to prevent a recurrence of the horrible world tragedy we are now emerging from.

THOMAS E. CAMPBELL, GOVERNOR OF ARIZONA—Regardless of its outcome, the Armament Conference is of such tremendous importance to the future welfare of the young people of America that they should take advantage of every possible opportunity to follow the proceedings in detail. What the ultimate outcome is to be depends largely on their intelligent understanding of the problems now being discust and their appreciation of the tremendous issues involved. Upon their shoulders will fall the responsibility of carrying out to its logical conclusion any agreement that may be reached, or the terrible burdens which a continuation of the present race for sea power will necessitate if unchecked.

CHARLES R. MABEY, GOVERNOR OF UTAH —The Disarmament Conference now in session constitutes a landmark in human progress, the significance of which cannot yet be conceived. By all means let us study earnestly its deliberations that understanding among all peoples may be the result. Not only should the course of the Conference be closely observed by those of mature age, but it is essential to posterity that the youth of the nation comprehend the full meaning and purposes of the gathering. With such a basis of familiarity they will best be prepared to perpetuate and bring to complete materialization the aims and ideas now being proposed.

EMMET D. BOYLE, GOVERNOR OF NEVADA —I heartily approve your suggestion that the school children study contemporary history in the making of the Arms Conference. The movement is an educative one and should extend to the children upon whose intelligence and sense of justice the future of the nation rests. As Roger Williams said, it is a pity they did not save some before they killed so many.


Louis F. HART, GOVERNOR OF WASHINGTON—It is preposterous to think that disarmament, if possible at all, can be accomplished in a day, for reckoning in terms of centuries, the present Conference is but an atom of time. Strife has continued incessantly between individuals since Cain killed Abel, and between nations almost since the birth of government, and each succeeding war has been more terrible and devastating than the one before. Some new life-destroying instrument has been produced in each new struggle. There is much truth in the argument that human nature will have to undergo a change before war can be eliminated. It does not follow, however, that human beings can not agree among themselves to restrain their passions to the utmost. The "gun-toter" of to-day is a criminal, but in the earlier days of the nation even the most protected citizen carried arms. Human nature has changed in this respect, and largely through education of the fact that "It does not pay." A beginning has been made, a bold, fearless step, such as an unselfish nation like the United States might be expected to take, but after all its greatest value is educational —the problem remains for future generations. By all means let the children of the land study closely the Disarmament Conference.

BEN W. OLCOTT, GOVERNOR OF OREGON —In an epoch-making document, Mr. Hughes has turned over the leaf to a new era. If success is achieved at the Disarmament Conference, as it now appears it shall be, history will hold no record of achievement for world good comparable to it. Consequently history may hold nothing more vital for the study of our youths and all citizens than the progressive steps of this gathering. May the eyes of our future home-makers and nation-makers be opened to the great trust tomorrow will repose in them. It may be ours to will that there shall be no more wars. It will be theirs to keep forever sacred and inviolate that pledge of their ancestors.

WILLIAM D. STEPHENS, GOVERNOR OF CALIFORNIA—Never before in the history of the world has a limited group of men been given an opportunity to relieve a war-weary world of the awful burdens of destructive warfare. Never before has it been possible to relieve the mothers, the children and the toilers of the world of the heartaches, the heart-breaks, the want and misery and slighted education, the almost unbearable taxes, and other economic sacrifices brought on by war. May we not pray that God will guide aright all those who participate in the proceedings of the great Disarmament Congress now in session in Washington? In my judgment it will be good for the future of the Republic if all school children give earnest study to the proceedings.

Source: The Literary Digest - December 3, 1921