War is the oldest institution in the world. Reliable historians insist that men have been fighting each other for a million years! The world's war system embraces the entire human race. All nations, tribes, and religions are included in it. All are guilty of continuing this abominable system.
The Great War cost $93.50 for every man, woman, and child in the entire world. That cost did not include the much greater expense of the-world-around depression that followed the war and from which no nation has yet recovered. Depressions are a normal aftermath of war. Often, the depression is a much more disastrous blow to a nation than was the war that caused it. When business gets back to normal, people think the depression is happily over, but civilization is slower of recovery and this injury to the progress of civilization is the heaviest loss in any war.
Many people believe that wars are inevitable; therefore, all the nations at this moment, afraid to protest, are going deeper and deeper into debt in order to pay for the war that is past and to prepare for the next war that is expected. Nations may economize in education, old age pensions, and the welfare of children, but they never limit the preparations for war. So it is that while the memories of the horrors and the costs of the World War should be fresh in every adult mind, standing armies of the world are larger than before the Great War and constantly growing. Armaments of every category are mounting higher and higher in every nation. This is especially true of aircraft. It was a new implement of war in 1914 and it is supposed that at no time during the World War were there more than 100 bombing airplanes among all the nations. Now it is known that ten European nations alone have more than 10,0000 bombing airplanes and it is said that the next war will be chiefly fought in the air.
At this moment the people of the world are dividing into those "for war" and those "against war". Let it not be forgotten that ours is a world of change and that any idea or institution can be repudiated when the people so will. The Peace Conference is against war. It stands for the substitution of reason for guns.
It might be useful, as some say, to take the profits out of war, but there is a far more vital subtraction than profits which must be made before permanent peace takes the place of recurring wars. Take the fear of nation for nation out of the politics of the world and we shall have peace. For a possible millions years each new generation has been trained to suspect, distrust, fear, and hate other nations. No wonder that public opinion is more prejudiced than reasonable about war.
A neutrality law, as others say, may help, but what is needed is a little more Golden Rule in international relations, a bolder, more courageous condemnation of the habit of nations to kill each other when they have a dispute.
If God made one of us, He made all of us, and He did not create us for crime. War is organized crime and nothing else. It has no rightful place in the policies of nations calling themselves civilized.
We invite all who hear to stand upon the side "against war". We do not ask you to come in your ignorance and your prejudice. We ask you to know why you are on that side. Ask yourself the question: "Am I opposed to war; if so, why?" Find a motive without sentiment or emotion; a reason that is unanswerable. Then go forth and convert your family, your neighbor, your town. Help make the peace army grow bigger every day. When the peace army is larger than the war army, war will fade away like the dew before the morning sun.
Somewhere in your town, you will find a Mandate against war. Sign it. Already it has a million signatures. Be another. If you cannot find it, write to Mandate, Hotel Willard, Washington, D. C.
Be a soldier for peace. There will be no guns, no fighting, no bloodshed on our side. Our only weapon is reason, our only aim is justice. There is no power than can defeat our purpose. Do not forget that reason and justice, in the long run, always wins.
Catt, C. C. (1936). Carrie Chapman Catt Papers: Speech and Article File, 1892-1946; Speeches; Untitled; 1928 to 1944. [Manuscript/Mixed Material] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/mss154040425.