12 JANUARY 1940, Page 22


SIR,—May a schoolmaster, who has already lost one former pupil on active service and is seeing countless others preparing

for the insane slaughter which lies ahead, be allowed through your columns to make a plea for the youth not only of this country, but of the whole world? They cannot raise a voice

on their own behalf, for they would be accused of cowardice ; but others can and should do it for them, while there is still

time to save humanity from the supreme disaster which is so imminent.

The greatest of the many tragedies of war is that the young

have to suffer most for the failure of their predecessors to establish a proper world order. Now that their failure has

been proved by the outbreak of war, those responsible are becoming resigned to seeing the next generation being slaughtered by the thousand ; there is no more dangerous state of mind than that of resignation.

" To win the war is our first aim " has become the political slogan of the day. But many of those who are telling us this have been saying for years that if war were to assail the world

again there could be no winner, but many losers. " To stop the war " should be our first aim.

There can be no speedy victory for anyone in this war, and

the result of a long and bitter struggle can only be disastrous for all alike, and the world will not be a better place after it. The young men of the world are now being sent to face

indescribable horror, knowing in their hearts that if they survive the war they can only look forward to years of diffi- culty and distress.

For their sake I would beg the older generation to consider once more whether everything possible has been done to pre- vent the final catastrophe. It is generally admitted that one of the main causes of the war has been the suppression of truth in Germany. Whatever may be our view of the German people, they are human beings, and the majority of them must share our hatred of war. If only a far more definite idea of our peace aims could be given them, coupled with an indica- tion of Allied strength and the progress of the war to date, I find it hard to believe that they would allow their leaders to proceed with the war.

This cannot be achieved while hostilities continue ; but if a conference were summoned at once, at which neutrals were represented as well as belligerents, even the German govern-

ment would find it difficult to prevent their people learning the true facts.

By writing thus I lay myself open to the charge of disturbing national unity ; but there is only one respect in which the nation is wholly united, and that is in its utter loathing and detestation of war and all that war involves. We would not be showing weakness in making a further effort for peace, and

national honour would not be diminished by an attempt to

save civilisation.—Yours faithfully, RICHARD A. LAWRIE. Seaford, Sussex.