Published Date

August 1, 1944

Resource Type

GI Roundtable Series, Primary Source

From GI Roundtable 12: Can We Prevent Future Wars? (1944)

Everybody has a stake in solving the problem of how to prevent war—but nobody understands the need better than those now serving in the armed forces. . . . They don’t want their sons to go through what they are going through. . . .

But we face no simple or easy problem. . . . It will not be solved without a lot of hard thinking. And it isn’t enough to leave this hard thinking to a few statesmen and scholars. In a democracy these are not the people who settle the great issues. They can be settled only by the will of the majority.

Look back at the opening pages of this pamphlet that contain these sentences. No further words are needed to emphasize the vitality of the question, “Can We Prevent Future Wars?”


Questions for Discussion

The questions that follow are suggested to help you. These, or other similar ones that may occur to you, can be used by you and your assistants in planning an informal discussion meeting, a forum, a panel discussion, or a debate—whichever seems most appropriate to you. These questions as organized here are particularly appropriate for use in conducting an informal discussion or a panel discussion. The text of the pamphlet itself is particularly adapted for use by a speaker before a public forum.

  1. Can we have lasting peace? Is it likely that, because there always have been wars, there always will be? If the great majority of mankind want lasting peace, why is it that we still have wars? What reasons are there for believing that another major war would be worse than this one? Should we assume that another major war will break out in twenty-five or fifty years unless something is done to prevent it? What is the first step toward the goal of lasting peace? What decisions have been made that take this first step? Does the failure of the old League of Nations mean that peace cannot be safeguarded? What were the principal reasons why the League of Nations failed to maintain peace? (Pages 1–8.)
  2. Are nations like individuals? Should we assume that the conditions necessary for order and security in a community of individuals are also necessary for peace and security between nations? (Page 8.)
  3. Should the United States join other nations in enforcing peace? If the United States should become a member of an international organization to enforce peace, just what would our country be committed to doing? What would the cost to us be-not mainly in money, but in the obligations which we should assume? Do you think it better to pay the cost of peace, or to risk another world war in the lifetime of your children or grandchildren? (Pages 22–23.)
  4. Can lasting peace be maintained without force to back it up? If not, can an international force prevent wars unless this force will be stronger than that of any possible aggressor? Or unless it will actually be used if any aggression should occur? (Page 22.)
  5. What kind of force? Assuming that an international armed force of some kind is necessary to safeguard peace, what would be the best kind of force for that purpose? A purely international police force? (Pages 9–10.) A force drawn from the armies of states belonging to an international organization? (Pages 11–21.) A so-called “dual force”? (Pages 21–22.)


It is suggested that a chart like the following one will be useful to the leader of any type of discussion meeting. It may be reproduced either on a large sheet of paper or on a blackboard. Care should be taken to have the lettering sufficiently large for reading by anyone seated at the back of the audience.

For specific suggestions on organizing and conducting off-duty discussions, refer to EM 1, GI Roundtable: Guide for Discussion Leaders.

  1. Can we have lasting peace?
  2. Are nations like individuals?
  3. Should the United States join other nations in enforcing peace?
  4. Can lasting peace be maintained without force to back it up?
  5. What kind of force?


Suggestions for Further Reading

Let The People Know. By Sir Norman Angell. Published by Viking Press, 18 East 48th Street, New York 17, N. Y. (1943).

Collective Security: The Why and How. By Senator Joseph H. Ball. No. 9 of the pamphlet series America Looks Ahead published by World Peace Foundation, 40 Mt. Vernon Street, Boston, Mass. (1943).

Security and World Organization. Part I, Fourth Report of Commission to Study the Organization of Peace, 8 West 40th Street, New York, N. Y. (1943).

Summary of the World Federation Plan. By Ely Culbertson. Published for World Federation by Garden City Publishing Company, Garden City, N. Y. (1943.)

Analysis of the Problem of War. By Clyde Eagleton. Published by Ronald Press Company, 15 East 26th Street, New York, N. Y. (1937).

The Problems of Lasting Peace. By Herbert Hoover and Hugh Gibson. Published by Doubleday, Doran and Company, Garden City, N. Y. (1942).