GIVE PEACE A CHANCE…AGAIN?

The other day I went to a Barnes and Noble book store and saw a car loaded with bumper stickers on the back.  Nothing new except the car owner was letting everybody know that he/she was a far left liberal with the stickers.  (My wife always says that liberals only understand what can be written on a bumper sticker.)

The bumper stickers included a 2008 Obama sticker and a new elect Hillary sticker.  Okay, nothing earth shattering; however, there was a sticker that said “I’m a tree hugger.”  That got my attention! Another sticker was “BOOKS NOT BOMBS.”  Now that confused me.  Was the liberal saying drop books on our enemies rather than bombs?  It seemed rather stupid.  Finally, I don’t remember them all, there was the standard, “GIVE PEACE A CHANCE” bumper sticker.

I’ve always regarded the last sticker as an example of the liberal who seems the world through “rose-colored glasses.”  They are idealistic and think that if they proclaim it enough people or nations will not go to war.  It is also a sign that the liberal is either in denial or ignorant of world events and history.

Let’s go with the ignorance of history.  World War I was a horrendous conflict that caused millions of casualties and forever changed the world.  After the war, people around the world but especially in Europe wanted to give “peace a chance.”  So in 1928 the Pact of Paris, better known as the Kellogg-Briand Pact, actually outlawed war.  It was deemed an international crime to go to war.  Nearly all the nations of the world signed this agreement renouncing war as “an instrument of national policy” and providing that the settlement of international disputes “of whatever nature or of whatever origin” should never be sought “except by peaceful means.” 

So here we have an actual case in history when nations renounced war to “give peace a chance.” But the problem was that the signatory nations signed with reservations.  Anything that was in the “vital interest” of their nations was deemed more important than the piece of paper they signed.  This meant that the Kellogg-Briand Pact could never be an effective instrument for preserving peace.  Nations will always act out of self-interest.

The illusion continued with an assortment of disarmament treaties in the 1920’s and 1930’s.  Disarmament was seen as the most promising means of achieving peace.  At the time, it seemed to be a guarantee for maintaining global harmony.

In the 1920s and 30s diplomats saw disarmament as the most promising means of achieving peace.  But as history was to demonstrate it was delusional and created a dangerous and false sense of security.

Mussolini was already in power in Italy and was on the road to creating a new Roman Empire.  Stalin controlled Russia in his iron grip.  Japan was on the move in Asia, particularly in China.  Waiting in the wings was Adolf Hitler who would come to power in a legitimate election in the 1930’s.

The League of Nations was created to be the organization that would give “peace a chance” by imposing sanctions on aggressor nations; however, many nations ignored the sanctions and continued to trade with aggressor nations because it was good business. What the diplomats had created was an illusion.  Dictators pushed their national agendas for conquest by manufacturing “incidents.”  Since there were little or no consequences to the aggression, dictators like schoolyard bullies continued to push their plans for conquest until it erupted into World War II.

Rather than make the world safer, the “GIVE PEACE A CHANCE” diplomats actually made it easier for dictators to be almost unstoppable by weakening the democracies.   The world eventually paid the price in blood through the deaths of millions of people.  There have been thousands of peace treaties throughout history and they never stopped a war.

So the next time some liberal displays a “GIVE PEACE A CHANCE” sticker, give them a history lesson and ask them about why it didn’t succeed through the Kellogg-Briand Pact, disarmament treaties and the economic sanctions of the League of Nations and the present  United Nations.   I’m sure they will respond emotionally with delusional statements and ultimately anger because you just demonstrated they don’t know history.

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About camden41

Retired public school administrator Retired history professor: Taught Western Civilization, American Civil War, United States History, Economic History, Ancient & Medieval Foundations, American History Since 1945
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