David Peabody Guion
We’ve had quite a few discussions in our tent and how to avert another war. The only objection to my theory is that it is an immense job but I think if it will stop wars it should be done. It is that rather than play “Superman” as Dan so aptly puts it, the only way to stop all wars is to teach the other people of the world to live as we do. If you teach them the sin of killing, if you teach them Christianity, if you teach them and make them follow the rule of doing unto others as they would have others do unto them, I think – – I know – – it will stop all wars and make the world a better place in which to live. I know it is an immense job and almost impossible. When I presented this theory to the boys, one asked me if I’d spend my life in Japan teaching the Japs our way of life. He thought that would corner me but I told him that if my theory were carried out on a large enough scale so that it would really do some good, I’d be glad to spend the rest of my life in Japan or any other place in the world to accomplish this goal.
And I would too, because I am thoroughly convinced that it is the only way to have peace. World courts are no good. Do Traffic Courts or any other courts in the world stop crime? On the other hand, do children who are brought up to be good Christians and who are taught that they should treat other people as they themselves want to be treated, go out and kill or steal? I don’t think you’ll find it happens very often. What about the old adage, “All men are created equal”. How can there be equality if one group of nations rules another. Maybe I’m not looking at this thing from a broad enough scope as I realize that there are a lot of things to be taken into consideration, but I think that in time (a long time) it would avert all wars. Who is it that starts these wars? It always seems to be a group that starts their party by denouncing Christianity.
Kids are the same the world over. You’ve got to be awfully careful how you treat the youngsters because they are the tomorrow, and you’ve got to be awfully careful how you treat the older ones because they are the ones who form the minds of the younger ones. If you lord it over those you have conquered, they won’t like you any better for it. The kids here, and I’ve no doubt it’s true in Europe, run to see the big implements of war roll down the dusty country road or wriggle through the narrow streets. It is all new to them and they are inquisitive. And who in this world doesn’t like to get a smile and a wave of the hand from a stranger as well as a friend? These Okinawans will never forget the American soldier. They’ll never forget what the Japs told them of us and they will never forget how wrong the Japs were. They were told we were pirates, killers and pilferers. The Okinawans emerged from their hideouts in the caves and found the American soldier with his carbine on his shoulder, where it wouldn’t harm them, and his hand out stretched, with the palm up, holding candy and cigarettes. They found him with a smile on his face. They found him with wonderful equipment that saved the lives of Okinawans who would ordinarily have died if the Japs had been there. True, the invader had brought terror with him, had burned the houses, ruined the rich farmland, had destroyed every bit of quaintness on their island, but after it was all over, he brought food, medical supplies, protection, not only for himself but for the natives also. He shared what he had. Now, tell me, Dad, who are the children going to be that remember that smile, and who are the ones who are going to remember what he imagines as a cruel eye and a poker face.
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You’ll be able to see this island, Dad, after the war is over. You’ll be able to see all the things I’ve written about, hills, valleys, streams, customs, people. You’ll be able to say one of your sons fought the Nips here. And in return, you’ll get a smile from these simple folks. But will you be able to say the same thing in Europe? Will you get a smile from those people when you say that two of your sons came over and fought on their land? Truthfully, I can’t answer these questions because I don’t know just how far this non-fraternization policy is going in Germany. But somehow, I don’t think you will be welcomed in Europe as you will be here when you say your sons were in the war. I only hope we can treat the Japs the same way as we have treated the Okinawans. I, for one, will have a smile for the enemy if I ever get up into his home territory.
Dave, I won’t go into further comment on your ideas. I don’t think we Americans are universal practitioners of Christianity in the sense of living by the golden rule, but in the main, you are basically right. A worldwide following of such a simple thing as the golden rule would indeed outlaw not only all wars but well-nigh, all crime as well. From what I have read they have considerably softened the harsh rule since Dan wrote his diatribe against the policy. Knowing how humane General Eisenhower is, I feel he must have had a good reason for what he did in the first place. Maybe the sex angle had something to do with it, in view of the low state of morals under the Hitler regime, I don’t know. I happened to run into Roy Hart the other day near my office (not Percy). He used to be in the G. E. He was the one Cullen told us about who distributed evangelical pamphlets, was very religious, etc. There is also a Percy Hart I think, who lives in Long Hill also, who is connected with the Bridgeport Boys Club. I’m going to try to get a box of things off to you soon. Denny asks me every once in a while in his high tenor voice “ Howsa boy?” And when I tell him “find”, he says “Thasa good.” Someday, if he follows his continued threats, he will write you.
Aunt Elsie is with us today. Her leg is much better. It is almost time for her to leave and I have spent so much time already writing this letter that I have hardly visited with her at all, hence I think I shall stop right here, with the promise that next week will also bring another interesting quote from Ced, and possibly more news about the newlyweds. Until then, my boys, a hearty good luck wish from
For an overview of the Battle of Okinawa, click here.
Tomorrow and Sunday, I will post two letters from Dave’s World War II Army Adventure.