Ways to Peace: Twenty Plans Selected From the Most Representative of Those Submitted to the American Peace Award

by Edward W. Bok. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons. 1924. 8vo. xx+465 pp. $3.00.
IT was a happy thought that led to the preparation and publication of this volume. Among the multitude of books that are offered to the public here is one that is calculated to give valuable service. It is a book not so much to read, as to study, and designed not alone for present use, but for future reference. A hundred years hence, when the world has been successfully organized for peace, it will be interesting for students to look back at this volume and see how nearly fulfillment followed the pathway of prophecy. And if another devastating war descends upon the world, there will be a melancholy satisfaction in considering how the advice of the wise might have been used to prevent catastrophe.
When Mr. Edward Bok announced his famous Peace Award, it was stated by the Policy Committee that he wished, if possible, to discover, or evolve, or find ‘the way’ to the best practicable plan by which the United States may coöperate with other nations to achieve and preserve the peace of the world.’ In response to this invitation 22,165 plans were offered, and of all these, twenty have now been selected to make up this little volume, including the one by Mr. Lever more which won the prize.
We are told in the Introduction that these twenty plans are not necessarily those considered best, but that they represent a wide field of suggestion, and that they may safely be taken as representative. Curiously enough, nineteen of the twenty papers selected for this volume are offered by men, and only one by a woman. One turns naturally, first of all, to the plans of Dr. Eliot, Bishop Brent, and Professor Hudson. They are all characteristic, and that offered by Bishop Brent is particularly definite and helpful. It is strong with his strength, and it emphasizes certain facts that cannot receive too much attention.
President Eliot bestows responsibility upon a conference of all the nations of the world, to be held ‘at Washington not later than February 1, 1924,’ suggesting a programme to be considered by various sections, or committees. Other authors — and a surprisingly large number of them—advise using in one way or another the machinery of the existing League of Nations.
The entire subject is old, and has often been treated. In 1847, when Edward Everett was President of Harvard College, he received a communication from one Thomas Dolby, living in Camden Town, London. Mr. Dolby wrote that he was engaged in preparing a little book under the title of The Eulogy of Nations: Designed, By Commending the Good Qualities of Each, to Conciliate All. This title, he said, ‘literally expresses the purpose of the book.’ Thomas Dolby’s Peace Programme may never have seen the light. It suggests, however, a practical plan by which at the present time the United States might coöperate with other nations to achieve and preserve the peace of the world. It is neither unjust nor untrue to say that, like the Pharisee of old, America is inclined to thank God that she is not as other nations are, unjust, extortioners, oppressors, and schemers for securing territory that belongs to others. Ask the everyday American, and he is very apt to tell you that the European nations are all alike and that the less we have to do with them the better. That is why people in this country commend the League of Nations as ‘a good thing for Europe,’ but something that the United States does not need.
Altogether, therefore, to these twenty Ways of Peace I should like to commend Dr. Dolby’s way as a twenty-first. This involves, like Bishop Brent’s plan, a change of mental attitude, and a Christian way of looking at things.