A Way To Prevent War: Preface

Originally by Allan L. Benson. APPEAL TO REASON GIRAUD, KAN. 1915

If the people were in favor of war, the way to end war would be to convert people to peace. This book is devoted to the task of showing that since the people are opposed to war the logical way to end it is to take the power to declare war from minorities who misuse it and vest it in the people who may be depended upon to use it at all. Public sentiment in favor of peace can be of little practical value so long as a minority in each nation control the war-making machinery.

The ideas upon which this book is based began to come to me twelve days after the outbreak of the Great War in Europe, while I was writing an article on the war for Pearson's Magazine. It seemed such a colossal wrong that perhaps fifty men should have the power to force war upon 350,000,000 who did not want it. I had written more than half of the article when the idea came to me that only the people, voting by direct ballot, should have the power to declare war—and thus it was that the demand for a referendum on war was first made in an article devoted to the war in Europe.

For the next seven months, I did little else but develop the idea, write about it and speak about it. One article, when re-printed as a pamphlet, had a circulation of more than 2,000,000 copies. The Executive Committee of the Socialist Party has endorsed the plan in principle and, as noted on Page 102, it has received enthusiastic support elsewhere.

All except the last chapter of this book was printed serially in the Appeal to Reason, the Socialist weekly published in Giraud, Kansas. The last chapter was frist printed in Pearson's Magazine.

Yonkers, N. Y., April, 1915