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Frances PerkinsFrances Perkins
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Coming War

Of course, with the coming of the European war everything became more tense. There was the most delicate situation with regard to the position of the United States, which was not at war and within whose borders there resided millions of citigens who were horrified at the very idea of a war. There was a very strong pacifist and anti-war movement, as well as the isolationist movement. I distinguish the two in my own mind. Perhaps I'm wrong about that and perhaps history will show that they were the same, but I do think they were different in their motives and in the reasons out of which their positions sprang. There were bona fide pacifists on philosophical and religious grounds, and sometimes just plain emotional grounds. They were completely opposed to all wars, of all kinds and descriptions. Then there were the group who would talk about there being such a thing as a “just war.” You would have to be for that, but a just war could only be defined as one where your country was invaded. If the enemy was at the gate, then you'd certainly say that the right of self-defense is paramount to the prohibition against the taking of life. So there were mixed groups who were pacifists for perfectly honorable reasons.

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