Writing for Peace

Erskine Caldwell on Peace


It seems to me that history has been written, chapter by chapter, century after century, in praise of war and its accompaniment of death and destruction. If we look at the history of our war-ravaged world, these chapters have glorified the winning of wars, the number of people who have been killed, and the destruction that has occurred.

Between these chapters of horror there has been very little written about peace because there have been so very few intervals of peace to commemorate.

However, it is my belief that the time is coming—how soon I do not know, but inevitably—when war will have been banished from this planet.

It is not consistent with the ideals of liberal-minded people, people with foresight and intelligence, to let the horrors of war be perpetuated and encouraged to continue to exist in the future as they have been in times past.

I suggest that this meeting of writers offers the opportunity to inaugurate a crusade for peace. And I am confident that such a crusade would be successful because writers do possess a talent that enables them to contribute to the good of the world and the welfare of mankind.

As writers, we often try to make it seem as though we are dillydallying in a casual occupation, although those of us who are engaged in, and pursue, communication as a vocation know that it is no easy task to be a writer. Writing requires dedication and hard work to be successful and I am confident that we can be successful in the cause of peace.

As we know, every nation has a Ministry of War, a Department of War, which is charged with the duty to prepare for future wars during brief intervals of peace. It is my suggestion, and my hope, that in every nation the Ministry of War will be abolished and in its place be created a Ministry of Peace.

I realize that this is a farfetched, and even radical, idea and seemingly an impossibility. However, it was universally believed not so long ago that man could not go to the moon. So now that nothing is impossible, surely peace is possible and should not be withheld any longer from the people of our world.

In these closing words, I would like to repeat myself.

Over and over again I have said: “Enemies kill enemies, but friends do not kill friends.” So let us be friends. All of us in every nation.

Address to the Fifth International Meeting of Writers in Sofia, Bulgaria, on October 25, 1984 from With All My Might