Some events around Peace Day 19 July 1919, as reported in the Melbourne press over one week
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s. THEY EXPOSED THE BLOCKADE
The Woman Voter 27 March 1919
The Starving Babies of Germany - From Miss Harriet Newcomb comes a letter describing the terrible sufferings of mothers and babies in Germany, the result of that unfortunate "military necessity", the British Blockade.
To some minds it contains the absolute condemnation of militarism in each and all of its manifestations. If the results of war, conducted in a perfectly fair, humane and gentlemanly way, as politician, churchman and journalist have every day for four years assured us it was conducted, are so dire, what must they be where a nation “deliberately makes war on women and children?”
Miss Newcomb says: “The pitiful conditions of thousands of poor little babies in Germany cannot be exaggerated. It can only be compared to the state of things known in India during one of the worst famines...
Facts are vouched for by unimpeachable authorities... and acknowledged by the British Government.”
The medical authorities in Germany have appealed to England for 1,000,000 India-rubber teats. The mothers in Germany, through underfeeding, cannot suckle their infants. There is practically no rubber in Germany. The babies are too weak to suck through the bone or wooden teats which are all that can be provided. The German doctors suggest that the teats shall be paid for at rather a higher rate than the English cost, and that any profit might go to assist English war widows and orphans.
(The Women’s International League sent 1,000,000 teats to Germany. You can support them by... )
The Woman Voter 1 September 1919
Letter from Miss Vida Goldstein,
The greatest interest centred around the discussion of the Peace Terms (at the International Congress of Women at Zurich), attended by Vida Goldstein and Cecilia John from the WPA) and the following resolutions were agreed to:
“This International Congress of Women expresses its deep regret that the Terms of Peace proposed at Versailles should so seriously violate the principles upon which alone a just and permanent peace can be secured, and which the
: By guaranteeing the fruits of the secret treaties to be the conquerors, the Terms of Peace tacitly sanction secret diplomacy, deny the principles of self-determination, recognise the right of the victors to the spoils of war, and create all over Europe discords and animosities which can only lead to future wars.
: By the demand for disarmament of one set of belligerents only, the principle of justice is violated and the rule of force is continued.
: By the financial and economic proposals a hundred million people in the heart of Europe are condemned to poverty, disease and despair, which must result in the spread of hatred and anarchy within each nation.
With a deep sense of responsibility, this Congress strongly urges the Allies and Associated Governments to accept such amendments of the terms as shall bring the Peace into harmony with those principles... upon the faithful carrying out of which the honour of the Allied peoples depends.
u. MAKING A CONSCRUCTIVE PEACE
Woman Voter 17 March 1914
Every country is trying to get ahead of the other in the matter of armaments. The war department is the department of every government. What a wretched commentary on 2000 years of preaching the gospel of the Prince of Peace! Let us suppose that now we try and practise what we preach. Let us have our department of Peace, as well as our War Department. Let a Minister of Peace tour the country in the interests of Peace.
Vida Goldstein: I think that it is a fearful reflection on 2000 years of Christianity that men have rushed into war before using every combined effort to prevent this appalling conflict. It is my earnest hope that women in all parts of the world will stand together, demanding a more reasonable and civilised way of dealing with international disputes.
The time has come for women to show that they, as givers of life, refuse to give their sons as material for slaughter, and that they recognise that human life must be the first consideration of nations. By the present development it seems that human life is held of no importance in comparison with property and aggrandisement of territory.
The enfranchised women of Australia are political units in the British Empire, and they ought to lead the world in sane methods of dealing with these conflicts.
The victors, even if they be of our own country, will have no share in the spoils. The spoils go to the few who make the wars, but do not fight themselves…
Women! The success of one nation means the defeat of another. And success means that one or the other nation has murdered more than the other. Women! Does the news that the Germans have lost more than 30,000 men mean nothing to you? Are you delirious with joy when you hear that thousands are slain? Do you not know that German mothers are torn with grief and anguish that the sons of their wombs are slain? …
So let the cry from every heart be “My country must be right, not by might but by loving her neighbour as herself?”
We have been forbidden by the military authorities to sing or make use of the song “I didn’t raise my son to be a soldier.” Needless to say, the women will still continue to sing it, if they feel so inclined.
Diplomacy – The old-time piracy and brigandage of what are styled the bad old days, when life was worth the living, began to seem strangely decent. They move us almost to veneration when compared with our modern diplomacy, particularly in its best advertised stunt “the protection of weaker nations”.
The old-time hell, which went with the old-time despotism, never staged such unspeakable horrors, never dreamt them, as those which this “protection” includes. The merest acquaintance with its benign operations in China, Korea, Persia, India, Finland, Egypt, and all the rest of these cherished and sheltered countries, is enough to drive a sane man mad. In the minds of the self-appointed defenders of the weak, protection, extermination and slavery are synonymous
There is, of course, the best of reasons why the release of Persia from the grasp of the old Russian regime should have a sinister appearance to our eyes. Russia was doing our dirty work there, and the naked villainy of her performances was such that we were forced to be blind to them, and, now that Russia has given Persia her freedom, we must reduce her to slavery unaided...
What a thought compelling comment on the general situation this message to Persia might be to the patriots, if patriots ever thought. The Persian delegates hung around the closed doors of the Paris Conference, seeking justice from the victorious upholders of Right against Wrong quite in vain, till out of Russia, outcast, Bolshevik Russia, came to their people the word of life and hope, and a new beginning.
If only the upholders of Right would let them have life and hope and a new beginning!
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