Tuesday, January 14, 2020

A Plan for World Peace

Manuscript of Whelden's manifesto for world peaceOn July 9, 1917, Vermonter Belno Marsh Whelden enlisted as a private in the Machine Gun Infantry. For the next two years he would serve on the front lines in France. Whelden was one of the 4.7 million Americans who served in World war I. He was also lucky, because he got the chance to come home alive. Whelden was a member of Dartmouth College's Class of 1921. At Dartmouth, he was an avid fan of the track team and member of Phi Gamma Delta. After graduation, Whelden attended the Tuck School for a short time, before taking a position with Stetson Shoe Company in New York City. In 1925, he returned to Vermont and went into the family hardware business.

Cover letter for Manifesto sen to Tom Connally Whelden was never able to forget what he had seen during World War I and became an ardent proponent for the need of world peace. In 1945, he took matters into his own hands. In the report for the Class of 1921's 25th Reunion, he writes:
I am still on the losing end of the fight for World Peace, as I am an out and out World Government man. I have worked out my own plan for World government, based on an approach for the viewpoint of the individual who fights the wars and not from the viewpoint of nations who manage and operate same.
In 1945, Whelden sent his 147-page plan, entitled World Trusteeship of Life and the Means of Life, to Senator Tom Connally, a member of the Senate Committee of Foreign Relations. Whelden enclosed a message reading:
I enclose herewith my suggestions of a way to lasting peace. I have submitted it to no other group anywhere. You are the men who will make the peace …. Will you please read it today – now – before you go to San Francisco. I stand ready to come to Washington on a moment’s notice, if you wish to talk to me.
Newspaper account of Weldon's manifestoWhelden believed that his education at Dartmouth under President Hopkins contributed to his desire to take action. In his class letter, he continued:
Hoppy told us in ’16 when he took over that his thesis of the liberal college was to teach young men how to think and not what. … If we as people don’t damn soon cut out the fol-de-rol, flim-flam and bluff we are perpetrating at this moment, and really get down to the task of leading this tired old world or ours into the ways of peace by carrying out into the world the heritage that is ours as a nation of freeman under law, then the next war which is too far away, will wind up our life, and Dartmouth College, its Alumni Fund and its endowment won’t be worth a damn, and there won’t be any more reunions, because there won’t be anyway of getting there except in foot or canoe, the way old Eleazar got there and maybe we’d all be a helluva lot happier if that was the case anyway.
I do not know if Whelden was ever called upon by Senator Connally to speak in Washington. However, if you would like to read his plan, come to Special Collections and ask for MS-157.

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