It has become a commonplace that the present war is a war between two worlds -- two different conceptions of the relations between man and the community. The nazis themselves proclaim it, echoed by their totalitarian disciples of whatever brand, and wield their own doctrine -- or the bundle of affirmations which passes for a doctrine -- as an offensive weapon. It is clear that the fate of nations and of individuals for years to come, depends on the outcome of battle. The first objective must be military victory. But it is equally certain that never in recent times has the clash of ideas played so decisive a part in an armed conflict. It may indeed be argued that, as far as the aggressors are concerned, the present war is a typical war of conquest, in which -- like so many conquerors before them -- they are overthrowing, or trying to overthrow, whatever stands in their way. Yet the ground can be cleared for their ultimate success only by the destruction of that body of ideas which has served as the structural framework of the Western world; and the noble civilizations of Asia -- their ancient wisdom and their moral concepts -- would likewise be undermined by that conquest and threatened with collapse. This is an ideological war, at least on the part of those who have been vanquished and put to silence, and of those who still fight on. Faith in the ideal which is at stake must be the foundation for triumph.
The World’s Destiny and the United States by the World Citizens Association