Question: Is the third war inevitable?
Surely, Sir, the very existence of an army is an indication of war. It is the function of the general to prepare for war; and when you have developed a weapon like the atomic bomb, where are you going to experiment with it? So, again, war is directly related to us. If you are a nationalist, you are contributing to war. If you have enclosed yourself in property, you are contributing to war. If nationalism, communalism, if your own country or your own group becomes the most important thing, obviously you are contributing to war. Our very existence every day is producing war because we have no peace at all. Surely, if there is to be peace in the world, you yourself have to be peaceful. If I want to be peaceful with you, I must be adaptable, I must be considerate, I must not be dominating; but if neither you nor I are adaptable, if we insist on dominating it is bound to produce a catastrophe.
An American lady came to see me a couple of years ago, during the war. She said she lost her son in Italy, and that she had another son aged 16 whom she wanted to save; so, we discussed and talked the thing over. I suggested to her that, to save her son, she had to cease to be an American; she had to cease to be greedy, cease piling up wealth, seeking power, domination, and be morally simple - not merely simple in clothes, in outward things, but simple in her thoughts and feelings, in her relationships. She said, "That is too much. You are asking far too much. I cannot do it, because circumstances are too powerful for me to alter". Therefore, she was responsible for the destruction of her son. Circumstances can be controlled by us, because we have created the circumstances.
Public Talk, February 1st, 1948