Men and Politics: An Autobiography

Men and Politics: An Autobiography

Men and Politics: An Autobiography

Men and Politics: An Autobiography


First visited Europe in 1918. I saw Plymouth and London, Cherbourg and Tours, Milan, Florence, and Brindisi. London had had Zeppelin air raids. The city lights were dimmed at night. Restaurants served little white pills of saccharine instead of sugar. Almost every family mourned a man killed in battle. The women were pessimistic about the war. The Allies had not yet started winning, and laymen said Germany could not be beaten. The countryside abounded with tent camps for khaki-clad Tommy recruits. City hotels were filled with British, French, Rumanian, Italian, and Serbian officers in smartly cut uniforms. Day and night, Piccadilly swarmed with insistent prostitutes.

In the French provinces, women in black stood at railway stations, weeping, as long hospital trains bursting with bandaged soldiers pulled out in one direction and heavy troop trains moved off in the other. It was the fifth summer of the war.

Italy was sunny and beautiful, but sad.

I did not understand much. This was my first look at the Old World, and I was only twenty-two.

Three years later I left America again to see Europe at peace. In the meantime, I had studied history, and on the quiet sands of the Egyptian desert I had read every word of the Versailles Peace Treaty. I had read it with a map.

I arrived in England on the Aquitania in December, 1921, and went to London. I did not know then that I would spend eighteen years in Europe. I did not know that I would stay to see the outbreak of a second world war. My eighteen years in Europe were not years of peace; they were an armistice between two wars. Because they are not made in a day, wars are no longer declared. Or they are declared every day for years. Those eighteen years were one long declaration of war. When war came in September, 1939, it was startling news. Most people thought the war had commenced long before.

December, 1921: three years and a month after the end of the first World War. The Kaiser was in exile in Holland. Hitler was an . . .

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