Special edition: Iraq and Will Rogers’ “Peace Conference”
# 325, June 29, 2004
COLUMBUS: Exactly 85 years ago today (June 29, 1919) “my” first book was published, by Harper & Brothers: “The Cowboy Philosopher on the Peace Conference”.
It was a small book by 2004 standards, when 900 pages is considered light reading. Only 42 pages, and with overall dimensions that would let it fit in your back pocket. On the front cover I said, “I made this book short so you could finish it before the next war.” Don’t you think that’s still good advice for an author?
Those Iraqi terrorists released the three Turks yesterday. I kinda predicted it in Saturday’s Weekly Comments. Those radicals may be meaner than Hitler, but they aren’t ignorant. I say since we turned Iraq over to the Iraqis, let’s give Fallujah over to Turkey. They would have it cleaned up in a week, and ready to rejoin the civilized world.
Historic quotes from Will Rogers: The Cowboy Philosopher on the Peace Conference (1919). (compiled from jokes told during the big war (WWI), and right after it when the same nations were fighting over peace)
THERE is no particular reason why I should horn in on you Public with a Book, but that’s just when they seem to write them, when there’s no need or reason for them… All my friends advised me to, “Go ahead Will, and write it ’cause you won’t annoy people with it like these other Writers do with theirs, Nobody will read yours.”
I was going to write a Book on the War, But I heard some fellow had already done it. In fact I figure that the fellow who don’t write on the war will be a novelty… Then the War was too serious a subject, I could not write on it, but the Peace Feast, that seemed to offer a better field for Humor, provided you stick to the facts. I have some inside facts procured from the most reliable source… Here’s how I got it: There is a fellow I know, Who had a friend, And this friend’s Sister had a sweetheart and he was a Soldier in France and his cousin’s pal was a Bunkie of Col. House’s Chouffer. The Col. told his Chouffer. So you see, my information comes from the same place President Wilson’s does.
Of course this whole Peace Conference talk started from the time Pres Wilson said to Germany, “We won’t deal with you as long as you occupy invaded Territory.” Well the Kaiser come right back at him and said, “If you can show us how we can give it up any faster than we are, I wish you would do it.”
The Kaiser was on the verge at one time of visiting the Western Front, then he said, “No, I will just wait a few days till it comes to me.”
At that time everybody wondered what to do with the Kaiser. I thought he should have been brought to this Country and made to clean the streets.
Germany couldent figure out how America could get troops over there and get them trained so quick. They dident know that in our manual there is nothing about RETREATING, and when you only got to teach an Army to go one way, you can do it in half the time. I feel pretty proud over that last little gag, as I used it before Pres Wilson in Washington and he repeated it in his Boston speech, Saying “As one of our AMERICAN HUMORISTS says…” Up to then I had only been an ordinary Rope thrower. Pretty tough when the President cops your act.
Says in there, “There is to be no more wars”, and then there was a paragraph a little further down told you where to get your AMMUNITION in case there was one.
England and Japan had a secret Treaty where England was to get everything south of the equator and Japan everything North. Guess they were going to leave the equator for Ireland. Japan wanted to put in the contract that she was as good as anybody else. If she admitted it why put it in. If a man is a Gentleman he don’t have a sign on him telling it. Tell Japan we will recognize them as soon as they recognize China.
Peace Table is turning out like all Banquets, the speeches are too long.
They agreed that America went in for Nothing and expects Nothing. They are all UNANIMOUS WE GET IT.
Pres Wilson threatened he would start the war over again. Be terrible if they found out this war was fixed and they had to fight it over again.
They can’t let the Russians in this League of Nations or they would make a Bush League out of it. Best time to have formed this League of Nations was during the war when all these Nations needed each other.
Everybody is for something to prevent War, but they are afraid it is like Prohibition. It don’t prohibit.
If Pres Wilson had any doubts about this League of Nations being put through, he should have taken some of these Prohibitionists. They would have shown him how to get it through, whether people wanted it or not.
League of Nations is just as clear as the Income Tax forms.
One thing we got to be thankful for: our Soldiers can win wars faster than our Diplomats can talk us into them.
If they ever have another war let’s have it understood before they start what each Nation wants at the finish.
All those Nations claim they were fighting for freedom. But of course a little more land would make a little more Freedom.
France says they would have more confidence in this League if they would slip a couple of Nations in between them and Germany.
I WONDER IF WE QUIT FIGHTING TOO QUICK AND DIDENT SIGN PEACE QUICK ENOUGH.
Don’t get impatient. It has been just this hard at the end of every war to try and prevent another one.
See where Pres Wilson and England compromised on Freedom of the Seas. England got it.
Italy left the Conference and got what she wanted, Japan threatened to leave and got what she wanted. If Pres Wilson had left, some Republican Senators would have gotten what they wanted.
Well they finally handed Germany the Peace terms: 80 thousand words. HAD TO BE THAT LONG TO TELL THE GERMANS WHAT THEY THOUGHT OF THEM.
Could have settled the whole thing in one sentence, “IF YOU BIRDS START ANYTHING AGAIN WE WILL GIVE YOU THE OTHER BARREL.”
Russia can’t get in on this Peace. There is not enough Paper in the World to print 80 thousand Russian words on.
I thought the Armistice terms read like a second Mortgage. But this reads like a FORECLOSURE. If Germany ever wants to go to war again she will have to fight with BEER STEINS.
Now Folks with all this kidding and foolishness aside, I just say in here whatever I think anybody might laugh at. But of course my real sentiments are the same as everybody else, anything to prevent war… So all Credit to Pres Wilson. It took some game Guy to go through with it.