Letter December 30, 1919 from David Eichel to Parents

Date

1919-12-30

Title

Letter December 30, 1919 from David Eichel to Parents

Date

1919-12-30

Subject

WWI conscientious objection / objectors

Creator

Eichel, David

Publisher

Swarthmore College Peace Collection

Rights

Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Language

English

Type

text

Transcription

Letter [#34] from David Eichel, U.S.D.B., Fort Douglas, Utah

[December 30, 1919]

Dear folks:

The one event that is disturbing the general serenity here, is the trial of Julius Greenberg. The court convened yesterday, and is being continued today, with strong possibilities of it being carried over for tomorrow. Quite a few of us, I among others, expect to be called upon to testify to the good character of Greenberg. Thus far, from the few scattered reports we get, it would seem that the trial is progressing favorably for the defense. This is by no means an indication of what the ultimate verdict may be. I'll not even give you any details until it is all over.

There is absolutely nothing new here. If it were'nt for the trial and the recent suicide Julius wrote about, this would be a perfectly uneventful period. We read the newspapers and occasionally it offers us something of interest. We are all vitally interested in the signing of peace. If we thought that the Senate was in earnest and not indulging in a game of petty politics for personal aggrandizement; if we thought that they were against the treaty in principle, we would be pleased at its defeat. But we know better. We have read the hypercritical and contradictory statements and speeches of the "anti-League of Nations" group, and we have found it so much twaddle. Furthermore we have a suspicion, a very strong one, that they'll endorse it eventualy [sic]. So why not now? With peace the general chaos might be cleared up. As it is, on the hypercritical pretense that a state of war exists (altho the newspapers are already quoting the great figures involved in exports and imports to Germany) the forces of gov't have been able to foist the most despotic measures on the people. If peace were declared a reaction might set in in favor of liberalism and radicalism.

The other day, Secy Baker wrote to the American Legion that C.O's and other military offenders are placed in the D.B's not for the purpose of punishment and revenge, but to reform them and make them more fit for civil life. That would imply that Julius becomes fit exactly and absolutely on Jan. 30, while I, and a good many Christians, who have'nt a vicious thought, word, or action and some Russians who can hardly express themselves in English are as yet unfit. We do know what to do to make ourselves fit in the eyes of Baker and the military altho we are not convinced that such action would tend to fit us for civil life, and that, after all is the professed purpose of our imprisonment. We need only agree to take orders and express a willingness to do everything the military officials see fit to demand of us, and lo, by some unfathomable power, we are fit. Washington is so thoroughly persuaded of the infallibility of this miracle that they promptly discharge all men who decide to obey orders. Of course we can become fit by following in the footsteps of the German that hanged himself. Prison certainly made him fit.

Both Julius and I are feeling fine. We'll be happy when Jan. 30 comes around, for then at least one of us will be with you once more. The other will follow 3 months later, and 3 months is hardly a long time after the two years already passed away from home.

I hope this finds you all well. With loving regards to all, I am

Dave

Citation

Eichel, David, “Letter December 30, 1919 from David Eichel to Parents,” Conscientious Objection & the Great War: 1914-1920, accessed August 1, 2021, https://cosandgreatwar.swarthmore.edu/items/show/56.

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