Society for the Prevention of World War III
The Society for the Prevention of World War III was an organization set up in the U.S. in 1944 during World War II that advocated a harsh peace for Germany in order to completely remove Germany as a future military threat.
The Organization was a spin-off of the Writers' War Board, with both headed by (extreme anti-German) novelist Rex Stout and the organization's monthly publication mainly republishing material produced by the War Board.
It succeeded in hardening attitudes towards Germany both in the media and in the government, but by 1948 it had failed in its overall mission, with JCS 1067 rescinded and the Marshall Plan helping Germany, along with the rest of Europe, back on its feet.
In addition to the monthly magazine Prevent World War III, the society engaged in a number of lobbying efforts. For example in 1944 they distributed a booklet by T.H. Tetens entitled Know Your Enemy where the German people were depicted as inherently aggressive, militaristic and a permanent threat to peace. 10,000 free copies were given to Congress, media and other influential individuals such as clerics.
In March 1947, the society helped Eleanor Roosevelt and Edgar Ansel Mowrer organize a National Conference on the German Problem. The conference was held in the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York and was attended by 185 prominent individuals such as Albert Einstein, Henry Morgenthau Jr., Eugene V. Rostow, Helen Gahagan Douglas. The conference formulated a program to cripple the German economy and reduce the German territory. The resulting declaration, signed by amongst others the society, stated, "Any plans to resurrect the economic and political power of Germany ... [were] dangerous to the security of the world".
- Rex Stout (In charge, also leading the Writers' War Board, government funded and with very close ties to the Roosevelt administration)
- William L. Shirer (Member of board of directors)
- William H. Hale (Member of board of directors)
- James P. Warburg ("ideologist" of the society)
- Emil Ludwig
- Clifton Fadiman
- Mark Van Doren
- Christopher La Farge
- Douglas Freeman
- Lewis Mumford
- Allan Nevins
- Louis Nizer
- Quentin Reynolds
- Darryl Zanuck
- Walter Johnson
- Walter Wanger
- Rex Stout Papers "1943 Adopts extreme anti-German attitude after war. Publishes "We Shall Hate or We Shall Fail," an essay which elicits much criticism.". Religion: Moral Poison, Monday, Feb. 22, 1943, Time Magazine "Stout wanted to rouse hatred against those Germans "who accept, either actively or passively, the doctrine of the German master race . . . [or] who, reluctant to join the Nazis, nevertheless failed, through lack of courage or conviction, to prevent the Nazis from . . . plunging the world into this filthy swamp of destruction." In other words, hate most of Germany.
- Monthly, May 1944-Feb. 1945 Bimonthly, Mar./Apr. 1945-1950 2 no. a year, 1951-1971. Issue 78 winter-spring 1972. Catalogue, National Library of Australia