Herbert Hoover – Address To Haverford College – June 7, 1941 – Past Daily Reference Room
Former President Herbert Hoover, who lost to Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1932 election didn’t retire from the public eye after the election. He became the Elder Statesman and spokesman for the GOP and, in 1941 was an advocate for Peace in the days leading up to our involvement in World War 2.
On June 7, 1941, he gave the Commencement address to the graduating class at Haverford College. Here is a text excerpt of that address:
Herbert Hoover: “We shall spend twenty billion a year on armament. We shall pile most
of it up in national debt. If we would invest 1 per cent of this in an insurance
policy called research and elimination of waste, we might save some of the
bankruptcy when these wars die.
It is possible that the aggressive superiority of the airplane in war may
be checked. And that becomes vital to the freedom of nations and to stop the
massacre of women and children.
And it is not beyond human imagination that the quiet, unobtrusive
scientist and engineer in their laboratories might make all nations self-
contained in raw materials and their production of goods. And what a
holocaust that would be for international quarrels and international
thinking—and for much of the causes of war.
And that brings me to another phase. We have been told with
monotonous repetition by the collectivists and left-wingers that our frontiers
are gone. They say our industrial plant is built. They claim there is no safety
valve for human energies. They assure us that we have come to an age of
humdrum problems of under consumption, overproduction, and the division
of the existing pot. They say that new opportunity for youth has shrunken.
That is not so. There was never in history a more glorious frontier for
youth than today. Adventure and opportunity beckon in every avenue of
science. They beckon from the great profession of men trained to research.
They beckon from its thousands of applications. From it spring tens of
thousands of new services and industries. In them human courage, character,
and ability have an outlet that never came even with the two gun
frontiers. Just as the new villages followed the stockades of the frontier, so
do new cities follow new mastery of technology and power.
And let those who lament the loss of frontier life not forget the
adventures along every mile of highway
and even with the traffic cop. That all emanated from the discovery of the combustion engine.
But research can bring far more than defense from aggression, or the
opening of new frontiers, discoveries, adventures, inventions, labor saving
devices, more power or increased standards of living. There also lies in
these fields a contribution to the moral and spiritual welfare of mankind.
Here is the lifting of men’s minds beyond the depressing incidents of the
day. Here lies the unfolding of beauty, the ever widening of the boundaries
of knowledge. Here is the “inculcation of veracity of thought” in a world
sodden with intellectual dishonesty. Here is the harmonizing of the
individual to the pattern of his environment. Here is the confirmation of a
Supreme Guidance in the universe far above man himself.
And today we need more of these things to help save and build a great
Here is that entire address, as it was broadcast by CBS on June 7, 1941