The Veterans ofnFuture Warsnby E. Christian KopffnIt was 1936 and the Depression stillnheld America in its grip. Few doubtednthat a new European war was coming,nand Japan and China had beennfighting in the East for years. MostnAmericans were opposed to participatingnin another futile European war.nThe President had begun his successfulncampaign for the White House in 1932nwith a blistering attack on interventionismnand had not budged publicly. Henhad, however, been James Cox’s runningnmate in 1920 and WoodrownWilson’s assistant secretary of the navy,nand many felt that his conversion tonisolationism was a cynical maneuverndesigned to win the support of WilliamnRandolph Hearst. Just before taking thenoath of ofBce he had met with Henry L.nStimson, dean of American interventionists,nin a secret meeting to whichnnone of his closest advisers had beenninvited. In 1933 Charles Austin Beard,nAmerica’s most prestigious historian,nhad predicted that America would fightn42/CHRONlCLESnVITAL SIGNSnanother world war unless it changed itsnaggressive foreign policy moralism. InnOctober 1937, having won reelection,nRoosevelt then delivered his famousnQuarantine Speech, which signaled hisnreturn to interventionism.nInto this somber atmosphere burstnLewis J. Gorin Jr. and his classmates ofnPrinceton’s class of 1936 to announcenthe formation of a new patriotic organization,nthe Veterans of Future Wars.nTheir platform was simple, but afternneariy two generations we may neednsome reminding -of the background.nFew doubted that our political classnwould succeed in frustrating the will ofnthe majority of Americans and involventhe United States in a bloody andndestructive war. The previous war hadnmade the worid safe for democracy bynlaying the foundations for fascism. NationalnSocialism, and communism.nWho could predict what fruits the nextnwar would bear? One thing, however,nwas certain. After the fighting was over,nveterans would demand pensions andnbonuses from the United States government.nGorin described the situation memorably.n”Back in the 1920’s it was a sorenpoint with our veterans of the WorldnWar that this government had onlyngiven a discharge fee of sixty dollars tonits soldiers whereas Canada, England,nand other countries had given perhapsntwice as much. It was quickly developingninto a point of national honor whennCongress finally decided to give ournsoldiers compensation of one dollar anday for service, plus twenty-five centsnfor foreign service. Only about half ofnour four million veterans rated thisnforeign service, although the war wasnfought in France. This put foreignncountries to shame for we were nownpaying our soldiers about four times asnmuch as they paid theirs, and of coursenthe English and French and Canadiansnhad all been fighting about four times asnlong. … It was the misfortune of mostnof those French and British troops thatnnnthey actually saw fighting.”nEven so, the expense was more thannanticipated. New York accountant HerbertnHess had told Congress in 1924 tonexpect to pay four billion dollars fornbonuses. “But Mr. Hess,” noted Gorin,n”though his figures from a mathematicalnstandpoint were accurate, errednwhen it came to diagnosing the politicalnfuture. For one thing Mr. Hess underestimatednthe number of veterans involvednby almost a hundred thousand.nThis hundred thousand were perhapsnmembers of the ‘Lost Generation’ butnthey turned up in time to lay claim to anbonus.” In addition, the bonus was paidnfor with borrowed money, on whichninterest had to be paid. How differentlynwe do things nowadays!nThe proposal of the future veteransnwas simplicity itself We were going tonget into a war, and after the war Congressnwas going to pay a handsomenbonus to the survivors, both those whonfought and those who typed and telephoned.nWhy not pay the future veteransnthe bonus now, when they were stillnalive to enjoy it? The money would benraised by bonds to be paid off in 1965.nYoung men of fighting age would receivenone thousand dollars. They wouldnprobably spend the money as youngnmen are wont to spend windfalls.nWhen the war came those who foughtnand died or were maimed would haventasted their country’s gratitude in anmore personal form than a marblenmonument. Those who had survivedntyping pools or standing guard overnItalian POWs on Staten Island or innPueblo, Colorado, could look forwardnto spending the years of peace workingnto pay off the bonds. Such a fate mightneven encourage some to volunteer tonfight.nNo sexist organization, the Veteransnof Future Wars made provision for anLadies Auxiliary (initially called thenCold Star Mothers of Veterans of FuturenWars). Part of the bond would benused to send nubile American womenn