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RT. HON. JAN CHRISTIAAN SMUTS
South African general, statesman and jurist
(1870 - 1950)

It was the human spirit itself that failed at Paris. It is no use passing judgments and making scapegoats of this or that individual statesman or group of statesmen. Idealists make a great mistake in not facing the real facts sincerely and resolutely. They believe in the power of the spirit, in the goodness which is at the heart of things, in the triumph which is in store for the great moral ideals of the race. But this great faith only too often leads to an optimism which is sadly and fatally at variance with actual results. It is the realist and not the idealist who is generally justified by events. We forget that the human spirit, the spirit of goodness and truth in the world, is still only an infant crying in the night, and that the struggle with darkness is as yet mostly an unequal struggle. . . . Paris proved this terrible truth once more. It was not Wilson who failed there, but humanity itself. It was not the statesmen that failed, so much as the spirit of the peoples behind them.
      - in a letter, Jan. 8, 1921, printed in the New York "Evening Post", Mar. 2, 1921
        [World Peace]

To Woodrow Wilson, the apparent failure, belongs the undying honor, which will grow with the growing centuries, of having saved the "little child that shall lead them yet." No other statesman but Wilson could have done it. And he did it.
      - in a letter dated Jan. 8, 1921 printed in the "New York Evening Post"
        [World Peace]


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