Henri Barbusse, the distinguished French novelist, poet, one-time head of the French war veterans, fighter and writer against the oppression of minorities, believes that his old friend, Professor Albert Einstein, in his reaction to Hitlerism, has lost sight of the struggle against war, of which the struggle against Hitlerism is an integral part.
“Professor Einstein is an old friend and valued colleague,” Barbusse declared in an interview with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “I have long been associated with him in the anti-war movement. In fact, he was one of the signers of the call for the Amsterdam anti-war congress. In his reaction to Hitlerism and in his desire to fight that scourge, Professor Einstein has apparently lost sight of the fact that the anti-war movement is, in essence, a struggle against war and against Hitlerism, which is the quintessence of war.
“The persecution of the Jews by Hitler,” Barbusse declared, “is inextricably linked up with the struggle against war. All, irrespective of politics and parties, must join in the anti-war movement and against the fascism of Hitler.
Mr. Barbusse, who arrived here Friday on the Cunard liner Berengaria to attend the American Congress Against War, was detained by the immigration authorities for more than an hour, but was finally permitted to land upon orders from Commissioner of Immigration Edward F. Corsi.
The tall, frail, stooped fighter against war stated that the purpose of his visit to the United States was to arouse the American people to the importance of the anti-war movement and to aid and strengthen the movement which, he said, was above “all parties and politics.”
He also stated that the international movement against war had thirty national committees and thousands of local committees all over the world engaged in the work. He declared that conditions the world over were extremely menacing and that the danger of war is as great as it was in 1914.
The famous writer, obviously ill and tired, but speaking forcefully and with extreme seriousness, declared that he had always been a pacifist, even before his service in the French armies that led to his writing “Under Fire.” “But now,” he added, “I am a realistic pacifist and not merely a sentimental one. My experiences in the war helped to fashion my hatred against war.”
Barbusse was decorated by the French government for gallantry under fire and wounded three times, each time returning to the front.
At the dock, M. Barbusse was met by a distinguished group of American writers and by hundreds of enthusiastic admirers who carried him on their shoulders to a waiting automobile.
Friday evening Barbusse delivered the main address at two huge mass meetings under the auspices of the anti-war group. Fifteen thousand people crowded into two halls and thousands were turned away. When he entered the St. Nicholas Arena, he received a tremendous ovation that lasted for more than fifteen minutes. He spoke also at Mecca Temple.