The War Will Be Staged in Europe 1

Two years later, with Roosevelt winning primary after primary, Amos Pinchot, Gifford [Pinchot]’s brother, invited ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to their ancestral estate, Grey Towers in Milford, Pennsylvania, to spend two days with them and their friends. It was built in fieldstone like a French château with three tall conical towers, and stood on a hilltop just a mile from the Delaware River. Pinchot had been America’s first chief of the U.S. Forest Service, spearheading the conservation policies that were one of Roosevelt’s highest priorities.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá took the train to Milford on the morning of June 3, 1912, from Penn Station. His chronicler, Mahmúd, said that he conversed so much over the two days that his words alone would fill a book. Given the kinds of people who were Pinchot’s friends, the subject turned, inevitably, to politics and war.

“Your government has a good system” 2

In response to a question about the war among nations, the Master said:

It will certainly come about but America will not participate in it. This war will be staged in Europe. You are in a corner and have nothing to do with others. You have no desire to gain territories in Europe, and no one lusts after your land. You are safe because the Atlantic Ocean serves as a great natural protection for you. Europe and most other areas will be forced to follow your system. Tremendous changes will take place in Europe. The great centralized powers will break up into smaller independent states. In reality it is not just that vast countries should be governed from a single center, for no matter how great the ability and wisdom of the statesmen of that center, or how developed their sense of justice, they will still not be fully informed of the needs of every town and village and cannot exert themselves justly for the betterment of their surrounding dependencies. For example, all parts of Germany concentrate their efforts to serve a single center, namely Berlin; and the whole of France is to serve Paris. Similarly, each of the colonial countries serves to adorn one great capital. But your government has a good system.

New York, Philadelphia, New York 3

Among ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s visitors on Monday morning, June 3, was the actor Walter Hampden, who was playing the part of Jesus in The Servant in the House. He came every day thereafter until ‘Abdu’l-Bahá left for New Hampshire. Another visitor was a cabinet member who invited ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to visit his estate outside the city, There, as Mahmúd noted, “For one day and night the statesmen and notables of the Republic were immersed in a state of rapture and fascinated at seeing the world illuminating Face.” He further noted that “a resume of all the addresses and the detailed answers to questions which He made during that one day and night” would be in themselves “a detailed book.”

  1. Menon, Jonathan. “The War Will Be Staged in Europe.” 239 Days in America, 4 June 2012, [return]
  2. ’Abdu’l-Bahá, and Mirza Mahmud-i-Zarqani. Mahmúd’s Diary: The Diary of Mírzá Mahmúd-i-Zarqání Chronicling ’Abdu’l-Bahá’s Journey to America. Edited by Shirley Macias. Translated by Mohi Sobhani. Oxford: George Ronald, 1998. [return]
  3. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 86-87. [return]