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HOME > Classical Novels > On the Eve of Redemption > THE BURDEN OF TRADITION
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 The phenomenal made by the United States in preparation for the war is a very interesting phenomenon of our time. What England did in many years of struggle America has achieved within a few weeks. It took England more than a year and a half before she saw her way clear to resort to service, and it required many weary months to organize the branch of the war service and to place the country on a solid war footing. Even countries with long military traditions, such as France, Italy, Austria, and even Germany, had to struggle long before they were in the war with both feet. America, though unmilitaristic, did all that within a very short time. Over night there was a national army in America. The economic life of the country adapted itself to war conditions, and everything to conduct a war on an unheard-of scale was created within a few months. That a non-militaristic country like America could adapt itself to war conditions within such a short time must puzzle every observer, and it will be a puzzle to the historian of the future, also, unless he recognizes the touchstone of American genius as displayed at present. This touchstone is the absence of long historical traditions.  
We Jews, who are preparing ourselves to start a new life as a nation, ought to learn in this respect. We have old traditions of our own and we are burdened with a great many non-Jewish traditions in addition, for we have lived in the last two thousand years in the Diaspora and among those people whose life has been shaped by thoughts and the spirit of ancient Rome. The European state that is today undergoing a crisis as never before is the inheritance of old Rome. The entire system of European politics is Roman in origin. International political relations can be traced to ancient Roman origin. A comparison between the history of the international relations of ancient Rome and that of any European state during the last five hundred years will clearly show that the international political movements in Europe for the last centuries have their parallel in international political movements of ancient Rome. All the severe criticisms leveled by Montesquieu against ancient Rome are still timely today. All branches of the activities of the European state, civil administrations, , matters military, foreign affairs, and so on, are more or less remnants of ancient Roman civilization.
In short, we have to be conscious of the fact that the life of the Jewish people in Europe was lived amid a system of Roman civilization. The old Jewish preachers, who characterized our present Diaspora life as Goluth-Rome, knew what they were talking about, though they could not exactly explain why they characterized our present Goluth as Roman in nature. Since we have lived for two thousand years in this syste............
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