Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 6, No. 8 June 23, 1943
During the first world war, as in the present one, there was great talk of post-war reconstruction. The League of Nations had as one of its objects the promotion of better social relations between nations. As a means to this end the introduction of Esperanto into all countries was decided upon. However, most of the great nations were more concerned with economic problems, and until now little has been done about the matter.
A few words concerning the language itself would not be out of place. Esperanto is an international auxiliary language freed from the difficulties and apparent absurdities of present national tongues. It is a blessing to students; it can be learnt in one-tenth of the time taken to learn French, the reason being its regularity, scientific construction and simplicity. Most of the main roots are found in the chief national languages; an Englishman can recogise sixty per cent, of the words at sight, as can a Frenchman or Italian. Spoken, Esperanto is pleasant and fluent, with phonetic spelling.
This international language does not aim at displacing national tongues, but is meant as an auxiliary and, as such, has many advantages. When an Esperantist travels to a foreign country he is welcomed by club members in the various towns; he stays at a private home and is taken about the country, conversing with ease and feeling a common tie with his hosts. What a benefit to the diplomat! At congresses, representatives of nations could understand speeches directly without the usual two-minute condensation by an interpreter. Technicians are using the terms of the auxiliary tongue and can read Esperantist translations of new developments almost immediately, without the customary two years' delay for multilingual translations.
There are about fifteen million Esperantists in the world, mainly in Germany and Austria, until Hitler smashed the German organisation in 1933.
The tragic failure of the 1919 peace conference and the League of Nations was mainly due to complacency. Reconstruction after the present war will not be in capable hands until the peoples of the world realise that this is their responsibility, and that their strength lies in unity. It is in the furthering of this unity in particular that the value and utility of Esperanto lies.