As Hitler pulled the world to the brink of war in 1939, Mahatma Gandhi wrote him a personal letter pleading for peace and “for the sake of humanity.”
Gandhi even called Hitler a friend and himself a “sincere friend.” That, folks, takes some serious pacifism.
Read the letter.
Here’s a clearer transcript of the letter:
23 July 1939
Friends have been urging me to write to you for the sake of humanity. But I have resisted their request, because of the feeling that any letter from me would be an impertinence. Something tells me that I must not calculate and that I must make my appeal for whatever it may be worth.
It is quite clear that you are today the one person in the world who can prevent a war which may reduce humanity to the savage state. Must you pay the price for an object however worthy it may appear to you to be? Will you listen to the appeal of one who has seliberately [sic] shunned the method of war not without considerable success? Any way I anticipate your forgiveness, if I have erred in writing to you.
Your sincere friend
Unfortunately, the British government intercepted the letter and it never reached its intended recipient. More than a month later, Germany invaded Poland. The world looked on in horror.