George S. Ledyard
What is required to be non-violent is depth of character. What is required to be a pacifist is the ability to over come the fear of death. The followers of Gandhi and King walked unhesitatingly into situations in which they KNEW they would be beaten, perhaps killed, and they marched anyway; without the back-up of great destructive martial skill or weaponry of any kind other than their moral force.
"Gandhi's writings on Nazi persecution of the Jews in Germany were controversial. He offered Satyagraha non-violence as a method of combating oppression and genocide, stating:
If I were a Jew and were born in Germany and earned my livelihood there, I would claim Germany as my home even as the tallest Gentile German might, and challenge him to shoot me or cast me in the dungeon; I would refuse to be expelled or to submit to discriminating treatment. And for doing this I should not wait for the fellow Jews to join me in civil resistance, but would have confidence that in the end the rest were bound to follow my example. If one Jew or all the Jews were to accept the prescription here offered, he or they cannot be worse off than now. And suffering voluntarily undergone will bring them an inner strength and joy [...] the calculated violence of Hitler may even result in a general massacre of the Jews by way of his first answer to the declaration of such hostilities. But if the Jewish mind could be prepared for voluntary suffering, even the massacre I have imagined could be turned into a day of thanksgiving and joy that Jehovah had wrought deliverance of the race even at the hands of the tyrant. For to the God-fearing, death has no terror.
In a similar vein, anticipating a possible attack on India by Japan during World War II, Gandhi recommended satyagraha as a defense:
" …there should be unadulterated non-violent non-cooperation, and if the whole of India responded and unanimously offered it, I should show that, without shedding a single drop of blood, Japanese arms -- or any combination of arms -- can be sterilized. That involves the determination of India not to give quarter on any point whatsoever and to be ready to risk loss of several million lives. But I would consider that cost very cheap and victory won at that cost glorious. That India may not be ready to pay that price may be true. I hope it is not true, but some such price must be paid by any country that wants to retain its independence. After all, the sacrifice made by the Russians and the Chinese is enormous, and they are ready to risk all. The same could be said of the other countries also, whether aggressors or defenders. The cost is enormous. Therefore, in the non-violent technique I am asking India to risk no more than other countries are risking and which India would have to risk even if she offered armed resistance."
What would O'Sensei think of Gandhi's above statements?
O'Sensei's decision to steer Aikido in the direction he did was for the survival of Aikido. He was angry at Japan's leaders for the direction the country was going, Two atomic bombs were dropped on his country, Japan was forced to surrender and be occupied by a foreign army (the first time in its history ) and martial arts were banned because they were encouraged by the Japanese government preWWII as part of Japan's militarization. He wanted his martial art, his baby, to survive.