Pete Seeger borrowed the tune for this 1955 song from a Russian (or Ukranian) folk tune. And since then, other artists have added verses and adapted it. This makes the song a folk song in the true sense of it seeming like it has always been around, and a tradition evolving. Mind you, nowadays we might also call such borrowing and adaptation to be copyright infringement.
Perhaps Bob Dylan, too, copped the rhetorical device of asking “where” and “when” in this song, for his own argument or resignation that solutions to political, social and economic problems are out there blowing in the wind. Both tunes may be depressing for recanting areas for improvement, for bringing peace and ending war… and wondering if we have what it takes, collectively, to learn and better ourselves for the good of all. And perhaps frustratingly, not suggesting solutions. It’s been a long time passing, and when will we ever learn?
Given that Pete Seeger has dedicated many, many decades to teaching us through song, we should hope others will continue his tradition.
Also by Seeger reviewed here: Little Boxes