| Chap. 1 | Chap.
2 | Chap. 3 | Chap.
4 | Chap. 5 | Chap.
6 | Chap. 7 | Chap.
8 | Chap. 9
Deal Programs and Posters
for Chapter 7
AND CONSUMER SOCIETY
AND THE GREAT DEPRESSION
THE NEW DEAL:
THE FIRST HUNDRED DAYS
DREAMING IN THE DEPRESSION
ROOSEVELT'S SECOND INAUGURAL ADDRESS
THE NEW DEAL:
AT REPUBLIC STEEL
A FILIPINO UNION
TERROR, AND THE MASTER RACE
ONE INSIDER'S VIEW
WAVE OF THE FUTURE": AN AMERICAN SUPPORTS ISOLATION
ON THE THREAT OF WAR
for Week 7
Stock Market Crash, 1929
anti-chain store movement
Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC)
Works Progress Administration (WPA)
Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA)
Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA)
Wagner Act, 1935
Glass-Steagall Act, 1933
Social Security Act, 1935
Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO)
Dr. Francis Townsend-Old Age Pension Union
Senator Huey P. Long-Share Our Wealth Society
Cannery Workers and Farm Laborers Union (CWFLU)
Republic Steel, 1937
Gone With the Wind
War of the Worlds
Anne Morrow Lindbergh
ADVERTISING AND CONSUMER SOCIETY
the following vignette Earnest Elmo Calkins, author of the 1928
bestseller, Business, the Civilizer, describes how in
two generations (1880-1920) manufactured goods and labor-saving
devices revolutionized and modernized American households.
He credits business and particularly advertising for this revolution.
Calkins's passage aptly describes what historians call the rise
of consumer society which emerged in the 1920s just before the
When I was a boy, about fifty years ago more or less, mother
used to buy a bar of Castile soap half a yard long and four
inches square and saw it up into cakes an inch thick.
The cake was hard as Stonehenge, the corners sharper than a
serpent’s tooth. It took weeks of use to wear it
down so that it comfortably fitted the hand.
Today we have a cake of toilet soap—a great many of them,
in fact— just the right shape to fit the hand, just as
pure as Castile, scented if we like, tinted to match the bathroom
decorations if we prefer, reasonable in price; and when we want
another cake we go to the nearest grocery or drug store, and
there it is.
And not only toilet soap. We have seen the evolution of
shaving creams, safety razors, and tooth pastes, as well as
soap powders, laundry chips, washing machines, vegetable shortenings,
self-rising flours, electric irons, vacuum cleaners, hot-water
taps, aluminum cooking utensils, refrigerators, kitchen cabinets—everything,
in short, that constitutes the difference between our mothers’
kitchens and our wives’.
The amount of sheer drudgery that has been taken out of housekeeping
in fifty years can be realized only by comparison, by drawing
the illuminating parallel. An iron, soft-coal cook-stove;
a reservoir at the back the only source of hot-water supply;
the green-painted iron pump in the wooden corner sink for cold
drinking water from the pump outside; saleratus instead of
baking powder; hog lard instead of vegetable shortening; butter
and milk hung down the well by a string to keep them cold; heavy
iron pots and skillets to be lifted, to say nothing of the coalhod;
dishes washed by hand; no device to alleviate the frightful
labor—no rubber scrapers, scouring mops, metal-ring dishrags,
no wire brushes, or drying racks, or cleansing powders; baked
beans an eighteen-hour job; oatmeal an overnight operation;
sugar, salt, dried fruit, pickles, crackers, rice, coffee, pepper,
spices, lard, bought in bulk, scooped out of open boxes or barrels...exposed
until sold, dumped on a sheet of paper laid on the scales.
Molasses and vinegar drawn from the wood, and between whiles
the gallon measures standing around, proving the adage that
molasses attracts more flies than vinegar. Food was unclean,
there was no sponsor for its quality, and it came to the kitchen
almost in a state of nature. The housemother became a
miniature manufacturing plant before the food was ready for
the family to eat. And the preparation of meals was but a small
portion of the housewife’s burden. There was cleaning
with no other implements but a rag, a broom, and a turkey wing.
Clothes were washed with a rub-rub-rub that wore the zinc from
Put such a kitchen beside the one pictured in most advertisements
selling kitchen equipment, or those complete ones shown in the
housekeeping departments of the women’s magazines, “How
to Furnish the Ideal Kitchen.” Better still, take a modern
housewife, not the delicatessen and can-opener type, but a
real housekeeper, who keeps her house and takes pride in it,—there
are such even to-day,—and put her in an old-fashioned
kitchen like that described above. She could not do in
a week what my mother did every day of her toil-bound life.
To keep house with what was available half a century ago was
an art handed down from generation to generation, which happily
has been lost, except among the newly arrived foreign-born.
Source: Ernest Elmo Calkins, Business the
Civilizer (Boston, 1928), reprinted in Robert D. Marcus
and David Burner, ed. America Firsthand. vol. 2 (New
York: 1989), pp. 223-224.
STOCK MARKET CRASH
following vignette provides a description of the Stock Market
Crash in October, 1929.
In 1928 no one dreamed we were on the verge of a catastrophic
depression. It had been a glorious year. Stocks
had made a gain of $11,385,993,733. The New York Times
wrote in its New Year's editorial of January I, 1929: "But
it will go hard to get people to think of 1928 as merely a 'dead
past' which we must make haste to bury. It has been twelve
months of unprecedented advance, of wonderful prosperity--in
this country at least... If there is any way of judging the
future by the past, this new year may well be one of felicitation
The note of hope was sounded everywhere in that New Year edition
of the Times. Big businessmen made their usual yearly
forecasts, all of them rosy, with only here and there a note
of skepticism. There were a few stories and comments of
an uneasy nature, but only a few. For example, one article
told of the disappointing year which England had just gone through.
There was a story that the state guarantee of bank deposits
in Nebraska was inadequate to meet the pressure of mounting
bank failures. But the stock market was up. Most
people thought it was up permanently. And anyway sensible
conservative people did not believe in guaranteeing bank deposits.
It was an assault on free enterprise. It was a penalty put on
good bankers for the benefit of poor ones.
There were many reasons for optimism so far as the real wealth
of the country was concerned. In the beginning of 1929
national income was still going up in terms of the production
of physical goods. It was the end of a ten-year period
which had shown the greatest increase in national income this
country had ever known. Between 1910 and 1919 the increase
in the national income in terms of physical goods was about
10 per cent. During the period from 1920 to 1929 the increase
was 93 per cent. We had practically doubled our national
production of goods and services. Since in the long run
real wealth consists only in ability to produce goods and services,
we appeared to the casual observer on New Year's Day of 1929
to be richer by many times than ever before in our history.
And the curve of increased production was going up at a more
rapid pace than ever before.
We had become more efficient industrially than any other country
in the world. Output per man-hour in manufacturing industries
had doubled in the twenty years between 1909 and 1929.
In coal mining and railroads the increase in output per man-hour
had not been so great but it was nevertheless large. As
a result, on New Year's Day of 1929 both weekly cash wages and
real wages were at the highest point in our economic history.
Real wages had more than doubled since 1914.
Mr. Hoover, who was then President, was an engineer with an
engineering mind. He shared with everyone else, including
our best economists, a lack of vision with respect to the defects
in our social organization. But he saw better than most
old-fashioned businessmen and bankers the technical possibilities
of an industrial revolution in methods of production which had
begun in the nineteenth century and was moving toward fruition
in the twentieth. During the 1928 election campaign, he
had informed the American people that they could expect two
chickens in every pot and two cars in every garage as part of
the normal standard of living for every family.
Wall Street was fully in accord with such sentiments.
During May and June, 1928, stocks wavered, but as Election Day
approached, the market advanced. And when Hoover rolled
in by twenty-one million votes to Al Smith's fifteen million,
the Dow-Jones industrials soared to 300. The "New
Era" had arrived. A new school of economists argued
that when you buy common stocks, you buy the future, not the
present. Imaginative projections of earnings, five and
ten years ahead, flourished. Radio Corporation of America
(RCA) went up to 500, was split five for one. Names like
Auburn, Grigsby-Grunow, Koister Radio--names you no longer hear
of--flashed across the ticker tape. Blue chips, like U.
S. Steel, American Telephone, and Eastman Kodak, reached all-time
Inauguration Day, March 4, 1929, found Wall Street even more
ebullient. The Dow Jones industrials were up another 20 points.
When stocks faltered in April, Wall Street seers regarded it
as a "buying opportunity." And so it proved
for a few months. By August the Dow Jones industrials hit 380.
But somehow, somewhere, the old zip was lacking. Pools
worked valiantly, but stocks thrashed about getting nowhere.
The first week in September stocks climbed to 381.
The break came early in September. There was a mid-month
recovery, but it was the last gasp. Liquidation increased.
Brokers' clerks worked long hours sending out margin calls.
Came Thursday, October 24. Panic. U. S. Steel, which
had been as high as 261, opened at 205, crashed through 200,
and soon was down to 93. General Electric, which only
a few weeks before sold above 400, opened at 315, dropped to
283. About noon, Charles E. Mitchell, head of the National
City Bank, slipped into the offices of J. P. Morgan and Company.
So did Albert H. Wiggin, head of the Chase National, William
Potter, head of the Guaranty Trust, and Seward Prosser, head
of the Bankers Trust. They, with Thomas Lamont, of Morgan, and
George F. Baker, of the First National Bank, formed a consortium
to shore up the market.
Toward 2:00 P.M., Richard Whitney, known as the Morgan broker,
bid 205 for Steel. The market rallied. There was
in that rally no hint that Whitney, then vice-president of the
Exchange and subsequently its president, would ultimately go
to Sing Sing [Prison] for speculations as head of the firm of
Richard Whitney and Company--a depression casualty.
Came Black Tuesday, October 28. Buy and sell orders piled
into the Stock Exchange faster than human beings could handle
them. The ticker ticked long after trading closed.
A record 16,410,000 shares changed hands. The climax came
November 13, 1929. The Dow-Jones average dropped to 198.7.
And how the high and mighty had fallen! American Can was down
from 181 to 86; American Telegraph and Telephone (AT&T)
from 304 to 97; General Motors from 72 to 36; New York Central
from 256 to 160; United States Steel from 261 to 150.
The Big Bull Market was dead. And Coolidge-Hoover Prosperity
was dead with it.
Source: Thurman Arnold, "The Crash—and
What it Meant (1929)" reprinted in Isabel Leighton, ed.,
The Aspirin Age, 1919-1941 (New York, 1949), p. 215-217.
Ameringer, an Oklahoma City newspaper editor, describes to a
Congressional committee the anger of farmers and ranchers over
their economic plight in 1932.
Some time ago a cowman came into my office in Oklahoma City.
He was one of these double‑fisted gentlemen, with the
gallon hat and all. He said, "You do not know me
from Adam's ox. I came to this country without a cent, but,
knowing my onions, and by tending strictly to business, I finally
accumulated two sections of land and a fine herd of white‑faced
Hereford cattle. I was independent."
I remarked that anybody could do that if he worked hard and
did not gamble and used good management.
He said, "After the war, cattle began to drop, and I was
feeding them corn, and by the time I got them to Chicago the
price of cattle, considering the price of corn I had fed them,
was not enough to even pay my expenses. I could not pay
Continuing, he said, "I mortgaged my two sections of land,
and to‑day I am cleaned out; by God, I am not going to
stand for it."
I asked him what he was going to do about it, and he said, "We
have got to have a revolution here like they had in Russia and
clean them up."
I finally asked him, "Who is going to make the revolution?"
He said, "I just want to tell you I am going to be one
of them, and I am going to do my share in it."
I asked what his share was and he said, "I will capture
a certain fort. I know I can get in with twenty of my boys,"
meaning his cowboys, "because I know the inside and outside
of it, and I [will] capture that with my men."
I rejoined, "Then what?"
He said, "We will have 400 machine guns, so many batteries
of artillery, tractors, and munitions and rifles, and everything
else needed to supply a pretty good army."
Then I asked, "What then?"
He said, "If there are enough fellows with guts in this
country to do like us, we will march eastward and we will cut
East off. We will cut the East off from the West.
We have got the granaries; we have the hogs, the cattle, the
corn; the East has nothing but mortgages on our places.
We will show them what we can do."
That man may be very foolish, and I think he is, but he is in
dead earnest; he is hard‑shelled Baptist and a hard‑shelled
Democrat, not a Socialist or a Communist, but just a plain American
cattleman whose ancestors went from Carolina to Tennessee, then
to Arkansas, and then to Oklahoma. I have heard much of
this talk from serious‑minded prosperous men of other
I do not say we are going to have a revolution on hand within
the next year of two, perhaps never. I hope we may not
have such; but the danger is here. I have met these people virtually
every day all over the country. They say the only thing
you do in Washington is to take money from the pockets of the
poor and put it into the pockets of the rich. They say
that this Government is a conspiracy against the common people
to enrich the already rich. I hear such remarks every
Source: Thomas A. Bailey and David Kennedy, ed.,
The American Spirit, Vol. II, (Lexington, Mass.:
D. C. Heath and Company, 1984), pp. 739‑740.
THE UNEMPLOYMENT CRISIS
of the two statements below reflect the gravity of the unemployment
situation in 1932. The first is from Fortune Magazine
and the second is an excerpt from Franklin Roosevelt's campaign
speech at Boston. The Fortune Magazine article is perhaps
most striking because it recognizes the grave threat to the
social order if the millions of jobless become angry and violent.
Unemployment has steadily increased in the U.S. since the beginning
of the depression... The number of persons totally unemployed
is not at least 10,000,000... The number...next winter will...be
11,000,000...one man of every four employable workers...
This percentage is higher than the percentage of unemployed
British workers…and higher than the French, the Italians,
and the Canadian percentages, but lower than the German...
Eleven million unemployed means 27,500,000 whose regular source
of livelihood has been cut off... Taking account of the number
of workers on part time, the total of those without adequate
income becomes 34,000,000 or better than a quarter of the entire
population... It is conservative to estimate that the
problem of next winter's relief is a problem of caring for approximately
And it is not necessary to appeal...to class fear in order to
point out that there is a limit beyond which hunger and misery
Fortune Magazine, September 1932
We have two problems: first, to meet the immediate distress;
second, to build up on a basis of permanent employment.
As to "immediate relief," the first principle is that
this nation, this national Government, if you like, owes a positive
duty that no citizen shall be permitted to starve...
In addition to providing emergency relief, the Federal Government
should and must provide temporary work whenever that is possible.
You and I know that in the national forests, on flood prevention,
and on the development of waterway projects that have already
been authorized and planned but not yet executed, tens of thousands,
and even hundreds of thousands of our unemployed citizens can
be given at least temporary employment...
Third, the Federal Government should expedite the actual construction
of public works already authorized...
Finally, in that larger field that looks ahead, we call for
a coordinated system of employment exchanges, the advance planning
of public works, and unemployment reserves.
Franklin D. Roosevelt, Campaign Address in Boston, October 1932
Source: John M. Blum, The
National Experience: A History of the
(New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1989), pp. 614‑615.
COLLEGE STUDENTS AND THE GREAT DEPRESSION
few could argue that college and university students were among
those who suffered most during the Great Depression, the economic
crisis reached into their lives as well. This account
from a 1933 article, illustrates the creative ways they responded
to economic adversity.
College students have probably developed more ingenious ways
of betting the depression than any other group in America.
Using their wits to earn money or cooking their own meals and
living in shacks to save it, Joe College and Betty Co-ed are
getting educated in spite of technological unemployment, bank
moratoria, impoverishment of agriculture and a general scarcity
of cash. For instance:
Two male students
at Ohio State University have started a "dog laundry."
They call for Fido, Bruno or Towser, take him to their "plant"
and return him all nicely bathed, combed and manicured...
A student at Western Reserve University, Cleveland, has been
able to hold a comparatively lucrative position right through
the depression because he is accustomed to hold-ups. The
large gasoline station at which he is a night attendant has
been robbed three times by gunmen.
A couple of husky freshmen at West Virginia University who probably
didn't know the difference between a casserole and a wash tub
when they left home, have been going to school on less than
$1.60 a week apiece by renting a back bedroom with a small stove
in it and cooking cheap but nourishing foods.
Eight boys at the University of Washington are getting their
meals at very small cost by cooking them in a basement and "taking
in" several other students as boarders...
The University of Pennsylvania took action at the start of the
present school year to turn over as many campus jobs as possible
to students. As a result, collegians are now acting as
night watchmen, janitors, secretaries, mail carriers, switchboard
operators, locker room attendants, technicians and clerks.
Officials of Carthage College, in Illinois, let a miner pay
his daughter's tuition in coal this past winter. At Notre
Dame 300 students are earning their board by waiting on tables
in the dormitory dining halls. They are so numerous that
they serve a meal to their 2,000 fellow students in 20 minutes.
When the economic depression is finally over and commendations
for valor are being passed around, some sort of special recognition
should be given to the student who, with only enough money to
last until June if he spent but 35 cents a day for food, quit
a $100 a month job because it was keeping him from his studies.
Source: Gilbert Love's "College Students
Are Beating the Depression," School and Society
XXXVII (June 10, 1933), reprinted in David A. Shannon, ed.,
The Great Depression (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: 1960),
THE NEW DEAL: THE FIRST HUNDRED DAYS
the account below historian Arthur Schlesinger describes both
the transition of the presidency from Herbert Hoover to Franklin
Roosevelt on March 4, 1933, and FDR's legislative agenda which
was implement immediately after he took office.
The White House, midnight, Friday, March 3, 1933. Across the
country banks had shuttered their windows and closed their doors.
The machinery of American capitalism had broken down; the great
depression had reached its symbolic climax. “We are at
the end of our string,” the retiring President, weary
and red-eyed, said to his friends as the striking clock announced
the day of his retirement. “There is nothing more we can
Saturday dawned gray and bleak. Winter clouds hung over the
Capitol, where a huge crowd, quiet, somber, drawn almost by
curiosity rather than by hope, gathered to watch the new President.
The colorless light of the granite skies merged with the emotionless
faces of the people who stood in huddled groups, sat on benches,
climbed on trees and rooftops in front of the Capitol. “What
are those things that look like little cages?” asked someone
in the waiting crowd. “Machine guns,” replied a
woman with a giggle.
On the drive to the Capitol the President-to-be was sociable
and talkative. Herbert Hoover, his face heavy and sullen, could
not conceal his bitterness. They separated inside the Capitol.
The new President, waiting nervously in the Military Affairs
Committee Room, started down the corridor toward the Senate
ten minutes before noon. He was stopped; it was too early. "All
right," he laughed, "we'll go back an wait some more."
The bugle blew at noon. Franklin Roosevelt, leaning on the arm
of his son James, walked down a special maroon-carpeted ramp
to the platform. Charles Evans Hughes, erect in the chilly gusts
of wind, administered the oath on a Dutch Bible which had been
in the Roosevelt family for three hundred years.
Then the new President turned to the crowd, and microphones
carried his words to millions across the land. “Let me
assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is
fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror
which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”
The crowd stirred as if with hope. “In every dark hour
of our national life a leadership of frankness and vigor has
met with that understanding and support of the people themselves
which is essential to victory.”
The firm, resonant tone itself brought a measure of confidence.
“This nation asks for action, and action now. . . . We
must act and act quickly. . . It may be that an unprecedented
demand and need for undelayed action may call for temporary
departure from that normal balance of public procedure."
“We do not distrust the future of essential democracy,”
he said in summation. “The people of the United States
have not failed. In their need they have registered a mandate
that they want direct, vigorous action. They have asked for
discipline and direction under leadership. They have made me
the present instrument of their wishes.” Herbert Hoover
stared glumly at the ground.
There was a diffused roar of applause, quickly dying away. The
crowd began to break up, curiously excited as it had not been
an hour earlier. Some saw dismal portents in the eloquent but
ambiguous phrases. "The thing that emerges most clearly,"
wrote Edmund Wilson, down from New York to report the occasion
for the New
"is the warning of a dictatorship. But the people
as a whole welcomed the promise of action—action to exorcise
the dark spell that lay over the nation's economy, to break
through the magic circle which benumbed the powers of government."
"This NATION asks for action and action now... We must
act, and act quickly." That night the new cabinet was sworn
in quietly at the White House. The next day the President
convened a special session for March 9 and, late in the evening,
proclaimed a four-day bank holiday.
Yet, for all the audacity of his long-range plans, the President's
intentions toward the banks were strictly conservative.
His advisers were intent on restoring business confidence.
Roosevelt himself had been impressed by the deathbed repentances.
When Senator LaFollette gave him a plan of drastic reform, Roosevelt
declared it wasn't necessary at all: "I've just had every
assurance of cooperation from the bankers."
The problem, as he saw it, was to reopen the banks as quickly
as possible. The Republican holdovers at the Treasury stood
by. Leading bankers, frightened and panicky, converged
on Washington. Phones rang incessantly with calls from
distant cities. Four days of tense, weary, and endless conferences
began. In the prevailing near-hysteria, only the President,
who seemed to be exhilarated by crisis, and Secretary of the
Treasury Woodin, who moved through turbulence in his own serene
way, strumming his guitar in moments of perplexity, remained
calm. As day was breaking on Thursday, March 8, Woodin left
the White House with the emergency banking bill. "Yes,
it's finished," he told newspapermen. "Both
bills are finished. You know my name is Bill, and I'm
Congress met. The House passed the bill in thirty-eight
minutes; most of the Representatives had only the sketchiest
idea what it was all about. The Senate took three hours.
In the evening the President signed the act in the Oval Room.
The tired men at the Treasury took showers, shaved, and turned
to the frantic twenty-four-hour task of deciding what banks
Later that same evening Roosevelt handed party leaders his economy
bill, aimed at reducing government expenses and cutting veterans’
compensation. With Republican support and progressive
opposition, Congress passed the economy bill on March 15.
By now the banks were reopening; a surge of deposits showed
that the people were regaining their faith in the banking system.
On March 15 the Stock Exchange resumed.
Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., The First Hundred Days of the
New Deal (1933) reprinted in Isabel Leighton, ed., The
Aspirin Age, 1919-1941 (New York, 1949), p. 275-277, 284-285.
MAJOR NEW DEAL AGENCIES
Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)--Insures deposits in the
Farm Credit Administration--Provides long and short term credit
Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA)--Assists farmers
with commodity price supports and regulates farm production.
Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC)--Provides work for unemployed
youth in National Parks and National Forests.
Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA)--Responsible for providing
electricity to the Tennessee Valley.
Home Owner's Loan Corporation (HOLC)--Grants low-interest loans
to home owners in financial difficulty.
Communications Commission (FCC)--Regulates radio, television,
telephone and other communications systems.
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)--Regulates stock market
Federal Housing Administration (FHA)--Insures private lending
agencies against loss on home mortgage and home improvement
Security Board (SSB)--Oversees the Social Security system.
Works Progress Administration (WPA)--Provides work for needy
persons on public works projects.
National Youth Administration (NYA)--Provides job training for
unemployed youth and part-time work for needy students.
National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)--Settles disputes between
unions and management.
Security Administration (FSA)--Helps farmers purchase equipment.
Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC)--Provides insurance protection
against unavoidable loss of crops.
Aeronautics Board (CAB)--Regulates private and commercial aircraft.
LONG: AMERICAN DICTATOR
Franklin Roosevelt had challengers on the left and right.
One of those on the left was Huey Long, the popular governor
(and simultaneously U.S. Senator) of Louisiana who proposed
a plan to "Share the Wealth" of the United States
by excessively taxing the fortunes of American millionaires.
That the scheme was impractical did little to diminish its popularity
among many people impoverished by the Great Depression.
Reprinted below is an account of this "American dictator."
For newspapermen, those were...memorable days. You stood
beside his hotel dining table, as he slopped up great tablespoonfuls
of cereal with a sidewinding sweep or tore broiled chicken to
pieces with his fingers, and you jotted down the incessant harangues
against the lying newspapers, the city machine, and the battered
enemy politicians, while the bodyguards glowered protectively
near by. You didn’t like him, if only because the
slugging of newspapermen didn’t seem justifiable even
for vote getting, and especially when the strong-arming became
personal. You were chased by militiamen across the parade
grounds of Jackson Barracks in New Orleans and held a prisoner
after you had sneaked in to discover whether the Governor was
calling out the troops on the eve of the Senatorial election—in
which the Governor was a candidate.
In a corridor of the garish Roosevelt Hotel, managed by a...former
shoe clerk who was now his paymaster and treasurer, you watched
a fellow reporter being hustled out of the Governor’s
suite. ...The reporter had struck the Governor in retaliation
for being cursed, and the Governor had struck back, but only
after his bodyguards had pinioned his attacker.
You interviewed him after he had precipitated a silly international
incident by receiving a German admiral in disheveled green pajamas,
and you laughed in spite of yourself at his shrewdly appealing
account of his gaucherie. You heard a pale-faced man,
thrust before a microphone, identify himself as Sam Irby, who
had been kidnapped by state police on the eve of an election
because he had threatened to tell what he knew about his daughter
and the Governor, who employed her as his secretary. And
after Irby had told who he was, in front of the microphone
in the hotel headquarters, you marveled at his exoneration of
the Governor, and speculated upon the reasons therefore.
Afterwards, in the corridor, a fellow reporter was to have a
gun thrust into his stomach as he sought to enter the elevator
on which the mysterious Mr. Irby was being whisked away. And
then you testified in United States District Court that a telegram,
also absolving the Governor and purportedly coming from the
mother of another kidnapping victim—the secretary’s
ex-husband—was signed with the name she had borne before
her second marriage. Counterfeit...was this telegram which
you had seen and read on a speaker’s stand in New Orleans
on one of the last heated nights before election. And
so, endlessly, through brawling campaigns, brawling legislative
sessions, brawls¼ Such goings-on made of Louisiana a reportorial
Louisiana’s frightened, vengeful Governor surrounded himself
with a half-dozen gun-ready, slugging bodyguards. He established
a weekly newspaper, the Louisiana Progress, staffed it
principally with skillful, conscienceless young newspapermen,
and sicked it on his enemies. State employees found it
good insurance to subscribe to the Progress, the number
of subscriptions depending upon the size of their salaries,
but with a minimum of ten to be sold, eaten, or used as wallpaper.
No opponent big enough to be worthy of notice escaped its libeling.
The voters of the nation’s most illiterate state could
understand its cartoon obscenities even when they couldn’t
spell out the text.
The public-works program went into high gear. The depression
was rocking Louisiana. Public works meant needed jobs.
And the administration could count on at least five votes for
each employee; the votes of the aunts and uncles and cousins
and wives and children of job holders who made it clear to their
relatives that their fifteen to thirty dollars a week was secure
only so long as they could prove their loyalty with political
The first program was followed by a second and more ambitious
one: a sixty-eight-million-dollar highway construction project,
a five-million-dollar skyscraper capitol, and another twenty
million dollars in assorted projects, all to be financed by
an additional three-cent hike in the gasoline tax. With
a year and a half yet to serve as Governor, and with the opposition
organizing against the program, Huey decided to run for the
United States Senate with the state program as his platform.
Huey won hands down; and when his...Lieutenant Governor claimed
the Governorship because of Long’s election to the Senate,
Huey called out the state police and the National Guard, read
the Lieutenant Governor out of office, and put in the president
pro tempore of the Senate as acting Governor¼.
In 1934 Long formalized the program which he hoped would eventually
win him the Presidency. The hazy concept of a national
redistribution of wealth, presented fifteen years before by
the obscure state Senator from Winn Parish, took definable shape
in a national “Share Our Wealth” organization.
No dues were necessary... No matter that the Share Our Wealth
program was demonstrably impracticable as presented. It
was believable: a limitation of fortunes to $5,000,000;
an annual income minimum of $2,000 to $2,500 and a maximum
of $1,800,000; a homestead grant of $6,000 for every family;
free education from kindergarten through college; bonuses for
veterans; old-age pensions, radios, automobiles, an abundance
of cheap food through governmental purchase and storage of surpluses.
The Share Our Wealth members had their own catchy song, "Every
Man a King," their own newspaper, the mudslinging Louisiana
Progress, expanded now to the American Progress.
As the Share Our Wealth chorus swelled, Huey, like a wise military
tactician, took care to protect his rear. In a spectacular,
degenerative series of special sessions in 1934 and 1935, his
legislature reduced Louisianans almost literally to the status
of Indian wards. Together with this final elimination of...democratic
self-government—to the unconcern of a majority of the
unconsulted electorate—came new benefits: homestead tax
exemption, theoretically up to two thousand dollars; abolition
of the one-dollar poll tax; a debt moratorium act; and new
taxes—an income tax, a public utilities receipts tax,
an attempted “two cents a lie” tax on the advertising
receipts of the larger newspapers, which the United States Supreme
Court pronounced unconstitutional.
Perhaps it seems inconceivable that any legislature, no matter
how great the material rewards for its complaisant majority,
could have so completely surrendered a people’s political
powers and economic and personal safety to one man. But
Louisiana’s legislature did. Administration-designated
election supervisors were given the sole right of selecting
voting commissioners, sole custody over the ballot boxes themselves,
and the privilege of designating as many “special deputies”
as might be necessary to guard the polls... The Governor could—and
did—expand the state police force into a swarm of private
agents, some uniformed and some not, their number and the identity
of the uninformed alike a secret. The State Attorney General
was empowered to supersede any district attorney in any trial.
The State Tax Commission was given the right to change any city
or county tax assessment, so that a misbehaving corporation
or individual might know just who held the economic stranglehold.
An ironically designated civil service board was created, with
appointive control over all fire and police chiefs, and a school
budget committee with the right to review the appointments of
every school teacher and school employee. The Governor
was even enabled to replace the entire city administration
of Alexandria...[where] Huey had once been rotten-egged.
There were other repressive measures, many others. But these
are sufficient to indicate what had happened to self-government
It is perhaps a corollary that in the last year of his life
Long became obsessed with a fear of assassination. He
increased his armed bodyguard, and took other unusual precautions
to insure his personal safety. In July, 1935, he charged
on the floor of the Senate that enemies had planned his death
with “one man, one gun, and one bullet” as the medium,
and with the promise of a Presidential pardon as the slayer’s
reward. This plot, he said, was hatched in a New Orleans
hotel at a gathering of his enemies. A dictograph, concealed
in the meeting room, had recorded the murderous conversation.
I was at that meeting. It was a caucus of die-hard oppositionists...trying
to decide what to do for the next state campaign. The
"plotting" was limited to such hopefully expressed
comments as "Good God, I wish somebody would kill the son
of a bitch."
And somebody did... On the night of September 8, a slender,
bespectacled man in a white suit stepped from behind a marble
pillar in the capitol as Long, accompanied by his closest aides
and bodyguard, hurried to the Governor’s office.
Dr. Carl Austin Weiss, the man in the white suit, drew a small
pistol and fired once. Seconds later, the assassin lay
dead, his body and head riddled by sixty-one shots. Huey
Long staggered away with one bullet wound, perhaps a second,
in his stomach. Thirty hours later he died.
Hodding Carter, Huey Long: American Dictator (1935) reprinted
in Isabel Leighton, ed., The Aspirin Age, 1919-1941
(New York, 1949), p. 339-40, 351-52, 353-56.
DREAMING IN THE DEPRESSION
of Washington historian James Gregory, in his book, American
Exodus, describes the so-called "Dust Bowl" migration
which brought 250,000 Oklahomans, Texans, Arkansans and Missourians
along Route 66 to California between 1935 and 1940, and which
was immortalized by the film, "The Grapes of Wrath."
In the following vignette Gregory shares the personal account
of two of those migrants, Lonnie Nelson and Flossie Haggard,
mother of country music singer Merle Haggard.
I've live in Oklahoma since I was eight years old, stayed on
the farm till I was sixteen. I went to railroadin' when
I was 22. Come out durin' the big strike. I really believe
in the Union. I got married in 1922, 12th of July--six
o'clock in the evening. Then me and the bride went back
to the farm, and stayed on the farm till '24. From that
I taken up ginnin' and concrete work 'cause the drought hit
and wasn't makin' nothing'...
I went back to the railroads in '26, with a different outfit
and worked there till '32... The second day of January '32 I
got...laid off fer good... The only think to do was to go back
to the farm and stayed there one year. About this time,
in '33, my wife was operated on fer thyroid goiter. Then
I worked on C.W.A. for one year buildin' and such like as that.
In '34 I got a job with the Government killin' cattle.
It lasted seven week and I killed form 26 to 135 head a day...
After that was over I picked up odd jobs till January of '35
and went back to farmin'. The drought struck again in
'35, and high waters come on in the late fall. In other
words, what the drought didn't git the high waters did.
I was overflowed five times in two months. A farmer can't
stand the like of that. So there was nothin' to do but
throw up my tail and go back on relief. We all got hit
and hit hard. That was from '36 to '39, by gosh...
So the 15th of January, 1940 we loaded up and come out here,
leavin a snow storm to our back, sunny California to our belly
and here we are. The good Lord is just lettin' me sit
around the see what the hell will happen next.
In July, 1935, we loaded some necessary supplies onto a two
wheel trailer and our 1926 model Chevrolet which Jim had overhauled.
We headed for California on Route 66, as many friends and relatives
had already done. We had our groceries with us--home sugar-cured
bacon in a lard can, potatoes, canned vegetables, and fruit.
We camped at night and I cooked in a dutch oven. The only
place we didn't sleep out was in Albuquerque where we took a
cabin and where I can remember bathing.
[Things went well until the reached the desert and their car
We were out of water, and just when I thought we weren't going
to make it, I saw this boy coming down the highway on a bicycle.
He was going all the way from Kentucky to Fresno. He shared
a quart of water with us and helped us fix the car. Everybody'd
been treating us like trash, and I told this boy, "I'm
glad to see there's still some decent folks left in this world.
James Gregory, American Exodus: The
Dust Bowl Migration and Okie Culture in
(New York, 1989), pp. 31, 34.
ROOSEVELT'S SECOND INAUGURAL ADDRESS
worst of the crisis of the Great Depression had passed by the
end of Roosevelt's first term. His second term was then
devoted to developing permanent reforms that would prevent future
depressions. In this excerpt from his Second Inaugural
Address on January 20, 1937, Roosevelt discusses the remaining
challenges facing the nation.
I see a great nation, upon a great continent, blessed with a
great wealth of natural resources... I see a United States
which can demonstrate that, under democratic methods of government,
national wealth can be translated into a spreading volume of
human comforts heretofore unknown, and the lowest standard of
living can be raised far above the level of mere subsistence.
But here is the challenge to our democracy: In this nation I
see tens of millions of its citizens‑‑a substantial
part of its whole population‑‑who at this very moment
are denied the greater part of what the lowest standards of
today call the necessities of life.
I see millions of families trying to live on incomes so meager
that the pall of family disaster hangs over them day by day.
I see millions whose daily lives in city and on farm continue
under conditions labeled indecent by a so‑called polite
society half a century ago.
I see millions denied education, recreation, and the opportunity
to better their lot and the lot of their children.
I see millions lacking the means to buy the products of farm
and factory and by their poverty denying work and productiveness
to many other millions.
I see one‑third of a nation ill‑housed, ill‑clad,
Richard Current, American History: A Survey, (New York:
Knopf, 1961), p. 747.
NEW DEAL: OPPOSING VIEWS
New Deal program of Franklin Roosevelt dramatically increased
government involvement in a wide range of economic and social
activity. That heightened involvement prompted a debate,
which continues to this day, concerning the aims of the New
Deal and its impact on the citizens and institutions of the
United States. I have reprinted below two views of the
Organized enterprise is obtaining an increasingly large proportion
not only of national income, but of all savings and of all wealth...
Within the corporate structure itself the concentration is progressing...
This amazing concentration of the corporate ownership of wealth
has been accompanied by a similar concentration of dividend
distribution. The great and powerful business organizations
which dominate the economic scene are owned by a numerically
insignificant proportion of the total population... Less than
1% of all American corporate stockholders are the beneficiaries
of one‑half of all the dividends paid in this country...
As the concentration proceeds, the flow turns away from organized
business to government... The inevitable and inescapable result
of continued concentration in big business is the final triumph
of big government...
If we are agreed...that we want to preserve free enterprise...it
must be perfectly clear that any remedy that does not stop the
steady progress of concentration will be utterly futile and
will end only in an all‑powerful government...
The only remedy to save a democratic economy is to be found
in making the economy democratic.
the Final Report... of the Temporary National Economic Committee,
The New Deal is nothing more or less than an effort sponsored
by inexperienced sentimentalists and demagogues to take away
from the thrifty what the thrifty or their ancestors have accumulated,
or may accumulate, and to give it to others who have not earned
it...and who never would have earned it and never will earn
it, and thus indirectly to destroy the incentive for all future
accumulation. Such a purpose is in defiance of everything
that history teaches and of the tenets upon which our civilization
has been founded.
Nothing could threaten the race as seriously as this [the New
Deal]. It is begging the unfit to be more unfit.
Even such a measure as old‑age insurance...removes one
of the points of pressure which has kept many persons up to
the strife and struggle of life.
in George Wolfskill, The Revolt of the Conservatives,
John M. Blum, The National Experience:
A History of the United
(New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1989), p. 629, 633.
DEAD AT REPUBLIC STEEL
following vignette describes the violent confrontation between
Chicago police and striking steelworkers at Republic Steel in
Republic Steel stood abrupt out of the flat prairie. Snakelike,
the line of pickets crossed the meadowland, singing at first:
Solidarity forever! The union makes us strong, but then the
song died, as the sun-drenched plain turned ominous, as five
hundred blue-coated policemen took up stations between the strikers
and the plant. The strikers' march slowed, but they came
on. The police ranks closed and tightened. It brought
to mind how other Americans had faced the uniformed force of
so-called law and order so long ago on Lexington Green in 1775;
but whereas then the redcoat leader had said, "Disperse,
you rebel bastards!" to armed minutemen, now it was to
unarmed men and women and children that a police captain said,
"You dirty sons of bitches, this is as far as you go!"
Once there was an illusion somewhere that the police were gentle
souls who helped lost children, but a striker put it afterwards:
"A cop is a cop, that's all. He's got no soul and
no heart for a guy who works for a living. They learned
About two hundred and fifty yards from the plant, the police
closed in on the strikers. Billies and clubs were out
already, prodding, striking, nightsticks edging into women's
breasts and groins. But the cops were also somewhat afraid,
and they began to jerk guns out of holsters.
"Stand fast! Stand fast!" the line leaders cried.
"We got our rights! We got our legal rights to picket!"
The cops said, "You got no rights. You red bastards, you
got no rights."
Even if a modern man's a steelworker, with muscles as close
to iron bands as human flesh gets, a pistol equalizes him with
a fat-bellied weakling... Grenades began to sail now;
tear gas settled like an ugly cloud. Children suddenly cried
with panic, and the whole picket line gave back, men stumbling,
cursing, gasping for breath. Here and there a cop tore
out his pistol and began to fire; it was pop, pop, pop at first,
like toy favors at some horrible party, and then, as the strikers
broke under the gunfire and began to run, the contagion of
killing ran like fire through the police.
They began to shoot in volleys at these unarmed men and women
and children who could not strike back or fight back.
The cops squealed with excitement. They ran after fleeing
pickets, pressed revolvers to their backs, shot them down, and
then continued to shoot as the victims lay on their faces, retching
blood. When a woman tripped and fell, four cops gathered
above her, smashing her flesh and bones and face.
And so it went, on and on, until seven were dead and more than
a hundred wounded.
Howard Fast, "An Occurrence At Republic Steel (1937)"
reprinted in Isabel Leighton, ed., The Aspirin Age, 1919-1941
(New York, 1949), pp. 386-387.
ORGANIZING A FILIPINO UNION
contrast to other Asian Americans who looked to entrepreneurship
for economic development, many Filipino Americans believed that
working-class organizations such as unions would provide economic
security. One of the most effective of these unions was
the Cannery Workers and Farm Laborers Union (CWFLU), Local 18257,
a predominately Filipino Union organized in Seattle in 1933.
A brief account of the union appears below.
Not until the winter of 1932 did efforts at unionization among
Filipino salmon-cannery hands in the Pacific Northwest begin.
Pence Torres recalled that only "a few people (met) to
plan something to improve ourselves." They congregated
in secret for fear of reprisals by contractors and canners.
Torres explained that they could not "possibly get many
people at one time...We have to do it between school days."
Planning around school schedules indicated the central role
played by students in the effort. More than Filipinos,
students felt the constraints on their expectations for social
mobility during the depression, which explains their interest
in changing the labor recruitment and management practices in
the industry. Nonetheless, this early cabal barely included
a dozen members.
The small group of planners concluded that "the only solution
to the problem is to be organized," and in June 1933 they
held a special public meeting of the Filipino Laborers' Association
to discuss affiliation with the American federation of Labor
(AFL). The "big crowd" of seven Filipino union
officers and nineteen others listed to C.W. Doyle of Seattle's
Central Labor Council, carefully discussed the issue, and voted
in favor of affiliation. On June 19, 1933, the Filipinos
entered the AFL as the Cannery Workers and Farm Laborers Union
(CWFLU), Local 18257. Although the reasons for AFL endorsement
of the local are unclear, CAWIU successes in organizing California
field laborers may have jolted the AFL into action to head off
what it perceived as a communist-led insurgency.
The newly affiliated local stressed goals that revealed the
barriers to be overcome if the workers were to improve their
condition. The union pledged to foster the attainment
of higher skills and efficiency among its members. Although
unions invariably used such language, Filipinos did need to
cultivate their canning expertise in order to make possible
their movement into the specialized tasks monopolized by Chinese
and Japanese. The local also proposed shorter working
hours, which would either bring greater overtime pay in rush
periods or force the hiring of larger crews and thus provide
more jobs for unemployed Filipinos.
To achieve its goals, the local also had to unite a divided
Filipino community. This proved no easy task. In
Seattle, for example, most Filipino immigrants were Ilocanos,
but the community also had Tagalogs, Pangasinans, and Visayans--each
group with its own dialect--as well as other ethnic associations.
In 1923 Tagalogs in Seattle had founded a branch of the Caballeros
Dimas Alang (its title originating from revolutionary Jose Rizal's
pen name). In that political, nationalistic, and self-help
organization, members conducted rituals and secret meetings
in Tagalog to the exclusion of other groups. Not every
Filipino association was based on ethnicity, however.
In the late 1920s, students at the University of Washington
had formed a Filipino Club that fostered their academic pursuits,
helped with their social lives, and provided economic assistance.
Contractors helped raised money to run the club, and they used
that connection as an avenue to a labor supply. Small-group
activity was symptomatic of the factions among Filipino immigrants.
The manner in which Filipinos entered and worked in the industry
further heightened their reliance on such groups.
Before the depression, the use of family, friendship, and ethnic
networks to gain employment had its advantages for Filipinos,
who faced a Chinese and Japanese oligarchy over labor recruitment
and management in the industry. That strategy also helped
at the plants where Filipinos worked in the small groups characteristic
of their immigration. Sylvestre A. Tangalan explained
that at the cannery where he worked: "We were happy, mostly
Bauanganians," fellow villagers from La Union. Segregation
at the cannery reinforced, rather than destroyed, Filipino ethnic
and immigrant ties...
To compete with the contractors and aspirant agents even more
successfully, the CWFLU adopted a series of social welfare programs
for members. It gave $50 to a Filipino-owned cafe in exchange
for the restaurateur's providing meals to "indigent active
members." The local also loaned money to members.
In 1935, for example, it approved a $50 loan to a Filipino who
a year earlier had supported the local's efforts in a farm workers'
strike near Seattle. Such actions helped members avoid
indebtedness to contractors and encouraged nonunion Filipinos
to think seriously about joining. Allocation of the local's
financial resources, for any purpose other than supporting cannery
organization, however, led to charges of favoritism and misuse
of union funds. In spite of the charges, the local's efforts
to provide meals and money for some of its members reveal that
some money was returned to the rank and file.
As the union's membership grew to several hundred in the first
few years, it created its own job ladder, separate from that
of the existing hierarchy of cannery tasks. At first,
titles were awarded as recognition of service to the union and
carried status only. Financial stability soon allowed
the local to pay its officers for their contributions.
The salaries for 1935 reveal the significance of income from
a union position relative to the average cannery worker's $25-$50
a month during the canning season. The CWFLU monthly salary
scale for officers was: president, $80; vice-president, $40;
secretary, $60; treasurer, $40; trustees, $40; guard, $20; guide,
$20. Their salaries also touched off resentment, especially
when they voted raises for themselves.
The local also became politically active in an attempt to achieve
recognition as the voice of the Filipino community. Its
appearance at the NRA code hearings marked it as an early advocate
for the Filipino community. Elsewhere, the local's records
indicate no activity concerning the Tydings-McDuffie Act (1934),
which proposed eventual independence for the Philippines but
also convinced stringent immigration restrictions. The
CWFLU did get involved in at least two other legislative actions
at he state level. In 1935 the local sent a three-person
delegation to Olympia to fight against antimiscegenation bills
in the Washington state legislature. Also, in 1937, the
local protested a Washington state bill that would prevent Filipino
immigrants from owning or leasing lands because of their newly
acquired "alien" status under the Tydings-McDuffie
Act. Such highly visible political lobbying enhanced the
local's status in the Filipino community. Among contractors,
only Pio De Cano took up broader community concerns, challenging
in state courts the application of anti-alien land laws to Filipino
immigrants between 1937 and 1941.
The local also cultivated community support through its public
relations efforts. It gave to the Philippine American
Chronicle a 4 percent interest loan as well as gifts of
cash. In return, the CWFLU asked for a regular labor column
in the paper. Thereafter, the Chronicle became
for all practical purposes the local’s official organ.
This was no great concession for the paper because two officials
of the local, Virgil Dunyungan and Cornelio Mislang, were the
publishers. While the local's involvement with the
Chronicle gave it a wider voice within the community, it
also fostered deeper divisions because the other major newspaper,
the Philippine Advocate, lined up against the local and
the Chronicle and was backed by Ayamo's Filipino Protective
Source: Chris Friday, Organizing
Asian American Labor--The
Pacific Coast Canned-Salmon Industry, 1870-1942,
(Philadelphia 1994), pp. 136-137, 144-145.
HITLER'S VIEWS: TERROR, AND THE MASTER
in Mein Kampf, lays forth his ideas on terror and about
a `Master Race.' Those ideas would take tragic form for
Germans, for Europeans, for the rest of the world nearly twenty
I achieved an...understanding of the importance of physical
terror toward the individual and the masses. Here, too,
the psychological effect can be calculated with precision.
Terror at the place of employment, in the factory, in the meeting
hall, and on the occasion of mass demonstrations will always
be successful unless opposed by equal terror.
The impression made by such a success on the minds of the great
masses of supporters as well as opponents can only be measured
by those who know the soul of a people, not from books, but
from life. For while in the ranks of their supporters
the victory achieved seems a triumph of the justice of their
own cause, the defeated adversary in most cases despairs of
the success of any further resistance.
The more familiar I became, principally with the methods of
physical terror, the more indulgent I grew toward all the hundreds
of thousands who succumbed to it.
Human culture and civilization on this continent are inseparably
bound up with the presence of the Aryan. If he dies out
or declines, the dark veils of an age without culture will again
descend on this globe.
The undermining of the existence of human culture by the destruction
of its bearer seems in the eyes of a folkish philosophy the
most execrable crime. Anyone who dares to lay hands on
the highest image of the Lord commits sacrilege against the
benevolent creator of this miracle and contributes to the expulsion
We all sense that in the distant future humanity must be faced
by problems which only a highest race, become master people
and supported by the means and possibilities of an entire globe,
will be equipped to overcome.
Hitler, Mein Kampf, (Boston, 1971), pp. 44, 383-384.
AND THE JEWS
Hitler's racial attitudes reflected longstanding European prejudices
but they also helped determine the specially horrendous character
of the Nazi state. In Mein Kampf he describes his
Today it is difficult, if not impossible, for me to say when
the word `Jew' first gave me ground for special thoughts...
Not until my fourteenth year did I begin to come across the
word `Jew,' with any frequency, partly in connection with political
discussions... There were few Jews in Linz. In the
course of the centuries their outward appearance had become
Europeanized and had taken on a human look; in fact, I even
took them for Germans.
Then I came to Vienna... Once, as I was strolling through the
Inner City, I suddenly encountered an apparition in a black
caftan and black hair locks. Is this a Jew?, was my first
thought... Is this a German?
Wherever I went, I began to see Jews, and the more I saw, the
more sharply they became distinguished in my eyes from the rest
of humanity. Particularly the Inner City and the districts
north of the Danube Canal swarmed with a people which even outwardly
had lost all resemblance to Germans.
In a short time I was made more thoughtful than ever by my slowly
rising insight into the type of activity carried on by the Jews
in certain fields. Was there any form of filth or profligacy,
particularly in cultural life, without at least one Jew involved
The fact that nine tenths of all literary filth, artistic trash,
and theatrical idiocy can be set to the account of a people,
constituting hardly one hundredth of all the country's inhabitants,
could simply not be talked away; it was the plain truth.
When I recognized the Jew as the leader of the Social Democracy,
the scales dropped from my eyes. A long soul struggle
had reached its conclusion... I gradually became aware
that the Social Democratic press was directed predominately
by Jews; yet I did not attribute any special significance to
this circumstance, since conditions were exactly the same in
the other papers. Yet one fact seem conspicuous: there
was not one paper with Jews working on it which could have been
regarded as truly national, according to my education and way
of thinking. From the publisher down, they were all Jews.
I took all the Social Democratic pamphlets I could lay hands
on and sought the names of their authors: Jews. I noted
the names of the leaders; by far the greatest part were likewise
members of the `chosen people,' whether they were representatives
in the Reichsrat or trade-union secretaries, the heads of organizations
or street agitators....One thing had grown clear to me:
the party with whose petty representatives I had been carrying
on the most violent struggle for months was, as to leadership,
almost exclusively in the hands of a foreign people; for, to
my deep and joyful satisfaction, I had at last come to the conclusion
that the Jew was no German.
Hitler, Mein Kampf, (Boston, 1971), pp. 51-61.
UNDER THE NAZIS
L. Shirer, an American correspondent assigned to cover Germany
and central Europe for CBS News during the 1930s, has provided
a revealing glimpse of life in Germany under the Nazi Party.
Here are excerpts of his Berlin Diary.
June 30, 1934
Berlin was cut off for several hours today, but late this afternoon
telephone communication was reestablished. And what a
story! Hitler and Goring have purged the S.A., shooting
many of its leaders. Rohm, arrested by Hitler himself,
was allowed to commit suicide in a Munich jail... The French
are pleased. They think this is the beginning of the end
for the Nazis.
Hitler did what no one expected. He made himself both
President and Chancellor.... Hitler had the army swear an oath
of unconditional obedience to him personally.
Like a Roman emperor Hitler rode into this medieval town at
sundown today past solid phalanxes of wildly cheering Nazis...
Tens of thousands of Swastika flags blot out the Gothic beauties
of the place... The streets are a sea of brown and black uniforms.
I'm beginning to comprehend some of the reasons for Hitler's
astounding success. Borrowing a chapter from the Roman
church, he is restoring pageantry and color to the drab lives
of 20th Century Germans. This morning's opening meeting
in the Luitpold Hall was more than a gorgeous show; it also
had something of the mysticism of an Easter Mass in a great
Gothic cathedral. Even Hitler's arrival was made dramatic.
The band stopped playing. There was a hush over the 30,000
people packed in the hall. Hitler appeared in the back
of the auditorium and followed by his aides, he strode slowly
down the long center aisle while thirty thousand hands were
raised in salute.
Hitler sprang his Arbeitsdienst, his Labor Service Corps,
on the public for the first time today and it turned out to
be a highly trained, semi-military group of fanatical Nazi youths.
Standing there in the early morning sunlight, fifty thousand
of them, with the first thousand bared above the waist, suddenly
made the German spectators go mad with joy when without warning,
they broke into perfect goose-step. The boys formed an
immense chanting chorus─and with one voice intoned─"We
want one Leader! Nothing for us! Everything for
Germany! Heil Hitler!
April 21, 1935
The hotel mainly filled with Jews and we are a little surprised
to see so many of them still prospering and apparently unafraid.
I think they are unduly optimistic.
April 20, 1937
Hitler's birthday. He gets more and more like a Caesar.
Today a public holiday with sickening adulation from all the
party hacks, delegations from all over the Reich bearing gifts,
and a great military parade. The Army revealed a little
of what it has: heavy artillery, tanks, and magnificently
trained men. Hitler stood on the reviewing stand as happy
as a child with tin soldiers, saluting every tank and gun.
The military attaches of France, Britain, and Russia, I hear,
were impressed. So were ours.
Five more Protestant pastors arrested yesterday. Hardly
keep up with the church war any more since they arrested my
informant, a young pastor; have no wish to endanger the life
of another one.
The strain on the life of the [German] people and on the economic
structure of the state is tremendous. Both may well crack.
But the youth, led by the S.S., is fanatic. So are the
middle class "old fighters" who brawled in the streets
for Hitler in the early days and now have been awarded with
good jobs, authority, power, money. The bankers and industrialists,
not so enthusiastic now as when I arrived in Germany, go along.
They must, It is either that or the concentration camp.
I leave Germany in this autumn of 1937 with the words of a Nazi
marching song in my ears:
Today we own Germany
Tomorrow the whole world
March 22, 1938
On the streets today gangs of Jews, with jeering storm troopers
standing over them and taunting crowds around them, on their
hands and knees scrubbing the Schuschnigg [former Austrian Prime
Minister] signs offs the sidewalks. Many Jews killing
themselves. Jewish men and women made to clean latrines.
Hundreds of them just picked at random off the streets to clean
the toilets of the Nazi boys. The wife of a diplomat,
a Jewess, told me today she dared not leave her home for fear
of being picked up and put to "scrubbing things."
The town full of [detectives]─fifty thousand of them,
they say, German and Italian, to protect the two great men [Hitler
and Mussolini]. All the foreign Jews here have been jailed
or banished for the duration of the visit. The Italians
hardly hide their hostility to the Germans. They watch
them walk by, and then spit contemptuously.__________________
(New York, 1941), pp. 11-192.
FASCISM: ONE INSIDER'S VIEW
Ienaga, a political dissident in Japan during the 1930s and
1940s, provided this description of Japanese fascism just before
the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor which brought the United
States into World War II.
Japanese fascism differed from its German and Italian counterparts.
They were broad movements from below. Charismatic leaders
established dictatorial systems based on mass organizations,
the Nazi party and Fascist party. In Japan fascism was
imposed from above by the military and the bureaucrats, aided
by their junior partners, the civilian rightists (whose money
came from secret army funds and similar covert sources).
A "new political structure movement" was planned and
the Imperial Rule Assistance Association (IRAA) was established
in October 1940. It was not comparable to the mass parties
of Germany or Italy and was not very effective in organizing
or mobilizing the populace. The IRAA used local organizations
such as the hamlet and village associations, neighborhood associations,
civil defense associations, and the reservist associations to
constantly interfere in the people's lives through ration distribution,
air raid drills, official sendoffs for draftees, and memorial
services for war dead. These organizations got into the
act by forcing women to stop wearing long‑sleeved kimonos
and getting permanent waves, and insisted that citizens put
on the prescribed air raid "uniforms" of puttees and
khaki caps for men and monpe (women's work pants gathered at
the ankle) for women.
The Nazis destroyed the Weimar Republic and established a dictatorship.
No such clear break with the past occurred in Japan. The
Meiji Constitution was never revised or suspended. The
Diet was rendered impotent but it continued to exist.
About the only major legal shift was the 1938 enactment of the
National Mobilization Law. Although probably unconstitutional,
its sweeping provisions broadened the state's administrative
authority, imposed new duties on the citizenry, and curtailed
In January 1934 Army Minister Araki Sadao presented a study
to Premier Saito which shows the hawks' attitude toward civil
liberties. Among Araki's recommendations and proposals
were the following about "controls on journalism and publication":
"Direct publishing activities so that they contribute to
state prosperity, social order, the smooth functioning of national
life and to wholesome public entertainment; "Ban views
which would impair fundamental national policies"; "Tighten
controls over rumors, gossip, speech, and publications that
would harm the state." On the "Purification
of thoughts," Araki recommended: "Tighten controls
over subversive organizations. The most severe methods
should be carried out by legal groups which disseminate anti‑imperialist
ideas... Strengthen public unity for national mobilization
by making participation in the Reservists' Association and youth
training mandatory and encouraging organizations such as the...Boy
Scouts, Patriotic Women's Association, National Defense Women's
Association, Red Cross Society..."
Source: Saburo Ienaga, The Pacific
War: World War II and the Japanese, 1931-1945, (New
York, 1978), pp. 97, 112‑113.
"THE WAVE OF THE FUTURE": AN AMERICAN
1940 Anne Morrow Lindbergh, wife of the aviator Charles Lindbergh,
wrote a book titled, The Wave of the Future which called
for continued American isolationism as World War II spread across
Europe. But she also reflected the views of millions of
Americans when she expressed her admiration for the major European
dictatorships. Lindbergh urged her countrymen to understand
rather than oppose the dictatorships because they were, in her
words, "the wave of the future." Part of her
comments are reprinted below:
What was pushing behind Communism? What behind Fascism
in Italy? What behind Naziism? Is it nothing but
a "return to barbarism," to be crushed at all costs
by a "crusade"? Or is some new, and perhaps
even ultimately good, conception of humanity trying to come
to birth, often through evil and horrible forms and abortive
attempts?... I cannot see this war, then, simply and purely
as a struggle between the "Forces of Good" and the
"Forces of Evil." If I could simplify it into
a phrase at all, it would seem truer to say that the "Forces
of the Past" are fighting against the "Forces of the
Somehow the leaders in Germany, Italy and Russia have discovered
how to use new social and economic forces... They have
felt the wave of the future and they have leapt upon it.
The evils we deplore in these systems are not in themselves
the future; they are scum on the wave of the future...
There is no fighting the wave of the future, any more than as
a child you could fight against the gigantic roller that loomed
up ahead of you.
Source: John M. Blum, The
National Experience: A History of the
(New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1989) p. 656.
ROOSEVELT ON THE THREAT OF WAR
1940, after World War II had already broken out in Europe, President
Franklin Roosevelt began to psychologically prepare the United
States for what he and a number of Americans thought would be
the inevitable clash with the Axis powers. Here is part
of his radio address on December 29, 1940.
This is not a fireside chat on war. It is a talk on national
security... There is danger ahead‑-danger against
which we must prepare. But we well know that we cannot
escape danger, or the fear of danger, by crawling into bed and
pulling the covers over our heads.
Some nations of Europe were bound by solemn non‑intervention
pacts with Germany. Other nations were assured by Germany
that they need never fear invasion... As an exiled leader
of one these nations said to me the other day‑"The
notice was given to my Government two hours after German troops
had poured into my country in a hundred places."
There are those who say that the Axis powers would never have
any desire to attack the Western Hemisphere. The plain
facts are that the Nazis have proclaimed, time and again, that
all other races are their inferiors and therefore subject to
their orders. And most important of all, the vast resources
and wealth of this American Hemisphere constitute the most tempting
loot in all the round world.
The American appeasers ignore the warning to be found in the
fate of Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Norway, Belgium, the
Netherlands, Denmark, and France. They tell you that the
Axis powers are going to win anyway; that all this bloodshed
in the world could be saved; that the United States might just
as well throw its influence into the scale of a dictated peace,
and get the best out of it that we can.
They call it a "negotiated peace." Nonsense!
Is it a negotiated peace if a gang of outlaws surrounds your
community and on threat of extermination makes you pay tribute
to save your own skins?
With all their vaunted efficiency, with all their parade of
pious purpose in this war, there are still in their background
the concentration camp and the servants of God in chains.
The history of recent years proves that shootings and chains
and concentration camps are not simply the transient tools but
the very altars of modern dictatorships. They may talk
of a "new order" in the world, but what they have
in mind is only a revival of the oldest and the worst tyranny.
In that there is no liberty, no religion, no hope.
The proposed "new order" is the very opposite of a
United States of Europe of a United States of Asia. It
is not a Government based upon the consent of the governed.
It is not a union of ordinary, self‑respecting men and
women to protect themselves and their freedom and their dignity
from oppression. It is an unholy alliance of power and
greed to dominate and enslave the human race.
We must be the great arsenal of democracy. For us this
is an emergency as serious as war itself. We must apply
ourselves to our task with same resolution, the same sense of
urgency, the same spirit of patriotism and sacrifice as we would
show were we at war.
Source: Howard Quint, Milton Cantor and Dean
Albertson, Main Problems in American History, (Chicago:
The Dorsey Press, 1987) p. 262‑266.
October 2, 1938, Orson Wells, operating from a CBS studio called
the Mercury Theater of the Air, broadcast a simulated invasion
of the earth by Martians based on the H.G. Wells science fiction
novel, War of the Worlds. The broadcast was so
realistic that millions of listeners believed it was an actual
event. In the vignette, Charles Jackson, an executive
with CBS Radio, describes the radio broadcast and its impact.
Historians have suggested that the panic over the broadcast
reflected actual fears of an impending Second World War.
At Moments of crisis or disaster people are fond of telling
where they were at the time, how they happened to hear the news,
or what they were doing when they heard it, as if their personal
reaction were more important than the event itself. Thus,
on Monday morning, October 3, 1938, while everybody in the radio
business collected in excited knots to discuss the panic the
country had been thrown into on the previous evening by the
medium they worked in, my own story went something like this:
My wife and I had returned from dinner in Greenwich Village.
I went into the bedroom, lay down on my bed, and dialed WABC
to see how the Orson Welles show was going. As usual,
Orson was presenting a dramatization of a book. The opening
announcement said: The Columbia Broadcasting System and its
affiliated stations present Orson Welles and the Mercury Theater
of the Air in The War of the Worlds, by H. G. Wells.
But strangely, no dramatic program seemed to ensue. A
prosaic weather report was given instead. Then an announcer
remarked that the program would be continued from a New York
hotel, with dance tunes. For a few moments, one heard
the music of a swing band. Then came a sudden break-in
with a "flash" which declared dramatically that a
professor had just noted from his observatory a series of gas
explosions on the planet Mars. The clever Welles—not
H. G. (indeed, the dramatization had little connection with
H. G.'s original at any point)—was up to one of his tricks.
Simulated news bulletins followed in rapid succession, interspersed
with "remotes": on-the-spot broadcasts of actual "scenes."
These reported brilliantly, with the extraordinary technique
which radio had long since perfected for news events, the landing
of a meteor near Princeton, New Jersey, killing fifteen hundred
persons—and then the discovery that it was no meteor at
all but a metal cylinder containing Martian creatures armed
with death rays, come to open hostilities against the inhabitants
of the earth.
I could not but admire Orson for the marvelous reality he was
able to bring to such a fantastic story, but after a few moments,
it seemed to me, he succeeded too well; the very grotesqueness
of the broadcast soon caused me to lose interest—it outraged
all my sense of belief, and by eight-fifteen or so, I switched
off the dial and took a nap.
Arriving at the office the next morning, I was dumfounded—and
somewhat ashamed for my fellow Americans—to discover that
a national panic had been generated by the broadcast.
Sunday night's wave of mass hysteria took strange forms.
Throughout New York City, families fled their apartments in
panic, some to near-by parks, many to seek verification of the
horrendous report, hundreds of others, in a state of terror,
to find out how they could follow the broadcast’s advice
and flee from the city.
In Newark, New Jersey, in a single block, more than twenty families
rushed out of their homes with wet handkerchiefs and towels
over their heads and faces, to flee from what they believed
to be a gas raid.
In San Francisco, the general impression of listeners was that
an overwhelming force had invaded the United States from the
sky; New York was in the process of being destroyed, and the
frightful Martians were even now moving westward. "My
God," roared one man into a phone, "where can I volunteer
my services? We've got to stop this awful thing!"
In Caldwell, New Jersey, a terror-stricken parishioner rushed
into the First Baptist Church during the evening service and
shouted that a meteor had fallen, showering death and destruction,
and that North Jersey was threatened with annihilation.
The Reverend Thomas attempted to quiet his congregation by leading
them in prayer for deliverance from the catastrophe.
A man in Pittsburgh returned home in the midst of the broadcast
and found his wife in the bathroom, a bottle of poison in her
hand, screaming, "I'd rather die this way than like that!"
Another man, in Mt. Vernon, New York, called police to tell
them that his brother, a hopeless invalid, had been listening
to the broadcast and when he heard the report, he got into an
automobile and "disappeared."
In Harlem, extreme panic was created. Thirty men and women
rushed into the West 123rd Street Police Station and twelve
into the West 135th Street Station saying they had their household
goods packed and were ready to quit Harlem if the police would
tell them where to go to be evacuated. One man insisted
he had heard "the President's voice" over the radio,
advising all citizens to leave the city. One could hardly
blame him, for at a dramatic point in the broadcast the President's
voice was exactly imitated by a Mercury Theater actor telling
the listeners to do just that.
Nor was credulity confined to the susceptible citizenry alone.
Men of science were not immune. Dr. Arthur F. Buddington,
chairman of the department of geology, and Dr. Harry Hess, professor
of geology, Princeton University, received the first alarming
reports in a form indicating that a meteor had fallen near Dutch
Neck, some five miles away. They armed themselves with "the
necessary equipment" and set out to find the specimen.
What they found was a group of excited natives, searching, like
themselves, for the meteor.
Later, a detailed study of the entire panic and its effects
was made by the Princeton Radio Project, operating on a grant
of the Rockefeller Foundation to Princeton University. Some
of the comments recorded by interviewers for the Project were
A New Jersey housewife: "I knew it was something terrible
and I was frightened. But I didn't know just what it was.
I couldn't make myself believe it was the end of the world.
I've always heard that when the world would come to an end,
it would come so fast nobody would know--so why should God get
in touch with this announcer? When they told us
what road to take and getup over the hills and the children
began to cry, the family decided to go out. We took blankets
and my granddaughter wanted to take the cat and the canary.
We were outside the garage when the neighbor’s boy came
back and told us it was only a play."
A high-school girl in Pennsylvania: "...I was really hysterical.
My two girlfriends and I were crying and holding each other
and everything seemed so unimportant in the face of death.
We felt it was terrible we should die so young..."
A Negro housewife in Newark: "We listened, getting more
and more excited. We all felt the world was coming to an end.
Then we heard, "Get gas masks!" That was the part
that got me. I thought I was going crazy. It's a
wonder my heart didn't fail me because I'm nervous anyway.
I felt if the gas was on, I wanted to be together with my husband
and nephew so we could all die together. So I ran out
of the house. I guess I didn’t know what I was doing.
I stood on the corner waiting for a bus and I thought every
car that came along was a bus and I ran out to get it.
I kept saying over and over again to everybody I met: "New
Jersey is destroyed by the Germans--it's on the radio!
I was all excited and I knew that Hitler didn't appreciate President
Roosevelt's telegram a couple of weeks ago. While the United
States thought everything was settled, they came down unexpected.
The Germans are so smart they were in something like a balloon,
and when the balloon landed--that's when they announced the
explosion--the Germans landed."
A man in a Midwest town: "That Halloween show had our family
on its knees before the program was half over. God knows
but we prayed to him last Sunday. It was a lesson in more than
one thing to us. My mother went out and looked for Mars.
Dad was hard to convince, and skeptical, but even he got to
believing it. Brother Joe, as usual, got more excited
than anyone. Brother George wasn't home. Aunt Grace,
a good Catholic, began to pray with Uncle Henry. Lillie
got sick to her stomach. I don't know what I did exactly,
but I know I prayed harder and more earnest than ever before.
Just as soon as we were convinced that this thing was real,
how petty all things on earth seemed, and how soon we put our
trust in God!"
Source: Charles Jackson, "The Night the
Martians Came (1938)" printed in Isabel Leighton, ed.,
The Aspirin Age, 1919-1941 (New York, 1949), p. 431-436.
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