| Chap. 1 | Chap.
2 | Chap. 3 | Chap.
4 | Chap. 5 | Chap.
6 | Chap. 7 | Chap.
8 | Chap. 9
on the Street Interviews following Pearl Harbor
in Washington State--History & Memory Project
for Chapter 8
OF THE JAPANESE
DESCRIBES THE EVACUATION
THE ZOOT SUIT
STORY: WALTER HIGGANS IN EUROPE
ASIANS IN WORLD WAR II HAWAII
II: SEATTLE'S ECONOMY TRANSFORMED
THE LIBERATION OF INEZ SAUER
CONFRONTS A RACIST ACT
FOR A SECOND FRONT
TENSION IN WORLD WAR II
THE SECOND WORLD WAR CREATED
DAY ONE OF THE NUCLEAR AGE
RELATIONS: A DISSENTING VIEW
THE RED SCARE:
THE TRUMAN ADMINISTRATION LOYALTY OATH
SPEAKS UP (1950)
AT THE UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON
UP FROM THE POTATO FIELDS
IN THE 1950s
JOHN F. KENNEDY
AND THE COLD WAR
THE GULF OF TONKIN
IDEALISM, DISILLUSIONMENT, COMPROMISE
THE COLD WAR
TIANANMEN SQUARE IN PERSPECTIVE
THE END OF
THE COLD WAR
for Week 8
The Axis Powers
Executive Order 9066
Camp Harmony, Washington
Navajo "code talkers"
Rosie the Riveter
Zoot Suit Riot
War Manpower Commission
Japanese American Citizen's League (JACL)
League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)
House UnAmerican Activities Committee (HUAC)
Albert F. Canwell
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
Korean War, 1950-1953
Strom Thurmond\The Dixicrats
The Baby Boom
Cuban Missile Crisis
Gulf of Tonkin Resolution
Ethiopian‑Somali War, 1977‑1978
Angolan Civil War, 1975‑1976
Hungarian Revolution, 1956
Berlin Wall, 1961-1989
THE INTERNMENT OF THE JAPANESE
Roosevelt's Executive Order 9066 is reprinted below.
WHEREAS the successful prosecution of the war requires every
possible protection against espionage and against sabotage to
national‑defense material, national‑defense premises,
and national defense utilities...: NOW, THEREFORE, by virtue
of the authority vested in me as President of the United States,
and Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy, I hereby authorize
and direct the Secretary of War, and the Military Commanders
whom he may from time to time designate, whenever he or any
designated Commander deems such action necessary or desirable,
to prescribe military areas in such places and of such extent
as he or the appropriate Military Commander may determine, from
which any or all persons may be excluded, and with respect to
which, the right of any person to enter, remain in, or leave
shall be subject to whatever restrictions the Secretary of War
or the appropriate Military Commander may impose in his discretion.
The Secretary of War is hereby authorized to provide for residents
of any such area who are excluded there from, such transportation,
food, shelter, and other accommodations as may be necessary,
in the judgment of the Secretary of War or the said Military
Commander, and until other arrangements are made, to accomplish
the purpose of this order. The designation of military areas
in any region or locality shall supersede designations of prohibited
and restricted areas by the Attorney General under the Proclamations
of December 7 and 8, 1941, and shall supersede the responsibility
and authority of the Attorney General under the said Proclamations
in respect of such prohibited and restricted areas. I
hereby further authorize and direct the Secretary of War and
the said Military Commanders to take such other steps as he
or the appropriate Military Commander may deem advisable to
enforce compliance with the restrictions applicable to each
Military area hereinabove authorized to be designated, including
the use of Federal troops and other Federal Agencies, with authority
to accept assistance of state and local agencies.
I hereby further authorize and direct all Executive Departments,
independent establishments and other Federal Agencies, to assist
the Secretary of War or the said Military Commanders in carrying
out this Executive Order, including the furnishing of medical
aid, hospitalization, food, clothing, transportation, use of
land, shelter, and other supplies, equipment, utilities, facilities,
and services. This order shall not be construed as modifying
or limiting in any way the authority heretofore granted under
Executive Order No. 8972, dated December 12, 1941, nor shall
it be construed as limiting or modifying the duty and responsibility
of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with respect to the
investigation of alleged acts of sabotage or the duty and responsibility
of the Attorney General and the Department of Justice under
the Proclamations of December 7 and 8, 1941, prescribing regulations
for the conduct and control of alien enemies, except as such
duty and responsibility is superseded by the designation of
military areas hereunder.
Source: Roger Daniels and Harry Kitano, American
Racism: Exploration of the Nature of Prejudice (Englewood
Cliffs, 1970), pp. 135-136.
SONE DESCRIBES THE EVACUATION
Sone in her autobiography, Nisei Daughter, describes
the evacuation of her family from Seattle in the Spring of 1942.
On the 21st of April...[General] DeWitt gave us the shattering
news. "All Seattle Japanese will be moved to Puyallup by
May 1. Everyone must be registered Saturday and Sunday
between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. They will leave next week in
three groups, on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday...
Our last Sunday, Father and Henry [Sone's brother] moved all
our furniture and household goods down to the hotel and stored
them in one room... Monday evening we received friends in our
empty house where our voices echoed loudly and footsteps clattered
woodenly on the bare floor....That night we rolled ourselves
into army blankets...and slept on the bare floor. The
next morning Henry rudely shouted us back into consciousness.
"Six-thirty! Everybody wake up, today's the day!"
I screamed, "Must you sound so cheerful about it?"
"What do you expect me to do, bawl?"
On this sour note we got up...jammed our blankets into the long
narrow seabag, and carefully tied the white pasteboard tag,
10710, on our coat lapels...
We climbed into the truck... As we coasted down Beacon Hill
bridge for the last time, we fell silent... We drove through
bustling Chinatown, and...around the corner of Eight and Lane.
This area was ordinarily lonely and deserted but now it was
filling up with silent, labeled Japanese, standing self-consciously
Finally at ten o'clock, a vanguard of Greyhound busses...parked
themselves neatly along the curb. The crowd stirred and
murmured. The bus doors opened and from each, a soldier
with rife in hand stepped out and stood stiffly at attention
by the door. The murmuring died. It was the first
time I had seen a rifle at such close range and I felt uncomfortable.
This rifle was presumably to quell riots, but contrarily, I
felt riotous emotion mounting in my breast.
Jim Shigeno, one of the leaders of the Japanese-American Citizens'
League, stepped briskly up front and started reading off family
numbers to fill the first bus. Our number came up and
we pushed our way out of the crowd. Jim said, "Step
We bumped into each other with nervous haste. I glanced
nervously at the soldier and his rifle, and I was startled to
see that he was but a young man, pink-cheeked, his clear gray
eyes staring impassively ahead... I suddenly turned maternal
and hovered over Mother and Father to see that they were comfortably
settled. They were silent.
Newspaper photographers with flash-bulb cameras pushed busily
through the crowd. One of them rushed up to our bus, and
asked a young couple and their little boy to step out and stand
by the door for a shot. They were reluctant, but the photographers
were persistent and at length they got out of the bus and posed,
grinning widely to cover their embarrassment. We saw the
picture in the newspaper shortly after and the caption underneath
it read, "Japs good-natured about evacuation."
Monica Sone, Nisei Daughter, (Seattle, 1953), pp. 165-171.
the following passage Seattle resident Ben Yorita, one of 110,000
persons of Japanese ancestry interned during World War II, describes
his experience in the Summer of 1942 in "Camp Harmony,"
a temporary holding area on the Puyallup fairgrounds, before
being transferred to the Minidoka Internment Camp in Idaho.
Students weren’t as aware of national politics then as
they are now, and Japanese-Americans were actually apolitical
then. Our parents couldn’t vote, so we simply weren’t
interested in politics because there was nothing we could do
about it if we were.
There were two reasons we were living in the ghettos: Birds
of a feather flock together, and we had all the traditional
aspects of Japanese life—Japanese restaurants, baths,
and so forth; and discrimination forced us together. The
dominant society prevented us from going elsewhere.
Right after Pearl Harbor we had no idea what was going to happen,
but toward the end of December we started hearing rumors and
talk of the evacuation started. We could tell from what
we read in the newspapers and the propaganda they were printing—guys
like Henry McLemore, who said he hated all Japs and that we
should be rounded up, gave us the idea of how strong feelings
were against us. So we were expecting something and the evacuation
was no great surprise.
I can’t really say what my parents thought about everything
because we didn’t communicate that well. I never
asked them what they thought. We communicated on other
things, but not political matters.
Once the evacuation was decided, we were told we had about a
month to get rid of our property or do whatever we wanted to
with it. That was a rough time for my brother, who was
running a printshop my parents owned. We were still in
debt on it and we didn’t know what to do with all the
equipment. The machines were old but still workable, and
we had English type and Japanese type. Japanese characters
had to be set by hand and were very hard to replace. Finally,
the whole works was sold, and since nobody would buy the Japanese
type, we had to sell it as junk lead at 500 a pound. We sold
the equipment through newspaper classified ads: "Evacuating:
Household goods for sale." Secondhand dealers and
everybody else came in and bought our refrigerator, the piano,
and I had a whole bunch of books I sold for $5, which was one
of my personal losses. We had to sell our car, and the
whole thing was very sad. By the way, it was the first
time we had ever had a refrigerator and it had to be sold after
only a few months.
We could take only what we could carry, and most of us were
carrying two suitcases or duffel bags. The rest of our
stuff that we couldn’t sell was stored in the Buddhist
church my mother belonged to. When we came back, thieves
had broken in and stolen almost everything of value from the
I had a savings account that was left intact, but people who
had their money in the Japanese bank in Seattle had their assets
frozen from Pearl Harbor until the late 1960s, when the funds
were finally released. They received no interest.
They took all of us down to the Puyallup fairgrounds, Camp Harmony,
and everything had been thrown together in haste. They
had converted some of the display and exhibit areas into rooms
and had put up some barracks on the parking lot. The walls
in the barracks were about eight feet high with open space above
and with big knotholes in the boards of the partitions.
Our family was large, so we had two rooms.
They had also built barbed-wire fences around the camp with
a tower on each corner with military personnel and machine guns,
rifles, and searchlights. It was terrifying because we didn’t
know what was going to happen to us. We didn’t know
where we were going and we were just doing what we were told.
No questions asked. If you get an order, you go ahead
and do it.
There was no fraternization, no contact with the military or
any Caucasian except when we were processed into the camp.
But the treatment in Camp Harmony was fairly loose in the sense
that we were free to roam around in the camp. But it was like
buffalo in cages or behind barbed wire.
There was no privacy whatsoever in the latrines and showers,
and it was humiliating for the women because they were much
more modest then than today. It wasn’t so bad for the
men because they were accustomed to open latrines and showers.
We had no duties in the sense that we were required to work,
but you can’t expect a camp to manage itself. They
had jobs open in the kitchen and stock room, and eventually
they opened a school where I helped teach a little. I
wasn’t a qualified teacher, and I got about $13 a month.
We weren’t given an allowance while we were in Camp Harmony
waiting for the camp at Minidoka to be finished, so it was pretty
tight for some families.
From Camp Harmony on, the family structure was broken down.
Children ran everywhere they wanted to in the camp, and parents
lost their authority. We could eat in any mess hall we
wanted, and kids began ignoring their parents and wandering
wherever they pleased.
Eventually they boarded us on army trucks and took us to trains
to be transported to the camps inland. We had been in
Camp Harmony from May until September.
Source: Archie Satterfield, ed. The Home Front:
An Oral History Of the War Years in America: 1941-45 (Chicago,
1981) pp. 330-338.
THE ZOOT SUIT RIOT
worst example of anti-Chicano violence in the 20th Century history
of the United States is described below by historians, Julian
Samora and Patricia Vandel Simon.
In the early 1940s many Mexican American teenagers wore "drapes."
This popular style of clothing resembled the zoot suits worn
in Harlem. It was designed to be comfortable to dance
in, and was sometimes used as a signal that the wearer belonged
to a club or gang. Most Anglos called the outfit a zoot
suit and assumed that only hoodlums wore them.
In 1942, in the name of national security, all the Japanese
Americans on the west coast had been taken from their homes
and interred in camps. With this group of scapegoats safely
out of the way, Los Angeles newspapers began to blame crime
in the city on the Mexican Americans. They began to give
prominence to incidents involving Mexican Americans, or as they
called them, "zoot suiters."
On the evening of June 3, 1943, eleven sailors on shore leave
walked into one of Los Angeles's worst Mexican American slums
and became involved in a fight with persons unknown, but who
were thought to be Mexican Americans. This incident stirred
up the anger of the citizenry, as well as that of the many members
of the armed forces who were stationed in Los Angeles.
The next evening two hundred sailors hired a fleet of taxicabs
and drove through the heart of the city to the Mexican American
communities on the east side. Every time they saw a Mexican
American boy in a zoot suit they would stop and beat him up.
The city police did nothing to stop them.
The following two nights the sailors were joined by other servicemen
as the wandered freely through the city harassing Mexican Americans.
Los Angeles police arrested several severely beaten Mexican
American boys on charges of rioting, even though no resistance
had been offered by the Mexican Americans. The newspapers
featured headlines such as "44 Zooters Jailed in Attacks
On June seventh, thousands of civilians joined in the riot.
Filipinos and Negroes as well as Mexican Americans were attacked.
At midnight military authorities decided the local police could
not handle the situation and declared downtown Los Angeles off
limits to military personnel. The rioting spread to the
suburbs for two more days before it finally subsided.
The Los Angeles zoot suit riots touched off similar disturbances
across the country in the summer of 1943; in San Diego; Beaumont,
Texas; Detroit; Evansville, Indiana; Philadelphia and Harlem.
Source: Julian Samora and Patricia Vandel Simon,
A History of the Mexican American People, (Notre Dame,
Ind., 1977), p. 157.
NISEI SOLDIERS IN EUROPE
the internment of the vast majority of Japanese during World
War II, a Japanese-American Army unit, the 442nd Regimental
Combat Team, fought in against the Germans in the Italian theater
and became one of the most decorated American units during the
war. A brief account of their heroism is detailed below
by one of their officers, Lt. Daniel Inouye who later became
the U.S. Senator from Hawaii.
Few men fought in all of the 442nd's campaign and battles.
Our casualty rate was so high that eventually it took 12,000
men to fill the original 4,500 places in the regiment.
But fewer men still missed a battle as long as they could stand
up and hold an M1. The outfit has the lowest AWOL rate
in the European theater of operations and the only men I ever
heard about going over the hill had very special reasons....
When we reached Leghorn [the site of a battle with German troops]
we were trucked north to an area in the sector of the 92nd Division,
to which the 442nd was now attached. The 92nd was one
of only two outfits in the army made up of Negro troops.
The had fought hard and lost many men and the Germans seemed
to take a fiendish delight in bombarding them with propaganda
leaflets--a white man making love to a Negro girl, and the inevitable
caption: "Is this your wife?" And the taunting
questions: "What are you fighting for? To go back
to slavery to your white masters?"
Our side didn't help much. The division officers' clubs
were segregated--this in the heart of a war zone--as was every
other recreational facility. One of the first things our
regimental C.O. did was send word through the 442nd that we
were to steer clear of both the white and colored clubs.
Since there was no way we could change a rotten situation, he
wanted us to be as free of it as we could, and we kept very
much to ourselves.
The mission of the 92nd was to breach the western anchor of
the Gothic Line, a system of rock and concrete fortifications
high in the mountains of northern Italy. Elaborate bunkers
and fortified machine gun nests made it seem impenetrable.
When the commanding general...asked whether the 442nd could
take Mt. Folgorito [part of the Gothic Line] in a week's time...our
C.O. replied drily, "I think you can count on it."
We jumped off at midnight of April 5, two battalions moving
through an unreconnoitered gorge and scaling the cliffs on the
enemy's right... Later we learned that some of the men had slipped
and bounced as much as 100 feet down the steep slopes--one fell
to his death--but not one of them cried out and the soundless
advance went on. We took the Germans by complete surprise...
We moved up that slope and almost at once three machine guns
opened up on us.... I looked down to where my right hand was
clutching my stomach. Blood oozed between my fingers...
We were pinned down and now the moment was critical... I lobbed
two grenades... And as I drew my arm back...I saw a German soldier...aiming
a rifle grenade at my face from a range of ten yards.
As I cocked my arm to throw, he fired and his rifle grenade
smashed into my right elbow and exploded and all but tore my
arm off.... I turned to throw as the German was reloading his
rifle. But this time I beat him. My grenade blew
up in his face and I stumbled to my feet, firing my tommy gun
left-handed, the useless right arm slapping red and wet against
Source: Senator Daniel K. Inouye, Journey
to Washington, (Englewood Cliffs, N.J., 1967), pp. 141-142,
SOLDIER'S STORY: WALTER HIGGANS IN EUROPE
vignette below is an account of Walter Higgans, a Navajo soldier
in the U.S. Army who was captured by the Germans in World War
II only to escape to the Soviet Union.
The Germans were tryin' to come down this mountain road and
we were supposed to try to stop them. We went into this
heavy thick forest area where everything was so thick that you
couldn't see far at all. But the Germans kept sending
out patrols, and there was firing back and forth, in patches
like. Then everything cut loose. While those patrols
were keeping us busy, their tanks had moved up practically right
on top of us and they were so close you could hear the recoil
from their guns when they fired. So we started to fall
back slowly and we had been doin' this for about three hours,
and all of a sudden the platoon on our left ran through us and
they were yellin' that the tanks had moved in and were coming
this way fast. They had only .30 caliber machine guns,
and you can't fight tanks with that. They left all their
stuff behind. We went down into this big arroyo where
they had been.
About that time, I was a squad leader, a buck sergeant.
I talked to the platoon leader and he talked to a lieutenant
and the captain of the company, and they said to go get all
the equipment that was left back up there, but nobody would
go because the tanks were too close. So the captain talked
to the battalion commander, and he said to go back up and hold
the line. By that time three of us, and one of these was
a cousin of mine from Blue Notch, we had already gone up there
and brought back most of the rifles and grenades that they had
left there. Then the telephone line got knocked out with
all the firing. So two of us were sent up in the direction
of the tanks to fix the telephone wire. There was lots
of cover--something like ferns growin' about shoulder high--and
this other guy got separated from me. All at once there
were two Germans standin' right behind me and I was captured...
We escaped because they were going to move us into Berlin, and
we didn't want to be caught in the middle of the fighting.
We got through the Russian lines and into Poland to Danzig,
because we had heard that it was an open city. But that
place was torn to pieces, so then we headed down to Warsaw and
then from there to Lodz. And from Lodz we went across
to Kiev. All this time we were waking, and while this
was going on I got arrested about twelve times, because I was
walking with these white boys and the Russians wanted to know
who I was. They didn't even know that I was an American
and that I was born over here. They'd throw me in jail
and put me through interrogation by somebody who could speak
English. I kept tellin' them that I was an Indian, but
they would just laugh and say that there were no Indians over
here and I had to convince them. They finally turned me
loose one place and then I'd get arrested at the next town.
After the twelfth time, I asked them to give me a pass.
The Germans had taken all our identification from us.
When I was in jail, the others were good enough to wait for
me. There were twelve of them, and I was the odd one,
We finally walked down to Odessa and, boy, I never seen such
an awful lookin' bunch of people in my life. We had been
tradin' our clothes for food, but we were still half starved
and almost naked on top of that. This was toward the end
of March 1945, when we got down there...
Source: Jack O. Waddell and O. Michael Watson,
eds., The American Indian in Urban Society, (Boston 1971),
WHITES, ASIANS IN WORLD WAR II HAWAII
following vignette, taken from a 1993 article authored by Beth
Bailey and David Farber, describes the complex racial order
that African Americans found themselves in when they served
as soldiers, sailors and war workers in Hawaii. Their
experience profoundly reshaped thinking about race among whites,
blacks and Asians on both the islands and the mainland.
Well over a million service personnel and civilian employees
of the military...were brought to Hawaii by reason of war.
Among those men and women were approximately 30,000 people of
African descent--soldiers, sailors, war workers. They
came to a place that, before World War II, had no "Negro
Problem," in part because few people on the islands recognized
that "Negroes" lived in Hawaii. In 1940, according
to one estimate by the territorial government, approximately
200 "Negroes of American birth" lived on the islands...
Most people on Hawaii did not bring the racist ways of the mainland
into there daily lives. They did stereotype one another: many
Americans of Japanese ancestry looked down on the Chinese, and
often upon the haoles [whites]. The Chinese looked down
on the Filipinos. Round and round it went. Each
ethnic group had its suspicions of the others and definite hierarchies
existed. But such prejudices were not the white heat of
the mainland's rigid caste society. The lines were less
absolute... It helped that no one group held a majority...
Hawaii was much more progressive on the issue of race than the
rest of the U.S.
The men and women who came to Hawaii from the mainland were
uniformly shocked by what they found. On the streets of
Honolulu or in small towns on the Big Island, "white"
ness was not the natural condition. All newcomers were
surprised, but reactions varied. Some praised what they
saw...others were mightily upset by it; still others just confused...
Writing home in private letters to family and friends, wives
and sweethearts, black men who had come to Hawaii as servicemen
or war workers discussed the possibilities of Hawaii's wartime
racial liminality. A shipyard worker wrote: "I thank
God often for letting me experience the occasion to spend a
part of my life in a part of the world were one can be respected
and live as a free man should." Another young man
tried to explain to his girlfriend: "Honey, its just as
much difference between over here and down there as it is between
night and day." He concluded: Hawaii "will make
anybody change their minds about living down there."
"Down there" was the Jim Crow South, the place about
which a third man wrote, "I shall never go back."
White men and women from the mainland also saw the possible
implications of Hawaii's racial landscape: "They have come
as near to solving the race problem as any place in the world,"
wrote a nurse. "I'm a little mystified by it as yet
but it doesn't bother anyone who had lived here awhile."
A teacher found it world shaking: "I have gained here at
least the impulse to fight racial bigotry and boogeyism.
My soul has been stretched here and my notion of civilization
and Americanism broadened."
Not everyone was so inspired. One hardened soul, in Hawaii
with her husband and children, wrote the folks: "Down here
they have let down the standards, there does not seem to be
any race hatred, there is not even any race distinction... I
don't want to expose our children too long to these conditions."
A white man wrote back home: "Imagine that the South will
have some trouble ahead when these black bastards return.
Over here they're on the equal with everyone... They're in paradise
and no fooling." Others made it clear they did not
believe the trouble would keep: "Boy the niggers are sure
in their glory over here...they almost expect white people to
step off the streets and let them walk by... They are going
to overstep their bounds a little too far one of these days
and those boys from the South are going to have a little necktie
If Hawaii was "paradise"...there was a snake in this
paradise, too. "As you know," one man wrote
back to the mainland, "most sailors are from Texas and
the South. They are most[ly] Navy men here, and they have
surely poisoned everyone against the Negro...with tales of Negroes
carrying dreadful diseases, being thieves, murderers and downright
In letters back home, black servicemen fumed about the spread
of racial hatred. "They preach to the natives a nasty,
poisonous doctrine that we must fight like hell to overcome.
They tell the native that we are ignorant dumb, evil, rapers,
and troublemakers. They have the native women to a point
they are afraid to even speak to our Negro boys."
The responses of the local people to the black malihini
(newcomers) were complex and somewhat unpredictable. Although
some sociologists at the time speculated that the local population
would not accept negroes...in fact local men often lent their
support to blacks against whites...
This is not to say that the propaganda of African American inferiority
had no effect... Local women wrote frequently of their
fears. "I am very scared of these Negro soldiers here in
Honolulu. They make my skin shrivel and myself afraid
to go near them," wrote a Chinese girl. A young Japanese
woman wrote in almost identical terms: "They are so big
and dark... Seeing them around while I'm alone gives me the
'goose-flesh.'" Another Japanese woman was a little
more reflective about her feelings. After sharing a perfectly
uneventful bus ride with four black soldiers she wrote a friend:
"Gee, I was very frightened... Funny isn't it how I am
about them. One would be that way after hearing lots of
nasty things about them."
Some local women recognized the unfairness of local fears.
One young woman of Japanese ancestry, writing in a private letter,
criticized her peers: "They are going to have a dance for
colored boys...only 18 girls are willing to go--such cooperation.
Imagine us here talking about color equality and when it come
to those thing not enough cooperation. I sure would like
to have gone to it...but you know Mother."
Source: Beth Bailey and David Farber, "The
'Double-V' Campaign in World War II Hawaii: African Americans,
Racial Ideology, and Federal Power," Journal of Social
History 26:4 (Summer 1993:818-821, 825-827.
WAR II: SEATTLE'S ECONOMY TRANSFORMED
the following vignette I describe how Seattle emerged as a major
site of war production, a process which transformed both the
city and the region.
The Second World War generated profound changes in economic
and social conditions in the Pacific Northwest, prompting historian
Carlos Schwantes to describe the years 1941-45 as the beginning
of the modern era for the region. The Puget Sound area
soon became a major center for ship and aircraft construction,
which in turn stimulated other sectors of the economy.
The region's shipbuilding industry was revived in 1941 after
its virtual collapse following World War I, as eighty-eight
shipyards, twenty-nine in Seattle alone, furnished vessels
for the Navy, Coast Guard, and Merchant Marine. Seattle's
aircraft industry also came of age during World War II although
the process of growth and transformation had begun long before
the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The Boeing Airplane
Company in September 1939 employed 4,000 workers making military
planes for the Army Air Corps and some commercial aircraft
such as the Clipper airships which crossed the Pacific.
After fighting broke out in Europe, the British Royal Air Force
purchased the company's B-17 Flying Fortress bombers
for use against Nazi Germany. As orders came in, Boeing's
work force grew accordingly to nearly 10,000 by June 1941,
20,000 in September, and 30,000 when the United States officially
entered the war on December 8, 1941. In 1943, Boeing began
production of the Super Fortress a larger, longer-range
B-29 bomber from its facility in Renton, a Seattle suburb.
Boeing workers soon produced one B-29 bomber every five days
and one B-17 every twenty-four hours. By 1944, at the
peak of wartime production, Boeing employed nearly 50,000 workers
in the Seattle area and amassed total sales of more than $600
million annually, sharply contrasting with the $70 million
value of all Seattle manufacturing in 1939.
Although no other Seattle firm could rival Boeing in employment
or production, other companies also experienced spectacular
growth during World War II. Pacific Car and Foundry Company
in Renton, which manufactured logging trucks before 1941, now
produced Sherman tanks and employed nearly 4,000 workers in
1944. Shipyards in the Puget Sound area including the
Navy's facility at Bremerton and twenty-nine yards in Seattle,
employed 150,000 workers by 1944. Seattle's wartime contracts
totaling 5.6 billion dollars, ranked it among the nation's top
three cities (after Detroit and Los Angeles) in per capita war
Source: Quintard Taylor, The Forging of A
Black Community: Seattle's Central District from 1870 through
the Civil Rights Era (Seattle, 1994), pp. 160-161.
BOEING AND THE LIBERATION OF INEZ SAUER
this account Inez Sauer, Chief Clerk in the Tool Room at Boeing
in World War II, describes how here work experience changed
I was thirty-one when the war started and I have never worked
in my life before. I had a six-year-old daughter and two
boys, twelve and thirteen. We were living in Norwalk,
Ohio, in a large home in which we could fit about 200 people
playing bridge, and once in a while we filled it.
I remember my husband saying to me, "You've lived through
a depression and you weren't even aware it was here."
It was true. I knew that people were without work and
having a hard time, but it never seemed to affect us or our
friends. They were all of the same ilk--all college people
and all golfing and bridge-playing companions. I suppose
you'd call it a life of ease. We always kept a live-in
maid, and we never had to go without anything.
Before the war my life was bridge and golf and clubs and children...
When the war broke out, my husband's rubber-matting business
in Ohio had to close due to the war restrictions on rubber.
We also lost our live-in maid, and I could see there was no
way I could possibly live the way I was accustomed to doing.
So I took my children home to my parents in Seattle.
The Seattle papers were full of ads for women workers needed
to help the war effort. "Do your part, free a man for service."
Being a D.A.R. [Daughters of the American Revolution], I really
wanted to help the war effort. I could have worked for
the Red Cross and rolled bandages, but I wanted to do something
that I thought was really vital. Building bombers was,
so I answered an ad for Boeing.
My mother was horrified. She said no one in our family
had ever worked in a factory. "You don't know what
kind of people you're going to be associated with."
My father was horrified too... My husband thought it was
utterly ridiculous. I had never worked. I didn't
know how to handle money, as he put it. I was nineteen
when I was married. My husband was ten years older, and
he always made me feel like a child, so he didn't think I would
last very long at the job, but he was wrong.
They started me as a clerk in this huge tool room. I had
never handled a tool in my life outside of a hammer. Some
man come in and asked for a bastard file. I said to him,
"If you don't control your language, you won't get any
service here." I went to my supervisor and said,
"You'll have to correct this man. I won't tolerate
that kind of language." He laughed and said, "Don't
you know what a bastard file is? It's the name of a very
coarse file." He went over and took one out and showed
The first year, I worked seven days a week. We didn't have any
time off. They did allow us Christmas off, but Thanksgiving
we had to work. That was a hard thing to do. The
children didn't understand. My mother and father didn't
understand, but I worked. I think that put a little iron
in my spine too. I did something that was against my grain,
but I did it and I'm glad...
Because I was working late one night I had a chance to see President
Roosevelt. They said he was coming on the swing shift, after
four o'clock, so I waited to see him. They cleared out
the aisle of the main plant, and he went through in a big, open
limousine. He smiled and he had his long cigarette holder,
and he was very, very pleasant. "Hello there, how
are you? Keep up the war effort. Oh, you women are
doing a wonderful job." We were all thrilled to think
the President could take time out of the war effort to visit
us factory workers. It gave us a lift, and I think we
Boeing was a real education for me. It taught me a different
way of life. I had never been around uneducated people
before, people that worked with their hands. I was prudish
and had never been with people that used coarse language...
I didn't know there was such a thing as the typical male ego.
My contact with my first supervisor was one of animosity, in
which he stated, "The happiest duty of my life will be
when I say goodbye to each of you to the door." I
didn't understand that kind of resentment, but it was prevalent
throughout the plant...
The job really broadened me.... I had no contact
with Negroes except as maids or gardeners. My mother was
a Virginian, and we were bought up to think that colored people
were not of the same economic or social level. I learned
differently at Boeing... I fact, I found that some of the black
people I got to know there were very superior--and certainly
equal to me--equal to anyone I ever knew.
Before I worked at Boeing I also had no exposure to unions.
After I was there for a while, I joined the machinists union.
We had a contract dispute, and we had a one-day walkout to show
Boeing our strength. We went on this march through the
financial district in downtown Seattle.
My mother happened to be down there seeing the president of
the Seattle First National Bank at the time... So my mother...walked
outside to see what was happening. And we came down the
middle of the street--there were probably five thousand of us.
I saw my mother...and I waved and said, "Hello, mother."
That night when I got home, I thought she was never going to
honor my name again. She said, "To think my daughter
was marching in that labor demonstration. How could you
do that to the family?" But I could see that it was
a new world.
My mother warned me, "You will never want to go back to
being a housewife." At the time I didn't think it
would change a thing. But she was right... I had
always been in a shell; I had always been protected. But
at Boeing I found a freedom and an independence that I had never
known. After the war, I could never go back to playing
bridge again, being a club woman and listening to a lot of inanities
when I knew there were things you could use your mind for.
The war changed my life completely. I guess you could
say, at thirty-one I finally grew up.
Source: David E. Shi and Holly Mayer, eds., For
the Record: A Documentary History of America (New York,
1999), pp. 254-257
WEST COAST SHIPYARDS
War II generated the growth of major shipyards from Seattle
to San Diego which employed thousands of workers. Three
shipyards built by industrialist Henry Kaiser in the Portland-Vancouver
area employed over 100,000. The vignette below describes
the Kaiser shipyard in Richmond, California.
All shipyard workers had to adjust to the regimen of prefabricated
shipbuilding. Using techniques developed in building Boulder
Dam, west coast shipbuilders assembled whole sections of a ship's
structure, boilers, double bottoms, deckhouses, preassembled
elsewhere and lifted into place by huge cranes. This technique
allowed these yards to assemble vessels in record time.
The Robert E. Peary was built in four days [at the Kaiser
Shipyard in Richmond] in November 1942. Since workers
performed specific, repetitive tasks, training went rapidly.
But these workers faced a bureaucratized environment.
For the first time in their lives they used security badges,
got company-sponsored health care, reported to timekeepers,
and receive their paychecks (with income tax withheld) from
pay windows. The Richmond yards were laid out in a grid
system of numbered and lettered streets. One worker described
the 900 acres of shipyards: "It was such a huge place...
People from all walks of life, all coming and going and working,
and the noise. The whole atmosphere was overwhelming to
West Coast shipyards pioneered new production techniques and
labor-management relations but they also embraced old stereotypes.
The Chinese performed detail-oriented electrical work considered
suitable for their skills. White women held welding jobs,
considered the easiest position on the yards, while black women
were relegated to scaling (cleaning), sweeping and painting
ship hulls. Portland shipyard worker Beatrice Marshall
described her job as a painter's helper: "We had to crawl
on our hands and knees and carry our light on an extension cord...because
it was pitch dark. We...scraped the rust off the bottom
of the boat where they had to paint... We had to wear masks,
there [was] so much rust in there...you could hardly breathe."
Source: Quintard Taylor, In Search of the
Racial Frontier: African Americans in the American West, 1528-1990,
(New York, 1998) p. 257.
CHILDS CONFRONTS A RACIST ACT
the following vignette, black San Francisco shipyard worker
Lyn Childs, describes how she came to the defense of a Filipino
employee on the ship she was repairing. Her account also
discusses the reaction from her supervisor.
I was working down in the hold of the ship and there were about
six Filipino men...and this big white guy went over and started
to kick this poor Filipino and none of the Black men that was
working down there in the hold with him said one word to this
guy. And I sat there and was getting madder and madder
by the minute. I sprang to my feet, turned on my torch,
and I had a flame about six to seven feet out in front of me,
and I walked up to him and I said (you want me to say the real
language?) I said to him,
"You so-in-so. If you go lift one more foot, I'll
cut your guts out." That was my exact words.
I was so mad with him.
Then he started to tell me that he had been trained in boot
camp that any national group who was darkskinned was beneath
all White People. So he started to cry. I felt sorry
for him, because he was crying, really crying. He was
frightened, and I was frightened. I didn't know what I
was doing, so in the end I turned my torch off and I sat down
on the steps with him.
About that time the intercom on board the ship started to announce,
"Lyn Childs, report to Colonel Hickman immediately."
So I said, "I guess this is it." So I went up
to Colonel Hickman's office, and behind me came all these men,
and there lined up behind me, and I said,
"Where are you guys going?"
They said, "We're going with you."
When we got to the office [Colonel Hickman] said, "I just
wanted to see Lyn Childs," and they said, "You'll
see all of us, because we were all down there. We all
did not have the guts enough to do what she did, [but] we're
Colonel Hickman said, "Come into this office."
He had one of the guards take me into the office real fast and
closed the door real fast and kept them out, and he said,
"What kind of communist activity are you carrying on down
I said, "A communist! What is that?"
He said, "You know what I am talking about. You're
I said, "A communist! Forget you! The kind
of treatment that man was putting on the Filipinos, and to come
to their rescue. Then I am the biggest communist you ever
seen in your life. That is great. I am a communist."
He said, "Don't say that so loud."
I said, "Well, you asked me was I a communist. You're
saying I am. I'm saying I'm a...
"Shh! Shh! Shh! Hush! Don't say that so loud."
Then he said, "I think you ought to get back to work."
"Well, you called me Why did you call me?"
"Never mind what I called you for," he said, "Go
back to work."
Source: Paul R. Spickard, "Work and Hope:
African American Women in Southern California During World War
II," Journal of the West 32:3 (July 1993):74-75.
STALIN CALLS FOR A SECOND FRONT
origins of the Cold War can be found in the tension between
the United States and Britain and the Soviet Union while allies
in World War II. From June, 1941, to June, 1944, Soviet
Armies absorbed the brunt of the Axis onslaught with relatively
little assistance from Britain and the United States.
By the summer of 1943 Soviet dictator, Josef Stalin, sent a
secret note to Winston Churchill demanding a second front after
learning of Churchill's remark that the British and Americans
were not yet prepared for an invasion of Europe.
...When you write that "it would be no help to Russia if
we threw away a hundred thousand men in a disastrous cross‑Channel
attack," all I can do is remind you of the following:
First, your own Aide‑Memoire of June 1942, in which you
declared that preparations were under way for an invasion, not
by a hundred thousand, but by an Anglo‑American force
exceeding one million men at the very start of the operation.
Second, your February  message which mentioned extensive
measures preparatory to the invasion of Western Europe in August
or September 1943, which, apparently, envisaged an operation,
not by a hundred thousand men, but by an adequate force.
So when you now declare: "I cannot see how a great British
defeat and slaughter would aid the Soviet armies," is it
not cleat that a statement of this kind in relation to the Soviet
Union is utterly groundless and directly contradicts your previous
and responsible decisions....about extensive and vigorous measures
by the British and Americans to organise the invasion this year,
measures on which the complete success of the operation should
I shall not enlarge on the fact that this responsible decision,
revoking your previous decisions on the invasion of Western
Europe, was reached by you and the President [Roosevelt] without
Soviet participation and without inviting its representatives
to the Washington conference, although you cannot but be aware
that the Soviet Union's role in the war against Germany and
its interest in the problems of the second front are great enough.
There is no need to say that the Soviet Government cannot become
reconciled to this disregard of vital Soviet interests in the
war against the common enemy.
You say that you "quite understand" my disappointment.
I must tell you that the point here is not just the disappointment
of the Soviet Government, but the preservation if its confidence
in its Allies, a confidence which is being subjected to severe
stress. One should not forget that it is a question of
saving million of lives in the occupied areas of Western Europe
and Russia, and of reducing the enormous sacrifices of the Soviet
armies, compared with which the sacrifices of the Anglo‑American
armies are insignificant.
Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the U.S.S.R.,
Correspondence Between the Chairman of the Council of Ministers
of the U.S.S.R. and the Presidents of the U.S.A. and the Prime
Ministers of Great Britain during the Great Patriotic War of
1941‑1945, Vol. II, (Moscow: 1957), pp. 75‑76.
TENSION IN WORLD WAR II
John R. Deane, the chief U.S. military liaison officer in Moscow
during World War II, found the Soviets reluctant allies who
wanted American military hardware but who feared American personnel
would spy on Soviet defenses and promote dissent among Soviet
citizens. Here he provides an account of Soviet suspicion
of American efforts at cooperation.
Whatever the reasons, the fact that Russia desired, insofar
as possible to play a lone hand was proved by undeniable evidence.
In her darkest days she refused to allow a group of Allied bombers
to base in the Caucasus in order to assist her at Stalingrad.
Our well‑meant voluntary efforts to support her advance
in the Balkans with our Air Force operating from Italy brought
forth protests rather than gratitude. No single American
was allowed to enter the Soviet Union without pressure from
the Ambassador or me, and then a visa was granted only after
an exhaustive study of the background of the individual involved.
Under these circumstances it was clear that nothing much could
come of a partnership in which one of the principals was not
only reluctant, but proficient in sabotaging its effectiveness...
When General Eisenhower visited Moscow after the war, he held
a press conference at which he stated that after January 1945
he was kept fully informed at all times of the essentials of
the Red Army's plans, particularly the timing of their offensives,
their objectives, and the direction of their main efforts.
This was true, but his possession of such information was a
far cry from the co‑operative action that might normally
be expected between allies. All the information Eisenhower
had concerning the Red Army's plans was the result of our initiative
in seeking to obtain it, and then it was only obtained after
continuous pressure at the highest levels.
Not once during the war did Stalin or his subordinates seek
a meeting with British or American authorities in order to present
proposals for improving our co‑operative effort.
It was either the President or the Prime Minister [Churchill]
who proposed [conferences at] Teheran, Yalta, and Potsdam.
No single event of the war irritated me more than seeing the
President of the United States lifted from wheel chair to automobile,
to ship to shore and to aircraft, in order to go halfway around
the world as the only possible means of meeting J.V. Stalin.
There were innumerable little ways in which our joint war effort
could have been made more effective. We might have learned
something of immeasurable value in defeating the German submarines
had we been allowed to see Gdynia [naval base] as soon as it
was taken; we might have brought Germany to her knees quicker
had we been allowed to establish radar triangulation stations
in Russia as navigational aids to our bomber formations in eastern
Germany. We might have defeated Germany more quickly had
we shared our operational experience by having observers on
each other's fronts. We might have, we might have‑on
and on. No! In Soviet Russia each such venture would
have meant a closer association with capitalistic foreigners.
Well, perhaps we were among friends, but it was difficult to
Source: Thomas A. Bailey & David M. Kennedy,
The American Spirit, Vol. II, (Lexington, Mass: D.C.
Heath and Company, 1984), pp. 795‑796.
WORLD THE SECOND WORLD WAR CREATED
a special report on the 50th anniversary of the beginning of
World War II U.S. News and World Report, describes the
manner in which the Second World War shaped the post-War world.
It was the work of a moment for a handful of German soldiers
to snap the frail barrier at the frontier with Poland on Sept.
1, 1939, but the convulsions of that moment are still reverberating.
Six years of global conflict was only the beginning. Only
now, in the fifth decade since, do we seem to be emerging from
the postwar era and entering a new one....
The post-war era saw the decline and collapse of the traditional
colonial empires. What followed was a competition between
Communism and capitalism, and between Soviets and Americans,
to fill the vacuum the old European powers had left. The
Third World became the principal theater for U.S.-Soviet competition.
The cost of competing for influence in so many unstable, poverty-stricken
and often insignificant nations frequently went far beyond the
point of diminishing returns, especially for the Soviets, who
could ill-afford the cost.
The post war period ushered in a type of international conflict
not seen since the Crusades. The cold war was not just
a battle for survival between two states; it was a conflict
of ideologies that recognized no borders and achieved the zealousness
of religious wars. It openly and deliberately tested the
potential and performance of opposing economic and political
systems, both of which proclaimed their universality.
In the past, any conflict of such intensity would assuredly
have ended in a world war. But because nuclear weapons
promised Armageddon, the cold war remained a conflict of wills
rather than of weapons‑-not the hot wars of tanks and
artillery, but the cold wars of politics, propaganda, subversion
Today, as Soviet aggressiveness abroad appears to be declining,
smaller states see a diminishing logic in their own participation
in the cold war. America's allies now see little danger
from the Soviet Union and are uninterested in the global vision
of the United States. On the Soviet side, the captive
nations and regimes of Eastern Europe are groping for ways to
escape Soviet domination....A new era is opening with the prospect
of a counterrevolution as momentous at the end of the 20th century
as the Russian Revolution was at the beginning.
Source: "The World War Created," U.S.
News and World Report, Sept. 4, 1989, pp. 68-72.
DAY ONE OF THE NUCLEAR AGE
following accounts describe the atomic bomb blast in Hiroshima
August 6, 1945. The first is a discussion of the "hypocenter"
of the blast by Peter Wyden and the second is a description
of the city by Iwao Nakamura a 5th grader at a local school,
during the first hour after the explosion.
The hypocenter was in the courtyard of the Shima Hospital.
It was ground zero, the hub of the nuclear death wheel, the
point on the ground directly underneath the explosion.
The Shima hospital and all its patients were vaporized, but
its owner, the fatalistic Dr. Shima, kept pedaling unscathed
on his bicycle. He was between house calls in the suburbs.
Eighty-eight percent of the people within a radius of 1,500
feet died instantly or later on that day. Most others
within the circle perished in the following weeks or months.
All who where in Hiroshima on August 6 would come to know precisely
how far fate had placed them from the hypocenter at 8:15.
And everyone would learn at least one new English word:
hypocenter, the place from which all life and death was
measured....In less than half a second, heat rays with temperatures
of more than 3000 degrees Celsius caused primary burn injuries
within two miles of the hypocenter. About 130,000 of Hiroshima's
350,000 people would die.
Nakamura: We were…surrounded by a sea of fire.
The streets were blocked with the fire and smoke of the ruined
houses....There was no one in sight, and only once in a while
we heard a moaning voice like that of a wild beast coming out
of nowhere. I had the feeling that all the human beings
on the face of the earth had been killed off, and only the five
of use were left behind in an uncanny world of the dead....As
we passed the Nakajima School and came to Sumiyoshi Bridge,
I saw several people plunging their heads into a half-broken
water tank and drinking the water. I was very thirsty
too, and I was so happy to see some people again that without
thinking I left my parents' side and went toward them.
When I was close enough to see inside the tank I said, "Oh!"
out loud and instinctively drew back. What I had seen
in the tank were the faces of monsters reflected from the water
dyed red with blood. They had clung to the side of the
tank and plunged their heads in to drink and there in that position
they had died. From their burned and tattered middy blouses
I could tell that they were high school girls, but there was
not a hair left on their heads; the broken skin of their burned
faces was stained bright with blood. I could hardly believe
that these were human faces....As we....crossed Sumiyoshi Bridge,
for the first time we met some living people of this world.
No, rather than humans of this world it might be more correct
to say we met humans of that other world, of Hell. They
were all stark naked, their skin was rust-colored with burns
and blood, their whole bodies were swollen like balloons....Among
them we saw old people begging for water; youngsters crying
for help; delirious students calling the names of their fathers
and mothers....Yet we who were not even sure of our own lives
could do nothing for them.
Sources: Peter Wyden, Day One:
Before Hiroshima and After, New York, 1984, pp. 253-255;
Arata Osada, Children of the A-Bomb: The Testament
of the Boys and Girls of Hiroshima, New York, 1959, pp.
AND THE BOMB
Monday, August 6, 1945, the Seattle Times announced to
the world that the first atomic bomb had been dropped on Hiroshima
with the following headline: ATOMIC BOMB, EQUIVALENT OF 20,000
TONS, TNT, HITS JAPAN. Under that banner headline appeared
another, "Hanford--War's Greatest Mystery--Cleared; 17,000
Workers Making Fantastic Explosive." The vignette
below includes the first paragraphs following the second headline.
The secrecy of the Hanford Engineer Works--one of the America's
best-kept secrets of the Second World War--was swept aside today
as a new atomic bomb of catastrophic destructive force was dropped
on the Japanese homeland and President Truman announced that
the materials for it were produced in the 400,00-acre Hanford
Project in South Central Washington. President Truman's
announcement cleared the way for revelation of how at feverish
speed the huge sprawling project of towering smokestacks was
built on what had been farm and sagebrush-covered lands extending
into three Washington counties, Benton, Yakima and Grant, and
how a new model government city was constructed at Richland,
a few miles north of Pasco.
Necessarily on a project of such magnitude...thousands of workers
and others knew of the development but only a few high-ranking
military officers and scientists knew the exact nature...of
the project--the adaptation of the basic force of the universe
in a terrific weapon of war.
To impress the necessity of the secrecy which surrounded the
project, officials have from time to time let drop quiet remarks
which gave a hint of what they were working on, saying: "It
will shorten the war and bring victory to the Allies."
And after Germany was beaten the remark was: "It will finish
But today, as American airmen rocked a portion of Japan with
the tremendous explosive, officials at the project headquarters,
Richland, Benton County, made known how workers who did not
know what the were making, produced the ingredients for the
explosive by operating complicated machinery from behind thick
concrete safety walls.
Situated about 30 miles north of Richland, the production area
is divided into three principal subareas to insure that individual
workers learn as little as possible about the overall project.
Separate passes are required to move from one area to another.
There is a series of plants [sic], each behind high wire fences
and each removed several miles from its nearest neighbor.
One of the areas contains raw materials; the second, three huge
chemical plants, and the third area contains three large plants
where the explosive material is produced.
The project employs 17,000 persons at present, officials said,
and one of the big problems was to design manufacturing processes
which would permit the fantastically powerful explosives to
be made safely.
Postwar use of the huge Hanford project has been the source
of much optimistic speculation. It is looked upon generally
as a potential industrial center, producing fertilizer and synthetics
such as nylon and plastics. But the government has been
silent on its future, indicating that it will be put in a reserve
status, guarded, and kept available for future emergencies...
Seattle Times, August 6, 1945, pp. 1, 2.
RELATIONS: A DISSENTING VIEW
the Cold War rapidly developed Henry A. Wallace, a former Secretary
of Agriculture and Vice‑President of the United States,
became a rare political voice who urged the United States to
refrain from confrontations with the Soviet Union and to reduce
the tension between these former allies who were now fast becoming
implacable enemies. In the speech below he explains why
the United States should seek accommodation with the Soviets.
We are reckoning with a force which cannot be handled successfully
be a `Get tough with Russia' policy. `Getting tough' never
bought anything real and lasting‑‑whether for schoolyard
bullies or businessmen or world powers. The tougher we
get, the tougher the Russians will get... I believe that we
can get cooperation once Russia understands that our primary
objective is neither saving the British Empire nor purchasing
oil in the Near East with the lives of American soldiers...
On our part, we should recognize that we have no more business
in the political affairs of Eastern Europe than Russia has in
the political affairs of Latin America, Western Europe and the
United States. We may not like what Russia does in Eastern
Europe. Her type of land reform, industrial expropriation,
and suppression of basic liberties offends the great majority
of the people of the United States. But whether we like
it or not the Russians will try to socialize their sphere of
influence just as we try to democratize our sphere of influence...
We cannot permit the door to be closed against our trade in
Eastern Europe any more than we can in China. But at the
same time we have to recognize that the Balkans are closer to
Russia than to us‑‑and that Russia cannot permit
either England or the United States to dominate the politics
of that area... Under friendly peaceful competition the
Russian world and the American world will gradually become more
alike. The Russians will be forced to grant more and more
of the personal freedoms; and we shall become more and more
absorbed with the problems of social‑economic justice.
Source: Henry A. Wallace, Speech at Madison Square
Garden, September 12, 1946.
RED SCARE: THE TRUMAN ADMINISTRATION LOYALTY OATH
1948 the Truman Administration prompted by rising concern over
Communist infiltration into the federal government and by Republican
attacks on its foreign policy as passive in the face of Soviet
expansionism, generated a loyalty oath to test American patriotism
and to ferret out potentially "disloyal" citizens.
The test, eventually used both inside the federal government
and by state governmental agencies and by private organizations,
asked the following questions among others:
"Have you ever read Karl Marx?"
"What do you think of Henry Wallace's third‑party
"Have you ever had Negroes in your home?"
"There is a suspicion in the record that you are in sympathy
with the underprivileged. Is this true?"
"Did you ever write a letter to the Red Cross about segregation
"Have you ever read Thomas Paine? Upton Sinclair?"
"When you were in ________'s home, did ________'s wife
dress conventionally when she received her guests?"
Source: Howard H. Quint, Milton Cantor and Dean
Albertson, Main Problems in American History, (Chicago:
The Dorsey Press, 1987) p. 278.
Senator Joseph McCarthy burst into national prominence in 1950
following a speech he delivered to a Republican women's club
in Wheeling, West Virginia, when he declared the United States
was losing the Cold War because the Truman administration was
filled with Communists. McCarthy claimed to have the names
of 205 Communists in the government but never produced the list.
Nonetheless his sensational charges gave a new name to hysteria
and political scapegoating--"McCarthyism." Part
of the Senator's speech appears below.
Today we are engaged in a final all-out battle between communistic
atheism and Christianity. The modern champions of communism
have selected this as the time, and ladies and gentleman, the
chips are down--they are truly down... Five years after a world
war has been won, men's hearts should anticipate a long peace,
and men's minds should be free from the heavy weight that comes
with war. But this is not such a period--for this is not
a period of peace. This is a time of the "cold war."
This is a time when all the world is split into two vast, increasingly
At war's end we were physically the strongest nation on earth...
Our could have bee the honor of being a beacon in the desert
of destruction, a shining living proof that civilization was
not yet ready to destroy itself. Unfortunately, we have
failed miserably and tragically to arise to the opportunity.
The reason we find ourselves in a position of impotency is not
because our only powerful potential enemy has sent men to invade
our shores, but rather because of the traitorous actions of
those who have been treated so well by this nation. It
has not been the less fortunate or members of minority groups
who have been selling this Nation out, but rather those that
have had all the benefits that the wealthiest nation on earth
has had to offer--the finest homes, the finest college education,
and the finest jobs in Government we can give.
This is glaringly true in the State Department. There
the bright young men who are born with silver spoons in their
mouths are the ones who have been the worst... In my opinion
the State Department, which is one of the most important government
departments, is thoroughly infested with Communists.
I have in my hand 205 cases of individuals who would appear
to be either card carrying members of or certainly loyal to
the Communist party, but who nevertheless are still helping
to shape our foreign policy.
One thing to remember in discussing the Communists in our Government
is that we are dealing with spies who got 30 pieces of silver
to steal the blueprints of a new weapon. We are dealing
with a far more sinister type of activity because it permits
the enemy to guide and shape our policy.
Source: Congressional Record, 81st Cong.,
2nd sess., 12 February 1950, pp. 1954-7
A SENATOR SPEAKS UP (1950)
Senator Margaret Chase Smith was in 1950 one of the few public
officials willing to openly criticize Senator McCarthy.
In a speech before the U.S. Senate she outlines her objections
to his tactics.
I think that it is high time for the United States Senate and
its Members to do some real soul searching, and to weigh our
consciences as to the manner in which we are performing our
duty to the people of America, and the manner in which we are
using or abusing our individual powers and privileges.
Those of us who shout the loudest about Americanism in making
character assassinations are all too frequently those who, by
our own words and acts, ignore some of the basic principles
The right to criticize.
The right to hold unpopular beliefs.
The right to protest.
The right of independent thought.
The exercise of these rights should not cost one single American
citizen his reputation or his right to a livelihood, nor should
he be in danger of losing his reputation or livelihood merely
because he happens to know someone who holds unpopular beliefs.
Who of us does not? Otherwise none of us could call our
souls our own. Otherwise thought control would have set
The American people are sick and tired of being afraid to speak
their minds lest they be politically smeared as Communists or
Fascists by their opponents. The American people are sick
and tired of seeing innocent people smeared and guilty people
Today our country is being psychologically divided by the confusion
and the suspicions that are bred in the United States Senate
to spread like cancerous tentacles of "knowing nothing,
suspect everything" attitudes....
As a United States Senator, I am not proud of the way in which
the Senate has been made a publicly platform for irresponsible
sensationalism. I am not proud of the reckless abandon
in which unproved charges have been hurled from this [Republican]
side of the aisle. I am not proud of the obviously staged,
undignified countercharges which have been attempted in retaliation
from the other [Democratic] side of the aisle.
I do not like the way the Senate has been made a rendezvous
for vilification, for selfish political gain at the sacrifice
of individual reputations and national unity. I
am not proud of the way we smear outsiders from the floor of
the Senate and hide behind the cloak of congressional immunity,
and still place ourselves beyond criticism on the floor of the
As an American, I condemn a Republican Fascist just as much
as I condemn a Democratic Communist. I condemn a Democratic
Fascist just as much as I condemn a Republican Communist.
They are equally dangerous to you and me and to our country.
As a American, I want to see our Nation recapture the strength
and unity it once had when we fought the enemy instead of ourselves.
Source: Congressional Record, 81st Congress,
2nd Session, pp. 7894‑95 (June 1, 1950)
SCARE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON
1948, two years before "McCarthyism" became a household
word nationally, a special state legislative committee led by
Spokane Republican Albert F. Canwell, held week-long hearings
on campus to investigate whether there were "no less than
150 Communists or Communist sympathizers on the faculty"
as charged by state senator Thomas Bienz. Numerous faculty
and administrators were called to testify. However six
faculty who refused to cooperate with the committee, Joseph
Butterworth (English), Ralph Gundlach (Psychology), Herbert
Phillips (Philosophy) Harold Eby (English), Garland O. Ethel
(English) and Melville Jacobs (Anthropology) were assumed to
be members of the Communist Party and consequently fired by
the university in 1949. In the passage below local historian
Jane Sanders describes the political climate in the state that
led to the Canwell Hearings.
In the State of Washington, the 1946 elections featured a campaign
by Republicans against “Communist-controlled Democrats.”
The focus of this effort was a clique of Democratic legislators
who had espoused “United Front” politics during
the 1930s, and were members of the Washington Commonwealth
Federation. The WCF was an alliance of unemployed and/or disaffected
liberals, laborers, and farmers which supported candidates favorable
to an expansion of the New Deal locally and nationally... A
special subject of Republican attack was Hugh DeLacy, a one-time
University of Washington English instructor...and leader of
the WCF, who had won election to Congress [from Seattle] in
1944. In his campaign for reelection, wide publicity was given
to the fact that DeLacy had been cited twice by the House Un-American
Activities Committee for membership in Communist “front”
organizations. In his stead, Washingtonians elected a former
state commander of the American Legion; they also chose a Republican
senator and a Republican-controlled legislature.
After the elections, conservative Democratic leaders resolved
to rid themselves of the alleged Communists in their ranks.
The 1947 legislature had not yet convened when a coalition
of Democrats and Republicans held a caucus to discuss the possibility
of a legislative investigation into Communist infiltration of
the Democratic party and state institutions. With regard to
one of those institutions, the University of Washington, the
caucus report stated: “It is common knowledge in many
quarters that the Communists have infiltrated the University
of Washington campus and that their supporters have found important
places on the faculty...the Communists are trying everything
in the book to reach American youth through the schools.”
In succeeding days, the Post-Intelligencer reported the
demands of leading Democrats for a purge of their party. Among
these were University of Washington regents State Senator Joseph
Drumheller and Teamster Union leader Dave Beck. Drumheller,
a member of a pioneer Washington family and grandson of University
of Washington President Leonard J. Powell (1882-87), was the
head of a Spokane chemical firm. Beck had been active in Seattle
labor politics since 1918; in the course of his battles with
more radical labor groups, such as Harry Bridges’ CIO-backed
Longshoremen and Warehouse-men’s Union, he brought his
own type of peace to the city’s unions and gained the
respect of businessmen, politicians, and the Hearst-owned Post-Intelligencer.
Beck had helped elect Democratic Governor Mon C. Wallgren in
1944; Wallgren, in turn, appointed Beck to the Board of Regents
Aside from conforming to the national pattern, and in some ways
anticipating it, [the Red Scare] in Washington State resembled
a family feud. The political and economic fortunes of the state
were historically tied to the basic industries of forestry,
shipping, farming, and fishing. Within those industries there
had always been pockets of right and left radicals who asserted
themselves in times of stress. Attempts by workers to organize
often involved violence... Populism at the turn of the century,
the activities of the Industrial Workers of the World, the Seattle
General Strike of 1919, the Red Scare and union battles of the
1920s and 1930s, and the disorders of the Depression left scars
on the memories of Washingtonians. Despite the fact that state
government was generally in the hands of conservatives, the
state was considered progressive in labor and welfare legislation.
Some thought matters had gone too far. “There are forty-seven
states and the Soviet of Washington,” a remark widely
attributed to Postmaster General James Farley, both embarrassed
and delighted the citizenry.
In the eyes of some Washingtonians, the University of Washington
had contributed to the state’s reputation for radicalism.
Over the years its faculty members were involved in controversial
movements. J. Allen Smith’s crusade for public ownership
of utilities caused powerful men to call for his dismissal.
[Just before] he died in 1924, Smith was still urging his students
to disdain the excesses of the government exemplified by Attorney
General Palmer’s campaign against "Bolsheviks,"
and by the enforcement of prohibition. In the 1930s faculty
members continued to outrage citizens. They sought solutions
to the problems of the Depression and the dangers of Fascism
through organizations such as the Communist party, Bellamy Clubs,
the Technocrats, the Washington Commonwealth Federation, and
the American Federation of Teachers.
Of course, political activism among professors was not unique
to the University of Washington, nor was the reservoir of suspicion
of professors peculiar to Washingtonians. But as the university
poised for an era of unprecedented growth and national recognition,
the threatening gestures of the 1947 legislature revived questions
that had lain dormant since the 1930s. Colleagues wondered again
whether activist faculty members were endangering the willingness
of the public to support university programs.
Jane Sanders, Cold War On Campus: Academic Freedom at the
University of Washington, 1946-64. (Seattle, 1979), pp.
UP FROM THE POTATO FIELDS
the vast majority of Americans live in suburbs rather than central
cities or rural areas. The following vignette, excerpted
from a 1950 Time Magazine article, describes one of the
first of these post-war communities, Levittown a New York City
suburb on Long Island which was created by homebuilders William
Levitt who is often credited with being the founder of modern
On 1,200 flat acres of potato farmland near Hicksville, Long
Island, an army of trucks sped over new-laid roads. Every
100 feet, the trucks stopped and dumped identical bundles of
lumber, pipes, bricks, shingles, and copper tubing--nearly as
neatly packaged as loaves from a bakery. Near the bundles,
giant machines with an endless chain of buckets ate into the
earth, taking just 13 minutes to dig a narrow, four-foot trench
around a 25-32 ft. rectangle. Then came more trucks, loaded
with cement, and laid a four-inch foundation for a house in
After the machines came the men. On nearby slabs already
dry, they worked in crews of two and three, laying bricks, raising
studs, nailing lath, painting, sheathing, shingling. Each
crew did its special job, then hurried on to the next site.
Under the skilled combination of men & machines, new houses
rose faster than Jack ever built them; a new one was finished
every 15 minutes.
Three years ago, little potatoes had sprouted from these fields.
Now there were 10,600 houses inhabited by more than 40,000 people,
a community almost as big as 96-year-old Poughkeepsie, N.Y.,
Plainfield, N.J., or Chelsea, Mass. Its name: Levittown.
Levittown is known largely for one reason: it epitomizes the
revolution which has brought mass production to the housing
industry. Its creator, Long Island's Levitt & Sons,
Inc., has become the biggest builder of houses in the U.S...
The houses in Levittown, which sell for a uniform price of $7,990,
[ed. These houses now sell for $500,000 to $700,000]
cannot be mistaken for castles. Each has a sharp-angled
roof and a picture window, radiant heating in the floor, 12
by 16 foot living room, bath, kitchen, two bedrooms on the first
floor, and an "expansion attic" which can be converted
into two more bedrooms and bath. The kitchen has a refrigerator,
stove and Bendix washer; the living room a fireplace and a built-in
Admiral television set...
By insuring loans up to 95% of the value of a house, the Federal
Housing Administration made it easy for a builder to borrow
the money with which to build low-cost homes. The Government
made it just as easy for the buyer by liberally insuring his
mortgage... Government-guaranteed mortgages were so liberalized
that in many cases buying a house is now as easy as renting
it. The new terms: 5% down (nothing down for veterans)
and 30 years to pay. Thus an ex-G.I. could buy a Levitt
house with no down payment and installments of $56 a month.
The countless new housing projects made possible by this financial
easy street are changing the way of life of millions of U.S.
citizens, who are realizing for the first time the great American
dream of owning their own home. No longer must young married
couples plan to start living in an apartment, saving for the
distant day when they can buy a house. Now they can do
it more easily than they can buy a $2,000 car on the installment
Like its counterparts across the land, Levittown is an entirely
new kind of community... It has no movies, no nightclubs and
only three bars (all in the community shopping centers).
And Levittown has very few old people. Fe of its more
than 40,000 residents are past 35; of some 8,000 children, scarcely
900 are more than seven years old. In front of almost
every house along Levittown's 100 miles of winding streets sits
a tricycle or a baby carriage. In Levittown, all activity
stops from 12 to 2 in the afternoon; that is nap time.
Laid one Levittowner last week, "Everyone is so young that
sometimes it's hard to remember how to get along with old people."
Though most of the incomes are about the same (average: about
$3,800), Levittowners come from all classes, all walks of life.
Eighty percent of the men commute to their jobs in Manhattan,
many sharing their transportation costs through car pools. Their
jobs, as in any other big community, range from baking to banking,
from teaching to preaching. Levittown has also developed
its own unique way of keeping up with the Joneses. Some
Levittowners buy a new house every year, as soon as the new
model is on the market...
Source: "Up from the Potato Fields,"
Time Magazine (3 July 1950):67-69, 72, reprinted in David E.
Shi and Holly A. Mayer, For the Record: A Documentary History
of the United States (New York, 1999), p. 288.
OPINIONS IN THE 1950
McCarthy period had a profound influence on the opinions and
ideas of an entire generation of Americans. A national
survey of teenagers in 1958 revealed scant tolerance for diversity
or dissenting opinion.
"Only forty‑five percent of the nation's young
adults believe that newspapers should be allowed to print anything
they want except military secrets...
"Twenty‑six percent believe that the police should
be allowed to search a person or his home without a warrant...
"Twenty‑five percent agree that some groups should
not be allowed to hold public meetings.
"Seventeen percent say that it may be right for police
to jail people without naming the charges against them.
"Thirty‑three percent say that people who refuse
to testify against themselves be made to talk or should be severely
punished. An additional 20 per cent are uncertain about
"Fourteen percent think there is something evil about scientists...
"Thirty percent declare that one can't raise a normal family
and become a scientist.
"Thirty‑five percent believe that it's necessary
to be a genius to become a good scientist and forty‑five
per cent think their own school backgrounds are too poor to
permit them to choose science as a career.
"Thirty‑seven per cent feel that the greatest threat
to democracy in the United States comes from foreign ideas and
Source: Richard Current, American History:
A Survey, (New York: Knopf, 1961), p. 854.
F. KENNEDY AND THE COLD WAR
John F. Kennedy in a 1963 speech given five months before his
assassination, describes his attitude and approach toward the
Soviet Union. Here Kennedy suggests a type of accommodation
between the superpowers, a recognition of their economic and
political differences tempered by the realization that despite
those differences the two nations, and indeed the rest of the
nations, must a small planet.
What kind of peace do we seek? Not a Pax Americana enforced
on the world by American weapons of war. Not the peace
of the grave or the security of the slave. I am talking
about genuine peace... Some say that it is useless to speak
of world peace or world law or world disarmament‑‑and
that it will be useless until the leaders of the Soviet Union
adopt a more enlightened attitude. I hope they do.
I believe we can help them do it. But I also believe that
we must reexamine our own attitude‑‑as individuals
and as a Nation‑‑for our attitude is as essential
as theirs... World peace, like community peace, does not require
that each man love his neighbor‑‑it requires only
that they live together in mutual tolerance, submitting their
disputes to a just and peaceful settlement. And history
teaches us that enmities between nations, as between individuals,
do not last forever. However fixed our likes and dislikes
may seem, the tide of time and events will often bring surprising
changes in the relations between nations and neighbors....
It is sad to read these Soviet statements‑‑to realize
the extent of the gulf between us. But it is also a warning‑‑a
warning to the American people not to fall into the same trap
as the Soviets, not to see only a distorted and desperate view
of the other side, not to see conflict as inevitable, accommodation
as impossible, and communication as nothing more than an exchange
of threats. No government or social system is so evil
that its people must be considered as lacking in virtue... We
are both caught up in a vicious and dangerous cycle in which
suspicion on one side breeds suspicion on the other, and new
weapons beget counterweapons... If we cannot now end our differences,
at least we can help make the world safe for diversity.
For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that
we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same
air. We all cherish our children's future. And we
are all mortal.
Source: John F. Kennedy, Speech at American University,
Washington D.C., June 10, 1963.
IN THE GULF OF TONKIN
August, 1964, following a purported attack on U.S. military
forces off the coast of Southeast Asia, President Lyndon Johnson
sought and received overwhelming Congressional authorization
to send combat troops to defend South Vietnam. This "escalation"
initiated the longest war in the history of the United States.
What follows are both the President's message to Congress concerning
the incident and its response, the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution.
Johnson's Message to Congress August 5, 1964
Last night I announced to the American people that the North
Vietnamese regime had conducted...deliberate attacks against
U.S. naval vessels operating in international waters, and I
had therefore directed air action against gunboats and supporting
facilities used in these hostile operations. This air action
has now been carried out with substantial damage to the boats
and facilities. Two U.S. aircraft were lost in the action.
After consultation with the leaders of both parties in the Congress,
I further announced a decision to ask the Congress for a resolution
expressing the unity and determination of the United States
in supporting freedom and in protecting peace in southeast Asia.
These latest actions of the North Vietnamese regime has given
a new and grave turn to the already serious situation in southeast
Asia. Our commitments in that area are well known to the Congress.
They were first made in 1954 by President Eisenhower. They were
further defined in the Southeast Asia Collective Defense Treaty
approved by the Senate in February 1955.
This treaty with its accompanying protocol obligates the United
States and other members to... meet Communist aggression against
any of the parties or protocol states.
Our policy in southeast Asia has been consistent and unchanged
since 1954. I summarized it on June 2 in four simple propositions:
America keeps her word. Here as elsewhere, we must and shall
honor our commitments.
The issue is the future of southeast Asia as a whole. A threat
to any nation in that region is a threat to all, and a threat
Our purpose is peace. We have no military, political, or territorial
ambitions in the area.
This is not just a jungle war, but a struggle for freedom on
every front of human activity.
Our military and economic assistance to South Vietnam and Laos
in particular has the purpose of helping these countries to
repel aggression and strengthen their independence... In recent
months, the actions of the North Vietnamese regime have become
steadily more threatening... As President of the United States
I have concluded that I should now ask the Congress, on its
part, to join in affirming the national determination that all
such attacks will be met, and that the United States will continue
in its basic policy of assisting the free nations of the area
to defend their freedom.
As I have repeatedly made clear, the United States intends no
rashness, and seeks no wider war. We must make it clear to all
that the United States is united in its determination to bring
about the end of Communist subversion and aggression in the
area. We seek the full and effective restoration of the international
agreements signed in Geneva in 1954, with respect to South Vietnam
Joint Resolution of Congress H.J. RES 1145 August 7, 1964
by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States
of America in Congress assembled,
the Congress approves and supports the determination of the
President, as Commander in Chief, to take all necessary measures
to repel any armed attack against the forces of the United States
and to prevent further aggression.
2. The United States regards as vital to its national interest
and to world peace the maintenance of international peace and
security in southeast Asia. Consonant with the Constitution
of the United States and the Charter of the United Nations and
in accordance with its obligations under the Southeast Asia
Collective Defense Treaty, the United States is, therefore,
prepared, as the President determines, to take all necessary
steps, including the use of armed force, to assist any member
or protocol state of the Southeast Asia Collective Defense Treaty
requesting assistance in defense of its freedom.
3. This resolution shall expire when the President shall determine
that the peace and security of the area is reasonably assured
by international conditions created by action of the United
Nations or otherwise, except that it may be terminated earlier
by concurrent resolution of the Congress.
Department of State Bulletin, August 24, 1964 © 1996 The
Avalon Project. The Avalon Project : The Tonkin Gulf Incident;
1964 was last modified on: 12/13/2002 14:40:05.
number of American servicemen and women stationed in South Vietnam
peaked at 538,000 by the end of 1968. Virtually all of
them were aware of the growing unpopularity of the war in the
United States and were both angered and bewildered at the lack
of support. One Oregon serviceman wrote a letter home
in 1966 expressing his dismay at the anti‑war protest.
Part of the letter is reprinted below.
How are the people taking to the war in Portland? I've
read too much ...about the way some of those cowardly students
are acting on campuses. They sure don't show me much as
far as being American citizens. They have the idea that
they are our future leaders. Well, I won't follow nobody
if he isn't going to help fight for my freedom.
A few weeks ago, I had the chance to talk with some Marines
who had come to Okinawa for four (lousy) days of leave.
They were more than happy because they had been fighting for
six months with no let‑up. We sat in a restaurant
all the time, and I wish I could have taped it on my recorder.
What they had to say would have had an impact on the people
back home. One showed me where he had been shot.
I asked if it hurt, and he didn't feel it. Not until after
he got the that shot him. He was more angry than hurt.
They told me of some of their patrols and how they would
be talking to a buddy one minute and watch him die the next.
Or wake up in the morning and see a friend hung from a tree
by hooks in his armpits with parts of his body cut and shoved
into his mouth. From what they said, the Vietcong aren't
the only ruthless ones. We have to be, too. Have
to. You'd be surprised to know that a guy you went to
school with is right now shooting a nine year‑old girl
and her mother. He did it because if they got the chance
they would kill him. Or throwing a Vietcong out of a helicopter
because he wouldn't talk.
One guy (who had broke down and cried) said that his one desire
is to get enough leave to go home and kick three of those demonstrators
in a well‑suited place and bring him back. I tell
you, it's horrible to read a paper and see your own people aren't
backing you up.
Thomas A. Bailey and David Kennedy, ed., The American Spirit,
Vol. II, (Lexington, Mass.: D. C. Heath and Company, 1984),
1966, David Harris, a former Boy‑of‑the‑Year
from Fresno, California, and student body president at Stanford
University, chose to protest the war in Vietnam by resisting
the draft. Harris was arrested and spent two years in
a federal penitentiary for his actions. In his 1982 autobiography,
Dreams Die Hard, he explains his decision.
The more we learned about the war, the worse it seemed.
Late in July, I attended a lecture by a Canadian journalist
who had just returned from North Vietnam. Dennis [Sweeney]
and the Channing Street Group were at the lecture as well.
With what amounted to only a fledgling air defense system, explained
the journalist, North Vietnam had no hope of turning the American
Air Force back. Theoretically, strategic air power destroys
the enemy's industrial, logistic, and transportation systems,
but North Vietnam possessed little centralized industry and
only a rudimentary transportation system. Consequently,
the target increasingly became the population itself.
The American strategy's starting point was a calculation by
Defense Department planners that it took only two Vietnamese
to deal with one of their dead countrymen, but one wounded required
five. Mass woundings, it was assumed, would tie the enemy's
hands, and the American arsenal had developed wounding devices
in great variety... The CBU was a small explosive package stuffed
with hundreds of one‑inch steel darts, each shaped with
fins, designed to "peel off" the outer flesh, make
"enlarged wounds," and "shred body organs"
before "lodging in the blood vessels." The BLU
52 was 270 pounds of "riot control" chemical that
induced vomiting, nausea, and muscle spasms, occasionally fatal
to old people and children. The M‑36 was an 800‑pound
casing containing 182 separate "incendiary bomblets,"
the most horrendous of which were manufactured from phosphorus,
commonly lodging in the flesh and continuing to burn for as
long as fifteen days, causing its victims' wounds to glow with
an eerie green light.
Without looking at Dennis, I spoke up.
"You know," I said, "those bastards have got
to be stopped."
Three weeks later I sat at my typewriter and wrote local Draft
Board 71 in Fresno, California, a letter "To whom it may
concern." I enclosed a Selective Service classification
card indicating that the bearer, David Victor Harris, possessed
a student deferment. The letter informed my draft board
that I could no longer in good conscience carry the enclosed
document or accept the deferment it signified. It was
a privilege I found unwarranted for any student. It also
signified tacit assent on my part for both the task the Selective
Service System was performing and the power it had assumed over
my life. Being even implicitly a party to the destruction
of Indochina was not part of my plans. If they ordered
me for induction, I warned them, I would refuse to comply.
I was prepared to abandon what seemed a promising future and
pit myself against the war one on one, believing I would redeem
my country and realize myself in the process. It seemed
that to do anything else would have dishonored both.
Thomas A. Bailey and David M. Kennedy, The American Spirit
(Lexington, Mass: D.C. Heath and Company, 1984), pp. 894‑896.
IDEALISM, DISILLUSIONMENT, COMPROMISE
the 1970s some Soviet youth, like their Western counterparts,
were increasingly rebellious against the political system.
In this account written in 1979, a visiting American university
student describes "Volodya," who although disenchanted
with the Soviet political system eventually succumbed to it.
As a teenager, Volodya was an idealistic Komsomol member who
worked in a construction brigade. "I helped to build
the Moscow State [University] tower where you live....To me,
it was like building a shrine─every
stone laid with sweat and strong beliefs." After
that, he attended a forestry institute, and was finally assigned
to patrol a game preserve several hundred miles north of Moscow.
This solitary job was a turning point in Volodya's life.
"Until then I was a child─loyal
to the State, unquestioning. But up there, I spent my
days walking or skiing alone through the woods. I slept
alone in a hut. My job was just silliness─it
didn't exist....I wasn't building Communism as I had been taught
to believe. What I was doing wasn't any use, and nobody
cared whether I lived or died in that forest. So I began
to read, which turned me into a rebel."
For Volodya, rebellion meant abandoning his job, moving illegally
back to Moscow, and buying a motorcycle... Volodya, with his
cycle and his leather jacket and his anti-establishment stance,
seems to have been a bit like a Soviet James Dean. He
went to dances and created a scandal by dancing the boogie-voogie...he
lived like an outlaw in friends' apartments, spending entire
days immersed in Russian literature. This changed him,
he says, from a simple discontented worker to an intelligent,
or proletarian intellectual, a thinker schooled in Dostoyevsky,
Tolstoy, and the bitter political satire of Saltykov-Shchedrin.
His anger became more specific, directed at the government,
which he saw as corrupt, as having failed to set a moral and
spiritual example for its citizens. Eventually he went
back to work, this time in a forest outside of Moscow, but his
awakening had been permanent. A few years later he formed
a circle of young men like himself, who pledged themselves to
revolution. "We planned to take on the State with
arms... I was slowly providing us with rifles stolen from
my forestry job."
The group met for a year, until they were all suddenly arrested.
"One of us, damn him, was a planted informer... They
locked us up in Lubyanka [a Moscow prison and the KGB headquarters]
for a week, beat us up and interrogated us. They wanted
me to denounce my comrades and recant my own beliefs."
One day he was brought before a high KGB official, who unexpectedly
granted him his freedom. "They struck a bargain with
me. I was to give up my former friends and my politics
and they would let me alone. `Lead a simple life,' they
told me, `and if you ever touch politics again, we'll throw
you so far into the camps you'll never see the light of day.'
And I agreed. They had beaten me on the head in prison,
and that did something to me. I didn't even care any more.
They let me out, and just as I had promised, I got rid of my
old friends and my big ideas. I met Anna [his wife] and
settled down. When you get older, you want different things;
you realize you have to survive. I hardly even read any
more. Books are dangerous─they
Lee, Russian Journal, (New York, 1981), pp. 60-61.
Cold War had prompted such fear and suspicion between the peoples
on either side of the Iron Curtain that we often forgot that
all of us shared common aspirations, hopes, and concerns for
a better world. In 1986 the letter reprinted below was
sent to one of my Cal Poly students from her friend in Yugoslavia.
She granted me permission to share it with you. Ironically,
her country, Yugoslavia, no longer exists.
Thank you for your letter. Have you visited your sister
yet? Have you seen New York, how do you find it?
I understand that you don't have much free time. I'm in
the same situation. Before two months I started instructing
math a 13 year girl. I was very lucky to get that job
because there were many students who wanted to do it but not
so many people who had troubles in a school and were willing
to pay instruction.
I passed two exams in the beginning of March. After that
I went to France to ski for one week. The trip was organized
by Skiing Club. Conditions for downhill skiing were very
good, the weather was sunny almost all the time. The week
was over too soon! Now I'm back in [her hometown] and
all work and worries are coming to me again.
Last week our Labrador Retriever has brought back 8 young dogs.
We hoped that the last one of them will be gold‑yellow
as their mother, but they are all completely black! Now they
are one week old and still cannot hear and see anything.
They are only sleeping and drinking milk.
I don't think that communism helped Yugoslavia to become a stronger
nation. But the fact is, that communists organized one
of the strongest guerilla against German nazism in Europe.
When the 2nd World War started Yugoslavia was a poor monarchy
with a small group of rich and crowds of poor people.
When Hitler attacked Yugoslavia, the king with family and government
escaped to England and left their nation alone, without army,
without help in occupied Yugoslavia. Then illegal communist
party organized a strong guerilla movement against Germans.
A lot of civilists helped guerilla called partisans. That
was the reason why they were so successful. Partisans
became very popular among Yugoslav people and after the 2nd
World War the partisans (communists) won elections and Tito
became president. The Soviet Union had a big influence
on Yugoslav communists. They made a state very similar
to Soviet Union. But Tito soon recognized that Stalin
wanted to create our political, economical and social circumstances.
Tito refused Stalin in 1948 and started independent, nonaligned
polity. Many things have changed after 1948. The
country became more democratic, the government is less totalitarian,
workers have more chances to take part in managing factories.
If Yugoslav communists were not successful in 2nd WW, if they
didn't make Yugoslavia free of Germans, the Soviet Union would
do it and after war the least eastern parts of Yugoslavia would
be in a pact with Soviet Union. Now Yugoslavia is independent
and nonaligned country and we must admit that communists have
Well, I think that Yugoslav foreign polity is good, but our
economy! We have about 80% inflation (it will increase
this year), Yugoslavia has many debts in west countries, many
unemployed young people etc., etc. One of the reasons
is that communist government does not have an opposition.
Opposite organizations are forbidden and this is very bad, because
government can make mistakes and here is no organization or
party to change them on their position, we can only be critical,
but it does not help much. Things are changing, it's true,
but very slow.
I don't think that communism had much influence in our family
life. I lived one month with a British family in Great
Britain and I was for a month in Soviet Union before 2 years.
So when I compare our life with life of families in the two
countries I'd say, that our life is more similar to British
Let it be enough about polity, I really didn't mean to bore
you too much. But let me ask you one question: What
do you (and other Americans) think about war between USA and
Libya? I think this war is too dangerous to continue.
USA and UN have to find a better solution, a better way to suppress
international terrorism. Violence always causes new terrorism.
Bye for now my friend, take care of yourself and please, keep
Cold War has hovered over the lives of three generations of
the world's people since 1945. In the lyrics of his 1987
song "Leningrad," Billy Joel captures the essence
of the Cold War dilemma. Part of the song is reprinted
Victor was born the Spring of '44
and never saw his father anymore.
A child of sacrifice, a child of war.
A child who never had a father
Went off to school, to learn to serve
Followed the rules and drank his
A Russian life was very sad,
and such was life in Leningrad.
I was born in '49
A Cold War kid in the coffee time.
Stop them at the 38th parallel,
blast those yellow Reds to hell.
The Cold War kids were hard to kill,
under their desks in an air raid drill.
Haven't they heard we won the war
What do they keep on fighting for?
Children lived in Lenintown,
hid in the shelters underground,
'till the Soviets turned their ships around,
and tore all the Cuban missiles down.
And in that bright October sun,
we knew our childhood days were done.
And now I watched my friends go off to war.
What do we keep on fighting for?
Joel, "Leningrad" Copyright (1987) by Columbia Records,
New York, N.Y. Reprinted with permission.
AND THE COLD WAR
July 1979, Washington Senator Henry 'Scoop' Jackson addressed
a Conference on International Terrorism in Jerusalem, Israel.
Although his speech cast the Soviet Union as the major sponsor
of terrorism at the time, his words resonate even in this post-Cold
War era when superpower rivalry is history but international
terrorism is not.
I believe that international terrorism is a modern form of warfare
against liberal democracies. I believe that the ultimate
but seldom stated goal of these terrorists is to destroy the
very fabric of democracy. I believe that it is both
wrong and foolhardy for any democratic state to consider international
terrorism to be "someone else's" problem.
If you believe as I do, then you must join me in wondering why
the community of liberal democracies had not bended together
more effectively to opposed those international murderers and
to loudly and vigorously expose those states which cynically
provide terrorists with comfort and support...
I am not talking about individual acts of madmen. I'm
talking about highly organized groups with international connections
and support who systematically rely on major acts of violence
as a political instrument...
International terrorism is a special problem for democracies...
A democratic government...rests on the consent of the governed.
It is responsible for assuring the democratic freedoms of speech,
assembly, travel, press and privacy. These conditions,
obviously facilitate terrorist operations directed against a
Terrorism is not a new phenomenon. What is new is the
international nature of terrorism. Today's terrorists
have modern technology to help them, permitting rapid international
communications, travel, and the transfer of monies; they can
work with others of like mind across the international borders
of the world's free nations. Modern terrorism is a form
of "warfare by remote control," waged against free
nations or against nondemocratic but moderate states which...sympathize
What can be done?
First, and foremost, liberal democracies must acknowledge that
international terrorism is a "collective problem."
Everything else follow from this. When one free nation
is under attack, the rest must understand that democracy itself
is under attack, and behave accordingly. We must be allied
in our defense against terrorists...
Secondly...the idea that one person's "terrorist"
is another's "freedom fighter" cannot be sanctioned.
Freedom fighters or revolutionaries don't blow up buses containing
noncombatants; terrorist murderers do. Freedom fighters
don't set out to capture and slaughter schoolchildren; terrorist
murderers do. Freedom fighters don't assassinate innocent
businessmen or hijack and hold hostage innocent men, women and
children; terrorists do. It is a disgrace that democracies
would allow the treasured word "freedom" to be associated
with the acts of the terrorists.
We can do more. For instance, is it moral to trade openly
and freely with states who use the profits from such trade to
finance the murder of innocents? Why should those who
conduct remote control warfare against us rest easy that we
will contribute to financing our own destruction?
[Finally] within each of our own countries, we must organize
to combat terrorism in ways consistent with our democratic principles
and with the strong support of our citizens... In my country,
we are making some progress in organizing federal, state, and
local agencies to deal more realistically with terrorists threats...
William Safire: Lend Me Your Ears: Great Speeches in History
(New York, 1992) pp. 582-585.
THE SUPERPOWERS COMPARED, 1989
The Soviet Union
The United States
George H. W. Bush
General Secretary, President
Area in sq. mi.
per sq. mi.
Expectancy at birth
per 1,000 inhabitants
per 1,000 inhabitants
Moscow 8.8 million New York
Leningrad 4.7 million Los Angeles 3.1
Kiev 2.4 million
Chicago 2.9 million
Monthly Industrial Wage $ 320
Movies seen per capita 15.7
& Women in the Military
Missiles: Land Based
1989: TIANANMEN SQUARE IN PERSPECTIVE
Johnson, Professor of Pacific International Relations at the
University of California, San Diego, provides his assessment
of events leading to the student uprising in China in 1989 and
the possible future consequences.
The year 1989 not only marks the 200th anniversary of the French
Revolution; in future centuries it may be celebrated as a new
watershed in revolutionary behavior. A general crisis
of communism engulfed the Marxist‑Leninist states.
The problem of attempting to reform failed economic systems
overtaxed the gerontocratic remnants of politburos in most communist
systems and left them with the options of either repression
or a sharing of power.
...During 1989, de facto insurrections occurred in every communist
capital except those ruled by family dynasties...
Communism, of course, aims not at economic efficiency but at
social justice. But in the modern world, particularly
after the advent of the information‑based, electronics‑driven
industrial structure, state‑owned and ‑controlled
enterprises cannot operate efficiently enough to finance a modern
welfare system. For communism to try distributing benefits
equitably, there must be some benefits. By the late 1970s
it had become apparent to virtually all Chinese that Mao's 27
years in power had produced nothing more than that: 27
years of personal dictatorship. The system had run out
Dictatorship was the second problem. The communist revolutions
of the 20th Century differed from the English revolution of
the 17th Century or the French Revolution of the 18th Century
in that they did not culminate in "Thermidor."
By Thermidor, students of revolution mean that stage in the
process of revolution when the masses assert themselves and
send the revolutionary vanguards back to their customary occupations
as clerks, lawyers and functionaries. Thermidor means
that the peoples whose victimization justified the revolution
finally decide to take their winnings and call it quits─consolidating
the new order and preserving gains.
Where Thermidor did not occur─largely
because the masses are too unsophisticated to understand what
their vanguards are up to─we
see a typical pattern. The vanguards first attempt to
force their ideology on the masses─the
Reign of Terror in the French Revolution, Stalin's purges, China's
Great Leap Forward. Then the vanguard dictatorship becomes
solidified and makes its rule routine. This latter phase,
the sleepy but policed indolence of the Leonid I. Brezhnev years,
is typified by massive cynicism and corruption─the
world of dachas in Russia, the East German communist elites
guarded paradise at Wandlitz, the beach resorts and party stores
of China's party plutocracy.
Deng tried to restart China's economy without disturbing the
dictatorship's entrenched vanguards. Although the terms
had not yet been invented, Deng sought perestroika without glasnost.
This was not a particularly unusual project. There are
innumerable historical examples of similarly placed monopolists
without political reform, including those of the late Manchu
China, czarist Russia and Meiji Japan. It does not work.
Reform of a Soviet‑type economy, much like the attempt
to achieve an outward orientation among less developed countries,
is not a unilinear process. There are different ways to
do it, each with different trade‑offs. Economic
reform certainly must be accompanied by political reform, but
that is an inadequate way to put it. What is needed is
a set, or critical mass, of reforms together with a clear understanding
of what markets do and cannot do for economic systems....Nothing
is easy about this process, but as the economic dynamism of
the non‑communist Pacific reveals, there are many possible
forms of political economy other than Marxism‑Leninism
or Adam Smith's bedrock capitalism.
Deng attempted economic reform without political change.
But neither he nor his hand‑picked managers of reform,
Hu Yaobang and Zhao Ziyang, ever touched the privileges of the
old communist vanguards...Instead of studying such nearby functioning
states as South Korea and Taiwan, China seemed to have taken
Ferdinand E. Marcos' Philippines as its model....According to
the Chinese government's own statistics, 70% of all reported
economic crimes during 1987‑88 were committed by officials,
including members of the People's Liberation Army. Corruption
extended all the way to the top political leadership, known
as the 14 Big Families. These are the families of Deng,
President Yang Shangkun, Premier Li Peng, the deposed party
leader Zhao, plus heirs and descendants of the old vanguards.
Many of the students who gathered in Tiananmen Square came from
families of lesser officials or professionals on fixed incomes.
Inflation affected them personally and focused their attention
on families not troubled by inflation because those families
were on the take. Calls for democracy were not so much
for institutions of the West as they were for Thermidor─to
get the entrenched old vanguards off the backs of the people
and to hold public officials accountable.
The 14 Big Families reacted precisely as Marx, Engels, and Lenin
had predicted such a ruling class would act under similar circumstances:
in their own interest. Instead of compromising with the
students...Deng and company used the army...
In the worldwide 1989 crisis of communism, China behaved worse
than any other communist nation and with less excuse...The reply
of the students of Tiananmen was apt: "Only power
grows from the barrel of a gun; our cause is democracy."
The next time the students' cause will not be democracy but
Angeles Times, December 17, 1989.
END OF THE COLD WAR
passage below by historian Pauline Meier describes the collapse
of the Soviet Union and of four decades of superpower rivalry
and potential nuclear war.
When he entered the White House in 1989, George Bush was suspicious
of the genuineness of Mikhail Gorbachev's commitment to perestroika
and glasnost. But Bush's caution was overwhelmed
by volcanic demands for freedom that redrew the political map
of Central Europe with stunning speed. During the first
year of his presidency, Hungary cast off most of its Communist
leadership, and so did Poland, where, with the help of the administration,
free elections were arranged, and Solidarity, the union movement
that had initiated the drive for liberalization, won control
of the National Assembly. In May, Estonia and Lithuania
declared themselves independent of the Soviet Union, and in
August Latvia broke free. Upheaval followed in East Germany,
where in early November, with Gorbachev having declared a hands‑off
policy, thousands forced the regime to open the gates to the
West and started tearing down the hated wall dividing Berlin.
That winter, the Communist governments in Yugoslavia, Bulgaria,
and Romania were overthrown, and a pro‑democracy playwright
became president of Czechoslovakia.
...In East and West Germany, sentiment for reunification was
mounting rapidly. Gorbachev, anxious about Russian security
in the face of a united Germany and under pressure from hard‑liners
at home, resisted the union. But Bush opted for it, fearing
otherwise an unpredictable instability in East Germany.
In May 1990, during a summit in Washington, he granted Gorbachev
a trade package to help shore him up against the hard‑liners,
and Gorbachev, in exchange, agreed to German reunification by
1994. In July 1991, at a summit in Moscow, Bush and Gorbachev
signed the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START 1), an agreement
to cut strategic nuclear weaponry ultimately by 30‑40
The following month, however, Russian hard‑liners attempted
a coup against Gorbachev and his reforms. In defiance,
hundreds of thousands of people protectively cordoned off the
parliament, and Boris Yeltsin, the president of the Russian
republic, rallied the crowd, courageously mounting a tank to
denounce the plotters. Although the coup failed and Gorbachev
retained power, he was increasingly overshadowed by Yeltsin
and, in the end, overwhelmed by the liberalizing forces he had
unleashed. In December 1991, the Soviet Union came to
an end, replaced by a Commonwealth of Independent States comprising
the eleven former Soviet republics. Gorbachev resigned,
and Yeltsin reigned over Russia. In January 1993, Bush
and Yeltsin signed START II, which called for a two‑thirds
reduction in long‑range nuclear weapons within ten years
and complete elimination of land‑based missiles.
The Cold War was now indisputably over.
Pauline Maier, Inventing America: A History of the United
States, vol. 2 (New York, 2003), p. 1044-1045.
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