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Nov 20, 2016 - Future Wars of the Empire, Imperialist Adventures    Comments Off on Economic Prelude to World War

Economic Prelude to World War

Pushed into a war he had pledged not to become involved in, Woodrow Wilson tipped what was a stalemate of exhausted combatants into an Allied victory and forced abdication of the Kaiser. The result was a ruined Germany, an expansion of communism, and the predictable rise of a German nationalist who promised to right the wrongs of Versailles. To rebuild its devastated economy, Germany turned to bilateral trade with other nations but was met with resistance from the US.  During the mid and late 1930’s, German diplomats in Brazil, Chile and Uruguay reported home that the US was “exerting very strong pressure against Germany commercially” in order to keep the market for themselves. The Times of London reported well after war began that “One of the fundamental causes of this war has been the unrelaxing efforts of Germany since 1918 to secure enough foreign markets to straighten her finances at the very same time when all her competitors were forced by their own debts to adopt exactly the same course. Continuous friction was inevitable.”

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

Economic Prelude to World War

“German economic nationalism in the 1930’s was, first of all, conditioned on the horrifying experience that Germany had had with runaway inflation and currency depreciation during the early 1920’s, culminating in the monetary collapse of 1923.

In this economic climate, [German economic minister] Dr. [Hjalmar] Schacht was particularly successful in making bilateral trade agreements with individual countries, agreements which amounted to direct “barter” arrangements that angered the United States and other Western countries in totally bypassing gold and other international banking or financial arrangements.

Actually, there was nothing either diabolic or unilaterally exploitive about the barter deals. Part of the essence of barter arrangements has been neglected by historians – the deliberate overvaluation of the exchange rates of both currencies involved in the deals. May not Western anger at successful German competition through bilateral agreements, and Western desire to liquidate such competition, have been an important factor in the Western drive for war against Germany?

Lloyd Gardner has demonstrated the early hostility of the United States toward German economic controls and barter arrangements, its attempts to pressure Germany to shift to a multi-lateral. “Open Door” system for American products, and the repeated rebuffs to German proposals for bilateral exchanges between the two countries.

As early as June 26, 1933, the influential American Consul-General at Berlin, George Messersmith, was warning that such continued policies would make “Germany a danger to world peace for years to come.”

In pursuing this aggressive policy, President Roosevelt overrode AAA [Agricultural Adjustment Administration] chief George Peek, who favored accepting bilateral deals with Germany and, perhaps not coincidentally, was to be an ardent “isolationist” in the late 1930’s.

Instead, Roosevelt followed the policy of the leading interventionist and spokesman for the “Open Door” to American products, Secretary of State Cordell Hull, as well as his assistant Secretary Francis B. Sayre, son-in-law of Woodrow Wilson.

By 1935, American officials were calling Germany an “aggressor” because of its successful bilateral trade competition, and Japan was similarly castigated for much the same reasons. By late 1938, J. Pierrepont Moffat, head of the Western European Division of the [US] State Department, was complaining that German control of Central and Eastern Europe would mean “a still further extension of the area under a closed economy.”

And, more specifically, in May 1940 Assistant Secretary of State Breckenridge Long warned that a German-dominated [trade in] Europe would mean that “every commercial order will be routed to Berlin and filled under its orders somewhere in Europe rather than in the United States.”

Not only were Hull and the United States ardent in pressing an anti-German policy against its bilateral trade system, but sometimes Secretary Hull had to whip even Britain into line.

[In the mid-1930’s], the American Chamber of Commerce in Brazil repeatedly pressed the State Department to scuttle the Germany-Brazil barter deal, which the Chamber termed the “greatest single obstacle to free trade in South America.” Brazil was finally induced to cancel its agreement with Germany in exchange for a sixty-million dollar loan from the U.S.

And in late 1938, President Roosevelt asked Professor James Harvey Rogers, an economist and disciple of Irving Fisher, to make a currency study of all of South America in order to minimize “German and Italian influence on this side of the Atlantic.

In the spring of 1935, the German ambassador to Washington, desperately anxious to bring an end to American political and economic warfare, asked the United States what Germany could do to end American hostilities. The American answer, which amounted to a demand for unconditional economic surrender, was that Germany abandon its economic policy in favor of America.”

(The New Deal and the International Monetary System, Murray N. Rothbard; Watershed of Empire, Essays on New Deal Foreign Policy, Leonard Liggio, James Martin, editors, Ralph Myles Printer, 1976, excerpts, pp. 44-46)

 

 

Liberal Visions and Missionary Rhetoric

 

With Lincoln’s revolutionary actions in April 1861 — assuming the power to raise armies, suspect habeas corpus at will and arrest Supreme Court justices who defied him — the presidency changed from one of conciliation and compromise to near dictatorship. He and his liberal Northern power base concentrated all power in Washington, and thus ended the formerly decentralized federation of republics. The office of president became an end in itself with powers remaining impaired today, and never-ending crusades.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

Liberal Visions and Missionary Rhetoric

“Since the beginning of this century, American liberalism has made little measurable progress toward two of its most important goals: a more equitable distribution of income and an improved level of public services. Confronted by the realities of corporate power and the conservatism of Congress, the reforming zeal of the liberal state has been easily frustrated.

This is mirrored in the stymied hopes of the New Freedom by 1916, the stalemate of the New Deal by 1938, and the dissolution of the Great Society by 1966. What is left by these aborted crusades is not the hard substance of reform but rather the major instrument of change – the powerful central state.

The demands of a strong central government and an aggressive foreign policy were ideologically reinforcing. The liberal search for national unity and an expanding domestic economy could not be separated from the vision of an internationalist order which was “safe from war and revolution and open to the commercial and moral expansion of American liberalism. This was a vision shared by Woodrow Wilson and Cordell Hull.

To Hull and Wilson, and later Dean Rusk, peace required the structuring of diplomacy through an elaborate network of collective security arrangements; prosperity demanded the removal of national trade barriers.

Such a vision . . . could not contain within it the forces of either revolution or reaction and led almost inevitably to a foreign policy marked by conflict and crisis. Each new foreign policy crisis in turn strengthened the state apparatus and made the “National Idea” seem even more appropriate – a development which liberals, especially of the New Deal vintage, could only see as benign.

Peace and prosperity, political themes of the Eisenhower years, were considered indulgences by Kennedy liberals . . . Eisenhower’s cautious leadership was considered without national purpose. To those liberals the American mission could be no less than “the survival and success of liberty.”

The “National Idea,” glorified by such transcendent goals, became a Universal Mission, viz., Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.’s assessment, “The United States has an active and vital interest in the destiny of every nation on the planet.” President’s felt mandated not to complete a mere domestic program but rather, to quote the Kennedy inaugural, “to create a new world of freedom.”

Nevertheless, such missionary rhetoric was eminently compatible with the liberal vision of governmental problem solving and reform emanating from the top. For those who gloried in the legacy of Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman, the president was the incarnation of the “National Idea,” or in Richard Neustadt’s phrase, “the sole crown-like symbol of the Union.”

After a generation of such fawning rhetoric, it is little wonder that the modern president’s conception of himself bears closer resemblance to the fascist notion of the state leader than even to a Burkean concept of democratic leadership. As President Nixon described his role, “He (the president) must articulate the nation’s values, define it goals and marshal its will.

Republican presidents replaced Democratic presidents without affecting the slightest diminution of executive power. At the propitious moment of international crisis the Congress is circumvented, the public, then most vulnerable to demagoguery and deception, is confronted with a fireside chat, a special address, or a televised press conference.

The result, as conservative James Burnham has pointed out, is Caesarism – the culmination of the executive state: “The mass of people and the individual Caesar, with the insulation of the intermediary institutions removed, become like two electric poles . . . the vote is reduced to a primitive Yes-No . . . and the assemblies become a sounding board for amplifying Caesar’s voice.”

(The Ideology of the Executive State, Robert J. Bressler; Watershed of Empire, Essays on New Deal Foreign Policy, L. Liggio and J. Martin, editors, excerpts, pp. 2-7)

Fairy Tale Coalition of Two Hostile Camps

Frank Chodorov railed against conservatives who and businesspeople who supported special government privileges for themselves, and referred to the US as a “nation of panhandlers.” He went on to state that “in America it is the so-called capitalist who is to blame for the fulfilment of Marx’s prophesies. Beguiled by the state’s siren song of special privilege, the capitalists have abandoned capitalism.” He saw the United Nations as no guarantor of world peace.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

Fairy Tale Coalition of Two Hostile Camps

“Five years ago the organization of the United Nations was ushered into the world as the guarantor of peace. It has failed. Despite that obvious fact, there are many whose faith in some sort of superstate as an instrument of peace in unshaken, and who lay the failure of the UN to the limitations put upon it by the autonomy of the members. That is to say, they believe in peace through authoritarianism; the more authoritarian, the more peace.

History cannot give this faith the slightest support. The glory that was Rome did not prevent its parts from coming into conflict with one another, or from rising up against the central authority. Even our American coalition of commonwealths came near breaking up in war, and uprisings have all but disintegrated the British Empire.

Centralization of power has never been a guarantor of peace. On the contrary, every such centralization has been accomplished by war and its career has been one long preoccupation with war.

The best that can be said of any coalition of states is that it can keep smoldering fires from breaking out as long as none of its members can exercise control over the others. It can maintain an armed truce. The UN has not even done that, simply because no one state has shown sufficient strength to take control.

The two most powerful members [the US and Soviets] have been in contention since its beginning and are now poised for a test of arms to determine the issue. Nothing else is more certain than that the rivalry of these two powers will shortly reach the breaking point, that the UN shall collapse or shall be succeeded by another coalition in which one or the other will be on top.

The UN – it is moonshine to think otherwise – consists of two hostile camps, one held together by the American dollar, the other by fear of the Soviet army. Neither law, morality, nor ideology is a cementing influence. If the American dollar is withdrawn the West will break up, its members entering into new alignments dictated by expediency; if the Soviet power shows weakness, Titoism will splinter the Red empire.

In short, it is evident now – even as it was to anyone with some familiarity with the history of alliances – that the high moral purpose written into the charter of the UN is but a fairy tale. World peace is not achieved through this monstrosity.

Like the League of Nations which it succeeded, or the Holy Roman Empire, or any of the political coalitions in the history of the world, the UN is incapable of giving the world peace simply because it rests on the unsound assumption that peace is a function of politics. The fact is that peace and politics are antithetical.

Peace is the business of society. Society is a cooperative effort, springing spontaneously from man’s urge to improve on his circumstances. It is voluntary, completely free of force. It comes because man has learned that the task of life is easier of accomplishment through the exchange of goods, services and ideas. The greater the volume and fluidity of such exchanges, the richer and fuller the life of every member of society. That is the law of association; it is also the law of peace.

The only condition necessary for the growth of society into one worldism is the absence of force in the marketplace; which is another way of saying that politics is a hindrance, and not an aid, to peace. Any intervention in the sphere of voluntary exchanges stunts the growth of society and tends to its disorganization.

It is significant that in war, which is the ultimate of politics, every strategic move is aimed at the disorganization of the enemy’s means of production and exchange – the disruption of the marketplace.

Likewise, when the state intervenes in the business of society, which is production and exchange, a condition of war exists, even though open conflict is prevented by the superior physical force the state is able to employ. Politics in the marketplace is like a bull in the china shop.”

(One Worldism, Fugitive Essays, Selected Writings of Frank Chodorov, Charles H. Hamilton, editor, Liberty Press, 1980, excerpts, pp. 120-123)

The Consequences of Military Experimentation

Colonel James A. Donovan estimated the cost of the Vietnam air war alone, to the end of 1968, at over $7 billion for bombs dropped and aircraft lost, with more than half of the sum being spent on bombing North Vietnam from early 1965 to late 1968. Like the current bombing of Middle Eastern countries by the US, the bombing in South Vietnam was “the principal cause of civilian casualties and the “generation” of refugees.” Author Telford Taylor was US Chief Counsel at the Nuremburg Trials after WWII, and compares the aggressive war of the US in Vietnam with German aggressive war against Poland in 1939.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

The Consequences of Military Experimentation

“In a recent television address on the war in Southeast Asia, President Nixon coined the phrase “pitiful, helpless, giant,” and hotly denied that the United States, under his leadership, would play such a part. Pitiful and helpless the nation is not, but the course of events under the last three Presidents raises painful doubts whether our conduct as a nation may not have been arrogant and blind – or at least one-eyed, seeing only in one direction, and unable to perceive the lessons of the past or the trends of the present.

If an effort be made to look beneath the orders and operations and speeches and press releases for some clues to understanding the Vietnam debacle, then one must contemplate Vietnam not in isolation but in the context of the times and many other failures and dangers that are unsettling the United States today.

Most of them, I believe, can be gathered under the expression of “under-maintenance,” caused by our unwillingness, despite enormous material means, to invest the time, thought and resources necessary to preserve the foundations and basic services of society.

Attention is given to ever taller skyscrapers, supersonic airliners and moon landings, while we pollute the air and water and allow education, transportation, housing and health to degenerate.

Despite the billions of dollars we have spent on the Vietnam War and the incredible weight of explosives dropped on that unhappy land, our failure there is largely due to “under-maintenance.” The point is implicit in the title of Jonathan Schell’s book – “The Military Half” – as explained in a concluding passage:

“Many optimistic Americans, including reporters as well as military men civilian officials, tended to set off the destruction caused by the military effort against the construction resulting from the civil-affairs effort, seeing the two results as separate but balanced “sides” of the war; and, looking at our commitment of men and materials, they were often favorably impressed with the size of the construction effort, almost as though it was being carried out in one country while the military effort was being carried out in another.

But, of course, the two programs were being carried out in the same provinces and the same villages, and the people who received the allotments of rice were the same people whose villages had been destroyed by bombs . . . But because along with the destruction of villages, American military operations brought death to many civilians, American civil-affairs workers, no matter how well-intentioned they might be, no matter how well-supplied they might someday become, could never, from the point of view of the villagers, “balance” the sufferings caused by the military, or undo what they had done, which was often absolute and irreversible.

Once [the Army] was in charge, the worst aspects of the military system surfaced, then dominated the conduct of operations. Combat command is the surest road to promotion, and the Army and Air Force were only too glad to find a new theater for military experimentation.

As Colonel Donovan describes the professional consequences:

“The highly-trained career officers of the army and the other services have found the Vietnam [War] a frustrating but fascinating challenge. The very size and scope of the American military force has also generated unceasing pressures to satisfy such military demands as trying out new weapons and using the war as a military testing ground and laboratory. Helicopter assault theories, air mobile operations concepts, new helicopter types, new weapons and organizations, and counterinsurgency tactics were all ready for trial by the Army in Vietnam.

It was not a life-or-death war in defense of the United States, but rather a remote and limited conflict where training and equipment could be teste and combat experience renewed or attained by professionals . . .”

(Nuremburg and Vietnam: an American Tragedy, Telford Taylor, Quadrangle Books, 1970, excerpts, pp. 197-201)

Wilson Schemes for the Big Idea

Claude Kitchin was born near Scotland Neck, North Carolina in 1869, and served in the US House of Representatives from 1901 until his death in 1923. In 1916, he witnessed US munitions manufacturers preening for war, and a proposal for an enlarged standing army that many saw as “a long step toward the Prussianization of America.” Kitchin stated that the only possible excuse for the army’s increase in strength “was a contemplated war of aggression.” Further, he said of the battleship building proposals: “If this program goes through, it will no longer be a question of whether we may become a nation given over to navalism and militarism, but we shall have become one.”

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

Wilson Schemes for the Big Idea

“In July, 1916, Great Britain announced the most high-handed of all her blockade [of Germany] policies – that of the Black List. Neutral firms alleged to be German-owned, or friendly to Germany, or to have been “trading with the enemy” or with other neutral firms having “enemy” connections were subjected to a ruinous boycott. Even [Woodrow] Wilson was momentarily incensed by thus extreme course.

Colonel House had slipped in and out of belligerent capitals, seeking to draw out diplomats as to the prospect of a settlement through American mediation. He had naively drunk deep of British and French propaganda, flattering himself the while that he was being treated to the frankest intimacies of the mighty.

It was bad enough that he disclosed to the Allies in this way the [Wilson] Administration’s bias in their favor, thus making Wilson more impotent in dealing with their transgressions; but it was worse that he inveigled the President into backing his ill-advised schemes.

The most notorious of these was the House-Grey agreement [which intended that the US government] might secretly reach an understanding with the Allies as to peace terms which they would be willing to accept. Whenever they thought to time opportune, Wilson, as arbiter, might submit such a proposal to both sides. The Allies, for effect, might appear reluctant at first, and then accept.

If the Central Powers agreed, the war would be ended by Wilson’s mediation; if they refused, as they almost certainly would, the United States would enter the war on the side of the Allies to force a “righteous” settlement. Though hesitant at first, Wilson came embrace the scheme. Aware, however, that only Congress could actually declare war he inserted the word “probably” in the clause that promised intervention on the side of the Allies.

When [Sir Edward] Grey inquired whether our Government would participate in a proposed League of Nations to maintain the post-bellum status and to prevent future wars, Wilson’s interest quickened. Here was a Big Idea.

Was it really possible that this horrible slaughter might be turned to purposes benign? A war to end war! Destroy German Militarism, — therefore all militarism; — redraw the map of the world on lines of justice and right (such as the Allies would agree upon) . . . and to punish any Power that sought to alter the new order. Even a world war – even American participation – might be justified as the price of such an outcome.

[On January 31, 1917] Germany announced [unrestricted submarine warfare]. An exception was made whereby American merchantmen might go to and from Falmouth England through a designated lane without hindrance, provided they were marked on hull and superstructure with three perpendicular stripes, a meter wide, of alternating white and red, and displayed from their masts large red and white checkered flags.

Three days later the Wilson Administration severed diplomatic relations with Germany. This was an almost certain prelude to war. Armed neutrality was the next move of the Administration [as it armed merchant ships].

One of the most condemnatory letters which Kitchin received with reference to his pacific stand came from a Methodist parson in Wilson, North Carolina. On the other hand, from the town of Littleton, also in his district, he received a petition from the ministers of the Episcopal, Methodist Episcopal, Methodist Protestant, Christian and Presbyterian churches, stating:

“1. A war that could be averted is murder on a national scale. 2. This war could be averted on the part of the United States. 3. There is not sufficient justification. 4. We are dealing with a nation which in a desperate struggle for existence has become exasperated and war mad. To arm our merchant vessels will tend to promote war. Hence [we are] opposed to any such measure.

Perhaps [Kitchin] took the President at his word when, asking Congress for the right to arm merchantmen, he pledged that he was not moving toward war. And he promised that, if granted this sanction, he would do all in his power to prevent actual hostilities.

In yielding the point, Kitchin said to the House [of Representatives]: “I shall vote for this bill but not without hesitation and misgiving . . . The nation confronts the gravest crisis . . . Already the European catastrophe threatens the faith of mankind in Christianity – in civilization. Clothed with the powers given him by the Constitution, a President of the United States can, at his will, without let or hindrance from Congress, create a situation which makes war the only alternative for this nation.”

(Claude Kitchin and the Wilson War Policies, Alex Mathews Arnett, Little, Brown and Company, 1937, excerpts, pp. 202-207; 212-217)

Sep 17, 2016 - America Transformed, Future Wars of the Empire, Imperialist Adventures, Lincoln's Revolutionary Legacy    Comments Off on A Korean Miracle and the Illusion of Allies

A Korean Miracle and the Illusion of Allies

Reminiscent of antebellum Massachusetts mills and their overworked young female workers is the sentence below regarding young Korean girls “condemned to stitch their eyes and lives away.” Over a century later and while escalating the Vietnam war in the mid-1960s, Lyndon Johnson’s administration supported the military coup of General Park Chung-hee, who had a distinguished career in the Imperial Japanese Army and established friendly relations with Japan, which dismayed most Koreans.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

A Korean Miracle and the Illusion of Allies

Gerhard Breidenstein observed the South Korean “economic miracle” for three years, 1968-1971, as a visiting professor at Yonsei University in Seoul. Bernie Wideman lived in South Korea in 1972-1973 as a Ph.D. candidate from the University of Washington . . . these were boom years when money poured in from the Vietnam War, and Seoul was transformed as new office buildings reached toward the sky. South Korea was being “developed.”

Neither Wideman nor Breidenstein disputes the impressive increases in GNP and exports over the last several years . . . [but] Both authors . . . refuse to equate increased GNP with economic well-being or to ignore the moral question of earning foreign exchange by mercenary military service in Vietnam.

Briedenstein read the statistics but he also visited the slums, interviewed deracinated, bewildered industrial workers, and saw the warren-like textile sweatshops in Seoul’s P’yongwha market. He saw the exploitation of young girls condemned to stitch their eyes and lives away fifteen hours a day for a pittance.

In theory, labor laws protected the workers, but the authorities and management were in collusion and the laws were ignored. Other aspects of South Korea’s “miracle” raised profound doubts about the values behind the development model. While American observers professed great satisfaction at South Korea’s “astounding growth,” Breidenstein concluded that any meaningful social justice was impossible under capitalism.

Wideman went to the countryside to see for himself what was being done to the Korean peasantry in the name of higher GNP. He found that governmental policies, compounded by pervasive corruption and bureaucratic arrogance, were driving farmers off their land and turning them into unskilled day laborers in urban slums. [For writing his observations in the Far Eastern Economic Review] the South Korean government deported him in August 1973 because of these articles.

To be fair to American and South Korean economic planners, they apparently believed that the development model criticized by Breidenstein and Wideman will eventually lead to social justice. Professional economists tend to compartmentalize economic and political moral questions, confident that development must precede such political questions as the equitable distribution of wealth.

The 1961 coup [in South Korea] brought military leaders to power . . . [who recognized the] potentially lucrative opportunities in Vietnam due to the expanding US military involvement there [which] could only be pursued with Japanese political support. As the United States began to negotiate seriously for ROK troops to be sent to Vietnam in 1964, the Park government moved to crush popular opposition and establish relations with Japan.

Many Koreans charged in 1964-1965 that ROK leaders concluded the treaty for financial gain, that they were selling out their country.

The integration of military interests in Northeast Asia [by US planners] is best illustrated by the US utilization of South Korean troops in Vietnam. In November 1964 the Johnson administration launched a “More Flags” campaign as a prelude to the impending US military intervention in Vietnam. While designed to elicit concrete support for the Republic of Vietnam . . . the “More Flags” campaign was directly aimed at the American people.

The administration apparently never expected militarily significant “allied” troop contributions and they were not forthcoming (except from South Korea). Rather, “More Flags” was intended to establish a pragmatic basis for US intervention – the visible, committed presence of allies who would associate themselves with US actions in Vietnam militarily, if only in a token way, and diplomatically.”

(Without Parallel, the American-Korean Relationship Since 1945, Frank Baldwin, editor, Pantheon Books, 1973, pp. 21-22; 26-28)

 

Critic of Roosevelt’s Imperialism

Senator Ben Tillman of South Carolina was a painful thorn in the side of “Roosevelt the First,” as Mencken referred to TR. When Roosevelt seized control of the Dominican Republic’s customs office after the United States Senate refused to ratify a treaty sanctioning this act, Tillman demanded that Senators should stand on their feet and say to Roosevelt, “You have got to obey the law or we shall take you by the throat, sir.”

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

Critic of Roosevelt’s Imperialism

“The most durable of Ben Tillman’s many animosities was his hatred of Theodore Roosevelt. This grew out of the President’s withdrawal of an invitation to attend the White House banquet of February 24, 1902, in honor of Prince Henry of Prussia. The South Carolinian was invited because he was a member of the Senate naval committee, but between the invitation and the dinner occurred the Tillman-McLaurin brawl. “Had the President sent a mutual friend in a quiet way suggesting that it would be an awkward situation, any man who knows me at all knows how quickly I would have relieved him of his obligation to me.”

He let it be known that he considered the President’s implications indecent and insulting and that he was willing to abide by the judgment of “all brave and self-respecting men.” Privately he declared that he had been treated “in a cowardly and ungentlemanly way” by “this ill-bred creature who is accidentally President.” He swore never to enter the White House again until it was occupied by another.

Earlier attacks upon imperialist policies were intensified when Roosevelt became responsible for them. The South Carolinian’s first foray was against efforts to subjugate the Filipinos. While the President insisted that for “every guilty act committed by our troops . . . a hundred acts of far greater atrocity have been committed by the hostile natives,” Tillman questioned the conduct of American soldiers. Were they not “occupying the attitude of butchers and practicing cruelties that would disgrace the Inquisition?”

Behind the administration’s plan of government for the Philippines he saw “the desire of some men to get ungodly and indecent wealth.” The President’s agents were given “the same autocratic power the Czar exercises in Russia” and were frustrating plans for local self-government.

The coup by which Roosevelt secured Panama was of a startling character . . . [and it would have been preferable, Tillman said, to have taken Panama openly rather than intrigue] “in the disreputable, dishonorable creation of a so-called republic in a back room.” If it was true that the President had used the method of the “sneak-thief” and the “bully,” he ought to be impeached.

When Roosevelt denied complicity in the Panama Revolution, Tillman said that circumstantial evidence against the President was such that he should reveal all facts before the Senate ratified the treaty. This was a fair and simple demand [but] the Republican majority, brushing constitutional sophistries aside, acquiesced in what the President had done. To this day the mystery of the Panama Revolution remains unsolved.

Roosevelt’s extremely Northern attitude toward the black man seemed especially designed to inflame [Southern society]. Protests by Southern whites [against Reconstruction-like policies] were treated “with contumely and contempt” by the President. Venal motives underlay this action. The Republican machine desired to secure the Negro vote in the border States and to control the Southern Republican delegates in the national conventions. Such conditions accounted for the fact that outraged Southerners “rush to do an unjust and improper thing.”

(Pitchfork Ben Tillman, South Carolinian, Francis Butler Simkins, LSU Press, 1944, pp. 408-411; 415-416)

 

TR’s League for Enforcing Peace with War

Theodore Roosevelt proposed a world organization well-before Woodrow Wilson’s, this to use the military of the world powers to enforce peace. Roosevelt the First, as Mencken referred to him, was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for mediating the Russo-Japanese conflict, where he advocated giving the Japanese the Korean peninsula as a subject colony. The Japanese annexed Korea and forbid the teaching of native history, customs and traditions, while teaching the young the Japanese language. In 1950-1953, the United States devastated the Korean peninsula with an unnecessary war in which 37,000 American soldiers perished, over 600,000 Korean men died on both sides, as well as 500,000 Chinese casualties. Millions of Korean civilians died from bombing, crossfire and starvation.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

TR’s League for Enforcing Peace with War

“In Europe . . . Roosevelt and his family went on with their grand tour. In Paris on April 23, the former president gave an address at the Sorbonne on “The Duties of a Citizen,” in which he talked of the need for sound character, homely virtues, virility, and the desirability of maintaining a high birthrate; the effect of his speech on the audience was, as he put it, “a little difficult for me to understand”; his listeners may have found a beguiling innocence in his advice.

Later he met with Parisians at a salon held by Mrs. Roosevelt’s cousin Edith Wharton, at her place on the rue de Varenne. Few of the French could speak English, and TR spoke French “with a rather bewildering pronunciation,” according to Mrs. Wharton.

In Norway, on May 5, to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for his mediation of the Russo-Japanese War in 1905, the first to go to an American, TR gave a speech that was especially noteworthy because of his suggestion that a world organization be created to prevent war. In words that foreshadowed Woodrow Wilson’s League of Nations, Roosevelt called for the creation by the great powers of a “League of Peace, not only to keep the peace among themselves, but to prevent, by force, if necessary, its being broken by others. TR’s League, unlike Wilson’s, would have a strong military component to enforce its dictates.”

(1912, Wilson, Roosevelt, Taft & Debs, The election That Changed the Country, James Chace, Simon & Shuster, 2004, pp. 20-21)

 

Scotch Presbyterian Conscience versus Piles of Gold

Woodrow Wilson’s offer of mediation between Britain, France and Germany came some 45 years after Britain and France offered to mediate the conflict between America’s North and South. Lincoln threatened war should they intervene. Lincoln also came to realize the vast money power he had unleashed with war as business interests colluded with government, which led to the postwar Gilded Age. Wilson was elected to stay out of the European war but succumbed to the money power Lincoln had unleashed, and more dark forces drew him into war though a negotiated peace was fully possible. Sadly, with American intervention and Allied victory came the rise of a German national socialist party and many more American dead.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

Scotch Presbyterian Conscience versus Piles of Gold

“Woodrow Wilson returned to Washington after the 1916 [presidential] campaign convinced that his mandate from the nation demanded the immediate formulation of peace terms which must somehow be forced on the warring powers.

Physically he was worn out. His sick headaches continued to worry [wife] Edith and Dr. Grayson. His head still spun with the clamor of political oratory.

He felt that British and French dependence on American supplies and American credit might give him a whip hand over the Allies if he could only find how to apply it. One third the world’s gold supply was already piled up in the vaults of American banks. “We can determine to a large extent who is to be financed and who is not to be financed,” he had told an audience gathered at Shady Lawn during the campaign.

He summoned the confidential colonel [Edward M. House] to the White House to resume his last winter’s intrigue for mediation. For once House balked. He was convinced the United States should already have intervened on the side of the Allies. Peace now could only be to Germany’s advantage: “I argued again and again that we should no pull Germany’s chestnuts out of the fire.” They broke up late. Neither man would budge from his position.

House’s point was that the German’s now wanted mediation and were holding the threat of a renewed submarine campaign over the world’s head to obtain a victorious peace. “In my opinion,” House noted . . . “the President’s desire for peace is partially due to his Scotch Presbyterian conscience and not to personal fear, for I believe he has both moral and physical courage.”

Like any oldtime Covenanter Wilson believed in the efficacy of the word. By the right word men could be brought to see the light. The war was making the position of neutrals intolerable.

[He wrote] that the warring nations were all fighting, so they claimed, “to be free of aggression and of peril to the free and independent development of their people’s lives and fortunes . . . must the contest be settled by slow attrition and ultimate exhaustion?” he asked. “An irreparable damage to civilization cannot promote peace and the secure happiness of the world.”

(Mr. Wilson’s War, From the Assassination of McKinley to America’s Rejection of the League of Nations, John Dos Passos, Hamish Hamilton, 1963, pp. 189-190)

 

Wilson’s Ideals Shattered by Bolshevism

Woodrow Wilson’s dream of a new world order to end all war was shattered by the scramble for territory, industrial machinery and reparations from a Germany defeated by American troops Wilson had promised voters he would not send into a European war. Within his idealism lay a benevolent collectivist view of the world, not much different than socialist Eugene Debs who he had imprisoned under the Espionage Act.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

Wilson’s Ideals Shattered by Bolshevism

“Woodrow Wilson’s first wife’s brother Stockton Axson, then serving as Secretary of the American Red Cross, was a frequent visitor [in the summer of 1918]. Dr. Axson remembered a conversation they had one Sunday afternoon in late June of that year . . . When Axson and the Wilson’s were alone after the meal, Wilson suddenly asked him whom he would name for the next President.

Axson suggested William McAdoo. [Wilson] said Newton D. Baker was the best man but he could never be nominated. “The next President will have to be able to think in terms of the whole world,” he went on. “He must be internationally minded . . . the only real internationally minded people” – Wilson was thinking aloud –“are the labor people. They are in touch with world movements.”

After the war the world would change radically. Governments would have to do things now done by individuals and corporations. Waterpower, coalmines, oilfields would have to be government owned. “If I should say that outside,” he exclaimed, “people would call me a socialist. And it is because I’m not a socialist that I believe these things.”

He added that he believed this was the only way communism could be prevented – Dr. Axson told Ray Baker he wasn’t sure Wilson used the word communism, which wasn’t yet in circulation, perhaps he said Bolshevism – “the next President must be a man who is not only able to do things, but after having taken counsel and made a full survey, be able to retire alone, behind his own closed door, and think through the processes, step by step.

At home, now freshly stimulated by Bolshevik propaganda against capitalism and war, there was than “baneful seething among the working class and the foreign born that never ceased to worry him. There was the troublesome agitation for the pardon of the syndicalist Tom Mooney convicted of bombing a [war] preparedness parade in San Francisco . . . Strikes kept interrupting war production.

From Americans in Russia came conflicting reports. Some saw in the Bolshevik government merely a final phase of the revolutionary upheaval destined to pass away in a few months like the Jacobin terror that ended the French Revolution. Others saw in it the foundation of a new social order. Ever since the Bolshevik seizure of power had shattered his dream of a democratic Russia he had been allowing the news from that revolution-torn empire to pile up against some closed door in his mind.”

(Mr. Wilson’s War, From the Assassination of McKinley to America’s Rejection of the League of Nations, John Dos Passos, Hamish Hamilton, 1963, pp. 373-375)

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