Browsing "Future Wars of the Empire"

The Former Colony Becomes Colonialist

The American commander in the Philippines in 1898 was Gen. Thomas Anderson, a Northern lieutenant-colonel in the War Between the States, who knew firsthand about invasion and thwarting independence movements. In a twist of irony, Sen. George Hoar of Massachusetts, a radical Republican who was instrumental in subjugating the American South thirty-some years earlier, became outspoken in 1898 regarding US military force creating vassal states.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

The Former Colony Becomes Colonialist

“At the Paris Peace Conference of December 1898, where the terms of final surrender were fixed, Spain tried to retain Puerto Rico, arguing that the United States had never before challenged its sovereignty there. President McKinley rejected [this] . . . and said he decided that Puerto Rico was “to become the territory of the United States.” The Spanish, defeated and weak, had no choice but to accept.

No American alive in 1898 could have had any doubt about why the United States had gone to war with Spain. The conflict was fought to resolve a single question: Who would control Cuba? [But] as a result of Commodore Dewey’s victory at Manila, the United States suddenly exercised power over [the Philippines].

At first, McKinley seemed to want only enough territory in the Philippines to build a naval base at Manila. Then he considered the idea of granting the islands independence . . . [though] “One night late, it came to me this way.” He said. “there was nothing left for us to do but to take them all, and educate the Filipinos and uplift them and Christianize them, and by God’s grace do the very best we could for them, as our fellow men for whom Christ also died.”

What is certain is that McKinley, in the words of one historian, “knew the Filipinos not at all, and would misjudge their response with tragic persistence.” He himself admitted that when he heard news of Dewey’s victory at Manila, he “could not have told where those darned islands were within two thousand miles.” His fervor to “Christianize” the Filipinos, most of whom were already practicing Catholics, suggested his ignorance of conditions on the islands.

He certainly had no idea that they were in the throes of the first anticolonial revolution in the modern history of Asia. “The episode marked a pivotal point in the American experience,” Stanly Karnow wrote in his history of the Philippines. “For the first time, US soldiers fought overseas. And, for the first time, America was to acquire foreign territory beyond its shores – the former colony itself becoming colonialist.”

On May 1, 1898 . . . Dewey welcomed the Filipino guerilla leader Emilio Aguinaldo aboard his flagship, the Olympia. Their versions of what transpired are contradictory. Aguinaldo said they agreed to fight the Spanish together and then establish an independent Republic of the Philippines. Dewey swore that he made no such commitment. Whatever the truth, when Aguinaldo declared the independence of the Philippine, on June 12, neither Dewey or any other representative of the United States turned up at the ceremony.

General Thomas Anderson . . . was the first commander of American troops in the Philippines, sought to reassure them “I desire to have amicable relations with you,” he wrote Aguinaldo on July 4, “and to have you and your people cooperate with us in military operations against the Spanish forces.”

On December 21, [1898], McKinley issued an “executive letter” proclaiming American sovereignty over the Philippines. Rebels there were already proceeding along their own path. They had elected a constituent assembly that produced a constitution, and under its provisions the Republic of the Philippines was proclaimed on January 23, 1899. Twelve days later, this new nation declared war against the United States forces on the islands.

McKinley took no notice. To him, the Filipinos were what the historian Richard Welch called “a disorganized and helpless people.” Senator George Frisbie Hoar of Massachusetts warned that [this oppression] would turn the United States into “a vulgar, commonplace empire founded upon physical force, controlling subject races and vassal states, in which one class must forever rule and the other classes must forever obey.”

(Overthrow, America’s Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq, Stephen Kinzer, Times Books, 2006, pp. 46-49)

Fire Bombing Japanese Civilians

Despite military press releases and public statements that the US was not indiscriminately bombing civilian populations, the fact was that the nighttime incendiary bombing of Japanese cities was a weapon of area destruction, not precision bombing of industrial targets. The incendiary raids “destroyed homes, hospitals and schools, as well as factories, and killed lots of people, mainly women, children, and old men.”  The waging of war upon defenseless civilians is perhaps the most lasting legacy of Lincoln and W.T. Sherman.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circ1865.com

 

Fire Bombing Japanese Civilians

“General [Hap] Arnold needed results. [Gen.] Larry Norstad had made that very clear. In effect he said: “You go ahead and get [bombing] results, or you’ll be fired.”

. . . Let’s see: we could load [the bombers] with E-46 clusters. Drop them to explode at about two thousand feet, say, or twenty-five hundred. Then each of those would release thirty-eight of the M-69 incendiary bombs . . . Could use both napalm and phosphorous. Those napalm M-47’s. They say that ninety percent of the structures in Tokyo are built of wood [and all sources] say that the same. Very flimsy construction.

Bringing those [B-29’s] all the way down from thirty thousand feet to about nine or even five thousand. A lot of people will tell me that flesh and blood can’t stand it. So if we go in low – at night, singly, not in formation – I think we’ll surprise the Japs. At least for a short period of time . . . But if this first attack is successful, we’ll run another, right quick. Say, twenty-four hours afterward. Two days at the most. And then maybe another.

With at least three hundred planes we can get a good concentration. No matter how you slice it, you’re going to kill an awful lot of civilians. Thousands and thousands . . . We’re at war with Japan. We were attacked by Japan. Do you want to kill Japanese, or would you rather have Americans killed? Crank her up, let’s go.

Drafts from the Tokyo fires bounced our planes into the sky like ping-pong balls. A B-29 coming in after the flames were really on the tear would get caught in one of those searing updrafts. According to the Tokyo fire chief, the situation was out of control within thirty minutes. It was like an explosive forest fire in a dry pine woods. The racing flames engulfed ninety-five fire engines and killed on hundred and twenty-five firemen . . . [and] burning up nearly sixteen square miles of the world’s largest city.

If it hadn’t been for that big river curving through the metropolitan area, a lot more of the city would have gone. About a fourth of all the buildings in Tokyo went up in smoke that night anyway. More than two hundred and sixty seven thousand buildings. No other air attack of the war, either in Japan or in Europe, was so destructive of life and property.

Let’s go back and consult Major Boyle for the final time, and hear what he has to say in his Air Force [magazine] article: “The ten-day fire blitz of Japan was a turning point. The panic-stricken [survivors] began an exodus from the major cities . . . “

(Mission with LeMay, My Story; Gen. Curtis E. LeMay with MacKinlay Kantor, excerpts, pp. 347; 352-355)

The Great Policy of Liberation

The relatively untold story of the looting of post-WWII Germany is told in Kenneth D. Alford’s “The Spoils of World War Two.” The author writes of Major General Harry J. Collins of the 42nd Rainbow Division, and the standing joke at the time that his battle strategy was “one man fighting, two men looting, and three men painting rainbows.” Collins lived comfortably in a liberated 15th century Prielau Castle in Austria, as did General Mark Clark in Vienna.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

The Great Policy of Liberation

“[I thought] it would take the Germans a hundred years just to dig out of their debris. But they had new cities set up on the old bombed-out sites within five or six years from the time they began. Not everything they did was for the best.

If war’s destruction got rid of a lot of ancient ugliness, as well as wiping out a lot of ancient beauty, the builders demonstrated the usual lack of taste which we show and which other nations show in their embracing of the modern. There are some gosh-awful Hollywood-type-alleged-American-Californian buildings and store fronts adorning the German streets today.

The Germans lost a certain identity, a certain originality and national flavor, when they performed the new building. But the roofs don’t leak; there is heat in the winter.

[My wife and I took over the stripped Henkell] house in Wiesbaden . . . [Gen. Omar] Bradley’s troops had descended on it in the first place, when we invaded Germany in 1945, and I should like to have seen the mansion originally. Folks talked enthusiastically of the objets d’art – rugs, statuary, paintings, everything else. I regret to state in all honesty that, in 1945, when these [American troops] left the house . . . they backed up their trucks and took anything they wanted along. This was the great policy of so-called liberation. It went on all over Germany. Seems rather shocking now to consider it, and it even seemed a little shocking to certain people at the time.

When we arrived in Wiesbaden we met up with a handsome servant, a man in his late twenties, who bowed deeply and greeted us in perfect English: “Good morning, sir and madam. I am so happy you have arrived safely. I am glad to serve you. I am an American bastard.” He was the post-World War I illegitimate son of a German girl; his father was an American.”

(Mission with LeMay, My Story; Gen. Curtis E. LeMay with MacKinlay Kantor, pp. 405-406; 408-409)

No Effective Political Opposition

From its inception the Republican party was focused on power and profit for its northeastern industrial supporters who sought protectionist tariffs at the expense of the rest of the county. After the war cemented Republican political hegemony, the Gilded Age marriage of government and business begat repeated scandals of political corruption and bribery unknown to the republic of Washington and Jefferson. Today the scandals and bribery continue unabated as both parties share the spoils.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.circa1865.org

 

No Effective Political Opposition

“With a Third World President busy destroying the future of your and my American descendants in favor of foreign invaders, there has never been a greater need in American history for a real opposition party. But in fact, there has not been a real opposition party in US politics since Mr. Jefferson sent Colonel Hamilton and His Excellency John Adams heading back north.

In the 1830s, when there was a bitter conflict of opinion and interest between a prohibitive tariff and free trade, Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren wafted into the White House by declaring themselves stalwart supporters of a “judicious tariff,” whatever that might mean.

In 1840 the Whigs beat them at their own game. They announced their bold program to fight the depression: “Tippecanoe and Tyler Too!” (I omit the War for Southern Independence, in which massive and unprecedented government force was employed to “solve” the principled opposition of Southern communities and their citizens.)

It is a fact that a firmly equivocal and nice-sounding blandness has always been one of the greatest keys to success for American politicians. When was the last presidential election in which any real issues were contested? One celebrity historian has promoted the idea that the lack of opposition in politics is one of the great virtues of the American regime.

This avoidance of ideas and principles has always been the Republican stock in trade. The Republican Party has won office claiming opposition and immediately abetted and institutionalized whatever revolution has been imposed. Whenever the party leadership has been challenged, money, electoral expertise, and cunning deceit have been employed to defeat the usurper.

In 1964, when the grass roots rose up, the leaders torpedoed their own candidate. In 1980, when there was a potential threat, the candidate was quickly co-opted. When George Wallace showed the potential of social-conservative voters, Republican leaders held their noses and successfully gathered the harvest, at least for a time, without ever having the least intention of pressing any of the issues.

When conservative Christians became politically active, giving great hope to many, they, too, were swiftly invited into the party and neutralized. For some time now the party has rested on the votes of conservative Christians and Southerners. It has never had any intention of giving these voters anything, never has given them anything, and never will give them anything.

To do so will not be respectable, would invite calumny from the press, and would interfere with the real objective: power and profits.

When George W. Bush launched an unnecessary war of aggression on the basis of lies to the American people and Congress, there was no effective opposition. The Founding Fathers would have instantly recognized this as treason – the most unquestionably impeachable offense ever committed by one holding high office.

No effective political opposition – although Bill Clinton could be impeached for a bit of ambiguous verbiage. Then both parties colluded to subsidize the financiers so that their immense wealth would not be threatened by their evil acts against the people. No opposition.

There is no reason to think that the illegal immigration juggernaut will be any different. In the future, intelligent observers (if there are any) will judge that the years of George W. Bush marked the de facto end of the American experiment in freedom and self-government.”

(The Missing Opposition, Clyde Wilson; Chronicles Magazine, November 2014, excerpt pp. 18-19)

Roosevelt's American Religion of Supremacy

The man who Mencken referred to as “Roosevelt the First,” sent sixteen aging white-painted battleships on an around the world cruise in 1907 for little more than a boost in his administration’s prestige and a reelection ploy. Mark Twain wrote in his essay “The President as Advertiser” that “The excursion will make a great noise and this will satisfy Mr. Roosevelt.” Admiral Robley D. Evans mentioned below was a longtime navy man, and wounded in the Northern attack on Fort Fisher in January 1865.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.circa1865.org

 

Roosevelt’s American Religion of Supremacy

“A voyage around the world was Theodore Roosevelt’s own idea. “I determined on the move without consulting the Cabinet precisely as I took Panama without consulting the Cabinet.” The idea had come to him in 1905, when Russia’s long cruise ended in disaster. For two years he shaped his plans secretly . . . By 1907, several excuses were available.

Roosevelt’s standard explanation . . . was that the Navy needed practice in navigation, communication, coal consumption, crew stamina and fleet maneuvering. Navy professionals had trouble hiding their contempt for such reasoning [and obviously] the fleet could practice better in home waters, free from diplomatic diversions. Even Rear Admiral Evans, who was to command the excursion, later admitted that he never understood its purpose.

Roosevelt’s adversaries criticized his “other motives.” The voyage was timed to influence the election of 1908. It was a scheme to make Congress so proud that it might vote a dozen or so new battleships. The President was “in” with steel tycoons who wanted a new boom in shipbuilding. A foreign adventure would take people’s minds off their own troubles in the depression which had begun in 1907.

America’s new apprehension [toward the Japanese after defeating Russia] was noticeable at the Portsmouth Conference in 1905 when Roosevelt blocked Japan’s demands for a cash indemnity from Russia. This inspired anti-American demonstrations in Tokyo, repeated on a larger scale in 1906 after San Francisco announced that Japanese children could no longer attend regular public schools.

Jingoes prodded Roosevelt with hundreds of letter. A Chicagoan wrote: “We must send the fleet and sink them. Show no mercy, teach tm a lesson that will inform them of our power and majesty . . . Seize Korea, Formosa and Manchuria . . . the idea is to overwhelm them with our power suddenly.”

California papers . . . saved their best insults for Japan. They were joined by the yellow press, which mounted an assault upon public sanity just as it had done a decade in the war against Spain. Books about the “Yellow Peril,” “the Japanese menace,” and “the coming struggle” were popular in 1907. In May and June the New York Times and Collier’s Weekly published serials which described the future fighting around the Philippines and Hawaii.

The French press called Roosevelt a demagogue, imperialist and militaristic megalomaniac. The old American of freedom, democracy and peace was no more, having given away to violence, chauvinism, and the religion of supremacy.

Roosevelt muzzled the Navy. On threat of court-martial, officers could not criticize the cruise no matter how they scorned it as a waste of time. They were warned not to belittle the battleships, no matter how many improvements they thought the ships needed. The President also gave careful attention to the selection of the men who would tell the story to the public. Only “acceptable” correspondents were allowed to make the cruise. Everything must be “subject to censorship,” Roosevelt warned Admiral Evans.

All sixteen battleships had entered Hampton Roads by December 12 and anchored in neat rows near the spot where, on a night forty-five years before, a wooden United States Navy had awaited almost certain destruction by a crude iron ancestor known as the [CSS Virginia].

Riding at anchor, the battleships looked powerful as well as beautiful. The fleet was” one huge bluff . . . of little service in battle.” The appearance of such discordant notes brought bursts of indignation from the patriotic majority. A critic was a traitor, a saboteur, planting a kind of bomb that could destroy a quest for glory.”

(The Great White Fleet, Its Voyage Around the World, 1907-1909, Robert A. Hart, Little, Brown and Company, pp. 23-24; 31-32; 40-43; 52)

On Diversity

The Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution in 1868 was illegally enacted without the requisite number of States ratifying it. This so-called amendment has been the source of many political and social conundrums then and today — most recently it allegedly allows children born on US soil to be instant citizens. It indeed was only a measure by the Republican party to ensure votes in the South from grateful and compensated former African slaves.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.circa1865.org

 

On Diversity

“How much diversity can America tolerate and still be America?

There is no question that, at the time the Declaration of Independence was signed and the Constitution was framed, an American was white and English-speaking, and a product of Western Christian civilization. Non-whites were not allowed citizenship until Republicans forced through the 14th Amendment in 1868 partly as a way to enfranchise blacks in the South who they thought would then vote for the Grand Old Party.

Moreover, whenever non-white immigration reached any significant level, restrictions and prohibitions were enacted, e.g., the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, the Gentlemen’s Agreement of 1907, and the Oriental Exclusion Act of 1924.

When the Founding Fathers talked about religious freedom, they were essentially thinking of disestablishing the Anglican Church. “Freedom of worship” meant that Baptists, Presbyterians, Quakers and Catholics should no longer suffer as they had under English rule. I really don’t think the Founders were thinking about Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, animists, and Santerians.

What is America is five or ten percent non-white, non-English-speaking, non-Christian, non-Western? No problem. A little salt and pepper is interesting, enlivens and invigorates culture, and introduces new perspectives.

But what if that number becomes 40, 60, 80 percent of the population? No, I think it is called fragmentation, separation, Balkanization. Los Angeles is an outstanding example of this.

While politicians, school officials, and other so-called community leaders mouth inane slogans such as “Diversity is Our Strength,” whites flee to far-flung suburbs as fast as their SUV’s will carry them.

There are so few whites left in the Los Angeles Unified School District that busing only means that blacks and Hispanics are bussed to schools in white neighborhoods. All the white children whose parents can afford it are in private or parochial schools, leaving the local school no more than 20 or 30 percent white. In most of the elementary schools, English is a foreign language.

It seems to me that it is perfectly natural, moral, ethical, and legal for a people to want to preserve their identity. Would Japanese allow themselves to become Russian? Would Israeli’s allow themselves to become Arab? Would Indians allow themselves to become Chinese? Why should it be our fate to lose our American identity?”

(On Diversity, Dr. Roger D. McGrath, Chronicles Magazine, June 1999,excerpts, pp. 4-5)

Lend-Lease Equals Dead American Boys

In his last major campaign speech of the 1940 election, to the “Boston Irish,” FDR reaffirmed his opposition to intervention in the European war, and added that “while I am talking to you mothers and fathers, I will give you one more assurance.  I have said this before, but I shall say it again and again and again: Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars.”

Bernhard Thuersam, www.circa1865.org

 

Lend-Lease Equals Dead American Boys

“The 1940 presidential campaign soon settled into a phony contest to see who could most reassure American fathers and mothers that their boys would not be sent off to fight a war. [Republican presidential candidate Wendell] Wilkie kept calling FDR a warmonger and the public reaction finally got under the President’s skin.

The late Robert Sherwood, a Roosevelt ghost writer, has written that on a trip through New England on October 30 FDR was flooded with telegrams “stating almost tearfully that if the President did not give his solemn promise to the mothers, he might as well start packing his belongings at the White House.”

For this reason, Sherwood explained, the President that night in a speech in Boston spoke those unforgettable lines: “I have said this before, but I shall say it again – and again – and again – your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign war.” According to Sherwood, FDR rejected a suggestion by another speechwriter, Samuel Rosenman, that he add the phrase that was so important to him in the [Democratic] platform – “except in case of attack.”

The President’s campaign promises did not square with an impression I was getting from insiders. In October, Vice President John Nance Garner called me into his room off the Senate floor. He had just come from a Cabinet meeting.

“I’ll bet you a grand,” the Vice President [stated], “that we’re in the war by June first of next year.” Garner paused, ruminating, then added: “[Secretary of State Cordell] Hull is more anxious to go to war with the Japs than the Chief is.” I asked why.

“Because he thinks we’ve got to go to war with them sometime and we might as well do it now,” the Vice President said.

“That’s a hell of a reason,” I said. Garner agreed. Later, I mentioned Garner’s report on Hull’s attitude to Chairman Tom Connally of the Foreign Relations Committee and he grunted, “That’s right.”

The evidence that Hull wanted to go to war with Japan is overwhelming. Senator George W. Norris, the great liberal independent, knew it and once innocently assured me we would not lose any soldiers in a war with Japan.

Immediately after the election . . . Roosevelt [asked] Congress for authority to lend-lease all sorts of aid to the allies. It would be a revolutionary law giving him tremendous dictatorial powers to further our intervention – something he would not dare broach before the election.

When I arrived in Washington, DC, Senator Ed Johnson, a Colorado Democrat who shared my sentiments about the war, said he could not prevent its passage . . . . “The skids are greased and the Republicans and Democratic leaders are all for the bill,” Johnson said. I told him I would fight it even if the only vote I mustered was my own.

“When you pass this bill, it means war,” I told my colleagues. All the Democrats speaking for the Administration said the bill meant peace.

“If it is our war,” I said on January 2, 1941, “how can we justify lending them stuff and asking them to pay us back?” If it is our war, we ought to have the courage to go over and fight it, but it is not our war.”

[Wheeler said on the radio:] “The lend-lease program is the New Deal’s triple-A foreign policy; it will plow under every fourth American boy.”

Joe Kennedy, a friend since the early 1920s, shared my concern about our avoiding the war. He once told me that he liked Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain better than Winston Churchill because Chamberlain was interested in working out a peaceful solution. If this was so, I asked him, why did Britain let itself get involved in a war. Kennedy said it was “pressure from the United States.”

(Yankee From the West, Burton K. Wheeler, Paul F. Healy, editor, Doubleday & Company, 1962, pp. 24-27)

 

Wilson's League of Economic Exploitation

Behind the façade of Woodrow Wilson’s utopian idealism at Versailles in 1919 was the reality of the victor’s retribution and the predictable result of their repressive terms for peace. Lenin was already consolidating his merciless regime in Russia, the British were busy seizing Middle Eastern oil fields as their own, and the French desired an independent Rhineland. General Tasker Bliss wrote his wife” “The submerged nations are coming to the surface and as soon as they appear they fly at somebody’s throat. They are like mosquitos, vicious from the moment of birth.”

Bernhard Thuersam, www.circa1865.org

 

Wilson’s League of Economic Exploitation

“According to all the Paris dispatches, President Wilson has authorized the statement that the league of nations plan is to be an integral part of the peace treaty. If this be true, we regard it as a deliberate attempt to dragoon the Senate of the United States, and as such, a logical and fitting climax to the whole discreditable course of the Paris Conference.

It is a familiar trick of the “rider.” The people of this country want the peace treaty signed and out of the way, the business interests being especially impatient of delay. At the same time, they are very imperfectly informed about the implications of the league covenant, and reluctant to wade through the diplomatic jargon which half-conceals its sinister purposes.

We may be quite sure . . . that every agency at the disposal of the [Wilson] Administration will do its utmost to manufacture and strengthen public sentiment against the opposition of the Senate . . .

This alliance of victorious Governments, masquerading under the pretentious lying title of a league of nations, organized for sheer economic exploitation, has nowhere in its constitution sincerity enough to make fitting one single inch of furtherance by aid of any honorable means whatsoever. It should continue and end under no other that the auspices of its beginning.

[There is no reason economically for the league as] the removal of economic barriers and restrictions now imposed by political governments upon industry and trade would, we believe, at once effect the same free economic union among world states that now prevails among the United States of America; and we think that a free economic union is the only one that will have stability or permanence.

[The proposed league] has no quality or characteristic which essentially differentiates it from treaties that have heretofore bound the European states into competitive and predatory groups. The war has made the liberal spirit impatient of opportunism and compromise. If all the cost and sacrifice involved in the struggle to “make the world safe for democracy” have purchased nothing better than a rescript of old treaties, if it has not brought about the practical affirmation of a single democratic principle, we cannot see any place for opportunism in judgment. Faith, under such circumstances, is not faith, but indolent, shirking credulity.

What we have [in the league] is a calm, arrogant, and ruthless formulation of a plan of world-domination by the five conquering powers, a device for causing the exploitable territories of the earth to stand and deliver without the risk and cost of war.

The Governments of the United States, Great Britain, France Italy and Japan are the league of nations; they are the executive council; they appoint the dummy directors; they pass finally on the qualifications of candidates; they are, in short, an absolute and irresponsible oligarchy.

International commerce cannot be carried on except at their pleasure, under their jurisdiction, and, it is surely by this time superfluous to add, to their profit. Teleologically considered, we are offered an economic alliance which has as its primary object, in general, the exploitation of a property-less dependent class of the world over, and, as between nations, the exploitation of the vanquished by the victors, and of weaker nations by the stronger.

It is an organization of what Mr. Frederic C. Howe calls “financial imperialism” raised to its highest possibility. It contemplates only a political peace, and that a pax Romana. Of economic peace it gives no hint; on the contrary, it contemplates the inauguration of unprecedented economic war.”

(The End of the Means, Albert J. Nock, The State of the Union, Essays in Social Criticism, C.H. Hamilton, editor, Liberty Fund, 1991, pp. 76-77; 79)

American's Sacrificed for Vested Interests

North Carolinian Claude Kitchin rightly sensed Woodrow Wilson’s intentions as he wrote in February 1916: “I think the President is anxious for war with Germany . . . I fear the President is going to watch for the first opportunity to strike at Germany and involve this country in a world-wide war . . . It seems a crime against civilization and humanity for this Christian nation to plunge into the war and make a slaughter-house of the whole world.” Nearly 117,000 American men unnecessarily perished in the Great World War, Part One.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.circa1865.org

 

American’s Sacrificed for Vested Interests

“Various motives were attributed to Kitchin for his opposition to the Wilson war policies. But the fact remains that Wilson, with complete authority to direct our relations with the warring Powers, persisted in following a highly un-neutral and war-threatening course which inevitably led us into the holocaust; and that Claude Kitchin, along with most other leaders of the President’s own party in Congress, backed by large majorities in both Houses – at least until the potent resources of the Administration were employed in full force – fought for a more genuinely neutral and pacific course.

That the President was beset by powerful economic and political forces and was ill-advised by men of his own choice, whom he knew to be biased, helps greatly explain his course but adds nothing to his wisdom as a statesman.

Wilson himself, his appointees in belligerent capitals, and the advisors upon whom he most relied were biased in favor of the Allies and against the Central Powers. A large majority of the American public was similarly biased and was easily victimized by propaganda. We were lured by the growing volume of profitable trade occasioned by the war, which became the basis of a booming – though ephemeral – prosperity. To enjoy this trade we had to encounter the hazards of unlawful “blockades” on either side.

As the Allies had more to offer us, as their huge naval superiority made their “blockade” more formidable, and as our sympathies were predominantly on their side, we endured their arbitrary dicta and defied those of Germany.

The time came when the Allies could no longer make their mounting purchases except on a credit basis. The Administration was besought to permit the granting of credits and later the floatation of loans to the Allies in this country. Reluctant at first, it yielded by degrees.

And thus we developed a vested interest which ran into the billions in the ultimate triumph of the side upon which we had staked our “prosperity.” The Wilson Administration came to rationalize its one-sided policies on the faulty hypothesis that one side was fighting for the right and the other for the wrong, that one was even “fighting our battles” against the menace of the other.

Wilson conceived of himself first as the great World Arbiter and finally as the Commander of Righteousness Triumphant.”

(Claude Kitchin and the Wilson War Policies, Alex Arnett, Russell & Russell, 1937, pp. 115; 117-119)

Korea's Temporary American Intervention

Far from being a sterling example of democracy exported from the US, South Korea has been “an unrepresentative and unpopular dictatorship since the early days of American occupation.” Author Bruce Cumings (The Origins of the Korean War) suggests that the claimed North Korean surprise attack in June 1950 was in fact an armed response to frequent border incursions by the American-appointed puppet Syngman Rhee’s military. Not content with ruling only South Korea for his American friends, instigating war with the North could increase his realm.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.circa1865.org

 

Korea’s Temporary American Intervention

“America’s three-decade intervention in Korea has shattered an ancient East Asian society. Millions were killed and wounded; millions more became refugees separated from their families and birthplaces. Twenty-nine years after World War II and twenty-one years after the Korean War, the Korean people and peninsula are still divided into two hostile regimes.

The consequences for the United States have also been grave. America suffered casualties of 33,629 killed and 150,000 wounded in the Korean War and has spent tens of billions of dollars for the security and economic development of the Republic of Korea (ROK). The belief that US policies in Korea were a successful model for resisting communism in Asia led directly to the US intervention in Vietnam.

Ironically, although American troops were withdrawn from Vietnam . . . the US expeditionary force remains in South Korea to “ensure stability in Northeast Asia,” a hostage to strategies and ambitions of the cold war past.

American involvement in Korea occurred at a moment of singular renaissance for the Korean people. Japan’s crushing defeat in 1945 meant political and cultural liberation [and a chance] to re-establish the Korean nation after thirty-five years of harsh Japanese colonial rule . . . Korea was a unified country when it lost independence to Japan in 1910. A homogenous population speaking a common language lived on a distinct geographical unit, the Korean peninsula, where they had lived for over a thousand years.

The American forces that landed at Inch’on, Korea, in September 1945 . . . were a harbinger of America’s new role in postwar Asia. The US-USSR agreement in August 1945 on a temporary zonal division of the peninsula to accept the surrender of Japanese forces gave America a limited “temporary” responsibility for southern Korea. Since 1948 the United States has paid directly a large percentage of the ROK’s annual budget and has trained, armed and supplied its military forces.

The post-World War II involvement in Korea differs from areas where US power was traditionally paramount. No United Fruit Company dabbled in Korean politics. The Korean peninsula lacked natural resources and market potential . . . Congress might have limited the US involvement, but instead it passively and indifferently acquiesced to executive branch policies.

The most striking instance was allowing President Harry S. Truman to go to war in Korea in June 1950 without a declaration of war by the Congress, as required by the Constitution. This fateful lapse contributed to the plunge into Vietnam a decade later.

The US intervention in Korea to block the Soviet Union overlooked one factor: the Koreans. Whether the Korean demands for immediate self-government and reforms were communist-inspired or advocated by non-communist radicals and liberals, the US command would not risk a potential challenge to its control [and] Washington ruled that there could be no retreat.

The United States intervention [in June, 1950] prolonged the war [between Korean political factions] by more than three years, bringing an estimated 4.5 million Korean, Chinese and American casualties. The United States attained its objective of keeping the southern half of the peninsula non-communist, but the Koreas remain divided almost three decades later.”

(Without Parallel, The American-Korean Relationship Since 1945, Frank Baldwin, Pantheon Books, 1971, excerpts, pp. 3-16)

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