What Should Be America's Position?
A REPLY TO COL. LINDBERGH
By KEY PITTMAN, U. S. Senator from Nevada
Radio Address, June 16, 1940, from Washington, D. C.
Vital Speeches of the Day, Vol. VI, pp.
FELLOW CITIZENS: Colonel Lindbergh, in his speech last night, said: "We cannot continue for long to follow the course our government has taken without becoming involved with Germany." The only possible justification for such a statement was his pronouncement that "there are many perfectly sincere men and women who believe that we can send weapons to kill people in Europe without becoming involved with these people."
Colonel Lindbergh evidently desires and intends to stop the purchase of materials in this country by Great Britain and France. He does not deny that this is absolutely in accordance with the customs of international law and nations since the beginning of time. He believes, however, apparently, that this will lead us into war.
Well, suppose it does. Who would institute and conduct the war? Not the United States, but Germany. It is significant that when the United States had its markets open to Germany for all the materials, arms, and instruments of war that have built up Hitler's brutal machine, there was no such argument by Colonel Lindbergh. It must be admitted that the purchase of these materials is legal.
Then what is Colonel Lindbergh's objection? It is plain and simple: That such legal actions will involve us in war with Germany. It appears that Colonel Lindbergh, who has resided long in Great Britain as its guest, through fear of incensing Hitler would deprive the people of Great Britain and France of the weapons necessary to protect their lives against airplanes and tanks which, with our other materials, were supplied to Germany.
Colonel Lindbergh in his address quoted the policies of the pioneers of the West with regard to the use of guns. He evidently was not informed entirely as to the courage and spirit of those early pioneers. They never refused to give a gun even to a stranger whose life was threatened by a bandit. Selfishness and cowardice were not so marked with the early pioneers.
Colonel Lindbergh's advisers are expert upon the subject of political propaganda. Colonel Lindbergh should have sought other advice with regard to military matters.
He attempts to excite and intimidate the citizens of the United States through fear of Hitler. He tells them with the authority of a Pershing that if they get into war with Germany they have to undertake the impossible task of transporting millions of men from the United States to fight in Germany. He informs our people that this war would last for generations. What a brutal and unfounded assertion!
The United States has no desire to conquer Germany. We simply intend to prevent Hitler from conquering any country on the Western Hemisphere. Instead of the United States undertaking the practically impossible feat of conveying an invading army to Germany, that necessity will be placed upon Hitler, if and when he ever attempts to invade the Western Hemisphere.
Colonel Lindbergh, in his love for the people of the United States, criticizes our condition of unpreparedness, and proposes immediate and extraordinary preparedness for national defense. When did this patriotic spirit animate him? Did any one ever hear of it until recently? Are we to prepare to that extent unless there be a threat to our national safety? Who threatens our national safety?
Colonel Lindbergh's address plainly indicates that it is Hitler, with his inordinate ambition and his unlimited intent for conquest. Would it be to the welfare of the United States if Hitler were stopped in Europe? If he were stopped, there would be no threat against the United States. If the opening of our markets to Great Britain and France for arms, ammunition and implements of war would stop Hitler, would Colonel Lindbergh favor it?
Even if it would anger Hitler, even if Hitler should conquer Europe, as suggested by Colonel Lindbergh, would his anger toward us in any way actuate his course of conquest? Is it possible that if we refused to do the legal, humane thing toward Great Britain and France—if we stultified ourselves by praising the brutal and atheistic government of Hitler—that it would in any way alter his course toward us, if it were in his power to conquer us? Oh, certainly not.
Witness the peaceful, friendly attitude of Holland and Belgium.
It is strange the motives that actuate men. Maybe Colonel Lindbergh still trusts Hitler with regard to the policy of appeasement indulged in by Chamberlain, and apparently advanced by Colonel Lindbergh.
Whom is Colonel Lindbergh fighting in the United States? Certainly not Congress, for Congress even today is criticized for surrendering the freedom of the seas that they might keep out of war. Has Colonel Lindbergh unwittingly been led into an attack on the President of the United States? Has the cunning incitement of his ambition blinded him as to the safety of his country? Is the fifth column behind Colonel Lindbergh, without his knowledge, in attempting to defeat the present leaders of our country.
Has Colonel Lindbergh failed to read his written speech, or, if he did, to understand that there is an apparent attack upon the patriotism of the chief executive of this country? I doubt if he has realized it.
The President, in his last public proclamation in answer to Premier Reynaud of France, stated emphatically that nothing he had said should be considered a commitment to enter the war.
Colonel Lindbergh is a young man, subject to flattery,as all of us are, and through flattery are often deceived. Colonel Lindbergh is a courageous man. No one doubts his patriotism. But he is a young man inexperienced and totally unfamiliar with our country, its statesmanship and its military matters.
Our government has an exceedingly serious responsibility imposed upon it. If Colonel Lindbergh desires to help in our national defense, let him throw aside all of his false political advisers and volunteer in the United States Government as an expert in aviation. Let Colonel Lindbergh cease efforts to create unfounded war fear and lack of confidence in our government.
Let Colonel Lindbergh and his advisers know that when one fools with politics in a national emergency he is fooling with disaster.
Let the people of the United States understand, once and for all, that there is no immediate danger of attack on this country; that there is future danger of Hitler's involving this country in a serious war; that this country is able and intends to make any preparation that may be necessary to successfully defend this hemisphere against any invasion by Hitler or by any other militaristic conquerors.