Who Seeks to Commit Us to World Revolution?


By MERWIN K. HART, President, New York State Economic Council

Delivered before County Men, an Organization of Native Born Citizens of Dutchess County, N. Y., Poughkeepsie, N. Y., June 12, 1942

Vital Speeches of the Day, Vol. VIII, pp. 588-590.

THREE weeks from tomorrow we will celebrate the 166th anniversary of the Independence of the United States of America. The men who signed that Declaration took their lives in their hands. But they and their fellow-patriots made their pledge good. When in 1783 the Revolution was won, then a new chapter in the world's history began. For the first time in history an intelligent, virile people had become completely free. In all human experience there had been no freedom like ours. The freedom we won was true freedom for the individual citizen. We have used it to build the highest level of life and of living the world has ever seen. Until recently, there has been more good will among our citizens than any nation has ever witnessed. We built so well that the entrance of the United States into the world war in 1917 meant the winning of that war by our side.

Due to our kind of freedom and the system of free private enterprise that grew up under it, the United States has succeeded in reaching in the two short years since France fell, a volume of production that already is showing striking effect in the conflict on land and sea and in the air. This production, and our active participation, will result, I am confident, in our winning this world war.

Not in production alone, but in every field of human activity have the benefits of American freedom been felt. We have had more education, greater opportunities to reap the fruits of our labor and more philanthropies of every nature than other nations. These social gains came to us because here the individual citizen has been free to use such talents as God gave him to build himself up, for the benefit of his family, his community, and his country.

As far as the war is concerned, I am interested solely in the task of winning it. We made a bad start at Pearl Harbor and we have lost heavily on many fronts. But now at the end of six months of war, we have, in recent days, had two definite victories—in the battle of the Coral Sea and in the battle west of Midway Island. All praise to the Navy and the Air Force for these. I believe our Army authorities are using conspicuous vision and skill in training the millions who are going forth to fight. There is growing evidence that our fighting forces are finding themselves, and we at home are ready to make any sacrifice needed for victory. The war may be long; but we are going to win. Yet something makes many citizens uneasy. We hear a great deal today about the need not only of winning the war, but also of winning the peace. When citizens, who love their country and its independence, talk about winning the peace, they wish, above all, to preserve their independence, for their freedom is inseparable from it. But many individuals and many groups are talking about winning the peace, whose words we have reason to distrust.

Down to Pearl Harbor the avowed purpose of the United States in sending aid to Britain and her allies was to aid them to defeat the Axis Powers.

When Japan suddenly attacked at Pearl Harbor and when four days later Germany and Italy both declared war on us, it was then clear to the American people that they must fight for their very survival. To that project they instantly became unanimously dedicated.

But now for some time past, some of our leaders have been disclosing, piece by piece, a broader objective. It now appears, through no authorization either of the American people or of the Congress, that our Government is yielding to the pressure of mysterious groups to use this war and the young men in our fighting forces, to extend the New Deal throughout the earth. Without authorization, even without the knowledge of the vast majority of the American people, a plan apparently has been devised, with certain persons in the Administration seeking to carry it out, to involve the United States in a world-wide social revolution. I recall no previous mention of such a program, except in Fascist, Nazi and in Communist quarters.

Listen to what some of our leaders are now saying:

Vice-President Wallace on May 8, speaking before the Free World Association in New York City, pictured thepresent war as a world revolution. He said: "The people in their millennial and revolutionary march toward manifesting here on earth the dignity that is in every human soul, hold as their credo the Four Freedoms enunciated by President Roosevelt in his message to Congress on January 6, 1941. These four freedoms are the very core of the revolution for which the United Nations have taken their stand."

When did the Congress, or the people, thus commit us to world revolution?

This speech by the Vice-President was, in large measure, ignored by the newspapers, except such sheets as the Daily Worker and P.M.

On Memorial Day, Mr. Sumner Welles, Under-Secretary of State, speaking at Arlington, Va., said:

"For the world can readily produce what mankind requires. The problem is rather one of distribution and purchasing power; of providing the mechanism whereby what the world produces may be fairly distributed among the nations of the world, and of providing the means whereby the people of the world may obtain the world's goods and services. Your Government has already taken steps to obtain the support and active cooperation of others of the United Nations in this great task; a task which in every sense of the term is a new frontier—a frontier of limitless expanse—a frontier of human welfare."

Such words as these from able Mr. Welles at first evoked approval and applause. But on closer scrutiny and after reflection they show, to say the least, the same lack of realism as does Vice-President Wallace.

The world waited until 1776 before a nation was born, in which the people could produce abundantly. This abundance was achieved, first, because of genuine individual freedom and, second, because of the prolonged and ceaseless application of a multitude of minds and bodies, each working for himself; each, in the very nature of things, thus working for all the people. Americans were able to accomplish their great achievement because they themselves evolved this system out of their own mental and spiritual capacities. History since then has shown the folly of the theory that because one nation can itself evolve such a system, that system can be successfully imposed upon all other nations.

President Conant of Harvard, who has long supported the Administration's foreign policy, in his Baccalaureate Sermon on June 7, senses the danger in the grandiose programs of Mr. Wallace and Mr. Welles, when he says, in part:

"To some who view the present chaos in the light of the follies of the last twenty years, no small measure of blame must be laid at the door of the prevalent Utopian philosophy. . . . The danger exists again today. We are fighting to defend human liberty and render secure the American way of life. We desire to prevent the recurrence of a devastating world-wide struggle every generation. We want and expect to have the United States a better place to live in when the war is over. Limited objectives we must set. But let us proceed cautiously in painting too rosy a picture of the world or even of the United States after the war is over."

The vast majority of the people of this earth cannot have the vaguest idea of what Vice-President Wallace, or even Mr. Welles, is talking about. If they did, there is no evidence that they would want it. If we permit ourselves to be lured into following such visionary schemes, we can be sure the American people will wade through a sea of blood and, if they reach the farther shore, will find nothing but disillusionment and disappointment. They will have sacrificed the independence of their nation. It is highly improbable that the common people of other nations would benefit by our sacrifice.

It is clear that this idea of world revolution, though never approved or passed upon directly or indirectly by the American people or by the Congress, is with certain prominent New Dealers the principal objective of the war.

In an article in the July issue of the American Magazine Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt, having been asked to write on What Are We Fighting For?, clearly depicts the present war as a war of revolution. She says:

"When we look over the past few years, we discover that the war, as we know it now, is only a phase of something which has been going on ever since the last war— a kind of world revolution."

Elsewhere in the article she says:

"We will no longer cling to any type of economic system which leaves any human beings who are willing to work, without food and shelter and an opportunity for further development. The people themselves are going to run their own affairs; they are not going to delegate them to a few people and become slaves to those few. Having established that, we shall still be carrying out the revolution, the revolution of the people all over the world."

And she concludes with these words:

"Once the people as a whole understand that these are the objectives of the leaders of the United Nations, there will be sorrow at the young lives that are sacrificed, but not bitterness. All will be willing to accept civilian hardships and sacrifice, for there will be full understandingthat failure to win the revolution in the way of democracywould bring only unbearable disaster.

"The war is but a step in the revolution. After thewar must come the realization of the things for which wehave fought—the dream of a new world."

I do not question Mrs. Roosevelt's sincerity. But her disclosures are truly startling. They are these: first her admission that the people do not now understand what's going on, and second, that the revolutionary "objectives" are as yet merely those of "the leaders of the United Nations."

During any long war in modern times, the people have always yearned to take steps that would prevent war. After Napoleon was beaten at Waterloo, the peoples of Europe eagerly adopted a proposal of the Czar of Russia for the establishment of a Holy Alliance between the nations. Under this plan they agreed to treat each other as brothers and pledge themselves to conduct their foreign relations on the principles laid down in the Sermon on the Mount. Fifty-two nations solemnly signed this alliance. But it remained "Holy" for only a short time. Indeed, as we well know, it soon became the instrument of reaction.

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I am convinced that the great majority of the American people believe that arrangements for peace should await the conclusion of the war. That will certainly be the sound policy, because no man can say now what conditions will then be. Less than a year ago Russia was an ally of Germany. Today she is our brothers-in-arms. A year hence who can tell what may have happened?

The New York Times of June 9 contained a news dispatch from Washington, saying that:

"Three more United Nations, Belgium, Poland and Greece, were formally invited by Secretary of State Cordell Hull today to become parties to the master lend-lease agreement."

I find this interesting statement in the despatch:

"This provides for continued American aid to them and for their collaboration in setting up a post-war economic world along liberal lines after victory has been achieved."

Continued American aid we fully expect to give. As to the rest, you can give your own answers.

What does all this mean? Read in the light of the Wallace and Welles speeches and Mrs. Roosevelt's article, it is disquieting in the extreme.

My message to you is this. Everything possible should be done to win the war. But none of the people's money should be spent for any other purpose except for winning the war, where such expenditure can possibly be avoided or postponed. If we are profligate with our wealth on unnecessary things, we may find it impossible to build the last few ships and planes and tanks and guns that will be needed to win the last battle.

But I, for one, protest the furtive, aggressive use of our tax-payers' money to tie us into a world revolution, with respect to which the great majority of the American people know absolutely nothing and toward participation in which I believe they would have the greatest hostility.

I have said we Americans will make any sacrifices necessary to win the war. But many of our middle-class citizens are having their means of livelihood wiped out. If we permit them to be destroyed, we will by that much destroy the American way of life. Like all patriotic Americans, these middle-class citizens would gladly sacrifice their means oflivelihood, if necessary, to win a decisive victory. But must we destroy our very own, in whose land liberty was conceived, in order to put across some world socialist scheme? Must the American way of life give place to world revolution? Well did the Apostle Paul write to Timothy:

"But if any provide not for his own, and especially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel." (I Timothy, 5:8.)

No people on earth has achieved so great a reputation as the Americans for generosity and kindliness to other peoples. This spirit will continue in the future as in the past. It is bred in the bone. But I frankly feel that a continuation of the present trend will result in the selling of the American people into slavery to unknown masters.

I am not blaming the Administration alone for this policy of revolution. Congress must indirectly share the blame. Congress on March 8, 1941 passed the so-called Lend-Lease Bill. Who drew that bill I don't know, but it is clear that the giving of the people's savings anywhere in this world is authorized throughout the life of the Act just so long as the President wills to give it. Congress, by the Lease Lend Act lawfully committed the American people to full aid in the winning of the war. That act settled that question. But I don't believe the Congress intended by that act, directly or indirectly, to finance or shape a world revolution.

We have been subjected now for many months to a process of being edged unconsciously and unsuspectingly into this world revolution. Congress alone can stop it. If the present Congress does not stop it, then I hope the question will be foremost in every Congressional campaign this year.

I emphatically disagree with Mrs. Roosevelt's statement that "Once the people as a whole understand that these are the objectives of the leaders of the United Nations, therewill be sorrow at the young lives that are sacrificed, but not bitterness." If in victory we lose our independence, there will be bitterness so great that the misguided authors of this visionary scheme will justly tremble.

Daniel Webster, speaking in 1832 in the City of Washington on the 100th Anniversary of the birth of George Washington, closed his address in these words:

"Other misfortunes may be borne, or their effects overcome. If disastrous wars should sweep our commerce from the ocean, another generation may renew it; if it exhaust our treasury, future industry may replenish it; if it desolate and lay waste our fields, still, under a new cultivation, they will grow green again, and ripen to future harvests.

It were but a trifle if the walls of yonder Capitol were to crumble, if its lofty pillars should fall, and its gorgeous decorations be all covered by the dust of the valley. All these may be rebuilt.

But who shall reconstruct the fabric of demolished government?

Who shall rear again the well-proportioned columns of constitutional liberty?

Who shall frame together the skillful architecture which unites national sovereignty with State rights, individual security, and Public prosperity?

No, if these columns fall, they will be raised not again. Like the Coliseum and the Parthenon, they will be destined to a mournful and a melancholy immortality. Bitterer tears, however, will flow over them than were ever shed over the monuments of Roman or Grecian art; for they will be the monuments of a more glorious edifice than Greece or Rome ever saw, the edifice of constitutional American liberty."