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America - Sort of Empire

As some wanted It


AMERICA

A SORT OF EMPIRE

From the eye opening book "What Is America?" by Ronald Wright


The Eagle is the chief of the feathered race ... fierce,
rapacious, and holding a sort of empire over the whole. - Noah
Webster, 1812

The real truth of the matter is, as you and I know, that a
financial element in the larger centers has owned the Government
ever since the days of Andrew Jackson.
- Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1933

The Americans may have preserved a cult of Liberty but they do
not feel the need to liberate themselves from the servitude which
their capitalism has created.
- Hubert Beuve-Mery, 1944


AMERICA BEGINS ITS POWER

THREE YEARS AFTER SITTING BULL'S DEATH, Chicago hosted the 1893
World's Fair - marking the four hundredth anniversary of
Columbus's first voyage (albeit a year late). This was America's
coming-out party, its answer to the Great Exhibition of 1851,
when the might and splendour of the British Empire had been
displayed to 6 million visitors at London's Crystal Palace. By
the 1890s the United States had outstripped the mother country in
population and was fast overtaking the old workshop of the world
in industrial output and technical progress. Only a tenth of
American production was being sold abroad, but that was already
enough to make the United States second only to Britain in world
trade.

It was also at the Chicago Fair that the young historian
Frederick Jackson Turner presented his famous paper on the
frontier as America's "crucible," in which the higher elements of
European and native civilization had been vaporized, leaving a
coarse yet resilient alloy. In later essays, Turner took a rosier
view of the frontier culture, emphasizing the opportunities of
"free land," rather than the three-century legacy of warfare. But
he got it right the first time.

Perhaps the most troubling aspect of that legacy was the creation
of a social system dependent on endless expansion. "To stop the
march of empire would doubtless have proved too much for any
philosophical principle," wrote Albert Weinberg in Manifest
Destiny, "for each advance of the frontier solved one set of
problems only to create another, satisfied one desire only to
stimulate a new one." Until industrialization, North America had
seemed so vast that the day of reckoning would never come. But in
the thirty years after 1870, white Americans took and settled
more land than they had in the previous three hundred.

THE FIRST BUBBLE BURST

On the eve of the twentieth century, the United States ran out of
Lebensraum: the frontier safety valve was shutting down. Back in
America's East, pressure was building up as railways, mines and
other industries owned by "robber barons" formed monopolies,
driving down wages by using immigrant and child workers in the
midst of an inflationary boom. In 1893 the bubble burst - in bank
failures, strikes and riots-followed by a FIVE-YEAR SLUMP.

The best cure for home unrest, as King Henry IV on his deathbed
advises Prince Hal, is foreign quarrels. Instead of weaning
itself from a diet of territorial expansion, America spilled into
the Pacific.

HAWAII

By the 1890s most of the Polynesian islands had been snapped up
by European empires, leaving one great prize unclaimed: the
Kingdom of Hawaii. American whalers, missionaries and planters
were already well established there, but the islands were still
ruled by a native dynasty founded by King Kamehameha I in 1795.
Recognizing the threat of the white strangers who had suddenly
appeared on their shores, he and his heirs had responded much
like the Civilized Tribes. For a hundred years, the Hawaiian
nobility adopted foreign ways in a bid to build a modern nation
strong enough to resist the outlanders.
But, as in the Americas, the indigenous population was struck
hard by imported disease, worsened by alcohol, prostitution and
cultural breakdown. In the 1820s the old religion was suppressed;
in the 1850s, on the advice of American missionaries, the land
was severed into private plots. Many commoners lost their farms
to sugar and cotton estates. Many nobles were seduced by the life
of Victorian aristocrats, Hawaii became "globalized," a pawn in
what was then called the World Market. "In the midst of these
evidences of prosperity and advancement," wrote David Kalakaua,
the last king, "the natives are steadily decreasing in numbers
and gradually losing their hold upon the fair land of their
fathers. Within a century they have dwindled from four hundred
thousand ... to a little more than a tenth of that number of
landless, hopeless victims to the greed and vices of
civilization."
 
King Kalakaua himself sickened and died in 1891, leaving the
throne to his sister, Queen Liliuokalani.

The white settlers - most of them Americans - had long dreamed of
getting the islands annexed by the United States, France or
Britain, or simply seizing Hawaii for themselves. These aims were
sometimes encouraged and sometimes rebuffed by foreign powers,
depending on political winds at home. In 1881 James Blaine, the
U.S. secretary of state, called Hawaii the "key to the dominion
of the American Pacific." Six years later America secured Pearl
Harbor for a naval base. By 1893 the settlers were strong enough
to overthrow the queen in a coup d'etat, saying that her efforts
to strengthen Hawaiian rule were undemocratic. While Washington
dithered over backing their revolt, the rebels set up a "Gospel
Republic" led by Sanford Dole, a missionary's son with a wiry
patriarchal beard. Dole held the islands until Republicans - most
of whom favoured imperialism, then as now - came to power in the
United States in 1897. The new regime quickly annexed Hawaii
without qualms and made Dole the first governor. 

Like Texas, Hawaii was taken "as the cuckoo steals a nest." It
was the last place that could be overwhelmed by settlers and
remade - in American eyes- from an imperial possession into a
piece of home.

ROOSEVELT WAR MIND-SET
TAKE BY FORCE

At the end of the nineteenth century the machine guns were
rattling everywhere - in Sudan, French Indochina, the Congo and
they had been as genocidal on Argentina's pampas as on America's
Great Plains. The European powers had built empires around the
world and were getting ready to carve up China. Why shouldn't the
United States join in too, before all the pickings were gone?
With the Republicans carrying both White House and Congress,
imperialism was firmly in the saddle. When President William
McKinley took office in 1897, he chose a red-blooded expansionist
and militarist, Theodore Roosevelt, to be his assistant secretary
of the navy and, later, his vicepresident. "I should welcome
almost any war," Roosevelt wrote to a friend at the time, "for I
think this country needs one."

But other leading Americans were uneasy about overseas ambition
and keenly aware of the moral danger for a nation that deemed
itself the apostle of freedom. Such unlikely bed fellows as the
distinguished philosopher William James (brother of the novelist
Henry James), the industrialist Andrew Carnegie and a variety of
socialists, church groups and pacifists came together to form the
American Anti-Imperialist League.

After Hawaii the imperialists' next target was the forgotten
remnants of the Spanish Empire: Cuba, the Philippines, Guam, Wake
and a few other islands in the Pacific and Caribbean.
Local uprisings provided an excuse for American "concern." In
February 1898 the U.S. battleship Maine, showing the flag at
Havana, mysteriously blew up and sank with all hands. Hawkish
newspapers immediately blamed Spain, though the explosion may
well have been an accident. Within days of the sinking, Roosevelt
sent a squadron to the Philippines to make a surprise attack on a
Spanish fleet half a world away--giving the order more than two
months before the war itself began anywhere. The deed is doubly
suspicious in light of a letter Roosevelt had written to Henry
Cabot Lodge the previous September: "Our Asiatic squadron should
blockade, and if possible, take Manila." President McKinley had
ample time to recall the squadron, but he did not do so.
Roosevelt's order must have had White House support. Clearly, the
United States had been planning the Spanish war long before a
good casus belli could be found - a policy similar, in several
ways, to the hunting of Iraq a century later.

Spain's Caribbean islands went down like old horses at a
bullfight. Few Americans died, and Roosevelt's Rough Riders
covered themselves with glory. The secretary of state called it a
"splendid little war." Under peace terms denounced by the
Anti-Imperialists as "colonial vassalage," the United States made
Cuba a protectorate and took the naval base of Guantanamo Bay as
its commission. Things would not go so smoothly in the
Philippines, America's "first Vietnam."

PHILIPPINES

Looking back on these events from the far side of the twentieth
century, one can see the seeds of future war being planted as if
by a malevolent Fate: Pearl Harbor, Guam, Wake, the Philippines,
Cuba, Guantanamo. All are famous names today, not for the events
of the 1890s but for those of the 1940s, 1960s and 2001. The
death of the old world empire built by the conquistadors became
the birth of a new world empire that would claim the coming
century as its own.

In the Philippines, America would learn the limits and costs of
imperial reach, as Spain had long before. It was one thing to
conquer indigenous Americans and Polynesians who could be counted
on to "melt away" from introduced diseases; quite another to
acquire a large subject population that was biologically a part
of Asia. The Filipinos then numbered about 8 million - five times
more than the Cubans, thirty times more than the surviving
American Indians and two hundred times more than the Hawaiians.

BELIEVING GOD WAS TALKING
FALSE IDEAS SO COME

By his own account, President McKinley had cold feet, which spent
many a wakeful night pacing the White House floors. In 1897 he
had spoken out against annexing Cuba because, "by our code of
morality [it] would be criminal aggression." But now he wanted
the Philippines. How could he justify the inconsistency? Like a
Mormon prophet, McKinley entered into long conversations with God
about this moral dilemma. Obligingly and unsurprisingly, the Lord
told the president it was nothing less than America's duty to
"educate the Filipinos, and uplift and civilize and Christianize
them."
So the United States turned against the local rebels it had
initially backed. McKinley claimed that Filipinos had started the
fighting, but evidence later came out that U.S. officers
had been ordered to provoke it. The Philippine leader, Emilio
Aguinaldo, offered McKinley a deal: he would settle for a
protectorate. All he needed were "some tangible concessions from
the United States" that he could present to his people. It is
still unclear why McKinley didn't take his offer. After all, the
United States was driving that very bargain with the Cubans.
The reason for Washington's hard line seems to have been a mix of
racism, national pride and rivalry with other powers. Senator
Albert Beveridge, the barking dog of the imperialists, told the
president that God had been preparing Anglo-Saxons and other
Germanic folk "for a thousand years ... as the master organizers
of the world ... And of all our race He has marked the American
people as His chosen nation." Such rhetoric came down from the
Puritans, but, as Weinberg noted prophetically in 1935, it was
also a foretaste of Hitlerism.

VAIN EGO IN AMERICA
BASED ON FALSE THEOLOGY

Greed had to be dressed up as a sacred duty to bring the
"savage" into civilization.
"The Philippines are ours forever," Senator Beveridge told
Congress (in a speech he entitled "In Support of an American
Empire"). "And just beyond the Philippines are China's illim-
itable markets. We will not retreat from either.... We will not
renounce our part in the mission of our race, trustee, under God,
of the civilization of the world." Rudyard Kipling weighed in,
penning his "White Man's Burden" on the Philippine affair, a poem
best remembered for its title. (Roosevelt wrote to Senator Lodge
that it was "poor poetry, but good sense from the expansionist
standpoint.") One senator declared that letting the Filipinos
keep their freedom would be "the highest cruelty." Another said
America need not shrink from imperialism, because hers would be
"the imperialism of liberty." 

Whatever his reasons, McKinley wanted the Philippines just as
George W. Bush wanted Iraq. Words written by historian Tyler
Dennett in 1922 could easily apply to either war: "The policy
[was] adopted in great ignorance of the actual facts ... and in a
blissful and exalted assumption that any race ought to regard
conquest by the American people as a superlative blessing."

USA KILLING

It took sixty thousand U.S. troops two years to confer that
blessing and capture Aguinaldo. From the scanty reports that
leaked out between 1899 and 1901, it is clear that, in cruelty
and injustice, the Philippine War reprised the Indian wars and
foretokened Korea, Vietnam and Iraq. William James said that
"McKinley's cant ... has reached perfect expertness in the art of
killing silently." The Anti-Imperialist League did what it could
to break that silence by publishing soldiers' letters. One
officer wrote home about the town of Caloocan, the My Lai or
Mystic of the war: "Caloocan was supposed to contain 17,000
inhabitants. The Twentieth Kansan swept through it, and now -    
Caloocan contains not one living native." A private confessed
that he had, with his own hand, "set fire to over fifty houses of
Filipinos."

AMERICAN TORTURE
AND SELF-DECEPTION

When journalists at last got to the war zone, they confirmed
the worst, including use of a torture that is again in the news
today as "waterboarding"--a near-drowning technique that the
Americans had condemned the Spaniards for practising, but then
adopted themselves in the Philippines and have again been using
in the so-called war on terror. "Our men," reported the
Philadelphia Ledger, "have killed to exterminate men, women,
children, prisoners, and captives, active insurgents and
suspected people from lads often up, the idea prevailing that the
Filipino was little better than a dog.... Our soldiers have
pumped salt water into men to make them talk." 

Meanwhile in Washington, Elihu Root, the secretary of war, was
answering the critics with sang-froid: "The war in the
Philippines has been conducted by the American army with
scrupulous regard for the rules of civilized warfare ... with
self-restraint and with humanity never surpassed." In 2003 Root's
modern successor, Donald Rumsfeld, would use the very same word -
"humanity" - to describe his bombing of Iraq.

ENEMY OF WORKERS

In 1901 President McKinley was assassinated - not by an aggrieved
Filipino but by an American-born anarchist shouting that the
president was an enemy of the workers. When Tocqueville had
travelled through the United States seventy years before, he had
been struck by the equality and opportunity he saw: almost
everyone was middle class; concentration of ownership was
discouraged by law; competition seemed to be working as Adam
Smith had said it would. John Quincy Adams told him, "Many more
generations will yet pass before we feel that we are
overcrowded," and Tocqueville wondered, if that were so, why
Americans were in such a hurry: "They rush upon their fortune as
if but a moment remained for them to make it their own."

The canny homesteaders knew something the French nobleman did
not: good times don't last; get yours while you can. In the 1860s
it had been said that the frontier would "postpone for centuries"
and perhaps forever "all serious conflict between capital and
labor." The decades after the Civil War saw the United States'
fastest territorial growth - yet also a massive upward shift of
wealth as industrialization made a handful of Americans into
plutocrats. By the turn of the century, the selfsufficient
yeomanry admired by Tocqueville had all but disappeared. Big land
and railway companies had bagged the winnings of the West. The
farmer was in thrall to banks and faraway markets; the city
dweller was ground down into a proletariat. Manhattan had more
than 3 million people, many of them in slums.
This was no longer government "of the people, by the people, and
for the people," said the veteran statesman John Hay,who served
under both Lincoln and McKinley, but "government of corporations,
by corporations, and for corporations." The huddled masses
alighting at New York found that an American factory of 1900 was
much the same as a British, French or German factory of 1900--or,
for that matter, a Third World factory of today. A SIXTY -
SEVENTY-hour week was typical; work was hard, unsafe and
unhealthy. Nearly a third of a million American children UNDER 
FIFTEEN were working in mines, mills and factories. The plight of
women and girls in New York sweatshops was exposed by the
Triangle Shirtwaist fire of 1911, when 146 died in a locked
building. In 1904 alone, about half a million people were injured
at work in the United States and twenty-seven thousand killed.

WORKERS FORM UNIONS

Despite America's social safety valve - all the "free land" taken
from the Indians at such cost and with such hope, sexploitation
of the weak by the strong had crossed the Atlantic and taken
charge in the new Eden. Industrial imperialism was not simply
mowing down tribesmen far from the public eye; it was devouring
the very society from which it sprang. As free enterprise
congealed into monopolies and trusts, radical workers responded
by forming "one big union" - the Industrial Workers of the World
(IWW), nicknamed the Wobblies. There was something messianic
about the Wobblies, a dream of bringing down the whole edifice of
capitalism and building a socialist millennium in its stead.

VIOLENCE AGAINST PROTEST

Their strikes were met with violence, even murder, from police,
militia and vigilante squads. Society was polarizing along class
lines.

ROOSEVELT DID SOME GOOD

It dawned on the more thoughtful industrialists and politicians
that a way to expand the market for American goods and take the
heat out of social unrest would be to raise the buying power of
the working class. Though an imperialist and a Republican,
Theodore Roosevelt understood this equation - and he had the
political guts to tackle big business. He broke up some of the
monopolies, sought arbitration for labour disputes, slowed the
raping of natural resources and imposed federal standards on food
and drugs. He was also a supporter of the Hague Tribunal, the
first stirrings of an international order.

BUT TODAY...

Ironically, these farsighted policies have since been undone or
demonized by more recent Republican politicians, a measure of the
drift in American politics from a pragmatic middle ground typical
of modern democracy to a neo-Victorian extremism bent on
unlearning the lessons of the twentieth century.

TERRORISM NOT NEW

Those lessons-learned at a cost of 80 million lives - are that
injustice, inequality and mass poverty lead to terrorism, war and
revolution. The shooting of President McKinley was only one of
many attacks during the long summer of imperial greed before the
palm-court orchestras were silenced by the guns of 1914. In
Joseph Conrad's novel of the times, "The Secret Agent," a suicide
bomber prowls London wearing an explosive jacket, detonator in
hand. That was published in 1906. In 1920 a truck bomb blew up on
Wall Street outside the headquarters of J. P. Morgan. Now we are
being told that terrorism is new, that nineteen fanatics have
changed the world, that such people are so powerful and pervasive
that the "war" against them must trump democratic freedoms that
survived two World Wars and the threat of nuclear annihilation.

THE LESSON OF 1914

The first gun of 1914 was the pistol with which a nineteenyea-old
extremist shot the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the
Austro-Hungarian throne, and his wife at Sarajevo. The attack was
provoked by ethnic injustice in the Balkans, but that was neither
new nor enough, in itself, to make a continent commit mass
suicide. The first lesson of 1914 is the risk of overreacting to
terrorism.

HUMAN DECEPTION WITH MODERN ARMS

Historians still debate how Austria's revenge for that murder
touched off a bloodbath that would blight all subsequent history.
Perhaps the western world had forgotten the disasters of war.
Perhaps the Great Powers had grown bored with the endless
jousting of the Edwardian afternoon. The wealth of the long peace
had been distilled into an arms race. In one generation, battle-
ships had changed from things of wood, sail and cannon into
turbine-powered castles of steel. The leaders were seduced by the
beauty of their weapons: modern war, they said, would be easy and
quick. You'll be "back before the leaves fall," they told the
troops that August. But as today's foremost historian of war,
John Keegan, writes, "It would be four years and five autumns
before the survivors returned, leaving on the battlefields some
10 million dead. The vast crop of fit and strong young men which
formed the fruit of nineteenthcentury Europe's economic miracle
had been consumed by th force which gave them life and health."

In the 1912 American elections, Theodore Roosevelt's Progressives
had split the Republican Party, handing victory to the Democrat
Woodrow Wilson - a lean, scholarly Virginian with a record of
fighting for the underdog. In his idealism, Wilson was the Jimmy
Carter of his times, though he lacked Carter's humility. He also
had a weakness for self-deception, which led him into some
ill-advised meddling in Latin America; but against that must be
set his reforms in the Philippines, including a promise of
independence that was eventually followed up by Franklin Delano
Roosevelt. America re-elected Wilson in 1916 on a platform of
keeping America out of the Great War except as a supplier and
lender to the Allies. Soon, however, German outrages threw
American opinion behind Wilson's reluctant decision to take part.
The last straw was the exposure of a German plot to help Mexico
get back the territory she had lost in 1848 if she would make war
on the United States.

As the American Civil War had already shown, modern conflicts are
won in factories as much as on battlefields. The Western Front -
that long wound of mud, blood and wire across the body of Europe
- was a stalemate. The winner would be the side that could
exhaust the other's economy and starve its population: the
medieval siege at an international scale. While America's belated
involvement had a relatively small military impact, it was
probably decisive for these economic reasons.

SOME SAW THE TRUTH

Not all Americans sent to Europe had as good a war as Dick 
Savage of the "grenadine guards" in John Dos Passos's "Nineteen
Nineteen," but many shared his moral vertigo at the abyss he
found there: "I swear I'm ashamed of being a man.... God, we're a
lousy cruel vicious dumb type of tailless ape."

POLITICIANS CLEAN UP

Weeks after the guns were stilled by the Armistice, Woodrow
Wilson steamed to the Paris Peace Conference aboard the George
Washington. In their tail coats and black silk hats, the
peacemakers who gathered at Versailles in 1919 looked like an
undertakers' convention. And so they were. They had to bury the
bodies, clean up the mess and find meaning in pointless
slaughter.

It was an overwhelming brief: to settle terms and borders, to
sterilize the seeds of future war, to foment liberal democracy,
to find a balance between capital and labour. Every European
government east of Fiance had fallen, mostly to Marxist
revolution. Of Wilson's Fourteen Points for peace, the sixth, in
particular, makes ironic reading today. The new Communist Russia,
he wrote, should be given "an unhampered and unembarrassed
opportunity for the independent determination of her own
political development [and] a sincere welcome into the society of
free nations under institutions of her own choosing."

LEAGUE OF NATIONS

The task, Wilson argued, would demand not merely a peace treaty
but "a new world order" enshrined in an international body, which
he called the League of Nations. The idea itself wasn't new - at
the dawn of the Victorian Age, the poet Alfred Tennyson had
called for the "Parliament of man, the Federation of the world" -
but never before had such need and opportunity come together.
Europe was morally and financially bankrupt; wars and empires
were discredited; America's idealism really did seem to be the
world's best hope.

The battlefields were slowly ploughed over or left to armies of
the dead: acres of crosses and headstones in perfect array. Above
them reared silent temples of white stone to the "Great War for
Civilization" - as if civilization had won. In truth,
civilization had died with the mustard-gas and the maggots, with
the torpedoed passenger liners, with the aerial bombing of
civilians in their beds. The fond belief of the Enlightenment
that technological and moral progress go hand in hand - was dead.
The civilized had learned what many "savages" already knew: that
civilization behaves no better than savagery and does its worst
on a far greater scale.

INDEPENDENCE GROWS

The spectacle of the "master organizers of the world" butchering
one another had not been lost on the "lesser breeds" they ruled.
The pretensions of imperialism were undone. Independence
movements sprang up in the tottering empires, especially India.
It became a matter of when - not if the white man would unload
his burden.

TURNING TO DISTRACTION

If the great epic of western progress was a lie, writers and
artists asked themselves, what was true? What beautiful? Although
inklings of modernism had appeared before the Great War, the
aesthetic canon was overthrown wholesale in its wake. To the
uninitiated, stories became riddles, paintings became nightmares,
music became noise, buildings became boxes and machines. The
public turned to popular culture - to film, jazz, comics and
romances.

FROM THE PAST COMES THE FUTURE BUILDINGS

The only modern style with wide appeal - art deco - was in fact
the least modern and most American. When Frank Lloyd Wright and
other young designers were casting around for new ideas at the
Chicago World's Fair of 1893, they saw a spectacular outdoor
exhibit of Maya buildings from Yucatan: fullsize casts of
doorways, facades and an entire triumphal arch. The steel-frame
skyscraper was being developed at just that time. While American
architects were trying various styles for the high-rise form, New
York City passed a setback by law, requiring tall buildings to
step inward as they rose, to let sunlight reach the streets. The
law encouraged pyramids. Indeed, a cluster of steep Maya temples
at Tikal in Guatemala (to which the New Yorker building bears a
strong resemblance) had been the tallest structure in the New
World for more than eleven hundred years. Ancient American forms
and motifs unfamiliar enough to seem new and "modern" - came to
dominate art deco design, appearing on everything from
skyscrapers to radio sets.

BACK TO THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS

Perhaps only an American of Woodrow Wilson's background and wide
learning could have dreamt that a League of Nations might put an
end to war. Wilson - a Southerner who admired Lincoln - took
history seriously. Like Benjamin Franklin nearly two centuries
before, his thinking was influenced by the ancient Iroquois
League, which had been formed for the same reason: to stop
warfare among closely related nations. The Europeans, more
cynical but also broke, had little choice but to go along with
Wilson's dream. While the old empires had been sending their
treasure up in smoke, the American empire had enjoyed a boom. The
United States was now the world's banker, owed 10 billion dollars
by the Allies.

AMERICA CONDRADICTIONS

Wilson got his League, but his own nation never joined it.
Congress would not ratify the treaty - for reasons that
foreshadow the American right's dislike of international agree
ments to this day. The League of Nations, the Law of the Sea, the
Mine Ban Treaty, the Kyoto Accord on climate change and the
International Criminal Court have all been rejected by the United
States (after initial involvement) because a vote in Congress or
a change of regime gave spoiling power to a vested, parochial,
even paranoid interest. Tocqueville had a point when he noted
that American democracy "is able to control the internal affairs
of society. But I cannot persuade myself that it is in a state to
manage foreign affairs."

As Margaret MacMillan writes in her fine book on the "Peace
Conference, Paris 1919," the League "underlined the idea that
there were certain things that all humanity had in common and
that there could be international standards beyond those of
merely national interest." Wilson failed to make America the
heart of this endeavour - his efforts wrecked his health and
failed to forestall an even greater war - but the League of
Nations set a precedent that would eventually bear fruit in the
United Nations and the European Union.

TWO WORLD WARS REALLY ONE

Many historians have blamed the Second War on the First, "in so
far as one event causes another." From this distance in time, the
two World Wars look like a single tragedy with a long inter-
mission. Before the mortar was even dry between the stones of the
great memorials, the "vicious dumb apes" began jostling for the
second act. Although it is hardly fair to blame the 1919
peacemakers for being unable to see the future, it is true that
the Nazi Party thrived on mass unemployment and hyperinflation
caused by the reparations extracted from Germany in the early
1920s: millions of young men were looking for scapegoats and a
saviour. It is also true that the highhanded carve-up of the
Middle East would lead to the Iraq War of today - via the Suez
Crisis of 1956, various Arab-Israeli wars and the Gulf War of
1991. Furthermore, the Great War's sociopolitical lessons - the
need for capitalism to be tamed, for workers to be protected, for
unemployment to be checkedwere soon forgotten. In America the
Republicans not only rejected Wilson's League but undid many of
his (and Theodore Roosevelt's) progressive business laws, leaving
the stock market to roar until it choked in October 1929.

FATAL CONCURRENCES

A return to madness might still have been avoided had there not
been a fatal concurrence of financial, moral, political - and
natural-turmoil. As the cliche has it, the Dirty Thirties were a
perfect storm. Human affairs were not being played out like
medieval politics in a static world. The population boom was
speeding up. Modern farm technology was being applied recklessly,
if with the best intentions. By the early 1920s it was becoming
evident that those who had thought the Great Plains too dry for
farming had not been altogether wrong. The notion that "rain
follows the plough" was wishful thinking. The bumper years after
breaking the land had been a coincidence: a wet period in a
natural cycle coupled with a one-time issue of fertility from ten
thousand years of turf. Just as the nutrients of a rainforest are
in the trees, not the ground, so the life of the prairie had been

Left in that state, the land could have waited for rain. But with
the sod busted, the earth flew into the sky.

The Western droughts went on for a dozen years. Fields became
dunes, farms failed, towns died. "The land would wear just so
much architecture and society," Jonathan Raban writes in Bad
Land, "and no more." In Oklahoma the transported Cherokees had
turned previously undesirable land into a thriving collective
republic, only to have it broken up into lots and taken from them
piecemeal in the 1890s. Incoming white settlers, equipped with
steam and gasoline tractors, then overdrew Nature's account in
one generation. After that the "Okies" too had to make a mass
removal - in jalopies down Route 66 to California. A few lines
from John Steinbeck's novel "The Grapes of Wrath" amount to a
terse history of the West: "Grampa took up the land, and he had
to kill the Indians and drive them away. And Pa was born here,
and he killed weeds and snakes. Then a bad year came and he had
to borrow.... The bank owned the land then."

THE DIRTY 30S DID NOT EFFECT RUSSIA BUT.....

With the Wall Street Crash of 1929, the boom-and-bust cycle of
free-market capitalism yet again produced a panic, this time on a
giant scale. Yet the Soviet Union, the Marxist alternative,
seemed to be immune from the worldwide slump, or Great
Depression. While American factories were idle, Joseph Stalin was
turning the primitive empire of the czars into an industrial
hive. Western visitors came back repeating what Lincoln Steffens
had said in 1919: "I have seen the future and it works."
In fact, they had seen only what they were allowed to see. Just
as the American empire had been built at the expense of Indians
and blacks, Stalin industrialized by looting and dragooning the
peasantry. Offstage were dispossessions, famines, executions and
forced-labour camps. Stalin and Hitler may have regarded
themselves as opposites on the political spectrum, but like all
fanatics, they were much alike - right down to their moustaches
and phony names. In both tyrannies, the party became the state.
(The main difference was that Hitler had a pact with business,
while Russia had no private sector.)

Soviet industrial production tripled during the 1930s--and with
full employment. The Russian share of world output rose from 5 to
18 percent. Many drew the obvious conclusion: capitalism was
failing; communism worked. In the 1932 presidential elections won
by Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a million Americans voted hard
left. If capitalism did not reform, it risked being overthrown.
There was already a model of reform to follow: the government
credit and controls that had worked during the Great War. Money
had always been found to make war; why not find it to keep the
peace?

FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT

So Franklin Roosevelt, a cousin of Theodore and a young colleague
of Woodrow Wilson at the 1919 Peace Conference, built on his
forerunners' best ideas. The New Deal, announced in his 1932
campaign, regulated capital and put people to work building
infrastructure: roads, dams, national parks, public housing. With
the Social Security Act of 1935, America had the makings of a
modern welfare state. The Indian Reorganization Act righted some
old wrongs and restored a degree of native autonomy. Abroad,
Roosevelt renounced gunboat diplomacy (his Good Neighbor Policy),
took up Wilson's promise of independence to the Philippines, and
avoided war over oil with Mexico. Opposition from diehards grew -
FDR was called a "traitor to his class" - but the coming of war
quelled the backlash.

SECOND WORLD WAR

As with the First War, the slide to the Second was set off by a
terrorist attack: the firebombing of the German Reichstag
(Parliament) on February 27, 1933. It is still moot who was to
blame, but Hitler immediately exploited the outrage - jailing
opponents, suspending civil liberties and tightening his grip on
power. Nazism, said Hitler, was "a doctrine of conflict." Germans
were told that their nation had no choice but to expand or die.
As the novelist Thomas Mann wrote in a letter: "If the idea of
war, as an aim in itself, disappeared, the National Socialist
[Nazi] system would be ... utterly senseless."

NAZI DRUGGED MIND

With its notion that "Aryans" were the Chosen Race, its
Fuhrer-worship and its promise of a Thousand-Year Reich, Nazism
was not so much a political party as a crisis cult. "The Germans
are under a spell," wrote the young lawyer Sebastian Haffner when
he fled to England in the late 1930s. "They live a drugged life
in a dream world. They are terribly happy, but terribly demeaned.
... As long as the spell lasts, there is almost no antidote."

JAPAN A PUZZLE

Japan's participation is harder to explain. In the First War she
had sided with the Allies; in the Second, under the control of
militarists, she unwisely challenged the United States for the
Pacific. Japan had no need to invent a kitsch ideology like that
of the Nazis. Reigning (though not ruling) over the militarists
was a divine emperor of the old school, a Son of the Sun whose
dynasty had held the throne since long before the Incas and the
Caesars. In a way, Pearl Harbor was the belated fruit of
Commodore Perry's attack on Japanese seaports eighty-eight years
before: the response of an old empire awakened at gunpoint by a
new. 

ATOMIC BOMB

On August 6 and 9, 1945, the first nuclear weapons used in war
exploded above Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Days later, Japan
surrendered. More people may have died in the conventional
firebombing of Tokyo, yet the first Allied journalists to defy
orders and reach the atomic-bomb sites knew straight away that
something strange and terrible had happened there. "The atomic
bomb's peculiar 'disease' . . . is still snatching away lives,"
George Weller, one of America's most accomplished and tenacious
war correspondents, wrote from Nagasaki a month after the blast:
"Men, women and children with no outward marks of injury are
dying daily." All dispatches from Weller (who had won a Pulitzer
Prize in 1943) were suppressed by American censors. The
Australian Peter Burchett, who reached Hiroshima at the same
time, managed to get a story out to London's Daily Express:
"People are still dying, mysteriously and horribly ... from an
unknown something which I can only describe as the atomic
plague.... Hiroshima does not look like a bombed city. It looks
as if a monster steamroller has passed over it."

Man's weapons had outgrown him. History had given the first half
of the twentieth century a grim sandwich of hard lessons: two
thick slices of war, with communist revolution, capitalist
exploitation, economic depression, environmental disaster,
fascist nightmare and mass genocide in between. If 12 million
people died in the First War, at least 50 million died in the
Second. Even the hell of the trenches was trumped when the Nazi
death camps were exposed. "There is Auschwitz," wrote the
survivor Primo Levi, "so there cannot be God."
....................

WHAT THE LAST QUOTED WRITER SHOULD HAVE SAID WAS "THERE IS
AUSCHWITZ, SO THERE IS A DEVIL."

AND HE COULD HAVE SEEN THAT THE HUMAN MIND AND HEART CAN BE
DECEITFUL ABOVE ALL THINGS, CAN BE LED BY SATAN AND THE DEMONS
INTO HORRIFIC SINS.

WE SEE THE DECEPTION OF THE HUMAN HEART AND MIND WITH PEOPLE AND
GOVERNMENTS ALLOWING ABORTION ON DEMAND - FREEDOM OF CHOICE
CONCEPT. THEN WE HAVE THE MIND-SET OF "LOVE EVERYONE" NO MATTER
WHAT THEY PRACTICE OR TEACH, HENCE SAME SEX MARRIAGE, EVEN
ALLOWING SAME SEX MARRIED COUPLES TO RAISE CHILDREN.

BUT AS AMERICA WAS NOT REALLY FOUNDED ON THE TRUE CHRISTIANITY
AND RELIGION OF THE GOD OF THE BIBLE, BUT FALSE CHRISTIANITY, WE
HAVE DEPARTED MORE AND MORE FROM TRUTH AND RIGHTEOUSNESS. THE
NATIONS OF ISRAEL TODAY - WHICH ARE MOST OF THE WESTERN NATIONS
OF THE WORLD - ARE BECOMING MORE AND MORE SECULAR EVERY MONTH AND
EVERY YEAR.

THE WOLRD IS LIVING FOR NOW BETWEEN THE SECOND WORLD WAR AND THE
THIRD WORLD WAR. THE THIRD WORLD WAR WILL BE THE WAR TO BRING
BACK JESUS THE CHRIST TO THIS EARTH, FOR TO STOP MANKIND FROM
KILLING EVERY PERSON ON EARTH.

THE PROPHECIES OF YOUR BIBLE ARE ALL FULLY EXPOUNDED FOR YOU IN
DETAIL ON THIS WEBSITE.

Keith Hunt


 
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  Migration of the Nations #1 Early Britain #1 Daniel's 2300 days #1

 
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