The Determining Forces

Dorothy Thompson

St. Louis Post-Dispatch/March 24, 1936

Behind the discussions going on in London, the statements of rights, the appeals to reason, the proposal for a new arms and economic conference, are certain implacable facts, certain inexorable forces, which in the end will determine Europe’s destiny.

The first is that should the German proposals be accepted, and Europe reconstructed with practically everything in the Treaty of Versailles eliminated except its territorial provisions, Germany would soon by sheer force of disciplined numbers, dominate the Continent, both as a military and as a political power. There are twice as many Germans in Europe as there are Frenchmen. This, and not any immediate fear that her eastern frontier will be violated, is the basis of French apprehension. 

The second is that Great Britain, both by treaty and by the most positive self-interest, is committed to maintaining the territorial integrity of France, even by war if necessary. This was a fact in 1914, as the war proved, but it had not been openly affirmed. Today it is. 

But, and this is the third fact, Great Britain is not willing to commit herself to maintaining by force of her arms, and for eternity, the position which France has held on the Continent since the war. Public opinion in England is not willing, and it would be impossible to commit the British Dominions to such purpose. 

Fourth: The Germans are perfectly aware of the exact limits of British enthusiasm for France, and it is Hitler’s primary policy to exploit them for all they are worth. Collaboration with Britain is the first article in his foreign policy. In this he is absolutely consistent. Twelve years ago, when he first published “Mein Kampf,” he excoriated prewar German diplomacy for bringing about a break with Britain by its colonial policy and naval race; he advocated relinquishing Alsace Lorraine forever and forcing an eventual settlement with France, peaceably if possible, by war if necessary, only for the purpose of winning for Germany a free hand in the East. He said that Germany could only choose between Britain and Russia, and that prewar Germany had managed to alienate both. It is clear that Hitler does not intend to choose Russia. On the contrary, he has openly advocated bringing down Bolshevism in Russia, has predicted that its collapse would be the end of Russia as a unified state, and that Germany would be its chief heir. 

Such a program, of course, is one of long range. Germany has no border on Russia, and the first step would have to be to divorce the small Eastern and Central European countries, the Baltic States, Austria, Czechoslovakia, etc., from their close alliance with France, and bring them under German influence. The German proposals in London are a first step in this direction. 

But the hope of winning Great Britain to a tolerant neutrality toward such a program is counteracted by other facts and forces which Mr. Hitler has apparently not considered so carefully. Until the League of Nations plebiscite, shortly before the Ethiopian affair, England was holding herself increasingly aloof from the Continent, and the League’s prestige was declining in official British circles. England could afford this attitude because of her friendship with Italy which, resting upon long tradition and the historic strength of the British fleet assured her security in the Mediterranean. This traditional friendship went so far that when the Ethiopian affair became acute and the Foreign Office queried the Admiralty as to what plans it had in case of a British-Italian conflict, it was discovered that the Admiralty had none at all. The whole action of the British fleet was therefore improvised. In the Ethiopian conflict England learned, first, that the Italian power in the Mediterranean was more formidable than she had supposed, and second, that unless she stuck very close to France and the League she might have to fear an alliance between these two, who could between them control Gibraltar and the Suez Canal. France is essential to Great Britain. Germany is not. And this fact is seen most clearly by those men in England like Winston Churchill, who are experts on military and naval matters. 

Public opinion in England is not clear, and public opinion in these days when every Englishman with radio can hear the case of France or Germany or Italy presented to his own ear in his own language is very powerful. There are a large number of liberals of whom Lord Lothian is perhaps typical, who have always felt that Germany was not given a square deal, and that there will be no peace in Europe until some of her demands are met. But the pacifist opinion is also divided since Hitler came into power, because in liberal minds the large question looms as to whether any concessions should be made to Hitler’s Germany, and what a further extension of Nazi power would mean to European civilization. On the other side there are die-hards who think it might even be desirable to let Germany “clean up” Russia.

But the French have no such idea at all. France could purchase from Germany right now a guarantee of security which, with British collaboration, would probably secure her peace for generations. But in doing so she would consent to retire as a first-class power and pass that role over to her late enemy. France has a whole network of allies in Central and Eastern Europe, and upon them her prestige rests. It was shaken when she allowed Germany to begin rearming without more than formal protest. That resulted in Poland’s making a settlement with Germany and drifting somewhat away from French control. If France now gives in on the matter of the Rhineland there will be only one course open to Austria, Czechoslovakia and the other small Eastern nations, and that will be either to draw closer to Russia or to make their peace with Germany on the best terms they can. The Poles, Czechs and Austrians are bound to believe that if France will not act to prevent German guns being set up at her own border she will hardly act in behalf of outraged Czechs or Austrians in some distant future. The French peasant might fight today for a menaced Strassbourg, but hardly tomorrow for a menaced Prague.

If France would resign herself to a secondary role, in exchange for security, war would perhaps not be immediate or necessary, provided that the rest of Europe, and especially Great Britain, collaborated to assist German economic reconstruction. That is another big factor. The Nazi system depends upon rearmament and public works, vast sacrifices from the population, prompted by periodic patriotic saturnalias. Experts believe that the Nazi financial situation is very serious, and that without assistance from outside it may crack. Does the rest of Europe want to keep it from cracking? And if it cracks, what will Germany do? Break out somewhere else? 

There is not yet a clear line-up. Britain has not yet chosen. Meanwhile, she will play for time, first because that is her habitual technique, and second, because she feels herself to be inadequately armed. Some weeks ago the Government suddenly ordered 100 bombing planes from the Fairey Company. The manufacturers asked for nine months in which to complete experiments designed to improve the plane. The Government replied: “We have not nine months to wait.”

Germany’s Regimented Culture

Dorothy Thompson

St. Louis Post-Dispatch/March 22, 1936

There is no genuine faith in National Socialist circles, apparently, that the German spirit if left alone will give artistic form to National Socialist doctrine. No sooner has “the impulse been given for the reawakening and restoration of artistic vitality,” to quote Hitler, than the impulse itself is put into uniform and carefully regimented and controlled, lest it should desert the new track. The Zeitgeist is simply not functioning as the Nazis think it should, and so an immense apparatus is set up to push, coerce, lure, cajole and bribe it into the correct paths.This apparatus is in the hands of Dr. Joseph Goebbels, Chief of the Federal Bureau of Propaganda and Enlightenment, and dictator of German culture. The movement, which rests its case on its claim to issue from the wellspring of the folk soul, apparently believes that the effort of revolution has exhausted the waters. Dr. Goebbels is to prime the pump and shut away the people from other wells.

The work of establishment is undertaken with all the precision, thoroughness and careful organization of the Prussian army. Instead of creating a new culture, one is to be organized. Who may and who may not write, model, compose, play, sing, act, produce, paint, is defined in a set of decrees having the full force of law and carrying penalties for their violation. What shall be written, sculptured, built, composed, played, acted and painted is controlled by an army of bureaucrats and spies. Dr. Goebbels’ bureau is a cultural inquisition, its word is final, its force unchallenged.

The control of every conceivable branch of German culture is complete. It begins, not by censoring what actually appears, but by determining who shall be the creators and transmitters of culture. No publication, no concert platform, no publishing house, no theater, no gallery is open to any writer, artist or musician who has not first of all run the gantlet of the Propaganda Ministry. One may not exhibit a picture, or present a play, or perform on the piano, or write in the papers and magazines, unless one is a member of the established “chamber.” One cannot get into the chamber if one is suspected of being a heretic. And the very first test is a blood test—one must be able to prove a blood stream uncontaminated by non-Aryan admixture.

Now the first result of this, of course, is that a man’s degree of mendacity decides whether he lives or dies, produces or starves. In the main, the newspapers and periodicals today are still written by the same men who wrote them prior to March, 1933. In the main, the same artists are painting pictures, composing music, playing violins.

A vast insincerity, then, lies over the whole of German culture. A shame-faced compromise, an agonized inner cleavage rends the German artist. Day by day, he is forced to ask himself: “Shall I compromise or shall I perish?” This, rather than the enforced emigration of those artists who could not or would not compromise, is the greatest tragedy of German culture.

For those who have gone abroad, there has been no drastic break with the continuity of the stream of German thought. They are exiled and cut off; yet all of them have survived, in their intellectual and spiritual lives, the terrific earthquake of the National Socialist experience. None is quite the same today as he was yesterday. But none has been forced to deny his own past, and none has been forced to compromise his own spiritual future.

It is even possible that this new diaspora may be the savior of German culture; indeed, may keep alive the very spirit which aborted in the revolution. In Switzerland and Holland, in France and in England, in America, Austria and Czechoslovakia, Germans are playing and composing German music, writing German poetry and novels, adding to the structure of German science, not unmoved by the National Socialist revolution, not unchanged in their sense of values because of it, but free of its shackles.

Of course, the flight abroad of German artists, writers and scientists has been prodigious. The roster of their names reads like pages torn from a German Who’s Who. Most of them, to be sure, are not classed as Germans in the Third Reich, because they have non-Aryan blood in their veins. But they have German science, German tradition, German history and a German experience in their hearts and heads.

The withdrawal of these naturally leaves an immense gap in German cultural life. But more important than their personal absence is the cultural atmosphere which has settled upon the land. A peace pervades it, like the peace of death.

The pre-revolutionary years were years of intense, almost feverish, cerebral activity. The most divergent viewpoints and experiences found form and expression. The struggle to create a new social order was paralleled in the struggle for new artistic forms. It was a period of conflict, and this was reflected for better or worse in art.

Now the conflict is stilled; indeed, say the Nazis, permanently settled. The “alien and disruptive” spirits have departed. The coarse night clubs, the extravagant theaters which subjected content to effect are closed. Germany, they assert, has returned to her essential spirit, and found for it a fitting habitation. Now the soul is at peace; now true art can emerge, in what Rosenberg calls “the smooth monumental style of the National Socialist way of life.”

But it does not emerge! The artists are assembled, each in his proper compartment, each properly certified as to ancestry and breeding, competency and ideology, each folding from the proper authority his license to create. No Jewish taint corrupts them; no breath of non-German internationalism, of bourgeois secularity, of Catholic obscurantism perverts them.

The green-uniformed hordes of the Work Army are ordered: “Dig! Plant! Build!” And they dig, plant and build. The brown-uniformed hordes of the Storm Troopers are ordered: “March! Present arms! Collect the winter-aid fund!” And they march, present arms and collect. And in the same manner, the state says to the artists, so perfectly organized, so immaculately regimented: “Create!”

But when God, in the form of Dr. Goebbels, says: “Let there be light!” there is no light.

The Floods

Dorothy Thompson

The Cincinnati Enquirer/March 24, 1936

There is something grandiose and awe-inspiring in natural catastrophes. They reestablish a sense of proportion. They remind man, the only paranoiac amongst the animals, that he lives dangerously and is not yet lord over all of nature. At the same time, and for brief moments, they release the heroism and the sacrificial spirit of wars, without the hatred and bad conscience with which war cankers the soul. They wipe out, for a moment, class lines and race lines; they shift ownership of property; they raise rich men’s houses and slums, and all without creating the antagonism of economic warfare. The banker on the rooftop, wigwagging for a rescuer, asks nothing better than to be in the same boat—any old boat—with the relief worker. When the Mississippi rose a few years ago, and broke the levees, “red necks” who in more fortunate times enjoyed the fiesta of lynchings, swam out to rescue stranded black men. Water, fire, earthquake—these things do not divide men. They bring them together.

In such natural catastrophes men, for the most part, show their noblest, and most decent human qualities. There are, of course, exceptions. In Hartford the police had to take sharp measures against looters. But for every one who uses a catastrophe for his own gain, there are a hundred who show exceptional courage, endurance, and generosity. Men also display their genius. No modern civilization has been permanently wrecked by forces of nature. The streams swell into torrents, the torrents rush into oceans, the great waves of water rise and break the confines built against them; they descend greedily, inexorably upon fields, factories, and cities. Crops are grounded, factory chimneys toppled into the tide, mortgages are wiped out. Epidemics flourish.

But when the flood subsides and the water recedes, physicians mobilize against the plagues; farmers go out again with plows and hoes; bricklayers and carpenters rebuild broken walls, new homes rise on the wrecks of old ones. Neither nation nor city perishes.

Indeed, the catastrophe is too soon forgotten, Were men’s memories longer they would prepare against its recurrence.

It is scandalous that in this country of builders and engineers we have not controlled flood water. The reason is not lack of knowledge or power. It is only the perversity of human nature. For no gigantic public works such as these can be undertaken without stepping on somebody’s toes. The same difficulty attends slum clearance. Everywhere some special interest has to be sacrificed for the general good. Billions have been spent in the last two years, but not on the great works vitally needed. Why not? For two reasons: Such works take long-range planning. This country greatly needs a permanent body of engineers, as divorced from politics as is the War College, insured in their positions by long appointments at adequate salaries, who will look ahead, and when there is unemployment and it is advisable for government to spend, will present specific plans for real achievement. The other reason is that raking leaves or its equivalent may not do much good, but neither does it encounter intrenched interests. Edna St. Vincent Millay wrote in her last book a cycle of sonnets called “Epitaph For the Race of Man.” One of the most eloquent of living poets, she has never written more movingly. Man, that “piece of work” of Hamlet, “noble in reason and infinite in faculty,” is a fossilized skull in the world which she foresees, the earth inherited by strange gods all limb and muscle but devoid of brow. What has destroyed man? In sonnet after sonnet she describes the griefs which have overtaken him. Was it flood that encompassed his end? She writes:

“The broken dyke, the levee washed away,

The good fields flooded and the cattle drowned,

Estranged and treacherous all the faithful ground.

And nothing left but floating disarray

Of tree and home uprooted

was this the day

Man dropped upon his shadow 

without a sound,

And died, having labored well

and having found

His burden heavier than a quilt of clay?

No, no. I saw him when the sun had set

In water, leaning on his faithful oar.

Above his garden, faintly glimmering, yet

There bulked the plow, there

washed the updrifted weeds

And scull across his roof, and

make for shore,

With twisted face, and pocket

full of seeds.”

No, it was not flood. Short as his memory is, man after every great catastrophe builds anew and somewhat better against the wrathful gods. Some day the newly awakened realization that even the earth is not permanent unless one takes care of it will force us to control our floods. Even the Mississippi will be conquered. That demon stream which, on the one hand, created from its alluvial deposits the richest land on earth, and on the other spreads a miasma of yellow fever and malaria—that river which four or five times in a generation breaks its levees will one day be shackled, and probably in our generation. Already scientists have routed its yellow fever; they will deal finally with malaria. The army engineers will canalize and divert the water, accelerate its course, and spill it more rapidly and safely into the gulf.

But before they are allowed to do so the politicians will quarrel on behalf of their clients over the price which landowners are to be paid for the land that must be sacrificed for their own salvation. They will haggle like merchants in a moslem bazaar. They are doing so already in Washington Senate Committee, turning cold ears to the army’s proposal that no more shall be paid than three times the assessed value of the land. And after the work is finished, and the tamed river testifies forever to man’s genius, white men along its banks will still not know how to live with black men: plantation owners will still close tight minds to the woes of share-croppers; on the river’s rich delta most people will still live beast-like in hovels and know no way to help themselves except to fight each other. When the waters subside Pittsburgh children’s lungs will still be blackened by uncontrolled coal smoke; Braddock and Homestead, those ghoulish cities, will still stand.

There will always be pity for those whom floods pursue, and callousness, in the long run, for the victims of misfortunes man makes for himself. Yet only mankind can destroy mankind. Floods will not be man’s mortal fate.

The Perils of Dictatorship

Dorothy Thompson

Oakland Tribune/March 29, 1936

It is amusing to remember that only a few years ago many of our own businessmen were hailing Mussolini as the savior of business from communism. One even heard that someone like Mussolini was what this country needed. His last moves have greatly clarified the issues. It is now clear that the totalitarian state can move in only one of two directions, unless it moves in both of them together: Toward complete collectivism and war. Apparently Mussolini chooses both.

Fascism, it appears, is not an antidote for communism nor communism an antidote for fascism. In the long run they approach each other.

Social Discipline

Communism starts as an economic movement, with the aim of nationalizing the means of production in the interests of the working masses. To make its program work it has to regiment the working masses in the interests of the bureaucratic state which assumes dictatorial power in their behalf. This is accomplished by creating a myth and a social discipline, and actually the power of the movement resides in the vigor of the myth, imposed by an immense propaganda apparatus and accepted, especially by the youth, with religious intensity.

The basis of the myth is a Messianic belief in the coming of a perfect world order. Since Russia is to be the agent of this order, the myth is eventually associated with an intense, if unusual, form of nationalism, and a high degree of economic nationalism is inevitable because a completely socialistic state cannot otherwise be organized in a single country.

Different Thesis

Fascism starts from an entirely different thesis, and has an entirely different goal. It is avowedly anti-economic. It repudiates the whole idea of man as an economic creature. It elevates instead what it calls the heroic virtues, and regards the nation as the supreme Good. It is accepted at first as the savior of individualism from economic collectivism.

But whereas Communism, beginning with state ownership and control of the economic life, eventually regiments every individual down to his last thought, Fascism, which begins by regimenting the individual to a nationalist ideal, ends by swallowing the economic system.

Industrialists who are for the most part notoriously incapable of seeing beyond their next dividend and seem to prefer suicide to social reform, have, in Italy and Germany, clutched at the social disciplines of Fascism, thinking that it will keep them in power. But Fascism is only interested in keeping its own bureaucracy in power.

Controlled Industry

Actually, Mussolini’s step in nationalizing the key industries represents no sensational change. Industry was already under complete control. The ownership remained theoretically in private hands, but the owners had little or nothing to say about what they should do with their property. Very early in his career Mussolini had to take over the banks, and the industries, as in most poor countries, were in the hands of the banks. They were broke, and the state salvaged them on its own terms. Many new industries were created by the state for purely national and militarist purposes.

Mussolini’s war policy carries him further and further in this direction. Speaking before the Fascist assembly several days ago, he said that Italy would have to undertake the hydrogenation of lignites, the manufacture of alcohol from plants and the distillation of asphalt rock to take the place of oil imports; she would have to substitute more electrification projects for coal and work even her deepest lying mines, setting research bodies at work to find substitutes for cellulose, rubber and oleaginous seeds. All this is uneconomic in the extreme. Mussolini blames sanctions for it, but the Ethiopian venture itself has no economic justification.

Irrational Basis

What he wants in Ethiopia he could have bought for far less than it costs him to fight for it. The same amount of money invested in real reclamation projects in Italy would have yielded vastly greater material results. Mussolini himself has stopped the emigration of the surplus population, although there are parts of the world better than Africa where they could go. But Fascism is not rational. It is irrational—patriotism gone haywire.

The enterprises which Mussolini is taking over are bankrupt. Not because of Italy’s essential poverty. They are bankrupt because a rampant nationalism makes no attempt to cut its garment to its cloth. Marching troops, a huge party mechanism, a vast bureaucracy, cost money. Someone has to pay it. First the common people pay, compensated by illusions of future grandeur. But they will not pay forever if someone else is making a profit. So eventually profits go, too. The final logic of the totalitarian state is collectivism on the basis of economic levelling, That is the only way the apparatus will work.

Land Tenancy 

And it is just that it should be so. When private property ceases to make free men, its only spiritual justification goes. Democracy and the widespread distribution of private property go together. James Madison knew that; Thomas Jefferson knew it. Not all of our conservatives today realize it, nor all our liberals. They think the abundant life is more ice boxes and automobiles for everyone.

Those who care for democracy should be more concerned with ending land tenancy in this country, reviving local government and merchandising, protecting the small industrialist, who is often more efficient than the large one, and welcoming a vigorous, responsible trade unionism.

Economic nationalism is incompatible with democracy. A rigidly self-contained economy means eventually the complete limitation and control of production, distribution and prices. That means dictatorship, and dictatorship always goes the whole hog. If we love freedom we ought to work to push open the economic frontiers of the world under a more reasonable policy of give and take than has been pursued in the past. These frontiers are not yet completely closed, The British Empire, France, the Scandinavian countries, Belgium, Holland and Switzerland and the North and South American continents have not yet accepted the idea of economic self-sufficiency or hysterical nationalism under a totally powerful state. This, after all, is still two-thirds of the civilized world.

Abolish Boxing’s Committee of Poor Judgment

Damon Runyon

Wilkes-Barre Evening News/October 18, 1934

Bill Brown, able member of the New York boxing commission, was voted down by his two associates on the most sensible suggestion that has been made by that august body in some time.

Perhaps that is the reason it was voted down.

Bill Brown wanted the present round-by-round scoring of fights in New York abolished, and a point system introduced.

Bill Brown also wanted the matter of physical condition of a fighter at the end of a bout taken into consideration by the officials in reaching their decision, a suggestion even more important than the other.

Bill Brown’s idea is that if a fighter is tottering around and ready to dive into the resin at the end of the final round, that is something distinctly in favor of the other fellow, no matter how many early rounds the tottery bloke has won.

Bill Brown is quite right.

Old time referees always took the condition into their reckonings, and this writer has for years contended the importance of the point.

A great “come-behinder” may be stabbed all over the premises in the early rounds, yet have his man staggering up Queer St. at the finish, and thoroughly beaten.

The “come-behinder” ought to have the verdict.

It is silly to give a decision to a man who could not get off his stool for another round.

The writer thinks judges should be done away with entirely, and the referee made the sole arbiter of a fight.

If the objection is that this plan would deprive some worthy citizens of occasional work, let them be paid anyway to remain away from the ring.

The one-man system would cut down disputed decisions about 50 per cent. It would facilitate matters generally. The three-man jury now employed is cumbersome and retarding, and experience has demonstrated that it has not raised the standard of decisions one little bit.

Indeed, the writer is inclined to think that it has lowered the standard.

The evil-minded will at once say that one man is easier to reach than two, and that with only a referee the larceny boys would have a better opportunity to get in their dirty work.

The writer’s reply to this is that if boxing cannot trust its referee, we ought to do away with boxing. It might be a good idea, regardless of other considerations.

In the old days of boxing when only a referee did the deciding, there were no more complaints of dishonesty or favoritism than you hear nowadays when a posse does the judging, if as much. No more than you hear right now about baseball umpires, or other sports officials.

The old time referees were proud of their reputations, and rarely did anything to jeopardize them. George Siler, Malachy Hogan, Jack Welsh, Billy Roche, Tim Hurst, Charely White, Jim Griffin, and scores of old timers worked in hundreds of tough boxing bouts, gave their decisions promptly, and while sometimes their judgment might be deemed faulty, their honesty was never questioned.

To this day, when boxing men find themselves in doubt as to the impartiality of the officials that may be offered them, they turn to one man, whose presence in the ring is regarded as the 18-karat mark of square dealing. That man is George Blake, of California.

No manager, or fighter, cares if any judges are present if they can get Blake.

There are many honest and capable referees in New York City.

They would do much better work if they were permitted to handle a bout alone, unhampered by judges. Often a referee gets blamed for some incompetency of the judges.

A real referee takes a sort of mental picture of a bout as a whole, without bothering to jot down his impressions between rounds, and on that picture he renders his verdict, and in nine times out of ten it works out better than the joke expert-accounting system employed in New York.

Bill Brown will be doing the game a great favour if he can induce his associates to throw away the judges, and get back to first principles. But perhaps that suggestion is also a little too sensible.

States Will Regret Legalized Gambling

Damon Runyon

Wilkes-Barre Evening News/March 30, 1934

In the now sacred name of revenue much crime against public morals is being fostered in this country.

The popular form is open gambling on horse and dog races. In most states, the parimutuel system prevails. In New York, the old-fashioned bookmaker is to be revived under legal protection until the parimutuels can be submitted to a vote. 

You are a knocker and a killjoy if you raise your voice against gambling on the races, because, you are told, it is to produce revenue to the state. Nothing is said about the revenue that it will produce to the track owners.

Yet there is no record of any state that has legalized gambling on the races reducing its taxes on that account. Proportionately to the amount of money wagered by the public, the return to the state is very small, especially after it gets through paying salaries and expenses of the politically appointed crew necessary to keep track of its share of the gambling enterprise.

Public the Loser

It is a well-known fact that the pari-mutuels will eventually milk dry any ordinary community in which they operate for any length of time. The return to the state cannot possibly be commensurate to the distress created among business and working people by the gambling drain.

But in these times you must not decry legalized vice, gambling, or drinking, or anything else. Think of the revenue it all produces, even if your income taxes do continue to increase.

However, I can offer you a tip on a sure thing in connection with this craze to legalize gambling.

The pendulum will swing back a few years. Most of the states that are hastening to declare themselves in on race track gambling will suddenly realize that they are getting the worst of the partnership, financially, and morally.

Then you will find racetracks quoted as about a dime a dozen.

It is bad in principle, and worse in practice, to encourage gambling, and it can’t last.

Free Advertising

Big league baseball has received its usual $5,000,000 worth of free newspaper advertising, for which it returns nothing this spring, and is moving up out of the spring training camps of the South.

The hundreds of thousands of words, mainly persiflage, but quite diverting, sent forth by the newspaper correspondents with the various teams, informed the fans of little they did not already know.

The fans are well aware that the New York Giants will again win the National League pennant, though some of them may not have known, until they read it here, that the St. Louis Browns will win the American League pennant.

A note of sadness in the training camp news is the injury to “Rabbit” Maranville of the Braves, 41 years old, and one of the oldest active players in the game. Maranville sustained a broken leg in a collision with Catcher Norman Kies, of the Yankees, in an exhibition game.

He will be out of the game for months. Perhaps his baseball career is ended. This would be a great pity. You may take it from one who has seen many baseball players that Maranville, called “Rabbit” because of his size, has more of the various elements that go to make up what is known as “color” in a ballplayer, than any other diamond performer of the past 20 years.

Foreigners Coming Back

The William Randolph Hearst Trophy race at Palm Beach taught the Spanish and French outboard drivers something. It taught them that our American outboard racing hulls are far superior to their own heavy hulls in water that is smooth or moderately bumpy.

So, as they return home, Miguel Barilla and Manuel Giro, of Spain, and the Marquis Gonzalo de la Gandara, of France, take with them three American hulls, planning to construct similar boats, modeled to take care of their heavier engines.

The foreigners say they will come back again with these boats prepared to give our drivers closer competition. The William Randolph Hearst Trophy establishes a new field of international sports competition, but as long as we have Horace Tennes, of Illinois, as chief defender, the trophy is likely to remain in this country.

So Long, 1933

Damon Runyon

Wilkes-Barre Evening News/January 1, 1934

Now what of sport of 1933? Well, you remember the old story of the young man who was bankrolled by his pals to go to a far city to play the noble game of faro. He was an expert player, the game was reported thriving in the alien sector, and they expected nice dividends from their investment.

Not hearing from the young man for some time after his departure, the pals wired him one day:

“How is the game?”

Back came the terse replay:

“Game good, send more money.”

That is about the way it was with sport in 1933.

Artistically, sport was even more successful than usual in 1933. Financially, it was a flop. With the ides of December, the professional promoters, at least, were absolutely convinced that the big money days of sport are definitely over, something they had commenced to suspect several years ago.

And yet o’er an amateur field that had been darkened by gloom spread a new glow. I here refer to college football, which took a sound leathering at the box offices in 1932. The stadiums began filling up again in 1933, with crowds of 80,000 on several suspicious occasions.

East and West.

To my mind, the highlight of the year was the winning of the National League pennant and the world’s series by the New York Giants under “Memphis Bill” Terry. This was a case where the rank outsider came dashing home the winner. It was the most spectacular baseball event in years, yet many empty seats yawned at New York and in Washington.

Drama, and perhaps a touch of tragedy, was provided by Mrs. Helen Wills Moody, one of the greatest woman tennis players this country has ever produced, when she walked off the tennis courts, suddenly and without warning, while in competition against Mrs. Helen Jacobs, leaving her title to her sister Californian.

Mrs. Moody was ill—has been ill ever since, in fact. Physically, she was unequal to the task she imposed upon herself. She was rather more severely criticized in some quarters than I thought she deserved, and that was the tragedy in the passing of a great champion.

Notre Dame Drama

Another tremendously dramatic event of the year was the astounding victory of Notre Dame over Army’s unbeaten football horde before a huge crowd in New York. Notre Dame’s team went through one of the most disastrous football seasons in its history. Yet by a tremendous rally in the final quarter Notre Dame emerged victorious, though it seems that wasn’t enough to save the job of “Hunk” Anderson, its head coach successor to the football immortal, Knute Rockne, for soon afterwards Anderson was evicted, and Layden, one of Rockne’s celebrated “Four Horsemen,” takes over the job. 

Another stirring chapter in football events of 1933 was the rise of Princeton, after a dolorous gridiron period that extended over several years. Under a bustling new football coach, “Fritz” Christler, the Nassau Tigers wound up undisputed champions of the collegiate East.

They could have had the invitation from Stanford for the Rose Bowl game that went to Columbia but Princeton has an agreement with Yale that prevents post-season games. Thus Columbia received the distinction of being the first New York City team to be invited to the Rose Bowl. It was beaten only by Princeton during the season. Stanford ended the championship regime of University of Southern California on the West Coast. It had commenced to look as if Howard Jones’ men were permanent champs.

The boxing game remains very sad. Primo Carnera won the heavyweight championship of the world by flattening Jack Sharkey, who got the title from Max Schmeling. Before the Carnera-Sharkey fight, Jack Dempsey, the old Manassa Mauler, came to New York and promoted a battle between Max Schmeling and Max Baer. Taking that match was one of the few managerial errors ever credited to Joe Jacobs, manager of the German. He could have grabbed Sharkey instead, and would have regained the title, as Sharkey seems to be all washed up.

Baer Real Contender

Baer knocked out Schmeling, and became the foremost contender for the big title, but he immediately stopped fighting and went into the movies. Madison Square Garden has a contract on Carnera, the champion. Baer says he will not fight Carnera unless Jack Dempsey has “a piece” of the promotion.

The Garden says it doesn’t care for any partners.

Barney Rosa, a young Chicago Hebrew, won the lightweight title from Tony Canzoneri, and successfully defended it against Tony later on. Jimmy MacLarnin became the welterweight champion by beating Young Corbett III, and then hung up his gloves for a long, long recess. Vincent Dundee arrived at the middleweight title, on a pretty fair claim thereon. Freddie Miller disputes the featherweight title with Kid Chocolate and Kid Chocolate was knocked out by Canzoneri in an overweight match.

But nowhere did these various events attract any considerable attention—or money. Especially money. Baer and Schmeling drew the top gate of the year, $200,000, yet the promoters failed to make any profit, while Carnera and Sharkey turned up one of the lowest heavyweight championship “takes” in years, though the show made upwards of $35,000.

The indoor boxing receipts fell off woefully all over the country. The public definitely soured on the boxing game. Whether or not it will ever come back remains to be seen. There are very few drawing cards in the game, and these drawing cards rarely appear. Most of the big arenas that were thrown up in various cities throughout the country on the flood tide of interest in boxing have been bankrupt for some time.

Professional football continued its steady growth during 1933. The “exhibition” form of wrestling, which thrived enormously for a time, continued to draw, but not like it did in the beginning. And in general, sport probably had less to kick about than any other field dependent upon public patronage for its livelihood.

Nothing Doing in Dade County

Damon Runyon

Wilkes-BarreEvening News/January 20, 1934

It is my painful duty to report to the boys around Lindy’s and other points of the Broadway sector, that there is nothing doing down here.

The boys will understand what I mean.

There is golfing, swimming, dog racing, racing, fishing, boating, bridge, pinochle, casino, boxing, aviation, jai lai, wrestling, football, baseball, hunting, eating, drinking, smoking, et cetera, but otherwise, there is nothing doing.

I mean if you are dying, and a little whirl at Mr. Pharaoh’s bank would save your life, you would have to go right ahead and croak as far as Dade County, Florida, is concerned. It sounds heartless, perhaps, but that’s the way it is down here, boys.

Why, I have just learned that an old stickman has been chased out of town because a cop overheard him muttering to himself “’He’s coming out, men,” and all the poor old stickman was doing was exercising his voice so it would not get rusty.

Nary a Wheel Turns

Nary a wheel turns in all the broad confines of Dade. I mean roulette wheel.

Of course, if you like punch boards, you can get a little action around here. There are also several spots along the boulevards where optimistic blokes will bet you they can guess your weight. But they will not bet enough to make it worthwhile to have a pair of shoes made with leaden soles, You finally have to fall back on the horses and dogs. Well, they’re tough enough at that.

Speaking of the horses, Bill Dwyer’s Tropical Park, which opened Dec. 30, has been handling on an average of around $116,000 per day, with a high handle so far of $161,157. On that basis Bill ought to make a little money. He was mighty dubious about the early opening to which he had been forced by the distribution of racing dates down here, but it looks now as if they did him a favor.

Speaking of Dogs

Speaking of the dogs, I attended the opening of the Miami Beach track the other night, and you could scarcely budge for the mob. And this is only one of three dog tracks in operation here. 

The Miami Beach track by the sad sea waves, was originally part of that great dream of George Tex Rickard’s who visioned Florida as the sporting playground of these United States. A big gambling casino was included in the dream.

It was with mainly the idea of bringing crowds to Florida that Rickard promoted the Sharkey that some of the folks might drift into the dog track and the casino while waiting for the fisticuffing to begin. Tex died here following an operation for appendicitis, and his pugilistic promotion rolled on into a $400,000 gate, proving that he was a canny dreamer.

Misses Boom Rush

It is a pity that Tex couldn’t have lived to see the boom-time rush that is now surging into Miami and stacking up against the pari-mutuel windows at the horse and dog tracks. I am inclined to think that the crowd here right now exceeds the unexpected jam at the place last year and they tell me that the official season is just about starting.

It is said that the dog and horse track people do not want the open gambling that has prevailed hereabouts in other years in almost every year, in fact, up to the last year. Their reasons are logical enough. The open gambling seeps in money that might otherwise find its way into the maws of the mutuels. The business people never did care much for the open gambling, and for that matter some of them are not so fond of the mutuels, though they accept the latter as a sort of necessary evil.

Love for Honky-Tonks 

So the open gambling seems to have no friends except the lovers of the picturesque like your correspondent. I used to love those honky-tonks over the garages with the croupiers in full cry. There have been rumors from time to time that a few of the “first class” places might be permitted to turn a casual card and wheel, but I fear there is no hope for the good old honks.

No community that didn’t get in plenty of fresh money every few days could stand the pari-mutuel grind that goes on in Miami at the horse and dog tracks, day and night, for four solid months. It would “milk” any ordinary city dry in a short time. But here the money comes in from all over the country, and new bankrolls are arriving by every train.

Who Goes Nazi?

Dorothy Thompson

Harper’s Monthly/August, 1941

It is an interesting and somewhat macabre parlor game to play at a large gathering of one’s acquaintances: to speculate who in a showdown would go Nazi. By now, I think I know. I have gone through the experience many times—in Germany, in Austria, and in France. I have come to know the types: the born Nazis, the Nazis whom democracy itself has created, the certain-to-be fellow-travelers. And I also know those who never, under any conceivable circumstances, would become Nazis.

It is preposterous to think that they are divided by any racial characteristics. Germans may be more susceptible to Nazism than most people, but I doubt it. Jews are barred out, but it is an arbitrary ruling. I know lots of Jews who are born Nazis and many others who would heil Hitler tomorrow morning if given a chance. There are Jews who have repudiated their own ancestors in order to become “Honorary Aryans and Nazis”; there are full-blooded Jews who have enthusiastically entered Hitler’s secret service. Nazism has nothing to do with race and nationality. It appeals to a certain type of mind.

It is also, to an immense extent, the disease of a generation—the generation which was either young or unborn at the end of the last war. This is as true of Englishmen, Frenchmen, and Americans as of Germans. It is the disease of the so-called “lost generation.”

Sometimes I think there are direct biological factors at work—a type of education, feeding, and physical training which has produced a new kind of human being with an imbalance in his nature. He has been fed vitamins and filled with energies that are beyond the capacity of his intellect to discipline. He has been treated to forms of education which have released him from inhibitions. His body is vigorous. His mind is childish. His soul has been almost completely neglected.

At any rate, let us look round the room.

The gentleman standing beside the fireplace with an almost untouched glass of whiskey beside him on the mantelpiece is Mr. A, a descendant of one of the great American families. There has never been an American Blue Book without several persons of his surname in it. He is poor and earns his living as an editor. He has had a classical education, has a sound and cultivated taste in literature, painting, and music; has not a touch of snobbery in him; is full of humor, courtesy, and wit. He was a lieutenant in the World War, is a Republican in politics, but voted twice for Roosevelt, last time for Willkie. He is modest, not particularly brilliant, a staunch friend, and a man who greatly enjoys the company of pretty and witty women. His wife, whom he adored, is dead, and he will never remarry.

He has never attracted any attention because of outstanding bravery. But I will put my hand in the fire that nothing on earth could ever make him a Nazi. He would greatly dislike fighting them, but they could never convert him. . . . Why not?

Beside him stands Mr. B, a man of his own class, graduate of the same preparatory school and university, rich, a sportsman, owner of a famous racing stable, vice-president of a bank, married to a well-known society belle. He is a good fellow and extremely popular. But if America were going Nazi he would certainly join up, and early. Why? . . . Why the one and not the other?

Mr. A has a life that is established according to a certain form of personal behavior. Although he has no money, his unostentatious distinction and education have always assured him a position. He has never been engaged in sharp competition. He is a free man. I doubt whether ever in his life he has done anything he did not want to do or anything that was against his code. Nazism wouldn’t fit in with his standards and he has never become accustomed to making concessions.

Mr. B has risen beyond his real abilities by virtue of health, good looks, and being a good mixer. He married for money and he has done lots of other things for money. His code is not his own; it is that of his class—no worse, no better, He fits easily into whatever pattern is successful. That is his sole measure of value—success. Nazism as a minority movement would not attract him. As a movement likely to attain power, it would.

The saturnine man over there talking with a lovely French emigree is already a Nazi. Mr. C is a brilliant and embittered intellectual. He was a poor white-trash Southern boy, a scholarship student at two universities where he took all the scholastic honors but was never invited to join a fraternity. His brilliant gifts won for him successively government positions, partnership in a prominent law firm, and eventually a highly paid job as a Wall Street adviser. He has always moved among important people and always been socially on the periphery. His colleagues have admired his brains and exploited them, but they have seldom invited him—or his wife—to dinner.

He is a snob, loathing his own snobbery. He despises the men about him—he despises, for instance, Mr. B—because he knows that what he has had to achieve by relentless work men like B have won by knowing the right people. But his contempt is inextricably mingled with envy. Even more than he hates the class into which he has insecurely risen, does he hate the people from whom he came. He hates his mother and his father for being his parents. He loathes everything that reminds him of his origins and his humiliations. He is bitterly anti-Semitic because the social insecurity of the Jews reminds him of his own psychological insecurity.

Pity he has utterly erased from his nature, and joy he has never known. He has an ambition, bitter and burning. It is to rise to such an eminence that no one can ever again humiliate him. Not to rule but to be the secret ruler, pulling the strings of puppets created by his brains. Already some of them are talking his language—though they have never met him.

There he sits: he talks awkwardly rather than glibly; he is courteous. He commands a distant and cold respect. But he is a very dangerous man. Were he primitive and brutal he would be a criminal—a murderer. But he is subtle and cruel. He would rise high in a Nazi regime. It would need men just like him—intellectual and ruthless. But Mr. C is not a born Nazi. He is the product of a democracy hypocritically preaching social equality and practicing a carelessly brutal snobbery. He is a sensitive, gifted man who has been humiliated into nihilism. He would laugh to see heads roll.

I think young D over there is the only born Nazi in the room. Young D is the spoiled only son of a doting mother. He has never been crossed in his life. He spends his time at the game of seeing what he can get away with. He is constantly arrested for speeding and his mother pays the fines. He has been ruthless toward two wives and his mother pays the alimony. His life is spent in sensation-seeking and theatricality. He is utterly inconsiderate of everybody. He is very good-looking, in a vacuous, cavalier way, and inordinately vain. He would certainly fancy himself in a uniform that gave him a chance to swagger and lord it over others.

Mrs. E would go Nazi as sure as you are born. That statement surprises you? Mrs. E seems so sweet, so clinging, so cowed. She is. She is a masochist. She is married to a man who never ceases to humiliate her, to lord it over her, to treat her with less consideration than he does his dogs. He is a prominent scientist, and Mrs. E, who married him very young, has persuaded herself that he is a genius, and that there is something of superior womanliness in her utter lack of pride, in her doglike devotion. She speaks disapprovingly of other “masculine” or insufficiently devoted wives. Her husband, however, is bored to death with her. He neglects her completely and she is looking for someone else before whom to pour her ecstatic self-abasement. She will titillate with pleased excitement to the first popular hero who proclaims the basic subordination of women.

On the other hand, Mrs. F would never go Nazi. She is the most popular woman in the room, handsome, gay, witty, and full of the warmest emotion. She was a popular actress ten years ago; married very happily; promptly had four children in a row; has a charming house, is not rich but has no money cares, has never cut herself off from her own happy-go-lucky profession, and is full of sound health and sound common sense. All men try to make love to her; she laughs at them all, and her husband is amused. She has stood on her own feet since she was a child, she has enormously helped her husband’s career (he is a lawyer), she would ornament any drawing-room in any capital, and she is as American as ice cream and cake.

II

How about the butler who is passing the drinks? I look at James with amused eyes. James is safe. James has been butler to the ‘ighest aristocracy, considers all Nazis parvenus and communists, and has a very good sense for “people of quality.” He serves the quiet editor with that friendly air of equality which good servants always show toward those they consider good enough to serve, and he serves the horsy gent stiffly and coldly.

Bill, the grandson of the chauffeur, is helping serve to-night. He is a product of a Bronx public school and high school, and works at night like this to help himself through City College, where he is studying engineering. He is a “proletarian,” though you’d never guess it if you saw him without that white coat. He plays a crack game of tennis—has been a tennis tutor in summer resorts—swims superbly, gets straight A’s in his classes, and thinks America is okay and don’t let anybody say it isn’t. He had a brief period of Youth Congress communism, but it was like the measles. He was not taken in the draft because his eyes are not good enough, but he wants to design airplanes, “like Sikorsky.” He thinks Lindbergh is “just another pilot with a build-up and a rich wife” and that he is “always talking down America, like how we couldn’t lick Hitler if we wanted to.” At this point Bill snorts.

Mr. G is a very intellectual young man who was an infant prodigy. He has been concerned with general ideas since the age of ten and has one of those minds that can scintillatingly rationalize everything. I have known him for ten years and in that time have heard him enthusiastically explain Marx, social credit, technocracy, Keynesian economics, Chestertonian distributism, and everything else one can imagine. Mr. G will never be a Nazi, because he will never be anything. His brain operates quite apart from the rest of his apparatus. He will certainly be able, however, fully to explain and apologize for Nazism if it ever comes along. But Mr. G is always a “deviationist.” When he played with communism he was a Trotskyist; when he talked of Keynes it was to suggest improvement; Chesterton’s economic ideas were all right but he was too bound to Catholic philosophy. So we may be sure that Mr. G would be a Nazi with purse-lipped qualifications. He would certainly be purged.

H is an historian and biographer. He is American of Dutch ancestry born and reared in the Middle West. He has been in love with America all his life. He can recite whole chapters of Thoreau and volumes of American poetry, from Emerson to Steve Benet. He knows Jefferson’s letters, Hamilton’s papers, Lincoln’s speeches. He is a collector of early American furniture, lives in New England, runs a farm for a hobby and doesn’t lose much money on it, and loathes parties like this one. He has a ribald and manly sense of humor, is unconventional and lost a college professorship because of a love affair. Afterward he married the lady and has lived happily ever afterward as the wages of sin.

H has never doubted his own authentic Americanism for one instant. This is his country, and he knows it from Acadia to Zenith. His ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War and in all the wars since. He is certainly an intellectual, but an intellectual smelling slightly of cow barns and damp tweeds. He is the most good-natured and genial man alive, but if anyone ever tries to make this country over into an imitation of Hitler’s, Mussolini’s, or Petain’s systems H will grab a gun and fight. Though H’s liberalism will not permit him to say it, it is his secret conviction that nobody whose ancestors have not been in this country since before the Civil War really understands America or would really fight for it against Nazism or any other foreign ism in a showdown.

But H is wrong. There is one other person in the room who would fight alongside H and he is not even an American citizen. He is a young German emigre, whom I brought along to the party. The people in the room look at him rather askance because he is so Germanic, so very blond-haired, so very blue-eyed, so tanned that somehow you expect him to be wearing shorts. He looks like the model of a Nazi. His English is flawed—he learned it only five years ago. He comes from an old East Prussian family; he was a member of the post-war Youth Movement and afterward of the Republican “Reichsbanner.” All his German friends went Nazi—without exception. He hiked to Switzerland penniless, there pursued his studies in New Testament Greek, sat under the great Protestant theologian, Karl Barth, came to America through the assistance of an American friend whom he had met in a university, got a job teaching the classics in a fashionable private school; quit, and is working now in an airplane factory—working on the night shift to make planes to send to Britain to defeat Germany. He has devoured volumes of American history, knows Whitman by heart, wonders why so few Americans have ever really read the Federalist papers, believes in the United States of Europe, the Union of the English-speaking world, and the coming democratic revolution all over the earth. He believes that America is the country of Creative Evolution once it shakes off its middle-class complacency, its bureaucratized industry, its tentacle-like and spreading government, and sets itself innerly free.

The people in the room think he is not an American, but he is more American than almost any of them. He has discovered America and his spirit is the spirit of the pioneers. He is furious with America because it does not realize its strength and beauty and power. He talks about the workmen in the factory where he is employed. . . . He took the job “in order to understand the real America.” He thinks the men are wonderful. “Why don’t you American intellectuals ever get to them; talk to them?”

I grin bitterly to myself, thinking that if we ever got into war with the Nazis he would probably be interned, while Mr. B and Mr. G and Mrs. E would be spreading defeatism at all such parties as this one. “Of course I don’t like Hitler but . . .”

Mr. J over there is a Jew. Mr. J is a very important man. He is immensely rich—he has made a fortune through a dozen directorates in various companies, through a fabulous marriage, through a speculative flair, and through a native gift for money and a native love of power. He is intelligent and arrogant. He seldom associates with Jews. He deplores any mention of the “Jewish question.” He believes that Hitler “should not be judged from the standpoint of anti-Semitism.” He thinks that “the Jews should be reserved on all political questions.” He considers Roosevelt “an enemy of business.” He thinks “It was a serious blow to the Jews that Frankfurter should have been appointed to the Supreme Court.”

The saturnine Mr. C—the real Nazi in the room—engages him in a flatteringly attentive conversation. Mr. J agrees with Mr. C wholly. Mr. J is definitely attracted by Mr. C. He goes out of his way to ask his name—they have never met before. “A very intelligent man.”

Mr. K contemplates the scene with a sad humor in his expressive eyes. Mr. K is also a Jew. Mr. K is a Jew from the South. He speaks with a Southern drawl. He tells inimitable stories. Ten years ago he owned a very successful business that he had built up from scratch. He sold it for a handsome price, settled his indigent relatives in business, and now enjoys an income for himself of about fifty dollars a week. At forty he began to write articles about odd and out-of-the-way places in American life. A bachelor, and a sad man who makes everybody laugh, he travels continually, knows America from a thousand different facets, and loves it in a quiet, deep, unostentatious way. He is a great friend of H, the biographer. Like H, his ancestors have been in this country since long before the Civil War. He is attracted to the young German. By and by they are together in the drawing-room. The impeccable gentleman of New England, the country-man—intellectual of the Middle West, the happy woman whom the gods love, the young German, the quiet, poised Jew from the South. And over on the other side are the others.

Mr. L has just come in. Mr. L is a lion these days. My hostess was all of a dither when she told me on the telephone, “ . . . and L is coming. You know it’s dreadfully hard to get him.” L is a very powerful labor leader. “My dear, he is a man of the people, but really fascinating.“ L is a man of the people and just exactly as fascinating as my horsy, bank vice-president, on-the-make acquaintance over there, and for the same reasons and in the same way. L makes speeches about the “third of the nation,” and L has made a darned good thing for himself out of championing the oppressed. He has the best car of anyone in this room; salary means nothing to him because he lives on an expense account. He agrees with the very largest and most powerful industrialists in the country that it is the business of the strong to boss the weak, and he has made collective bargaining into a legal compulsion to appoint him or his henchmen as “labor’s” agents, with the power to tax pay envelopes and do what they please with the money. L is the strongest natural-born Nazi in this room. Mr. B regards him with contempt tempered by hatred. Mr. B will use him. L is already parroting B’s speeches. He has the brains of Neanderthal man, but he has an infallible instinct for power. In private conversation he denounces the Jews as “parasites.” No one has ever asked him what are the creative functions of a highly paid agent, who takes a percentage off the labor of millions of men, and distributes it where and as it may add to his own political power.

III

It’s fun—a macabre sort of fun—this parlor game of “Who Goes Nazi?” And it simplifies things—asking the question in regard to specific personalities.

Kind, good, happy, gentlemanly, secure people never go Nazi. They may be the gentle philosopher whose name is in the Blue Book, or Bill from City College to whom democracy gave a chance to design airplanes—you’ll never make Nazis out of them. But the frustrated and humiliated intellectual, the rich and scared speculator, the spoiled son, the labor tyrant, the fellow who has achieved success by smelling out the wind of success—they would all go Nazi in a crisis.

Believe me, nice people don’t go Nazi. Their race, color, creed, or social condition is not the criterion. It is something in them.

Those who haven’t anything in them to tell them what they like and what they don’t—whether it is breeding, or happiness, or wisdom, or a code, however old-fashioned or however modern, go Nazi. It’s an amusing game. Try it at the next big party you go to.

First American Army in England Plan of Bullock

by Westbrook Pegler

Muscatine News-Tribune/May 31, 1971

Lieutenant Colonel C. Seymour Bullock, of the Canadian army, former Chicago clergyman, has completed organization plans for the first all-American army, to be formed in England to fight under the Stars and Stripes in France. If congress will accept this means of speedily placing the flag in the trenches the force will be constituted as a unit of the United States army, with a strength of 10,000 seasoned American officers and men from the British front. It is hoped to add to the strength at least 2,000 more from the civilian American population of Great Britain and France.

Colonel Bullock has enlisted Consul General Skinner of London in support of his plan. The Consul-General forwarded the suggestion to Washington and Bullock, through his acquaintance with Senator Smith of Michigan and former Representative Gardner of Massachusetts, hopes to receive the necessary authorization from congress. 

The 10,000 men will not be sent to France in a body. It is intended to take over only a small sector of the line manned by one battalion of Americans, about 1,000 men. The remaining troops will be held in England as a reserve force to be drawn upon for reinforcements when casualties are suffered. As casualties average about 50 per cent of a fighting force for every 45 days of aggressive fighting, there will still be a reserve of almost 5,000 men when the American million is ready to sail for Europe.

Officers are plentiful among the American soldiers in Europe. The names already registered with Colonel Bullock include officers from 18 states, the Philippines and Alaska. Privates in one Canadian battalion alone come from 43 states, Alaska, Porto Rico, the Philippines and Cuba. The new force will be especially well-off for machine-gun officers and crews and members.

The allied armies have drawn a total of 30,000 Americans since the war began. The extent of their casualties can be estimated from the conservative optimism of Colonel Bullock. He asserts that every “Yank” now fighting under a foreign flag is impatient to get into American khaki. Yet his highest estimate of the number obtainable is 10,000 officers and men. However, the missing 20,000 are not necessarily killed. Many have been discharged through wounds and others have been captured.