The Great Plains During World War II

Can We Follow the War Crowd?


Friday, August 8, 1941


Mr. CURTIS. Mr. Speaker, under leave to extend my remarks in the RECORD, I include the following radio address by me over the Columbia network on August 6, 1941:

Ladies and gentlemen of the radio audience, in the few moments I have in which to speak to you tonight, I want to ask you, "Can we follow the war crowd?" The bitter controversy today is whether or not the United States shall become a shooting participant in the wars now going on in Europe, Africa, and Asia.

In the first place, I do not approve of any dictatorship anywhere, any time, or under any circumstances. I am convinced the great majority of the American people as a whole are loyal to the United States of America.

Secondly, I believe the defense program in America should be carried forward as rapidly as possible, that nothing should be done to hamper or interfere with the fastest possible attainment of a completely adequate national preparedness. An eminent American has said, "We must build ourselves an air force, a navy, and an army so strong that no dictator will dare to tamper with our commerce, our interests, or our rights. That is the defense program we must have." With this statement I emphatically agree.

In the third place, those people, who are opposed to the United States becoming a shooting participant in these wars, do not contend that they can live in a world by themselves; they cannot be accused of hiding their heads in the sand like ostriches. We Americans have always accepted the Monroe Doctrine, both historically and currently. That calls for our policing a considerable portion of the earth's surface. The question before us is, Shall we become enmeshed in the European, Asiatic, and African wars? The American people had nothing to do with starting them. The great majority of American people have expressed their desire that we do not enter these conflicts. A small but very militant minority are attempting to drive the United States into those wars. This minority group who would plunge this country into war are making their influence felt; they have assistance in some high places in Government.

Let us examine the record of this war crowd. Not so many months ago they were urging that the Untied States help brave little Finland in her struggle against the wanton and brutal aggressions of the bloody hand of Dictator Joe Stalin. Today this war crowd wands us to assist Godless communistic Russian. These wars make strange bedfellows from day to day. I believe I express the hope in the heart of every true American when I say that I hope that both the dictatorship of Hitler and the dictatorship of Stalin will wreck themselves completely and beyond repair in their battle with each other. God knows the world would be better off today without the menace of either.

Last year the war hawks were urging that we go to war with Japan. They argued that we should clear the Pacific of the Japanese menace so that the British Navy could take care of the Atlantic. This was followed by months of appeasement toward Japan, while we actually supplied war materials to that nation. Now the cry is, "Let's clear the Atlantic."

If we are going to follow the war crowd, which way are we going to follow them? Are we going east or are we going west? Will any military expert argue that there is wisdom in fighting all over the glove at the same time; in having our forces spread throughout the world? I ask you, fellow Americans, in all seriousness, can we follow the war crowd?

When the present European conflict started, it was pictured by the war crowd as being a struggle for idealism. They shouted from the housetops that we must save democracy. They talked of preserving our way of life; the British way of life, the Chinese way of life, and other cultures. Today that are engaged in an enterprise to save the Communist way of life, India's way of life, and Cuba's way of life. With open arms they have embraced the cause of Soviet Russia. Fellow Americans, there is a grave and dangerous communistic menace in this country and throughout the world. We can rely upon the findings of the congressional committee investigating un-American activities. There is an attempt upon the part of the Communists to undermine and destroy the Government of the Untied States.

If these things are true–and they are true–then we cannot ignore these facts in becoming a military ally of despotic Russia. The conduct of Soviet Russia in first acting as an ally of Hitler in their land grab against Finland, Poland, and other small countries, and the reversal of that conduct and their acceptance by the British Empire and the war group in this country as allies, proves but one thing–these foreign wars are not wars fought for any ideal. They are wars being fought to obtain fertile land, world trade, sea ports, rich oil fields, and other things for which the countries of Europe, Africa, and Asia have fought throughout the generations. Can we follow the war crowd in making the United States a part of those wars for conquest? It was the seasoned military expert, Gen. George Washington, who said, "Why quit your own to stand on foreign soil?"

The strongest force in this country today is American public opinion. If it had not been for the strong public opinion against our entrance into wars going on in Asia, Africa, and Europe, our boys would be there now. I urge you not to let that public opinion be silenced by the war drums of a minority. Use your letters, your postal cards, and your telegrams, today, tomorrow, and in the days to come to let your servants in Washington know whether or not you want them to follow the war crowd.

And, finally, remember that it will not be the war propagandists who will do the fighting and the bleeding and the dying. It will be your sons, your brothers, your husbands, who will have to lie mangled or dead in the stench of new no-man's lands, in dark Africa, and in far-off Russia, and mayhap in the innerlands of China.

Remember that all of the horrors, all of the penalties, all of the suffering, all of the agonies of war, if we get into it, will be yours.

Whatever of glamour, whatever of glory, whatever of the shining place in history comes of war, may come to the generals, but the privates get none of that.

I say to you in conclusion, my fellow Americans, no! We can't follow the war crowd.