The Great Plains During World War II

Mr. FISH. Mr. Chairman, I yield 5 minutes to the gentleman from North Dakota [Mr. LEMKE].

Mr. LEMKE. Mr. Chairman, war or peace is not a Democratic or a Republican issue, nor is it exclusively an issue for Congress but rather an issue for the American people. It is an issue for the fathers and mothers whose sons may again be called upon to give their lives on foreign battlefields because of our mistake here. Someone may again wish to make the world safe for the so-called democracies–for the House of Morgan–for the international bankers.

Neutrality. There is no neutrality in the resolution now under consideration. We have been rather free in criticizing certain one-man governments. Yet, if this resolution is enacted into law, it will make it possible for one man–the President–to bring about conditions that will lead to war. That power, I am sure, is more than we are willing to give to any President that we have ever had or ever will have.

Is not the greed for power more dangerous and destructive than the greed for wealth? All history tells us that power is always deaf, dumb, and blind. It always has and always will be abused. Why should we in this country wish to ape Stalin, Mussolini, or Hitler? Why should any one man want the power of life and death over the sons of America? If such an ambition–desire–exists, and I do not believe it does, then it is an unworthy and insane desire.

I do not care who wrote this resolution. That is not the issue. The question is whether we, not as partisans but as guardians of the youth of this Nation, will enact it into law. I am confident that this Congress will not so far forget its responsibility to this Nation as to give any President, now or hereafter, the power asked for in this resolution–the power to bring about a war of aggression.

Presidents are just human beings. We glorify them, but, like the rest of us, they are just human. They are not infallible. They posses no divine wisdom, nor do they posses virtues or honor or greatness independent of "We, the people." They have their likes and dislikes the same as you and I. Sometimes they enter into flirtations with some foreign nations, and sometimes dislike or even hate others, depending upon their childhood environment and preconceived notions.

Fortunately, under our Constitution you and I and all of us are "We, the people." We are 48 States–but one Nation. Under our form of government Congress, and Congress alone, has the power to declare war. No President should ever be given the power to bring about conditions that lead inevitably to a foreign conflict.

This resolution, if passed, will be misunderstood by foreign nations. It will be too readily accepted by the so-called democracies that grabbed everything in sight, after we won the World War for them, as an act of approval. These nations now refuse to let go of the ill-gotten gain. They send kings and charming queens to us. But let us warn them that we will not defend these stolen colonies with the blood of our youth. No one man or set of men will ever by given the power to pledge the youth of this Nation to any foreign nation, except Congress representing the sovereign people.

While other nations, if we pass this resolution, will consider it as an unfriendly act. These nations feel that we have deserted our time-honored policy of "no foreign entanglements." They feel that we have been and are meddling in European affairs. For some unknown reason false propaganda has been spread in favor of other nations. But, fortunately, we all know that there are few angels to be found among European governments.

We all know that there was no differences between the forceful annexation of Ethiopia, Czechoslovakia, or the Boer Republic. The destruction of these governments was brutal on the part of the nations who destroyed them, but not one of these destroyers, whether it style itself a democracy or a dictatorship, is in a position to point with the finger of scorn at the other and say, '"I am holier than thou."

If Great Britain and France really wish permanent peace, I will give them a prescription. Let them return the colonies they grabbed after the World War and let them fulfill the promises they made to Italy, and then I am sure the war clouds will pass. When that happens there will be no need for democracies to talk both hot and cold in the same breath. They will then not be compelled to denounce some dictators and in the same breath sell their souls for an alliance with another dictator.

This resolution is dangerous. In its vague language it conceals the possibilities of an indirect declaration of war. It gives this power to one man. It is the first step to an alliance with Great Britain–which nation, history reveals, has destroyed or annexed more nations and more people than all the other nations in the world combined.

We made a mistake in 1917, but we are stupid if we repeat it. If all the facts had been made public, we would not have entered the World War in 1917.

This Nation is dizzy with war propaganda. The munition manufacturers and the war lords are again in the saddle, riding high, wide, and reckless on the crest of false propaganda–reckless with the public's conscience and with other people's agony. These are again attempting to monopolize patriotism. They are again wrapping the flag of glory around themselves and making millions out of the blood and the tears and the agony of an agonized world.

I repeat, let us stop them by passing a real, not a make-believe, neutrality act. Let us prohibit the sale of munitions, arms, airplanes, armaments, and army equipment to any nation at any time. Then let us provide for an embargo against any nation or nations during a civil or a foreign war, except food and clothing for the civilian population only, distributed through the Red Cross or similar organizations.

We must never permit our patriotism to be dimmed or divided because of religious or racial differences. Tolerance and forebearance is our watchword. We shall continue to extend the hand of good-fellowship to all. We shall not permit the religious or racial hatreds of Europe to be transplanted to our shores. We will not again permit ourselves to be engulfed by the war-made insanity of Europe.