Of all the decades of this century, one might well argue that the 1940s was the most significant. Within a ten year span, the Soviet Union became one of the world's two great superpowers, a mighty Germany was divided in half and substantially reduced in size, and the far-flung Japanese empire was destroyed. Both Britain and France lost major parts of their empires in Africa and Asia, and witnessed these regions being dominated by indigenous nationalist governments.
The United States too was radically transformed. Never an insular power, it had long been an empire with dominions beyond the seas. Yet, with the advent of World War II, the nation found itself fighting in such varied places as Tarawa, Messina, the Ardennes, and northern Burma. Then, when the conflict was over, the United States underwrote the economy of Western Europe and encircled the globe with a string of air bases. In 1949, it entered into a binding military alliance with some eleven different powers, and in the process made commitments that exceeded the most ambitious dreams of Woodrow Wilson. Within ten years after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, the United States was fighting Communist forces in Korea.
Internally the change in the United States was equally radical. Military Keynesianism created the greatest economic boom since the 1920s, but it was a boom that made the economy increasingly dependent upon armament spending. A massive government bureaucracy found its counterpart in huge corporate conglomerates, often subsidized by a defense-minded government and finding their own counterparts in large and powerful trade unions. Small enterprises were becoming steadily less important to the economy. Although the term agribusiness was not yet in vogue, large farms were increasingly displacing smaller and less efficient units. The accompanying social and geographical mobility—more women occupying fulltime jobs, massive migration of blacks and Chicanos—produced accompanying strains, as seen in higher divorce rates, racial violence, and juvenile delinquency.
A country engaged in fighting external evil and totalitarian forces found itself equally concerned with rooting out such forces within. Hence, in the forties, the United States experienced a battery of sedition trials, loyalty checks, and congressional investigating committees, all of which generated a climate far from friendly to dissent. The government, through such bureaus as the Office of War Information, fostered its own propaganda, one initially revealed in war bond drives and Hollywood battle films. Furthermore, with a press, cinema, publishing industry, and radio broadcasting (and later television) becoming increasingly centralized, minority voices had fewer outlets.
Some Americans found such developments inevitable. One does not have to be steeped in the sociological analysis of a Max Weber to claim that such bureaucratization was bound to occur, particularly in time of cold or hot war. Other Americans, however, believed that such rationalization of both economy and society could be halted, or at least considerably slowed down, especially if the United States avoided full-scale military conflict. These Americans were often labelled “isolationists,” a term that did little justice to either the complexity of their position or the reasoning behind it.
In the best short essay yet published on the history and nature of isolationism, Manfred Jonas defines the position as “the avoidance of political and military commitments to or alliances with foreign powers, particularly those in Europe.”1 As Jonas notes in his own work, there is far more to the position of most isolationists than sheer withdrawal, or (to use the phrasing of one historian) acting like “that species of bird which, when threatened, simply goes on pecking the ground until danger passes—or it is slain.”2 So-called isolationists often sought to increase foreign trade, endorsed noncoercive forms of international organization, fostered cultural interchange, and supported relief and recovery. In fact, they might take pains to deny they were isolationists, preferring the name anti-interventionist, neutralist, or nationalist. In the decade before Pearl Harbor, they differed among themselves on a variety of issues, including a navy based upon battleships, retention of the Philippines and Guam, the desirability of peacetime conscription, and recognition of the Soviet Union. What they shared in common was unilateralism in foreign affairs, that is, in the sense of rejecting binding military commitments, and war.
During the past twenty years, there has been a resurgence of scholarship on noninterventionism, and a complete annotated bibliography takes up a small monograph.3 In addition, historians have offered various explanations for this phenomenon, all of which interpretations have their limitations. Some argued that isolationism was rooted in such ethnic groups as German and Irish-Americans, although the great majority of isolationists came from Anglo-Saxon backgrounds.4 Others saw isolationism grounded in middle-western Populism, although it was later noted that the Mississippi Valley had long possessed a heritage of overseas expansion and imperialism.5 Still others asserted that isolationism was a form of ethnocentrism, with an insecure and xenophobic “in-group” projecting its fears and self-hatreds upon all “outsiders.” Driven by an “authoritarian personality,” the isolationists were striking out blindly at a world they never made.6 Yet such oversimplifying sociological and psychological explanations—as this essay will show—ignore those prominent isolationists very much linked to the major political and economic institutions. Certain researchers find the key lying in Republican political partisanship, but in the process neglect the large numbers of Democrats opposed to foreign commitments. Similarly, explanations based on small-town and agrarian roots can neglect those urban masses who felt similarly.
Obviously all such comprehensive efforts at explanation are incomplete. This essay will repeatedly stress the complex variety of the noninterventionist leaders. What isolationists shared was neither a common region nor a common political party but a common stance, that is, a common posture towards the world. To explain this stance, and the varied reasonings behind it during World War II and Cold War debates, is the subject of this essay. We know that isolationism contains quite diverse elements, and that these attitudes could be shared by anarchists, mainline Republicans, Socialists, New Dealers, and progressives. Pacifists were another group allied to isolationists on many issues, and, in the crucial years 1939–1941, both Stalinists and Trotskyists were in their ranks.
This essay concentrates upon those isolationists who feared that international commitments would end the American economic system as they knew it. War, so they believed, would inevitably bring into its wake a prohibitive national debt, massive labor monopolies, conscription of manpower and wealth, runaway inflation, unworkable price and wage controls—in short, a militarized society and a corporatist state. Not only would free enterprise, as such isolationists defined it, be destroyed beyond repair. The social order itself would break down. As the renowned aviator Charles A. Lindbergh commented, “God knows what will happen here before we finish it [World War II]—race riots, revolution, destruction.”7 In many ways, this brand of isolationism embodied the mainstream of the movement, since it dominated the Congress, was articulated in leading newspapers, and possessed the greatest numerical strength. It should be noted, however, that individuals of a very different domestic vision also held to an anti-interventionist stance, and some of these people too—such as Socialist leader Norman Thomas—will be considered.
The first part of this essay is expository. It identifies certain leading anti-interventionists, presents material on their background, reveals the nature of their anxieties concerning war, and often shows their alternatives to foreign conflict. In short, I seek here to place the views of such isolationists in the context of their own time and thereby hope to reveal both their dreams and their fears. The second part of this essay is more problem-oriented, and it notes certain areas and topics that can aid the researcher.
Probably the most famous anti-interventionist, and a man whose name became synonymous with the movement, was Senator Robert A. Taft of Ohio (1889–1953). Thanks to a host of studies, including James T. Patterson's definitive Mr. Republican: A Biography of Robert A. Taft (1972), we can transcend old stereotypes.8 For a while, every historian, in a sense, possessed his own Taft, with Russell Kirk and James McClellan stressing the Ohio senator's opposition to communist expansion and Henry W. Berger emphasizing Taft's anti-imperialism.9 In all the newer works, however, Taft is no longer shown as the eternal curmudgeon, the Dagwood Bumstead of politics, or as one reporter quipped, the grapefruit with eyeglasses. He is portrayed as a man of extraordinary intelligence, quickness in debate, immediate recall of facts, and—for those who knew him best—genuine charm. Kirk and McClellan go so far as to claim that in a parliamentary system, Taft would undoubtedly have been prime minister.
To best understand Robert A. Taft one should look at the similarities to his father William Howard Taft, (1857–1930), a man who was both president of the United States (1909–1913) and chief justice of the United States (1921–1930). Both men attempted to curb trade union power, sought scientifically-designed tariffs, and backed the Sherman Antitrust Act. “The small businessman is the key to progress in the United States,” Robert wrote a friend in 1939.10 Criticizing eastern monopolists and Wall Street speculators, both found mere money-making contemptible. Both were party regulars, being ill at ease with insurgent movements. Both interpreted the Constitution strictly, seeing it as bestowing limited powers upon the government. Though they both sanctioned federal action to aid lower-income groups, this action was of a decidedly limited nature.
The two Tafts extended their trust in law to foreign policy, affirming that international law could resolve disputes among nations. Particularly needed was a world court and a clear definition of aggression; only judicial tribunals, not force or bargaining, could maintain a genuine international order. (For the most succinct statement of Robert A. Taft's domestic philosophy, see his debates of 1939 with congressman T.V. Smith.) 11
At first, Robert A. Taft hoped that his nation could stay out of World War I. When, however, Germany declared unrestricted submarine warfare, Taft approved the severing of diplomatic relations. He was appalled by the diplomatic intrigue he witnessed at the Versailles Conference, which he attended as a key member of Herbert Hoover's Supreme Economic Council. Later he blamed the Great Depression almost exclusively upon foreigners being unable to pay their war loans. During the intervention controversy that began in 1939, Taft stressed defense of the United States and the Caribbean and asserted that air power could deter any attack. Once peace was restored, so he claimed, that the United States could trade again with both Germany and Japan. And if the war cost America European markets, it could get them elsewhere. Besides, he added, with foreign trade only producing five per cent of the nation's income, it could well survive without it. Even during World War II, Taft claimed that military alliances led to world empire. He commented in 1943, “Our fingers will be in every pie.... Potential power over other nations, however benevolent its purpose, leads inevitably to imperialism.”12 Within a year after the atomic bomb was dropped on Japan, Taft critized that action.
During the Cold War, Taft discerned that the Truman Doctrine (1947)—pleading armed support to “free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures”—was a particularly irrational form of anticommunism. In 1949 he found the formation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization both provocative and self-defeating. When, in 1953, the first rumbling concerning intervention in Indochina began, Taft opposed any American involvement.
Taft wrote only one book, A Foreign Policy for Americans (1951), but it was one that summarized his views on the Cold War. Much of the text involved a weaving together of past speeches. On the one hand, the senator reiterated such familiar themes as the importance of containing Russia, the ideological nature of the Cold War, and the need to promote liberation movements behind the Iron Curtain. On the other hand, Taft stressed that the ultimate purpose of the nation's foreign policy was first to protect the liberty of Americans, and second to maintain the peace. The United States had no primary interest in improving conditions elsewhere. Nor did it have any in changing other forms of government. To impose any special kind of freedom upon peoples by war, he said, denies “those very democratic principles we want to advance.” Americans, he continued, “cannot send armies to block a Communist advance in every corner of the world.”13 Hence the country must weigh its priorities carefully. Extensive financial burdens, even if rooted in major defense commitments, could only break the nation's traditional fiscal and economic structure, doing so by destroying the ability of the individual American to produce. The United States could not continually be prepared for full-scale war without suffering dictatorship, runaway inflation (which Taft defined as ten per cent each year), and constant domestic turmoil. Rather than talk, as did publisher Henry R. Luce, in terms of an “American Century,” the United States should confine its activities to moral leadership, and in particular, manifest the values of liberty, law, and justice.
Patterson's biography of Taft is no blanket eulogy. The author faults Taft for rabid anti-communism, endorsement of McCarthyism, and for his support both of Chiang Kai-shek's inept Formosan regime and of Douglas MacArthur's risky strategy in Korea. Furthermore, Taft underestimated German power in 1941, opposed the Marshall Plan, and adhered to an “air umbrella” over Europe. Yet what strikes the reader is how often Patterson shows his respect for the Ohio senator. Patterson indicates that Taft deserved a far better reputation from his peers, and from contemporary historians as well. Taft showed courage in continually taking unpopular stands: he challenged presidential warmaking power, opposed the wartime sedition trials (“a lonely voice for justice”), and recognized that the Nuremberg tribunal to try Nazi war criminals was “victor's justice.” In his claims that NATO was hardly a credible deterrent and that the Soviets posed no military threat in 1949, Taft showed genuine perception. Patterson even suggests that Taft's defense strategy in 1941 was not without wisdom. Once Hitler invaded Russia, England could well have survived without American intervention.
If Robert A. Taft had any political mentor, it was undoubtedly Herbert Hoover (1874–1964). From the time that Taft served on Hoover's Food Administration in World War I, he was extremely close to the Great Engineer. Taft backed Hoover three times for the presidency and often drew upon his advice in fighting the New Deal. Taft stressed regional defense agreements, gave priority to underlying territorial and economic rivalries, and wanted any world organization to rest upon law, not force. In all these policies, Taft was advancing views originally fostered by Hoover.14
As far as Hoover himself goes, few presidents were in such disrepute among intellectuals, as the thirty-first president (1929–1933), and for few presidents has the rehabilitation been so slow. For several decades, many historians have written as they have voted. As a result, Hoover has been presented as a dour incompetent, a man so victimized by his rigid ideology that his effort to end the Great Depression could not even be called stopgap measures. Fortunately, we now have two works that cut through conventional stereotypes: Joan Hoff Wilson, Herbert Hoover: Forgotten Progressive (1975) and David Burner, Herbert Hoover: A Public Life (1979).15 Wilson's biography in particular offers strong praise. Indeed, she goes so far as to claim that “no other twentieth-century American statesman has had his range of interest and breadth of understanding of domestic and foreign economic problems.” Wilson finds Hoover wisely calling upon his nation to “abandon the role of self-appointed policeman for the world.” Hoover's policies, she writes, did not center on “unlimited suppression of revolution based on communist ideology, but rather on disarmament and peaceful coexistence.”16
In her rich account, Wilson offers many correctives to our traditional picture of insensitive and narrow leadership. She notes that Hoover opposed the Red Scare and military intervention in the Russian Civil War. As far back as 1919, Hoover predicted that American military intervention could not stabilize nations suffering from economic strain, much less protect them from communism. Hoover favored United States entry into the League of Nations, but he wanted some reservation on Article X of the League Covenant, an article that had appeared to guarantee the use of force to maintain the status quo. Emphasis, he said, should be on marshalling public opinion, then upon levying of moral and economic sanctions upon aggressor states. At no point should the United States take part in an armed alliance to preserve the rigid territorial boundaries established by the Versailles Treaty. As president, he remained aloof from the Machado regime in Cuba and backed the World Court, the Kellogg Pact, and various disarmament proposals. As Wilson continues her description of Hoover's anti-interventionism, she notes that as president, Hoover opposed challenging the Japanese occupation of Manchuria (1931), for he found few American interests at stake in that region.
Wilson devotes much attention to Hoover's post-presidential foreign policy. Hoover saw little merit in the neutrality acts of the 1930s, finding them lacking a needed flexibility. He criticized diplomatic recognition of the Soviet Union, and after Russia invaded Finland late in 1939, he wanted the United States to withdraw its ambassador. America, he said late in 1938, should limit its aims to repelling aggression in its own hemisphere, and a year later he called for an international economic conference to restore global prosperity. In 1940, he headed the National Committee on Food for the Small Democracies, which advanced a plan to feed occupied Europe that was fought by the Roosevelt administration. He attacked any strident stance towards Japan, claiming that it was impregnable in China. Within several years, he was promoting Pearl Harbor revisionism, and he suggested witnesses and provided documents to the congressional investigating committee. After the war, Hoover made several relief trips at the request of President Truman, sought modification of the Marshall Plan, and called for the rehabilitation of Germany and Japan.17
Wilson is at her strongest when she relates Hoover's anti-interventionism to his domestic vision. She notes Hoover's dream of a decentralized corporatist society, one that involved an informal and delicate balance between labor, business, agriculture, and government. Such a society, the Quaker president believed, would lack oppressive concentrations of power, eliminate waste, and democratize capitalism. The chief, as his proteges called him, sought the same type of informal and cooperative economic relationship overseas, for he believed that no genuine world community could ever be created by force. Wilson warns against exaggerating the Quaker influence on Hoover's thought, and she stresses that Hoover was not a pacifist. Yet Hoover had a predisposition to peaceful settlement of all international disputes, as he maintained that military action usually created more problems than it solved. No genuine world community, either economic or military, could ever be created by force.
Four years after Wilson contributed her study, Burner's life was published. Less presentist in its approach, the book puts Hoover's isolationist reputation in a broader context. In 1912, Hoover wanted an Anglo-American alliance. By the time of the Lusitania incident of 1915, he despised Imperial Germany and found war inevitable. Had the United States not entered the conflict, Hoover said in 1919, German autocracy would have smothered Europe. He ardently believed that the League of Nations could remedy the wrongs of Europe, perhaps even more so than did Woodrow Wilson. At the Peace Conference, Hoover was so important that all Americans who sought to communicate with European leaders had to do so through him. Europeans too had to defer, and it was Hoover who forced pianist Ignace Paderewski upon Poland as premier.
In discussing Hoover's foreign policy, Burner challenges many myths. It is true that, at Versailles, Hoover used food as a political weapon, but it was utilized far more against Archduke Joseph of Hungary than against Bela Kun or V.I. Lenin. Hoover, in fact, sought to raise the food blockade on Russia, although like George F. Kennan a generation later, he believed that the Soviet Union contained the seeds of its own decay. In 1921, he directed Russian relief, and did so not to unload American surpluses, but out of a genuine sense of compassion. He opposed much dollar diplomacy and always hoped to limit United States exports to ten per cent of the Gross National Product.
If both Wilson and Burner present invaluable information, there is at times a lack of subtlety that hopefully George H. Nash, now writing a multivolume life of Hoover, will supply. Hoover, for example, informally backed the American First Committee, endorsed MacArthur's victory schemes in the Korean War, and pushed a highly dubious air-sea strategy during the Great Debate of 1950, facts that no biographer has brought out.
Hoover can best be understood through his own works. After leaving the presidency, Hoover wrote several books. In The Challenge to Liberty (1934), Hoover attacked the New Deal, finding it based upon the “old, very, very old, idea that the good of men arises from the direction of centralized executive power, whether it be exercised through bureaucracies, mild dictatorship or despotism, monarchies or autocracies.” Liberty, on the other hand, guaranteed that men “were not the pawns but the masters of the state.”18 His America's First Crusade (1942) criticized the Versailles conference, but The Ordeal of Woodrow Wilson (1958) defended much diplomacy of the former president, doing so to such a degree that Hoover showed himself to be a strong Wilsonian. The Problems of Lasting Peace (1942), written with diplomat Hugh Gibson, included his plans for a postwar world, plans that involved disarmament of all belligerents, a ban on military alliances, protection of oppressed minorities and small states, regional organization, and elimination of trade barriers. Given such goals, it is hardly surprising that Hoover was so critical of the Dumbarton Oaks plan for organizing the United Nations, and his critique was presented in his The Basis of Lasting Peace (1945). His memoirs, published in three volumes, looked at his career from the vantage point of the 1950s. They are inaccurate on significant aspects of his life and should be used with care.19
In addition to his books, post-presidential speeches and articles have been published under the title Addresses upon the American Road, and in some ways they are the best source of Hoover's thinking.20 In the volume for 1940–1941, for example, Hoover downplayed anxieties concerning the Axis economic threat. The United States, he said on June 29, 1941, was 93 percent self-sufficient. “And the cost of it,” he said, “would be less over twenty years than one year of war.”21 In another volume of his Addresses, Hoover warned against Cold War commitments. In 1952, he claimed that the continual diversion of civilian production to war materials created scarcity in civilian goods while expanding paper money. Eventually the wealth of the United States would be socialized: “we may be permitted to hold the paper title to property, while bureaucracy spends our income.”22
For many Americans, non-interventionism was symbolized less by Taft and Hoover than by Charles A. Lindbergh, Jr. (1902–1974). The only isolationist leader whose wide-ranging appeal could match that of President Roosevelt, Lindbergh entered the controversy in 1939, when he began opposing aid to the allies. He remained active until Pearl Harbor, at which point he withdrew from all political activity. There was no major anti-interventionist figure so controversial, for Lindbergh's enemies often branded him as pro-Nazi, anti-British, anti-Semitic, and an advocate of an immoral realpolitik.
His wife, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, also received abuse, with the argument given in her The Wave of the Future: A Confession of Faith (1940) misinterpreted as an apology for fascism.23 In this book, she stressed that the United States must face the new world of dictatorships not by promoting a destructive war, but by fostering domestic reform. Contrary to myth, she did not claim that the wave of the future was totalitarianism; rather it was a scientific, mechanized, and material era of civilization.
In 1948, in a small book entitled Of Flight and Life (1948), Charles expanded upon this theme.24 He called for a renunciation of scientific materialism and a return to “the forgotten virtues” of simplicity, humility, contemplation, and prayer. Lindbergh was critical of the newly formed United Nations, warning against sheer majoritarianism, particularly as he believed that leadership would pass to the great masses of Asia. No longer the strict isolationist of prewar days, he found the Soviet Union a greater menace than Nazi Germany. Indeed he saw behind the Iron Curtain an unprecedented oppression. Yet, although Lindbergh perceived the fate of Western civilization now lying on American shoulders, he called upon the nation to serve primarily as a model for others. If the United States succeeds, he continued, it would be less by forcing its system of democracy upon others than by setting an example others wished to follow, less by using arms than by avoiding their use, less by pointing out the mote in another's eye than by removing the beam in its own.
Only within the past decade do we have significant primary sources presenting Charles A. Lindbergh's own perspective.25 In addition, one leading historian, Wayne S. Cole, has written a masterful study, Charles A. Lindbergh and the Battle Against American Intervention in World War II (1974).26 Cole begins by noting that Lindbergh did not share the agrarian radicalism of his father, Charles Augustus Lindbergh (1859–1924), a populistminded Minnesota congressman vocal in his opposition to World War I. Nor did he possess the same hostility towards “the money trust” and in fact married the daughter of a Morgan partner, Dwight W. Morrow. Cole then moves quickly to Lindbergh's several trips to Germany, made in the later 1930s. At this time the aviator, then a colonel in the United States Air Corps Reserve, repeatedly compared German air strength to British and French weakness.
Although it has long been noted that Lindbergh feared any conflict that would result in the spread of communism, an anxiety that led him to endorse the Munich agreement, other facts have been far less publicized. Cole points out that Lindbergh made his trips to Germany at the request of the United States military attache in Berlin, Colonel Truman Smith, and that these trips greatly enhanced Washington's knowledge of Germany's war potential. Lindbergh genuinely disliked Nazi fanaticism and cancelled plans to spend a winter in Berlin so as not to appear to endorse persecution of the Jews. He urged the Western powers to accelerate military preparations and even promoted the French purchase of German airplane engines. Cole notes Lindbergh's acceptance of the Order of the German Eagle, bestowed upon him by Hermann Goering at a dinner arranged by the American ambassador Hugh R. Wilson. To have refused the award—says Cole—would have embarrassed Wilson, offended Goering, and worsened German-American relations at a time when closer ties seemed possible.
The biographer calls Lindbergh's willingness to speak out against American intervention an act of rare courage, particularly in light of the colonel's penchant for privacy. Administration efforts to purchase Lindbergh's silence with the post of secretary for air failed. Cole finds that despite the surprising effectiveness of Royal Air Force fighters in the Battle of Britain, Lindbergh's evaluation of German power possessed much validity. Hitler's attack on Russia might well have kept his more gloomy estimates concerning American casualties (one million men, the colonel estimated) from being fulfilled.
The last section of Cole's book notes Lindbergh's anxieties over impending war with Japan, the significance of his frequently attacked Des Moines speech, his continual fears of a Europe dominated by Russia, and his role as a civilian test pilot in the Pacific under combat conditions. At the end of his account, Cole raises a series of general issues concerning American intervention. As these questions range from the wisdom of the Versailles conference to that of lend-lease, one finds that—for Professor Cole at least—issues raised by Lindbergh still cannot be taken lightly.
In one volume of Anne Morrow Lindbergh's published diaries, The Flower and the Nettle (1976), Mrs. Lindbergh elaborates certain points made by Cole, among them the hope of Ambassador Hugh Wilson to rescue German Jews, her own constant fear of Soviet expansion, and her opposition to Nazi persecutions. Her diary entry for August 18, 1938 reads: “The Nuremberg Madonnas in Nuremberg look down on a lot of un-Christian things.”27 In War Within and Without (1980), she challenges the stereotypes associated with her phrase “the wave of the future.” Seeing how the term was misinterpreted, she wrote, “Will I have to bear this lie throughout life?” Far from being an Axis apologist, she called Hitler “that terrible scourage of humanity” and continually expressed horror over German atrocities. At one point, she said that she would rather have the United States enter the war than to see a wave of anti-Semitism sweep the nation.28
If the rise of the Lindberghs to prominence in the anti-interventionist movement was meteoric and transient, the public career of Idaho5 Senator William E. Borah (1865–1940) lasted over thirty years. Now, four decades after Borah's death, few remember that in the 1920s, he was one of the most powerful of Americans. As chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (1924–1933), he could exert more influence than the secretary of state. To liberals, he appeared living proof that the Republican party embodied more than the forces of vested privilege. To intellectuals, he appeared as a voice of conscience in a political world governed by expediency. He was also considered the most outstanding speaker the Congress possessed, being as adroit in argument as he was courteous in manner. No one in fact could get the ear of the nation better than he.
Conventional stereotypes feature Borah as a mindless obstructionist or “the great opposer.” Often quoted is Calvin Coolidge's expression of surprise, on seeing the senator horseback riding in Rock Creek Park, that Borah and the horse were going in the same direction. Yet we now have a series of studies that present a far more complex man, and a man whose foreign policy was in some ways ahead of his time. Claudius O. Johnson's Borah of Idaho (1936) tends to portray things from Borah's own standpoint, but is still valuable. Marian C. McKenna's Borah (1961) is stronger on his last ten years, although it needs to be supplemented by Robert James Maddox's William E. Borah and American Foreign Policy (1969).29 It is still, however, the favorable comments of the prominent revisionist historian William Appleman Williams that have done the most to create a more favorable reception.30
Borah began his career as a vigorous expansionist, and he backed American participation in the Spanish-American War, annexation of the Philippines, Theodore Roosevelt's foreign policy, a tough posture towards Mexico in 1915 and 1916, and entry into World War I. The First World War jarred him into challenging his imperialistic assumptions, and after it ended Borah was an “irreconcilable” who adamantly opposed American participation in the League of Nations. Borah called for the convening of the Washington naval conference of 1921–1922, but he did not expect to see it work. Once it assembled, he denounced it as a conspiracy to divide the spoils of China and entrench an aggressive Japan on the Asian mainland. He was a major supporter of the Kellogg-Briand Pact (1928), but at first only with reluctance and only when he was assured there would be no provisions for enforcement. He fought American entry into the World Court and collective security measures of the 1930s with the same passion that he exhibited in fighting banking and railroad “interests” in his native Idaho.
To understand Borah, however, one must note his continual faith in international law. Borah's endorsement of Wilson's declaration of war was not rooted in any desire to “make the world safe for democracy,” but to protect American neutral rights. During World War I, he opposed conscription, the Espionage Act of 1917, and the raids of the Department of Justice. The League of Nations, he believed, would commit the United States to a status quo that was both unjust and impossible to preserve. The nation would be obligated to oppose colonial independence movements; in addition, it would have to impose peacetime conscription and build the largest navy in the world. (Personally Wilson bore him no animus and had favored his reelection in 1918; Borah too held Wilson in great esteem, seeing him as a misguided idealist). In the 1930s, under the influence of Yale law professor Edwin M. Borchard, Borah denounced the neutrality acts. Not only did they cravenly surrender America's neutral rights; the nation's sagging economy needed all the non-military trade it could get.
In a sense, Borah was far from being the isolationist of stereotype. McKenna writes, “The question with him was not withdrawal from world affairs, but when and where and how much to use the country's influence.”31 Borah did not think that the United States could remain isolated from the mainstream of world commerce. Nor did he think it would become self-sufficient economically or possess impregnable strength. The question never centered on complete detachment, but on his continual refusal to make any commitments that would compromise the nation's freedom of action. Little wonder that Borah favored easing the pressure on war debts and reparations, continually pushed for international economic conferences, sought independence for China, and opposed American action in such Latin American nations as Nicaragua. With Hiram Johnson, whom he wanted for president in 1920, he opposed America's Siberian intervention and was a leader in the movement to recognize the Soviet Union. One cannot, he always maintained, outlaw 140 million people and expect peace in Europe. Furthermore, Russia could supply a valuable market and check the growing power of Germany and Japan.
In the years before his death in 1940, Borah opposed Nazi persecution of the Jews, backed Roosevelt on the Ethiopian issue and the Quarantine speech, and accused the French of betraying the Czechs at Munich. Although always a critic of Japanese expansion, he feared war on Japan. Once the European war broke out, he opposed cash-and-carry. He suspected that once face-saving gestures were made with Poland, the allies would end what was basically an imperialist war by negotiating a peace with Hitler. His phrase, “the phony war,” was widely used.
In many ways, Borah was one of the “old progressives” so ably described in Otis L. Graham, Jr.'s book An Encore to Reform: The Old Progressives and the New Deal (1967).32 His domestic policies in some ways had quite a different thrust than either Hoover or Taft, though all were suspicious of Wall Street bankers. Borah favored free silver, prohibition, and oldage pensions. In 1937, a year after seeking the presidency, he wanted federal licensing of all interstate corporations. Accompanying requirements included profit sharing and the outlawing of child labor and wage discrimination against women. He found Franklin D. Roosevelt a genuine liberal and was undoubtedly more friendly to him than to any president since Theodore Roosevelt. He supported such New Deal measures as social security while opposing the corporatism he saw in the National Recovery Administration and the Agricultural Adjustment Act. Ever the defender of the Sherman Antitrust Act, Borah believed strongly in free market competition and widely-distributed private property. In fact, he was suspicious of all concentrations of power, be they political or economic. An anti-interventionist foreign policy, so he reasoned, would obviously protect these values. The greatest service America could perform in the world was to preserve its private property institutions in full vigor. Engagements overseas would only compromise the nation's mission.
Of all the leading anti-interventionists in the Congress, California Senator Hiram Johnson (1866–1945) was the most absolutist. Unfortunately, we have no published biography, and our material on him is limited to articles and doctoral theses.33 In 1912, during his term as governor of California, Johnson was Theodore Roosevelt's running mate on the Bull Moose party ticket. Elected to the Senate in 1917, Johnson supported American entry into World War I, but he was soon vocal in opposing violations of civil liberties and government censorship. The war, he maintained, destroyed the very reform sentiment he had helped to build. He saw the League as a new repressive Holy Alliance, and he pointed to America's Siberian military venture as exactly the kind of destructive commitment such League affiliation would foster. Although he had little sympathy for the Bolshevik Revolution, he found it the inevitable result of popular dissatisfaction. It could not, he claimed, be subdued by force of arms, for no status quo could be frozen forever. To Johnson, open diplomacy would free statesmen from the tentacles of J.P. Morgan and British imperialists, indeed, just as the initiative, referendum, and recall would end the hold of railroad interests on government at home.
During the twenties and thirties, Johnson opposed all American commitments, ranging from the Dawes Plan (1924) to the Washington conference that produced the Nine Power Pact. At the same time, he sought increased naval building, and he must have realized that only such armament could enforce the commercial rights that he insisted upon. He reached the height of his power with the Johnson Act of 1934, which prohibited private loans to all governments that were defaulting on their debts. President Roosevelt, whom he had backed in 1932, thought enough of him to offer him the post of secretary of the interior (Johnson declined), but after 1936 the two split over Supreme Court packing, sitdown strikes, and, above all, foreign policy. His opposition to American entry into World War II was rooted in bitter memories of the previous crusade: violations of civil liberties, abuse of executive power, prohibitive government spending, and a high toll in American lives. An isolationist until the day he died, Johnson opposed United States membership in the newly-formed United Nations.
Probably the most publicized anti-interventionist of the 1930s was Senator Gerald P. Nye (1892–1971), the leader of the Senate munitions inquiry of 1934–1936, and a legislator far more willing than Johnson to forego America's commercial rights. Wayne S. Cole's biography places the North Dakota Republican senator (1925–1945) in the context of agrarian protest.34 Speaking for a region that included Chicago manufacturing as well as Oklahoma dirt farmers, Nye believed that urban financial and industrial powers were bleeding the agrarian sector in order to finance ruinous wars. Like many anti-interventionists of the 1930s, Nye had earlier supported President Wilson's domestic program, American entry into World War I, and the League of Nations. Strongly critical of big business, and Wall Street in particular, he fought with President Hoover and was often friendly to the New Deal.
However, by 1938, when he was at the height of his career, Nye was becoming more fearful of Franklin D. Roosevelt than he was of J.P. Morgan; the president, he suspected, was becoming too pro-labor, creating an artificial agricultural scarcity, seeking reciprocal trade agreements that involved foreign competition of American farm products, and—most important of all—desiring to cripple neutrality legislation in order to punish “aggressors.” With the relative decline of the family farm, Cole finds it surprising that Nye's populist brand of isolationism remained so strong during the thirties.
The Nye Committee, which during 1934–1936 investigated the role played by U.S. businessmen in America's entry into the First World War, has itself undergone some revisionism. John E. Wiltz's In Search of Peace: The Senate Munitions Inquiry, 1934–1936 (1963) finds far more to the committee than simplistic denunciations of Woodrow Wilson and the Du Ponts.35 The committee made a strong contribution in promoting honesty and efficiency in munitions control, thereby aiding the mobilization efforts of World War II.
If the Senate Republicans had a leader in the late 1930s and early 1940s, it was Arthur H. Vandenberg of Michigan (1884–1951), who himself served on the Nye Committee. Vandenberg's later role in advancing bipartisan foreign policy should not belie his earlier strong opposition to American intervention. In fact, after Borah's death early in 1940, Vandenberg headed the Republican isolationists. His voting was more anti-interventionist than Taft, for Taft supported cash-and-carry in 1939. It was Vandenberg, not Taft, who was a strong presidential choice of Borah in 1936 and 1940, Hoover in 1936 and 1940, Nye in 1940, and John T. Flynn in 1940.36 True, Vandenberg had more than his share of pomposity, and a critic noted that he was the only senator who could strut sitting down. But he came across to admirers as a beloved and thoughtful figure, a “reasonable” man whose criticism of New Deal leadership was all the more effective because he was selective in his targets.
Fortunately we have two excellent books on the senator: C. David Tompkins, Senator Arthur H. Vandenberg: The Evolution of a Modern Republican, 1884–1945 (1970) and Arthur H. Vandenberg, Jr. and Joe Alex Morris, eds., The Private Papers of Senator Vandenberg (1952).37 As editor of the Grand Rapids Herald, Vandenberg had endorsed American possession of the Philippines, the Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine, and the Open Door policy. During World War I, he made eight hundred speeches for Liberty Loans while branding all isolationists and pacifists as traitors. Once the war was over, he insisted upon American entry into the League of Nations and endorsed Attorney General Palmer's “Red Scare” raids. Elected senator in 1928, he was one of the few in Congress who worked closely with President Hoover. Yet Vandenberg only turned against Franklin D. Roosevelt during the Second New Deal, when he saw the president abandoning his stress upon national recovery in order to move in the direction of overt relief measures to special interest groups. In particular, the Wagner Act, wages and hours laws, an increasing federal bureaucracy, deficit spending, and Roosevelt's battle against the Supreme Court aroused his ire.
In a sense, Vandenberg is almost a classic example of the old-progressive-become-New Deal-critic, and he meets Otis L. Graham, Jr.'s model of a reform journalist and small city Republican progressive who sees Roosevelt creating a destructive broker state. As Tompkins notes, Vandenberg “firmly believed that America was an open society of unlimited opportunity in which each person had an equal chance for wealth and social status.” One cannot, Vandenberg said, “lift the lower one-third” up by pulling “the upper two-thirds down.”38
Vandenberg's service on the Nye Committee turned him into a strong isolationist. True, he dissented from the committee's recommendation that armament factories be nationalized. But he now claimed that entry into World War I had been such a tragic error that the United States should sacrifice all trade with belligerents. War, he said in 1939, would result in the complete regimentation of American life, the imposition of a dictatorship, ruinous deficit spending, and more radical domestic change. He opposed an anti-Japanese policy since the days of the Mukden incident, acting in the belief that no American interests in the Far East were worth a war. In proposing in July 1939 to abrogate the 1911 commercial treaty with Japan, Vandenberg was not seeking confrontation. Rather he wanted a new agreement based upon détente. A careful reading of Vandenberg's Private Papers (1952) reveals his continued critique of Roosevelt's pre-Pearl Harbor diplomacy with Japan, his endorsement of General Douglas MacArthur for president in 1944, and his efforts to preserve congressional war-making powers. In fact, one could well argue that as the United States entered the Cold War years, Vandenberg was no penitent isolationist at all. He remained an ardent nationalist who found himself suddenly involved in a world arena.
If there was ever an apostolic succession between older and younger progressives, it was found in the sons of Senator Robert M. La Follette (1855–1925), one of the major opponents of American participation in World War I. As a Wisconsin senator (1906–1925), “Battling Bob” combined the idealism of an ardent reformer with the toughness of an old-time political boss. One son, Robert, Jr. (1895–1953), embodied the father's idealism, another son, Philip (1897–1965), the father's toughness. As Patrick J. Maney notes in his biography of “Young Bob,” the short, diffident, personable reformer entered the Senate in 1925 upon his father's death. Like “Old Bob,” Robert possessed a critical intelligence and a studious mind; unlike “Old Bob,” he avoided barbed polemics. A strong defender of Franklin D. Roosevelt, whom he endorsed for three terms, “Young Bob” could be more radical than the New Deal.
War, Robert believed, was caused by imperialism and power politics, and no peace that perpetuated an unjust status quo, or that violated principles of self-determination, could last. Maney stresses La Follette's bitterness concerning World War I—a “mad adventure,” La Follette called it. The man who saw his father burned in effigy on the University of Wisconsin campus predicted that if the United States ever again became involved in conflict, “tolerance will die. Hate will be mobilized by the Government itself. Neighbor will be set up to spy upon neighbor; bigotry will stalk the land; labor, industry, agriculture, and finance will be regimented, if not taken over, by the Central Government.”39 During the thirties, he backed the neutrality acts while calling for a war referendum and heavy taxation on war profits. In President Wilson's time, his father had stressed the evils of bankers and munitions makers; twenty years later, “Young Bob” maintained that it was the weakening of the reform impulse that was causing Roosevelt to intervene abroad.
Although we still need a biography of Wisconsin's Governor Philip La Follette, we do have some autobiographical fragments. Here Philip attempts to justify his short-lived third party movement, initiated in 1938, on the grounds that the New Deal was creating artificial scarcity: “The essential difference between the New and Fair deals and middle western progressivism was progressive determination to make America's great productive power available to all our people instead of killing pigs and plowing under cotton.” He noted that in 1917, his father had predicted “one of the worst economic collapses in history,” followed by another war. Yet, despite such occasional remarks, far more is needed on a most provocative career.40
Colonel Robert R. McCormick (1880–1955) might have had little in common with the La Follettes, but he was one of the most colorful opponents of overseas alliances. As publisher of the Chicago Tribune, he built his newspaper into the most widely circulated standard sized paper of his day, a period that lasted from 1910 until his death in 1955. McCormick was in his prime during the 1930s. At the very time that the empire of William Randolph Hearst was in decline, McCormick was emerging as the largest practitioner of personal journalism.
Although long considered anti-British, the colonel physically resembled nothing so much as a tall, handsome British gentleman, an image which he enhanced by engaging in polo, shooting, and riding to hounds, and speaking with a slight English accent. In fact, McCormick was educated at a British preparatory school named Ludgrove, and then attended Groton and Yale. Assuming control of the Chicago Tribune in 1910, the Bull Mooser and Chicago alderman soon turned the editorial page into a forum for his personal crusades. He attacked the greater part of New Deal legislation, but made an exception for the Securities and Exchange Commission, which he saw as a vehicle to police a predatory Wall Street.
Among interventionists, McCormick met with much hostility and ridicule. Critics pointed to his impassioned invective, as when he called President Hoover “the greatest state socialist in the world” or compared Henry Wallace, Roosevelt's secretary of agriculture, to Lenin, Mussolini, and Hitler. They noted his claim that Rhodes scholars were little better than Benedict Arnold, his headline of 1948 (DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN), and his suggestion that the British Commonwealth nations join the American Union as additional states. When he boasted of being a great military strategist (“You do not know it, but the fact is that I introduced the R.O.T.C. into the schools; that I introduced machine guns into the army; that I introduced mechanization; that I introduced automatic rifles; that I...), a pundit replied that on the seventh day he undoubtedly rested.41 Supporters of the Roosevelt administration accused McCormick of betraying national security, first by publishing a secret army mobilization plan four days before Pearl Harbor and second by divulging the news of the Battle of Midway, and hence revealing that the United States had cracked the Japanese code. He faced severe government harassment, with threats being made to close down his paper and with Tribune phones being tapped.
Only recently have we a fairer picture, and this because of a fresh series of biographies and memoirs.42 In several ways, they modify the older and more negative portraits.43 First, they note that—far from being a journalistic simpleton—McCormick was an extremely able newspaperman. He possessed a fine staff of foreign correspondents, pioneered in photography and color, offered superb sports and comic strips, and realized the potential of radio and television. Second, these authors note that the colonel's isolationism bore no pro-fascist taint. The Tribune pointed with alarm to the rise of Hitler, with correspondent Sigrid Schultz in particular giving accounts of Nazi persecution. Similarly Tribune correspondents attacked Mussolini's invasion of Ethiopia, sided with the Spanish Loyalists, and opposed Japan's conduct in China. The reporting did little to modify McCormick's own anti-interventionism, for the Chicago colonel saw some justice in many of Hitler demands and opposed all aid to the British in 1940. However, as Joseph Gies notes, McCormick gave so much space to the rise of the dictators that “no Tribune reader could fail to be concerned about fascist aggression.”44
Third, there is far more to McCormick's foreign policy than mere aloofness. In 1916 he warned—admittedly using foolish logic—of a German invasion. He fought bravely in World War I, and in fact feared that he might have ended up a little too much in love with war. He was offered a commission as brigadier general just before leaving the army. Never harboring pacifist leanings, McCormick long supported extraterritorial rights in China, conscription, and a strong navy, only switching his position when he believed that Roosevelt was leading the nation into a destructive war. To avoid war with Japan, he desired American withdrawal from the Philippines and Guam and termination of China privileges. He defended United States intervention in any Latin American nation that, in his eyes, was incapable of self-rule. Indeed, as Jerome E. Edwards notes, the colonel sought “an active foreign policy from the Arctic Ocean to Tierra Del Fuego.”45 Though usually a critic of New Deal diplomacy, McCormick did not object to either Roosevelt's occupation of Iceland or the destroyer-bases deal.
McCormick's stance was rooted in a fear of state power. As Frank C. Waldrop writes, “The kings did go. The state power did pass through the hands of shoemakers' apprentices, as the great wind shook the world. But in the end, the state, as such, was still there and stronger than ever. The guard had changed its uniform but not its assignment, a fact which grew to be the frustration of McCormick's life.” Hence the same man who opposed prohibition said that the president had no right to involve the United States in the Korean War. “Only Congress can do that,” asserted the Tribune, “and Congress has not been consulted.”46
One of the authors most lauded by McCormick's Tribune was John T. Flynn (1882–1964), and, among the anti-interventionists, probably no one contributed more books and articles than he. Flynn had become well-known among intellectuals in the 1920s and 1930s for his attacks on Wall Street manipulation, and he contributed a weekly column, “Other People's Money,” to the New Republic. He backed Roosevelt in 1932 and helped staff Judge Ferdinand Pecora's investigation of high finance. He soon broke with the New Deal, claiming that such depression agencies as the National Recovery Administration (NRA) were simply way stations on the road to fascism. Flynn's economic thought and suspicion of business monopolies were rooted in the doctrines of Louis D. Brandeis, the major architect of Woodrow Wilson's economic doctrine of the New Freedom and a believer in “pure” competition.
Thanks to the research of several historians—Richard C. Frey, Jr., Michele Flynn Stenehjem, and Ronald Radosh—we now have a good understanding of Flynn's isolationism, a position that grew out of his general economic perspective.47 As one of a three-man advisory council to the Nye Committee, Flynn proposed severe and rigorous limitations on war profits. In 1939, Flynn suspected that Roosevelt would attempt to bolster the nation's impoverished economy by seeking martial adventures abroad, and in 1940 he headed the New York chapter of the America First Committee. In this capacity, he took a more militant posture than the national organization, opposing draft extension and blaming the president for the breakdown of relations with Japan.
Flynn's thought in the 1930s can best be found in his columns for the New Republic and the Scripps-Howard press. In addition, he wrote a good many books, some of which were widely circulated. Country Squire in the White House, timed for the 1940 presidential race, accused Franklin D. Roosevelt of becoming “the recognized leader of the war party” in order to “take the minds of our people off the failure to solve our own problems”—problems that included some eleven million unemployed, a mounting public debt, and the paralysis of private investment.48
In 1944, Flynn wrote As We Go Marching, in which he claimed that national socialism already existed in the United States. What fascists really seek, he said, was to preserve a degenerate form of capitalism and to alleviate unemployment by turning to deficit spending. At first collaborating with businessmen, the fascists soon dominate them, with this domination becoming increasingly pronounced as the nation became more militaristic and imperialistic. Flynn wrote, “When you can put your finger on the men or the groups that urge for America the debt-supported state, the autarchical corporative state, the state bent on the socialization of investment and the bureaucratic government of industry and society, the establishment of the institution of militarism as the great glamorous public-works project of the nation and the institution of imperialism under which it proposes to regulate and rule the world and, along with this, proposes to alter the forms of our government to approach as closely as possible the unrestrained, absolute government—then you have located the authentic fascist.”49 One scholar, Richard J. Frey, Jr., finds Flynn's book “a thoughtful, forceful, well-written book,” and the Socialist weekly New Leader considered it significant enough to have several contributors debate its contents.50
In the last twenty years of his life, Flynn portrayed Congress as the one major restraint upon presidential power, offered an impassioned critique of the Roosevelt presidency, and warned against a socialistic America.51 He also claimed that American bungling and a pro-Soviet State Department had created Communist domination of China and the Korean War.52 In his effort to find individual villains, Flynn often neglected the wider economic analyses that he had given earlier in his career.
A different vantage point came from Felix Morley, undisputed elder statesman of the classic form of American liberalism, or what Morley himself refers to as “libertarianism.” A man of rich experience, Morley has been a correspondent for the Baltimore Sun, director of the Geneva office of the League of Nations Association, staff member of the Brookings Institution (which awarded him an earned doctorate), and chief editorial writer of the Washington Post, in which capacity he earned a Pulitzer Prize. During World War II, he was president of Haverford College, and after the war, he helped found Human Events, was radio commentator for Three Star Extra, and wrote voluminously for Barron's and Nation's Business.
In Morley's autobiography For The Record (1979), he notes that in 1939 he was a moderate interventionist. During that year, Roosevelt himself praised Morley's editorial pledging the United States to halt fascist aggression. Morley goes so far as to say that Roosevelt, when sending personal messages to Hitler and Mussolini, was acting in part on his editorial. Yet America's participation in a European war, Morley believed, would lead to confiscation of property, brutalize the populace, centralize power, and thereby alter “the structure of a federal republic constitutionally dedicated to the dispersion, division and localization of power.” He saw “more than a chance that such pressures would undermine the basic institutions of the United States, no matter who won or lost on fields of battle.”53
Even during the Cold War, Morley has remained suspicious of foreign involvement. “National security,” Morley notes with regret, “was defined in terms that meant the loss of individual freedom.” The strains of total war, he argues, would make the survival of capitalism difficult. Preparing for nuclear conflict with Russia “is close to madness,” while the Vietnam conflict was simply the most recent evidence that communism thrives on war. In Morley's eyes, the Republicans favor almost unrestrained military expenditures and have swung towards imperialism; the Democrats “demand that every sort of social need be sponsored, liberally financed and supervised from Washington.”54 Either way, the nation loses its federalist moorings, becoming a centralized and socialized power.
Morley's books remain the best guide to his views on foreign policy and constitutional government. In his massive volume The Society of Nations (1932), Morley drew upon his own experiences at Geneva first to describe how the League of Nations evolved, then to evaluate its strengths and weaknesses. His pamphlet “Humanity Tries Again” (1946) finds the United Nations Charter falling short of the League Covenant. Like his close friends Hoover and Taft, Morley's plan of world organization centered on regional groups linked together by a common council and secretariat. Japan would remain an Asian leader, while a Western European federation could, he hoped, offset Russian and American power. Hoover endorsed Morley's proposals, claiming that decentralization would lessen the need for military alliances and therefore “greatly relieve American anxiety lest we be constantly involved in secondary problems all over the earth.”55
In the Cold War years, Morley continued his writing. The Power in the People (1949) and Freedom and Federalism (1953) offered his interpretation of the American political tradition. Here he stressed the principles of federalism, decentralized power, states rights, constitutionalism, and antimajoritarianism. His series of lectures delivered at Wesleyan University, entitled The Foreign Policy of the United States (1951), showed his allegiance to the Monroe Doctrine and the Open Door policy, both of which he found betrayed by Roosevelt and Truman.56
Much of the anti-interventionist position stemmed from a belief in traditional concepts of international law, and here the most vocal figure of the 1930s was Edwin M. Borchard (1884–1951), professor at Yale University Law School from 1917 to 1950. A disciple of John Bassett Moore, Borchard considered international law a science. He maintained that before World War I, carefully defined international legislation protected nations from purposeless involvement, permitted commercial prosperity, limited the scope of the fighting, and allowed for neutral mediation. After the war, however, efforts to freeze the status quo and check “aggressors” only insured endless conflict for all. Borchard claimed that the League had degenerated into an armed alliance, while the Kellogg Pact really involved hearty support of war. Rigid Western opposition to Japan in Manchuria, Italy in Ethiopia, and Germany on the European continent was comparable to sitting on a safety valve.
Despite his own belief in world jurisprudence, however, Borchard often warned against over-reliance upon international courts and law. Nations, he said, would never submit questions of vital interest to any international authority. The underlying roots of national interest were economic, not legal. Industrial nations fought in order to sustain a prosperity based upon foreign markets, raw materials, and investment of surplus capital. To resolve such conflicts, Borchard in 1930 suggested tariff reduction, international coordination of the world's raw materials, regulation of competition, and organs of “conciliation and appeasement” empowered to remove grievances.
In 1937, he wrote, with the aid of attorney William Potter Lage, a noninterventionist manifesto, Neutrality for the United States (rev. ed., 1940).57 Here Borchard combined traditional arguments with accusations that President Wilson and his secretary of state, Robert Lansing, made war inevitable, doing so by refusing to press for neutral rights. A supporter of the America First Committee, Borchard continued to oppose United States diplomacy during World War II and the Cold War. He found the United Nations an instrument for great power domination, the Nuremberg trials and the Potsdam agreement acts of vengeance, and the Truman Doctrine a commitment to unlimited intervention.58
Borchard's intellectual mentor was no longer in his prime when World War II came. Indeed, John Bassett Moore (1860–1947) had long retired from the World Court, where he had served as the first American judge (1921–1928), and from the faculty of Columbia University (1891–1924). Yet, until his death in 1947, Moore strongly opposed the expansion of executive prerogatives and fought what he considered capricious alterations of American neutrality. Never considering himself a genuine isolationist, Moore urged United States participation in a variety of world legal, economic, and cultural organizations. He was, however, as critical of international moralism as he was of imperialism, and he thought that such traditional devices as international association, arbitration, and conciliation could best serve humanity.59
One of Moore's collegues on the Columbia faculty was Philip C. Jessup, and Moore, the senior scholar, exerted an occasional influence on the junior one. Although Jessup is most widely known for his diplomatic work with the United Nations, he was long a strong proponent of traditional international law. In 1939, he defended the arms embargo, declaring that its repeal both violated international law and would lead to war. With Francis Deak, Jessup was coauthor of the first volume of Neutrality: Its History, Economics and Law (1935), entitled The Origins. He also wrote the fourth volume, Today and Tomorrow (1936). In both books, he presented the fundamentals upon which international law and duties had been based. Furthermore, he stressed the factors, particularly economic ones, that contributed to its development.60
The background of businessmen is usually quite different than that of international lawyers, and few businessmen were as prominent as Joseph P. Kennedy (1888–1969). We now have several biographies of the senior Kennedy (1888–1969), including those by Richard J. Whalen, David E. Koskoff, and most recently Michael R. Beschloss.61 Whalen's book is the most sympathetic, Koskoff's the most hostile. Beschloss has the advantage of drawing upon Kennedy's still unopened papers at the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston as well as upon a diplomatic manuscript that Kennedy never published. Kennedy was one of the world's wealthiest men, almost a legendary figure. He made his millions in banking, liquor, films—and Wall Street speculation—and in the process served, in the words of one magazine writer, to be “at once the hero of a Frank Merriwell captain-of-the-nine adventure, a Horatio Alger success story, an E. Phillips Oppenheim tale of intrigue, and a John Dos Passos disillusioning report on the search for the big money.” A major contributor to Roosevelt's campaigns, he was appointed chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (“Set a thief to catch a thief,” Roosevelt said), then ambassador to Great Britain.62
As ambassador he supported Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain's overtures to Germany, and, from September 1, 1939, to Pearl Harbor day on December 7, 1941, he opposed American entry into the war. The conflict, he believed, would so ruin the centers of world capitalism that communism was bound to spread. Even in England and the United States, the steps necessary for mobilization would necessitate a socialized dictatorship. Kennedy found the Nazi regime reprehensible, but he did not see it as involving basic threats to the social and economic order.
Kennedy was equally opposed to Cold War involvements. In December 1950, he called upon his nation to withdraw from “the freezing hills of Korea” and “the battlescarred plains of Western Germany.” “What business is it of ours,” he asked, “to support the French colonial policy in Indo-China or to achieve Mr. Syngman Rhee's concepts of democracy in Korea?”63 Rather than attempt to hold frontiers on the Elbe, the Rhine, or Berlin, the United States, he declared, should build up its own hemispheric defenses.
A man somewhat lesser known, but probably held by businessmen in greater respect, was General Robert E. Wood (1879–1969). In an essay written in 1978, I note that Wood—from the time that he earned his bars at West Point—was a strong nationalist. He could boast of a military career that included the Philippine insurrection (1900–1902), the building of the Panama Canal (1905–1915), and the famous Rainbow Division of World War I. Wood, however, fought United States entry into the Second World War, and while chairman of the America First Committee, he argued that intervention would ruin the nation's capitalist economic system.64 As board chairman of Sears Roebuck and a director of the United Fruit Company, he claimed that “Our true mission is in North and South America. We stand today in an unrivaled position. With our resources and organizing ability we can develop...a virgin continent like South America. The reorganization and proper development of Mexico alone would afford an outlet for our capital and energies for some time to come.” The products of the tropical belt of Latin America complemented the manufactured goods of the United States. Mexican metals, Venezuelan oil, Brazilian coffee, and Central American bananas were sure to find plenty of buyers in the North. Even in confronting the products of the temperate zone—Brazil's cotton, for example, or Argentina's meat—the United States could set up export cartels and get its “full share of the trade.”65
No coverage of anti-interventionism is complete without reference to prominent pacifists who opposed American involvements, and in this tradition Oswald Garrison Villard (1872–1949) played a particularly significant role. Thanks to his own autobiography and to a series of biographers, we have able treatments of his career.66 From 1897 to 1918, Villard was editorial director of the New York Evening Post, a paper that boasted, with much justice, that its readership was composed of “gentlemen and scholars.” Then in 1918, he became editor of the Nation, and in this capacity he transferred a sedate literary review into a leading political weekly, one that combined crusading tone with the best in English prose. He dropped the editorship in 1933, but remained as publisher for two more years and kept a biweekly column until 1940. Until his death in 1949, he wrote frequently for the Progressive and the Christian Century.
Biographer Michael Wreszin calls Villard “the liberal's liberal,” and the phrase is most accurate. Grandson of abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, the Harvard-educated Brahmin Villard was nurtured on the doctrines of Richard Cobden and John Bright, and he found in Grover Cleveland one president whose integrity, so he believed, matched his own. Villard embraced a variety of reform causes—Negro rights, women's suffrage, low tariffs, and clean government. To Villard, government existed to protect private property and preserve law and order, thereby permitting individuals to pursue their own self-interest in the market place. He said in 1919, “Free trade, no government ownership of ships or railroads, no Socialism, no special privilege, these seem to me the basis for a pretty sound economic policy.”67 By the time of the Great Depression, he had abandoned his faith in laissez faire. Villard called for nationalization of basic industries as well as for welfare measures. He found the New Deal lacking the “comprehensive far reaching program” he desired, but he really split with Roosevelt over court-packing and foreign policy.
A pacifist above all, Villard fought against American entry into the war with Spain as well as the two wars with Germany. War itself, he believed as a military affairs commentator, was caused by tariff barriers and spheres of influence; it would invariably destroy the liberalism for which he had long fought. To Villard, the annexation of Puerto Rico and undisclosed Pacific islands betrayed the nation's heritage of self-determination. He greatly admired the European diplomacy of Woodrow Wilson until the president endorsed the preparedness crusade, at which point Villard's ready access to the White House was cut off. When war came, Villard's opposition was so adamant that a journalist jocularly reported that the government was preparing a special concentration camp just for him.
By the end of World War I, congressional committees accused Villard of Bolshevism and treason, in part because of his pleas for civil liberties, in part because of his publication of secret allied treaties. In 1918 the Nation's mailing privileges were temporarily revoked due to Albert Jay Nock's critique of the wartime activities of the American Federation of Labor. In a sense, Villard was more Wilsonian than Woodrow Wilson himself, since he called for total and immediate disarmament, free trade, self-determination, and an international court and parliament. He endorsed such radical regimes as Kurt Eisner's in Bavaria and long believed that if there were no foreign military intervention, Bolshevik Russia would evolve from a society of chaos and violence to one of orderly and democratic socialism. Villard saw the Versailles Treaty as a palpable fraud upon the world and opposed it bitterly. He opened the Nation's pages to historical revisionism, saw the outlawry of war as an alternative to the League, and pressed support for the Weimar Republic. Once Hitler assumed power, there were few prominent Americans who gave so many warnings, but his pacifism remained strong. In fact, even his insistance upon domestic reform took second place to his desire to curb presidential power in foreign affairs. After World War II, Villard backed the Open Door policy of State Department official Will Clayton and, in a book entitled Free Trade, Free World (1947), wrote that “to free the world we must first free trade.”68 Ever the maverick, he voted Prohibitionist in 1908 and 1916, Democrat in 1912 and 1928, Progressive in 1924, and Socialist in 1920, 1932, and 1936.
Of all the prominent Americans of the twentieth century, it was Norman Thomas (1884–1968) who received Villard's greatest admiration. Thomas is the subject of several biographies, the most comprehensive being W.A. Swanberg's Norman Thomas: The Last Idealist (1976).69 Thomas began life as a Presbyterian minister. Pastorates in Italian and Jewish Harlem made him a Socialist, while World War I turned him into a pacifist. Even, however, when he joined the Socialist party in 1918, he confessed “a profound fear of the undue exhaltation of the State,” voiced opposition to “any sort of coercion whatever,” and said that a party's only justification lay in “winning liberty for men and women.”70
Although a candidate for many public offices, including the presidency, Thomas's major work lay in reform. He was never a doctrinaire Marxist, for he rejected both economic determinism and dialectical materialism. Rather he stressed his belief in egalitarianism, doing so in such a way that, as one Socialist quipped, “any Rotarian can understand him.” In a sense, Thomas was an oldtime progressive, downplaying immediate nationalization of basic resources in an effort to tap the support of middle class liberals.
Thomas was always a strong anti-interventionist, and in 1938 he helped organize the Keep America Out of War Congress. Realizing that this group was impoverished, in 1941 he gladly cooperated with the far wealthier America First Committee. Thomas opposed the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II; he was furious when the American Civil Liberties Union refused to fight vigorously on their behalf. He favored feeding children living under German occupation, fought anti-Japanese propaganda in the media, found “obliteration” bombing utterly unnecessary, leaned towards the belief that Roosevelt had deliberately goaded the Japanese into attacking Pearl Harbor, and was outraged by the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
In his later years, Thomas became increasingly anti-Soviet, and favored the Marshall Plan, Atlantic Pact, and American participation in the Korean War. He criticized, however, the Truman Doctrine, fearing that “American intervention in Turkey [will] become more and more imperialistic, more and more tied to the politics of petroleum.” When Walter Reuther, president of the United Auto Workers, endorsed the Vietnam conflict, Thomas wrote him, “President Johnson and perhaps the Chamber of Commerce must be glad to know that they can always trust labor when it comes time to policing the world with bombs.”71
Given its brevity, this bibliographical essay cannot do justice to the wide and rich range of anti-interventionist spokesmen. On the libertarian right, we have several studies of critic Albert Jay Nock (1870–1945)72 and journalist H.L. Mencken (1880–1956).73 Although we have autobiographies of economist Frank Chodorov (1887–1966)74 and essayist Francis Neilson,75 we need full-scale studies of both.
There is much material on various figures of the collectivist and authoritarian right. Corporatist elitist Lawrence Dennis continues to facinate students, though here again we need a full biography.76 We have thorough studies of two isolationists associated respectively with pro-German and pro-Italian views-George Sylvester Viereck77 and Ezra Pound.78
One should not neglect a whole host of liberals who opposed intervention. During World War II, some of the most biting essays came from Dwight Macdonald,79 anarchist editor of Politics (monthly 1944–1947, quarterly 1947–1949), and from Milton Mayer,80 a pacifist who had a weekly column in the Progressive. While we have plenty of material on Norman Thomas, we still miss studies of other Socialist isolationists.81 Far more work needs to be done on pacifist leaders.82 The same holds true for prominent clergy who took a strong antiwar position.83 The galaxy of intellectuals is surprising to those not familiar with the range of opposition to war.84 Prominent revisionist historians —Charles A. Beard (1874–1948),85 Harry Elmer Barnes (1889–1968),86 Charles Callan Tansill (1896–1964)87 among them—have also found their biographers.
The world of the press is mixed. We have material on such noninterventionist correspondents and editors as Garet Garrett,88 William Henry Chamberlin,89 and Freda Utley.90 Despite W.A. Swanberg's breezy account, there is as yet no serious study of William Randolph Hearst.91 The same holds true for Captain Joseph Patterson and Eleanor Medill (“Cissy”) Patterson, cousins of Colonel McCormick and allied to the Chicago Tribune newspaper empire.92 Publishers Roy W. Howard and Frank Gannett still await their biographer.93 Noninterventionist radio broadcasters Boake Carter and Fulton Lewis, Jr. are just now coming under scholarly scrutiny.94 In George T. Eggleston's autobiography, the former editor-in-chief of Scribner's Commentator gives his side of the controversial isolationist digest and his prosecution by the Roosevelt administration.95 With the memoirs of Henry Regnery, we have a first-hand account of one revisionist publishing effort, but more extensive history is needed.96
Work on the Congress is uneven. We have memoirs of such crucial figures as Burton K. Wheeler (1882–1975)97 and Joe Martin, Jr.,98 but these are surprisingly thin. We also have scholarly treatments of Kenneth Wherry99 and Arthur Capper.100 Jeannette Rankin (1880–1973), the Montana pacifist and congresswoman who voted against American entry into both world wars, is the subject of several studies.101 Much of our material, however, remains in the form of doctoral theses and sketches in the Dictionary of American Biography.102 Similarly, it is only a prominent governor or party leader whose thought is treated to date in any depth.103
We do have some biographies devoted to isolationist business and labor leaders, but not nearly enough. Figures such as Henry Ford104 and John L. Lewis105 are the subjects of a host of books, but such businessmen as Robert Young of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad and Ernest Weir of National Steel are usually neglected, at least so far as their anti-interventionism is concerned. There is some work on military figures sympathetic to isolationism, but this aspect of their thinking is usually ignored.106 Of the various farm spokesmen, only George N. Peek is covered.107
It is hardly surprising to see a host of biographies of John Foster Dulles (1888–1959), with the one by Michael Guhin dealing the most with his isolationism of the 1930s.108 No study, however, reveals the subtlety that comes through first-hand examination of the Dulles Papers at Princeton. Dulles's first major book, War, Peace and Change (1939), argued for recognizing the needs of “have-not” nations. No provision against war would work, Dulles maintained, that did not permit alteration of the status quo.109 Studies are needed of such anti-interventionist diplomats as William R. Castle, J. Reuben Clark, and John Cudahy as well as such international law experts as Charles Cheney Hyde.110
There is also work done on domestic demagogues. Father Charles E. Coughlin (1891–1979), the populist Michigan radio priest, is the subject of many studies.111 Now we also have material on such nativists of the right as Gerald L.K. Smith, Gerald Winrod, and William Dudley Pelley.112
If bibliography is a relatively painless way of examining such a phenomena as anti-intervention, it is far from sufficient. Certain elements are best treated topically. Thanks to a series of bibliographical essays, we now have guides to these various aspects of antiwar activity.113 In addition, there are bibliographical essays on wider issues concerning United States entry into World War II.114
The first comprehensive scholarly treatment of anti-interventionism was Selig Adler, The Isolationist Impulse: Its Twentieth-Century Reaction (1957). While strongly hostile to the movement, Adler supplies some particularly helpful material on the 1920s.115 Several works show how foes of World War I advanced arguments that would be used by their successors down to Pearl Harbor.116 By reading Ralph Stone, The Irreconcilables: The Fight Against the League of Nations (1970), one learns that certain senators made perceptive comments concerning ambiguities, inconsistencies, and structural weaknesses of the League's organization.117 As far as individual opponents of Wilson's League is concerned, one should note two fresh studies: William C. Widenor's biography of Henry Cabot Lodge (1850–1924) portrays the Massachusetts Brahmin as an international “realist,” motivated by considerations that ran far deeper than hatred of Wilson and intense partisanship; David P. Thelin's life of Robert M. La Follette, Sr. (1855–1925), links insurgency in domestic and foreign policy.118
The most able published work on the anti-interventionists in the years immediately before Pearl Harbor remains Manfred Jonas, Isolationism in America, 1935–1941 (1966). Jonas makes a careful distinction between the more aggressive isolationists, who called for full neutral rights, and those willing to forego such traditional privileges. He further points out that many congressional isolationists sympathized with the Ethiopians in 1935, the Spanish Loyalists in 1936, the Chinese in 1937, and the British in 1940.119
Isolationist behavior in Congress is the subject of several studies.120 Robert A. Divine has thoroughly traced the neutrality acts, and Warren I. Cohen has explored the historical revisionism that explains much of the popular sentiment behind this legislation.121 Several studies have been made on the war referendum movement and the fight against the World Court.122 Only preliminary work has been done on anti-interventionist efforts to seek a negotiated peace in the years 1939–1941.123 No student can neglect the host of contemporary books that challenged American intervention, including those by Charles A. Beard, Norman Thomas, and Stuart Chase.124
There have been studies of the major anti-interventionist organizations that have participated in the debate of 1939–1941, including the America First Committee, the Keep America Out of War Congress, and the No Foreign War Committee.125 A postwar anti-interventionist group, the Foundation of Foreign Affairs, has also received brief treatment.126 Specialized work on German activities in the United States now frees us from wartime polemics, with research finding the influence of the German-American Bund greatly overrated.127
Thoroughgoing treatment of administration attempts to intimidate isolationists is much needed. Important material is found in Wayne S. Cole's work on America First and Lindbergh. In Richard Polenberg's War and Society: The United States, 1941–1945 (1972), the author notes that the administration was always prepared to curb the freedom of speech of right-wingers. Similarly, Richard W. Steele finds continued attempts to silence or discredit the president's critics.128
Still needed is work on anti-interventionist perceptions of the great powers. Before Pearl Harbor, a good many anti-British books were published.129 Similarly, France—before and after the Popular Front—came in for some criticism.130 British journalist Freda Utley combined her anti-interventionism concerning Europe with a hatred of Russia and hostility towards Japan.131 Only a few anti-interventionists wrote on Germany per se.132 Secondary works can be found on American public opinion and such topics as Mussolini's Italy,133 Hitler's Germany,134 Stalin's Russia,135 the Spanish Civil War,136 the Manchurian crisis,137 and debates among liberals of the 1930s.138 A start has been made on university and college opinion, but far more needs to be done.139 War propaganda is another topic needing study.140 American pacifism is being covered systematically.141 Roman Catholicism constitutes the subject of several able works142 as does Protestantism.143
Much work has been done on Cold War anti-interventionism. In my book Not to the Swift: The Old Isolationists in the Cold War Era (1979), I find the isolationists leaving an ambivalent legacy, but not one without wisdom or insight.144 If many of them opposed economic and military aid to Europe on the narrow grounds of a balanced budget and “anti-socialism,” they wisely cautioned against overcommitment. If they propounded a conspiratorial form of revisionism, they levied needed and occasionally thoughtful challenges to “official” history. If their proposals could weaken presidential action in an emergency, they often betrayed a healthy distrust of executive power and administration rhetoric. If their political base, lying in rural and small-town areas, might be isolating them from the dominant American culture, it is doubtful whether they could have been more ignorant of social change than those “best and brightest” who led the country into the Vietnam War. And if some of them stubbornly believe in a pastoral Eden forever lost to reality, they could—at least until 1950—claim that they opposed extending this Eden by force.
Some studies concentrate upon congressional opponents of intervention.145 Others focus upon the Korean War146 and efforts to secure the presidency of General Douglas MacArthur.147 The attempts of Senator John W. Bricker to limit the treaty-making power of the executive is the topic of several works.148 George H. Nash, in his learned and thorough examination of the conservative movement, shows how such libertarians as Murray N. Rothbard, Felix Morley, and Leonard Read opposed Cold War involvement.149 As in the case of the thirties, there is material on pacifism.150
It is not enough to note the extensive research concerning anti-interventionism. To understand salient military and economic perspectives, raised in their most acute form from 1939 to 1941, one must turn to the primary literature. The greatest variety of arguments can best be seen in the anthology We Testify (1941), edited by Nancy Schoonmaker and Doris Fielding Reid.151 In the pages of this anthology, Herbert Hoover warned against postwar bankruptcy and unemployment, columnist Hugh S. Johnson denied that Britain was fighting America's war, and Frances Gunther (a journalist like her husband John) pleaded the cause of independence for India. In addition, helicopter manufacturer Igor Sigorsky opposed the expansion of Soviet power, reformers Norman Thomas and Oswald Garrison Villard saw imperialism implicit in Roosevelt's policies, and Robert Maynard Hutchins, president of the University of Chicago, warned that only a world-wide American empire could guarantee Roosevelt's Four Freedoms.
Several contributors to We Testify are of special significance. Charles A. Lindbergh claimed that Germany could not conquer North America. Most of the Atlantic was too wide to permit air transport of troops; Greenland and Alaska were too cold and fog-ridden to serve as invasion routes; Africa and South America contained too many logistical problems, not to mention problems of supply. Montana's Senator Burton K. Wheeler (1882–1975), in 1941 the leader of the Senate anti-interventionists, concurred. Even if Hitler seized the British fleet, he could not invade the United States, for his forces lacked the technical skill and would be easy prey to American submarines. To General Robert E. Wood, Hitler sought German expansion in Europe, not world conquest. If the Roosevelt administration, said Wood, sought to maximize its influence in the world, it should not freeze French money needed for food purchases, nor oppose the Hoover food plan for occupied Europe, nor dictate Japan's conduct in Asia, nor freeze the funds of Finland. John T. Flynn opposed military Keynesianism, warning that if the nation continued to paralyze the domestic economy, it would end up blundering into war and suppressing individual liberty. Senator Robert A. Taft saw the sending of American troops to Iceland as a usurpation of presidential power; the president, Taft remarked, had no legal, moral, or constitutional right to begin war without the authority of Congress.
Also needing investigation are aspects of isolationist military policy. Until Pearl Harbor, few anti-interventionists saw the need for a mass army. A new Allied Expeditionary Force—they claimed—would simply prolong the struggle overseas, work against needed negotiation between Germany and Britain, and ensure Russian domination of Europe. Isolationists usually stressed small, highly-trained, and mechanized forces as well as fighter planes and sometimes a two-ocean navy. True, they used the fall of France as an argument for a crash defense program, but for them genuine defense involved the strengthening of hemisphere deterrents, not the “dissipating” of armaments by sending them overseas.
For some anti-interventionists, a strong air force was the crucial factor. In Major Al Williams's book Air Power (1940), the air columnist of the Scripps-Howard newspapers said that “The nation that rules by air will rule the world.”152 Williams was not alone, for the doctrine of victory through air power was often used by those favoring unilateral action in foreign policy. When General Bonner Fellers, an intelligence specialist close to conservative Republicans, wrote his Wings for Peace (1953), he was merely updating the message of air supremacy.153
In 1941, Fleming MacLiesh and Cushman Reynolds contributed Strategy for the Americas.154 Here a political commentator collaborated with the editor of the anti-interventionist newsletter Uncensored to argue that a hemisphere containing 300 million people could defend itself against all likely invaders. As far as raw materials went, the United States was the most secure of nations, so secure that it could even survive if it were cut off from Canada and Mexico. Raw materials obtained from Southeast Asia, such as rubber and tin, could be produced respectively in Brazil and Bolivia. Defense of the entire hemisphere, so the authors claimed, was neither militarily practicable nor necessary; rather effective control of strategic points was all that was needed. In this connection, the authors mention Pernambuco in Brazil, Nova Scotia, Bermuda, various Caribbean islands, British Guinea, Alaska, Hawaii, and the Galapagos islands. The nation's primary weapons, a fleet and air force, could repulse any invasion, as no enemy could seize control of the seas, establish bases in the hemisphere, and supply these bases with overseas transport. Nor could it send a large expeditionary force across the seas without opening itself to devastating attack.
Hanson W. Baldwin, military columnist for the New York Times, offered a more detailed picture. In his United We Stand!: Defense of the Western Hemisphere (1941), Baldwin denied that the nation was threatened by direct invasion or massive bombing raids.155 Supply problems alone would be insuperable. United States domination of hemispheric bases ranging from Labrador to the shoulder of Brazil could turn any German landing into a slaughter far worse than Gallipoli. Even if Germany, Russia, Italy, and Japan were all massed against the United States, it could survive, since the western hemisphere still possessed enough combat planes, greater steel production, and an adequate defense fleet. Baldwin opposed mass armies, drawing upon Hoffman Nickerson's The Armed Horde, 1793–1939 (1940), in support of his argument that tanks and planes made huge conscript armies obsolete.156
Baldwin denied that American prosperity depended upon Asian markets, though he claimed that “we would be cutting off our nose to spite our face were we to interrupt our trade with Japan, our best Oriental customer, by going to war with Japan in order to preserve our trade in the Orient.” The United States could probably win a war with Japan, but it would be “a long, hard, grueling war of attrition,” leaving a “trail of blood across the Pacific.”157 Invasion of Japan would require a million men. At the same time that he feared war, however, Baldwin called for strengthening the American garrison in the Philippines, Guam, and Samoa; withdrawal of American marines from Shanghai, Tientsin, and Peking; a slow increase in the China trade; and a gradual restricting of vital raw materials from the Japan trade.
Latin America, too, was discussed, with one expert, Carleton Beals (1893–1979), was quick to warn against incipient imperialism. In his book Pan America (1940), he asserted that an effective hemispheric policy needed far more than denunciation of international aggression and defense of an exploitative status quo. Beals recommended such policies as inter-American control of the Panama Canal, preparation for political independence or statehood for Puerto Rico, plebiscites for the people of the Virgin Islands, and cancellation of British and French debts whenever those countries set their New World populations free. In addition, he wanted return of the Falkland Islands to Argentina and of British Honduras to Guatemala and Mexico. There should, Beals went on, be no change in the economic or political status quo of the New World without joint Pan-American agreement. While continually calling for hemispheric self-sufficiency, he warned that Latin American nations could no longer be seen as “our oyster to be devoured, or as shock troops for our safety, or as pawns in the game of world power.”158
In an essay published in 1976, I note how several anti-interventionists spoke in terms of economic independence.159 The American interior, so such people believed, contained such an abundance of resources that the country could avoid European commitments. An economic axis of agriculture and industry—the linking, so to speak, of Duluth grain elevators and Pittsburgh steel mills—would insure national self-sufficiency. The Chicago Tribune spoke for many midwestern businesses when it said in 1929, “The other sections of the country, and particularly the eastern seaboard, can prosper only as we prosper. We, and we alone, are central to the life of the nation.”160
The research division of the America First Committee drew upon a Brookings Institution study to advance the claim that a Nazi-occupied Europe would be extremely vulnerable to United States pressure.161 The ravaged continent, it said, would need so much food that Germany simply would be unable to exclude American trade. Europe's exports, on the other hand, were not indispensable to the American economy. Given this inequality, bargaining power would naturally lie with the western hemisphere.
Various anti-interventionists wrote books outlining their plans for economic survival. General Hugh Johnson (1892–1942), director of conscription during World War I and former NRA administrator, offered Hell Bent for War (1941), in which he found little danger from nations with lower living standards. Even if threatened by cartel and barter agreements, the United States possessed an unmatched industrial plant, raw materials, and a gold supply. Those Latin Americans who traded with Hitler's Reich would soon possess an over-abundance of aspirin, bicycles, and cameras. “Ignorant nations,” the Scripps-Howard columnist went on, “will no longer trade tusks of ivory and wedges of gold for calico, squarefaced gin and strings of beads.”162
The prominent editor and critic John Chamberlain claimed that the United States was the only great power that unquestionably could survive alone. To Chamberlain, in 1940 an editor of Fortune, the United States was still in a seller's market, being the only country that could specify its own commercial conditions without having to fight for them. Even if Japan dominated the East Indies, it would have to sell in Akron or Pittsburgh or face depression. And if the current war ended in high tariffs, autarchy, and bilateral barter throughout the world, the United States could lend Europe sufficient gold to enable that continent to reorganize on lines of free commerce. As Chamberlain noted in The American Stakes (1940), “We do not need to fight and demobilize our own economy in order to put our weight behind sound moves toward a Manchesterian world.”163
In 1940, Graeme Howard (1896–1962), vice president in charge of overseas operations for General Motors, wrote a commercial manifesto entitled America and a New World Order.164 Here Howard declared, “The slowing up of market growth has a great deal to do with growing tensions between nations. Empty bellies and idle machines are certain to cause unrest. When exports and imports cannot cross manmade barriers, man will be tempted to cross political frontiers with guns, tanks, and airplanes.” To solve this problem, while still meeting the survival needs of the “have-not” nations, Howard proposed the division of the world into recognizable economic blocs. Such spheres might include continental Europe, the British Empire, the Soviet Union, Latin America, North America, and Japan's “new order” for Asia. Cooperative regionalism, he maintained, could substitute mutual interdependence for international economic chaos, revolution, and war. True, the United States would find keen competition from other great powers, all of whom had to export or die. However, it could still sell cotton, lard, tobacco, and wheat surpluses, as well as make loans for productive projects. In addition, it could mediate the world's conflicts, thereby keeping such nations as Germany, Japan, Italy, Russia, and Spain out of the “international doghouse.”
A host of contemporary books dealt with the economic consequences of war. Rose M. Stein, M-Day: The First Day of War (1936), described the War Department plans for Mobilization Day. Using the findings of the Nye Committee, she claimed that a future war would offer the opportunity for military leaders and industrialists to impose authoritarian controls upon all phases of the nation's life. Larry Nixon's anthology, When War Comes: What Will Happen and What to Do (1939), predicted gas attacks on civilians, conscription of labor, and war dictatorship. Harold J. Tobin and Percy Bidwell wrote Mobilizing Civilian America (1940), in which they offered a documented blueprint of economic and military dictatorship. The nation, so the authors claimed, should seek ever to preserve the maximum amount of private industry and profit. Despite its White Paper format, Leo M. Cherne's M-Day and What It Means (1940) offered a popularized account, although not using fictionalized incidents as did Don Keyhoe, M-Day—What Your Government Plans for You (1940).165
Even today, many Americans have an impression of the anti-interventionists as an unsavory lot. In part, this attitude is rooted in sympathy for the victims of totalitarianism. In part, it stems from the belief that opponents of intervention were narrow and shortsighted, unaware that the world had become increasingly interdependent. Yet when we examine the rich variety of personalities advocating nonintervention, and when we note the wide range of research dealing with this topic, we are far less apt to make simplistic and patronizing comments. The anti-interventionist responses are simply too varied, the individuals too diffuse, and their motives too complex.
The debates concerning World War II and the early Cold War have seldom been equalled in intensity. The reason is obvious: they centered on nothing less than the survival of the United States amid a changing international system. To the interventionists, this survival depended upon Europe, perhaps a world, cleared as much as possible of totalitarian rule. To the isolationists, the nation could best survive by looking towards its own ramparts. Either option was unenviable. Now, thanks to a galaxy of historians, one can see that the debate was far from one-sided, and that many opponents of American globalism did not flinch from asking hard questions concerning their country's fate.
Here one point should be stressed above all. Certain anti-interventionists, such as Edwin M. Borchard and Felix Morley, were not simply reacting in ad hoc fashion to immediate crises. Nor were they only advocating a Fortress America. They were presenting a competing world vision, in many ways more Wilsonian than those who claimed to inherit President Wilson's mantle. If such anti-interventionists as William E. Borah opposed any existing association of nations, it was in part because they believed that force, separated from abstract principles of international law and self-determination of nations, merely institutionalized chaotic and destructive power politics. To such people, Woodrow Wilson himself had compromised his principles beyond repair when he sought to tie America's destiny to a League Covenant that embodied an inherently unstable peace. Franklin D. Roosevelt's wartime vision of Four Policemen, so some of Borah's successors believed, only assured that the strong would continue to tyrannize the weak.
Of course, anti-interventionism possessed many diverse strains, ranging from individualist anarchism to democratic socialism. Obviously, on a variety of matters, there was little consensus: economic protectionism, the most desirable defense policy, relations with revolutionary regimes, involvement in Latin America, economic and strategic holdings overseas, the nature and degree of state intervention in the economy, and, at times, the very vision of the good society.
There was, however, one thing that anti-interventionists had in common: the belief that lengthy foreign conflicts would only weaken a nation, limiting the freedom and opportunities of Americans in ways that they thought crucial. In short, real dangers were internal, centering on the nature of the American republic as they had understood and experienced it. These dangers, so such figures as Herbert Hoover stressed, included the militarization of the nation's productive facilities and the linkage of American security to overseas commitments.
Hoover's story in particular shows a problem faced by anti-interventionists during the debates over World War II and the early Cold War. Unlike many opponents of intervention, Hoover usually had access to the American media. After World War II he seldom met with the type of personal abuse faced even by such a moderate anti-interventionist as Robert A. Taft. If Hoover did not dominate the Republican party, he was a respected figure within it.
Yet Hoover, as close as any anti-interventionist to the nation's policy and opinion elite, found himself, like all the rest, losing one battle after another. Interventionism was entrenched in one major political party, the Democrats, and was extremely strong among Republicans. It had far greater influence in the media and among intellectuals than its opponents. It possessed powerful geographical bases in eastern industrial states and, until the 1950s, the South.166 Wall Street finance had long tended to be interventionist. By 1941, much of organized labor had joined interventionist ranks, and by 1948 large manufacturing associations were enlisted in such causes as the Marshall Plan. Interventionist action groups, which played such a crucial role in the debates of 1939–1941, were better organized and in the field longer than their isolationist counterparts.
The presidents assumed more and more direct control of foreign policy, partially by fiat, partially by manipulating the framework of debates. In his speeches and legislation, Roosevelt never presented an issue of war-or-peace, and hence he was able to maneuver most skillfully. If President Truman did not always possess Roosevelt's finesse, he commanded congressional support for much of his foreign policy. Even when he ordered troops into Korea without the approval of Congress, he received relatively little criticism.
To turn again to Hoover, his struggle is a most telling one. Much of the press held Hoover personally, and his wing of the party as well, responsible for the Great Depression. In the 1940s, Taft and his followers suffered badly from a negative Republican party image projected by political foes many years earlier. In addition, Hoover and Taft showed that they possessed their own brand of interventionism, centering on Asia during the years 1949–1951. They therefore exposed them-selves to charges of inconsistency, and to a dangerous one at that. When such old isolationists harped on domestic subversion, as they did early in the Cold War, they merely side-tracked fundamental debate over the direction of American foreign policy. Then, to a nation undergoing a wide range of crises—Turkey and Greece in 1947, Berlin in 1948, Korea in 1950, Hungary and Suez in 1956—Hoover's long-range predictions that communism bore within it the seeds of its own decay offered little immediate comfort.
In some ways, the anti-interventionism of the future will take a quite different form. The traditional geographical bases of isolationism, rooted especially in small town rural areas of the Middle West and the Great Plains, have long since vanished. The weapons revolution, manifested in nuclear arms and intercontinental missiles, have made obsolete the argument based on continental security. There will undoubtedly be less suspicion of international organization and of such Western powers as Great Britain and France. One must be careful however, not to dismiss traditional anti-interventionism, as inherited, so quickly. Until nation states lose their essential sovereignty, the question that the old anti-interventionists raised concerning the possibilities of American autonomy, the dangers of overseas alliances, and the impact of war and massive defense spending upon individual freedom will remain with us.
Full citations for works listed in the Footnotes may be found in the following Bibliography. After footnote 58, Dictionary of American Biography is abbreviated as DAB.
The abbeviation DAB stands for Dictionary of American Biography
Accinelli, Robert. “The Roosevelt Administration and the World Court Defeat.” The Historian 40 (May 1978): 463–478.
Adler, Selig. The Isolationist Impulse: Its Twentieth-Century Reaction. New York: Abelard-Schuman, 1957.
——. “The War Guilt Question and American Disillusionment, 1918–1928.” Journal of Modern History 23 (1958): 1–28.
Alsfeld, Richard Walter. “American Opinion of National Socialism, 1933–1939.” Ph.D. thesis; Brown University, 1970.
Andrews, Wayne. Battle for Chicago. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1946.
Annunziata, Frank. “Bernard Iddings Bell.” Dictionary of American Biography (New York: Scribners, 1928–), Supplement VI, pp. 45–47. Hereafter cited as DAB.
Ameringer, Oscar. If You Don't Weaken. New York: Henry Holt, 1940.
Atwell, Mary K. “Congressional Opponents of Early Cold War Legislation.” Ph.D. thesis; St. Louis University, 1974.
Backstrom, Charles H. “The Progressive Party of Wisconsin, 1934–1946.” Ph.D. thesis; University of Wisconsin, 1956.
Baldwin, Hanson W. United We Stand!: Defense of the Western Hemisphere. New York: Whittlesey House, 1941.
Banks, Dean. “H.L. Mencken and ‘Hitlerism,’ 1933–1941: A Patrician Libertarian Besieged.” Maryland Historical Magazine 71 (Winter 1976): 495–515.
Barnes, Harry Elmer. Revisionism: A Key to Peace. San Francisco: Cato Institute, 1980.
Beale, Howard K., ed. Charles A. Beard: An Appraisal. Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, 1954.
Beals, Carleton. Pan America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1940.
Beard, Charles A. A Foreign Policy for Americans. New York: Knopf, 1940.
——. Giddy Minds and Foreign Quarrels: An Estimate of American Foreign Policy. New York: Macmillan, 1939.
——. The Idea of National Interest. New York: Macmillan, 1934.
——. The Open Door at Home. New York: Macmillan, 1934.
Bell Daniel, ed. The Radical Right. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1963.
Bell, Leland V. “The Failure of Nazism in America: The German-American Bund, 1936–1941.” Political Science Quarterly 85 (1970): 585–599.
——. In Hitler's Shadow: The Anatomy of American Nazism. Port Washington, N.Y.: Kennikat, 1973.
Berger, Henry W. “Senator Robert A. Taft Dissents from Military Escalation.” In Cold War Critics: Alternatives to American Foreign Policy in the Truman Era, edited by Thomas G. Paterson. Chicago: Quadrangle, 1971, pp. 167–204.
Beschloss, Michael. Kennedy and Roosevelt: The Uneasy Alliance. New York: Norton, 1980.
Best, Gary Dean. “Totalitarianism or Peace: Herbert Hoover and the Road to War. 1939–1941.” Annals of Iowa 44 (Winter 1979): 516–529.
Billington, Ray Allen. “The Origins of Middle Western Isolationism.” Political Science Quarterly 60 (March 1945): 44–64.
Blackorby, Edward C. Prairie Rebel: The Public Career of William Lemke. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1963.
——. “Usher L. Burdick.” DAB, Supp. VI, pp. 85–87.
Blair, Clay, Jr. The Search for J.F.K. New York: Berkley/Putnam, 1976.
Bode, Carl, Mencken. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1969.
Bolt, Ernest C., Jr. Ballots before Bullets: The War Referendum Approach to Peace in America, 1914–1941. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1977.
Borchard, Edwin M. and Lage, William Potter. Neutrality for the United States. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1937; rev. 1940.
Borkin, Joseph. Robert R. Young: The Populist of Wall Street. New York: Harper, 1969.
Borning, Bernard C. The Political and Social Thought of Charles A. Beard. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1962.
Bowles, Chester. Promises to Keep: My Years in Public Life, 1941–1969. New York: Harper, 1971.
Boyle, Peter Gerald. “The Roots of Isolationism: A Case Study.” Journal of American Studies 6 (1972):41–50.
——. “The Study of an Isolationist: Hiram Johnson.” Ph.D. thesis; University of California at Los Angeles, 1970.
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——. Ibid.: 1938–1940. New York: Scribners, 1940.
——. Ibid.: 1940–1941. New York: Scribners, 1941.
——. Ibid.: 1941–1945. New York: Van Nostrand, 1945.
——. Ibid.: 1945–1948. New York: Van Nostrand, 1948.
——. Ibid.: 1948–1950. Stanford, Ca.: Stanford University Press, 1950.
——. Ibid.: 1950–1955. Stanford, Ca.: Stanford University Press, 1955.
——. Ibid.: 1955–1960. Caldwell, Idaho: Caxton, 1960.
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[1.]Manfred Jonas, “Isolationism,” in Alexander DeConde, ed., Encyclopedia of American Foreign Policy: Studies of the Principal Movements and Ideas (3 vols.; New York: Scribners, 1978), II: 496.
[2.]Robert James Maddox, William E. Borah and American Foreign Policy (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1969), p. 236.
[3.]Justus D. Doenecke, The Literature of Isolationism: A Guide to Non-Interventionist Scholarship, 1930–1972 (Colorado Springs, Colo.: Ralph Myles, 1972); Doenecke, “The Literature of Isolationism, 1972–1980: A Bibliographical Guide” (unpublished manuscript submitted to Historians Project, World Without War Council, December 12, 1980).
[4.]Samuel Lubell, The Future of American Politics (3rd ed., rev.; New York: Harper, 1965), 131–155.
[5.]Ray Allen Billington, “The Origins of Middle Western Isolationism,” Political Science Quarterly 60 (March 1945): 44–64; William G. Carleton, “Isolationism and the Middle West,” Mississippi Valley Historical Review 33 (December 1946): 377–390; Warren F. Kuehl, “Midwestern Newspapers and the Isolationist Sentiment,” Diplomatic History 3 (Summer 1979): 283–306.
[6.]Bernard Fensterwald, Jr., “The Anatomy of American ‘Isolationism’ and Expansion,” Journal of Conflict Resolution 2 (June 1958): 111–139; (December 1958): 280–307; Daniel Bell, ed., The Radical Right (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1963); Edward A. Shils, The Torment of Secrecy (Glencoe, III.: Free Press, 1956).
[7.]Entry of April 25, 1941, The Wartime Journals of Charles A. Lindbergh (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1970), p. 478.
[8.]James T. Patterson, Mr. Republican: A Biography of Robert A. Taft (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1972).
[9.]Russell Kirk and James McClellan, The Political Principles of Robert A. Taft (New York: Fleet Press, 1967); Henry W. Berger, “Senator Robert A. Taft Dissents from Military Escalation,” in Thomas G. Paterson, ed., Cold War Critics: Alternatives to American Foreign Policy in the Truman Years (Chicago: Quadrangle, 1971), pp. 167–204. Other significant work completed since Patterson's biography includes Ronald Radosh, Prophets on the Right: Profiles of Conservative Critics of American Globalism (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1975), pp. 119–195, and Samuel DeJohn, “Robert A. Taft, Economic Conservatism, and Opposition to United States Foreign Policy, 1944–1951” (Ph.D. thesis; University of Southern California, 1976).
[10.]Taft in Patterson, p. 191.
[11.]Robert A. Taft and T.V. Smith, Foundations of Democracy: A Series of Debates (New York: Knopf, 1939).
[12.]Taft in Patterson, p. 289.
[13.]Robert A. Taft, A Foreign Policy of Americans (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1951), pp. 16, 67.
[14.]For parallels between Hoover and Taft, see Leonard P. Liggio, “A New Look at Robert A. Taft” (unpub. paper delivered at a joint session of the American Historical Association and the Conference on Peace Research in History, San Francisco, December 28, 1973).
[15.]Joan Hoff Wilson, Herbert Hoover: Forgotten Progressive (Boston: Little Brown, 1975); David Burner, Herbert Hoover: A Public Life (New York: Knopf, 1979).
[16.]Wilson, Herbert Hoover, pp. 274, 262, 280–281.
[17.]Preliminary work includes Gary Dean Best, “Totalitarianism or Peace: Herbert Hoover and the Road to War, 1939–1941,” Annals of Iowa 44 (Winter 1979): 516–529; Donald J. Mrozek, “Progressive Dissenter. Herbert Hoover's Opposition to Truman's Overseas Military Policy,” Annals of Iowa 43 (Spring 1976); 275–291.
[18.]Herbert Hoover, The Challenge to Liberty (New York: Scribners, 1934), 201–202.
[19.]Herbert Hoover, America's First Crusade (New York: Scribners, 1942); The Ordeal of Woodrow Wilson (New York McGraw-Hill, 1958); The Problems of Lasting Peace, with Hugh Gibson (New York: Doubleday Doran, 1942); The Basis of Lasting Peace (New York: Van Nostrand, 1945); The Memoirs of Herbert Hoover (3 vols.; New York: Macmillan, 1951–1952).
[20.]Herbert Hoover, Addresses on the American Road. These volumes were published by four different companies: 1933–1936, 1938–1940, 1940–1941 (Scribners); 1941–1945, 1945–1948 (Van Nostrand); 1948–1950, 1950–1955 (Stanford University Press); 1955–1960 (Caxton).
[21.]Herbert Hoover, Addresses on the American Road, 1940–1941 (New York: Scribners, 1941), p. 97.
[22.]Herbert Hoover, Addresses on the American Road, 1950–1955 (Stanford, Ca.: Stanford University Press, 1955), p. 42.
[23.]Anne Morrow Lindbergh, The Wave of the Future: A Confession of Faith (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1940). She responds to her critics in her essay, “Reaffirmation,” Atlantic 167 (June 1941): 681–686.
[24.]Charles A. Lindbergh, Of Flight and Life (New York: Scribners, 1948).
[25.]The Wartime Journals of Charles A. Lindbergh; The Flower and the Nettle: Diaries and Letters of Anne Morrow Lindbergh, 1936–1939 (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovitch, 1976); Charles A. Lindbergh, Autobiography of Values (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovitch, 1977); War Within and Without: Diaries of Anne Morrow Lindbergh, 1939–1944 (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovitch, 1980). Other works on the Lindberghs include: Kenneth S. Davis, The Hero: Charles A. Lindbergh and the American Dream (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1959); Walter S. Ross, The Last Hero: Charles A. Lindbergh (New York: Harper, 1968); Paul Seabury, “Charles A. Lindbergh: The Politics of Nostalgia,” History 2 (1960): 123–144; Leonard Mosely, Lindbergh: A Biography (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1976); Justus D. Doenecke, “A New Look at the Lone Eagle,” Historical Aviation Album 14 (September 1975): 279–281; and Raymond H. Fredette, “Lindbergh and Munich: A Myth Revived,” Missouri Historical Society Bulletin 30 (April 1977): 197–202. Mosely must be used with care, for the author offers few references, is given to highly colored prose, and occasionally engages in a running debate with his subject.
[26.]Wayne S. Cole, Charles A. Lindbergh and the Battle Against American Intervention in World War II (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovitch, 1974).
[27.]Lindbergh, The Flower and the Nettle, p. 363.
[28.]Lindbergh, War Within and Without, pp. 359, 81, 224.
[29.]Claudius O. Johnson, Borah of Idaho (New York: Longmans, Green, 1936); Marian C. McKenna, Borah (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1961); Robert James Maddox, William E. Borah and American Foreign Policy. Other published material on Borah includes Orde S. Pinckney, “William E. Borah: Critic of American Foreign Policy,” Studies on the Left 1 (1960): 48–61; Charles W. Toth, “Isolationism and the Emergence of Borah: An Appeal to the American Tradition,” Western Political Quarterly 14 (1961): 555–568.
[30.]William Appleman Williams, The Tragedy of American Diplomacy (rev. ed.; New York: Delta, 1962).
[31.]McKenna, Borah, p. 166.
[32.]Otis L. Graham, Jr., An Encore to Reform: The Old Progressives and the New Deal (New York: Oxford University Press, 1967).
[33.]Unpublished doctoral theses on Johnson include Peter Gerald Boyle, “The Study of an Isolationist: Hiram Johnson” (University of California at Los Angeles, 1970) and Howard A. DeWitt, “Hiram Johnson and the American Foreign Policy” (University of Arizona, 1972). Articles include: DeWitt “Hiram Johnson and Early New Deal Diplomacy, 1933–1934,” California State Historical Quarterly 53 (Winter 1974): 377–386; DeWitt, “The ‘New’ Harding and American Foreign Policy: Warren G. Harding, Hiram W. Johnson, and Pragmatic Diplomacy,” Ohio History 86 (Spring 1977): 96–114; Boyle, “The Roots of Isolationism: A Case Study,” Journal of American Studies 6 (1972): 41–50; and Richard Coke Lower, “Hiram Johnson: The Making of an Irreconcilable,” Pacific Historical Review 48 (November 1972): 505–526.
[34.]Wayne S. Cole, Senator Gerald P. Nye and American Foreign Relations (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1962).
[35.]John E. Wiltz, In Search of Peace: The Senate Munitions Inquiry, 1934–1936 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1963). See also Wiltz, “The Nye Committee Revisited,” The Historian 23 (1961): 211–233; Agnes Ann Trotter, “The Development of the Merchants of Death Theory for World War I” (Ph.D. thesis; Duke University, 1966); and Robert Jones Leonard, “The Nye Committee: Legislating Against War,” North Dakota History 41 (Fall 1974): 20–28.
[36.]Of course, in 1936, Hoover and Borah were their own first choice for the presidency. Colonel Robert R. McCormick and William Randolph Hearst had favored Alfred M. Landon in 1936 and Thomas E. Dewey in 1940. Dewey, later a prominent interventionist, had a strong reputation as a crime fighter and in 1940 was voicing some decidedly isolationist sentiments.
[37.]C. David Tompkins, Senator Arthur H. Vandenberg: The Evolution of a Modern Republican, 1884–1945 (East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 1970), and Arthur H. Vandenberg, Jr. and Joe Alex Morris, eds., The Private Papers of Senator Vandenberg (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1952). One should not overlook a whole host of helpful articles: Tompkins, “Senator Arthur Hendrick Vandenberg,” Michigan History 44 (1960): 39–58; Thomas Michael Hill, “Senator Arthur H. Vandenberg, the Politics of Bipartisanship, and the Origins of Anti-Soviet Consensus, 1941–1946,” World Affairs 138 (Winter 1975–1976): 219–241; James A. Fetzer, “Senator Vandenberg and the American Commitment to China, 1945–1950,” The Historian 36 (February 1974): 283–303; Philip J. Briggs, “Senator Vandenberg, Bipartisanship and the Origins of United Nations' Article 51,” Mid-America 60 (April 1978): 163–169; and James A. Gazell, “Arthur H. Vandenberg, Internationalism, and the United Nations,” Political Science Quarterly 138 (September 1973): 375–394.
[38.]Tompkins, Vandenberg, pp. 27–28, 156.
[39.]La Follette in Patrick J. Maney, “Young Bob” La Follette: A Biography of Robert M. La Follette, Jr., 1895–1953 (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1978), p. 229. For more material on his anti-interventionism, see Roger T. Johnson, Robert M. La Follette, Jr. and the Decline of the Progressive Party in Wisconsin (Madison: Wisconsin State Historical Society, 1964).
[40.]Donald Young, ed., Adventure in Politics: The Memoirs of Philip La Follette (New York: Holt, Rinehart, Winston, 1970), pp. 252–264. For unpublished dissertations on the La Follettes, see Alan E. Kent, Jr., “Portrait in Isolationism: The La Follettes and Foreign Policy” (University of Wisconsin, 1957); Charles H. Backstrom, “The Progressive Party of Wisconsin, 1934–1946” (University of Wisconsin, 1956); and John Edward Miller, “Governor Philip F. La Follette, the Wisconsin Progressives, and the New Deal, 1930–1939” (University of Wisconsin, 1973). See also Donald R. McCoy, “The National Progressives of America, 1938,” Mississippi Valley Historical Review 54 (1957): 75–93.
[41.]McCormick quoted in Joseph Gies, The Colonel of Chicago (New York: Dutton, 1979), p. 201).
[42.]Gies, The Colonel of Chicago; Frank C. Waldrop, McCormick of Chicago: An Unconventional Portrait of a Controversial Figure (Englewood Cliffs, N.Y.: Prentice-Hall, 1966); Jerome E. Edwards, The Foreign Policy of Col. McCormick's Tribune, 1929–1941 (Reno: University of Nevada Press, 1971); Walter Trohan, Political Animals: Memoirs of a Sentimental Cynic (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1975); and Lloyd Wendt, Chicago Tribune: The Rise of a Great American Newspaper (Chicago: Rand McNally, 1979).
[43.]John Tebbel, An American Dynasty: The Story of the McCormicks, Medills, and Pattersons (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1947); Wayne Andrews, Battle for Chicago (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1946).
[44.]Gies, The Colonel of Chicago, p. 1–149.
[45.]Edwards, The Foreign Policy, p. 53.
[46.]Waldrop, McCormick, p. 111; Tribune in Wendt, p. 697.
[47.]Richard C. Frey, Jr., “John T. Flynn and the United States in Crisis, 1928–1950” (Ph.D. thesis; University of Oregon, 1969); Michele Flynn Stenehjem, An American First: John T. Flynn and the America First Committee (New Rochelle, N.Y.: Arlington House, 1976); Radosh, Prophets on the Right, chapter 7–8.
[48.]John T. Flynn, Country Squire in the White House (New York: Doubleday Doran, 1940), p. 113.
[49.]John T. Flynn, As We Go Marching (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday Doran, 1944), p. 252.
[50.]Frey, “John T. Flynn,” p. 245.
[51.]John T. Flynn, Meet Your Congress (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday Doran, 1944); The Roosevelt Myth (New York: Devin-Adair, 1948); The Road Ahead: America's Creeping Revolution (New York: Devin-Adair, 1949); The Decline of the American Republic (New York: Devin-Adair, 1955).
[52.]John T. Flynn, While You Slept: Our Tragedy in Asia and Who Made It (New York: Devin-Adair, 1951); The Lattimore Story (New York: Devin-Adair, 1953).
[53.]Felix Morley, For the Record (South Bend, Ind.: Regnery/Gateway, 1979), p. 322. Material on Morley's relationship to the Washington Post is also found in Chalmers M. Roberts, The Washington Post: The First Hundred Years (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1977).
[54.]Morley, For the Record, pp. 454, 438, 462.
[55.]Felix Morley, The Society of Nations (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution, 1932); “Humanity Tries Again” (pamphlet; Chicago and Washington: Human Events, 1946); notes made on talk with Hoover, December 18, 1941, in For the Record, p. 377.
[56.]Felix Morley, The Power of the People (New York: Van Nostrand, 1949); Freedom and Federalism (New York: Regnery, 1953); The Foreign Policy of the United States (New York: Knopf, 1951).
[57.]Edwin M. Borchard and William Potter Lage, Neutrality for the United States (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1937; rev. 1940).
[58.]For biographical material on Borchard, see Richard H. Kendall, “Edwin M. Borchard and the Defense of Traditional American Neutrality” (Ph.D. thesis; Yale University, 1964); Justus D. Doenecke, “Edwin M. Borchard,” in Dictionary of American Biography (New York: Scribners, 1928–), Supplement V, pp. 81–82. Hereafter cited as DAB.
[59.]Moore sorely needs a biographer. So far, the best work on Moore is Richard Megaree, “Realism in American Foreign Policy: The Diplomacy of John Bassett Moore” (Ph.D. thesis; Northwestern University, 1963).
[60.]Philip C. Jessup and Francis Deak, Neutrality: Its History, Economics and Law, vol. I: The Origins (New York: Columbia University Press, 1935); Jessup, vol. IV: Today and Tomorrow (New York: Columbia University Press, 1936). The sketch on Jessup in Anna Rothe, ed., Current Biography, 1948 (New York: H.H. Wilson, 1949), pp. 313–316, remains woefully inadequate.
[61.]Richard J. Whalen, The Founding Father: The Story of Joseph P. Kennedy (New York: New American Library, 1964); David E. Koskoff, Joseph P. Kennedy: A Life and Times (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1974); Michael Beschloss, Kennedy and Roosevelt: The Uneasy Alliance (New York: Norton, 1980). See also William M. Kaufman, “Two American Ambassadors: Bullitt and Kennedy,” in Gordon A. Craig and Felix Gilbert, eds.; The Diplomats, 1919–1939 (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1953), pp. 644–681. Roger C.S. Bzerk, “Kennedy and the Court of St. James: The Diplomatic Career of Joseph P. Kennedy, 1938–1940” (Ph.D. thesis; Washington State University, 1971); Jane K. Vieth, “Joseph P. Kennedy: Ambassador to the Court of St. James, 1938–1940” (Ph.D. thesis; Ohio State University, 1975); Vieth, “The Donkey and the Lion: The Ambassadorship of Joseph P. Kennedy at the Court of St. James, 1938–1940,” Michigan Academician 10 (Winter 1978); 273–281. Addition material on the isolationist views of the Kennedy sons can be found in Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., Robert Kennedy and His Times (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1978); Herbert S. Parmet, Jack: The Struggles of John F. Kennedy (New York: Dial, 1980); and Clay Blair, Jr., The Search for J.F.K. (New York: Berkley/Putnam, 1976).
[62.]Journalist in Beschloss, Kennedy and Roosevelt, p. 65; Roosevelt, in Beschloss, p. 88.
[63.]Joseph P. Kennedy, address to the University of Virginia Law School, December 12, 1950, in Vital Speeches 17 (January 1, 1951): 170–173.
[64.]Justus D. Doenecke, “General Robert E. Wood: The Evolution of a Conservative,” Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society 71 (August 1978): 162–175.
[65.]Robert E. Wood, Address to the Council of Foreign Relations of Chicago, October 4, 1940, in Congressional Record, October 14, 1940, p. A6302.
[66.]Oswald Garrison Villard, Fighting Years: Memoirs of a Liberal Editor (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1939); Michael Wreszin, Oswald Garrison Villard: Pacifist at War (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1965); Stephen A. Thernstrom, “Oswald Garrison Villard and the Politics of Pacifism,” Harvard Library Bulletin 14 (1960); D. Joy Humes, Oswald Garrison Villard: Liberal of the 1920's (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1960); Radosh, Prophets on the Right, chapters 3 and 4.
[67.]Villard in Wreszin, Oswald Garrison Villard, p. 147
[68.]Oswald Garrison Villard, Free Trade, Free World (New York: Robert Schalkenbach Foundation, 1947), p. 253.
[69.]W.A. Swanberg, Norman Thomas: The Last Idealist (New York: Scribners, 1976). For other works on Thomas, see Harry Fleischmann, Norman Thomas: A Biography (New York: Norton, 1964); Murray Seidler, Norman Thomas: Respectable Rebel (2nd ed.; Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1967); Bernard K. Johnpoll, Pacifist's Progress: Norman Thomas and the Decline of American Socialism (Chicago: Quadrangle, 1970); James C. Duram, Norman Thomas (New York: Twayne, 1974); and John Dennis McGreen, “Norman Thomas and the Search for the All-Inclusive Socialist Party” (Ph.D. thesis; Rutgers University, 1976).
[70.]Thomas in Swanberg, Norman Thomas, pp. 69–70.
[71.]Thomas in Swanberg, pp. 304, 461.
[72.]J. Sandor Cziraky, “The Evolution of the Social Philosophy of Albert Jay Nock” (Ph. D. thesis; University of Pennsylvania, 1959); Michael Wreszin, “Albert Jay Nock and the Anarchist Elitist Tradition,” American Quarterly 21 (1969); 165–189; Wreszin, Superfluous Anarchist: Albert Jay Nock (Providence: Brown University Press, 1972); Robert M. Crunden, The Mind and Art of Albert Jay Nock (Chicago: Regnery, 1964). For Nock's autobiography, see Memoirs of a Superfluous Man (New York: Harper, 1943).
[73.]Works on Mencken are legion. Good beginnings can be found in Carl Bode, Mencken (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1969); Douglas C. Stenerson, H.L. Mencken: Iconoclast from Baltimore (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1971); Frank Turaj, “Mencken and the Nazis: A Note,” Maryland Historical Magazine 67 (Summer 1972): 176–178; and Dean Banks, “H.L. Mencken and ‘Hitlerism,’ 1933–1941: A Patrician Libertarian Besieged,” Maryland Historical Magazine 71 (Winter 1976): 498–515.
[74.]Frank Chodorov, Out of Step: The Autobiography of an Individualist (New York: Devin-Adair, 1962). See also Charles H. Hamilton, ed., Fugitive Essays: Collected Writings of Frank Chodorov (Indianapolis: Liberty Press, 1980).
[75.]Francis Neilson, My Life in Two Worlds (2 vols.; Appleton, Wis.: C.C. Nelson, 1952). See also Neilson, The Tragedy of Europe: A Day-to-Day Commentary of the Second World War (5 vols.; Appleton, Wis.: C.C. Nelson, 1940–1946).
[76.]Radosh, Prophets on the Right, chapters 9–10; Justus D. Doenecke, “Lawrence Dennis: Revisionist of the Cold War,” Wisconsin Magazine of History 55 (Summer 1972): 275–286; Doenecke, “The Isolationist as Collectivist: Lawrence Dennis and the Coming of World War II,” Journal of Libertarian Studies 3 (Summer 1979): 191–208. Dennis's own writings include The Coming American Fascism (New York: Harper, 1936); The Dynamics of War and Revolution (New York: Weekly Foreign Letter, 1940); A Trial on Trial: The Great Sedition Trial of 1944 (with Maximilian St. George; Chicago: National Civil Rights Committee, 1946); and Operational Thinking for Survival (Colorado Springs, Colo.: Ralph Myles, 1969).
[77.]Niel M. Johnson, George Sylvester Viereck: German-American Propagandist (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1972); Phyllis Keller, “George Sylvester Viereck: The Psychology of a German-American Militant,” Journal of Interdisciplinary History 2 (1971): 59–108. For Viereck's autobiographical writings, see My Flesh and Blood: A Lyric Autobiography with Indiscreet Annotations (New York: Liveright, 1931), and Men into Beasts (New York: Fawcett, 1952).
[78.]Noel Stock, The Life of Ezra Pound (New York: Pantheon, 1972); C. David Heymann, Ezra Pound: The Last Rower (New York: Viking, 1976).
[79.]Dwight Macdonald, Memoirs of a Revolutionist: Essays in Political Criticism (New York: Farrar, Straus and Cudahy, 1957).
[80.]Milton Mayer, What Can a Man Do? (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1964). However, it takes a close reading of the Progressive from 1940 on to find Mayer at his best.
[81.]See, for example, Irving Dilliard, “Oscar Ameringer,” DAB, Supp. III, pp. 9–11; Oscar Ameringer, If You Don't Weaken (New York: Henry Holt, 1940).
[82.]Nat Hentoff, Peace Agitator: The Story of A.J. Muste (New York: Macmillian, 1963); Hentoff, ed., The Essays of A.J. Muste (New York: Clarion, 1970); Jo Ann Robinson, “A.J. Muste and the Ways to Peace,” in Charles Chatfield, ed., Peace Movements in America (New York: Schocken, 1973), pp. 68–80; William D. Miller, A Harsh and Dreadful Love: Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker Movement (New York: Liveright, 1973); Clarence E. Pickett, For More Than Bread (Boston: Little Brown, 1973); George Peter Marabell, “Frederick Libby and the American Peace Movement, 1921–1941” (Ph.D. thesis; Michigan State University, 1975); Frederick J. Libby, To End War: The Story of the National Council for the Prevention of War (Nyack, N.Y.: Fellowship Publications, 1969).
[83.]Harry Emerson Fosdick, The Living of These Days (New York: Harper, 1956); John Haynes Holmes, I Speak for Myself (New York: Harper, 1959); Robert Moats Miller, How Shall They Hear Without a Preacher? The Life of Ernest Fremont Title (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1971); David J. O'Brien, “William H. O'Connell,” DAB, Supp. III, pp. 568–570; M.E. Reardon, “John T. McNicholas,” DAB, Supp. IV, pp. 534–536; Frank Annunziata, “Bernard Iddings Bell,” DAB, Supp. VI, pp. 45–47; John Cogley, “James M. Gillis,” DAB, Supp. VI, pp. 237–238; James F. Finley, James Gillis, Paulist (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1958); Irving Dilliard, “Paul Hutchinson,” DAB, Supp. VI, pp. 315–316.
[84.]Frank A. Warren III, “Alfred Bingham and the Paradox of Liberalism,” The Historian 28 (1966): 255–267; Donald L. Miller, The New American Radicalism: Alfred M. Bingham and Non-Marxian Insurgency in the New Deal Era (Port Washington, N.Y.: Kennikat, 1979); Douglas William French, “William Ernest Hocking and Twentieth Century International Tensions, 1914–1966” (Ph.D. thesis; State University of New York at Buffalo, 1970); James Carpenter Lanier, “Stuart Chase: An Intellectual Autobiography, 1888–1940” (Ph.D. thesis; Emory University, 1970); Will and Ariel Durant, A Dual Autobiography (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1977); Stephen J. Whitefield, Scott Nearing: Apostle of American Radicalism (New York: Catholic University Press, 1974); Charles F. Howlett, Troubled Philosopher: John Dewey and the Struggle for World Peace (Port Washington, N.Y. Kennikat, 1977); John Patrick Diggins, “John Dewey in Peace and War,” American Scholar 50 (Spring 1981): 213–230; Ann J. Lane, “Mary Ritter Beard,” DAB, Supp. VI, pp. 40–42. David E. Shi, Matthew Josephson: Bourgeois Bohemian (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1981.)
[85.]Thomas C. Kennedy, Charles A. Beard and American Foreign Policy (Gainesville: University Presses of Florida, 1975); Radosh, Prophets, chapters 1–2; Howard K. Beale, ed.; Charles A. Beard: An Appraisal (Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, 1954); Richard Hofstadter, The Progressive Historians: Turner, Beard, Parrington (New York: Knopf, 1968); Ellen Nore, “Charles A. Beard: An Intellectual Biography” (Ph.D. thesis; Stanford University, 1980); Bernard C. Borning, The Political and Social Thought of Charles A. Beard (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1962).
[86.]Arthur Goddard, ed., Harry Elmer Barnes: Learned Crusader (Colorado Springs, Colo.: Ralph Myles, 1968); Roy Carroll Turnbaugh, “Harry Elmer Barnes: The Quest for Truth and Justice” (Ph.D. thesis; University of Illinois, 1977); Justus D. Doenecke, “Harry Elmer Barnes,” Wisconsin Magazine of History 56 (Summer 1973): 311–323. The Cato Institute has recently published some of Barnes's essays under the title Revisionism: A Key to Peace (San Francisco, 1980), with foreword by James J. Martin.
[87.]Frederick Lewis Honhart III, “Charles Callan Tansill: American Diplomatic Historian” (Ph.D. thesis; Case Western Reserve University, 1972).
[88.]Carl George Ryant, “Garet Garrett's America (Ph.D. thesis; University of Wisconsin, 1968).
[89.]William Henry Chamberlin, The Confessions of an Individualist (New York: Macmillan, 1940); Robert Hobbs Myers, “William Henry Chamberlin: His Views of the Soviet Union” (Ph.D. thesis; Indiana University, 1973).
[90.]Freda Utley, Odyssey of a Liberal (Washington, D.C.: Washington National Press, 1970). The DAB has able profiles on other isolationists in the newspaper world: Walter Muir Whitehill, “Lincoln Colcord,” Supp. IV, pp. 791–793; Irving Dilliard, “Joseph Pulitzer, Jr.,” Supp. III, pp. 551–552.
[91.]W.A. Swanberg, Citizen Hearst (New York: Scribner's, 1961). One should also note Rodney P. Carlisle, Hearst and the New Deal—The Progressive as Reactionary (New York: Garland, 1981); “William Randolph Hearst: A Fascist Reputation Reconsidered.” Journalism Quarterly 50 (Spring 1973); “The Foreign Policy Views of an Isolationist Press Lord: W.R. Hearst and the International Crisis, 1936–41.” Journal of Contemporary History 9 (1974).
[92.]Ralph Martin's Cissy (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1979), like previous biographies, is much stronger on her personality than on her politics. For Patterson, see William V. Shannon, “Joseph Medill Patterson,” DAB, Supp. IV, pp. 645–646.
[93.]Martin L. Fausold, “Frank E. Gannett,” DAB, Supp. VI, pp. 226–227.
[94.]David H. Culbert, News for Everyone: Radio and Foreign Affairs in Thirties America (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 1976); Meyer Weinberg, “Boake Carter,” DAB, Supp. III, pp. 142–143.
[95.]George T. Eggleston, Roosevelt, Churchill, and the World War II Opposition: A Revisionist Autobiography (Old Greenwich, Conn.: Devin-Adair, 1979).
[96.]Henry Regnery, Memoirs of a Dissident Publisher (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovitch, 1979).
[97.]Burton K. Wheeler, Yankee from the West (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1962).
[98.]Joe Martin, Jr., My First Fifty Years in Politics (New York: McGraw Hill, 1960).
[99.]Harl A. Dalstrom, “Kenneth S. Wherry” (Ph.D. thesis; University of Nebraska, 1965); Marvin E. Stromer, The Making of a Political Leader: Kenneth S. Wherry and the United States Senate (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1969).
[100.]Homer E. Socolofsky, Arthur Capper: Publisher, Politician and Philanthropist (Lawrence: University of Kansas Press, 1962): John W. Partin, “The Dilemma of ‘A Good, Very Good Man’: Capper and Noninterventionism, 1936–1941,” Kansas History 2 (Summer 1979): 86–95.
[101.]Ronald Schaffer, “Jeannette Rankin, Progressive Isolationist” (Ph.D. thesis; Princeton University, 1959); Hannah Josephson, Jeannette Rankin (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1974); Ted Carleton Harris, “Jeannette Rankin: Suffragist, First Woman Elected to Congress, and Pacifist” (Ph.D. thesis; University of Georgia, 1972); Joan Hoff Wilson, “‘Peace is a Woman's Job.’ Jeannette Rankin and American Foreign Policy: Her Life Work as a Pacifist.” Montana, the Magazine of Western History 30 (Spring 1980): 38–53.
[102.]Material on congressional isolationists is herewith listed, being given in alphabetical order: Edward C. Blackorby, “Usher L. Burdick,” DAB, Supp. VI, pp. 85–87; Justus Frederick Paul, “The Political Career of Senator Hugh Butler” (Ph.D. thesis; University of Nebraska, 1966); William B. Picket,t “Homer E. Capehart: The Making of a Hoosier Senator” (Ph.D. thesis; Indiana University 1974); John Raymond Taylor, “Homer E. Capehart: United States Senator, 1944–1962” (Ph.D. thesis; Ball State University, 1977); Richard Rollin Chenoweth, “Francis Case: A Political Biography” (Ph.D. thesis; University of Nebraska, 1977); Edward A. Pursell, Jr., “Bennett Champ Clark,” DAB, Supp. V, pp. 113–115; Robert H. Zieger, “James J. Davis,” DAB, Supp. IV, pp. 219–220; Neil MacNeil, Dirksen: Portrait of a Public Man (New York: World, 1970); Richard Kay Hanks, “Hamilton Fish and American Isolationism, 1920–1944” (Ph.D. thesis; University of California at Riverside, 1971); Theodore Saloutos, “Lynn J. Frazier,” DAB, Supp. IV, pp. 308–309; William Ellis Coffey, “Rush Dew Holt: The Boy Senator, 1905–1942” (Ph.D. thesis; University of West Virginia, 1970); Paul Poder, “The Senatorial Career of William E. Jenner” (Ph.D. thesis; University of Notre Dame, 1976); Rodney Joel Ross, “Senator William E. Jenner: A Study in Cold War Isolationism” (D.Ed. thesis; Pennsylvania State University, 1974); Nancy J. Weiss, “Florence Prag Kahn,” DAB, Supp. IV, pp. 446–447; Justus D. Doenecke, “Harold Knutson,” DAB, Supp. IV, pp. 396–397; Glenn H. Smith, Langer of North Dakota: A Study in Isolationism, 1940–1959 (New York: Garland, 1979); Edward C. Blackorby, Prairie Rebel: The Public Career of William Lemke (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1963); G.H. Mayer, “Ernest Lundeen,” DAB, Supp. II, pp. 394–395; John Whiteclay Chambers II, “Patrick A. McCarran,” DAB, Supp. V, pp. 443–445; Von Veron Pittman, “Senator Patrick A. McCarran and the Politics of Containment” (Ph.D. thesis; University of Georgia, 1979); Earl Pomeroy, “Charles L. McNary,” DAB, Supp. III, pp. 496–497; Roger T. Johnson, “Charles L. McNary and the Republican Party during Prosperity and Depression” (Ph.D. thesis; University of Wisconsin, 1967); Peter Baldwin Buckley, “Daniel A. Reed: A Study in Conservatism” (Ph.D. thesis; Clark University, 1972); Ari Hoogenboom, “David A. Reed,” DAB, Supp. V, pp. 560–562; Julian McIver Pleasants, “The Senatorial Career of Robert Rice Reynolds” (Ph.D. thesis; University of North Carolina, 1971); Nelson L. Dawson, “Martin L. Sweeney,” DAB, Supp. VI, pp. 613–614; Mary Rene Lorentz, “Henrik Shipstead: Minnesota Independent, 1923–1946” (Ph.D. thesis; Catholic University, 1963); Wayne S. Cole, “Henrik Shipstead,” DAB, Supp. VI, pp. 577–579; Gary S. Henderson, “Congressman John Taber: Guardian of the People's Money” (Ph.D. thesis; Duke University, 1954); John Galvin, “George Holden Tinkham,” DAB, Supp. VI, pp. 635–636; J. Joseph Huthmacher, “David I. Walsh,” DAB, Supp. IV, pp. 857–859.
[103.]Donald McCoy, Landon of Kansas (Lincoln: University of Nebraska, 1966); William T. Hutchinson, Lowden of Illinois (2 vols.; Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1957); Keith L. Bryant, Jr., Alfalfa Bill Murray (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1968); James P. Louis, “Ruth Hanna McCormick Simms,” DAB, Supp. III, pp. 710–711.
[104.]Keith Sward, The Legend of Henry Ford (New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1948); Allan Nevins and Ernest Hill, Ford: Decline and Rebirth, 1933–1962 (New York: Scribners, 1963).
[105.]Of several Lewis biographies, the best is Melvin Dubovsky and Warren Van Tine, John L. Lewis: A Biography (New York: Quadrangle, 1977). Works on other business and labor leaders include Sidney Hyman, The Lives of William Benton (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1969); Chester Bowles, Promises to Keep: My Years in Public Life, 1941–1969 (New York: Harper, 1971); Maxwell C. Raddock, Portrait of an American Labor Leader: William L. Hutcheson (New York: American Institute of Social Science, 1958); Joseph Borkin, Robert R. Young: The Populist of Wall Street (New York: Harper, 1969); Robert Sobel, “Robert R. Young,” DAB, Supp. VI, pp. 721–722; Donald R. McCoy, “Charles G. Dawes,” DAB, Supp. III, pp. 159–160; Joseph Frazier Wall, “Ernest T. Weir,” DAB, Supp. VI, pp. 678–679.
[106.]Alfred E. Wedemeyer, Wedemeyer Reports (New York: Holt, 1958); Keith D. McFarland, Harry Woodring: A Political Biography of FDR's Controversial Secretary of War (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1975); Stanley J. Folmbee, “Smedley D. Butler,” DAB, Supp. II, pp. 80–82; William E. Leuchtenberg, “Hugh S. Johnson,” DAB, Supp. III, pp. 398–400. Mark A. Stoler focusses on Lieutenant General Stanley D. Embick in his “Isolationism and American Strategy during World War II” (unpub. paper delivered at American Historical Association, Washington, D.C., December 29, 1980). For a passionate denunciation of war by a controversial marine general nicknamed “Old Gimlet Eye,” see Smedley D. Butler, War is a Racket (New York: Round Table, 1935).
[107.]Gilbert C. Fite, George N. Peek and the Fight for Farm Parity (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1954).
[108.]Michael A. Guhin, John Foster Dulles: A Statesman and His Times (New York: Columbia University Press, 1972).
[109.]John Foster Dulles, War, Peace and Change (New York: Harper, 1939).
[110.]Warren F. Kuehl, “Charles Cheney Hyde,” DAB, Supp. V, pp. 340–341.
[111.]Charles J. Tull, Father Coughlin and the New Deal (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1965); James Shenton, “The Coughlin Movement and the New Deal,” Political Science Quarterly 73 (1958): 352–373); Shenton, “Fascism and Father Coughlin,” Wisconsin Magazine of History 44 (1960): 6–11; Sheldon Marcus, Father Coughlin: The Tumultuous Life of the Priest of the Little Flower (Boston: Little Brown, 1974); Richard A. Davis, “Radio Priest: The Public Career of Father Charles Edward Coughlin” (Ph.D. thesis; University of North Carolina, 1974); Philip V. Cannistraro and Theodore P. Kovaleff, “Father Coughlin and Mussolini: Impossible Allies,” Journal of Church and State 13 (Autumn 1971): 445–464.
[112.]Geoffrey S. Smith, To Save a Nation: American Countersubversives, the New Deal, and the Coming of World War II (New York: Basic Books, 1973); Leo Ribuffo, “Protestants of the Right” (Ph.D. thesis; Yale University, 1976); Ribuffo, “Fascists, Nazis, and the American Mind: Perceptions and Preconceptions,” American Quarterly 26 (October 1974); 417–432.
[113.]Doenecke, Literature of Isolationism plus 1980 update; Doenecke “Isolationism of the 1930's and 1940's: An Historigraphical Essay,” in R. Sellin and T. Bryson, eds., American Diplomatic History: Issues and Methods (Carrollton, Ga.: West Georgia College Studies in the Social Sciences, 1974), pp. 5–40. The bibliographical essay at the end of Charles Chatfield, For Peace and Justice: Pacifism in America, 1914–1941 (Nashville: University of Tennessee Press, 1971) is superb.
[114.]Wayne S. Cole, “American Entry into World War II: A Historiographical Appraisal,” Mississippi Valley Historical Review 43 (1957): 595–617: Louis Morton, “Pearl Harbor in Perspective: A Bibliographical Survey,” United States Naval Institute Proceedings 81 (1955): 461–468; John E. Wiltz, From Isolation to War, 1931– 1941 (New York: Crowell, 1968); Ernest R. May, “Nazi Germany and the United States: A Review Essay,” Journal of Modern History 41 (1969): 207–214; Waldo H. Heinrichs, Jr., “1931–1937,” and Louis Morton, “1937–1941,” in Ernest R. May and James C. Thomson, Jr., eds., American East-Asian Relations: A Survey (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1972), pp. 243–290: Justus D. Doenecke, “Beyond Polemics: An Historiographical Re-Appraisal of American Entry into World War II,” History Teacher 12 (February 1979): 217–251.
[115.]Selig Adler, The Isolationist Impulse: Its Twentieth-Century Reaction (New York: Abelard-Schuman, 1957).
[116.]John Milton Cooper, Jr., The Vanity of Power: American Isolationism and the First World War, 1914–1917 (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 1969); H. C. Peterson and Gilbert C. Fite, Opponents of War, 1917–1918 (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1957); Thomas W. Ryley, A Little Group of Willful Men: A Study of Congressional-Presidential Authority (Port Washington, N.Y.: Kennikat, 1975).
[117.]Ralph Stone, The Irreconcilables: The Fight Against the League of Nations (Louisville: University of Kentucky Press, 1970).
[118.]William C. Widenor, Henry Cabot Lodge and the Search for an American Foreign Policy (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1980); David P. Thelin, Robert La Follette and the Insurgent Spirt (Boston: Little Brown, 1976).
[119.]Manfred Jonas, Isolationism in America, 1935–1941 (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1966); Jonas, “Pro-Axis Sentiment and American Isolationism,” The Historian 29 (February 1967): 221–237. One should also note Justus D. Doenecke, “American Isolationism, 1939–1941,” submitted to the Historians Project, World Without War Council, October 17,1980.
[120.]David L. Porter, The Seventy-sixth Congress and World War II, 1939–1940 (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1979); Thomas N. Guinsburg, The Pursuit of Isolationism in the United States Senate from Versailles to Pearl Harbor (New York: Garland, 1981); Ronald L. Feinman, Twilight of Progressivism: The Western Republican Senators and the New Deal (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins, 1981); John A. Dreier, “The Politics of Isolationism: A Quantitative Study of Congressional Foreign Policy Voting” (Ph.D. thesis; University of Kentucky, 1977); Ella F. Handen, “Neutrality Legislation and Presidential Discretion: A Study of the 1930's” (Ph.D. thesis: Rutgers University. 1968).
[121.]Robert A. Divine, The Illusion of Neutrality (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1962); Warren I. Cohen, The American Revisionists: The Lessons of Intervention in World War I (Chicago: University of Chicago Pres, 1967). On the latter topic, see also Selig Adler, “The War-Guilt Question and American Disillusionment, 1918–1928,” Journal of Modern History 23 (1958): 1–28.
[122.]Richard Burns and W.A. Dixon, “Foreign Policy and the ‘Democratic Myth’: The Debate on the Ludlow Amendment,” Mid-America 47 (1965): 288–306; Walter R. Griffin, “Louis Ludlow and the War Referendum Crusade, 1935–1941,” Indiana Magazine of History 44 (1968): 267–288; Ernest C. Bolt, Jr., Ballots before Bullets: The War Referendum Approach to Peace in America, 1914–1941 (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1977); Gilbert N. Kahn, “Pressure Group Influence on Foreign Policy Making: A Case Study of United States Efforts to Join the World Court—1935” (Ph.D. thesis; New York University, 1972); Robert D. Accinelli, “The Roosevelt Administration and the World Court Defeat,” The Historian 40 (May 1978): 463–478.
[123.]Justus D. Doenecke, “Germany in Isolationist Ideology, 1939–1941: The Issue of a Negotiated Peace,” in Hans L. Trefousse, ed., Germany and America: Essays on Problems of International Relations and Immigration (New York: Brooklyn College Press, 1981), pp. 215–226.
[124.]In addition to those books already cited or to be discussed, see Charles A. Beard, Giddy Minds and Foreign Quarrels: An Estimate of American Foreign Policy (New York:Knopf, Macmillan, 1939); Beard, A Foreign Policy for Americans (New York: Knopf, 1940); Hubert Herring, And So to War (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1938); Norman Thomas and Bertram D. Wolfe, Keep America Out of War (New York:Frederick A. Stokes, 1939); Paul Comly French, ed., Common Sense Neutrality (New York: Hastings House, 1940); Boake Carter and Thomas H. Healy, Why Meddle in the Orient? (New York: Dodge, 1937); Carter, Why Meddle in Europe? (New York: Dodge, 1937). Books that take a longer view include Jerome Frank, Save America First: How to Make Our Democracy Work (New York: Harper, 1938); Beard, The Idea of National Interest (New York: Macmillan, 1934); and Beard, The Open Door at Home (New York: Macmillan, 1934).
[125.]Wayne S. Cole, America First: The Battle Against Intervention, 1940–1941 (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1953); Justus D. Doenecke, “Verne Marshall's Leadership of the No Foreign War Committee, 1940,” Annals of Iowa 41 (Winter 1973): 1153–1172; Doenecke, “Non-Interventionism of the Left: The Keep America Out of War Congress, 1938–1941,” Journal of Contemporary History 12 (April 1977): 221–236.
[126.]Justus D. Doenecke, “Towards an Isolationist Brainstrust: The Establishment of the Foundation for Foreign Affairs,” forthcoming in World Affairs.
[127.]Leland V. Bell, In Hitler's Shadow: The Anatomy of American Nazism (Port Washington, N.Y.: Kennikat, 1973); Bell, “The Failure of Nazism of America: The German-American Bund, 1936–1941,” Political Science Quarterly 85 (1970): 585–599; Joachim Remak, “Friends of New Germany: The Bund and German-American Relations,” Journal of Modern History 24 (1957): 38–41; Sander A. Diamond, The Nazi Movement in the United States, 1924–1941 (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1974). Finally published is Gaetano Salvemini's 1943 report, Italian Fascist Activities in the United States (ed. Philip V. Cannistraro; New York: Center for Migration Studies, 1977), in which a distinguished medievalist and politician combines a thorough account with impassioned rhetoric.
[128.]Richard Polenberg, War and Society: The United States, 1941–1945 (Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1972); Richard W. Steele, “Franklin D. Roosevelt and His Foreign Policy Critics,” Political Science Quarterly 44 (Spring 1979): 15–22.
[129.]Quincy Howe, England Expects Every American to Do His Duty (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1937); Howe, Blood is Cheaper Than Water: The Prudent American's Guide to Peace and War (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1939); Louis Bromfield, England, A Dying Oligarchy (New York: Harper, 1939); Porter Sargent, Getting US Into War (Boston: Porter Sargent, 1941).
[130.]Stanton B. Leeds, These Rule France: The Story of Edouard Daladier and the Men Around Daladier (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1940); Edwin Davies Schoonmaker, Our Genial Enemy, France (New York: Long and Smith, 1932); Rene Comte de Chambrun, I Saw France Fall: Will She Rise Again? (New York: Murrow, 1940).
[131.]Freda Utley, The Dream We Lost: Soviet Russia Then and Now (New York: John Day, 1940); Utley, Japan's Feet of Clay (New York: Norton, 1937).
[132.]Oswald Garrison Villard, Within Germany (New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1940); Lothrop Stoddard, Into the Darkness: Nazi Germany Today (New York: Duell, Sloan and Peace, 1940).
[133.]John P. Diggins, Mussolini and Fascism: The View from America (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1972); Diggins, “Flirtation with Fascism: American Pragmatic Liberals and Mussolini's Italy,” American Historical Review 71 (1966): 487–506; Diggins, “Mussolini and America: Hero Worship, Charisma, and the ‘Vulgar Talent,’” The Historian 28 (1966): 559–585.
[134.]Richard Walter Alsfeld, “American Opinion of National Socialism, 1933–1939” (Ph.D. thesis; Brown University, 1970).
[135.]Raymond H. Dawson, The Decision to Aid Russia, 1941: Foreign Policy and Domestic Politics (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1959); Ralph B. Levering, American Opinion and the Russian Alliance, 1939–1945 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1976).
[136.]Allen Guttmann, The Wound in the Heart: America and the Spanish Civil War (Glencoe, Ill.: Free Press, 1962); Stanley Weintraub, The Last Great Cause: The Intellectuals and the Spanish Civil War (New York: Weybright and Talley, 1968).
[137.]Justus D. Doenecke, “American Public Opinion and the Manchurian Crisis, 1931–1933” (Ph.D. thesis; Princeton University, 1966).
[138.]James J. Martin, American Liberalism and World Politics, 1931–1941 (2 vols.; New York: Devin-Adair, 1964); Frank A. Warren III, Liberals and Communism: The ‘Red Decade’ Revisited (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1966).
[139.]Joseph Louis Jaffe, “Isolationism and Neutrality in Academe, 1938–1941” (Ph.D. thesis; Case Western Reserve University, 1979); Patti McGill Peterson, “Student Organizations and the Antiwar Movement in America, 1900–1960,” in Chatfield, Peace Movements, pp. 116–132; Dennis Mihelich, “Student Antiwar Activism During the Nineteen Thirties,” Peace and Change 2 (Fall 1974): 29–40; Eileen M. Egan, “‘War Is Not Holy‘—The American Student Peace Movement in the 1930s,” Peace and Change 2 (Fall 1974): 41–47.
[140.]Harold Lavine and James Wechsler, War Propaganda and the United States (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1940); Allan M. Winkler, The Politics of Propaganda: The Office of War Information, 1942–1945 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1978).
[141.]Chatfield, For Peace and Justice; Chatfield, “Alternative Antiwar Strategies of the Thirties,” in Chatfield, ed. Peace Movements, pp. 68–80.
[142.]Wilson D. Miscamble, “Catholics and American Foreign Policy from McKinley to McCarthy: A Historiographical Survey,” Diplomatic History 4 (Summer 1980): 223–240; George Q. Flynn, Roosevelt and Romanism: Catholics and American Diplomacy, 1937–1945 (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 1976); Rodger Van Allen, The Commonweal and American Catholicism: The Magazine, the Movement, the Meaning (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1974).
[143.]Donald B. Meyer, The Protestant Search for Political Realism, 1919–1941 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1960); Robert Moats Miller, American Protestantism and Social Issues, 1920–1940 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1958); Paul A. Carter, The Decline and Revival of the Social Gospel: Social and Political Liberalism in American Protestant Churches, 1920–1940 (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1956).
[144.]Justus D. Doenecke, Not to the Swift: The Old Isolationists in the Cold War Era (Lewisburg, Pa.: Bucknell University Press, 1979). See also Doenecke, “Conservatism: The Impassioned Sentiment—A Review Essay,” American Quarterly 23 (Spring 1977): 601–609; “The Strange Career of American Isolationism,” Peace and Change 3 (Summer-Fall 1975): 79–83; “The Isolationists and a Usable Past: A Review Essay,” Peace and Change 5 (Spring 1978): 67–73.
[145.]Joan Lee Bryniarski, “Against the Tide: Senate Opposition to the Internationalist Foreign Policy of Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman, 1943–1949” (Ph.D. thesis; University of Maryland, 1972); David R. Kepley, “Challenge to Bipartisanship: Senate Republicans and American Foreign Policy, 1948–1952” (Ph.D. thesis; University of Maryland, 1979); Mary K. Atwell, “Congressional Opponents of Early Cold War Legislation” (Ph.D. thesis; St. Louis University, 1974); Richard F. Grimmett, “Who Were the Senate Isolationists?,” Pacific Historical Review 49 (November 1973); 479–498; Robert Griffith, “Old Progressives and the Cold War,” Journal of American History 46 (September 1979): 334–347.
[146.]Matthew Edwin Mantell, “Opposition to the Korean War: A Study in American Dissent” (Ph.D. thesis; New York University, 1973).
[147.]Carolyn Jane Mattern, “The Man on the Dark Horse: The Presidential Campaign for General Douglas MacArthu, 1944 and 1948” (Ph.D. thesis; University of Wisconsin, 1976).
[148.]Youngnok Koo, “Dissenters from American Involvement in World Affairs: A Political Analysis of the Movement for the Bricker Amendment” (Ph.D. thesis; University of Michigan, 1966); “John W. Bricker Reflects upon the Fight for the Bricker Amendment,” ed. Marvin R. Zahniser, Ohio History 87 (Summer 1978): 322–333; Terence L. Thatcher, “The Bricker Amendment: 1952–54;” Northwest Ohio Quarterly 69 (Summer 1977): 107–120.
[149.]George H. Nash, The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America Since 1945 (New York: Basic Books, 1976).
[150.]Lawrence S. Wittner, Rebels Against War: The American Peace Movement, 1941–1960 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1967); Glen Zeitzer, “The American Peace Movement During the Second World War.” (Ph.D. thesis; Bryn Mawr University, 1978); Zeitzer, “The Fellowship of Reconciliation on the Eve of the Second World War: A Peace Organization Prepared,” Peace and Change 3 (Summer-Fall 1978): 46–51.
[151.]Nancy Schoonmaker and Doris Fielding Reid, eds., We Testify (New York: Smith and Durrell, 1941).
[152.]Al Williams, Air Power (New York: Coward-McCann, 1940), p. 405. Captain Eddie Rickenbacker, World War I ace and airlines executive, wrote the preface to Williams's book.
[153.]Bonner Fellers, Wings for Peace (Chicago: Regnery, 1953).
[154.]Fleming MacLiesh and Cushman Reynolds, Strategy for the Americas (New York: Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1941).
[155.]Hanson. W. Baldwin, United We Stand!: Defense of the Western Hemisphere (New York: Whittlesey House, 1941). Other books should be noted. Oswald Garrison Villard's Our Military Chaos: The Truth About Defense (New York: Knopf, 1939) called for increased integration of national defense and closer links of the military to foreign and domestic policies. In Johnson Hagood's We Can Defend America (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1937), a prominent World War I general advocated neutrality in any future conflict, called for greater coordination of existing defense resources, and denied that there was any need for wholesale arms increases. While the military journalist George Fielding Eliot was a strong interventionist, isolationists often drew upon his book The Ramparts We Watch: A Study of the Problems of American National Defense (New York: Reynal and Hitchcock, 1938) in presenting their case.
[156.]Hoffman Nickerson, The Armed Horde, 1793–1939 (New York: Putnam, 1940).
[157.]Baldwin, United We Stand, pp. 54, 70.
[158.]Carleton Beals, Pan America (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1940), p. 429.
[159.]Justus D. Doenecke, “Power, Markets, and Idelogy: The Isolationist Response to Roosevelt Policy, 1940–1941,” in Leonard P. Liggio and James J. Martin, eds., Watershed of Empire: Essays on New Deal Foreign Policy (Colorado Springs, Colo: Ralph Myles, 1976), pp. 132–161.
[160.]“The Central States” (editorial), Chicago Tribune, April 14, 1929.
[161.]America First Committee Research Bureau, Bulletin #6; Cleona Lewis, “Nazi Germany and World Trade” (pamphlet; Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution, 1941).
[162.]Hugh Johnson, Hell Bent for War (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1941), p. 100.
[163.]John Chamberlain, The American Stakes (Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1940), pp. 189–190.
[164.]Graeme Howard, America and a New World Order (New York: Scribners, 1940).
[165.]Rose Stein, M-Day: The First Day of War (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1936); Larry Nixon, ed., When War Comes: What Will Happen and What to Do (New York: Greystone, 1939); Harold J. Tobin and Percy Bidwell, Mobilizing Civilian America (New York: Council on Foreign Relations, 1940); Leo M. Cherne, M-Day and What It Means to You (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1940); Don Keyhoe, M-Day—What the Government Plans for You (New York: Dutton, 1939).
[166.]For material on the South, see Wayne S. Cole, “America First in the South,” Journal of Southern History 22 (1956): 36–42; Alexander DeConde, “The South and Isolationism.” Journal of Southern History 24 (1958): 332–346; Marion D. Irish, “Foreign Policy in the South.” Journal of Politics 10 (1948): 306–326; Charles O. Lerche, Jr. “Southern Congressmen and the ‘New Isolationism.’” Political Science Quarterly 75 (1960): 321–337; Lerche, The Uncertain South. Chicago: Quadrangle Press, 1964.
Last modified April 13, 2016