Progressive Politics Research and Commentary by Janette Rainwater

Chapter Two

The Roosevelt Presidency

(from From the New Deal to the Raw Deal by Janette Rainwater)

Copyrighted Material

March 4, 1933

Inauguration: Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) and John Nance Garner are inaugurated as president and vice-president of a country in the midst of a severe banking crisis— since early February nearly half the states have had to declare bank "holidays" due to the queues of depositors demanding to withdraw more funds than the banks possessed. 1
In the first days of March more than 15 % of the nation's cash had been taken out of circulation by hoarders.

[FDR began his inaugural address— which was broadcast to an unprecedented 178 radio stations: "This is a day of national consecration." He utters the soothing phrase that would later become the most famous part of his speech—"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself"— and promises prompt "action now" in putting people back to work and in providing "an adequate but sound currency."

In an echo of his cousin Theodore (the 26th president, 1901-1909) he charges into the businessmen and the bankers: "Our distress comes from no failure of substance; we are stricken by no plague of locusts. . . . Plenty is at our doorstep, but a generous use of it languishes in the very sight of the supply. . . . rulers of the exchange of mankind's goods have failed through their own stubbornness and their own incompetence, have admitted their failure, and have abdicated. The money changers have fled from their high seats in
the temple of our civilization. We may now restore that temple to the ancient truths.
The measure of the restoration lies in the extent to which we apply social values more noble than mere monetary profit.

Practices of the unscrupulous money changers stand indicted in the court of public opinion, rejected by the hearts and minds of men. . . . They know only the rules of a generation of self-seekers. They have no vision, and when there is no vision the people perish."
(FDR was triumphantly referring to Charles Mitchell who had been forced to resign as head of National City Bank only six days earlier as a result of revelations of the Pecora hearings. See February 21, 1933.)

His speech receives the greatest applause with these words: "I am prepared under my constitutional duty to recommend the measures that a stricken Nation in the midst of a stricken world may require. These measures, or such other measures as the Congress may build out of its experience and wisdom, I shall seek, within my constitutional authority to bring to speedy adoption. But in the event that Congress shall fail to take one of these two courses, and in the event that the national emergency is still critical, I shall not evade the clear course of duty that will then confront me. I shall ask the Congress for the one remaining instrument to meet the crisis— broad Executive power to wage a war against the emergency, as great as the power that would be given to me if we were in fact invaded by a foreign foe."

(Before the inauguration many prominent people such as the highly respected coloumnist Walter Lippman had spoken out for the assumption of "dictatorial powers" by Roosevelt. The Progressive Republican from Idaho, Senator William Borah, advocated putting aside "partisanship and politics" to give the incoming President a free hand "within the Constitution for a certain period." A Republican senator from Pennsylvania had said that
"if this country ever needed a Mussolini, it needs one now." It was only a few years later that the term "dictator" became disreputable.)

[The mood of the day was solemn and tense— in stark contrast to the euphoria of the 2009 inauguration. People were frightened, some even terrified. The flags flying at half-mast in honor of Senator Walsh 3 seemed only too relevant. The Senate confirmed Roosevelt's ten nominees for his cabinet that afternoon; they were sworn in together in a private evening ceremony at the White House with Associate Justice Benjamin Cardozo administering the oaths.

The ten cabinet members:

—Secretary of State, Senator Cordell Hull of Tennessee;
—Secretary of the Treasury, William H. Woodin of New York;
—Secretary of War, former Governor George H. Dern of Utah;
—Attorney General, Homer S. Cummings of Connecticut; 3
—Postmaster General, James A. Farley of New York;
—Secretary of the Navy, Senator Claude Swanson of Virginia;
—Secretary of the Interior, Harold Ickes of Chicago;
—Secretary of Agriculture, Henry A. Wallace of Iowa;
—Secretary of Commerce, Daniel C. Roper of Washington and
—Secretary of Labor, Frances Perkins, the head of New York's State Labor Department.
"Miss Perkins" as the New York Times referred to her, was the first woman to be appointed to a cabinet position.
New York Times, March 5, 1933.

Frances Perkins was a controversial appointment for far more than her gender; it was no surprise that FDR would appoint a woman to his cabinet. Perkins had headed New York's labor department under both Governor Al Smith and Governor Roosevelt and was highly regarded. (Unbeknownst to the general public, "Miss" Perkins had been happily married since 1913 and had a teenage daughter.)

In all the administrations since the inauguration of the department in 1913, the position of Secretary of Labor had been held by a union leader, usually from the AFL. Labor's candidate for the 1933 appointment was Dan Tobin, president of the Teamsters, and the unions lobbied extensively for him. So they were not happy with the selection of Perkins; ironically, she achieved more for the labor movement than a unionist in the post could have accomplished.

Initially she agreed with AFL President Green that the post should go to a unionist. However, FDR persuaded her to take the job and she set some firm conditions. The federal government should-
---- immediately provide aid to states for unemployment relief— the unemployment figure had risen to 13 million— Winkler, p. 63;
---- enact an extensive public works program;
---- institute unemployment and old-age insurance;
---- provide mandated minimum wages, maximum hours and abolition of child labor.
Alter, pp. 165-166, 339-343; Bernstein, Turbulent Years, pp. 8-14; Cohen, pp. 35-45; Winkler, pp. 69-70.

1 Outgoing President Hoover had refused to take any emergency actions without the concurrence of the incoming president. FDR refused to take responsibility for deeds over which he had no authority. In this impasse Raymond Moley and the incoming Secretary of the Treasury on their own initiative pressured the governors of New York and Illinois to close the banks in their states. By dawn of Inauguration Day the banks in thirty-two states had been closed. Davis, New Deal Years, pp. 14-15, 21, 24-26.

2 FDR was triumphantly referring to Charles Mitchell who had been forced to resign as head of National City Bank only six days earlier as a result of revelations in the Pecora hearings. See February 21, 1933.

3 Cummings was a last-minute appointment, replacing Senator Thomas J. Walsh of Montana who had died suddenly two days earlier. Walsh, a strong advocate of women suffrage and a determined opponent of state corruption and child labor, had headed the Senate investigating committee that had exposed the Teapot Dome scandal, 1922-23.

March 4, 1933

China: On the other side of the world from events in the United States, Japanese troops occupy Chengteh, the chief city of Jehol province in northern China. Feis, 1933, p. 299.

[Owen Lattimore observed as the Japanese overran 100,000 miles in ten days, using motorized transport and "cutting through the Chinese forces and driving deep, paying no attention to their exposed flanks." In a 1953 interview he would describe this as "the first tryout of the modern blitzkrieg" and regretted that it was only the Germans and the Russians who had taken notice of the technique: "Other people thought it was just a lot of Japanese overrunning a lot of Chinese, and not worth study by professional soldiers." Newman, Owen Lattimore, p. 21.]

March 5, 1933

Germany: All parties except the Communists gain seats in the Reichstag.

The Nazi party receives only 44% of the total vote despite the suppression of the opposition press and the monopoly the NSDAP enjoyed on the state radio during the election campaign. Its 288 seats combined with 52 Nationalist seats give Hitler's government a bare 16-seat majority. Shirer, Rise and Fall, pp. 195-196.

[In the days following the election, considered by Hitler to be a "mandate," his storm troopers swarmed into the provinces. The provincial authorities were replaced by Hitler's people; Nazi komissars (or party observers) were assigned to all major newspapers and companies. In the major cities the swastika was raised over Jewish shops as their owners "voluntarily" closed. In other places windows were shattered and customers escorted out of Jewish shops as the stench bombs were rolled in. There was random street violence by the Brownshirts against Jews. Black, Transfer Agreement, p. 9.]

March 6, 1933

FDR declares a four-day bank holiday nation-wide, places an embargo on the export of gold, silver and currency, using the war-time Trading with the Enemy Act as authority.
A violation of the embargo will incur a fine of $10,000 and ten years' imprisonment.
He calls Congress for a special session to begin on the 9th. (Over 4000 banks have failed since the first of the year; the average bank failure rate in the 1920s had been 100 a year. In the previous week $226 million in Treasury gold reserves had been withdrawn. ) Carroll and Noble, p. 339; Cohen, pp. 70-71.)

[In a second proclamation he called on the new Congress for a special emergency session to begin on the 9th to deal with the crisis. William H. Woodin, the new Secretary of the Treasury, Assistant Secretary of State Raymond Moley and outgoing Secretary of the Treasury Ogden Mills had spent the previous day, a Sunday, conferring in the Treasury with the major bankers of the country.

A major problem was the lack of currency in circulation— and change. Children's piggy-banks were robbed by parents; the automat became a favorite place to eat due to its supply of nickels. Personal checks were more readily accepted than before. Most communities and many businesses had already started issuing "scrip" in various forms.

Secretary Woodin conceived a solution: Have the Bureau of Printing and Engraving print a quantity of Federal Reserve Bank Notes that looked just like the Federal Reserve Notes then in use, but not backed by gold— a somewhat devious form of federal government scrip. This idea was enthusiastically endorsed by FDR and the Bureau started printing round the clock.

Will Rogers expressed the national mood: "The whole country is with him, just so he does something. If he had burned down the capitol we would cheer and say 'Well, we at least got a fire started anyhow. . . . We have had years of 'don't rock the boat.' Go ahead and sink it, Franklin, if you want to. We might just as well be swimming as floundering around the way we are.'" Davis, New Deal Years, p. 35; Carroll and Noble, p. 339; Cohen, pp. 72-74; Alter, pp. 226-231, 245-250.]

March 8, 1933

FDR hold his first press conference in which he changes past customs. Questions do not have to be written and submitted in advance. There will be two press conferences a week. FDR builds such a bond that the short session ends with spontaneous (and unprecedented) applause from the reporters. Davis, New Deal Years, pp. 43-45; Alter, pp. 253-257.

March 8, 1933

The "Gold Rush of 1933": The Federal Reserve Board orders banks to report the names of all customers who have withdrawn gold since February 1 if that gold is not returned in exchange for paper currency by March 1.

[This was on a Wednesday. The next two days there were long lines of customers returning gold to their banks, a reverse gold stampede. By the end of the week $200 million in gold and gold certificates had been turned in. Cohen, p. 74.]

March 9- June 16, 1933

The "First Hundred Days" of the New Deal during which the major pieces of recovery legislation will be passed.

March 9, 1933

Banking Legislation: Congress convenes, and within eight hours both houses pass the Emergency Banking Act which gives the president and the Secretary of the Treasury broad powers to:
--- "issue Federal Reserve notes to replace the scrip that had been increasingly issued by various institutions,
--- "prevent the hoarding of gold, and
--- "certify the soundness of banks and qualify them for reopening."

[The House passed the unread and unprinted bill by voice vote after a 40-minute discussion. The House minority leader urged a "Yes" vote on his colleagues. The only objection came from a handful of Senators who favored far more radical measures.
The Socialist Norman Thomas and Wisconsin Farmer-Laborite Senator Robert La Follette advocated nationalization of the banking system.

Senator Huey Long of Louisiana opposed the bill and accused the administration of planning to leave the small state-chartered banks unopened. He and Senator Carter Glass of Virginia came close to blows until the new Majority Leader Joe Robinson intervened. Nevertheless the bill passed the Senate 73-7 and was signed by FDR within nine hours of its introduction.

Few knew that this first piece of New Deal legislation had been written by members of Hoover's administration— the bill was copied from legislation that men in the Treasury Department had unsuccessfully urged Hoover to introduce!
Davis, New Deal, pp. 55-57; Alter, pp. 245-252; Cohen, pp. 79-80.]

March 10, 1933

The Economy Act: FDR sends Congress a surprise "Bill to Maintain the Credit of the United States Government" which would give him the power to make governmental economies, such as:
---- cutting government salaries up to 15 percent,
---- reducing veterans' payments and eliminating some categories of veterans' benefits, for a saving of $100 million and $400 million, respectively. Overall veterans' benefits were slashed by 50%; Civil War pensioners took a 10% cut.
(More than one-quarter of the federal budget went to veterans' benefits.)

[FDR had campaigned on a pledge to reduce governmental expenses by 25 percent and his Director of the Budget, Lewis Douglas, was determined to hold FDR to his promise. Despite lobbying by veterans' groups— as powerful a block then as Social Security recipients are now— and an incipient revolt by the more progressive Democrats, the Economy Act passed in the House when enough Republicans (69) crossed over to support the Act to replace the 92 Democrats voting against it.

Many Democrats were held in line by the knowledge that FDR would not dispense patronage until after the bill was passed. 4It became law on March 20. Burns, Lion, p. 167; Freidel, pp. 96-97; Davis, New Deal Years, pp. 57-64; Cohen, pp. 95-108; Alter, p. 275. ]

4 A Democratic floor leader, "When the Congressional Record goes to President Roosevelt's desk in the morning, he will look over the roll call we are about to take, and
I warn you new Democrats to be careful where your names are found."
Burns, Lion, p. 167.

March 12, 1933

Fireside Chat: On Sunday night FDR gives the first of his "Fireside Chats" in which he explains that the next day those banks certified to be sound will be reopened and others in following days. He assures the radio audience of sixty million that their money will be safer "in a reopened bank than under the mattress. . . . We have provided the machinery to restore 5 our financial system; it is up to you to make it work . . . Together we cannot fail."

Will Rogers would write that Roosevelt's explanation was so clear "that he made everyone understand it, even the bankers."

[There was no run on the banks when they reopened; rather, deposits far exceeded withdrawals in every city; 75 percent of the nation's banks had reopened by the end of the week. On Wednesday the New York Stock Exchange reopened with a record-high one-day rise in prices of more than 15 percent. The Treasury bonds issued that day were oversubscribed by 100%. As brain-truster Raymond Moley said seven years later, "Capitalism was saved in eight days." Miller, Intimate, p. 311; Davis, New Deal Years, 59-61; Cohen, 81; Alter, pp. 263-271.]

5 "Restore" is the operative word here; FDR was a fiscal conservative who never intended to change the system. Moley, The First New Deal, p. 310.

March 13, 1933

The "Beer Bill": Anticipating the repeal of the Eighteenth (Prohibition) Amendment,
FDR asks Congress to modify the Volstead Act to permit the sale (and substantial taxation) of low-alcoholic content beverages. The popular measure also galvanizes Senate support for the controversial Economy Bill to be considered that day, as FDR arranges that the "beer bill" may not be voted on until after the Economy Bill.

[The "beer bill" passed the Senate— more pressured by dry interests than the House—
43-30. The product was soon available and signs sprang up advertising the long-banned beverage: "Near beer sold here; no real beer near here." The 3.2% beer was supposedly non-intoxicating.

Jonathan Alter remarks that this quick amendment of the Volstead Act is "one of the least appreciated elements of how FDR changed the country's psyche during the Hundred Days. . . . beer parties were held all over the county . . . Washington's Abner Drury Brewery pulled up at the White House with a sign:, PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT, THE FIRST BEER IS FOR YOU," Burns, Lion, p. 168; Freidel, pp. 96-97; Davis, New Deal Years, pp. 63-64; Cohen, pp. 105-106; Alter, p. 277.]

March 16, 1933

Agriculture: FDR sends the Agriculture Adjustment Act to Congress, saying: "Deep study and the joint counsel of many points of view have produced a measure which offers great promise of good results. I tell you frankly that it is a new and untrod path but I tell you with equal frankness that an unprecedented condition calls for the trial of new means to rescue agriculture. If a fair administrative trial of it is made and it does not produce the hoped-for results, I shall be the first to acknowledge it and advise you.

The proposed legislation is necessary now for the simple reason that the spring crops will soon be planted and if we wait another month or six weeks the effect on the prices of this year's crops will be wholly lost."

The bill proposes that the government will set parity prices and provide subsidies to farmers for limiting acreage in certain crops— wheat, cotton, corn, hogs, rice, tobacco and dairy products— after a democratic vote of the farmers of any particular crop. The money to pay for these subsidies will come from a tax placed on the processors of those crops— canneries, flour mills, packing houses, etc.

[FDR regarded this bill as much an emergency bill as the banking measures, as the farmers of the Midwest were threatening revolution if the pre-war "parity" between industrial and farm income was not achieved soon. Agricutural income had fallen nearly 60% during the Depression. Bank foreclosures were taking about 20,000 farms a month, with many more seizures prevented by bands of armed and irate neighbors. FDR hoped that this "new and untrod path" would solve the double plague of low farm income and crop surpluses. The bill passed the House in six days, and the threatened nation-wide farmers' strike for May 3rd was cancelled.

However, the bill was mired down in the Senate by the lobbying of the processing groups and the intransigence of the Agriculture Committee chairman, Ellison "Cotton Ed" Smith 6 of South Carolina. Smith allowed debate to begin on the bill only after assurance from FDR that neither Secretary of Agriculture Henry Wallace nor Rexford Tugwell— both considered too left-wing by people like Smith— would be in charge of the program. The bill passed on May 12th, after most of the crops had already been planted.

The agency that administered the act was the Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA). The first administrator was George Peek, a friend of the conservative South Carolinian, Bernard Baruch, who was first offered the position. To attack the problem of crop surpluses [see February 25, 1927 for post-war farm problems] the AAA paid farmers to limit production, slaughtering six million pigs and plowing under ten million acres of cotton.

The Republicans were highly critical of this policy, yet this is exactly what Hoover had attempted to achieve but on a voluntary basis. (Then-Governor Roosevelt had called it a "cruel joke" to ask farmers to "allow 20 percent of their wheat lands to remain idle, to plow up every third row of cotton, and shoot every tenth dairy cow.")

Shortly after the slaughter of pigs began, FDR set up a Federal Surplus Relief Corporation— a non-profit corporation to which the AAA would transfer all the surplus produce.
FERA [see March 21, 1933] used its funds to process the pork and other products and supervised their distribution, Davis, New Deal Years, pp. 280-281.

The policy of farm subsidies begun with this act is now standard practice in the US, even though the original act was declared unconstitutional in US v. Butler (January 6, 1936) and a new law, with the US Treasury paying the subsidies, enacted.In the first year cotton prices rose from less than 7 cents a pound to more than 12 cents; wheat went from 38 cents a bushel to 86 cents; and a bushel of corn increased from 32 cents to 82 cents. By 1936 farm income had increased 50%; by the end of the New Deal the ratio of farm to city income— 48% in 1932— had risen to 79%.

This rising tide failed to lift one boat— that of the sharecroppers. Many farmers, faced with a reduced work load, threw their tenant farmers off the land, often withholding important possessions such as a mule or crop seed. Not many farmers followed the AAA guidelines and shared their subsidies with their tenants. One result was the formation of sharecropper unions such as the Southern Tenant Farmers' Union. James Agee's Let Us Now Praise Famous Men (with photographs by Walker Evans) depicts the heartbreaking story of sharecroppers in Alabama.
Davis, New Deal Years, pp. 69-76; Burns, Lion, pp. 231-232; Alter, pp. 279-282; Cohen, pp. 133-146, 301; Time, March 27, 1933; Schlesinger, Coming, pp. 369-381; Winkler, pp. 74, 92.

6 His nickname derived from his famous mantra: "Cotton is king and white is supreme." Smith was a role-model racist; he walked out of the 1936 Democratic Convention because a black delegate was allowed to speak. In 1938 FDR tried unsuccessfully to have him defeated in the primary. Alter, p. 281.

March 17, 1933

Congress: The Democratic leaders agree to hold Congress in session indefinitely.

March 18, 1933

Germany: The New York Times describes Nazi plans to destroy the professional lives of Jews. Each year one-quarter of the Jewish lawyers will be forced to retire until there are none left. Similar firings and forced departures will occur in all the major professions.
Black, IBM, p. 64.

March 20, 1933

Germany: The page one center headline of the New York Times reads: "German Fugitives Tell of Atrocities at the Hands of Nazis." The article makes it clear that censorship has prevented the truth of vicious treatment of the Jews from emerging. Black, IBM, p. 64.

March 20, 1933

Germany - Concentration Camps: Munich Chief of Police Heinrich Himmler announces that a concentration camp for "political prisoners" will be established at Dachau, a small town ten kilometers north of Munich.

[This was only the first of many concentration camps in Germany— over 50 were constructed in 1933 alone. The early ones were set up by the SA (Sturm Absteilung, or storm troopers) as places to house dissidents, homosexuals, communists and Jews where they could be beaten and then ransomed off to friends and relatives for whatever price possible. Dachau's later prisoners were primarily Jewish. One of its most famous prisoners was Pastor Martin Niemoller who was incarcerated there for seven years until liberated by Allied troops. Niemoller had been arrested after his sermon, "God is My Führer." New York Times, 3/21/33; Shirer, Rise, pp. 271, 235-239.]

March 21, 1933

Conservation and Forestry: Disregarding the skepticism of his cabinet, FDR proposes the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). He wants a "Tree Army" of a quarter-million unemployed youth working in the forests by July 1st. (In his last year as governor he had a reforestration program that utilized 10,000 otherwise unemployed men.)

[Congress passed the bill ten days later with only one significant amendment. The sole black member of Congress- Republican Oscar De Priest of Chicago- successfully inserted a non-discrimination clause. The program put unemployed young men to work in forests and national parks— planting trees, draining marshes, building dams, cutting trails, and fighting fires. They were paid $30 a month, part of which was paid to their families. Before the program was phased out in 1942, it had given temporary employment to over three million men and was considered one of the triumphs of the New Deal. Three billion trees were planted, twenty million acres of soil were rescued from erosion, and over one hundred thousand miles of trail were cleared, including the nation's first downhill skiing slope at Stowe, Vermont.

Labor leader Lane Kirkland, who grew up in South Carolina, would later reminisce about the CCC camp in his state: "The southern U.S. was totally stripped of vegetation. Every river was thick with mud from erosion. Every farm had a gully. And every time it rained, the topsoil just washed away. You go down there now and you see millions of pine trees that are the basis of the timber and pulp industry, planted by the CCC."

The bill was initially opposed by the AFL on the grounds that the pay was too low and would lower pay scales in general. The counter argument: only 2% of the 10 million unemployed would go into the CCC; there they would receive board, room and clothing in addition to their dollar a day, a total value higher than the normal pay rate for the kind of work they would be doing.

Liberals were concerned that the administration of the CCC by the Army was too much like what was happening in Italy and Germany under their fascist rulers; FDR replied that it would be a civilian corps with the Army involved simply because it was the only group that could swiftly organize the transportation, housing, etc. for the project. (A colonel named George Catlett Marshall was the organizer of 17 camps in the Southeast.)

The CCC set a record for the rapidity with which it was established. A week after the bill's passage 25,000 unmarried men between the ages of 18 and 25 had been enrolled by the Department of Labor and were arriving in the forest camps. They were first housed in tents until barracks could be built. (Some of these barracks were later used to house conscientious objectors during World War II who continued the work of the CCC men Other barracks would house German and Italian prisoners of war.) An initial condition for enrollment: the recruit's father should be on relief.

The majority of the first young men were 18-19, malnourished and with typically no more than a year of high school. So the CCC program reclaimed people as well as the land. Their bodies were strengthened, they learned new trades, they learned about America and other Americans and how to get along with them. By July 1st 275,000 young men were at work in 1300 camps throughout the 48 states.

That summer a second Bonus Army- initially about 6000 men- came to Washington. J. Edgar Hoover claimed that more than 300,000 more were on their way with some bearing arms. FDR arranged for them to be housed at the CCC camp at Fort Hunt, Virginia where there was food, shelter, electric lights and water for showers. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, alone and unescorted by the Secret Service, visited the camp to hear the men's complaints and bring them back to her husband. One of the vets was heard to say, "Hoover sent the army, Roosevelt sent his wife."

In one of the many spontaneous changes that FDR made in his first term, the CCC mandate was enlarged to include veterans, even vets from the Spanish-American War. About 25,000 marchers enrolled in the CCC despite some grumbling about the low pay. The rest returned home peacefully with their transportation paid from a congressional fund.. Burns, Lion, p. 169; Davis, New Deal Years, pp. 77-78; Lindley, pp. 100-105; Alter, pp. 291-299; Schlesinger,Coming, pp. 336-344.]

March 21, 1933

Relief: FDR asks for the passage of the Federal Emergency Relief Act and an appropriation of $500 million for grants to states— not loans as under Hoover— for relief for the unemployed and for a new government agency, the Federal Emergency Relief Administration.

[It was approved by Congress on May 12 and administered by Harry Hopkins, who had run a similar agency for FDR in New York. On his second day in office the Washington Post reported that he had disbursed five million dollars in his first two hours on the job and predicted the half-billion would be run through quickly. (That first five million went to eight states that had run out of money and were about to close down their relief programs.) Hopkins required states receiving grants to give a standard level of relief, enough to cover food, shelter, utilities, medical care and clothing.

Harry Hopkins would head many subsequent agencies and "came to be regarded as the Chief Apostle of the New Deal and the most cordially hated by its enemies." At the time that he conceived the plan for FERA, he had no entrée to FDR; he had to first present the plan to Frances Perkins who quickly brought him to the oval office. Schlesinger, Coming, 263-281; Cohen, pp. 250-252, 265-276; Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, pp. 44; Burns, Lion, pp.169-170; Davis, New Deal Years, pp. 305-314.]

March 23, 1933

Germany: The Reichstag passes an Enabling Act which essentially gives dictatorial powers to Adolf Hitler. His cabinet (whom he appoints) and not Parliament will be responsible for the budget, foreign treaties, and laws drafted by the Chancellor. It passes 441-84. All 84 "nays" are Social Democrats. The Catholic Center Party, under the leadership of Ludwig Kaas, a protégé of Eugenio Pacelli, had voted for the Act despite the plea of ex-Chancellor Brüning not to collaborate with anything so unconstitutional. Hitler has achieved his dictatorship "legally."

[One of Hitler's first steps was the dissolution of the federal structure of Germany and the abolition of the "popular assemblies" of the states. All other political parties were forbidden, including NSDAP's erstwhile partner, the German National Party. The Brownshirts celebrated the victory with an escalation of the violence against Jews. Shirer, Rise and Fall, pp. 198-201.]

March 25, 1933

Germany and the Jews: At a meeting with five leaders of Germany's Jews, Hermann Göring castigates them for the headlines about Nazi atrocities in British and American newspapers and orders them to go to London (the supposed headquarters of "international Jewry") and have the March 27 demonstration in New York City canceled. "Unless you put a stop to these libelous accusations immediately, I shall no longer be able to vouch for the safety of German Jews!"

[The delegation that went to London headed by Zionist Martin Rosenbluth was unsuccessful in its appeal to Rabbi Wise to cancel the protest. In New York the American Jewish Committee and the B'nai B'rith were similarly opposed to the protest meeting and attempted to persuade Rabbi Wise to cancel. Black, Transfer Agreement, pp. 34-38, 79-80.]

March 27, 1933

Anti-Nazi Demonstrations: An anti-Nazi demonstration at Madison Square Garden in New York City organized by the American Jewish Congress and its president, Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, draws 20,000 protesters.

[Its worldwide broadcast sparked similar rallies in Paris, Istanbul, Toronto, Bombay, Warsaw and London. The Jewish War Veterans had already begun a boycott 7 of German products with a well-attended rally on the 23rd and the possibility of an official US boycott had been intimated by Rabbi Wise. By this time 60,000 Jews had been imprisoned and 10,000 more had fled Germany as a response to the violence of the Nazi gangs.

The Jews of Vilna had held a protest rally on March 20th. They identified it as a national retaliation rather than a sectarian action by protesting both the violence against Jews and Hitler's threat to occupy the Polish Corridor to the Free City of Danzig. At this time there were 3.5 million Jews living in Poland. Black, Transfer Agreement, pp. 9-47; Black, IBM, pp. 45, 67.]

7 A seven-year Jewish boycott of Ford motorcars (and also Chevrolet's introduction of a low-priced car to compete with the Model A) forced Henry Ford to publicly apologize in 1927 for the virulently anti-Semitic articles in his Dearborn Independent magazine and to cease publication of The International Jew. (Whole passages of the latter had been copied by Hitler into his Mein Kampf.) As Will Rogers said, "Ford used to have it in for Jewish people— until he saw them in Chevrolets." Black, Transfer Agreement, pp. 26-30.

March 28, 1933

Germany and the Jews and Boycotts: There will be a preemptive anti-Jewish boycott starting April 1st in response to the economic havoc that Germany's Jews have caused, according to the morning's Nazi party and other German newspapers. "No German shall any longer buy from a Jew."

[Hitler proclaimed the boycott in his position as head of the NSDAP (German Socialist Workers' Party) not as head of the government. Germany's fragile economy had been further threatened by the grass-roots boycotts being organized in the US, London, Poland, Palestine, and Paris which Hitler blamed on German Jews. Orders of machinery, furs, paper products, toys, chemicals, gloves, cameras, etc. had been canceled. Transatlantic German steamships such as the Bremen and the Europa were sailing virtually empty, and the German stock market was crumbling.

The anti-Jewish boycott announcement, however, only escalated the anti-Nazi boycott movement abroad. The German industrial leaders who had backed Hitler financially were now concerned that an economic war had begun that Germany could not win; at the March 29 cabinet meeting they urged Hitler to cancel the April 1st boycott. Hitler refused.
After Schacht detailed the economic damage that a protracted anti-Jewish boycott would do to the country and its "Aryan" citizens and after statements from the American Jewish Committee 8 and two leading Anglo-Jewish leaders disavowing the anti-Nazi boycotts had been obtained, Hitler agreed to curtail the anti-Jewish boycott after one day. 9Black, Transfer Agreement, pp. 46-65.]

8 Cyrus Adler: "The American Jewish Committee, of which I am president, has taken no part in protest meetings. No responsible body in America has suggested boycott. We have been and are doing all in our power to allay agitation." Black, Transfer Agreement, p. 63.

9 If Hitler had called off the April 1st action, Secretary of State Cordell Hull— the true believer in Free Trade— was prepared to issue the following quid pro quo statement to the press: "The situation in Germany is being followed in this country with deep concern. Unfortunate incidents have indeed occurred, and the whole world joins in regretting them. But without minimizing or condoning what has taken place, I have reason to believe that many of the accounts of acts of terror and atrocities which have reached this country have been exaggerated, and I fear that the continued dissemination of exaggerated reports may prejudice the friendly feelings between the peoples of the two countries. I have been told that protest measures... in certain American cities ... would result in a partial boycott of German goods.... Not only would such measures adversely affect our economic relations with Germany, but what is more important, it is by showing a spirit of moderation ourselves that we are likely to induce a spirit of moderation elsewhere." Earlier Hull had attempted to persuade Rabbi Wise to cancel the Madison Square Garden meeting with false reports of an "investigation." Black, Transfer Agreement, pp. 64-65, 39.

March 29, 1933

Regulation of Wall Street: FDR asks for the passage of the Truth-in-Securities Act which would require complete disclosure about any securities sold in interstate commerce and would levy heavy penalties for failure to do so.

[FDR had promised during the campaign to compel Wall Street to tell the truth about the securities they were peddling. He had said, "Government cannot prevent some individuals from making errors of judgment . . . but Government can prevent to a very great degree the fooling of sensible people through misstatements and through the withholding of information." In his presentation to Congress he said: "This proposal adds to the ancient doctrine of caveat emptor the further doctrine 'let the seller also beware.'"

The Wall Street Journal was initially pleased with the measure and predicted that
"the country will insist upon its passage." On closer examination critics emerged on both sides. Some conservatives thought it too draconian in some of the provisions, such as a full refund on stocks that had been misrepresented. The New Republic columnist felt the bill had done far too little. So Sam Rayburn, the chairman of the House Commerce Committee, asked Raymond Moley for a reworked bill.

The renamed Securities Act of 1933 came before the House on April 21. Rayburn shepherded the bill to an affirmative voice vote on May 5th and presided over the conference committee that preserved the House version over the less stringent Senate bill. FDR signed the Securities Act of 1933 on May 27th.

"The money changers have fled from their high seats in the temple of our civilization.
We may now restore that temple to the ancient truths..... There will be an end to speculation with other people's money," FDR had said in his inaugural address. This bill was the first of several measures to correct the practices that had led to the wild speculative investments on Wall Street before the Crash. Felix Frankfurter (who, with his "Happy Little Hot Dogs"— James Landis, Benjamin Cohen and Thomas Corcoran— wrote the final version) called it a "modest first installment of legislative controls" and insisted that much more was needed. Cohen, pp. 149-154; Sherwood, p. 40; Burns, Lion, p. 170.]

April 1, 1933

Germany and the Jews - The Boycott: When dawn breaks, all Jewish shops have been identified by yellow spots on a black background. Storm Troopers picket the stores, roll in stench bombs, and exhort would-be customers to "Buy German! Don't buy from Jewish stores!" Some Germans who defy the boycott have the word "Traitor" stamped on their foreheads. Shop windows are smashed despite advance pleas from "Aryan" insurance companies to abstain from such destruction. There is a daylong siege of terror in which Jewish proprietors are beaten, robbed, and their merchandise vandalized by the SA thugs.

[The world was led to believe that the one-day boycott was essentially non-violent. Photographs were taken of SA troops "guarding" Jewish stores; the widespread window-smashing and looting was attributed in advance to a "Communist group." Black, Transfer Agreement, pp. 67-68.]

April 3, 1933

Germany and the Jews: No Jew may leave Germany without an exit visa from the police. Border guards posted at fifty-yard intervals fire at Jews attempting to escape.

[To obtain an exit visa, Jews had to sign over all or most of their assets to the state- or to a particular corrupt "leader."] Black, Transfer Agreement, pp. 97-98.

April 7, 1933

Germany and the Jews: The Civil Service Act calls for the firing of all Jews in government posts, including judges.

[Other decrees soon followed eliminating or curtailing Jews from all the professions including medicine, dentistry, and the practice of law. The Jews were to be impoverished by decrees rather than the politically-inflammable anti-Jewish boycott. In the first two weeks of April over 10,000 Jewish refugees entered Denmark, Holland and France. Black, Transfer Agreement, pp. 67, 71; Shirer, Rise and Fall, p. 268.]

April 10, 1933

Public Power: FDR asks for legislation to create the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). [This bill, passed a month later, retained the Muscle Shoals dam in government ownership, provided cheap power for a poverty-stricken and underdeveloped region, and included "national planning for a complete river watershed"— flood and soil erosion control, reforestation, fertilizer manufacture, industrial diversification.

Despite opposition from the major utility companies 10 who argued against the government's right to build transmission lines, the measure passed in May by large majorities. And was signed by Roosevelt on May 18.

The Tennessee River drained an area of over 40,000 square miles over parts of seven states where the farmers eked out a most precarious living and 98% of their farms and homes were without electricity. For over a decade the Republicans had been trying to pass legislation to sell the government-owned Muscle Shoals dam to private interests; Senator Norris of Nebraska, a champion of public power, had led the fight to prevent this.

In January, before the inauguration, FDR had visited Muscle Shoals with Norris and Arthur Morgan, the visionary dam-builder and president of Antioch College (who had never attended college himself.) Their conversations led FDR to extend the dimensions of a TVA beyond Norris' fondest hopes. (Moley said that FDR had "out-Norrised Norris.") It could be a pilot project to remake an entire region— with help from the government, of course.
[See entries for May 25, 1928 and March 5, 1931.]

And as a pilot project it was an immense success. Unemployment dropped and wages increased significantly in seven states; three million acres were saved from erosion. By the 1950s over a thousand flood-control projects emerged throughout the country, usually with a mix or private and federal money, all enhancing the local economies. Alter, pp. 287-288; Burns, Lion, p. 170; Davis, New Deal Years, pp. 90-94; Cohen, pp. 141-149.]

10 Leading the fight was the president of Commonwealth and Southern, Wendell Willkie, who would be the Republican opponent to FDR's reelection in 1940. Davis, New Deal Years, pp. 92-93.

April 12, 1933

Germany and the Jews: Hitler announces that there will be a nation-wide census.
The primary purpose of this new census is to identify the Jews within the population, both "faith Jews" and "race Jews."

[Dehomag, the totally-controlled (and virtually totally-owned) subsidiary of America's International Business Machine Company, solicited and won the contract to provide the Hollerith machines and punch cards, design the questionnaires, and analyze the results.

Edwin Black makes it clear that the famous Thomas J. Watson, creator and CEO of IBM, was both aware of the purposes of the census and sympathetic with Hitler's aims.
In anticipation of the mammoth profits to be made in Germany, he had invested over a million dollars to expand Dehomag's facilities within weeks of Hitler's ascension to power. Black, IBM, pp. 47-61.]

April 13, 1933

Home Mortgages: With a thousand urban homes being foreclosed daily, FDR asks for a temporary moratorium 11 on foreclosures and an agency— the Home Owners Loan Corporation (HOLC) —to save small home mortgages from foreclosure by providing loans, delayed payments, and refinanced mortgages- interest at 5% with a longer life.

[The $20,000 cap insured that it would be only the poor and middle-class home owners who would benefit. The bill was passed within a month with virtually no opposition.
The HOLC soon owned about 20% of all home mortgage debt and rescued the real estate market which was near collapse.

Schlesinger attributes the consolidation of middle-class support for the New Deal to this act. Four million Americans were able to tell their children: "Franklin Roosevelt saved our home." Alter comments that the bill laid "the groundwork for a system centered on home ownership rather than the public housing popular in Europe . . . [and] made possible the great postwar housing boom that populated the Sun Belt and boosted millions of Americans into the middle class, where, ironically, they soon became Republicans."

Kennedy cites an additional lasting legacy of the HOLC. As a result of its nationwide lending, it introduced national appraisal methods throughout the real estate industry. Alter, p. 284; Burns, Lion, p. 170; Cohen, p. 184; Schlesinger, Coming, pp. 298-298; Kennedy, Freedom, p. 369.]

11 This was not a new problem. Hoover had attempted to solve it with the Federal Home Loan Bank Act of 1932 (after a quarter of a million families had already lost their homes.) Rather than a direct individual intervention to stop a foreclosure (as the HOLC did), Hoover's bill merely increased the supply of money available to local institutions that made home loans. It was a failure. Schlesinger, Coming, p. 297.

April 19, 1933

Gold: FDR essentially takes the United States off the gold standard by permanently embargoing the export of gold. (One could argue that the gold standard had really been abandoned the month before when Secretary Woodin started issuing currency that was not redeemable in gold.)

[FDR's hand was forced by Senator Wheeler whose proposed amendment to the farm bill called for unlimited coinage of gold and silver in William Jennings Bryan's old ratio of 16-1. "The nation must adopt bimetallism or face bolshevism," he said. The amendment was gaining in popularity, endorsed by the farmers who were begging for inflation as an aid to their economic distress.

FDR announced that he would veto a farm bill with the Wheeler Amendment—he wanted control of the currency in his hands, not Congress! Instead he asked for passage of the competing Thomas Amendment which gave the executive branch broad authority to expand the currency supply, thus inducing inflation, and to fiddle as he pleased with the coinage of silver or the gold content of the dollar.

There was great indignation among his conservative advisors. Douglas declared that going off the gold would be "the end of Western civilization"— runaway inflation could produce "social disorder" and a situation like that in Weimar Germany that had led to Hitler. Bernard Baruch had counseled against even modest inflation as being unwarranted, as it would benefit only one-fifth of the nation—"unemployed, debtor classes— incompetent, unwise people."

The Thomas Amendment passed both houses by wide margins. The result was a lowering of the value of the dollar abroad, but a rise in value of stocks and commodities, thus stimulating the economy and controlling the deflationary aspects of the first New Deal measures. Cohen, pp. 141-144.]

May 2, 1933

Germany: Nazi militia arrest trade union leaders, confiscate union property and declare the unions to be dissolved. Shirer, Rise and Fall, p. 202.

May 4, 1933

Railroads: FDR asks for a Federal Coordinator of Transportation to avoid duplication of services by railroads, encourage financial reorganizations, and ensure a fair wage for railroad employees.

[The railroads were one of the most depressed industries— revenues were down 50 percent since 1929. Many people, including some railroad executives, were urging nationalization since the railroads had been run so efficiently as an integrated unit during the war under William McAdoo's Railroad Administration. Davis, New Deal Years, p. 100.]

May 7, 1933

Second Fireside Chat: FDR describes the broad scope of the administration's plans for recovery from the Depression. He recounts the bills already passed or in progress; the Tennessee Valley Authority, Civilian Conservation Corps, plus bills for mortgage relief and federal emergency relief. An "industrial recovery bill" will be next, one that will create a partnership between government and industry and prevent the competitive over-production that had helped to cripple the economy.

Ninety per cent of the manufacturers in an industry might be willing to cease competitive over-production (and also the concomitant inadequate wages, child labor, and too-long work week) if the other ten per cent would agree to a common playing field, he said, using the cotton industry as an example. The anti-trust laws, established in the Progressive period, were intended to prevent monopolies in the large industries— and would still be needed for that. But it was never intended that they should be used to "encourage the kind of unfair competition that results in long hours, starvation wages and overproduction."

Leaving the gold standard was necessary since the nation had only enough gold to cover about 4 % of the currency. The government was now able to inflate the dollar so debtors could pay off loans with dollars worth the same amount as the dollars they had borrowed. And inflation would be kept in check so that the lenders would not be cheated. "We seek to correct a wrong and not create another wrong."

[That morning the New York Times had run an interview with the Secretary of Labor, "Madam Perkins." She argued the thesis that greater consumption was needed to revive the economy. When families stop spending money, the neighborhood grocery stops buying supplies. The fallout then reaches the whole social structure - lawyers, physicians, artists, music teachers- like the "ripples eddying out from the pebble dropped into a pool."
The fierce industrial competition had led to such deep and quick wage cuts that the nation's purchasing power was decimated. A "disinterested agency" was needed to help industry to find a new and fairer direction. Cohen, pp.236-239.]

May 8, 1933

Germany: Dr. Hjalmar Schacht, in the US to attempt to thwart the Jewish War Veterans rally scheduled for May 10th, meets with FDR, Secretary of State Hull and German Ambassador Herman Luther. He describes the deterioration of the German economy due to the accelerated boycott of German exports. If this continues, Germany will run out of foreign currency within a few weeks and be forced to default on all foreign debts— which amount to five billion dollars, two billion of which are held by Americans.

[This not-so-veiled threat was countered in June by attorney John Foster Dulles with a list of German assets in the US that could be seized to compensate any holders of defaulted bonds. Black, Transfer Agreement, pp. 117-118, 182-183.]

May 10, 1933

Book Burning in Germany: Nazi students at the University of Berlin hold a public book-burning of 20,000 books by writers such as Thomas Mann, Stefan Zweig, Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, Havelock Ellis, Upton Sinclair, H.G. Wells, Erich Maria Remarque, Andre Gide, Jack London, Helen Keller, Margaret Sanger, Marcel Proust, Jakob Wassermann— condemned for their Jewishness and/or humanitarian values. Shirer, Rise and Fall, p. 241.

100,000 people in New York City and 50,000 in Chicago march with the Jewish War veterans in protest of recent Nazi actions and pledge to extend the boycott. Black, Transfer Agreement, p. 119.

May 13, 1933

Germany and Palestine: In the nick of time for the survival of the Nazis, the German Reich strikes a deal with Sam Cohen 12 and the Zionist movement. Through some creative accounting German Jews willing to emigrate to British-mandated Palestine will have a certain amount of their assets (frozen into "sperrmarks" according to the 1931 decree) unfrozen and given to a clearinghouse controlled by the Zionists.

The first £1000 will go to satisfy the British entry requirement; the rest will be used by the Zionists to buy German goods needed to build the Jewish state— machinery, pipes, fertilizer, coal, iron, tools, seeds, etc. (The major part of Jewish fortunes, of course, will go into the Reich's treasury.)

As a quid pro quo the Zionists would also use their influence to moderate or end the anti-German boycotts.

[The formal agreements, signed in August, created the Paltreu clearinghouse in Berlin supervised by the Zionist organization and the Haavara clearinghouse in Tel Aviv whose stock was owned by the Anglo-Palestine Bank. This deal with the devil enabled 60,000 German Jews and $100 million of their capital to enter Palestine in the pre-war years.

It provided the capital as well as the population needed to buy the land and develop a country that could then be the homeland for the wretched postwar survivors of the concentration camps. (In 1933 only 4% of Palestine's 10,000 square miles was Jewish-owned. Jews, mostly living in Jerusalem, made up 20% of the population.)

Yet this Transfer Agreement rescued Germany from bankruptcy at a time when the boycotters were predicting that "Germany will crack this winter!" In addition to subverting the boycott the Zionists soon realized that the fates of Germany and Palestine were now inextricably entwined and efforts must be made to stabilize the German mark.

Soon Haavara was acting as a broker to export German goods throughout the Middle East (and attempting to keep these commercial transactions a secret from the rest of the Jewish world.) Entrepreneurs established businesses such as breweries and publishing houses using German Jewish sperrmarks. The boycotts faded away and the incipient moves toward a preemptive war against Germany by Poland, Czechoslovakia and France were squashed.

A good chance to stop Hitler was lost, and many millions would perish in his death camps and in World War II. That summer the Zionist Organization rejected several offers to settle large numbers of German Jews in other havens, such as the northern region of Australia, and a substantial portion of Manchuria. No, it would be Palestine or nowhere. Black, Transfer Agreement, pp. 133, 249-260, 380, 98, 373-375.]

12 Sam Cohen was a Polish Jew who had made a fortune trading in real estate in Berlin during the First World War. Well-known for his philanthropies and well-connected in Germany, he was an ideal choice to negotiate a special currency exemption for Jews with the officials of the Reich.

It was Felix Rosenbluth, a German Zionist émigré to Palestine (later Pinchas Rosen, Israel's first Minister of Justice), who thought up the seemingly preposterous idea of such an approach to the Nazis. Cohen attempted to highjack the deal for an orchard enterprise of his own, but was forced by the Zionists to relinquish control and be one of many participants. Black, Transfer Agreement, pp. 82-87, 226-250.


May 10, 1933

Banking Reforms: The Glass-Steagall bill— the Banking Act of 1933— to institute various banking reforms is introduced. It proposes the separation of commercial from investment banking, with the Federal Reserve Board to be in control of interest rates. It raises the minimum capital requirements for new banks; banks may not make loans to their officers; and bank officers may be removed from office and imprisoned for up to five years for unsound banking practices.

[The resumed hearings of the Pecora Committee [See May 23, 1933] in the new session of Congress had inflamed the public and insured the passage of the bill. The House voted 282-19; the Senate by acclamation. Before its final passage on June 16, a controversial amendment to insure deposits was added.

FDR initially opposed this; ironically, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is considered "the most resoundingly and unqualifiedly successful" of all New Deal reform legislation. (The limit insured was initially $2500. Add two zeroes for the 2009 maximum.) In 1963 Milton Friedman described the FDIC as the "single most important structural change" in the economy since the Civil War. Davis, New Deal Years, pp. 148-150; Alter, p. 305; Cohen, pp. 276-279; Lindley, pp. 135-146.

On February 27, 1995 President Clinton's Secretary of the Treasury Robert Rubin announced to a group of securities traders that Clinton would seek the repeal of Glass-Steagall. This within days of the bankruptcy of Britain's 223-year-old Barings Bank because of transactions forbidden in this country by Glass-Steagall! Rubin had been the head of the Wall Street investment firm of Goldman, Sachs. Los Angeles Times, March 2, 1995.]

May 17, 1933

The Blue Eagle: After many weeks of debate within his corps of advisors, FDR sends the National Industrial Recovery Act to Congress. He had prepared the public with his second fireside chat ten days earlier for a "partnership in planning" between government and business that would prevent "foolish over-production" and unfair labor practices. There would be exemption from anti-trust laws so that management could cooperate in providing shorter working hours for higher wages with the goal of increasing purchasing power in the nation.

[The measure passed quickly in the House. The Senate was lobbied by the Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) who opposed the advantages given to labor. Liberal Senators feared that suspension of the anti-trust laws would lead to price-fixing to the disadvantage of the consumer and the destruction of small businesses.

After its Senate passage on June 13 (with only nine votes to spare) the National Recovery Administration (NRA), headed by Hugh Johnson, established production codes for the ten major industries. Those employers and merchants in compliance were entitled to display the logo of the Blue Eagle with the motto beneath— We Do Our Part. Consumers were encouraged to sign a pledge to buy only products displaying the symbol.

An early labor victory of the codes was the ending of child labor in the cotton mills; a long-term labor victory was Section 7(a) which guaranteed labor's right to organize and bargain collectively and prohibited management from making "yellow-dog contracts," or pledges which new employees were forced to sign as a condition of their employment that they would not join a union.

In September a quarter of a million people — the largest demonstration to date in American history— marched down Fifth Avenue in the Blue Eagle Parade with six times that number cheering. At this point nine of the ten industries had agreed on their codes and the coal industry followed later that month. The basic NRA standard was a maximum work week of 35-40 hours for a wage of no less than $12 to $15 a week.

The second arm of the NIRA was the Public Works Administration (PWA) with a $3.3 billion appropriation to build highways, dams and federal buildings. Administered by the over-cautious Secretary of the Interior, Harold Ickes, this program did not make the economic or cultural impact that the WPA would in later years. However, New York's Triborough Bridge, the Lincoln Tunnel, Boulder Dam and many school buildings and courthouses throughout the country still stand as testimony to the effectiveness of Title II.

Katznelson has pointed out that the NIRA (and subsequent labor legislation) was affirmative action for white workers, as the legislation excluded farm and domestic labor.
In the South 70-80 % of the black labor force was employed in these categories.
The NAACP characterized the bill as "like a sieve with holes just big enough for the majority of Negroes to fall through." The Southern Democrats would never have let the bill pass without these exclusions.

The Supreme Court declared the NIRA unconstitutional in 1935, or at least the parts regulating American commerce. [See Schechter decision, May 27, 1935.] As Alter points out, most New Dealers breathed a sigh of relief. The program had become unpopular (even with the manufacturers who reaped the major benefit.) The codes were bulky and subject to ridicule. (How many times is a stripper allowed to remove her clothes in one evening?) Consumers complained about the higher prices. "NRA prices and Hoover wages."
The Hearst Newspapers alleged that the initials stood for No Recovery Allowed.
The program, up for renewal in June, would surely have lost.

There were permanent gains from the NIRA, however— workers' rights, and the government as a big player in public works. Schlesinger, Coming, pp. 105-130; Miller, Intimate, pp. 326-331; Alter, pp. 300-304; Burns, Lion, pp. 191-193; Davis, New Deal Years, pp. 115-120, 249-269; Cohen, pp. 279-283; Katznelson, When Affirmative Action Was White, pp. 43-54.]

May 23, 1933

Banking - Pecora Hearings - J. P. Morgan, Jr.: The hearings begin again with the entrance of Jack Morgan and his retinue- partners, lawyers and several very tough-looking bodyguards. Reporters and photographers are waiting eagerly; special klieg lights have been installed and there are facilities for hour-by-hour transmission of the news.

This is the first time that a Morgan has been publicly interrogated since J. Pierpont Morgan, Sr.—Jack's father— was grilled by the Pujo Committee in 1912. The Committee's scrutiny is turning, at FDR's suggestion, from the activities of the commercial banks to those of the private banks, such as the House of Morgan, Dillon Read and Kuhn Loeb.

[The first bombshell was the disclosure that Morgan had paid no income tax in the last three years, quite legally carrying over his 1929 losses. This tax code loophole was then unknown to the general public. The inner workings of the very secretive bank were revealed. The senior partner—Jack— was the final arbiter of everything. He could select a new partner (with no capital contribution required) and he could fire an old partner. Or he could dissolve the partnership.

The bank's clients came to the bank by means of introduction. It was not possible for some unknown person to walk in to 23 Wall Street (no business name on the outside door!) and deposit $10,000, even the committee's chairman, as Jack replied to his hypothetical.
Loans were made to one's clients, sometimes without collateral. ("They are friends of ours, and we know they are good, straight fellows.") No statements of the firm's financial condition were ever given to depositors- "They never asked for it."

The most important revelation came in the interrogation about the bank's handling of the common stock for the Allegheny Corporation in January, 1929. This was a holding company formed to consolidate the various railroad holdings of the Van Swearingen brothers of Cleveland. The Morgan bank was offered over a million shares at $20 a share, but the "when issued" price was already being traded over the counter at $35. Morgan offered specified numbers of shares (at $20) to a select list of clients who, he said, were "able to afford the risk."

This little windfall to 170 special friends came to eight million dollars. Pecora forced the House of Morgan to reveal their names— fellow bankers in other banks, heads of corporations (such as Myron Taylor of U.S. Steel, Owen Young of General Electric, Walter Teagle of Standard Oil of New Jersey), Bernard Baruch, Richard Whitney of the New York Stock Exchange, Charles Lindbergh, numerous Republican politicians and a few Democrats . Two of the latter were members of the New Deal circle; FDR resisted calls for the dismissal of his Secretary of the Treasury Woodin and Norman H. Davis, delegate to the Disarmament Conference meeting then in Geneva.

The most memorable incident probably occurred after Senator Carter Glass (D-VA) criticized Pecora's aggressive questioning and characterized the hearings as "a circus."
The next morning before the hearings began, a publicist for Ringling Brothers Circus slipped in with a pretty 27-inch midget, plopping her onto the lap of the head of the House of Morgan. Then ensued a scramble of photographers vying for the best shots, a series of flashbulbs going off.

Jack Morgan could have taken affront, but the man had class. He held the charmingly-dressed little lady on his lap, engaged her in a brief conversation—"I've got a grandson bigger than you!" "But I'm older! I'm twenty-two!"— and then gently lifted her off his lap and put her on the floor. This avuncular display of courtesy and affection completely changed the public's perception of him. Seligman, pp. 30-38; Lindley, pp. 139-143; Brooks, pp. 180-193;Chernow, Morgan, 363-374

May 31, 1933

Far East: Japan and China sign a truce which recognizes Japan's control of Manchuria— now renamed Manchukuo with a puppet emperor, Henry Pu-Yi— and north China as far as the Great Wall.

[There were two warring sides in China, the Nationalists and the Communists.
When FDR learned that Japan was fortifying its mandated islands in the Pacific in violation of the Washington Conference pact, he moved to build the navy up to its treaty limits and started sending aid to China, including a $50 million credit for wheat and cotton exports.
He encouraged Curtiss-Wright to build an airplane factory in Hangchow and Pan American Airways to take over China's failing civil aviation. LaFeber, pp.176-177.]

June 13, 1933

Germany: Douglas Miller, the US commercial attaché in Berlin, writes in his monthly dispatch that:

— a series of decrees have announced a grant of one thousand marks to certain married couples with a compensatory tax on bachelors
— failure to give the Hitler greeting salute is to be regarded as an act disturbing the peace and will be punishable by several days of imprisonment
— the Ministry of Post has eliminated several Jewish names from the series of names used to describe letters of the alphabet. No more David, Jacob, Nathan, Samuel or Zacharias.
— the secret police have received the right to investigate the contents of safety deposit vaults, to open mail, to listen to telephone conversations, and to search the premises of suspected persons.
— Jews and foreigners are less numerous and conspicuous in public places. There has been an influx of country people.
— Signs have been appearing: "German Women Do Not Smoke;" last week a radio speaker exhorted German women to stop the use of cosmetics. Miller, Via Diplomatic Pouch, pp. 53-58.

June 16, 1933

Census in Germany: One-half million census takers, supported by storm troopers and SS officers, spread out through Germany to question their 41 million fellow citizens.

[It took several months for Dehomag to complete the statistical analysis. Cards punched in hole 3 of column 22 for "Jew" were further processed and sorted for profession, current address, place of birth, native language and so on. (The OstJuden, or Eastern Jews identified by their Polish language, would be the first to be deported from Germany.)

IBM chief Watson visited Germany in October to observe the progress of the operation.
He took a portion of the very large profits from the job to invest in a new factory in the Lichterfelde suburb of Berlin. It opened in January 1934 in a ceremony attended by numerous ranking Nazi officials and accompanied by the singing of the Horst Wessel. (According to an emergency law of August, 1931, all profits were frozen for use only in Germany.) Black, IBM, pp. 56-61, 81-86.

Hitler was unhappy with the census statistic of less than half a million Jews, which was less than 1% of the total population and fewer than in 1925. The census had not identified all
the Jews according to his race theory; they were hiding or had converted to Christianity.
So Dehomag designed forms to correlate information culled from several generations of baptism, birth, death and marriage records with the census results in order to identify
the "race Jews." By 1935 the "true number" of Jews in Germany was declared to be 1.5 million or three times the number revealed by the census. Black, IBM, pp. 103-104, 109.]

June 20, 1933

Germany and the Jews: The New York Times alerts the public to the American Jewish Committee's booklet, "The Jews in Germany," in which the Committee finally admits that anti-Jewish violence in Germany is real, rampant, and escalating. The Times advises its readers to reject all German denials.

[Hitler had given an interview to Collier's Weekly: "Perfect calm reigns in Germany! . . . If only all Americans could come over here! They would look about and ask themselves where is this revolution, where is this terror, where is all this destruction and chaos I've heard about?" At the same time Nazi boycott leader Julius Streicher was proclaiming that if Germany went to war, all Jews would be killed and a prominent German physician was advocating sterilization as the solution to the "Jewish question." Black, Transfer Agreement,
p. 179.

July 8, 1933

Germany and the Vatican: Hitler signs a Concordat with the Vatican which recognizes the right of the papacy to impose the 1917 Code of Canon Law on German Catholics.
In exchange all Catholic clergy, political parties, social associations and newspapers will "voluntarily" abstain from social and political action.

[Cardinal Secretary of State Eugenio Pacelli, the future Pope Pius XII, had been negotiating for such a concordat with Germany since 1920, all in the interest of guaranteeing the supremacy of the Vatican over the Catholic clergy and its right to choose archbishops and lower church officials.

German Catholics had been outspokenly critical of the Nazis— in the press and from the pulpit— since the emergence of the Nazis as a viable party. A best-selling book of 1931, Hitler and Rome, described the National Socialists as "a brutal party that would do away with the rights of the people." Some parish priests refused the sacraments to card-carrying Nazis. Three German archbishops had declared that National Socialism and Catholicism were incompatible; Pacelli would demand a statement from the German hierarchy disavowing all such previous statements.

The Catholic Center Party was the sole surviving opposition party to Hitler; Pacelli had compelled its dissolution ten days earlier as a condition of the concordat. (In August, 1931 he had badgered Chancellor Brüning, a devout Catholic, to "form a right-wing administration precisely to achieve a Reich Concordat" even if this meant including Hitler and other Nazis in his cabinet. Brüning had refused.)

Catholics were only 35% of Germany's population; however, Catholic churches were better organized than the Protestant ones. For instance, in 1933 there were 1.5 million people enrolled in Catholic youth groups as compared to 700,000 in the Protestant ones. Hitler had feared Catholic grassroots action as in the 1870s when Bismarck had attempted to institute his Kulturkampf and Catholics had responded with demonstrations, rock-throwing and destruction of buildings.

Pacelli, in one blow, rendered the Catholics of the 1930s impotent for any moral or political protest against Hitler and his policies. Hitler considered the agreement "a great achievement. The Concordat gave Germany an opportunity and created an area of trust that was particularly significant in the developing struggle against international Jewry."
The Concordat definitely thwarted clerical protest on the treatment of Jews or the Holocaust. And the author of the Concordat as Pope failed to condemn the Final Solution. Cornwell, Hitler's Pope, pp. 6-7, 85, 106-110, 120-121, 149-154.]

July 14, 1933

Germany - Eugenics: A law is passed permitting the forced sterilization of Gypsies, the mentally and physically disabled, African-Germans, and others considered "inferior" or "unfit."

August 1, 1933

Labor - Frick Strike: At the Frick Coke Company in western Pennsylvania one striker is killed, three are critically injured, and many others injured by the company police. This is the culmination of several days of hostilities following strikes in the area in which 20,000 miners stopped work. The Frick plant is closed down. Governor Gifford Pinchot, a Progressive Republican, is forced to call on the National Guard to restore order, the first call-out of militia since the great soft-coal strike of 1922.

[The section 7(a) of NIRA was the catalyst for a great deal of union organizing, especially by John L. Lewis of the United Mine Workers of America. Anticipating this, the steel companies formed company unions in their subsidiary mine companies (the so-called "captive mines"), such as Frick Coke, before the June 1 implementation date of NIRA. The steel companies resisted recognition of the UMW and various truces failed.

(Section 7(a) was only enabling legislation; there were no sanctions attached. It called for the right of employees to organize and bargain collectively. No employee (or anyone seeking employment) should be required to join any labor organization or to refrain from joining any organization of his choosing.)

By October 100,000 miners were out on strike, there had been many more shooting deaths, three-fourths of Pennsylvania's production had stopped, and food stores were being looted. Governor Pinchot was pleading for some sort of federal intervention. On October 30th FDR pressured the steel companies to an agreement.
--- The union called off the strike.
--- Strikers would be re-employed without prejudice.
--- There would be a check-off for union dues.
--- Wages, hours and conditions would be those of the Appalachian Agreement and the bituminous NRA code, hammered out by Lewis with the mine owners on September 21st. --- There would be elections in which the employees would choose their representatives for collective bargaining.

On November 6th the miners returned to work. In the elections later in the month the UMW won recognition in the captive mines of seven steel companies (including Republic, Allegheny, and Jones & Laughlin.) Union recognition at Frick Coke and other captive mines of US Steel wouldnot come for several years. Davis, New Deal Years, pp. 254-257.; Bernstein, Turbulent Years, pp. 30-60.]

August 5, 1933

Labor: FDR announces the establishment by executive order of a seven-member National Labor Board (NLB) to arbitrate labor-management disputes arising under the NRA.
He appoints Senator Robert Wagner of New York, a longtime champion of the right of labor to bargain collectively, to chair the board while continuing to serve in the Senate.
(This was possibly an abuse of the constitutional "separation of powers" since he accepted a post in the executive branch while continuing in the legislature.)

[There was immediate opposition from industry and the powerful National Association of Manufacturers (NAM); there were many efforts to defy and sabotage rulings of the NLB. However, the board enjoyed considerable success in the weeks that followed despite the vague wording of its mandate. In its first settled strike, that of Pennsylvania hosiery workers and only a few days after the formation of the board, the "Reading Formula" was enumerated. The Board would hold elections in which the employees, by secret ballot, would select representatives to bargain with employers about wages, hours, and working conditions.

Weirton Steel Company and the Budd Automotive Manufacturing Company openly defied the NLB; it became obvious that a legal statute with significant sanctions was required.
The Wagner Act of July, 1935 would create a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) with more teeth in it to enforce collective bargaining and prevent unfair labor practices. Burns, Lion, pp. 215-217; Davis, New Deal, p. 257; Bernstein, Turbulent Years, pp. 173-185.]

October 13, 1933

Germany: The American Federation of Labor (AFL) boycotts all German-made products in protest against the actions of the Nazi government.

October 14, 1933

Germany: Germany announces its withdrawal from the League of Nations and from the Geneva Disarmament Conference.

October 20, 1933

Soviet Union: US Assistant Secretary of State Jefferson Caffery leaks a fallacious story to the United Press about the Moscow Bolsheviks fomenting a revolution in Cuba. The UP doesn't bite.

[Three days later FDR invited the Soviets to send a representative to Washington to discuss re-establishing diplomatic relations. The patrician old hands in the State Department had done everything possible to block FDR's recognition of the Soviet Union. Coming principally from privileged backgrounds and educations at Yale or Groton-Harvard, they had a built-in anti-communist reflex. Coupled with this was their deep-seated anti-Semitism and the belief that most Bolsheviks were Jews.

People today, with the enthusiasm of the State Department for Israel, may find it hard to believe the level of anti-Semitism that existed there before World War II. Weil, A Pretty Good Club, pp. 69-71; 39-44.]

November 8, 1933

Employment and the Infrastructure: FDR establishes the Civil Works Administration (CWA) with the goal of emergency employment of millions of men for the winter months building and improving roads, schools, playgrounds, sewer systems, airports and parks.
It would be administered by Harry Hopkins.

[In the months since the start of FERA and the CCC Frances Perkins had continued to remind FDR of his pledge for a large-scale public works program. As far back as 1930, and before Keynes came out with his economic theories, she had argued that large government expenditures on the infrastructure would provide needed jobs and prime the pump for an economic recovery. From the start of FERA Hopkins was unhappy with doling out money to the destitute unemployed because of the damage it did to the recipient's self-image. Work relief, he said, "preserves a man's morale. It saves his skill. It gives him a chance to do something socially useful."

So he combined with Secretary of Labor Perkins to persuade FDR to set up the Civil Works Administration, using funds from Ickes' slow-moving Public Works Administration. Hopkins promised to have four million men at work by Christmas, and that number was amazingly reached in mid-January. In the less than four months of the CWA's existence about half a million miles of secondary roads were built and 40,000 schools were built or improved. CWA developed more than 300 airports, cleared waterways, dug sewers and swimming pools, and improved parks. West Point engineer Lt. Col. Lee praised Hopkins' "loose fluidity of organization. . . . It enabled him to engage for employment in two months nearly as many persons as were enlisted and called to the colors during our year and a half of World War mobilization, and to disburse to them, weekly, a higher average rate of wage than Army or Navy pay."

CWA reached every county and town in the United States, providing succor during one of the severest winters on record. When Hopkins went to Congress in mid-January to ask for another million dollars for the rest of the winter, the record low in Washington of six below zero helped persuade the legislators. Also they had received letters from constituents applauding the program and Hopkins' philosophy that work that earned money was what people needed, not the tickets for groceries that were detrimental to their self-esteem.
By mid-January over four million people were working on CWA projects; for many it was the first cash they had in their pockets in over two years.

The Republican National Committee accused Hopkins of "gross waste" and "corruption;" conservatives particularly criticized the work projects found for 3000 artists and writers— "boondoggles"— the beginning of the Federal Arts project. Haste was a priority for social worker Hopkins. When he was approached to fund a project with "long-term benefits," he growled that people "don't eat in the long term— they eat every day." Schlesinger, Coming, pp. 269-271; Sherwood, pp. 50-64; Burns, Lion, p. 196;.Davis, New Deal Years, pp. 305-314;Cohen, pp. 217-218, 312-313.

November 8, 1933

Afghanistan: The king, Nadir Shah, is assassinated. His son, Zahir Shah, born 1914, ascends to the throne for a reign that will last forty years.

[The country was basically governed for the first twenty years by Zahir Shah's two uncles and for the next ten by his cousin, Mohammed Daoud Khan. The uncles, wishing to avoid dependency on either Britain or the Soviet Union, turned to Germany for the needed aid and expertise to build factories, roads, hydroelectric plants, and communication facilities.
By the beginning of World War II Germany was Afghanistan's most important foreign country. Yet Afghanistan declared neutrality during World War II. It acquiesced to a British-Soviet demand to expel non-diplomatic Axis personnel from the country by expelling non-diplomatic personnel from all the belligerent nations.

After the war Prime Minister Shah Mahmud relaxed the strict press censorship and a "liberal parliament" was elected in 1949. Kabul University started a student union which fostered political debate and produced plays that criticized both Islam and the monarchy. The government then cracked down, closed the opposition newspapers, outlawed the Student Union, and arrested many opposition leaders. Nyrop, pp. 48-57; Griffin, Reaping the Whirlwind, p. 88, Cooley, Unholy Wars, pp. 10-11.]

November 10, 1933

Labor: 2500 workers at the Hormel meat-packing plant in Austin, Minnesota stage the first successful "sit-down strike" in the United States; they not only stop work, but also refuse to leave the work place.

[After three days Hormel agreed to submit the workers' wage demands and "speed-up" complaints to binding arbitration. A previous "sit-in" had been attempted by the IWW at General Electric in Schenectady, New York in 1906, but was not successful. Bernstein, Turbulent, p. 500.]

November 17, 1933

Recognition of the Soviet Union: The United States recognizes the Soviet Union— 16 years after its revolution. William C. Bullitt is appointed ambassador.

[Recognition was finally achieved due to the rise in power of the Japanese Empire, although American diplomats hastened to assure the Japanese that recognition of the Soviet Union was not an anti-Japanese act. 13 Before initiating negotiations FDR had ascertained that in a survey of 1139 newspapers, 63% favored recognition, citing the trade benefits likely to be gained. In the agreement the USSR agreed to protect the freedom of worship of American nationals in the USSR and to refrain from sponsoring revolutionary activity against the American political system.

Russia had not recognized the infant USA until 33 years after its revolution. Catherine the Great, like many other European monarchs of her time, had feared the "republican virus" might be contagious! Dallek, pp. 79-81.]

13 Japan had proposed a Japanese Monroe Doctrine for Asia, claiming that Theodore Roosevelt had once advised such a doctrine because "Japan is the only nation in Asia which understands the principles and methods of western civilization." And of course TR had used troops in the Caribbean to enforce his conception of the Monroe Doctrine in actions similar to those of the Japanese Empire in Manchuria and China. LaFeber, The Clash, pp.177-178

December 1, 1933

Crime and Prosecution: It takes a New York jury less than an hour to convict the notorious captain of the bootleg industry, Waxey Gordon, on four counts of income tax evasion. The judge commends the prosecutor, 31-year-old Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas E. Dewey: "Never in this court or any other court has such fine work been done by revenue agents and government attorneys."

[Two weeks later Dewey made his first national radio address, blasting political corruption: "In the decade of unequaled prosperity prior to 1930, the American people sold their birthright. [Tr: The prohibition amendment.] The cold, clammy hand of politics descended firmly on local police departments and prosecutors' offices and ruled them to the benefit of politicians and criminals. Conceived in corruption and flourishing on graft, municipal government in the United States was left to its own devices to bankrupt our cities and surrender our citizens to the rule of the underworld." Smith, Dewey, pp. 139-140.]

December 5, 1933

Prohibition ends when the 36th state, Utah, ratifies the Twenty-first Amendment to the Constitution which repeals the Eighteenth Amendment— which had been ratified in 1919.

[The sale of alcoholic beverages in US was again legal. In anticipation of this Joseph P. Kennedy— later to be named head of SEC and ambassador to Great Britain— had acquired franchises for US importation of Haig and Haig scotch, Gordon's gin and other prestigious labels and had warehouses stocked with cases ready for sale. Mobsters such as Frankie Costello, Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lansky joined him in the race for such licenses.
Not content with running a legal and less profitable liquor business, they soon converted their well-organized syndicates to control prostitution, gambling and the commerce in narcotics.]

December 13, 1933

Germany: Commercial Attaché Miller includes in his dispatch :
--- a description of the Luftschutz, protection of the population against air raids. Eventually every dwelling will be provided with a bomb-proof and gas-proof cellar.
--- Reichminister Darré has forbidden any discussion of the controversial new law which prohibits farmers from selling or mortgaging their land.
--- German households have been warned not to spend money on luxuries for Christmas; they should give that extra money to National Socialist charities for distribution to the poor. Miller, Via Diplomatic Pouch, pp. 100, 103, 114.

December 30, 1933

Assassination in Bucharest: Romania's Prime Minister, Ion Duca, is assassinated by a member of the fascist Iron Guard days after he had outlawed the terrorist movement.

[In his years as foreign minister Duca had been a strong supporter of the Little Entente— Romania, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia— in resisting Hungary's expansionist ambitions. He supported actions to combat the growing anti-Semitism in Romania which had been exacerbated by the return of King Carol's Jewish mistress, Magda (Elena) Lupescu, to the country.

After the assassination the Iron Guard was reconstituted and the ties to the German Nazis were strengthened. In July, 1940 the Soviet Union forced Romania to cede the territories of Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina. In August Germany forced the transfer of half of Transylvania to Hungary. In September the Iron Guard forced the abdication of King Carol II in favor of his son Michael. (The king and Lupescu fled to Portugal.) German troops entered the country in October and in November Romania formally joined the Axis.]

February 6, 1934

France - Battle of the Place de la Concorde: Over 40,000 demonstrators fill the Place de la Concorde and attempt to storm the bridge leading to the Palais-Bourbon where the Chamber of Deputies is meeting. There the conservatives and Communists combine to scream, "Resign!" at the new premier, Edouard Daladier. The rioters have been instructed (by their leaders and the right-wing press) to disperse the Deputies, take possession of the Chamber, and declare an authoritarian regime.

[Daladier had been asked to form a new government after his fellow Radical-Socialist, Camille Chautemps, had resigned in fear of the mobs that had been rioting for the past weeks over the long-term complicity of the government with the swindler, Stavisky.
The rioters were members of right-wing leagues that had formed after the Depression came to France in the autumn of 1931.

If Italy had Blackshirts and Germany had Brownshirts, these French toughs wore blue shirts, black berets and jackboots. There was the Croix de Feu, originally a group of decorated war veterans that morphed into a virulent anti-Communist paramilitary organization. The Cagoule was a secret organization within the Army sponsored by Mussolini. Its members, les Cagoulards or "hooded ones," were outright terrorists, dynamiting and murdering opponents. They aimed to overthrow the republic in favor of a fascist regime. The oldest group was L'Action Française, a survival from the anti-Dreyfus days at the turn of the century, that was monarchist, Catholic, anti-Semitic and bent on the overthrow of the fragile Third Republic and a return to the peace and stability of the 18th century. From 1871-1914 the Third Republic had 50 governments, each lasting an average of a year. After 1918 the average length in office would drop to six months. Shirer, Collapse, p. 96.

The Third Republic survived this impasse. Daladier received three votes of confidence before the Chamber hastily adjourned with the threat of the advancing mob and the evacuation of wounded police to their very Chamber. A counter-attack by the police cleared the Place de la Concorde and, for some unexplained reason, the leader of the Croix de Feu pulled back his forces when victory was within reach. Among the rioters there were 16 deaths and 655 injured. (The toll would have been higher but the police muskets had been withdrawn; they had only sabers and revolvers.) The police suffered one death and 1644 wounded, many from razor blades attached to sticks with which the demonstrators attacked the horses and the legs of the cavalrymen. The riot would be called "the bloodiest encounter in the streets of Paris since the Commune of 1871."

It left France irrevocably split between the anti-republican Right and the Left whose factions would soon attempt to unite in le Front Populaire. Shirer, Collapse, pp. 199-230.]

February 12, 1934

The Export-Import Bank of Washington is incorporated with a capitalization of $11 million.

[The original intent was to extend credits to the Soviet Union. This foundered when the USSR refused to pay interest on its World War I debt, but the bank was important as the first step in the federal government replacing the bankers as the organization financing the nation's exports. Hull, p. 303; LaFeber, p. 179.]

April 12, 1934

The Nye Committee: The Senate establishes the seven-member Munitions Committee under the chairmanship of Gerald Nye (R-ND) to investigate the armaments industry and the excessive profits they made during World War I. It is additionally mandated to make recommendations for legislation for a future wartime industrial mobilization that will prevent such profiteering and possibly include nationalization of the industries.

[This was in response to a tremendous pacifist movement in the country spearheaded by the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom and the Fellowship of Reconciliation to "take the profits out of war." Erich Maria Remarque's novel All Quiet on the Western Front had sold over two million copies in the first two years of the decade.
A Fortune magazine article, "Arms and the Men" was reprinted in the May, 1934 Reader's Digest; the April Book-of-the-Month Club selection was Engelbrecht and Hanighen's Merchants of Death which charged that the world's six largest munitions manufacturer- from Britain, France, Sweden, Czechoslovakia plus Krupp in Germany and duPont in the US- had conspired to promote war in the interest of their greater mutual profits.

By 1939 70% of Americans would believe that it had been a mistake for the US to enter the war. Davis, New Deal Years, pp. 550-556. Wiltz, In Search of Peace; Shogan, Hard Bargain, p. 22.]

April 12, 1934

Anti-War Protest: On the anniversary of the US entry into the Great War twenty-five thousand college students stage a one-hour boycott of classes in the Student Strike against War.

[Although this was just a minority of the college population, the strike and accompanying anti-war demonstrations drew much attention as this was the largest student protest to date in US history. A similar strike in 1935 drew 175,000 students; over 500,000 participated in 1936 in the strike called by the American Student Union.]

April 13, 1934

The isolationists win: Senator Hiram Johnson's bill to deny further loans to governments in default on payments of their debts from World War I is passed.

[This means all US allies except for Finland. Many in France and Britain referred to Uncle Sam as "Uncle Shylock" for the United States insistence on repayment of a money debt to nations who had suffered far greater human losses in the war.]

April 20, 1934

Japan: Amau Ejii of Japan's Foreign Office issues a warning that Japan enjoys a "special position" in China and will oppose "any attempt on the part of China to avail herself of the influence of any other country in order to resist Japan."

[This "Amau statement" implicitly referred to the military advisors and airplanes that the US had been sending to China. LaFeber, p.177.]

May 9, 1934

West Coast Longshoremen Go on Strike: After months of refusal by the shipping industry to negotiate with the International Longshoremen's Association-AFL, twelve thousand workers on docks from San Diego to Seattle vote to stay home from work.
Their demands: a raise in pay from 85 cents to a dollar an hour with $1.50 for overtime,
a six-hour day, a 30-hour week, and a union hiring hall.

[The strike had originally been scheduled for March 23rd, but had been postponed at FDR's request for mediation. Representatives of the Industrial Association and the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce— the real powers in the city— announced that there was nothing to negotiate; the strike was a Communist insurrection which must be put down. In San Francisco several hundred strikebreakers responded to the employers' advertisements, and the usual violence and threats ensured.

On May 13 the Teamsters refused to haul "hot cargo"— anything unloaded by the strikebreakers. Soon the docks were clogged with cargo that could not be moved, and merchant ships with cargo that could not be unloaded were filling the harbor. Boyer and Morais, pp. 282-289.] (See entry for July 19, 1934.)

June 6, 1934

Wall Street: The Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) is established to regulate the stock exchanges and the issue of new securities. [New regulations prevented the establishment of "pools" by which a group of brokers created an artificial demand for a stock, then "selling short" and making a huge profit after the price had risen sufficiently. Also outlawed was the buying of stocks "on margin."

The Brain Trust 14 and liberal newspapers were outraged when FDR disclosed his selection for the first chairman of the five-member 15 board— Joseph P. Kennedy, a man who had made a fortune on Wall Street by such practices in the 20s, indeed as recently as the Libbey-Owens-Ford pool in the summer of 1933. He also had made important financial and courier contributions to the election campaign. FDR defended his choice as a man who "is able, loyal and will make good." When further pressed, he responded, "Set a thief to catch a thief."

Kennedy did an excellent job, ironically restoring public confidence to Wall Street, and winning the praise of those stock brokers who had so vigorously opposed the legislation. Beschloss, Kennedy and Roosevelt, pp. 82-95.]

14 This was the name given by the newspapers to FDR's group of advisers. Some of the principal ones were professor of government.Raymond Moley, economist Rexford G. Tugwell, corporation law expert Adolf A. Berle, Jr., speech writer Sam Rosenman as well as Henry Morgenthau, Jr., Henry A. Wallace, Lewis W. Douglas, Jesse Jones and Harry Hopkins.

15 One member was Ferdinand Pecora, the hard-nosed New York prosecutor who had been the chief counsel to the Senate Committee on Banking and Currency. For over a year Pecora and the committee called the leading bankers of the day to the stand. In the first week Charles Mitchell and Hugh Baker of National City Bank (now Citicorp) testified to their stock manipulations and were forced to resign their positions. Their colleague in these adventures, Anaconda Copper CEO John D. Ryan, met with a mysterious death before his turn on the stand. The revelations of their misdeeds made front page news all over the country; Time magazine coined a new word: Banksters. (Too bad there was no television then!) Only one person did jail time— Richard Whitney, president of the New York Stock Exchange. The hearings led to the establishment of the SEC and the enactment of the Glass-Steagall Banking Act and other regulatory legislation that would keep the bankers and Wall Street on a leash until the 1990s, an event that Pecora predicted. Jackie Corr, "Ferdinand Pecora: An American Hero," CounterPunch, January 11, 2003; Ferdinand Pecora, Wall Street Under Oath: The Story of Modern Money Changers (1939).

June 12, 1934

FDR signs the Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act.

[Technically an amendment to the Smoot-Hawley Act, the bill in effect repealed Smoot-Hawley by authorizing the President to enter into trade agreements with other countries and raising or lowering the Smoot-Hawley tariff rates as much as 50% without any congressional action or approval. Secretary of State Cordell Hull had shepherded the bill to passage; he believed that closed trading blocs (such as the Japanese and Germans were creating) would lead to political blocs and eventually war. He had been much disheartened when FDR failed to ask for this legislation in the first Hundred Days. Traditionally, in economic matters, the Democrats espoused free trade and the Republicans advocated tariffs. This reciprocal trade agreement, including the most-favored-nation formulation 16, became the basis of US trade policy for the rest of the century. Hull, Memoirs, pp. 352-365; Davis, New Deal Years, p. 131.]

16 As Hull said, "The phrase is not of the happiest. It gives an impression of getting or giving favored or special treatment. It simply means: I won't treat you any worse than the person I treat the best of all, provided you don't treat me any worse than the person you treat best of all."

June 14-15, 1934

Meeting in Venice: Hitler achieves his long-desired meeting with fellow-dictator, Benito Mussolini. On Austria, they agree that both should support Engelbert Dollfuss and his government; that new elections should be held as soon as possible; and there should be no union— Anschluss— between Germany and Austria. They agree to disagree on the treatment of the Jews, the League of Nations and cooperative arrangements with France and Great Britain. The foreign press view Mussolini as the dominant character; cartoons show a giant Mussolini towering over a pygmy Hitler. Ridley, pp. 235-241.

June 19, 1934

Commubications: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is established to supervise radio, telephone and telegraph communications.

June 19, 1934

Germany: Douglas Miller, the commercial attaché in Berlin, cables his superiors in Washington: "The only sales of American staple products now going on in German ports are sales of petroleum products by a few of the large oil companies. . . . The American interests plus the British Shell interests together control the great bulk of the filling stations in Germany and are supplying a commodity which Germany cannot very well produce herself. . . . The free ports of Germany are full of merchandise which is offered for sale in only foreign exchange. . . ." Miller further reports that Germany hopes to establish barter agreements whereby American lumber and cotton can be imported in exchange for German manufactured goods. No US manufactured goods or tobacco wanted, as Germany has a huge trade deficit with the United States. Miller, Via Diplomatic Pouch, pp. 175-183.

June 28, 1934

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is established to insure loans for the construction, renovation and repair of private homes.

[Thirty-year bank mortgages were insured by the FHA at low interest rates with only a 5-10% down payment. Previously banks had typically required a 50% down payment for a ten-year mortgage, thus essentially prohibiting home ownership for the majority of the population. The FHA was the first step in the creation of pattern of home ownership that would distinguish the United States from countries in Europe. Polenberg, One Nation Divisible, p. 131.]

June 30, 1934

Germany - The Night of the Long Knives: Captain Ernst Röhm and the leaders of his SA are purged in a coordinated effort by Heinrich Himmler and Reinhart Heydrich's SS men and Hermann Göring's personal bodyguard. Hitler personally rouses Röhm from bed in a vacation hotel south of Munich and arrests him. In groups of four they are placed against the wall in Stadelheim and Lichterfelde prisons and shot. These walls are soon completely covered with blood and human flesh.

[The cover story would be that the SA was planning a coup. The true story is that the army and Hitler's conservative business backers had demanded that the violence of the Brownshirts, now numbering two and a half million or six times the size of the Wehrmacht, be stopped. Their terror tactics had been essential in Hitler's rise to power— the elimination of the Communists, the Reichstag fire— but they were now an impediment.

Hitler made a deal with the top army generals: he would eliminate the SA, and the Wehrmacht would support Hitler for president upon the death of Hindenberg and not the restoration of the monarchy, as some of the generals had wanted. Hitler took advantage of these bloody 24 hours to have numerous other troublesome people dispatched, including the three who set the Reichstag fire and ex-Chancellor von Schleicher who had been conspiring with Röhm.

In the 1957 Munich trial of Sepp Dietrich and Michael Lippert it was said that "more than 1000" had been killed in the Blood Purge, or the Night of the Long Knives. Shirer, Rise and Fall, pp. 219-226; Pool, Hitler and His Secret Partners, pp. 59-86; Paul, Hermann Göring, pp. 140-143; Heiden, The Führer, pp. 561-603; 719-772.

Heiden, Hitler's first biographer and a reporter for the Frankfurter Zeitung, wrote that "the blood purge gave Hitler absolute mastery of his party and of Germany . . . the pattern was set and the weapon forged. Having enslaved his own people, Hitler was ready to use the techniques he had learned . . . to enslave the Continent. The shots in the Stadelheim prison were the first shots of the Second World War." p.773. Mussolini was shocked by the massacre. Ridley, p. 241.]

July 16, 1934

General Strike in San Francisco: Labor calls for a "general strike"— the first in American history— to support the longshoremen on strike in San Francisco. (See entry for May 9, 1934.) The city is shut down almost completely for three days.

[The provocation was the police and police brutality. On July 3rd eight police cars (on orders from the mayor and the Industrial Association) attempted to escort five cargo-laden trucks out of a warehouse. The police captain on the running board of the lead car flourished a revolver and yelled, "The port is open." A thousand pickets converged on the police with bricks, stones and clubs; the police responded with bullets and tear gas. The battle went on for four hours with scores of citizens watching from the hills above the waterfront. The fight resumed on the 5th with ILA pickets reinforced with members of other unions— they believed that "If they win this, there'll never be another union in Frisco." Many college and high school students played hooky for the day to join in on the side of labor.

At the end of the day California Governor Merriam ordered in two thousand National Guardsmen. Strike leader Harry Bridges: "We cannot stand up against police, machine guns, and National Guard bayonets." The employers thought they had won, yet many were later dismayed by the funeral procession down Market Street for the fallen strikers. A union band played Beethoven's funeral march as 35,000 workers walked behind the coffins, hats held across their chests. In union halls throughout the Bay Area they voted for a general strike. William Green, the national head of AFL forbade the strike, but 160 local unions with a membership of 127,000 voted to join the general strike scheduled for July 16.

The city came to a standstill. The factories were deserted, no street cars were running,
the workers were staying home. The strike committee allowed deliveries of milk, bread and ice; nineteen restaurants were allowed to stay open. Newspapers continued to be printed, and the telephones worked. Physicians received gasoline for their cars. The governor dispatched 3000 additional troops. The police department swore in mobs of vigilantes as special police. These thugs went to work wrecking union halls, clubs of the foreign-born, progressive book stores, the office of the Western Worker, the Communist Party headquarters and the ILA soup kitchen. The regular police watched, but did not interfere. Sometimes they completed the destruction after the vigilantes had moved on. They arrested 500 men and women, mostly street people, claiming that they were Communists.

They weren't, and the municipal judge who released them said, "I am disgusted that this good old town should have acted like a pack of wolves." San Francisco newspapers, with one exception, attempted to inflame the public by equating the strike with "revolution" and warning of dire consequences should the strike succeed, at the same time failing to print any of the strike committee's releases which gave the reasons for the strike and listed the grievances. The San Francisco Chronicle: "The radicals have seized control by intimidation. What they want is revolution." Papers elsewhere agreed. The Los Angeles Times described the strike as a "Communist-inspired and led revolt against organized government."
The New Republic called their coverage "deliberate journalistic malpractice." The strike continued until the 19th when the more conservative members of the General Strike Committee prevailed.

The ILA continued its strike however. On the 30th the longshoremen went back to work and the employers settled:- the longshoremen got their union hiring hall, the six-hour day, the thirty-hour week and a significant raise in pay. Harry Bridges, the local leader who had defied the national head, was elected president of the local San Francisco ILA and later, president of the West Coast District. Harry Bridges became a marked man after his success in raising wages and lowering work hours. Several groups labeled him a "Communist" and demanded his deportation to his native Australia, the American Legion being the first.

His immigration papers were quite legal, so the only charge the persecutors could bring was that he was a member of the Communist Party. On four different occasions federal authorities or juries found Bridges not then or ever to have been a Communist. Supreme Court Justice Frank Murphy called the efforts to frame Bridges "a monument to man's intolerance to man." Boyer and Morais, pp. 282-289; Seldes, Freedom of the Press; Bernstein, Turbulent Years, pp. 252-298.]

July 25, 1934

Assassination in Vienna: Hitler attempts a putsch; over 150 SS men dressed in Austrian Army uniforms break into the Chancellery; and Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss is shot in the throat from a distance of two feet. The radio station is seized; it broadcasts the "news" that Dollfuss has resigned.

[For months the Austrian Nazis had been preparing the country for a German takeover. They had blown up railroads, power stations and government buildings and murdered supporters of Dollfuss' clerical-fascist regime with dynamite and weapons supplied by Germany. However, after the assault on the Chancellery Dr. Kurt von Schuschnigg,
the Minister of Justice, was able to regain control and the perpetrators were arrested.

Mussolini, who had been expecting a visit from Dollfuss that day, sent his vacationing family home in a special plane accompanied by a detective. He mobilized four divisions at the Brenner Pass. (Only a month earlier he and Hitler had pledged to respect Austria's independence.) Hitler had to hastily retract an exultatory news release and substitute one that expressed regret at the "cruel murder." The Anschluss would have to be postponed. Shirer, Rise, pp. 279- 280.]

August 2, 1934

Germany's President, Paul von Hindenburg, dies, aged 87: Three hours after his death a new law is announced (which had been enacted by the cabinet the day before) —
the offices of President and Chancellor are combined. Adolf Hitler will take over the powers of both head of state and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces and will henceforth be known as Führer and Reich Chancellor.

[Hitler then had each of the men and officers of the armed forces swear an oath of "unconditional obedience" to him personally. William Shirer remarks that up until this time the generals "could have overthrown the Nazi regime with ease had they so desired."
Hitler suppressed the part of Hindenburg's will in which he expressed his hope for the restoration of the monarchy. Rise and Fall, pp. 226-227.

James Pool does not believe either Hindenburg's death or the "unconditional obedience" oath was that significant. The secret cabal of generals still controlled the army and the original deal with his financial backers remained in place as well as their seats in the cabinet. Pool, Hitler and His Secret Partners, pp. 86-88. Joachim Fest disagrees, believing that the oath (which was in violation of both the constitution and the Oath Act of 1933) inhibited many officers from joining future plots against Hitler. Plotting Hitler's Death, pp. 55-56.]

August 7, 1934

Judge Harry S Truman of Independence, Missouri wins the Democratic primary race for the Senate, thanks to the support of the Pendergast machine in Jackson County where he receives nearly half his total vote.

[His major opponent, supported by the St. Louis machine, failed to get a single vote in some of the Kansas City precincts.] McCullough, Truman, pp. 210-212.

August 19, 1934

Germany: Instead of holding elections for a new president as required by the constitution, a plebiscite is held to endorse Hitler's assumption of the office. 45 million Germans voted.
38 million voted "yes"
4 million voted "no"
1 million deliberately defaced their ballots. Pool, p. 88

August 22, 1934

The American Liberty League is incorporated.
[Businessmen and conservatives from both parties united in the Liberty League to oppose FDR and his policies. Some charter members were: Alfred P. Sloan and William Knudsen from General Motors, oil magnate J. Howard Pew, the duPont family, Sewell L. Avery of Montgomery Ward, Edward Hutton of General Foods, and the major Democrats of the 1932 "Stop Roosevelt" campaign— Al Smith and John W. Davis (who had been rivals for the 1928 nomination), John J. Raskob, and the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee Jouett Shouse.

When Herbert Hoover was asked to join, he declined, remembering who had financed the smear campaign against him, saying that he had "no more confidence in the Wall Street model of human liberty, which this group so well represents, than I have in the Pennsylvania Avenue model upon which the country now rides." When a reporter asked FDR to comment on the newly-formed Liberty League, he replied: "An organization that only advocates two or three of the Ten Commandments may be a perfectly good organization, but it would have certain shortcomings in having failed to advocate the other seven or eight." Wolf, p. 29.

The League was to the right of Alfred M. Landon, who would be the Republican nominee in 1936. It soon became clear that its main purpose was to spin out political propaganda attempting to define the New Deal and the "alphabet soup" programs as a conspiracy to subvert the Constitution and substitute a socialist or communist state. Schlesinger, Coming, pp. 486-7; Davis, New Deal Years, pp. 400, 625.]

August 25, 1934

Expulsion from Germany: Adolf Hitler gives the American journalist, Dorothy Thompson, twenty-four hours to leave Germany.

[Beginning in 1931 in a series of articles for the Saturday Evening Post, Thompson had been warning the American public of the imminent collapse of the Weimar Republic and the danger of the National Socialist Party. Hitler possibly singled her out for expulsion because she had described him as a mediocre person in her 1932 interview, "I Saw Hitler!"
Upon her return to the States she became the foremost American spokesperson in the war against fascism, using her column in the New York Herald-Tribune as a pulpit. Three-fifths of her output 1938-1940 attacked the Nazis and the cowardice of the democracies, according to calculations by The New Yorker. Kurth, American Cassandra, pp. 159, 199-204, 280.]

September 4, 1934

Upton Sinclair, the Democratic candidate for governor of California, visits FDR at Hyde Park and leaves believing that FDR will publicly endorse his candidacy and his program of "production-for-use."

[Sinclair, the author of The Jungle and other muckraking novels, had been a lifelong Socialist until he changed his party registration the year before. His Program to End Poverty in California (EPIC) involved combining idle factories and idle workers into "production-for-use" communities, the repeal of the state sales tax and substitution of a steeply graduated income tax with greatly increased taxes on large incomes and large property holdings with a special tax on movie studios.

More people voted for Sinclair in the primary than for all of his eight opponents combined, or for the winner of the Republican primary. Sinclair's program was so popular that most of the campaign expenses were raised from admissions to rallies where he spoke and from sales of his campaign literature, such as "I, Governor of California, and How I Ended Poverty: A True Story of the Future." Schlesinger, Upheaval, pp. 112-117. Davis, New Deal Years, pp.402-405, 409.]

September 17, 1934

Lindbergh "Kidnapping": A ten-dollar gold certificate from the Lindbergh ransom money turns up at the Corn Exchange Bank in Manhattan. Unlike the many other bills that have appeared since Lindbergh's go-between gave $50,000 to a man named "John" in a Bronx cemetery, this one can be traced to its passer. A filling station attendant had written the license number of his customer on the bill.

[On the morning of the 19th Bruno Richard Hauptmann, an illegal German immigrant and unemployed carpenter, was apprehended by police shortly after leaving his home in the Bronx. He was taken to the police station where he was interrogated, beaten, and held without sleep or food for over thirty hours before the public learned that a suspect holding $14,000 of Lindbergh ransom money was in custody. Hauptmann admitted to possession of the money, but said he was keeping it for a friend who had died recently in Germany.
He denied having written the ransom notes, or received the money, or kidnapped the baby. He had strong alibis, including employment records for the dates of the kidnapping and the passing of the ransom money. A handwriting expert stated that the ransom notes were not written by him. However, on the 26th the Bronx grand jury indicted Hauptmann for extortion.

The next day the ambitious District Attorney Samuel Foley told the New York Times that Hauptmann was "one of the chief perpetrators of both the abduction and the extortion, and could possibly have been the man on the ladder." If there was no extradition request for Hauptmann from New Jersey, he could be ready to go to trial in two weeks! Ahlgren and Monier, pp. 128-134; Behn, pp. 197-236.]

October 8, 1934

Lindbergh "Kidnapping:" A Flemington, New Jersey grand jury returns an indictment against Bruno Richard Hauptmann for the murder of the Lindbergh child after a meeting that lasted all of four and a half hours.

The payroll records of Hauptmann's employer had mysteriously disappeared, so there
went the alibi. The handwriting expert reversed his opinion from his testimony in the Bronx. And there were several dubious identifications, the most significant being that of Lindbergh— who had testified in the Bronx two weeks earlier that he would not be able to identify the voice that had said four words from a distance of 200 feet. On this day he was certain that the voice was that of Bruno Hauptmann. Ahlgren, pp. 135-137

October 9, 1934

Assassination in Marseilles Filmed by Fox Movietone News: Minutes after his arrival in France, King Alexander of Yugoslavia is gunned down by members of the Croatian fascist group, the Ustashi. Louis Barthou, the French foreign minister, and four spectators are killed by bullets from "unknown revolvers" of the same caliber that the police use.

[Since the group had been trained in fascist Hungary, Yugoslavia issued charges against Hungary. The assassin who jumped onto the running board of the slow-moving car and did most of the shooting of the king was a Bulgarian. He was killed on the scene by the mob and the police. A French court sentenced the three captured Croats to life imprisonment.
The Ustashi ringleader, Dr. Ante Pavelic, was sentenced to death in absentia.

Pavelic escaped to Italy where he lived as a guest of Mussolini's government. The Croatian training camps were re-established there. After the Wehrmacht conquered Yugoslavia in April 1941, Croatia was made a "sovereign" state run by the Ustashi and Pavelic.

Although possibly not an intended target, Barthou's death was most advantageous for Hitler. Barthou, born in 1862, had served in one French cabinet post or another since 1894. He was very concerned about Hitler's fascism and re-armament and had started negotiations for a mutual security agreement between France, the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia as a buffer against Germany's aggression. He was succeeded as Foreign Minister by Pierre Laval who distrusted the Soviet Union and would collaborate with the Nazis.

Suspicions about sponsorship of the Ustashi plot fell on Mussolini (who had financed a previous attempt on Alexander's life), Hitler (especially after the assassinations of Austrian Chancellor Dollfuss and Romanian Prime Minister Duca), and the French police (for their inadequate policing and random firing into the crowd— accidental or planned?) Shirer, Collapse, pp. 239-243.

There were fears internationally that another world war might break out as over the 1914 assassination. Italy threatened to go to the defense of Hungary if she should be attacked by Yugoslavia and the Little Entente. But as Czech Prime Minister Beneš said, "Wars on a large scale are not started by the small powers, but by the interference of great powers." Italy and France had no wish to go to war with one another; Anthony Eden, as mediator, ironed out the dispute. Ridley, pp. 243-244.]

October 27, 1934

Racist Atrocity in Florida: Claude Neal, a "Negro" laborer, is lynched in rural Jackson County, Florida 17 in the early morning hours.

[He had been arrested for the rape and murder nine days earlier of Lola Cannidy, a young white woman, who had been a childhood playmate and was the daughter of one of his employers. The autopsy indicated that the victim had been strangled, had received a blow to her head and had had sexual intercourse recently, but had not been raped. The rumor in the black community was that the real perpetrator was a white man.

A mob seized Neal from the jail in Brewton, Alabama where he had been placed for safekeeping and transported him on back roads across state lines. (This was a death penalty felony according to the new Lindbergh Kidnapping Law.) A crowd of over two thousand, alerted by newspapers and AP dispatches, were waiting at the Cannidy home to view the lynching. Some had brought picnic suppers.

The size of the crowd deterred the abductors from their promise to deliver the victim to the girl's father. Instead they killed him themselves at another location, first cutting off his genitals and forcing him to eat them, then slicing off toes and fingers. Then followed several half-lynchings in which Neal was let down from the tree just as the rope was about to choke him to death. The four men delivered his body to the Cannidy home, dragged behind one of the cars.

The disappointed would-be lynchers then attacked the corpse with knives and bullets before torching the shacks of nearby black residents. Before dawn they strung up Neal's mutilated corpse on a tree near the county courthouse in Marianna. (A photograph was later sold as a postcard.) By noon the now-enlarged mob was wreaking vengeance on any black person they could find in Marianna, attempting to empty the county jail, even looking for domestic servants in the richer white neighborhoods. More than 200 blacks were injured before the Florida National Guard arrived in the late afternoon.

This gruesome account was given to a NAACP investigator who made friends with one of the four men who tortured and eventually killed Neal. Before he died he confessed that he had, indeed, killed Lola Cassidy. They had a consensual sexual relationship for several years, until Lola became engaged to a white man. When she told Neal they would have to sever the relationship and that she would tell on him if he ever spoke to her, he got angry and killed her.

Although the mob leaders were well-known, no one was ever prosecuted for Neal's barbarous death or for any of the other mob violations. While local newspaper opinion commended the lynching, indignation and denunciation of the people and government of Florida escalated in editorials and telegrams with the distance from the scene. Major news coverage (including front page stories in The New York Times) kindled national outrage and increased pressure for the passage of the Wagner-Costigan Anti-Lynching Bill, which specified fines of five thousand dollars and five years imprisonment for state or local officials who failed either to protect their citizens from a lynch mob or to prosecute lynch law violators.

The Senate, however, failed to bring the bill to a vote. Attorney General Homer S. Cummings refused to act on the Neal kidnapping and transfer across state lines, saying the Lindbergh law did not apply as there was no "ransom or reward" involved. James R. McGovern, Anatomy of a Lynching: The Killing of Claude Neal; Dray, At the Hands of Persons Unknown, pp. 344-353.]

17 Jackson County, in the panhandle of Florida, in 1934 had a staggering rate of unemployment, no public libraries, and the highest illiteracy rate of any county in the state. Dray, p. 345.

November 6, 1934

Midterm Election: Reversing the usual midterm election outcome, the Democrats substantially increase their numbers in both the House (from 313 to 322) and the Senate (from 59 to 69; one of the newcomers is Harry S Truman from Missouri.) The majority in the House is now 322-103 and 69-25 in the Senate. This is regarded as a personal victory for FDR.

There is a similar sweep in the state elections; only seven states elect Republican governors. Only one incumbent Republican governor is re-elected: Alfred Landon of Kansas who becomes the immediate favorite for the presidential nomination in 1936.

[The newly-elected legislators were ideologically further left than those of the Seventy-Third Congress and, indeed, further left than FDR. They demanded more government intervention, thus providing the votes and some of the impetus for the legislation of the "Second Hundred Days."

In California Upton Sinclair was defeated for governor after a campaign that was unprecedented for maliciousness and dishonesty—"the first all-out public relations Blitzkrieg in American politics," according to historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. Sinclair was pictured as a Communist, anarchist, believer in free love, even an enemy of the Boy Scouts. Documents were fabricated to demonstrate his endorsement by the Communist party, his trampling of the American flag, his pleasure that American sailors had died in an explosion on the battleship Mississippi.

Over $10 million was spent to defeat him- which was twice the sum spent nationally by the two parties in the 1932 presidential race. Much of that money was raised by MGM's Louis B. Mayer who persuaded his fellow producers to join him in forcing their actors, writers and directors to contribute a day's salary each to the gubernatorial campaign. 18 Most of this money went into the production of fake newsreels and still photos defaming Sinclair. By mid-October it was clear Sinclair's candidacy was doomed without some endorsement from FDR. This endorsement was not made, much to the relief of FDR's advisers. Schlesinger, Upheaval, pp. 118-121. Davis, New Deal Years, pp. 425-427.]

18 While most studio employees cooperated under the threat of blacklisting, there were holdouts: James Cagney, Jean Harlow and Katharine Hepburn refused to pay the "Merriam tax." Several screenwriters raised money for Sinclair, and Charlie Chaplin campaigned for him. Ironically, anger at the studios' high-handed tactics radicalized much of Hollywood, hastening the formation of the guilds and causing some people to join the Communist Party.

When Governor Merriam ran for re-election in 1938, the Hollywood Left, led by actor Melvyn Douglas and writer Philip Dunne, mobilized to help defeat him, raising money and holding rallies. Cuthbert Olson, who had been elected to the state Senate on the EPIC ticket in 1934, became the first Democratic governor of California in forty years. Mitchell, Campaign of the Century.

November 20, 1934

An attempted fascist coup in the United States by the Morgans and duPonts is averted by testimony given by whistle blower Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler to the congressional McCormack-Dickstein Committee.

[The story made the front page of the New York Times the next day: "Gen. Butler Bares 'Fascist Plot' to Seize Government by Force". Archer, Plot.]

December 1, 1934

Soviet Union and the Great Terror: Sergei Kirov, the communist party boss of Leningrad and a full member of the Politburo, is murdered by the NKVD, as Stalin fears him as a potential rival for the party leadership. (Hitler's "Night of the Long Knives" had not passed unnoticed in the Kremlin.) Kirov's death marks the beginning of Stalin's purges.

[A month before the murder Stalin had set up a Special Board with himself at its head to pass sentence on "persons deemed socially dangerous." After the murder he started a national orgy of Kirov commendation, blaming the murder on the "Zinoviev faction," and the Great Terror began.

Before this reign of terror ended in 1939, an estimated 10 million people in the Soviet Union were executed- or died in labor camps- including all of the original Bolshevik leaders (Rykov, Bukharin, Zinoviev, Kamenev, etc.), the Chief of the Red Army, the Commander in Chief of the Red Navy, and 70% of the central committee members. Zinoviev and Kamenev had been part of the original troika that shared power with Stalin after the death of Lenin. Medvedev, Let History Judge, Bennett, Conspiracy, pp. 82-84.]

December 4, 1934

Abyssinia: A skirmish occurs at the Wal-Wal oasis, eight meters from the border with the Italian colony of Somalia. Fifty Italian soldiers and 150 Abyssinians are killed.

[Mussolini had been pushing the border between the two countries since 1928 and had occupied the Wal-Wal oasis, the only source of water in the area, for more than four years. He was hoping to produce a provocation that would justify his annexation of Abyssinia (now Ethiopia) — an adventure in the minds of Italians ever since their ignominious defeat by the Abyssinians in 1896.

Mussolini demanded an apology and compensation from Ethiopia plus punishment of the Ethiopian officers responsible for the incident. He refused to submit to mediation with a barbaric country like Ethiopia which still allowed slavery. Ridley, pp. 245.]

December 29, 1934

Japan: Japan renounces both the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922 and the London Naval Treaty of 1930.

January 2, 1935

Lindbergh Kidnapping:

The trial of Bruno Richard Hauptmann opens in the tiny (pop: 2700) town of Flemington, New Jersey. Seven hundred reporters and photographers descend upon the town including such famous names as Edna Ferber, Walter Winchell, Kathleen Norris, Fannie Hurst and Adela Rogers St. John. The press and the public are pronouncing Hauptmann guilty before the trial begins.Bookies are taking bets, not just on the outcome of the trial, but its duration, the identity of the next witness and so on.

[The trial was grossly unfair— on the order of the Sacco-Vanzetti trial of 1921. (See entry for August 23, 1927 ) The voir dire was a farce. The potential juror who, when asked if he had formed an opinion about the case, replied "Not more than anyone else"— was made foreman of the jury. The New York DailyMirror hired a defense attorney for Hauptmann for $10,000 in return for a daily feed to the newspaper. Ed Reilly was an alcoholic, an incompetent lawyer who missed many opportunities to introduce evidence for the defense— but provided great copy for the Mirror.

The defense was allowed no discovery, no deposition of any of the 90 witnesses. (Discovery would have revealed the many witnesses who had changed their testimony. And that the handwriting on the ransom notes had been positively identified as belonging to another person.) There was no money for the expenses of an adequate defense, as the state had seized all of Hauptmann's assets, including his life savings, as "evidence" when he was arrested.

Judge Trenchard was as prejudiced against the defendant as Judge Thayer had been in the Massachusetts trial. He made a mocking summary of the evidence presented by the defense, ending each point with, "Now, do you believe that?" in a voice dripping with sarcasm.

Hauptmann was not given an interpreter, as woud be mandatory today. As he struggled to understand one question and then find the words to express his answer in English, the relentless DistrictAttorney Wilentz would fire a second question at him. So Hauptmann was never given the opportunity to really explain his side to the jury. Seated next to Wilentz at the prosecution table was Charles Lindbergh, who frequently gave him directions. Wilentz exploited his presence; the emotional core of the trial became the American Hero vs. the German Immigrant. Ahlgren and Monier, pp. 138-149.]

January 7, 1935

Franco-Italian Agreement: In the hopes of maintaining Italian support against possible future German aggression, the French cede a sliver of French Somaliland to Italy and agree to certain concessions regarding Italian citizens in the French colony of Tunisia. They further give Italy part ownership of the Ethiopian Railway and, with it, essentially a free hand in the dispute with Abyssinia.

[Mussolini wanted France's support in maintaining the independence of Austria in case Hitler should make another attempt at a coup. Although the French Foreign Minister, Pierre Laval, did not specifically acquiesce to Mussolini's planned adventure in Africa, Mussolini got the nod and wink that he needed to know that France would not interfere with his war. On February 28th Italy sent two generals and a large number of troops to Eritrea to prepare for war against Abyssinia. Shirer, Collapse, pp. 242-243; Ridley, pp. 247-249.]

January 7, 1935

Panama Refining Company v. Ryan : The Supreme Court decides, 8-1, that the section of the National Industrial Recovery Act which authorized the president to prohibit the inter-state shipment of petroleum produced in excess of the quotas fixed by the states (the so-called "hot oil") was unconstitutional because it gave legislative power to the executive branch. The lone dissenter is Associate Justice Benjamin Cardozo who is also the only Justice who was not a former corporation lawyer. Davis, New Deal Years, p. 506.
The decision is seen as a warning signal that the Supreme Court will soon axe the entire NIRA and possibly the entire New Deal program. Hall, Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court, p. 619.

January 15, 1935

Soviet Union: The "show trials" of Zinoviev and Kamenev begin in Moscow.

January 27, 1935

Radio Priest: In his regular Sunday night address to a radio audience of thirty million, Father Charles E. Coughlin attacks the League of Nations and the World Court. He warns the country that the administration is conspiring to deliver the country's sovereignty into the hands of the same wicked international bankers who had tricked the country into war in 1917 and who want to "keep the world safe for inevitable slaughter." (He names the Rothschilds, the Morgans, the Warburgs and Kuhn, Loeb.) His isolationist and anti-Semitic diatribe produces 50,000 telegrams to senators opposing US membership in the World Court.

[Raymond Gram Swing believed that this single broadcast and the resulting flood of telegrams "topped the scales" against the US participation in the World Court. He thought that a favorable vote might have led to membership in a reorganized League of Nations. Swing, pp. 58-59.

Father Coughlin had originally been a New Deal supporter, but by 1934 he was calling it the "Jew Deal" and blaming the Jews for both the Depression and the increasing world tension. He organized uniformed pro-Nazi groups complete with arm bands, flags and salutes— not unlike the German-American Bund, the American version of Hitler's Brownshirts organized by Fritz Kuhn— and published a nasty anti-Semitic hate-sheet called Social Justice.
In 1936 he called for a third party to defeat the "anti-God" and issued a not-so-subtle plea for the assassination of FDR and other New Deal leaders. Davis, New Deal Years, pp. 294, 495-496, 539-540, 575-577, 639, 647.]

January 29, 1935

World Court: The isolationists in the Senate prevail, and FDR's request that the US adhere to the World Court is defeated.

[This seemingly mild proposal had aroused strong opposition from the Hearst newspaper chain, columnist Will Rogers, and Senators Hiram Johnson (R-CA), Huey "Kingfish" Long (D-LA) and William Borah (R-ID) as well as the dependably isolationist Father Coughlin. Davis, New Deal Years, pp. 495-6.]

February 2, 1935

Henry A. Wallace: Writing in Collier's magazine, the foremost progressive member of FDR's cabinet expresses the vision held by most social liberals of a cooperative commonwealth in which need and usefulness for society would replace the profit motive: "The day will come when this world will be more secure, when people who ask only to live a good life here and make a living will not be driven to meanness and to littleness, to a calculated denial of their highest capacities, and to hate. We live by these ancient standards of withdrawal and denial in a world bursting with potential abundance. The fears, coupled with the narrowness and hatred of our forefathers, are embodied in our political and educational institutions and bred in our bones. It will only be a little time that we can work ourselves free." Markowitz, p. 1.

February 13, 1935

Lindbergh Kidnapping Case: The 42-day "Trial of the Century" ends, and the case goes to the jury. A crowd of ten thousand surrounds the courthouse chanting, "Kill Hauptmann!" After less than twelve hours of deliberation, the jury emerges with a verdict: Bruno Richard Hauptmann is found guilty of murder in the first degree and sentenced to die in the electric chair.

[The conviction was based on nine pieces of evidence or testimony:
--- Part of the ransom money was found on Hauptmann and in his home.
--- He was identified by Cecile Barr as the man who had passed her a Lindbergh ransom bill at her movie theater on November, 26 1933. (However, that was Lindbergh's birthday and several people could have testified to their presence at a party in his home that evening.)
--- Jafsie Condon's phone number was found written inside a closet in Hauptmann's house. (However, Hauptmann had no phone, so this was an illogical place to keep a phone number. There is some evidence that the number was written there by a reporter for the New York Daily News during a press tour of the Hauptmann home.)

--- Charles Lindbergh confidently identified Hauptmann as the one who had shouted
"Hey, Doctor" on April 2, 1932 in St. Raymond's Cemetery. (This was in contradiction to his statement to the Bronx grand jury in September that he would be unable to identify a voice spoken from a block away.)
--- A cab driver identified Hauptmann as the man who had given him a note to deliver to Dr. Condon. (Yet earlier he had been unable to describe this man for the police.)
--- Dr, Condon identified Hauptmann as "Cemetery John," the man to whom he had given the ransom money. (Yet at the Bronx line-up he categorically said that Hauptmann was not "Cemetery John" and subsequently garnered several headlines by claiming to have spotted the missing man.)

--- Three witnesses placed Hauptman in the vicinity of the Hopewell estate in the days before the "kidnapping." (One was partly blind and eligible for Public Assistance; a second, when originally questioned by the police, had denied seeing anyone in the vicinity. He came forward later in hopes of claiming the ransom reward. He was promised $150 up front by the prosecution plus $35 a day for expenses and a share in the reward money. The third man did not tell his story to the police until after Hauptmann had been arrested and he saw his photograph in the paper; yet he was unable to pick out Hauptmann from a photographic lineup and he failed to describe his automobile correctly.)
--- Seven handwriting "experts" testified that the handwriting on all the ransom notes was Hauptmann's. (The defense had their own expert who testified that Hauptmann had written none of the notes; with a little more money they could have hired six more. Handwriting analysis is not a science. Before Hauptmann's arrest several handwriting experts had told the police that the nursery note was not written by the individual who had written the subsequent ransom notes.)
--- The most outlandish testimony came from a "wood expert" who claimed that some of the wood for the ladder had been purchased at a lumber yard in the Bronx near Hauptmann's home and that ladder side rail "16" was actually a floor board from Hauptmann's attic. Ahlgren and Monier, pp. 143, 160-189.]

[The state did agree that Hauptmann could not have written the signature "J.J. Faulkner" on a bank deposit slip exchanging nearly $3000 of the ransom money shortly before the gold certificates became illegal. Behn believes that Faulkner was Jacob J. Nosovitsky, a notorious forger and con-man, who saw the nursery "ransom note" that was passed around the underworld by Lindbergh's deputies, copied the style, and extorted the $50,000.

Nosovitsky had a fascinating history. While a member of the Communist Party, he did undercover communist investigations for both the US Department of Justice and Scotland Yard from 1917 into the 1920s. Hired to investigate the Bolshevik conspiracy in Mexico by two Red-phobic capitalists and finding none, he proceeded to document a phony one, including reports allegedly sent to Zinoviev. He further capitalized on these exploits by a series of articles for the Hearst papers, "Confessions of an International Spy," in which he detailed his forgeries.

FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, who had had many dealings with Nosovitsky and had intervened with immigration authorities to gain his re-admittance to the United States, confirmed in 1935-36 that Nosovitsky was "J. J. Faulkner". Behn, pp. 358-375.]

February 15, 1935

Nazis in America: The House Special Committee on Un-American Activities issues a report which claims that the Nazis are using foreign agents and Fascist right-wing groups in America to mount a pervasive propaganda campaign to disseminate propaganda and foment subversion. Laurie, Propaganda Warriors, p. 47.

March 1, 1935

Saar Reunion with Germany: The League of Nations ends its administration of the Saar and the area returns to German sovereignty following a January plebiscite in which 90% of the people voted for reunion with Germany, rejecting either a continuation of League administration or union with France. [Hitler proclaimed publicly that Germany had no further territorial claims on France, meaning Alsace and Lorraine. Shirer, Rise, p. 283.]

March 4, 1935

Would-Be Dictators?: General Hugh Johnson, the former head of the NRA, lambastes Senator Huey Long and Father Coughlin at a banquet at the Waldorf-Astoria, alleging that they were co-conspirators in a campaign to gain dictatorial power in the US. He describes them as "the Pied Pipers . . . the Louisiana dictator and this political padre . . . You can laugh at Father Coughlin, you can snort at Huey Long . . . but this country was never under a greater menace."

[Long returned the rhetoric on the floor of the Senate the next day, focusing more on FDR than on Johnson. Long was one of a group of progressives who from the beginning of the New Deal had urged more radical measures: nationalization of the banking system, large taxes on private fortunes, payment of the veterans bonus, etc. Long was particularly critical of the NIRA. FDR retaliated by refusing to consult him on the distribution of patronage in Louisiana.

Long then made a political comeback with the publication of his autobiography, Every Man a King, and his Share Our Wealth Plan. The plan provided for confiscatory tax codes that would put a ceiling of $3 million on individual wealth; the government would grant each needy family enough for a home, a car, and a radio plus a guaranteed annual income enough to maintain them in comfort. Even though statistical studies demonstrated that confiscation of all fortunes larger than one million would yield no more than $400 for each family that was worth $5000 or less, the plan was immensely popular and Share Our Wealth clubs sprang up nationwide— nearly thirty thousand clubs and a mailing list of 7.5 million people. Huey Long had his eye on running for president in 1936 on a third-party ticket, financed by some very wealthy people who hated FDR.

Johnson's Pied Piper speech actually enlarged Long's public forum, as NBC gave him some national air time to make a rebuttal which only increased his following. Political commentator Raymond Gram Swing described the Johnson speech as "a demonstration of political feeble-mindedness." Brinkley, Voices, pp. 4-7, 59-74; Davis, New Deal Years, pp. 497-498, 501-502; Winkler, p. 103.]

March 16, 1935

Germany Rearms: Hitler announces that Germany has secretly developed an air force in defiance of the Versailles Treaty and will no longer be bound by the disarmament clauses of that treaty. He is starting the conscription of an army of 36 divisions, or about half a million men, twice the size of the French Army stationed in France. Shirer, Collapse, p. 244.

[Ex-president Herbert Hoover had been raising money internationally since 1918 to re-arm Germany and to install Hitler in power in order to overthrow the Bolshevik regime in Russia. Judge, p. 112.]

April 1, 1935

Norris v. Alabama: The Supreme Court unanimously reverses the conviction of Clarence Norris- the African-American who had been re-convicted of the rape of two white girls in the 1931 Scottsboro case.

[Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes argued that the systematic exclusion of African-Americans from grand juries and trial juries denied defendants such as Norris the equal protection of the law guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment. Hall, pp. 599-600.]

April 11-14, 1935

Stresa Conference: Initiated by France, representatives of the French, British and Italian governments meet to condemn Germany's announced plan to rearm. In what Shirer terms "an empty gesture" they pledge to support Austrian independence and the Locarno Treaty. Shirer, Rise, p. 285.

April 12, 1935

Pacifism in US: Marking the anniversary of America's entrance into the Great War, 175,000 students in colleges and universities across the United States join in a strike in which they pledge never to engage in an armed conflict.

[There were at least 100,000 students on strike in five major cities: Boston, Chicago,
Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Washington. In New York City 30,000 students left their classrooms. In Reed College inOregon and at Vassar the entire student body went on strike. Most remarkable were the spontaneous demonstrations in small colleges that had not been visited by representatives of the strike organizing committee— a thousand students from three small colleges in Jackson, Tennessee, for example., left their classrooms at 11 AM and marched through the streets of the town.

The previous year the strike organized by the National Student League and the League for Industrial Democtacy had attracted 25,000 students and startled the nation. Previously student demonstrations were events that happened in Europe. The sponsorship for the 1935 strike was enlarged to include various church groups and the American Youth Congress. The opposition, of course, characterized the strikers as "radicals." But their political orientations were diverse and many were ignorant or unsympathetic to radical ideology. They were typically united in opposition to both the ROTC and to fascism. Wechsler, pp. 171-181.]

April 14, 1935

Weather: A record dust storm inundates five mid-western states. Egan, The Worst Hard Time.

May 1, 1935

Anti-Lynching Legislation: After a six-day Senate filibuster the sponsors of the Wagner-Costigan Anti-Lynching Bill agree to accept adjournment so that major New Deal measures may be legislated.

[Major speakers against the bill were James Byrnes and Cotton Ed Smith of South Carolina, Hugo Black and John Bankhead of Alabama, and Tom Connally of Texas. Although similar legislation proposed in 1937 and 1938 also failed to pass, the number of lynchings in the South declined precipitately after the publicity attending the Claude Neal killing— from twenty-eight in 1933 to six in 1938 and two in 1939. [ See entry for October 27, 1934.]

A 1935 Gallup poll indicated that a majority of southerners favored legislation to make lynching a federal crime. The anti-lynching leaders in the 1930s were Walter White and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the American Civil Liberties Union, the feisty Ida Wells-Barnett and The Nation and The New Republic magazines. McGovern, pp. 135-148; O'Reilly, Nixon's Piano, p. 121.]

May 2, 1935

Franco-Soviet Pact of Mutual Assistance: The two countries sign a five-year agreement in which each pledges to come to the aid of the other in the event of an unprovoked attack— that is, if the Council of the League of Nations certifies that it is an aggression. (It took the League a year of investigation to condemn the invasion of Manchuria in September, 1931.) Also the other Locarno treaty powers— Great Britain and Italy— must agree that an act of aggression has taken place.

[These stipulations emasculated the treaty that the murdered Foreign Minister Barthou had initiated. As Pierre Laval, the successor foreign minister said, "I've extracted the most dangerous things from it. I don't trust the Russians." Even so, by autumn the conservatives were vehemently opposed to the pact, fearing that the Communists were about to take over France and the pact was helping them. They started echoing the German propaganda about Germany being encircled by enemies. Better, they said, France should have an understanding with Germany and Italy who are dedicated to saving the world from Communism. Shirer, Collapse, pp. 244-247.]

May 6, 1935

The WPA: FDR establishes the Works Progress Administration (WPA) by executive order. It will handle smaller relief works projects than those of the PWA and be administered by the dynamic Harry Hopkins.

[It soon became the largest employer of labor in American history. Unspent funds from Ickes' cautiously-administered PWA were allocated to WPA, thus increasing the feud between the two New Deal aides. Davis, New Deal Years, pp. 469-471.]

May 16, 1935

Soviet-Czechoslovak Mutual Assistance Pact: The Soviet Union promises to come to the aid of Czechoslovakia in the event of an attack, provided that France does so as well. The accompanying Air Pact calls for the establishment and equipment of airfields in Czechoslovakia to which Soviet planes will have free access. Hitler accuses the Czechs of providing the Russians with an air base 800 miles closer to Germany than Kiev.

May 22, 1935

Veterans' Bonus: FDR goes before Congress to deliver his veto of the Patman Bill, which would have allowed veterans to cash in their bonuses prior to 1945. Such a federal expenditure at this time, he says (and his words are broadcast by network radio) would be inflationary.

[An angry House found the votes to override his veto, but it was sustained by the Senate on the next day. Davis, New Deal Years, pp. 513-514.]

May 27, 1935

Black Monday: The Supreme Court in Schechter Poultry Corporation v. United States unanimously declares the NIRA to be unconstitutional— that the government can not require code compliance on firms engaged in local industry that have no effect on interstate commerce.

[FDR's rebuttal came four days later in a carefully staged press conference. When asked by a reporter if he had any comments on the decision, he pointed to a stack of telegrams from businessmen throughout the country that he described as "pathetic appeals" for action.
He then lashed out at the Court's "horse-and-buggy definition of interstate commerce" and its notion that national problems could be solved by forty-eight separate states.

The decision, however, saved the administration from an embarrassing dilemma. The Act was due to expire in mid-June and legislation to extend its life for another two years would have been difficult to pass. To the dismay of the liberals it had favored the big business corporations and the development of cartels. Yet the businesses that had profited from it also excoriated it. And there had been widespread cheating of the "National Run Around" in anticipation of the Supreme Court verdict. Hall, p. 757; Davis, New Deal Years, pp. 514-519, 507; Burns, Lion, pp. 222-223.]

June 4 - August 27, 1935 The so-called "Second Hundred Days"— actually 85 in number— during which the major reform measures of the New Deal will be passed.

[Congress had intended to adjourn in June, as customary, to escape the heat and humidity of non-air-conditioned Washington. However, FDR demanded that they stay until several "must pass" pieces of legislation had been enacted: the labor bill, Social Security, the banking bill, and the Wheeler-Rayburn utilities holding company bill. Two weeks later, he added a fifth, tax reform. Davis, New Deal Years, p. 522.]

June 18, 1935

Anglo-German Naval Agreement: Germany will be allowed to build a navy (including submarines) but it must be limited to 35% of the Royal Navy's tonnage. France is upset by this and becomes suspicious of Britain's intentions regarding Germany and Hitler.

[Britain had negotiated this treaty— which violated several clauses of the Versailles Treaty— without consultation with France and Italy, her Stresa allies. France considered this a treacherous act, which it was. The British government, upset by Germany's decision to re-arm, fell for the bait offered by Hitler: "The German government recognizes the overpowering vital importance, and therewith the justification of a dominating protection for the British Empire on the sea. . . The German government has the straightforward intention to find and maintain a relationship with the British people and state which will prevent for all time a repetition of the only struggle there has been between the two nations. Germany has not the intention or the necessity or the means to participate in any new naval rivalry."

The agreement essentially gave Germany a free ticket to build all the warships her shipyards could accommodate and destroyed the Stresa alliance. In 1940 Britain would regret those added destroyers, cruisers and U-boats. Shirer, Collapse, pp. 249-250, Rise, pp. 286-290; Brendon, p. 305.]

June 26, 1935

Immigration Legislation: Rep. Martin Dies (D-TX) blames the Depression on the foreigners and introduces legislation to further reduce the immigration quotas, saying, "If we had refused admittance to the 16,500,000 foreign born who are living in this country today, we would have no unemployment problem." Divine, American Immigration Policy, p. 86.

July 5, 1935

Labor - The Wagner Act: The National Labor Relations Act is signed by FDR.

[It had passed the Senate 63-12 on May 12th after an impassioned espousal by its sponsor, Robert Wagner (D-NY), who described the disparity between the recovery of labor and business: wages had increased only 28% in the past two years while major corporations' profits had increased 42%. "The real income of the individual worker employed full-time is less than in March, 1933. The average worker's income in 1934 was $1009, or $813 less than the amount required to maintain a family of five in health and decency."

Unlike the previous New Deal attempts at labor-management "mediation," this was a pro-labor bill that defined unfair labor practices, supported the right of workers to join labor unions, and provided for a board that would supervise workers' elections. The principal opponents of the legislation were, predictably, the US Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers. FDR had refused to endorse the bill when it was before the Senate, but after the Supreme Court killed the NRA and, with it, the Section 7(a) that feebly endorsed collective bargaining, FDR was forced to put the NLRA bill on his "must" list.

Declared constitutional by the Supreme Court in NLRB v. Jones & Laughlin Steel Corporation in 1937, this Act played a crucial role in the unionization of industry and the improvement of life for blue-collar workers. It is considered, along with the Social Security Act, as one of the two most significant long-term benefits of the New Deal.

Bernstein mentions additional significant consequences of the Wagner Act: Industries abandoned their belligerent anti-union practices, such as strike-breaking, spying, anti-union private police. The appeal of Marxism for workers was undermined when the federal government, albeit in a capitalist system, legalized collective bargaining and provided the machinery for peaceful elections in the workplace. The law further guaranteed the workers freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and freedom of association. Turbulent Years, pp. 786-795

Katznelson points out that this act was, until later amended, not all that useful for African-Americans. The industries in which they were principally employed were rather pointedly excluded, thanks to the manipulations of the Southern Democrats. The Baltimore Afro-American, in a 1940 editorial endorsing Willkie, asked: "If he [FDR] believes in a ceiling for hours and a floor for wages, why does he permit the Georgia Warm Springs 19. . . [to] pay colored women workers $4.50 a week for long hours?" Davis, New Deal, pp. 525-529; Katznelson, When Affirmative Action was White, pp. 22-23, 27.

Jonathan Alter points out that Roosevelt "didn't start out as a labor man." As Assistant Secretary of the Navy in World War I part of his job was to prevent unions from striking in the shipyards. Alter, "FDR's Unfinished Business," Los Angeles Times, September 3, 2006. ]

19 The newspaper is referring to the spa where FDR had gone since 1924 for treatment of his polio-afflicted legs. He provided funds to upgrade the foundering spa and built a small home- later dubbed "The Little White House"— where he stayed on his frequent visits to Warm Springs and where he died in 1945.

July 27, 1935

Unemployment Relief - The Federal Writers' Project: FDR expands the WPA to include a project for unemployed writers, editors, historians, researchers, photographers and illustrators.

[Applicants had to first prove that they were unemployed and in need of relief— paupers. Next they had to demonstrate a talent for writing or some other skill needed for publishing a book. More than 7500 people— journalists, novelists, poets, photographers, PhDs— were employed by the project before its closure in 1939. Some collected oral histories, including those of ex-slaves. Folklore and folk songs were recorded, including the Negro convict songs that John Lomax collected from the chain gangs of the Deep South— that would incur the wrath of Congressman Martin Dies of Texas. The Oneida Language and Culture Project collected life histories of the Wisconsin tribe and revitalized a language that was close to extinction. Over 300 publications resulted from the Project.

The Project is best remembered for the American Guide series— collectively written time capsules of all 48 states plus Alaska, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and numerous cities. Most of the work was anonymous with only the administrators and supervisors (who didn't have to be paupers) receiving acknowledgement. However, it is known that the Guide for Deerfield, Massachusetts was written by Conrad Aiken and the one for Galena, Illinois by Nelson Algren. 20

The Idaho Guide was the first to be published— in January, 1937— quickly followed by the Guide for Washington, DC. They were widely reviewed and met with fulsome praise:
Bruce Catton described the Idaho Guide as "not merely a comprehensive and readable guide" but also "a bit of literature worth reading for its own sake and reflecting vast credit on everybody concerned." Bernard De Voto, editor of the Saturday Review of Literature, called it "an almost unalloyed triumph."

Lewis Mumford reviewed the first five guides in the New Republic: "Future historians will turn to these guidebooks as one who would know the classic world must still turn to Pausanias' ancient guidebook to Greece."

Of course, not everyone was pleased with the Guides. Southerners were unhappy with the space given to Negroes and their accomplishments. A Wisconsin congressman was incensed at the factoid in the Washington D.C. Guide that revealed that George Washington's step-grandson, George Washington Parke Curtis, had bequeathed a tract of land in the district "to his colored daughter. Maria Syphax."

The Boston Traveler described the Massachusetts Guide as an "insult" to the state. There were thirty-one lines devoted to the Sacco-Vanzetti case (in a book of 675 pages) whereas the Boston Tea Party had merited a mere fourteen lines. The front-page headline: SACCO VANZETTI PERMEATE NEW WPA GUIDE. Too many passages were deemed to be pro-labor and anti-establishment with too much space given to child labor, the Boston police strike and the 1912 textile workers' strike in Lawrence. Several mayors threatened to ban the book. The headlines caused the first printing to sell out quickly and Houghton Mifflin proceeded with second and third printings.

It was after the House Committee on Un-American Activities was formed [see entry for May 26, 1938] that the Writers' Project came under heavy political pressure. Chairman Martin Dies (D-TX) held hearings throughout August and September, 1938 that attempted to prove that the Projects, especially the one in New York City, were "hotbeds of Communists" that fomented labor unrest and class warfare.

His parade of repentant ex-Communists included a feeble man of seventy, described as a "paranoid personality," who had joined the Communist Party in order to establish his credentials as an informer. With such evidence Dies was able to proclaim that one-third of the Project employees were members of the Communist Party. (Actually this may have been true for New York City, but New York represented 10% of the employees of the Project.)

Congress was not in session, so news was scarce: the New York Times gave more than 500 inches of column space to Dies' pronouncements and those of his witnesses. A Gallup poll indicated that 60% of the respondents were familiar with the work of the Dies Committee; of those 75% favored the continuation of the investigations. Henry Alsberg, the charismatic director of the Project, was eased out of office, and federal funding for the project was ended in 1939 (although some states continued sponsorship of their Projects until 1943.)

When John Steinbeck packed his camper "Rocinante" for his 1960 Travels with Charley preceding the 1960 Kennedy-Nixon election, he included copies of WPA Guides— the original ones, not the updated versions— for all the states he planned to visit. He wrote that the "complete set comprises the most comprehensive account of the United States ever got together and nothing since has approached it." Taylor, Soul of a People; Mangione, pp. 5, 206-297, 216-220, 256-265, 289-326, 352-373.]

20 Other writers who later would become well-known (plus a few already notable): Jack Balch, Saul Bellow, Maxwell Bodenheim, Arna Bontemps, John Cheever, Jack Conroy, Edward Dahlberg, Floyd Dell, Ralph Ellison, Kenneth Fearing, Zora Neale Huston, Claude McKay, Tillie Olsen, Kenneth Rexroth, Philip Rahv, Meridel LeSueur, Jim Thompson, Margaret Walker, Richard Wright, Frank Yerby and Anzia Yezierska. Many of these, especially Ellison and Wright, were proud to acknowledge the substantial support the FWP had been for their careers. A few others either downplayed the importance of the FWP or actually denied their pwn participation.

August 10, 1935

Persecution — Here and There: Following the denunciation by Senator William H. King (D-UT) of Hitler's actions and his demand for a commission to investigate Nazi persecution of Jews and Catholics, the NAACP in an article in the Pittsburgh Courier asks that Senator King explain how "America can, with good grace, protest against what is happening in Germany or anywhere else outside the United States, as long as we do nothing about the lynchings in our own country?" The NAACP reminds Senator King that at least the Nazis have "not yet sunk to our own level of burning human beings at the stake." Dray, p.338.

August 14, 1935

The Social Security Act is signed by FDR.
[The United States was the last industrial country to legislate old age and unemployment insurance programs for its citizens. This act, less sweeping than those in most other countries, provided for federal payment to the elderly and to survivors to be financed from payroll deductions. (FDR was adamant that there should be no financing of the old-age pensions from the general revenue as in Europe. This, despite the dramatic increase in the average age in the US since 1920 due to the curtailment of immigration and the declining birth rate.)

Unemployment insurance was financed jointly by the federal government and the states, which resulted in a disparity of payments between the wealthier and the poorer states. National health insurance, a feature of most European countries, was not included due to pressure from the American Medical Association. The conservatives attacked the bill as violating the American traditions of thrift and initiative. Dr. Francis Townsend 21 condemned the bill as inadequate.

In truth, initially only half of the work force of 48 million Americans was covered by its provisions, and the payments were not sufficient to live on. The bill could not have been passed without the votes of the Southern Democrats. In an effort to prolong the Jim Crow denial-of- opportunity social structure of the South, they mandated that certain work categories- farm labor and domestic service- be excluded from coverage. These two categories comprised 75% of the black labor force in the South and 60% of the black labor force in the United States.

Katznelson has pointed out that this legislation, as well as other New Deal acts, gave the white population benefits that were withheld from blacks. It was not until 1954, when the Republicans controlled the White House and both houses of Congress, that these occupations were finally given coverage. But African-Americans still could not catch up with the first enrollees, as the program required five years of contributions before any benefits could be received. Miller, Intimate, pp. 373-374; Davis, New Deal Years, pp. 523-525; Katznelson, When Affirmative Action was White, pp. 22-23, 43.]

21 Townsend was an elderly physician (born in 1867) forced into retirement by the Depression. He proposed a plan, the Old Age Revolving Pension Plan, whereby the government would give a pension of $200 a month to every retired American over 60 with the stipulation that all the money must be spent in the next 30 days. It would be financed by a federal sales tax. (The tax would have paid only a fraction of the total cost- which would have amounted to nearly half the GNP!) The idea occurred to him when he saw some elderly women scrounging in garbage cans for food scraps. His Townsend Clubs soon numbered five million people; twenty million people signed a petition to FDR demanding Townsend's pension plan. The Social Security Act was an attempt to defuse this movement.

August 24, 1935

The Banking Act is signed by FDR.

[The Act revised the Federal Reserve Act of 1913, establishing governmental control over money supply and credit by giving the Federal Reserve Board the authority to determine discount and prime interest rates. The Act was attacked by both those who favored laissez-faire in banking and those who advocated nationalization of the banks.

It passed the House without difficulty, but nearly failed in the Senate until FDR put the bill on his "must pass" list in June. Until then, as with the Wagner Labor bill, he had done nothing to endorse its passage. Davis, New Deal, pp. 537-541.]

August 26, 1935

The Wheeler-Rayburn Act- the Public Utilities Act- is signed by FDR.
[Public utility holding companies were required to register with the Securities and Exchange Commission and submit to regulation. The SEC was empowered to kill off those companies that could not demonstrate that they were performing a useful function. There had been a demand for such legislation as far back as 1926 thanks to the exorbitant rates, the mergers based on corporate greed rather than social or economic need, and the use of utility company money to influence elections.

The utility companies, however, with Wendell Willkie in the lead, formed an immensely powerful lobby— the utility company lobbyists in Washington outnumbered the representatives and senators— and were able to delay this legislation for several years and nearly defeat the Title I clause. The bill was finally passed, virtually in the form requested by FDR, after Senator Hugo Black (D-AL) exposed the underhanded machinations of the utilities lolobby which included a whispering campaign that FDR was insane, the sending of letters and telegrams signed by names garnered from city directories, and the expenditure of more than a million dollars.

Most of the great utility empires were broken up into regional companies in the next three years, and more reasonable rates prevailed. Title I provided for the abolition of holding companies that had been established for the purpose of "leverage" to enable financiers to control an empire of utilities with a minimum investment of capital. These holding companies "milked" the operating utilities, thus inflating rates to the consumers. They also conducted propaganda campaigns, bribing textbook publishers and teachers to bring false statements to the classroom. A 1926 best-selling book by William Z. Ripley, Main Street and Wall Street, had exposed many of these practices. Davis, New Deal, pp. 529-537.]

August 31, 1935

The Wealth Tax Act of 1935 is signed by FDR. [In asking for this legislation, FDR had said: "Our revenue laws have done little to prevent an unjust concentration of wealth and economic power. . . . The transmission from generation to generation of vast fortunes by will, inheritance, or gift is not consistent with the ideals and sentiments of the American people. . . Such inherited economic power is as inconsistent with the ideals of this generation as inherited political power was inconsistent with the ideals of the generation which established our Government."

The Act increased taxes on inheritances and gifts and raised the top surtax rates on individual incomes from 59% to 75%. The bill was condemned by the conservatives, earning FDR increasing animosity from the Hearst newspaper empire and the wealthy. FDR defended his actions to them: "I am fighting Communism, Huey Longism, Coughlinism, Townsendism to save our system, the capitalistic system [and to succeed] it may be necessary to throw to the wolves the forty-six men who are reported to have incomes in excess of one million dollars a year. This can be accomplished through taxation."

The pattern of income distribution was not changed. In fact, the share of the top one percent increased through the rest of the 1930s. Ironically, FDR had put the brakes on what could have been genuine wealth redistribution by NOT including in the Social Security legislation- health insurance and old age pensions paid out of the general funds. Davis, New Deal, pp. 541-548.]

August 31, 1935

Neutrality: FDR signs the Neutrality Act of 1935 which mandates an embargo on arms and munitions (but not on oil or the raw materials for making weapons) against any belligerent nation.

[FDR had proposed that the president have the discretion to impose the ban on aggressor nations while permitting shipments to countries acting in self-defense, but the isolationists in Congress refused. Shogan, p. 44.]

September 10, 1935

Assassination in the United States: Senator Huey Long of Louisiana dies of gunshot wounds from an attack two days before at the state Capitol in Baton Rouge. [The assassin was Carl Weiss, a young Baton Rouge physician, whose father-in-law was a judge targeted by Long for elimination in the next election. Long's last words: "God, don't let me die! I have so much to do!" Davis, New Deal Years, pp. 574-575.]

September 15, 1935

Germany: The Nazis enact the Nuremberg Laws which deprive the Jews of German citizenship, forbid marriage or sexual relations between Jews and "Aryans," and prohibit Jews from employing female Aryan servants under thirty-five years of age.

[Jews had already been forbidden to hold public office, banned from the stock exchange, and excluded fromteaching, civil service, journalism and radio, theater and film. Shirer, Rise and Fall, p. 233. ]

October 3, 1935

Africa: Italian troops invade Abyssinia (later: Ethiopia) from Eritrea and Italian Somaliland, aided by imports of US oil and other raw materials not covered under the US Neutrality Act. The accompanying air raid on Adowa causes heavy civilian casualties; the first bomb falls on a building marked with a red cross that is used to store hospital supplies.

[The League of Nations voted that Italy "had resorted to war," but the sanctions eventually imposed were relatively harmless ones and did not include oil. (From October to February US oil exports to Italy rose from 6% to 17%. If Romania and the Soviet Union— Italy's main suppliers— had embargoed oil, US oil corporations were more than ready to supply the difference.) Much cheating occurred, and the League had no means to enforce its sanctions. This would be the death knell for the League.

Italian troops, using poison gas— allowed by the UK to transit the Suez Canal—22 and indiscriminate bombing, penetrated deep into the country in two months. The Abyssinians defended themselves as best they could with camels, spears, ancient muskets and drums. By May 5, 1936 fascist troops were in control of the whole country; Emperor Haile Selassie fled abroad 23 to avoid the extermination of the Ethiopian people, and the King of Italy proclaimed himself the Emperor of Abyssinia.

In December Mussolini abrogated the Franco-Italian Pact of the previous January 24 and the potential Franco-Italian-British anti-German front. Hitler, courting British goodwill, sold arms to Haile Selassie and banned exports of tin, aluminum and other war matériel to Italy. Shirer, Collapse, pp. 242-250; Ridley, pp. 262-.269, 274.]

22 The British government held the majority of the shares in the consortium which owned the Suez Canal. Mussolini made it clear in diplomatic circles that if the Suez Canal should be closed "for repairs" he would order the Italian navy to open it. This would mean war and the British people did not want war, so the logical sanction against Italy was not employed. Ridley, p. 256.

23 Haile Selassie testified before the League in Geneva on June 30, 1936: "I decided to come give Europe warning of the doom that awaits it if it bows down before the fait accompli....If a strong government finds that it can with impunity destroy a weak people, then the hour has struck for that weak people to appeal to the League of Nations to give its judgment in all freedom. God and history will remember your decision... What answer am I to take back to my people?" The League's answer four days later was to rescind all sanctions against Italy. Case closed. Davis, New Deal Years, p. 596.

24 Mussolini claimed that Pierre Laval (then foreign minister of France) had given him a "free hand" in Abyssinia in a secret addendum to the Franco-Italian Agreement of January 7, 1935.

October 30, 1935

Abyssinia: FDR acknowledges that "Ethiopian and Italian armed forces are engaged in combat" and warns the public that the Neutrality Act is in effect and that Americans who engage in "transactions of any character with either of the belligerent nations do so at their own risk." He adds that "tempting trade opportunities may be offered to our people to supply material that would prolong the war...." and makes a moral plea that exporters voluntarily refrain from such sales. However, "the American Government is keeping informed on all shipments consigned to both belligerents."

[FDR and his aides had discussed asking for legislation to enlarge the list of embargoed items on the recently-passed Neutrality Act to include those raw materials needed for war. Knowing that this would not fly with the isolationist public, FDR settled for asking manufacturers for this "moral embargo."

Guess what! American shipments to Italy of refined copper, scrap iron and scrap steel more than doubled that of a year before. Oil exports for the last quarter of the year were tripled. At this time the US produced more than half of the world's oil; the industry had unmarketable surpluses and was not about to heed any moral embargo.

If the League had voted for an embargo on oil to Italy at its November 29 meeting, FDR would have been obliged to have the US embargo oil also. Davis, New Deal Years, pp. 584-585; 588-592.]

November 9, 1935

Labor - CIO: Under the leadership of John L. Lewis, the president of the United Mine Workers of America (UMW), the leaders of seven additional AFL unions join together to form the Committee of Industrial Organization:-
--- Sidney Hillman of Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America,
--- David Dubinsky of the International Ladies' Garment Workers Union,
--- Thomas McMahon of the United Textile Workers of America,
--- Thomas H. Brown of the Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers Union,
--- Harvey C. Fremming of the Oil Field, Gas Well and Refinery Workers Union,
--- Max Zaritsky of the Hat, Cap and Millinery Workers, and
--- Charles P. Howard of the Typographical Union.

[William Green, the longtime (since 1924) president of the American Federation of Labor, was immediately apprehensive about this "organization within an organization." Lewis and the others had been agitating within the AFL for industry-wide organizing as opposed to the established AFL model of trade and craft guilds. The CIO secretary answered that the CIO sought only to "organize the unorganized" and promote industrial organization in affiliation with the AFL; not to be a rival or "raid" any established unions.

The controversy escalated to the point that the AFL expelled ten unions in the fall of 1936 —the UMW and the first five unions named above plus the United Auto Workers, the United Rubber Workers, the Flat Glass Workers and the Iron, Steel and Tin Workers.
The CIO went on to organize industrial workers in industry-wide unions (steel, rubber, automobiles, textiles, etc.) abandoning the guild philosophy of the AFL. By this time there were 5 million workers in unions and the numbers would continue to grow, especially in the auto and steel industries. The CIO merged again with the AFL in 1955. Davis, New Deal Years, p. 630-631; Bernstein, Turbulent. pp. 386-431.]

December 5, 1935

Lindbergh Kidnapping Case: The public is astounded when New Jersey Governor Harold Hoffman announces that he is going to the New Jersey Board of Pardons to ask for a commutation of Bruno Hauptmann's death sentence to life imprisonment.

[The governor had not been swayed by the "evidence" presented at the trial and believed Hauptmann to be innocent, especially after an early summer visit to Hauptmann in his prison cell. They talked for over an hour, Hauptmann stoutly maintaining his innocence.
He said he was a skilled carpenter and never would have made a flimsy one like the one shown at the trial. And from a board in his attic?

Hoffman told the press that he had "serious doubts" about the case. He hired an investigator to examine the police evidence and discovered exculpatory evidence about the witnesses. He examined Hauptmann's attic with the wood "experts," and found that rail "16" did not fit and could not have come from the attic. When District Attorney Wilentz and Polic Chief Schwartzkopf refused to meet him at the Hauptmann house to discuss the "wood" evidence, he accused them of fabricating the evidence.

Two days after this announcement Charles Lindbergh told his wife to start packing and to be ready to leave the United States on "24 hours' notice."

Four days after Hoffman's announcement the Supreme Court turned down Hauptmann's appeal; his execution was now set for the first week in January.

Many people in New Jersey were already unhappy with Governor Hoffman because of his tax legislation. With this announcement the criticism turned nasty and the governor received death threats. Ahlgren and Monier, pp. 168-170, 187, 190-193.]

December 10, 1935

The secret Hoare-Laval Pact is leaked to the press: In exchange for a truce in Abyssinia, Great Britain and France would allow Italy to receive two-thirds of the country- the most productive parts. Abyssinia would be given a narrow "corridor for camels" to the Red Sea; except for this it would be land-locked.

[French Premier Laval, also acting as Foreign Minister, wished to subvert the League sanctions against Italy in the hopes of keeping Mussolini in alliance with France against Hitler. Let him have Abyssinia, after all it's in Africa, not Europe. So he inveigled the British foreign minister, Sir Samuel Hoare, to agree to this pact, at the same time secretly phoning Mussolini for his agreement to the specifics.

The British public was outraged, labeling the proposal an "appeasement" of Italian aggression. (George V is alleged to have joked: "No more coals to Newcastle and no more Hoares to Paris.") The Baldwin cabinet which had originally agreed to the plan now rejected it and Hoare was forced to resign. He would later return to the cabinet under Neville Chamberlain's government. On December 28th a resentful Mussolini abrogated the Franco-Italian Pact of January 7th and resigned from Stresa and the potential Franco-Italian-British anti-German front.

France lost not only the possibility of Italy as an ally against Hitler but also the League of Nations as a barrier to aggression. Laval, too, was forced to resign six weeks later, even though the conservatives blamed Great Britain for pushing Italy out of an alliance with the west. Britain was pursuing sanctions, they said, not out of any support of League principles, but to pursue their imperial interests in Africa and protect the headwaters of the Nile River. Americans were disgusted with the Hoare-Laval deal; this only increased their isolationism. Shirer, Collapse, pp. 248-250; Ridley, pp. 265-267.]

December 16, 1935

Hoover: The ex-president, continuing his post-presidency career of assailing the New Deal and attempting to justify his presidency, says in a speech to the John Marshall Republican Club in St. Louis: "What happened on March 3, 1933 was an induced hysteria of bank depositors. The banking structure at large subsequently proved to be sound . . . The truth is that the world-wide depression was turned in June-July all over the world. That was before the election of the New Deal. . . . There was no panic before the election of November, 1932. When did they become frightened? They became scared a few weeks before the inauguration of the New Deal on March 4, 1933. . . . They were frightened by the incoming New Deal. . . . It was the most political and most unnecessary bank panic in all our history. It could have been prevented. It could have been cured by simple co-operation. Perhaps this reminds you of an ex-vice-president in 2009? Lyons, pp. 312-313.

December 22, 1935

Voluntary Exile: The Lindbergh family— Charles, Anne, and three-year-old Jon— secretively sail for England on the SS American Importer, two weeks before the scheduled execution of Bruno Hauptmann, the convicted kidnapper of Charles, Jr., the family's first son.

[A few days before, Lindbergh had given an exclusive story to Deac Lyman of the New York Times with the understanding that the story should not run until 24 hours after the Lindberghs' departure. So the public only learned that the Lindberghs were gone in a four-column story the next day, the content carefully framed by Lindbergh in advance: LINDBERGH FAMILY SAILS FOR ENGLAND TO SEEK A SAFE, SECLUDED RESIDENCE; THREATS ON SON'S LIFE FORCE DECISION.

There were many editorials censuring Governor Hoffman— already a pariah to most people— for having so badgered America's Hero that he had to leave his own country to raise his family in peace. Ahlgren, pp. 193-198.]

January 6, 1936

United States v. Butler: The Supreme Court delivers another blow to the New Deal by ruling that the tax that commodity processors had to pay under the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1933 was unconstitutional.

[Since this tax raised the money to pay the subsidies to the farmers who had agreed to limit crop production, the 6-3 vote essentially killed the AAA. Justice Stone in his often-cited dissent called the majority opinion "a tortured construction of the Constitution" and rebuked his conservative colleagues for their judicial arrogance: "Courts are not the only agency of government that must be assumed to have the capacity to govern. . . . [T]he only check upon our own exercise of power is our own sense of self-restraint, . . . "

Justice Roberts 25 in his majority opinion had implied that Congress and ultimately the people lacked the capacity for self-restraint. However, similar tax provisions in the Social Security Act were upheld the next year, and Congress enacted a new Agricultural Adjustment Act for five commodities with the payment for the subsidies coming from the US Treasury, rather than the processors. Hall, pp. 111-112; Burns, Lion, pp. 231-232, 342.]

25 Justice Roberts was known as the chief swing man on the Court, voting on the liberal side of a question almost as frequently as on the right. Many felt he should have recused himself, as the attorney for Butler was former Senator George Pepper, an intimate friend of Roberts who had persuaded Hoover to nominate him to the Supreme Court- and before that had urged Coolidge to name Roberts as government prosecutor in the Teapot Dome case, which first brought him into national prominence. Chief Justice Hughes voted with the majority, as he feared that a 5-4 decision on such an important case could lead to a popular demand for restraints on judicial power. Davis, New Deal Years, pp. 607-611.

January 20, 1936

King George V of England dies. [The next day the new king, Edward VIII, met with a cousin, the Nazi agent Duke of Coburg, and expressed a wish for an Anglo-German alliance and a desire to meet with Rudolf Hess and Hitler either in England or Germany. He confided his intention to be a politically active king. This was most unconstitutional behavior— Great Britain's monarch is permitted only to advise and consent, not to make policy. A copy of Coburg's report to Hitler came to the desk of Stewart Menzies, deputy to the chief of British intelligence. Less than two months later the Nazis, possibly emboldened by Coburg's soundings, re-occupied the Rhineland. Cave Brown, "C", pp. 181-182

January 29, 1936

Labor - Sit-Down Strike in Akron, Ohio: Several tire builders at Firestone Plant One— husky mountaineers from Southern Appalachia— lay down their tire irons and stop work at precisely 2 AM. One of them throws the switch to stop the assembly line machinery.

[By 3 AM the rest of the tire builders on the late shift had signed cards to join the United Rubber Workers of America (URWA). Soon the whole plant had ceased to function. Some departments joined the sit-down and the union; others were stalled by the lack of production from the tire builders. On the third day of the strike, with Plant Two threatening to strike in sympathy, Firestone acceded to most of the union's demands.

The tire builder who had been fired after he accosted the rate-maker— a company employee who was setting a faster pace which would determine the new "rate" at which the men would have to work— was rehired. (The pace was already back-breaking. The weight output per man had increased from an index figure of 100 in 1914 to 250 in 1922, to 506 in 1929, to 681 in 1931. There the government report stopped, but every tire worker knew that the speedup had escalated significantly since 1931.)

Firestone agreed to go back to the old rate and give three hours' pay for every day of the strike. The demands of earlier strikes at the three main rubber companies, following the adoption of an NRA code for the industry in December, 1933, had been sabotaged by the AFL leaders or the company unions.

Eight days later a spontaneous sit-down occurred at the Goodrich Tire Company, protesting an announced speedup. The URWA signed up the strikers and Goodrich capitulated rather quickly on terms similar to Firestone. (Both companies were locally owned.)

Goodyear was a different story; it was controlled by a board of directors on Wall Street. Paul Litchfield, the company president, told the URWA negotiators that no "nonsense" like the Firestone settlement would happen at Goodyear. Bernstein remarks that "Goodyear was to rubber what General Motors was to automobiles, and its president Paul W. Litchfield, was the Alfred P. Sloan, Jr. of the rubber industry. The two men, in fact, had been classmates at M.I.T." (See February 14, 1936 for more on Goodyear.) McKenney, pp. 117-118; 251- 271. Her book, Industrial Valley, reads like a diary of Akron from January 1, 1932 to March 21, 1936. It recounts the bank failure, reactions to world events, numbers on the relief rolls, society balls in West Hills, the misery index in South Akron and East Akron,
the people frozen to death who could not afford to heat their homes, the bankers on trial (and acquitted) as well as a blow-by-blow description of the rubber industry unrest and strikes. Bernstein, Turbulent, p. 589.]

February 1, 1936

Crime and Punishment in New York City: At 9 PM 165 plainclothesmen simultaneously raid 41 houses of prostitution in Manhattan and Brooklyn, taking 88 prisoners. The four major "bookers"— men who farm the prostitutes out to the madams—and several of the combination bosses are separately arrested the same evening.

[Special Prosecutor Thomas Dewey did not order the raid with the intent of closing down "the world's oldest profession" in his city; it was a device to bring down the "combination" that had brutally organized the prostitution industry. (He had not anticipated that he would be able, after interviewing arrestees, to connect the city's racketeering boss, Charlie "Lucky" Luciano, to the combination.)

Normally the combination sent a bondsman to pay the prostitute's fine and she was released within hours. This time the grand jury ordered the prostitutes and madams held as material witnesses. When confronted with the possibility of seven years in prison, most agreed to testify for the prosecution. In his press conference on Groundhog Day Dewey described how the prostitution ring operated, taking in $12 million a year. "We've got the whole New York prostitution ring in custody right now," he said, not mentioning Luciano, who was hiding out in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

Luciano was extradited to New York in mid-April to stand trial with eight other defendants— bosses and enforcers of the combination and bondsmen. On June 5th all were found guilty on sixty-two counts of compulsory prostitution. Luciano received the most severe sentence—30 to 50 years— and ended up in Clinton State Prison in Dannemora in the far north of the state.

Before dismissing the prostitutes from custody, the paternal Judge Philip J. McCook interviewed each of them separately, had them swear that their testimony had not been coerced and gave them their $3 per day paychecks for their time as material witnesses.
To the consternation of most of them, McCook enjoined them to meet with some women waiting in an adjoining room— "warm-hearted women" from various charitable institutions who wanted to help them find jobs, be protected and "not be forced back to doing anything" that they did not want to do. Poulsen does not record how successful these well-meant interventions were, but implies that most of the prostitutes returned to $2 houses.
For more on Luciano's career, including his control of the mob from his prison cell, see June 7, 1936, August 24, 1939, February 9, 1942, May 12, 1942, July 10, 1943 and February 10, 1946. Poulsen, pp. 66-85. ]

February 14, 1936

Labor - Sit-Down at Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company: At 3 AM the tire builders of Goodyear Plant Two shut off the power to their machines and sit down, protesting the layoff of seventy men as part of Goodyear's preparation for the installation of the eight-hour day.

[That evening their marathon card game was interrupted by the arrival of Goodyear's personnel director flanked by a crew of guards (with holstered revolvers prominently visible) and nine foremen and supervisors. He gave the men thirty minutes to return to work and turned on the machinery. Only three men rather timidly complied. After a near-confrontation with these workers, the rest of the tire builders went back to playing cards.

A half-hour later the personnel director turned off the current and thanked the nervous three, telling them to report to work the next day. He told the 137 card players that they were fired and would never be re-hired. The Goodyear contingent left, locking in the strikers who were not released until the next day.

Goodyear's annual statement made the front page of the Beacon Journal on Monday the 17th: Their profits for 1935 were nearly $5.5 million, nearly a million dollars more than in 1934. There was talk of little else in the union hall that day. An evening meeting called to discuss the plight of the 137 + 70 laid-off men quickly escalated into plans for a strike of Goodyear Plant Two. By 11 PM that evening enough pickets were in place to prevent the entry of the midnight shift. And the number of pickets continued to grow despite the sub-zero weather. As workers, arriving by the busload, learned of the strike, they shouted "Hurrah!" and made no attempt to enter the plant but joined the picket line.

Within a few days the spontaneously organized strike became a serious one, thanks to the expertise of Jim Keller, the Communist Party section organizer for Akron. A leaflet listed the demands:
--- retention of the six-hour day, no layoffs,
--- no more speedups,
--- no wage cuts, and
--- a signed agreement with URWA.
The leaflet detailed the immediate causes of the strike and included the government report on the speedup. (See January 29, 1936) The leaflet gave the following warning: "It would be the sensible thing for the company, for Mayor Schroy and the city government, not to attempt terror against the strikers. If they do, they will bear the responsibility for a general strike which is sure to develop--- if the methods of Sheriff Flower are used."

This was a reference to the November, 1935 strike at the Ohio Insulator plant in nearby Barberton where the sheriff and a Colonel Johnston had gas-bombed the pickets, including women and children in the street and in their yards and homes that bordered the plant. McKenney, pp. 227-242.

Goodyear refused to negotiate with the strikers as long as the plant entrances were barricaded. On the fifth day they secured an injunction against mass picketing which a frightened police chief refused to enforce. On the sixth day the CIO came to town to advise the newly-formed union. The AF of L yelled "Foul!"- the URWA was their union.

Goodrich and Firestone workers continued building tires but taxed themselves to supply food and loudspeakers for the strike. Thousands of WPA workers stood ready to shut down their projects in case of violence to Goodyear picketers. On the eighth day the Akron chief of police stopped an attack on the picket line. It was clear that the city of Akron would be shut down if the National Guard was called in. And the National Guard, facing law suits from their actions in Toledo the previous year during the Electric Auto-Lite strike, refused to come to Akron unless there was already blood running in the streets.

The local radio station started giving time each night for both sides to make their case to the public. Editorially both newspapers opposed the strike, but both gave fair reporting to both the union and Goodyear. The company continued its refusal to negotiate. By the twentieth day secret negotiations had begun between the company and the union. Goodyear did an end run by publicly announcing the five elements of a "peace proposal" they had offered the union.

The union, advised by the CIO, did not dare risk public censure by flatly refusing this very weak offer, so they accepted two of the five points and said further negotiation was needed. Goodyear declared their offer was final, rescinded the offer to rehire the strikers and announced that the plant would be reopened. Ex-Mayor Sparks announced the formation of The Akron Law and Order League— a vigilante group covertly sponsored by the three major rubber companies— that would protect Goodyear's 13,000 "loyal workers" who would be returning to work. In his radio addresses he claimed that the union members— described as "chiseling leeches, labor agitators, radicals, Communists, can't be called citizens, and it is stretching a point to call them Americans"— had been arming themselves with revolvers and gas bombs.

The next day the Akron Beacon Journal condemned this group with a front-page editorial: "NO ROOM FOR VIGILANTES!" That night the union had an all-night radio broadcast. Members were asked to have "listening-in" parties at their homes, and to be ready to come to the rescue of the pickets should there be violence at the barricades before an attempted re-opening of the Goodyear plant.

There was no vigilante action; Goodyear managed to make some reasonable proposals and the strike was settled on March 20th. The union had most of their demands met and got a de facto recognition from the company. The sit-down became the most advantageous tool for labor and would be widely used in the coming months in the auto and steel industries- and in the rubber industry to cement the gains made by this historic strike. McKenney, pp. 273-369; Bernstein , Turbulent , pp.593-602

February 17, 1936

Brown v. Mississippi: The Supreme Court rules unanimously that criminal convictions based on confessions elicited by torture and cruelty violate the fundamental right to a fair trial based on the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

[The convictions of three African-Americans accused of killing a white planter in Kemper County, Mississippi two years earlier were thereby reversed. Chief Justice Hughes wrote that the original court transcript "reads more like pages torn from some medieval account, than a record made within the confines of a modern civilization which aspires to an enlightened constitutional government. . . . The rack and torture chamber may not be substituted for the witness stand. . . . . It would be difficult to conceive of methods more revolting to the sense of justice than those taken to procure the confessions of these petitioners, and the use of the confessions thus obtained as the basis for conviction and sentence was a clear denial of due process." Dray, pp. 315-317.]

February 17, 1936

Ashwander v. Tennessee Valley Authority: The Supreme Court upholds the constitutionality of the Act, 8-1, finding that Congress has the authority to construct dams and to sell their byproduct, electricity.

[The suit had been brought by the preferred stockholders of the Alabama Power Company, a corporation which had tried for decades to obtain the hydroelectric resources of the Tennessee Valley. Hall, p.50.]

February 29, 1936

Neutrality: The Neutrality Act of 1936 is passed. It extends the provisions of the 1935 act until May 1, 1937 and adds a prohibition against the granting of any credits or loans to belligerent nations.

[Pittman (D-NV) in the Senate and McReynolds in the House (D-TN) attempted to add a clause giving the President the power to prohibit exports to any belligerent nation of strategic raw materials such as oil and cotton in excess of the amount "normally" exported to that nation. The isolationists were prompt and loud with their opposition and they prevailed. Davis, New Deal Years, pp. 593-595.]

March 7, 1936

Germany - Rhineland: Hitler's troops march into the demilitarized Rhineland in violation of Articles 42 and 43 of the Versailles Treaty and the Locarno Pact of 1925— and against the advice of his generals.

[The French had plenty of advance warning that Hitler was planning this.
Sarraut's government was a caretaker government, marking time until the elections at
the end of April, and indecisive, to put it kindly. After Foreign Minister Anthony Eden made it clear that any military action to resist German troops moving in must come from France, the French government decided if this should happen they would immediately consult with the British, Belgians and Italians about a common action in support of the Locarno and Versailles treaties. (Hitler stated that the Locarno Pact had been abrogated already by France when that country signed a mutual assistance pact with the Soviet Union. New York Times, March 8, 1936, A1.)

The French army could have easily driven the Germans out; in fact, the German generals were prepared to retreat in face of any hostile action. Hitler later revealed that German troops would have retreated from the area had there been any resistance, as he "had no army worth mentioning, [not even enough] to maintain itself against the Poles" who were ready to invade Germany from the east if the French had been willing to attack the German army and drive it back across the Rhine.

General Jodl testified at Nuremberg, "Considering the situation we were in, the French covering army could have blown us to pieces." But the British were off for a long weekend and unavailable for consultations. The Sunday papers in France inveighed against any action: "We do not have to march against Hitler with the Soviets!" The military stalled on making plans, claiming nothing could have been done short of full-scale mobilization and the people didn't want war. And so nothing was done.

The demilitarized zone— the area west of the Rhine and a strip 50 kilometers wide east of the Rhine— was France's first line of defense against a sudden German invasion as in 1914. (In 1919 Marshal Foch had demanded that France be given all of Germany west of the Rhine as a defensive measure. The Treaty Commission had devised the demilitarized zone as a substitute.) France had made alliances with Czechoslovakia and Poland based on the rapidity with which she could cross the Rhineland and strike swiftly at the Ruhr, the heart of Germany's industry and armament works, should one of her allies be attacked by Germany.

In retrospect, it is incredible that France allowed the remilitarization to go unchallenged. Perhaps Hitler could have been stopped and World War II averted. Davis, New Deal Years, pp. 595-596; Shirer, Collapse, pp. 251-284.

Early in March, 1940, Robert Murphy escorted Undersecretary of State Sumner Welles on the French segment of his "Peace Mission" to Europe. When they visited President Albert Lebrun, Murphy had one question for the aging man: "Do you believe that the French Government could have upset Hitler's plans if it had opposed by force his illegal occupation of the Rhineland in 1936?" Lebrun answered yes, and added: "But we were just too tired." The previous year—1935— had been the first year in which the number of deaths exceeded the number of births in France, just one more fallout from the devastating number of casualties that France had suffered in WW I. Murphy, p. 36.

In 1935 the United States Army ranked sixteenth in size in the world and did not have one combat-ready unit. Ambrose, Eisenhower, p. 36.]

April 3, 1936

Lindbergh "Kidnapping" Case: Bruno Richard Hauptmann dies in the electric chair at the New Jersey State prison, executed for the abduction and murder of Charles Lindbergh, Jr.

[There had been a stay of execution ordered by Governor Harold Hoffman while he tried to convince the Board of Pardons to commute the sentence to life imprisonment. In this period he received a letter from "J.J. Faulkner" declaring Hauptmann to be innocent.
The handwriting matched the signature on the bank deposit slip and also the handwriting on all of the ransom notes (except the first one found on the window sill.) (For entry on "J.J. Faulkner, see February 13, 1935.) Behn, pp. 273-349, 371-375.

The public continued their censure of Governor Hoffman; he did not win re-election.
But he never regretted his actions; until his death he passionately believed in Hauptmann's inniocence. Ahlgren, pp. 191-193.]

June 1, 1936

Morehead v. New York ex rel. Tipaldo: The Supreme Court, 5-4, strikes down a New York state minimum wage law for women and children. Justice Piece Butler, writing for the majority, maintains that the right to contract for wages is protected by the "due process" clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and state governments should not be permitted to interfere with any contracts for labor. Justice Stone accuses the majority of acting on their "personal economic predilections" and remarks that there is "grim irony in speaking of the freedom of contract of those who, because of their economic necessities, give their services for less than is needful to keep body and soul together."

[This was a most unpopular decision; All but 10 out of 344 newspaper editorials condemned it. For the New Dealers the decision was a tipping point. First the Court overturned the Railroad Pension Act of 1934, second Schecter in May, 1935 had ruled the NIRA to be unconstitutional, and then Butler in January, 1936 had destroyed the agricultural program. In the NRA decision the Court decreed that federal wage legislation was an invasion of rights reserved to states; now Morehead was prohibiting the states from acting, despite wage legislation already enforced in seventeen states.

Tommy Corcoran asked newspaperman Isidor Feinstein— soon to be known as I. F. Stone— to write a muckraking book detailing the history of the Supreme Court and its special interests and specious reasoning. His 127-page The Court Disposes underwent several revisions dictated by changing circumstances. So it did not appear until June, 1937 — after the court-packing scandal and the Court's self-dictated change of heart. Even after all these years, the book is an enlightening read.

It begins by describing a major difference between the United States and "other representative governments: the US has a Supreme Court where the majority of the justices have the power to overrule legislative decisions no matter how thoroughly debated or widely approved." Izzy Stone closes his book with: "Democracy must curb the Supreme Court or the Supreme Court, instrument of our great concentrations of economic power, will destroy democracy. This is the choice before the American people." Hall, p. 562; Guttenplan, pp. 98-103; Feinstein, pp. 11-12, 127.]

June 6, 1936

France: Léon Blum becomes premier of France.
[In the April 26 elections the parties of the Popular Front had won the majority, and Blum's Socialist Party emerged as the largest single party. Although the Socialist and Communist leaders made it clear that they did not consider the victory to be a mandate for revolutionary change, they did promise a long over-due "New Deal" for France: higher wages, collective bargaining rights, a 40-hour work week, paid vacations, curbs on financial speculations and "democratization" of the Bank of France so it would serve the needs of all the people and not just the "Two Hundred Families" of the elite.

Blum's cabinet was mainly comprised of Socialists and Radical-Socialists (who were neither radical nor socialist, but members of the rural petite bourgeoisie.) The Communists chose not to be represented as they feared Blum would be swayed by the Radicals, yet they promised to support the new government "loyally and without reserve." The cabinet was unusual for the number of relatively young men and, in a country where women could not vote, the presence of three women, including Mme. Irène Joliot-Curie as Undersecretary for Scientific Research.

The reactionary right characterized the whole government as "Bolshevik."
Blum was confronted on the first day by the extreme anti-Semite Xavier Vallat: "For the first time this ancient Gallic-Roman country will be governed by a Jew. I have to say aloud what everyone is thinking silently— that to govern this peasant nation which is France it is better to have someone whose origins, no matter how modest, spring from the womb of our soil rather than have a subtle Talmudist." (Vallat would find his calling under the Vichy government when he was made the director of the General Commission for Jewish Questions and administered the census that identified the Jews for transport. After the war, he was tried and imprisoned.) Black, IBM, pp. 313-325.

The right-wing press launched a wave of anti-Semitism reminiscent of the Dreyfus Affair forty years earlier. "France under the Jew" was the headline in Charles Maurras' L'Action Française the day after Blum took office. "We now have a Jewish government." Yet Blum was successful in fulfilling the pledges of the Popular Front.

In the first week he concluded the Matignon Agreement between the association of employers and the General Confederation of Labor (CGT.) The one million striking workers agreed to evacuate the plants and end the strikes in return for a 7-15% increase in wages. In the next ten days the Chamber passed legislation similar to that passed in the Hundred Days in the US in 1933. Said the Minister of the Interior, "We have had a peaceful revolution. Not a machine has been broken, not a drop of blood has been spilled. It has been the most formidable social upheaval the Republic has ever known." Shirer, Collapse, pp. 285-296.]

June 7, 1936

Crime and Prosecution: Charles "Lucky" Luciano, the head of the Mafia in New York, is convicted of pandering— forced prostitution— and sentenced to 30 to 50 years in prison.

[The Mafia's basic business of illegal distilling and rum-running became obsolete when Prohibition ended. Luciano (characterized by Alfred McCoy as "one of the leading criminal executives of the modern age") then re-organized the old Sicilian Mafia and led the mob into the prostitution and heroin rackets with great financial success.

The Federal Bureau of Narcotics had enough evidence to convict him on drug charges, but the Bureau and Dewey felt the prostitution rap would be more likely to "offend public sensibilities and secure a conviction." McCoy, Politics of Heroin, pp. 28-30.

Thomas Dewey had been called from private practice in July, 1935 and appointed as special prosecutor to clean up the rackets in New York City. He accepted with the conditions that he be given a staff of twenty lawyers and complete independence from the do-nothing office of the District Attorney. New York City was in thrall to the racketeers and the tribute they demanded from all the city's major industries. For instance, it was twice as expensive to unload and crate a railcar of poultry as in Philadelphia; twenty cents was added to the cost of every barrel of flour entering the city.

Dewey's earliest success came with the arrest and conviction of twenty-nine of the most notorious loan sharks in October, 1935. (If you borrowed $5 one week, you had to pay back $6 the next week or get a beating.) In February Dewey's surprise arrests of the four main prostitution bookers followed by the simultaneous raids on 41 whorehouses brought an unexpected dividend: several people identified Lucky Luciano as the head of the racket. Luciano was the "boss of all bosses" but Dewey had not guessed that he would be so personally involved with prostitution, as opposed to the industrial rackets or that so many witnesses would be willing to name him. (The prostitutes' endurance of a long incarceration instead of the usual quick $300 bail from their bookers may have been an incentive.) Smith, Dewey, pp. 174-206.] For more on Dewey's crime-busting career, see November 2, 1937.

June 12, 1936

Republican Convention in Cleveland: Governor Alfred M. Landon of Kansas, the only serious contender for the presidential nomination, is named on the first ballot. [

Landon, an oil millionaire, was the leader of the liberal wing of the Republican Party.
He had supported Theodore Roosevelt's Progressive Party in 1912. In the 1936 campaign he repudiated the endorsement of the Liberty League. In his whistle-stops he promised to keep what was good about the New Deal but would administer it better.

Most of the campaign rhetoric would be supplied by the Old Guard in Congress and by John Hamilton, the national chairman, who warned that under Social Security Washington would issue dog tags for every American man, woman and child. He also predicted victory in November "because every Rolls-Royce I see has a Landon sticker." Smith, Dewey, p. 219.]

June 27, 1936

Democratic Convention in Philadelphia: FDR accepts the nomination for a second term: "Political tyranny was wiped out in Philadelphia on July 4, 1774. [New inventions since then] combined to bring forward a new civilization and with it new problems for those who sought to remain free. For out of this modern civilization economic royalists carved new dynasties . . . the whole structure of modern life was impressed into this royal service . . . the privileged princes of these new economic dynasties, thirsting for power, reached out for control over Government itself. . . . Against economic tyranny such as this, the American citizen could appeal only to the organized power of Government. The collapse of 1929 showed up the despotism for what it was. The election of 1932 was the people's mandate to end it. Under that mandate it is being ended. . . . There is a mysterious cycle in human events. To some generations much is given. Of other generations much is expected.
This generation of Americans has a rendezvous with destiny."

["This generation had better not make any blind dates," riposted the acerbic Dorothy Thompson, writing for the anti-FDR New York Herald-Tribune. The party platform included some isolationist rhetoric: a pledge "to work for peace, to take the profits out of war, to guard against being drawn, by political commitments, international banking, or private trading, into any war that may develop anywhere." Shogan, pp. 44-45. ]

July 11, 1936

Austro-German Agreement: The new Austrian Chancellor, Kurt von Schuschnigg, signs an agreement with Hitler's government which on the surface seems to be most beneficial for Austria. Germany recognizes Austria's sovereignty and promises not to interfere in its internal affairs. Austria acknowledges that she is a "German state" and pledges that her foreign policy will reflect that fact. But there are some secret provisions that will be a trap for Austria. Schuschnigg agrees to amnesty Nazi political prisoners and to appoint representatives of the "so-called National Opposition" [read, Nazis] to positions of political responsibility. Shirer, Rise, p. 296.

July 12, 1936

Germany: Gypsies are arrested and sent to Dachau concentration camp.

July 17, 1936

Spain: Civil war begins as the Falangists— a religiously inflamed coalition of royalists, insurgent military, wealthy elite and clerics— attempt to overthrow the democratically-elected Spanish Republic. Their leader is General Francisco Franco.

[Hitler was initially reluctant to get involved, but after intercession from some German businessmen he agreed to send planes on the 26th to ferry Franco's troops from Morocco to the mainland. Without this, the coup would have had no chance, since the Spanish navy was "communist," as Franco put it to Göring— meaning, loyal to the Republic and unwilling to transport Franco's forces.

Mussolini started sending massive supplies to Franco as soon as he learned that France had sent supplies to the Loyalists. This then became a proxy war in which Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, supporting Franco, tested their troops and new battle weapons while the Soviet Union hesitantly supplied the Republicans, or Loyalists.

Premier Blum's immediate reaction had been that France must send whatever arms it could spare to aid the fellow democracy on her southern border. When news of the aid leaked, the reactionary right erupted. Blum was labeled a "traitor" by L'Action Française. Many of his opponents favored Franco, the devout Catholic and anti-Communist military man.

Britain, fearing the Spanish war could turn into a general European war, withheld armaments from both sides, calling this policy— which obviously favored Franco—"non-intervention." Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden bludgeoned Premier Léon Blum to stop sending supplies to the Loyalists.

The French also feared that taking sides might cause Germany and Italy to attack France. Ironically, as Shirer puts it, "an insignificant amount of French aid in July would have enabled the government in Madrid to stamp out the rebellion quickly. But Blum was too taken aback by the uproar on the Right and the panic on the left to realize this, until it was too late."

Historian Dante Puzzo calls the French decision not to aid the Spanish Republicans "the most important single act in the history of the diplomacy of the Spanish civil war." Offner, American Appeasement, pp. 154-155; Shirer, Collapse, p. 300. Foreign correspondent Herbert Matthews maintained that the British hypocritical policy of "non-intervention" was "primarily instrumental in handing victory to the rebels [Franco]." Matthews, p. 14.

The latest Neutrality Act had not defined the position of the US in a civil war, but it was unofficially neutral. With the outbreak of the war there had been a "popular, uncontrolled explosion against an oppressive ruling class" and against the church which supported the monarchy, landowners and army. (Matthews says the hierarchy in Spain "was more papist than the Pope.")

There were church burnings and murders of priests and nuns. Madrid soon restored law and order and halted these excesses but not before the Vatican had thoroughly inflamed American Catholics against the Loyalists in favor of a Franco victory. (The atrocities on the other side were systematic, carried out brutally as a "policy of terrorism and revenge." Matthews, p. 15.)

FDR advised the Glenn L. Martin Company against selling eight warplanes to the Spanish government. [For additional information on US neutrality in the Spanish War, see entries for August 14, 1936 and January 8, 1937.] There were international brigades of nearly 60,000 volunteers from 55 countries who went to fight with the Republicans, including the American "Abraham Lincoln Battalion." The international brigades were the brainchild of French Communist Party leader Maurice Thorez; they were sponsored by the Soviet Union with an international recruiting center established in Paris. Novels by André Malraux and Ernest Hemingway— L'Espoir and For Whom the Bell Tolls” describe the war from the internationals' point of view.

On January 26, 1996 the Spanish government gave Spanish citizenship to the Brigadists, fulfilling a promise made during the war. At the time, roughly 600 remained alive.
By Spring, 1939 Franco's forces had won, one million people had been killed, and a frankly fascist and totalitarian government had been installed that would rule until Franco's death in 1975. The US recognized the Franco government on April 1, 1939. Dallek, p. 127; Shirer, Collapse, pp. 296-306; Matthews, p.15;]

August 1-15, 1936

The Olympic Games in Germany: Berlin is cleansed of all anti-Semitic signs until the games are over and the foreign visitors have left.

August 10, 1936

Counter-Espionage: FDR issues a secret memorandum to intelligence officers on Oahu: All Japanese ships docking at Oahu are to be met; every Japanese citizen or non-citizen who meets these ships or has any connections with the ship's personnel is to be identified and secretly "placed on a special list of those who would be the first to be placed in a concentration camp in the event of trouble." Stinnett, Day of Deceit, pp. 83-84.

August 14, 1936

Neutrality: In FDR's "I hate war" speech at Chautauqua, he attempts to foster a "moral embargo" on arms for the Spanish civil war: "[W]e have sought steadfastly to assist international movements to prevent war [including a treaty to deal with the manufacture of arms and the international traffic in arms] . . . We shun political commitments which might entangle us in foreign wars. . . . We are not isolationists except in so far as we seek to isolate ourselves completely from war. Yet we must remember that so long as war exists on earth there will be some danger that even the Nation which most ardently desires peace may be drawn into war. I have seen war. I have seen war on land and sea. I have seen blood running from the wounded. . . . I hate war. . . .

It is clear that our present policy and the measures passed by Congress would, in the event of war on some other continent, reduce the war profits which would otherwise accrue to American citizens. Industrial and agricultural production for a war market may give immense fortunes to a few men; for the Nation as a whole it produces disaster. It was the prospect of war profits that made our farmers in the West plow up prairie land that should never have been plowed, but should have been left for grazing cattle. Today we are reaping the harvest of those war profits in the dust storms which have devastated those war-plowed areas. . . .

Nevertheless, if war should break out again in another continent, let us not blink the fact that we would find in this country thousands of Americans who, seeking immediate riches- fools' gold- would attempt to break down or evade our neutrality. . . . To resist the clamor of this greed, if war should come, would require the unswerving support of all Americans who love peace. If we face the choice of profits or peace, the Nation will answer- must answer- 'We choose peace.' It is the duty of all of us to encourage such a body of public opinion in this country that the answer will be clear and . . . unanimous."

August 24, 1936

The Philippines: General Douglas MacArthur accepts a commission in the Philippine Army (and the rank of field-marshal) in an elaborate ceremony wearing a sharkskin uniform of his own design. Ambrose, Eisenhower, I, p, 107.

September 5, 1936

Labor: The American Federation of Labor (A.F.L.) expels ten unions— a million of its members- because of their affiliation with the Committee for Industrial Organization (CIO).

October 31, 1936

Social Security and the "pay-envelope" campaign" of the National Association of Manufacturers: FDR in a magnificent campaign speech in Madison Square Garden answers Alfred Landon's insinuations about Social Security and the "pay-envelope campaign" of the NAM:

"For twelve years this nation was afflicted with hear-nothing, see-nothing, do-nothing government . . . The nation looked to government but government looked away. Nine mocking years with the golden calf and three long years of the scourge! Nine crazy years at the ticker and three long years in the breadlines! . . . Powerful influences strive today to restore that kind of government with the doctrine that the government is best which is most indifferent. . . .

Never before have these forces been so united against one candidate . . . They are unanimous in their hatred of me, and I welcome that hatred. I should like it to be said of my first administration that in it these forces of selfishness and lust for power met their match. I should like to have it said of my second administration that in it these forces met their master. . . .

Only desperate men with their backs to the wall would descend so far below the level of decent citizenship as to foster the current pay-envelope campaign against America's working people. . . . They tell the worker his wage will be reduced by a contribution to some vague form of old-age insurance. They carefully conceal from him the fact that for every dollar of premium that he pays for that insurance, the employer pays another dollar.
That omission is deceit. They carefully conceal from him the fact that under federal law, he receives another insurance policy to help him if he loses his job, and that premium is paid 100 percent by the employer and not one cent by the worker. That omission is deceit. . . .

When they imply that the reserves thus created against both these policies will be stolen, by some future Congress, diverted to some wholly foreign purpose, they attack the integrity and honor of the American Government itself. Those who suggest that are already aliens to the spirit of American democracy. Let them emigrate and try their lot under some foreign flag in which they have more confidence."

[Governor Landon later admitted that the assault on Social Security had been one of the major mistakes of his campaign. Davis, New Deal Years, pp. 642-644. The rate of unemployment was 17%; down from 20% at the beginning of Roosevelt's first term.]

November 1, 1936

The Rome-Berlin Axis is formed.
[In May of 1939 Mussolini and Hitler concluded a formal military alliance. Their cooperation in support of Franco in the Spanish civil war had caused them to forget their old differences over Austria and Hitler's opposition to Mussolini's conquest of Ethiopia. Ridley, pp. 278-279.]

November 3, 1936

FDR defeats Kansas Governor Alfred M. Landon for the presidency by a landslide- 523-8 in the Electoral College, with only Maine and Vermont having a Republican majority. Landon receives less than 38% of the popular vote. FDR wins in 104 of the nation's 106 cities with populations of 100,000 or more. The House and Senate will both be more than 75% Democratic in the next session— 333 out of 425 House seats; 76 out of 96 Senate seats.

The popular vote (with 83% of the eligible voters voting):
Roosevelt 60.6%
Landon 36.8%
Lemke 2.0%
Thomas .4% (Socialist Party candidate)
Browder .2% (Communist Party candidate)

[Landon, a very popular governor, failed to carry his own state of Kansas. Jim Farley, the Democratic chairman, had inquired how many workers would need to be added to the public payroll to persuade Kansans to forsake their normal Republican voting pattern. In the last two weeks of the campaign 26,723 WPA workers were hired, the figure given by the local Democratic committeeman.

Four-fifths of the nation's newspapers had supported Landon and accused FDR of dictatorship. The Literary Digest conducted a straw poll of its readers and predicted Landon would win by a huge majority— the magazine ceased publication the next year.

Representative William Lemke (R-ND) was the candidate of the newly-formed Union Party of the demagogic left:- Gerald L. K. Smith, the Townsend movement, the remnants of Huey Long's Share Our Wealth Society, and Father Charles E. Coughlin. The charismatic "radio priest" had promised to deliver 9 million votes for Lemke against "that betrayer and liar, Franklin Double-Crossing Roosevelt." Lemke received less than 900,000.

In September Coughlin had been forced by his archbishop to publicly apologize to FDR for calling him a liar. Davis, New Deal Years, pp. 639- 647; Winkler, p. 115.]

November 6, 1936

Visitor from the Vatican: At the end of his month-long visit to the United States, Cardinal Secretary of State Eugenio Pacelli visits FDR at the Roosevelt estate in Hyde Park.

[No concordat was signed but FDR agreed to send a personal representative, Myron Taylor, to the Vatican and asked that the radio priest, Father Coughlin, be muzzled. Two days later Father Coughlin announced on air that this would be his last broadcast. Cornwell, Hitler's Pope, pp. 174-176.]

November 8, 1936

Spain: On the second day of the Battle for Madrid the Republicans are cheered by the sudden appearance of a parade of 2000 soldiers in corduroy uniforms and steel helmets, the first contingent of the International Brigades.

[They would ultimately number 40,000 volunteers from 52 countries, most notably Great Britain, France, Yugoslavia , Poland, Belgium and Austria. Many were political refugees from Germany and Italy. Carroll, p. 12.]

November 18, 1936

Germany and Italy formally recognize the Franco regime in Spain.

November 25, 1936

Hitler and Japanese leaders sign an "anti-Comintern" pact, pledging to fight communism. A secret provision provides that if the Soviet Union were to attack either Germany or Japan, the two nations would consult as to how they might "preserve their common interest." [With this shield Japan's warlords felt free to start the war with China in July, 1937. LaFeber, p. 181.]

December 11, 1936

England: Millions of people worldwide are glued to their radio sets as King Edward VIII tells his people that he has abdicated his throne in order to be with "the woman I love."
He will henceforth be known as the Duke of Windsor. His brother, the Duke of York, succeeds him as George VI.

[The abdication had been forced by Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin and Lord Beaverbrook, the owner of the London Daily Express. They disapproved of the King's mistress, American-born Wallis Warfield Simpson, because of her two divorces and an unsavory dossier of past spying for Russia and current sympathy for fascist Italy, a previous lover having been Italy's Count Ciano.

Even less widely known at the time than these charges was the prime minister's reluctance to have a king who wished to play a political role rather than being a figurehead. Higham, Duchess of Windsor. After World War II began, FDR ordered surveillance on both the Duke and Duchess of Windsor because of their "Nazi sympathies" and the suspicion that the Duchess had given secret information to Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop, another of her former lovers. Beschloss, The Conquerors, p. 135.]

December 26, 1936

The Abraham Lincoln Battalion: The first 86 volunteers sail from New York City on the Normandie to begin their fight for the Spanish Republic. They would go by train to the French-Spanish border and then cross the Pyrenees on foot.

[Ultimately they would number nearly 3000 and about one-third of them would die in Spain. Most were blue-collar workers; about 500 were students or teachers; one-third were Jewish— Jews were in the majority for the women volunteers— and most were members of the Communist, Socialist or Socialist Labor parties.

All but two states were represented; over 80% came from the country's eleven largest cities. They ranged in age from 18 to 60; the median age was over 27. There was also the American Medical Bureau to Aid Spanish Democracy which enlisted 150 American doctors, nurses, technicians and drivers.

In the years of the Cold War and repression in the United States following World War II, many Lincoln veterans, even after having fought in America's war against Hitler and Japan, would be regarded with suspicion, find it difficult to find or keep a job and would be labeled "premature anti-fascists." Carroll, Odyssey of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, pp. 14-19.]

December 30, 1936

Labor - Flint, Michigan: Automobile workers at the General Motors Fisher Body plant begin a sit-down strike. Completely ignoring the Wagner Act, GM and its executive vice president, William Knudsen, have refused to recognize the union or negotiate any of the union's demands which are:
--- recognition of the United Auto Workers Union
a signed agreement for all GM plants nationwide
--- a 30-hour week
--- an increase in the minimum wage
--- regulation of a reasonable speed of production.

[The two major complaints were the ever-increasing speed of the assembly line— which caused many men to drop at their posts from exhaustion— and the company's refusal to recognize the union and engage in collective bargaining, as mandated by the Wagner Act.
In the following days sit-ins were staged in SM plants in Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin.
By the end of the first week of 1937 General Motors had been forced to close assembly lines of Chevrolets, Pontiacs, Buicks and Cadillacs.

Alfred P. Sloan, the head of General Motors, denounced the sit-ins as a Communist attempt to "Sovietize" the auto industry as "a dress rehearsal for Sovietizing the entire country." "Join the CIO and help Build a Soviet America" was the title of a pamphlet distributed by the National Association of Manufacturers— 2,200,000 copies. Its author, Joseph Kamp, a member of the pro-fascist Constitutional Education League, was later indicted for conspiracy to undermine the morale of troops serving in World War II and also for contempt of Congress. Boyer and Morais, p. 317.

The recently organized UAW was audacious in tackling GM as the first of the Big Three automobile manufacturers. Bernstein rated General Motors as the "largest manufacturing corporation in the world." In 1937 it would gross $1.6 billion— the combined budgets of Michigan, California, New York, Pennsylvania and Minnesota. It employed a quarter of a million people; its industry share was 78%. It had made a profit every year since 1921; its rate of return on net capital investment was 18%.

Nearly a quarter of its common stock was held by the E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company; the two companies had interlocking directors and virtually identical policies and structures. Bernstein, pp. 510-511.

Flint, a company town, soon turned into a city under siege. GM encouraged the formation of a "citizen's group" to try to evict the workers from the three plants they had seized.
"Flying squadrons" of union workers arrived from all over the Middle West to join the thousands of auto workers, wives and children on the picket lines who were defending the sit-in workers with a wall of flesh.

On January 11 the police attempted to stop wives from delivering food to their sit-in husbands. A riot broke out and 27 people were injured. This prompted the newly-inaugurated governor, Frank Murphy, to call out the National Guard— to protect those on the picket lines from police violence, but not to evict the sit-in workers from the plants—
the usual act of such officials.

At the end of January Governor Murphy was served with two court injunctions to use the National Guard to evict the sit-in workers. (The first was thrown out when it was learned that the issuing judge held $150,000 of General Motors stock!) Murphy refused to honor the injunction; instead he forced Knudsen to sit down with John L. Lewis, the head of the CIO, and talk.

The sit-down would last for 44 days. The UAW evacuated the plants, the strikers marching into the streets for a community celebration. GM recognized the union as the spokesman for its members; Knudsen said, "Let us have peace and make cars."

Knudsen was a specialist in assembly line production. In 1940 FDR called him to Washington to be the director of the national defense program; on January 16, 1942
the War Department drafted him into the army as a Lieutenant General to be director of production. See entry for February 11, 1937. Boyer and Morais, pp. pp. 298-309; Davis, Into the Storm, pp. 88-89; Bernstein, Turbulent Years, pp. 509-551.]

January 8, 1937

Neutrality and Spain: FDR signs the Pittman-McReynolds bill, introduced two days earlier, which prohibits the export of arms, munitions and implements of war to either side in the Spanish Civil War.

[Thus a legal embargo was added to the "moral embargo" which FDR had called for in August. In December, after an American exporter shipped $3 million worth of airplanes and engines to the Republican government, FDR said publicly that this was an "unpatriotic" act and the State Department through the Berlin embassy actually apologized to the German government for their inability to prevent the shipment.

By the spring of 1938 there was considerable sentiment to repeal the embargo and assist the Republican government, allowing it to purchase war goods on a cash-and-carry basis. Initially FDR favored the resolution introduced by Senator Nye on May 2. However, a furor was raised when his intention became known, and FDR decided not to offend the American Catholic hierarchy and the British and French who continued to support non-intervention. So the embargo remained in place.

In 1939 both FDR and Senator Pittman admitted to Ambassador Claude Bowers that the embargo had been a mistake and the legal government of Spain should have been supported. Historian Bowers had been a vehement and consistent critic of administration policy. Assistant Secretary of State Sumner Welles would write in 1944 that US foreign policy during the Spanish civil war was "of all our blind isolationist policies, the most disastrous." Offner, American Appeasement, pp. 156-159.]

January 20, 1937

"One-third of a nation . . .:" FDR and Garner are inaugurated for their second term.
In his inaugural address FDR says: "In this nation, I see tens of millions of its citizens...who at this very moment are denied the necessities of life. I see millions denied education, recreation, and the opportunity to better their lot and the lot of their children. . . . I see one-third of a nation ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished. It is not in despair that I paint you that picture. I paint it for you in hope- because the Nation, seeing and understanding the injustice of it, proposes to paint it out."

February 5, 1937

Supreme Court: FDR sends his "court-packing" plan to Congress, proposing that the Supreme Court be increased by as many as six members should any of the over-70 Justices decline to retire. His principal targets are the "Four Horsemen"— Justices Willis Van Devanter, Pierce Butler, George Sutherland and James McReynolds— born in 1859, 1866, 1862 and 1862 respectively and who are all railroad or corporation attorneys and have consistently voted against all New Deal economic and social legislation.

(McReynolds was also virulently racist and anti-Semitic. When Justice Brandeis spoke in conference, McReynolds would leave the room. There is no group picture of the 1924 term, as McReynolds refused to be photographed next to Justice Brandeis. Hutchinson and Garrow, The Forgotten Memoir of John Knox. (Knox was McReynolds' law clerk for the 1936 term.)

[Outrage at the plan was expressed immediately, and not just by the usual New Deal opponents. Progressive senators such as Wheeler of Montana and Norris of Nebraska, Chief Justice Hughes and Justice Brandeisand the influential editor William Allen White were harshly critical of the proposal. (Roosevelt's proposal was not unconstitutional; Congress had changed the size of the Supreme Court more than once in the nineteenth century.)

A watered-down version, the Supreme Court Retirement Act, which merely offered the Justices retirement at full pay when they reached age 70, was passed on March 1st.
Then at the end of March the Supreme Court handed down a 5-4 decision upholding a minimum wage law in Washington state— Justice Owen J. Roberts had split from the conservatives with whom he had previously voted. However, this decision had been reached before FDR announced his proposal. Justice Roberts was responding to Roosevelt's overwhelming victory in the 1936 election., not to his later threat, despite the appearance.

In May Justice Van Devanter announced his decision to retire— FDR would finally have the opportunity to nominate a justice! And a few days later the Court approved the Social Security Act. The proposal left a stain on Roosevelt's record; it brought about a coalition of conservative Republicans and southern Denocrats that was able to thwart progressive legislation. McElvaine, pp. 284-286.]

February 11, 1937

Labor - Trail-blazing Victory in Flint, Michigan: William Knudsen and Alfred P. Sloan are forced to capitulate after a 44-day sit-in strike of workers at their General Motors plants in Flint. In the first ten days of February GM has been able to produce only 141 automobiles; the strike has paralyzed GM production nationwide, thanks to critical components that come from Flint.

CIO head John L. Lewis has gained all the demands of the UAW and then some:

--- The UAW is recognized as the sole bargaining agency.
--- There will be no more piece work, only straight hourly wages.
--- A 30-hour week, a 6-hour day and time and a half for overtime.
--- Mutual agreement on "speed of production."
--- A minimum pay rate "commensurate with an American standard of living."
---Reinstatement of all employees unjustly discharged.

[Within a year wages for UAW workers increased from thirty or forty cents an hour to a dollar and they continued to rise. In the long run, GM also profited from the pay raise to the auto workers, as finally those who made the cars could afford to buy one themselves.

Labor everywhere was the big winner. Sit-ins sprang up in five-and-dime stores, hotels, restaurants and all sorts of factories. The workers won contracts, union recognition and higher wages. The open shop was just about finished. Chrysler negotiated with the UAW soon after the labor victory at General Motors and signed a similar agreement.

Myron Taylor, chairman of the board at U.S. Steel, to the surprise of many did not wait for a sit-in but on March 2nd negotiated a 10 % wage increase, a 40-hour week and union recognition with John L. Lewis. An article in The Nation suggested that Taylor was really a stooge for what the House of Morgan wanted— continuous production with healthy contracts coming from Great Britain, no ruinous loss of production such as GM had experienced at Flint, and an avoidance of an exposé by the LaFollette Committee of the spies, gangsters, personnel fakers and other unfair managerial practices at US Steel. Benjamin Stolberg, "Big Steel, Little Steel, and the C.I. O." The Nation, July 31, 1937.

General Electric, Firestone and RCA soon signed similar contracts. Ford Motor Company, Goodyear Rubber and the "Little Steel" companies were the principal industrial holdouts for the open shop. "Little Steel" was the name given to a collection of independent steel companies that together constituted 25 % of steel production in the United States.
( They were: Bethlehem Steel Corporation, Youngstown Sheet and Tube, National Steel Corporation, Inland Steel Company, American Rolling Mill Company and— most importantly for its leadership in combating the demands of labor— the Republic Steel Corporation.) Boyer and Morais, pp. 309-32 ; Davis, Into the Storm, pp. 89-91.]

March 1, 1937

Spain: Congress passes a joint resolution which places an embargo on shipments of arms to Spain, thus closing the loophole in the Neutrality Act of 1935 which had not addressed the problem of a civil war.

March 29, 1937

Sonzinsky v. US : The Supreme Court upholds the constitutionality of the National Firearms Act. [To reduce the use of machine guns by gangsters Congress had passed this 1934 act which allowed firearms to be transferred only upon payment of a transfer tax. Harry Anslinger would seize upon this gimmick to control the use of marijuana in a similar piece of legislation. Musto, The American Disease, p. 222.]

April, 1937

Pacifism: A Gallup poll finds that 71% of Americans believe that it had been a mistake for the United States to enter into World War I. Smith, Dewey, p. 302.

April 12, 1937

National Labor Relations Board v. Jones & Laughlin Steel Corporation:
The Supreme Court, 5-4, sustains the constitutionality of the National Labor Relations Act- more commonly known as the Wagner Act- which guaranteed the right of workers to organize in unions and prohibited employers from firing or discriminating against employees because of union membership or union activities. Henry Ford's public response to this decision: "We'll never recognize the United Automobile Workers Union or any other union."

[The American Liberty League and employers' attorneys had crippled the action of the NLRB with a multitude of identically worded injunction pleadings and challenges to the constitutionality of the Act. After this decision employers directed their attention to Congress, demanding amendments to the Wagner Act, lessened appropriations for the NLRB, and investigations of the Board. The press generally joined in the propaganda onslaught against the Board. Bernstein, Turbulent, pp. 642-649.]

April 26-27, 1937

Guernica: German and Italian bombers, fighting on the side of rebel General Franco against the Republic of Spain, destroy the historic Basque city of Guernica. They machine-gun the fleeing survivors, killing 1600 and wounding 900.

[This first deliberate terror bombing of civilians horrified the world; Pablo Picasso painted his famous Guernica for the Spanish pavilion at the Paris World Fair which opened that summer. In 1946 Air Marshal Gõring testified that Guernica had been the dress rehearsal for the Nazis' bombing of cities in World War II.

A Fortune poll taken earlier in the month duplicated the results of a January Gallup poll: nearly 24% of Americans questioned were pro-Loyalist, less than 12% were pro-Franco, but two-thirds had no preference as to either side. FDR was privately pro-Loyalist, but loath to do anything about the neutrality legislation which perforce favored Franco.

(Nor was Texaco punished for flagrant violations of the law— tankers loaded with oil ostensibly bound for Antwerp were diverted mid-Atlantic to supply Franco. Not a drop went to the Republicans.)

First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt was overtly and fervently pro-Loyalist. In May she actively supported the efforts of the Board of Guardians for Basque Refugee Children to transport 500 homeless and orphaned Basque children to the US and provide families willing to take them in. The Catholic hierarchy was adamantly opposed. Rep. John W. McCormick (D-MA) did the bidding of his church, denounced the refugee-rescue plan as a Communist plot, and persuaded the State Department to refuse to issue the necessary visas, thus consigning the children to their probable deaths by exposure and starvation. Davis, Storm, pp. 121-125; Thomas, The Spanish Civil War, pp. 419-421.]

May 1, 1937

Neutrality: With the old neutrality act due to expire at midnight, FDR signs the Neutrality Act of 1937. In addition to extending the prohibition on both sales of arms to belligerent nations and granting of loans or credits to these nations, it also forbids American ships from transporting arms into belligerent zones. An additional two-year provision that warring nations must pay cash for all non-military goods purchased in the US and carry them away in their own ships gave the name "cash-and-carry law" to this Act.

May 6, 1937

The Hindenburg, a German dirigible making its first transatlantic crossing of the season, bursts into flames just before landing at Lakehurst, New Jersey. Thirty-six passengers and crew die in the fire.

[The cause of the fire was believed to be an explosion of the enormous quantities of hydrogen that enabled the dirigible to be airborne. The next year Germany built a sister ship modified to use non-combustible helium. Interior Secretary Harold Ickes, a confirmed Hitler-hater, refused to permit sale of helium to Germany, saying Hitler would be sure to use the dirigible militarily, so the Graf Zeppelin never saw commercial service. Shogan, pp. 163-164.

Sixty years later retired NASA scientist Addison Bain, a big believer in the possibility of hydrogen for clean energy, demonstrated that the fire really began with a buildup of static electricity which ignited the outer panels of the dirigible which had been doped with a combination of zinc oxide and powdered aluminum (to reflect light and heat and prevent the hydrogen from expanding.) One clue had been that all observers saw orange-red flames; hydrogen burns with an almost invisible blue flame.]

May 13, 1937

Lyndon Baines Johnson, the newly-elected representative from Texas' Tenth District, enters Congress, becoming at age 28 its youngest member.

[A little-known candidate, he had started his campaign immediately upon reading the obituary of his predecessor. He fabricated an issue, falsely claiming to be the only contender who backed FDR's plan to pack the Supreme Court, thus gaining FDR's attention and favor and garnering much valuable publicity.

FDR admired Johnson's brashness and energy and the Tenth District would prosper as a result. For example, in 1938 Johnson persuaded FDR to make an exception to the Rural Electrification Agency's mandate and have the new, cheap electricity made available to Johnson's too-sparsely-settled district. FDR explained to the power commissioner: "There's no rule that doesn't have an exception. And besides, John, those people down there breed pretty fast, you know." Steinberg, Sam Johnson's Boy, pp. 109-120, 132-133.]

May 15, 1937

Crime and No Prosecution: J. Edgar Hoover and Clyde Tolson lead a series of FBI raids on Baltimore brothels as part of their tracking of the money that flowed from prostitution and illegal booze to the racketeers and from them to the local law enforcement and politicians for protection from prosecution.

[This was about the last interest of the FBI in investigating organized crime. Shortly after this, Director Hoover would be proclaiming broadly that "organized crime doesn't exist." Anthony Summers submits this explanation for the obvious falsehood: At some point in the late '30s Meyer Lansky showed Hoover some photographs the Mafia had obtained of Hoover and Clyde Tolson engaged in homosexual activity, and was thus able to blackmail Hoover into ignoring the evidence of the Mafia's existence and crimes. Summers, Official, chapters 7, 21, 22. ]

May 18, 1937

Supreme Court Roster: Justice Willis Van Devanter, one of the "Four Horsemen" who consistently voted New Deal measures unconstitutional, announces his retirement.

May 23, 1937

John D. Rockefeller, America's first millionaire and possibly also her first billionaire, dies at the age of 97.

[He was known for the rapacious business practices by which he had dominated the world's oil production and distribution until the Supreme Court required the dissolution of his Standard Oil Company into 27 entities in May, 1911. In the early years of the century he was the personification of the evil business man, thanks to muckrakers such as Ida M. Tarbell. Later he justifiably acquired fame as the country's greatest philanthropist with his major contributions to medical research, the University of Chicago and black education. Chernow, Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr.]

May 24, 1937

Steward Machine Co. v. Davis : By a 5-4 vote the Supreme Court upholds the constitutionality of the Social Security Act of 1935— an important victory for the New Deal and a decision that causes FDR to drop any further schemes to pack the Court. (Also a demonstration that the Justices read the newspapers and are not totally insensitive to public opinion. Justice Owen Roberts provides the pivotal fifth vote.)

May 26, 1937

Labor - The Battle of the Overpass, Ford Motor Company: Leaders of the UAW, having received a permit to distribute union handbills at the gates of the Rouge plant, cross the overpass and arrive at the gates before the change of shifts. They are met there by a group of goons— many of them ex-convicts— from the notorious "Ford Service Department" headed by Ford's chief enforcer and intimidator, Harry Bennett. Two of the men are professional wrestlers; one is a professional boxer. Trapped on the overpass, the UAW delegates are subjected to an unmerciful beating.

[Richard Merriweather's back was broken; Walter Reuther was repeatedly picked up and thrown down, kicked in the face and body and then thrown down a series of steps.
The goons pulled the coat of overweight Richard Frankensteen up over his arms and then kicked and punched him in the head, groin and kidneys until he was a bloody mess.
Several others were also severely injured, including women.

This was typical of Ford Service Department attacks on strikers and disobedient Ford workers; what was different this time was that there were photographers present and their pictures appeared in newspapers and magazines around the country. Public sentiment was overwhelmingly on the side of the union. The NLRB found Ford in violation of the Wagner Act and ordered the company to stop interfering with union organizing.

Ford was not deterred. It was not until April 1941 that the union workers took a decisive action: they spontaneously shut down the plant, sabotaged some equipment, and forced the company to hold a vote on unionization. The UAW-CIO received more than 70 % of the more than 78,000 votes cast; 27 % wanted a more conservative union; and 3 % agreed with Henry Ford that there should be no union. Ford Motor Company Chronology:; Bernstein, Turbulent, pp. 569-571.]

May 27, 1937

United Kingdom: Neville Chamberlain becomes the new Prime Minister, following the resignation of Stanley Baldwin after the abdication of Edward VIII.

[He came to office with almost no experience in dealing with international leaders, little understanding of foreign affairs or of history, and soon would disregard or overturn previous treaties— the Balfour Declaration, the Anglo-Irish Treaty— and bypass Parliament and his own cabinet in setting policy, as in the disastrous meeting with Hitler. Olson, Troublesome Young Men.]

May 30, 1937

Labor - Memorial Day Massacre in South Chicago: The statistics: Ten Republic Steel strikers are killed, most of them shot in the back. Thirty more suffer gunshot wounds; twenty-eight are beaten so severely that they require hospitalization. Three police are injured, none seriously.

[After the contract successfully negotiated with US Steel in March, the Steel Workers Organizing Committee (SWOC) turned its attention to the "Little Steel" companies.
A strike against three companies— Republic Steel, Inland Steel Company, and Youngstown Sheet and Tube— was called on May 26th. The second two companies closed their plants and prepared to outwait the strikers. There was no attempt to employ strikebreakers and the picketing was peaceful.

This was not the case at Republic's South Chicago plant. Tom Girdler, the president of Republic, felt betrayed by Myron Taylor of US Steel. [See entry for February 11, 1937.]
No way would he sign with the CIO and have a part in "handing America over to Communism." The three companies had spent nearly $45,000 on munitions— machine guns, rifles, revolvers, tear gas and bombs.

Republic stocked its South Chicago plant with cots and food supplies and planned to keep the plant running with the scabs housed inside. When the walkout began, the Chicago police, completely in cahoots with Republic Steel, entered the plant to remove all the union employees and prevent a sit-in. When the ousted SWOC employees attempted to form a picket line around the plant, the police forced them to move two blocks away from the plant despite a legal opinion that the police should not interfere with peaceful picketing.

The police subsequently "allowed" a token group of six to eight men to picket in front of the gate. Further demonstrating their allegiance to Republic Steel, the police helped unload supplies for the strikebreakers. Some of the police would eat and sleep inside the plant.

On that fateful Sunday of May 30th about a thousand SWOC members and sympathizers marched toward the plant in formation behind two American flags. They believed they had the mayor's assurance that they could form a peaceful picket line. Instead they were confronted a short distance from the plant by a double line of police who ordered the group to disperse "in the name of the law." Those in the forward ranks argued their rights.
Both sides engaged in profanity and name-calling.
The police were armed with Billy clubs, tear gas and guns. The picketers were unarmed, but as the tensions rose, some scrambled to find rocks. When someone toward the rear heaved a stick toward the police, the shooting started.

The St. Louis Dispatch described the scene after viewing the Paramount News film: ". . . suddenly, without apparent warning, there is a terrific roar of pistol shots, and men in the front ranks of the marchers go down like grass before a scythe. The camera catches approximately a dozen falling simultaneously into a heap. . . . the police charge on the marchers with riot sticks flying. At the same time tear gas grenades are seen sailing into the mass of demonstrators, and the clouds of gas rise over them. Most of the crowd is now in flight . . . In a manner which is appallingly businesslike, groups of policemen close in on those individuals who did not run. They go to work on them with their clubs. In several instances, from two to four policemen are seen beating one man . . . . A man shot through the back is paralyzed from the waist down. Two policemen try to make him stand up, to get into a patrol wagon, but when they let him go his legs crumple, and he falls with his face in the dirt . . ." Women and children were also beaten. Many were arrested; the patrol wagons were loaded with twice their designated capacity. The seriously wounded were shoved in with the others, and patrol wagons with wounded strikers took roundabout routes to hospitals. "

Callous indifference," the LaFollette Committee would call the police attitude. "Wounded prisoners of war might have expected greater solicitude." After the massacre, the strikers protested the police brutality. Predictably, the Chicago Tribune alleged that these communist sympathizers had attacked the police and had intended to storm the plant to remove the strikebreakers.

A protest meeting of 4000 concerned citizens was held at the Civic Opera House on June 8th; one of the speakers was a professor at the University of Chicago, Paul Douglas, who later was elected to the US Senate. The Senate LaFollette Committee found that
--- the police had no right to limit the number of pickets at the gate
--- the march would have resulted in a peaceful picket line in front of the gate, not a plant invasion
--- the marchers' provocation of the police did not extend beyond abusive language and the throwing of a few isolated missiles
--- the force used to disperse the marchers was far in excess of what was required
--- the deaths and injuries were avoidable on the part of the police.

Paramount News never released its film publicly, claiming that it could cause "riotous disturbances" in the theaters! This at a time when gangster films were so popular? Six more strikers lost their lives at a Republic picket line in Ohio. Little Steel would not sign contracts with SWOC-CIO until 1942 and then only under compulsion by the War Labor Board.

Benjamin Stolberg suggested in the first months of the strike that the strike call for Little Steel was precipitate and that the leaders failed to understand the culture of steelworkers, assuming them to be proletarian like mineworkers. Big Steel, he alleged, had capitulated so easily because the tycoons feared what the LaFollette Committee could discover about the "number of gangsters and spies and personnel fakers employed by Big Steel." Boyer and Morais, pp. 312-328;Benjamin Stolberg, "Big Steel, Little Steel, and the C.I.O." The Nation, July 31, 1937; Davis, Into the Storm, pp. 89-90; William Bork, "Massacre at Republic Steel."; Howard Fast, "An Occurrence at Republic Steel,; Bernstein, Turbulent, pp. 485-490. ]

July 2, 1937

Disappearance in the Pacific Ocean: Amelia Earhart's plane fails to make the scheduled landing on tiny Howland Island in the Pacific on the last leg of her round-the-world flight.

[The Coast Guard cutter that was waiting to refuel the plane heard her engines and started what became a two-week search by the battleship USS Colorado and the aircraft carrier USS Lexington. No trace was found of the plane, Earhart, or her navigator, although remains later found on Gardner Island, 350 miles to the southeast, suggest that the plane may have landed or crashed there.

The disappearance of the world-famed aviation pioneer fueled several conspiracy theories. An Australian tabloid speculated that the flight and disappearance were a ruse to allow the US navy to explore the Marshall Islands to see if the Japanese were militarizing their mandated territory. William Manchester contended that Earhart saw illegal fortifications that the Japanese were building in these islands and that her plane was forced down and she and her navigator were murdered. The Earhart Project ( ; Manchester, Glory and the Dream, p. 150.]

July 7, 1937

Far East: Japanese and Chinese troops open fire on one another on the Marco Polo Bridge outside Tientsin.

[This was the beginning of Japan's war against China. By the end of July Japan was in control of the entire Tientsin-Peking (later Beijing) sector. In August the Japanese invaded Shanghai; a fierce street-by-street battle for the city lasted until the end of November. According to Bergamini, the "provocation" at Marco Polo Bridge had been planned in detail by Emperor Hirohito's General Staff over a year earlier under the direct orders of the Emperor. Bergamini, p. 6; Chang, pp.33-34.]

July 7, 1937

Peel Report on Palestine: In response to the growing number of Arab-Jewish clashes in the British mandate, the British Government publishes the Peel Report which recommends that Palestine be partitioned between the Jews and the Arabs.

[The Jews accepted the proposal; the Arabs rejected it, being unwilling to give up even the smallest part of the land. Bregman remarks that in retrospect, this was a "grave error of judgment" as their insistence on having all the land resulted in their losing it all. Bregman, p. 9.]

August, 1937

Recession of 1937: This is the date for the beginning of a recession given by Christina Romer, a longtime student of the Great Depression. The National Bureau of Economic Research calls May the beginning; oth agree that it ended in May, 1938.

[Trying to establish an exact date for the beginning of a recession is like trying to pinpoint the exact moment at which a fog starts rolling in. The Dow-Jones average— 190 in August— started falling, reaching 115 in October; from Labor Day to the end of the year two million people lost their jobs. (More than half of them had been laid off from the WPA.) Steel went from 80% of capacity to 19% in three months.

Many factors contributed to this profound slump:
--- Backup orders had been filled by August and new orders were not being created;
--- Two billion dollars had been taken out of the economy with the new Social Security payroll taxes with no benefits yet returning;
--- The Federal Reserve system had tightened credit;
--- Most importantly, federal spending had been sharply curtailed in the Spring.
With the seeming "recovery" in early 1937— production was over 1929 levels and stock prices and profits were up— FDR's latent fiscal conservatism kicked in. He had the WPA rolls cut drastically. The PWA was virtually closed down.

He also listened to those who feared that inflation was coming, thanks to the heavy government spending. One prominent person who feared inflation was the wealthy Joseph Kennedy. He confided to a friend that he "lay awake at night" fearing that "Roosevelt's Inflation" would deplete his fortune and he would have nothing to leave to his children!

This "recovery" occurred at a time when there were still nine million people unemployed, or 14% of the civilian work force. Leuchtenburg, Roosevelt and the New Deal, pp. 243-245; Blum, Roosevelt and Morgenthau, p. 173; McElvaine, pp. 297-299.

August 2, 1937

Congress passes the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 with little debate on an unrecorded vote.

[Harry Anslinger had been reluctant to get his Bureau of Narcotics involved in restricting the use of marijuana because, as he said, the stuff grows "like dandelions" and in all 48 states. (Marijuana, of course, is not a narcotic.) However, racist propaganda against Mexicans and blacks became coupled in the Depression with cannabis use by minorities, and several states enacted laws against its usage.

Anslinger thought to use these fears as a weapon to get the rest of the states to sign onto a uniform narcotics law, so he promoted the Devil Weed from a minor problem to a threat as great as heroin. After the Supreme Court declared the control of firearms by means of a transfer tax to be constitutional (3/29/37), he had similar legislation introduced in Congress to make non-medicinal use of marijuana illegal and to require a license and tax from all physicians and pharmacies dispensing marijuana.

The hearings were a farce. Anslinger's exhibits were newspaper clippings containing anecdotal horror stories. There were no representatives from the Public Health Service or the Children's Bureau to substantiate his allegations. A representative from the American Medical Association was the only person speaking in opposition to the legislation.
The New Deal Democrats on the committee were angry at the AMA for its opposition to Social Security and universal health care. They, therefore, refused to consider his objections and were only too happy to vote against him. Gray, pp. 75-81; Brecher, pp. 413-419; Musto, pp. 224-229.]

August 12, 1937

Supreme Court Roster: FDR, in his first chance to name a Supreme Court justice, nominates Senator Hugo Black of Alabama. (Davis implies that FDR might have preferred Solicitor General Stanley Reed, but wanted even more a candidate that would totally gall the conservatives.)

[This was a controversial choice because Black, although an ardent New Dealer in the Senate, had been a member of the Ku Klux Klan as a younger man. Senatorial courtesy dictated that Black be confirmed and so he was, 63-16, after a six-hour debate on August 17. However, while the Blacks vacationed in Europe the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ran a series of articles indicating that Black's 1926 "resignation" from the Klan had been a phony one designed to insure his victory in the primary race for the Senate. There were immediate calls for Black's forced resignation from the Court, and FDR was much embarrassed.

On his return to the US Mr. Justice Black diffused the opposition in a radio address October 1st (surpassed in ratings only by Edward VIII's abdication speech) in which he attacked religious bigotry in the United States and said his membership in the KKK had been brief and had ended before he entered the Senate. He said he had joined because most of the jurors before whom he tried cases were members. (Virtually all politicians in the Deep South in the early 1920s belonged to the Klan.)

He became one of the leading liberals on the bench until his retirement and death in 1971. He was a major defender of freedom of speech and the rights of the accused during the McCarthy period. Simon, The Antagonists, pp. 98-9; Davis, Storm, pp. 107-9.]

September 2, 1937

China: The US State Department urges all American nationals to leave China and cautions that all who remain do so at their own risk. In July 1937 there were over 10,000 Americans in China, including many missionaries. By November there were 4,600 left. Utley, p. 188.

[On August 17th the Chinese had mistakenly bombed Shanghai, killing 1700 civilians, including 3 Americans. This prompted a huge outcry from the isolationists demanding that the Neutrality Act be observed and all Americans required to leave China. A Gallup poll indicated that 44 % of Americans favored withdrawal from China.

At the same time there was a vocal contingent within the State Department warning that Japan was bent on domination of eastern Asia and the western Pacific. Stanley Hornbeck,
in particular, was adamant that Japan must be stopped and that the US must build more battleships and strengthen her position in the Pacific. Utley, pp. 11-13.

FDR refused the Navy's request to send more ships to help evacuate Americans as he feared Japan would see this as a provocation. He also declined to enforce the Neutrality Act in the undeclared Sino-Japanese War, as such enforcement would aid the Japanese. Dallek, Roosevelt and Foreign Policy, p.146.]

September 14, 1937

US Arms Embargo to Far East: US government-owned ships are forbidden to carry arms to either Japan or China— by executive order. Other ships flying the American flag may continue the trade but at their own risk.

[The SS Wichita, a government-owned freighter that was taking nineteen bombers to China, was recalled. Roosevelt and Hull feared a stop-and-search order from the Japanese that could have led to either an unwanted confrontation or a humiliation. Dallek, p. 147; Utley, p. 13-14.]

September 28, 1937

Mussolini makes a much-heralded state visit to Germany. Together the two dictators address a mass rally at a field that had been constructed for the 1936 Olympic Games.

[During this visit some Nazi officials questioned the lack of anti-Semitic legislation in Italy. Wasn't Mussolini aware of the Jewish menace there? Mussolini replied that he was less concerned about Italy's 70,000 Jews than the one million blacks in his new empire in Africa. He related that the five Italian women who had been charged with having intercourse with a black man had been beaten and sent to a concentration camp for five years.

However, a year later Mussolini promulgated his racial laws which were much milder than the Nazi version:
--- all Jews who had taken up residence in Italy and its dominions since 1919 were to leave within six months;
--- no Jews could be teachers or university students— although those currently enrolled could complete their studies;
--- Jews could not employ more than 100 persons nor own more than 50 hectares of land.

A Jew was defined as someone both of whose parents were Jews, or a person of mixed parentage who had adopted the Jewish religion. (This was in comparison to Nazi Germany where one Jewish grandparent would do the trick.) The Jewish population of Italy was small, less than seventy thousand. Most were Sephardic Jews whose ancestors had fled Spain in the 15th century expulsion. The 19th century Italian Risorgimento had wiped out all anti-Semitic laws. Ridley, Mussolini, pp. 285-292.]

October 5, 1937

The 'Quarantine' Speech: In Chicago to dedicate the Outer Bridge, a PWA project, FDR delivers his "quarantine the aggressors" speech, obliquely referring to the hostilities in Spain and China: "The peace, the freedom and the security of ninety per cent of the population of the world is being jeopardized by the remaining ten per cent who are threatening a breakdown of all international order and law. . . . When an epidemic of physical disease starts to spread, the community approves and joins in a quarantine of the patients in order to protect the health of the community against the spread of the disease."

[Even though FDR had not specified what action he recommended, the negative response was immediate and fierce. The pacifists accused him of war-mongering, and the isolationists threatened impeachment. The major newspapers— with the exception of the Chicago Tribune and the Hearst empire— and most of the public heartily approved of the speech. . (The speaker's platform faced a Chicago Tribune warehouse; there publisher McCormick had painted the word UNDOMINATED in letters ten feet high. Brinkley, Washington, p. 13.)

The next day the League of Nations condemned Japan as an invader of China and suggested a nine-power conference to meet in Brussels in November. Secretary of State Hull and others within the department were opposed to any concrete measures, such as non-recognition of the aggressors, economic boycotts or an embargo. Indeed, the Foreign Service officers at the State Department had cut "quarantine" from the speech draft; FDR promptly replaced it. Japan refused to attend the conference. Burns, Lion, pp. 318-319; Freidel, pp. 263-268; Weil, p. 77; New York Times, October 7, 1937.]

October 19, 1937

Black Tuesday of 1937: Over seven million shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange, reminding people only too forcefully of a similar October Tuesday in 1929 when over sixteen million shares were traded and investors lost over $30 billion in the following two weeks.

[There had been other indicators that the economy was not in good shape— commodity futures were sinking, unemployment was rising, and business index figures were declining. FDR got conflicting advice on what to do about this new recession from his principal economic advisors: Secretary of the Treasury Morgenthau wanted curtailed government spending and a move toward a balanced federal budget.

Marriner Eccles, the chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, blamed the recession on the sharp reduction in relief and expenditures for public works in 1937 as compared with 1936. Also, 1937 saw the beginning of Social Security taxes, $2 billion that would otherwise have gone into consumer spending. Eccles advised renewed government spending and suggested that the Federal Housing Authority undertake an expanded residential-construction program. He enjoyed reminding people that, when the Crash occurred in 1929, the federal budget was in balance. Davis, Storm, pp. 137-143.]

November 2, 1937

Election in New York City: Fiorello LaGuardia decisively defeats the Tammany Hall machine by 450,000 votes in his election for mayor. In the borough of Manhattan crime-buster Thomas E. Dewey wins election as District Attorney with his vote count running ahead of LaGuardia.

[Dewey had run his campaign with a series of radio broadcasts in which he gave colorful case histories of New York racketeers— Luciano, Schultz, Gordon and so on— and their alliance with a look-the-other-way District Attorney's office. None of the racketeers"was ever convicted of spitting on the streets by the District Attorney."

Dewey's final broadcast described the luxurious life style of Albert Martinelli, the County Clerk of New York, and then recounted the criminal histories of the men that Martinelli had appointed to the county committee and as election inspectors, citing thirty-two Martinelli associates with criminal pasts.

Drew Pearson devoted a column to Dewey's victory and suggested that he was a solid presidential prospect for the Republicans. Dewey further enhanced his national reputation by his overhaul of the District Attorney's office, the innovation of a Voluntary Defender program to provide pro bono counsel for the poor, the acceptance of lesser pleas for first offense by youthful offenders, and the indictment of many notables, including Wall Street tycoon Richard Whitney.

By the summer of 1938 a Gallup poll indicated that Dewey was the first choice for presidential candidate by 3% of Republican voters. (Senator Arthur Vandenburg of Michigan was the leading contender.) Hollywood was turning out film after film based on Dewey's exploits— Bette Davis in Marked Woman, Chester Morris in Smashing the Rackets, among others. Smith, Dewey, pp. 228-250.]

November 5, 1937

Germany must increase its Lebensraum— living space—, Hitler tells his foreign minister, Baron Konstantin von Neurath, and his military chiefs in a highly secret meeting. He plans to begin by incorporating Austria and Czechoslovakia into the Reich. He would like to accomplish this peacefully, if possible. If not, by war.

The "hate-inspired" countries, France and Britain, might offer objections but they are currently weakened: France by her internal problems and Britain by rebellions in India and Ireland, and therefore unlikely to take up arms at this time. However, he believes war to be inevitable, and the military must be prepared for action at "lightning speed" as early as 1938.

[At the conclusion of his two-hour monologue, Hitler asked his audience for their comments. Most were reticent to offer objections. Not so for three of them: The highly esteemed army commander, General Werner von Fritsch, who had been responsible for the reconstruction of the German army, questioned Hitler's bland assumption of French vulnerability. Both he and Minister of War Werner von Blomberg were horrified at the prospect of being at war with both France and Britain.

Blomberg additionally mentioned the weakness of the unfinished German fortifications in the west, especially in contrast to the "strength of the Czech fortifications which had now acquired a structure like a Maginot line which would gravely hamper an attack." The two generals excoriated Gõring for his mismanagement of the Four-Year Plan; thanks to him, they said, the army was lacking the matériel needed to fight a war.

Foreign Minister Neurath, a career diplomat whom Hitler had retained as assurance to the West of a continuation of foreign policy, questioned Hitler's belief in the likelihood of an Anglo-Franco-Italian conflict in the near future.

All three men were out of the picture by February 4th. Himmler aided in the dismissal of Fritsch by framing him on a charge of homosexual activity. Gõring encouraged the widowed Blomberg to marry a young woman "lacking in social standing," and then surfaced a police dossier on her, thus forcing Blomberg's resignation. (She had been arrested, but never convicted on the charge of posing for pornographic pictures.) A former champagne salesman, Joachim von Ribbentrop, became the new Foreign Minister. Hitler took over personal command of the army and sacked fifteen of the top generals. Shirer, Collapse, p. 327; Rise, pp. 303-321; Parssinen, The Oster Conspiracy of 1938, pp. 8-14, 21-25, 30-33.]

November 6, 1937

Mussolini joins Hitler and the Japanese in the anti-Comintern pact.
[The next month Italy formally withdrew from the League of Nations.]

November 19, 1937

Appeasement: Hitler has an informal, off-the-record meeting with Lord Halifax, a British cabinet minister and close ally of Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain. (Halifax had been invited to Germany for a hunting trip by the Luftwaffe's head, Hermann Gõring.) In the course of the meeting Halifax says that the British do not believe that "the status quo had to be maintained under all circumstances" and that changes would have to be made "sooner or later" in Danzig, Austria and Czechoslovakia, providing it can be done peacefully, thus proving to Hitler that he had been right when he had told his generals that Britain had already written off the Czechs.

[Foreign Minister Anthony Eden was alarmed at what Halifax had so freely given away; Chamberlain was pleased with this "very successful initial contact" with Hitler. Parssinen, pp. 15-20.]

November 24, 1937

Far East: The three-week conference in Brussels ends with no action taken either to aid China or to restrain Japan.

[Divine believes that the conference may have thwarted a major opportunity for peace in the region, as Japan had made some proposals to China in October to end hostilities. Generalissimo Chiang Kai-Shek had turned them down, believing that the western powers would come to his aid at the conference. During the conference the military odds changed drastically: the Japanese conquered Shanghai and the demoralized Chinese forces were retreating in panic toward the capital of Nanking. After the conference ended, Chiang attempted to negotiate on the previous terms, but the Japanese increased their demands and the war continued. Divine, Reluctant Belligerent, pp. 46-47.]

December 9, 1937

Arthur Krock breaks the news in the New York Times that Joseph Kennedy will succeed Robert Bingham (mortally ill in a Baltimore hospital) as Ambassador to the Court of St. James. Beschloss, Kennedy and Roosevelt, pp. 152-157.

December 12, 1937

Far East - The Panay Incident: On China's Yangtze River six Japanese airplanes repeatedly bomb and strafe a group of American ships, sinking the USS Panay which is loaded with diplomats, journalists and American citizens who have fled the bombing of Nanking and the anticipated arrival of Japanese troops from Shanghai.

[Four people were killed and seventy-four others were wounded; survivors hid in the reeds along the riverbank until nightfall as protection against the circling planes. Two Socony-Vacuum oil tankers were also sunk. (The day before a British gunboat, the Lady Bird, carrying British refugees had been fired on at the same spot; a British sailor was killed.)

Several days later the Panay survivors were rescued by the USS Oahu and the Universal newsreel cameraman was able to send home some shocking footage. Moviegoers were more incensed by the scenes of the Panay sinking than reports of the horrendous Rape of Nanking then in progress. The holiday season was marred by fears that the US could become involved in the Sino-Japanese War.

Senator William E. Borah (R-ID) spoke for the isolationists when he said he was "not prepared to vote to send our boys into the Orient because a boat was sunk that was traveling in a dangerous zone." When the Japanese government formally apologized for the "accident" and "mistaken identity" and agreed to pay an indemnity of $2.2 million, the American public was mollified and relieved.

However, there is no question but that the attack was deliberate and ordered at the highest levels. The day had been cloudless; there were several very large American flags spread flat across the top deck. FDR had persuaded the newsreel company to cut out the length of film which showed several Japanese bombers shooting at the gunboat at nearly deck level, a scene which could have produced a clamor for revenge similar to the 1898 "Remember the Maine."

It is quite likely that FDR did not want it revealed to the American public that the Panay, equipped with the most sophisticated communication devices, had anchored fifteen miles upstream from Nanking and was collecting intelligence and sending messages to the Chinese Nationalist commander, Chiang Kai-Shek. Chang, pp. 73, 107, 146-149; LaFeber, pp. 186-187; Bergamini, pp. 24-28; Freidel, pp. 290-293; Davis, Storm, pp. 154-158

According to Bergamini, the furore over the Panay forced Emperor Hirohito to cancel a planned attack on Hong Kong and to postpone the assault on Canton for ten months.
FDR, over Hull's objections, suggested an Anglo-American naval blockade of Japan of all
raw materials, postulating that this would bring the empire to a halt in 12-18 months.
The British Admiralty was enthusiastic about the proposal, but it was torpedoed by Prime Minister Chamberlain. Utley, pp. 30-31; Toland, Rising Sun, p.49.

In reaction to the Panay bombing FDR instructed the army and navy to update Operation Orange, the old contingency plan for war with Japan. He asked Congress for a 20 % increase in the strength of the navy, a bill that passed after much debate in May, 1938. Freidel, p. 293.]

December 13, 1937

The Rape of Nanking: The Japanese capture Nanking, the new capital of China since the Nationalists overthrew the Manchu dynasty in 1928.

[Six days before the fall of the city Chiang and all the senior officers had departed upstream to establish a provisional capital at Hankow. Trapped inside the walls were 90,000 soldiers and half a million civilians. The 50,000 Japanese soldiers entered Nanking with orders from their commander, Prince Asaka, Emperor Hirohito's uncle, to kill all prisoners of war.
The outnumbered Japanese managed this by stealth and in stages, taking groups of a few hundred prisoners at a time to outlying spots and then massacring them.

For seven weeks the army indulged in an orgy of raping, looting and killing civilians.
Over 300,000 Chinese were slaughtered and as many as 80,000 women raped. Stores and homes were methodically looted for treasures that went into the Army's war chest; then the arson squads came and torched them. More than a third of the city was incinerated.

Iris Chang records the barbaric excesses: bayonet practice and decapitation contests among the soldiers, raped women whose body parts were sliced off, family members forced to commit and watch incestuous acts, people who were buried up to their necks, etc.

This "Rape of Nanking" would be one of the bloodiest episodes of World War II with more people murdered than the combined totals of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, more than the deaths in the firestorms caused by the air raids on Dresden or on Tokyo. There were more civilian casualties in seven weeks in Nanking than in Great Britain, France, or the Netherlands during the entire war.

And the casualty number would have been even higher had it not been for the exceptional heroism of the 22 foreign nationals, mostly German and American, who stayed behind to form the International Committee for the Nanking Safety Zone 27 which somehow managed to feed and protect 200-300,000 people in very limited quarters- about half the population that had remained in the city. Chang, pp. 5-6, 40-43, 81-104, 139; Bergamini, pp. 34-48.

27 Their elected leader was John Rabe, a German who had worked for Siemens in China since 1908. His meticulously kept diaries serve as one of the best records of the bestiality of the Japanese and also of the extraordinary humanitarian efforts made by him and the others in the group. He was also a staunch Nazi— in this case; "humanitarian Nazi" is not an oxymoron— and wired reports to Hitler asking him to curb his ally.

He returned to Germany in April, 1938 with a motion picture film of the atrocities, a copy
of which he sent to Hitler. Soon after his first public screening of the film, he was arrested by the Gestapo and interrogated. He was released only after a promise never to discuss Nanking again; Siemens was forced to send him out of the country to Afghanistan.
In the postwar years he was extremely poor and as a former Nazi couldn't find work or receive a pension. Chang, pp. 109-121, 138-139, 189-194, 176-189, 386, 406-410.]

Bergamini cited sources who claimed that Prince Konoye ordered the Rape of Nanking in the expectation that this brutality would force the Chinese generals to overthrow Chiang. When this did not happen, he called off the slaughter and Prince Asaka was returned to Tokyo on February 10. In the trials that followed the war, the prosecution avoided indicting Prince Asaka, who was in command at Nanking. (The Supreme Commander, General Douglas MacArthur, had orders from Washington not to involve or indict the emperor or members of his family.

General Matsui, who during his trial denied vigorously that his subordinate Prince Asaka was in any way responsible, told his chaplain that the Rape was a "national disgrace" and the real culprit had been Prince Asaka.) Instead the frail and tubercular General Matsui Iwane, who visited Nanking only briefly and made a futile effort to halt the rapes and killings, took the fall for the prince. Matsui was one of the seven class-A war criminals to be hanged by the order of the International Military Tribunal of the Far East.

Konoye, however, was arrested; he swallowed potassium cyanide on the morning that he was supposed to report to Sugamo prison and left a note saying, "I have made many political blunders since the China Incident for which I feel deep responsibility, but it is unbearable to me to be tried in an American court as a so-called war criminal

General Muto Akira, who commanded troops who participated in the Nanking atrocities, was tried and executed. Baron Hirota Koki, who was foreign minister during the Rape of Nanking and the premier of the cabinet that planned the invasions of Southeast Asia and the Pacific islands, also received a death sentence. Colonel Hashimoto Kingoro, who held various commands during the Rape of Nanking, was sentenced to life imprisonment and paroled in 1954.

Yet the Japanese failed to absorb the responsibility for atrocities such as those in Nanking. The 1937 "incident" rates two sentences in current Japanese children's textbooks:
"While battling the fierce resistance of the Chinese armed forces, the Japanese army occupied Nanking and killed numerous Chinese soldiers and civilians. This incident came to be known as the Nanking Massacre." Chang, pp. 148, 206; Bergamini, pp. 46-47; Brackman, pp.28-29, 48-51.

Nanking became a controversial topic in Japan in 1972 following the publication of eye-witness accounts of survivors of all Japanese wartime atrocities by the well-acclaimed journalist, Katsuichi Honda in his book, Chugoku no tabi— A Journey to China.
That controversy continues today. The CEO of a nationalist publishing house says that the Massacre "is an unresolved issue. We may not know what happened in our lifetimes." Nobukatsu Fujioka, a best-selling author and professor at Tokyo University, maintains that "What really happened at Nanjing was very close to what happened in Paris between the Germans and the French . . . a bloodless takeover of the city. . . . War-crimes types of killings were infinitely close to zero in Nanjing."

The authors of A Public Betrayed report that death threats caused Honda and his family to move, to put a false name on the gate of their new home. He wears a white wig, sunglasses and a bulletproof vest whenever he appears in public. Gamble and Watanabe, pp. 265-293.]

December 26, 1937

More on the Rape of Nanking: US Army Intelligence intercepts a message from the Japanese Foreign Minister to his ambassador to the United States in which he details the necessity for stonewalling the American Embassy staff that was trying to return to Nanking: "If they do return and receive unfavorable reports on the military's activities from their own nationals, and if the diplomats, on receipt of such complaints, forward the reports to their home countries, we shall find ourselves in an exceedingly disadvantageous position. We believe, therefore, that the best policy is to do our utmost to hold them here as long as possible. Even if this should cause some hard feeling, we believe that it would be better than running the risk of a clash on the scene." Chang, pp. 148, 206; Bergamini, pp. 46-47.

January 10, 1938

Isolationism: The Ludlow Amendment bill which has been bottled up in committee since its introduction in 1935 by Representative Louis Ludlow (D-IN) is brought to a floor vote as a result of the war scare over the Panay. The proposed amendment to the constitution would prohibit Congress from declaring war without the prior approval of a majority of the nation's voters except in the case of an attack. It fails to receive the required two-thirds by the very narrow vote of 209-188 only after heavy lobbying against the measure by members of FDR's administration. The isolationist votes come from Republicans in the Midwest, Democrats in the South and German communities in Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota.

[A Gallup poll of November, 1935, at the height of the Ethiopian War, had found that 75% of the people who had formed an opinion of Ludlow's proposal approved of it; 25% disapproved. Its acceptance declined in the polls of subsequent years, yet a majority remained in favor. Davis, Storm, p. 156.

Senator Gerald Nye (R-ND) boasted this year that the threat of war in Europe was less than at any time since the Treaty of Versailles, "thanks to America's refusal to encourage the warmongers in the British and French governments." Smith, Dewey, p. 277.]

January 26, 1938

Germany - The Oster Conspiracy against Hitler Begins to Form: Colonel General Ludwig Beck, chief of the General Staff, meets with Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, chief of the Abwehr (military intelligence) and his assistant, Lieutenant Colonel Hans Oster, on the day after General von Fritsch had been confronted by the "evidence" of his homosexual encounter. They agree that the attack on Fritsch is the beginning of an attack on the army itself, and that this clumsy attack to frame the army head provides an opportunity for action

[Since his main military ally, the commander of the Berlin military district was ill and hospitalized, Oster sent "missionaries" to all the division commanders in the provinces, giving them exculpatory details, as colleagues within the Gestapo had leaked the whole scheme to him. However, he failed to arouse them sufficiently to lead a putsch.

Oster had decided as early as 1934 that Hitler must be overthrown. The son of a parson,
his primary motivation was a moral one: Hitler's treatment of the Jews. He quietly began organizing a body of civilians and military officers who agreed that Hitler must go.
(Many of these were more concerned about Hitler's reckless foreign policy— bolting from the League of Nations, announcing conscription, establishing the Luftwaffe, occupying the Rhineland, etc., policies which they feared would lead to war— than his domestic brutalities.)

Oster sent numerous emissaries to Britain with the message that there was a German opposition to Hitler in need of support. When Canaris took command of the Abwehr in 1935, he promoted Oster whom he had known since 1931, sheltered him, and allowed him to recruit anti-Nazis within the organization. Yet he would waffle on his own commitment to a conspiracy. Parssinen, pp. 5-8, 23-30.]

February, 1938

The Wagner-Van Nuys Anti-Lynching Bill dies thanks to a bitter filibuster led by Senator Richard Russell (D-GA.)

February 20, 1938

Germany: Adolf Hitler in a speech to the Reichstag declares himself the protector of all the "oppressed Germans" on the borders of the Third Reich. "Over ten million Germans live in two of the states adjoining our frontiers [seven million Austrians and three million 'Sudeten Germans' in Czechoslovakia] . . . It is unbearable for a world power to know that there are racial comrades at its side who are constantly being afflicted with the severest suffering for their sympathy or unity with the whole nation, its destiny and its Weltanschaung. To the interests of the German Reich belong the protection of those German peoples who are not in a position to secure along our frontiers their political and spiritual freedom by their own efforts." Shirer, Rise, pp. 332-333.

February 24, 1938

Recession: Maury Maverick (D-TX) tells it like it is in a speech to Congress: "Now we Democrats have to admit that we are floundering. . . . We have pulled all the rabbits out of the hat, and there are no more rabbits. The Republicans need not rejoice, because they never had any rabbits— or even ideas. The truth of the matter is that at the present time we are a confused, bewildered group of people, and we are not delivering the goods.

The Democratic administration is getting down to the condition in which Mr. Hoover found himself; it looks as if we are beginning to feel that the way to prosperity is to stop spending altogether, and that in some way, magic or otherwise, prosperity is going to pop up around the corner sooner or later." Henderson, pp. 165-166.

Maury Maverick (1895-1954) was possibly the most radical of the representatives entering Congress in January, 1935. Definitely he was the most outspoken, taking a very individual stand in defense of civil liberties, civil rights, public power and in opposition to the Supreme Court's presumption of authority to rule on social and economic legislation that had been enacted for the "betterment of the people." In his first term he was chosen by columnists Drew Pearson and Robert S. Allen as "Congressman of the Year." 'Maury's Mavericks' was the term given to a group of about 40 newcomers who cooperated to steer New Deal programs to the left and to complain vociferously in 1937 when many spending programs were halted. Henderson, pp. 63-162.

He was also the grandson of Samuel A. Maverick (1803-70), a Texas pioneer who left his calves unbranded. The calves became known as "mavericks"; from there the word evolved to include lone dissenters, or people who followed their own principles rather than the rule of the herd.

March 4, 1938

From Colonel Joseph W. Stilwell in China: "Since Japan cannot pull out and China refuses to quit, the prospect of a long drawn-out struggle increases. It is possible for China to win."

[The Japanese, now realizing they could be bogged down in a no-win war, approached Secretary of State Hull to mediate a settlement. Hull and FDR preferred to see this endless conflict continue until the Japanese people overthrew the military and thus declined to mediate. The possibility that Japan, instead of giving up the struggle, might intensify its militarism and attack the US as the cause of its difficulties never seemed to have occurred to Hull and FDR. Utley, pp. 34-35.] .

March 12, 1938

Germany - Anschluss: German troops and SS units march into Hitler's native
Austria and are greeted by enthusiastically cheering crowds and makeshift swastika banners. It would be labeled the blumenkrieg for the flowers bestowed upon the occupying army. (Motorcyclists and drivers of open vehicles had been ordered in advance to wear goggles, so as not to be blinded by the bouquets tossed at them.)

After he receives word that his troops had been received with cheers rather than bullets, Hitler flies to General Guderian's headquarters near the Austrian border. A specially equipped six-wheel black command car then takes him on a triumphal entry into Austria and a drive to his native village of Branau and then on to Linz and Vienna.

The accompanying cheers and "Heil Hitlers" surpass even what he is accustomed to at home. By the time he reaches Vienna he has decided on outright annexation of Austria rather than leaving Austria independent but with a Nazi-controlled government which had been his original plan. Anchluss is proclaimed that night in Vienna.

[On February 12th Hitler had summoned Chancellor Schuschnigg—successor to the assassinated Dollfuss— to Berchtesgaden to discuss "points of friction" from the 1936 Austro-German Agreement. Once there the chancellor was confronted with an ultimatum: certain pro-Nazis must be made Minister of the Interior (in charge of police and security) and Minister of War, an exchange of officers made between the German and Austrian armies, and preparations made "for the assimilation of Austria into the German economic system," or Hitler's armies will march.

Three German generals were on hand to complete the intimidation. The chancellor felt forced to agree, but that was the beginning of the end. The Austrian Nazis began rioting, dynamiting, and generally creating havoc, hoping to provoke the police into killing some of their members and thus bring about a nationwide Nazi uprising and perhaps an intervention from Hitler. They continued with their demands for a plebiscite on Anschluss- union with Germany. The new chief of security only encouraged them.

After Hitler's speech of February 20, Schuschnigg made one of his own in which he said concessions to Hitler were at an end. Austria would never voluntarily give up its independence. "Red-White-Red [the Austrian national colours] until we're dead!" On March 9th he announced there would be a national plebiscite on the 13th on whether they wanted a "free and German, independent and social, Christian and united Austria: Ja oder nein."

When Hitler got wind of this, he became enraged. He mobilized his troops and ordered the cancellation of the plebiscite, the resignation of Schuschnigg and the appointment of Minister of the Interior Seyss-Inquart as Chancellor. Once assured of Mussolini's support, the invasion was on.

The announcement of the plebiscite is generally accepted as the impetus for the Anschluss. Parssinen, however, presents some evidence that Hitler exaggerated the crisis as he needed a distraction from the Fritsch court-martial, due to start that day with the defense well-primed with details of the Himmler frame-up. Parssinen, pp. 32-33, 196-197.]

In the first few weeks after the union the "orgy of sadism" against the Jews was, according to Shirer, "worse than anything I had seen in Germany." Rise, p. 351. Orchestrated by Adolf Eichman, Heinrich Himmler and Reinhard Heydrich, the executions and expulsions of Jews were accomplished more expeditiously and more completely than in Germany. Construction was begun in August for a huge concentration camp at Mauthausen for Austrian Jews, Social Democrats and intellectuals.

Two months later 99% of the Austrian electorate voted "yes" to a different referendum:
Do you accept Adolf Hitler as our Führer, and do you thus accept the reunification of Austria with the German Reich? The Anschluss was complete. Hitler had gained seven million new subjects and a strategic position. His armies faced Czechoslovakia on three sides, and Vienna was the gateway to the Balkans. Britain, France and Italy—those past guarantors of Austrian independence— had done nothing. The Treaty of Saint Germain which Austria had signed with the victorious Allies in 1919 prohibited any such reunion with Germany. Shirer, Rise, pp.322-353; Bailey and Ryan, p. 16; May, pp. 57-62.]

March 17, 1938

The Soviet Union proposes to France and Great Britain that they hold a conference, with or without the League of Nations, to explore means of halting further German aggressions.

[Prime Minister Chamberlain, bent on appeasement with the authoritarian powers, quickly rejected it. France took its cue from Britain and replied that the interesting proposal would "require thorough study and painstaking research."

Robert Coulondre, the French Ambassador to Moscow, urged that the proposal be accepted in order to guarantee Soviet assistance for Czechoslovakia, the country obviously next on Hitler's list. He also believed it was "urgent to begin military talks with the U.S.S.R."
Shirer, Collapse, p. 330.

It was in this period that Dr. Carl Goerdeler, the former mayor of Leipzig, made one of his many trips to London and Paris with his usual message: "There are many Germans who oppose Hitler and we need your support. Please oppose any further Nazi aggression." Officials in the British Foreign Office were leery of Goerdeler, and thought he was "over-optimistic" about the possibility of an army coup against Hitler. Sir Robert Vansittart, the chief diplomatic advisor to the BFO, pointed out to Goerdeler that what he was doing amounted to nothing less than high treason. Some French and British officials suspected that he was really an emissary from the Nazis. Fest, pp. 72-74, Parssinen, pp. 33-35. ]

March 25, 1938

FDR announces that he will convene an international conference on the European refugee crisis. Feingold, Politics of Rescue, pp. 22-44.

March 28, 1938

Germany and Czechoslovak Republic: Hitler calls Konrad Heinlein and other leaders of Czechoslovakia's Sudentenland to Berlin for a conference with Rudolf Hess, his major advisor, and Joachim von Ribbentrop, his new foreign minister. Hitler tells Heinlein that he intends to "settle the Sudeten German problem in the not-too-distant future." He promises to make Heinlein his Viceroy.

Meanwhile he asks that the Sudeten German Party (which is actually the largest in the multi-party Czech political panorama) make increasingly sweeping demands which would be "unacceptable to the Czech Government." (Hitler had feared that Heinlein was about to make a deal with the Prague authorities.)

Heinlein agrees to these orders, but also tells Hitler that truckloads of rifles, ammunition and machine guns are arriving at military installations in the Sudeten area. An Italian press attaché in Prague, he says, claims to know of a secret Comintern plan for agents disguised as Sudeten Germans to provoke a conflict with Czechoslovak soldiers in early May. May, pp. 61-63.

[The Sudetenland was a crescent-shaped area —the western and northern boundary of Bohemia from Germany. The inhabitants were 90% ethnic Germans. Their ancestors had lived there since invited in by Bohemian kings in the 14th century. (There were German enclaves scattered throughout Czechoslovakia; in that multi-ethnic country nearly a quarter of the citizens were Germans.)

In the dismantling of the Austro-Hungarian Hapsburg Empire at the end of the Great War, the Sudetenland was included in the newly-formed Czechoslovak Republic to secure the "unity of the Czech lands." The mountainous area provided a natural barrier to neighboring Germany. This natural border protection had been augmented by a concrete continuous fort built into the mountainside, very similar to France's Maginot Line.

The Sudeten Germans were an unhappy bunch. In the Hapsburg Empire they had been part of the privileged majority. Denied a seat at the table that drafted the 1920 constitution, they were now a disliked minority, overlooked for civil employment and distribution of land to the landless. The constitution had guaranteed their civil rights, but local Czech authorities frequently trampled them. People were especially upset by the expropriation of border lands to build the security forts.

The Great Depression affected the Sudetenland more severely than the rest of Czechoslovakia. Their industries—- paper, textiles, toys, glass objects —were export-dependent and the outside world was no longer buying their goods. The unemployment rate in Sudetenland was five times that of the rest of the country. These conditions, with the advent of Hitler in Germany, provided the perfect Petri dish for the growth of the Nazi party. Wikipedia.]

April 14, 1938

Recession of 1937-38 - The Government Priming Pump is Activated: Responding to the precipitous stock market slump of March 25th, FDR finally accedes to Harry Hopkins and other advisors who have been urging renewed government spending to combat the decline in the economy. FDR asks Congress for a $3.7 billion spending and lending program. The restored PWA would get nearly a billion dollars; Hopkins would get $1,4 billion for WPA; additional sums would be allocated for low-cost housing, parity payments, the National Youth Administration and the Farm Security Administration.

[The recession had worsened in 1938. There were now four million workers unemployed and steel had lost two-thirds of its business. FDR met with business leaders who were not helpful. Business Week, opposed to any resumption of government spending, expressed Big Business' hands-off attitude: "It would be infinitely better for us . . . to rattle along as we are for a few months, and let the upward restoration come in the slow and hard way, by restoration of confidence."

In early April Harry Hopkins and Aubrey Williams confronted FDR at his retreat in Warm Springs with data and arguments for the necessity of a return to major government spending. They won him over. Secretary Morgenthau , concerned about increasing the deficit, lamented to his staff that "the cards are stacked against us. They have just stampeded him . . . He was completely stampeded. They stampeded him like cattle." Morgenthau tried to resign in protest, but FDR-his friend, neighbor, and idol- cajoled him into remaining at his post.

In his fireside chat the night before his message to Congress FDR explained that he had waited to see whether "the forces of business itself would counteract" the economic setback that the country was facing. Lacking that, "aggressive government steps" would now be necessary to insure economic recovery and the preservation of democracy. "Democracy has disappeared in several great nations, not because the people of these nations disliked democracy, but because they had grown tired of unemployment and insecurity."

The Dow-Jones rose with the presidential request. By 1939 the major economic indexes had returned to their early 1937 marks. It seems that "confidence" had been restored. Throughout most of the rest of the 20th century the Keynesian prescription* for curing a recession--- government spending--- has been used and with good results. Now in 2011 the party in control of the House of Representatives demands major cuts in spending during a three-year-old recession with major unemployment figures- ostensibly to reduce the deficit. Leuchtenburg, pp. 256-257; McElvaine, pp. 298-299, 307; Davis, Storm, pp. 219-233.]

* Neither Marriner Eccles nor Harry Hopkins was influenced by the new theories of John Maynard Keynes. The British economist's landmark book, General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, published in 1936, did not receive much attention until after the war when Keynes' economic theories became the economic policy for the major industrial nations. Repudiating the dictum that "supply creates its own demand", Keynes held that demand - consumption and investment combined-is the important variable. When there is high unemployment and idle factories, government spending is needed to restore economic balance. His book recommended large government spending, usually on public works, in such economic conditions. Keynesianism fell out of favor with governments in 1979 when the ideas of Friedrich von Hayek, Ludwig von Mises and then Milton Friedman of the Chicago School took over. In the past several years there has been a revival of Keynes' ideas.

April 20-21, 1938

Germany: Hitler orders General Keitel, the chief of OKW— Supreme Command of the Armed Forces— to begin planning for an offensive against Czechoslovakia. He does not intend for this to be an "attack out of the blue" as that might cause hostile world opinion and lead to a "serious situation." Rather it should be "lightning action based on an incident" such as the murder of the German minister in Prague during an anti-German demonstration.

He envisions German troops supported by the air force breaking through Czechoslovak defenses at many points, and possibly headed for Pilsen rather than Prague. He wants a victory within four days, a fait accompli before the western powers can get organized for a military intervention.

[In mid-May Keitel brought him Plan Green, a rather general description of the attack that Hitler had described. It begins: "It is not my intention to smash Czechoslovakia by military action in the near future without provocation, unless an unavoidable development of the political conditions within Czechoslovakia forces the issue, or political events in Europe create a particularly favorable opportunity which may perhaps never recur." May, pp. 63-65.

April 24, 1938

Provocation in Czechoslovakia: Konrad Heinlein, the head of the German Sudeten Party, gives a speech to his faithful in which he makes two demands of the government: Sudeten Germans must be given legal autonomy within the state and "complete freedom to profess adherence to the German element and ideology."

[Heinlein was acting under orders from Hitler despite his assurances to the British that he was acting independently in his rabble-rousing— which had a marked similarity to the provocations of the Austrian Nazis prior to the Anschluss. Parssinen, pp. 35-36.]

April 29, 1938

The concentration of economic power: FDR sends Congress a special message. "Unhappy events abroad have retaught us two simple truths about the liberty of a democratic people. The first truth is that liberty is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to the point where it becomes stronger than that of their democratic state itself. . . . The second truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if its business system does not provide employment and produce and distribute goods in such a way as to sustain an acceptable standard of living."

[He gave some disturbing statistics:
--- One-tenth of one per cent of all US corporations received half of the net income of corporate America and owned 52 % of the country's total corporate assets.
--- 47 % of American households had incomes of less than $1000 a year.
--- Yet the 1½ % of the population at the top of the income ladder received a total equivalent to the combined incomes of the bottom 47 %.
--- Three-tenths of 1 % of the population received 78 % of dividends reported to the IRS.

FDR asked Congress to appropriate money for a thorough study of this unwholesome concentration of economic power, to revise and strengthen the anti-trust legislation, and to prevent mergers and consolidations of corporations that are not in the public interest. Congress setup the Temporary National Economic Committee which held hearings and published papers from December,1938 through the Spring of 1940. Much important information was gathered, but no legislation emerged to deal with the problems that FDR had outlined. Davis, Storm, pp. 230-237.]

May 21, 1938

Czechoslovakia - The "May Crisis": The government, observing German troop concentrations near its border, assumes an invasion is imminent and mobilizes the army.

[The next day Britain and France sent diplomatic notes to Hitler warning that they intended to support their Czech allies. Ribbentrop assured them— accurately, for once— that no invasion was contemplated; these were merely routine army Spring exercises.
This near-approach to war frightened Chamberlain and reinforced his appeasement policy; the next day Halifax telegraphed the French not to count on British support should there be war with Germany. It appeared to the world that Hitler had backed off because of the Anglo-Franco threat; this probably infuriated Hitler and possibly accelerated his timetable. Parssinen, pp. 36-38; May, pp. 85-87.]

May 26, 1938

The House Un-American Activities Committee is established to investigate all
un-American groups from right to left. Headed by Rep. Martin Dies of Texas, the committee will concentrate on the radical Left.

[Labor was especially targeted. In 1938 hearings were held throughout the country before labor board elections in an effort to steer workers to the AFL and away from the "red" CIO. Boyer and Morais, p. 317.]

May 28, 1938

Germany - Plan Green: Hitler to his generals: "It is my unshakable will that Czechoslovakia shall be wiped off the map." He predicts correctly that France and Britain will accept an invasion of Czechoslovakia provided it is accomplished quickly; he sets the date as no later than October 1st. He further instructs the generals to start preparing for war with the West, giving them "up to four years for preparations." Parssinen, pp. 38-39.

May 28, 1938

Far East: Japanese planes bomb Canton, China.

[US public indignation flared against Japan when it learned that 1500 civilians were killed and 2600 more wounded in this raid and the one of June 4th. A major protestor was the American Committee for Non-Participation in Japanese Aggression, a well-funded group of former missionaries to China. FDR responded with increased military aid to China and a request to US manufacturers of airplanes to have a "moral embargo" on sales to Japan.

By the end of the summer such sales had virtually ceased. Although Japan could no longer buy planes from the US, there was no embargo on parts to repair them, gasoline to fuel them or on scrap iron for their bombs. LeFeber, pp. 186-187; Utley, pp. 36-37.]

June 3, 1938

Appeasement: The London Times editorializes that the Sudeten Germans "ought to be allowed by plebiscite or otherwise to decide their own future, even if it should mean their secession from Czechoslovakia to the Reich." This from the unofficial voice of the government was more than appeasement; it was taking the initiative for Hitler. Parssinen, pp. 44-45.

June 22, 1938

Joe Louis—"The Brown Bomber"knocks out Germany's Max Schmeling—
"The Aryan Knight"— in the first three minutes of the first round of a heavyweight championship boxing match billed as the "Battle of the Century."

[Two years before when Schmeling had defeated Louis, Germans crowed that his victory was due to Nazi superiority and "colored inferiority." The blacks and whites holding anti-fascist placards who filled Yankee Stadium were uproariously delighted to witness Schmeling's ignominious defeat.

Schmeling, however, was no Nazi. He had refused to join the Nazi party and to discharge his Jewish manager in the United States. In revenge Hitler had him drafted into the paratroopers and sent on suicide missions. It was not known until many years after the war that Schmeling had rescued the two teenage sons of a Jewish friend during Krystallnacht and later managed to smuggle them to America.]

June 23, 1938

The Civil Aeronautics Authority (CAA) is established to regulate air traffic.

June 25, 1938

Labor: FDR signs the Fair Labor Standards Act, thus establishing the right of the government to set minimum wages, maximum hours and other working conditions.
(The working codes of the NIRA had been lost when the Supreme Court declared that act to be unconstitutional.) The use of child labor is outlawed in interstate commerce. Initially the maximum work week is 44 hours and the minimum wage is 25 cents an hour. In two years the standards will be 40 cents an hour and 40 hours work a week. Congress will have to pass legislation for any future changes in the minimum wage. (The original legislation had called for the Secretary of Labor , with advice from an appointed board, to make any changes in both wages and hours.)

[Previously the more cautious Walsh- Healey Act, passed in June 1936, had required that the government buy all goods and services costing more than $10,000 from manufacturers who operated with an eight-hour day and a forty-hour week with pay for overtime and no child labor. There was considerable opposition to the more far-reaching act in the spring of 1938. It failed to reach the floor, thanks to the conservatives on the House Rules Committee. However, Senator Claude Pepper of Florida was having a tough primary race. FDR encouraged him to endorse the wages and hours bill enthusiastically. He won handily over four strong opponents and the bill was brought to a vote. It passed only after southern conservatives had amended the original bill to deny coverage to domestic workers and farm laborers as they had done with the Social Security Act and NIRA.

Congress has irregularly raised the minimum wage— in 1955 it was one dollar; in 1961, $1.25 and equal pay for the two sexes; in 1966, $1.50 and farm workers were included;
in 1974, $2.30 and domestic workers were included; in 1977, $3.35; in 1989, $4.25; in 1996, $5.15 and in 2009 the last raise was to $7.25. Many states, such as California, Washington, Michigan, Illinois and most of New England have enacted minimum wage rates higher than the federal rate. Many cities, especially in the western part of the United States, have passed "Living Wage" ordinances that specify minimum hourly wages at $3-7 above the federal rate. McIlvaine, pp. 303-304; Cohen, pp. 306-307; Wikipedia.]

June 30, 1938

Germany - The Siegfried Line: Hitler calls General Wilhem Adam, the commander of the western front, to Berchtesgaden and demands that the border, virtually unfortified on the German side, be made ready by October 1. There should be ten thousand concrete bunkers and eighteen hundred gun emplacements to protect eleven divisions. Adam flatly tells him that this cannot be done in this time frame. Hitler tells him, "Do it."

[By the end of the summer the fortifications were far from complete. The prospect of French divisions racing into Germany practically unopposed thanks to Hitler's folly would bring Adam and other generals into the ranks of the conspirators. Parssinen, pp. 49-51, 63, 81.]

July 6- 15, 1938

Evian Conference: Representatives from thirty-two nations meet at the suggestion of FDR to investigate possibilities for the emigration of "political refugees" from Austria and Germany.

[The invitation contained a clue for how the conference would end: "No country would be expected or asked to receive a greater number of immigrants than is permitted by its existing legislation." Including the United States! Any discussion of British Palestine was specifically excluded from the agenda; no country stepped forward to offer a substantive refuge. (FDR had hoped that large numbers of Jews could be resettled in Africa or Central and South America.)

The only concrete achievement of the conference was the establishment of a permanent Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees that would negotiate with Germany on the behalf of those wishing to leave. The conference had been called because of the pressure
the State Department had been getting from journalist Dorothy Thompson and "certain Congressmen with metropolitan constituencies" to admit more Jewish refugees; the conference was seen as a way to stave off the pressure.

Thompson's article in the April issue of Foreign Affairs was widely credited with spurring FDR to take some sort of action. The American public, however, was largely indifferent to the refugee problem: a Fortune poll indicated that 67% of Americans favored keeping the refugees out "with [economic] conditions as they are." Another poll showed 48% of Americans believing that the persecution of Jews in Europe was "partly" their own fault. Thompson, "Refugees: A World Problem," Foreign Affairs, XVI (April, 1938) pp. 375-378; Thompson, Refugees, Anarchy or Organization.; Breitman and Kraut, American Refugee Policy and European Jewry, pp. 59-62, 76-77, 102-104, 228-231.]

July 16, 1938

Potential Revolt in the German Army: General Ludwig Beck, chief of the general staff, meets with General Walther von Brauschitsch, the new commander in chief of the army, and suggests that, if Hitler can not be dissuaded in his projected war against Czechoslovakia, all the generals should resign en masse. Brauschitsch agrees to the plan and calls a meeting of the generals for August 4th.

[Beck had sent an emissary to London with the instruction, "Bring me back certain proof that England will fight if Czechoslovakia is attacked, and I will put an end to this regime." His emissary was unsuccessful in securing such a pledge. At the August 4th meeting all the generals agreed that war with the western democracies would be a disaster. Beck read his memo in which he said that officers would incur a "blood guilt" if they failed to act.

He told them their "duty to obey" ends when knowledge, conscience and sense of responsibility forbids them to carry out certain orders. "If their advice and warnings are ignored in such a situation, they have the right and duty before history and the German people to resign." While a few generals agreed that they would resign, there was no consensus. Two of the generals denounced this opposition to Hitler and one, Walther von Reichenau, tattled to Hitler about the meeting. Fest, pp. 3, 81-82; Parssinen, pp. 64-65.]

July 26, 1938

A British "Mediator" Goes to Prague: Chamberlain announces to the House of Commons that Lord Runciman, a shipping magnate who had previously served in the cabinet, was going at the Czechs' request to try to mediate the differences between the Czech government and the Sudeten Germans— not as the representative of the British government, but acting only in his personal capacity.

[Actually, there had been no such request from the Czechs; Runciman was going at Chamberlain's request; and he was going to pressure the Beneš government to accept the Sudeten demands. In other words, let the Czechs lop off a section of their country so the world may avert war. Nevertheless, the mission was useless, as Heinlein, under Hitler's orders, had refused every compromise offered by the Czech government. Parssinen, pp. 59-60, 80.]

August 18, 1938

Germany: General Ludwig Beck, chief of staff of the German army, resigns.

[As he said afterwards, "If I wanted to preserve even one spark of self-respect, I could not have acted otherwise…. I sat in the seat of Moltke and Schlieffen — previous revered chiefs of staff— and had an inheritance to administer. I could not quietly observe how this band of criminals let loose a war." Hitler was overjoyed, as Beck was the one general that he feared: "That man would be capable of acting against me."

Unfortunately, Beck did not insist on publicizing his resignation and no mass resignations of generals followed. Beck continued to advise the conspiracy group, however. He was suspected by Himmler as early as 1943, but not arrested and executed until July 20, 1944. General Franz Halder, whom Hitler appointed army chief of general staff to replace Beck, also assumed Beck's role as leader of the conspiracy within the army. Oster continued as the unofficial head of the plot, coordinating the actions of the different groups and making the final plans. Parssinen, pp. 67-68, 77-78; Fest, pp. 82-82, 202, 276-279.]

August 17-19, 1938

Germany: "I come with a rope around my neck," Oster and Beck's emissary, Ewald von Kleist-Schmenzin, tells British officials as he pleads for an open pledge to assist Czechoslovakia in the event of war. He tells them that the invasion is set for September 27 or before.

[Kleist was perceived by Chamberlain to be a Jacobite, a traitor. TheBritish Foreign Office persisted in seeing Hitler as a passive person surrounded by moderate and extremist factions despite Kleist's insistence that Hitler was the only extremist.

His one sympathetic audience was with Winston Churchill who had been out of the government since 1929. As a backbencher, his letter to Halifax predicting that the Oster-Beck planned coup could "bring a new system of government within 48 hours. . . Such a government, probably of a monarchist character, could guarantee stability and end the fear of war forever" fell on deaf ears.

The conspirators were not enamoured of the Weimar experiment. Many of them also felt Germany had been dealt with shamefully at Versailles and wanted some readjustment of boundaries, but only through negotiation. Parssinen, pp. 59-60, 80.]

August 30, 1938

Cabinet Meeting at Number 10 Downing Street: Called home from their summer holidays by the deepening Sudeten crisis, the nineteen men present discuss whether or not Britain should announce that a German invasion of Czechoslovakia would bring a British declaration of war against Germany. While German military experts believe that the Czech army could hold out for three months, Halifax and Chamberlain are certain that nothing could stop Germany from overrunning Czechoslovakia.

Chamberlain does acknowledge that more is at stake than just Czechoslovakia— concern with the attempt of the dictatorships to attain their ends by force. But then asks whether it is "justifiable to fight a certain war in order to forestall a possible war later." Halifax believes it unlikely that any peace reached after such a war would be able to recreate Czechoslovakia in its present form. He and Chamberlain discount the statements of the "moderate Germans" who have visited that a viable coup awaits only a British promise to intervene.

Alfred Duff Cooper, First Lord of the Admiralty, disagrees: "If war came, Czechoslovakia would fight bravely and well and the French would go to their assistance."

[So no unequivocal warning was issued to Germany. In fact, Chamberlain had in mind his Plan Z, a rather egocentric fantasy in which he would fly to Germany unannounced on the eve of the invasion and dissuade Hitler from his folly. Parssinen, pp. 88-92.]

September 9, 1938

A British Warning is Almost Sent to Hitler: Halifax has a change of heart after a meeting with Theo Kordt, the German Ambassador to the Court of St. James, who had repeated the previous assurances that Hitler could be overthrown and war averted if only Britain would warn Hitler that an invasion of Czechoslovakia would result in French and British intervention and another world war. (His brother Erich was a distinguished lawyer and the leading member of the resistance circle within the Foreign Ministry.)

Kordt also reminded Halifax that the 1914 war could have been averted had then-Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey warned the Kaiser definitively that Britain would come to the aid of France in the case of a Franco-German war.

[So Halifax, after a grudging consent from Chamberlain, composed just such a warning message to Hitler and sent it by courier to Ambassador Sir Neville Henderson to deliver to Hitler. In an incredible act of insubordination Henderson refused to deliver the warning.
His excuse? That Hitler was a madman and another warning after that of May 21 could "push him over the edge." When Chamberlain heard this, he withdrew his consent for the warning. Parssinen, pp.100-102, 105-107.]

September 14, 1938

United Kingdom - Chamberlain's "Plan Z': Chamberlain, after a brief discussion with his cabinet, telephones to Hitler: "I propose to come over at once to see you with a view to try to find a peaceful solution. I propose to come across by air and am ready to start tomorrow."

[Hitler was "thunderstruck" by this proposal. The conspirators were crestfallen; the plot was in place and ready to go upon Hitler's announcement of mobilization for war. Churchill wrote in his column the next day, "We seem to be very near the bleak choice between War and Shame. My feeling is that we shall choose Shame, and then have war thrown in a little later on even more adverse terms than the present." Parssinen, pp. 121-126; Fest, pp. 92-94.]

September 22-24, 1938

Chamberlain and Hitler Have a Second Meeting in Bad Godesberg:
Hitler escalates the demands that he made on the 15th in Berchtesgaden which Chamberlain had compelled the French and the Czechs to accept: a plebiscite of the Sudeten Germans over remaining in Czechoslovakia or incorporation into the Reich. (Chamberlain
had acted without consultation with his cabinet— or the French or the Czechs— when he told Hitler that for him personally it made no difference "whether the Sudeten Germans stayed in Czechoslovakia or were included in Germany." Parssinen, p. 129.)

Now Hitler is demanding that German troops occupy all of the Sudetenland immediately, starting on the 26th and to be completed by the 28th. The plebiscite will be held in November. And— the claims of the Hungarian and Polish minorities must be settled before he will sign any treaty of nonaggression with this restructured Czechoslovakia.

[This immediate occupation of the Sudetenland and the question of the Hungarian and Polish minorities had been designated by the British cabinet as "deal-breakers" and Chamberlain had pledged to return to London rather than discuss them. But he stayed and discussed and deluded himself that Hitler had made a major concession by agreeing to delay the occupation until October 1st.

He told his cabinet that he didn't believe the differences in the Berchtesgaden and Bad Godesberg proposals justified Britain going to war. He further believed Hitler was speaking the truth when he said that "if the present question could be settled peaceably, it might be a turning point in Anglo-German relations." The cabinet adjourned in the late evening of the 24th without having reached a decision to mobilize the armed forces.

Meanwhile in Berlin, a conspiracy within a conspiracy had developed. Many of the leaders including Beck, Goerdeler, and Canaris were unalterably opposed to the idea of assassination. But Friedrich Wilhelm Heinz, the leader of the raiding party that was to guard General Witzleben when he entered Hitler's residence to arrest him, felt that Hitler needed to be killed: "A Hitler alive is stronger than all of our divisions."

He and Oster agreed that this would happen during the arrest. The conspirators had reached agreement on the political structure of a post-Hitler Germany: a British-style constitutional monarchy with Prince Wilhelm, the son of the crown prince as the possible ruler. They were awaiting Hitler's declaration of war and his return to Berlin to start the coup —"The bird must return to the cage." Parssinen, pp.127-143.]

September 25, 1938

Anglo-French-Czech Resolve Stiffens: In Britain, Halifax tells the morning meeting of the cabinet that he has changed his mind; he is disturbed that Hitler has conceded nothing and is "dictating terms, just as though he had won a war but without having had to fight. . . . So long as Nazism lasted, peace would be uncertain." He further speculates, possibly with the conspirators in mind, that a war might help to bring down the regime. His statements energize more cabinet members to disagree with Chamberlain.

The Czech president sends a letter to London by Ambassador Jan Masaryk:
"My government wishes to declare that Herr Hitler's demands in their present form are absolutely and unconditionally unacceptable. . . . The nation of St. Wenceslas, John Hus and Thomas Masaryk will not be a nation of slaves."

Chamberlain reports to the cabinet's third meeting of the day about his meeting with Premier Edouard Daladier of France: The French cabinet has rejected the German memorandum, believing that Hitler's "object was to destroy Czechoslovakia and dominate Europe." If Hitler attacks Czechoslovakia, France will fulfill its obligations. Parssinen, pp. 145-146.

September 26, 1938

Hitler's Rant at Berlin's Sportpalast: The Führer is apoplectic over the rejection of his Bad Godesberg demands. Speaking to an audience of faithful Brownshirts and Blackshirts next to the large banner, "Ein Volk, Ein Reich, Ein Führer" he screams about the "Czech reign of terror," the burned-out villages. He declares, "We want no Czechs" but we will have the Sudetenland by October 1st. If Beneš will not turn it over by then, we will take it. Beneš has the choice— peace or war." Parssinen, p. 152.

September 27, 1938

Countdown to War in Europe: In Germany Sir Horace Wilson, sent by Chamberlain for one last attempt at a peaceful solution, hears Hitler's ultimatum: "If the Czechs have not accepted my demands by 2 PM on Wednesday, September 28th, I shall march into the Sudeten territory on October 1st with the German army." Wilson replies: "If France, in fulfillment of her treaty obligations, should become actively involved in hostilities against Germany, the United Kingdom would deem itself obligated to support France."

Hitler secretly orders seven divisions of assault troops to positions along the Czech border. In hopes of raising the public fervor for war he has the Wehrmacht parade through central Berlin. Journalist William Shirer notes the reaction of the public as Hitler appears on the balcony of his residence to review the troops. No cheers, no applause. "Hitler looked grim, then angry, and soon went inside leaving his troops to parade unreviewed. What I've seen tonight almost rekindles a little faith in the German people. They are dead set against war."

In London trenches are being dug in parks, anti-aircraft guns put in place and gas masks distributed. 28 The Prime Minister in his radio address to the nation remains hopeful that despite the preparations for war, it may be avoided. "How horrible, fantastic it is that we should be digging trenches and trying on gas-masks here because of a quarrel in a far away country between people of whom we know nothing. I am myself a man of peace from the depths of my soul." However, he says, if Hitler's real aim is the domination of Europe, then Britain must try to stop him. He authorizes the First Lord of the Admiralty to mobilize the fleet— an action that has more effect in Berlin than all the previous rhetoric. France calls up the reserves.

Heinz billets his raiding party in apartments near Hitler's Wilhelmstrasse residence and tells the men that whether or not Hitler or his SS bodyguard offer any resistance, they must provoke an incident and kill Hitler. He anticipates that tomorrow will be the day of the coup. Parssinen, pp. 153-161; Shirer, The Nightmare Years, pp. 352-353; Fest, pp. 94-95.]

28 Based on misinformation about the prowess of Gõring's Luftwaffe that had been spread by Charles Lindbergh, both military intelligence and the public expected London to meet the fate of the Basque villages in the Spanish Civil War. However, in 1938 no German bomber was capable of making a loaded round-trip to London from Germany. Parssinen, p. 216.

September 28, 1938

Germany - Plans Delayed: Mussolini intervenes after a frantic intercession from Chamberlain. He cautions Hitler against mobilization and proposes a four-power conference— Britain, France, Germany and Italy— to be held the next day.

[Hitler agreed; Plan Green had depended upon surprising the Czechs, but now they were fully mobilized and ready with 34 divisions. Also, although he would refuse to admit it to his generals, he knew that his nine divisions behind a partially built Siegfried Line would not hold back the potential 23 divisions of the French for very long.

In the afternoon session of the House of Commons Prime Minister Chamberlain was recounting the events of the past two months, preparing the hall (including the Queen Mother and other notables in the jammed Visitors' Galleries) for the message: "If France becomes involved in a war with Germany, we shall feel obliged to support them"— when he was handed the invitation to the Munich conference the next morning. There was much applause and shouts of encouragement as he read the message aloud, and then took his leave to prepare for the trip. A few were silent— Anthony Eden, Harold Nicolson, Leo Amery, and Winston Churchill.

The conspirators, who had spent the day in suspense waiting to hear from General Brauchitsch that the mobilization had been ordered, were crushed to learn in late afternoon about the Munich conference. "Our revolt is done for," said Hans-Berndt Gisevius, one of the principal civilian conspirators. After the Munich Conference the conspirators burned their plans in Witzleben's fireplace; only a small core would stay active to plan any future plots against Hitler. All felt betrayed by Chamberlain. A very good chance to eliminate Hitler and his future atrocities, to say nothing of World War II, had been lost. To quote Gisevius: "Chamberlain saved Hitler." Parssinen, pp. 163-166, 172; Fest, pp. 96-101.

During his May visit to Rome Hitler had told Mussolini about his plan for the Sudetenland and had received Mussolini's assurance that there would be no opposition from Italy. Mussolini made it clear to French and British diplomats that if Europe went to war over Czechoslovakia, Italy would fight on the side of Germany. However, Mussolini was sure that the British and French would back away from war. As he said in a speech on the 24th,
"It would be absurd and criminal to cause the deaths of millions of Europeans to enable Master Beneš to maintain his mastery over eight different races." Ridley, pp. 287, 295-296.]

September 29, 1938

Munich Conference: Hitler, Mussolini, Chamberlain, and Daladier agree: The Sudeten German areas of Czechoslovakia will be ceded to Germany in exchange for Hitler's pledge of no further German territorial demands.

[Chamberlain felt he had won a victory of "peace in our time." Many others, including the future British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, charged "appeasement." The Czechs, who were not consulted, felt they had been sold out by the Allies. The Soviets were also not included in the conference despite the fact that they had offered to support the Czechs.

A poll taken the week after the conference showed that a majority of Americans approved of the Pact. But not all: Historian Claude Bowers, the American Ambassador to Spain, was furious and wrote Secretary of State Hull that "the rape of the Czechs is the most shameless thing that has happened since the partition of Poland." Chamberlain has brought England to "its darkest hour" and France is now a "second-rate nation" with its alliances and collective security destroyed. Offner, American Appeasement, p. 272.

The majority of people in the Western democracies were joyful that war had been avoided; Hitler was not. He was angry that the agreement and "that man— Chamberlain" had deprived him of his triumphal entry into Prague. On September 30th he ordered his generals to prepare occupation plans for the remainder of Czechoslovakia.

It was thought for many years that the Munich Agreement had given the Allies a badly-needed year in which to re-arm; later scholarship has shown that Hitler's war machine was not ready in 1938 and that the year's delay in the outbreak of war helped Germany more than Britain and France. Germany's tempo of war preparations was far greater than that of the democracies; in short time Germany would take over the Czech Skoda works, Czechoslovakia's vast stores of military equipment and her 35 divisions of men.

Most importantly, the western democracies lost the Soviet Union as an ally. And the Third Republic lost its soul. As Ambassador Coulondre wrote, "The accord of Munich did not provoke the fall of France. It registered it." Shirer, Collapse, pp. 407-12; Lamb, Drift, pp. 262-273; Parssinen, p. 168-169.

Joseph Kennedy, the US Ambassador to Great Britain, claimed credit for the treaty for having influenced Chamberlain to trust Hitler. Stevenson, Intrepid, p. 82. Actually Chamberlain was influenced by a report from his Secret Intelligence Service: "What Should We Do?" stated that a deal with Germany "might not prove to be uncongenial," as Hitler was proposing to "disintegrate" the Soviet Union and would guarantee Britain's supremacy overseas. Cave Brown, "C", pp. 190-191.

Prior to the conference FDR had assured Hitler that the US had "no political involvements in Europe." This declaration from the nation that had entered World War I "to keep the world safe for democracy" undoubtedly strengthened Hitler's hand in dealing with the Allies. Shogan, p. 48.

October 3-5, 1938

The Munich agreement is debated in the House of Commons: First Lord of the Admiralty Alfred Duff Cooper resigns from the cabinet, saying he would have used "the language of the mailed fist" with Hitler rather than Chamberlain's "sweet reasonableness." Churchill: "We have sustained a total and unmitigated defeat, and . . . France has suffered even more than we have . . . . Czechoslovakia recedes into darkness. She has suffered in every respect by her association with the Western democracies."

To cries of "Shame!" and "Nonsense," Churchill reviews paths that could have been taken, ending with: "And do not suppose that this is the end. This is only the beginning of the reckoning. This is only the first sip— the first foretaste of a bitter cup which will be proffered to us year by year— unless by a supreme recovery of our moral health and martial vigour, we arise again and take our stand for freedom, as in the olden time."
The agreement is approved, 366-144. Parssinen, pp. 170-171.

October 1-10, 1938

Czechoslovakia - Blumenkrieg #2: The Czechs evacuate the Sudetenland and the German troops march in; flowers are thrown to the troops. The partition involves 3.2 million Germans and 10,000 square miles of Czech territory that is incorporated into the Reich.

[Some repercussions:
1- Beneš resigned as president of rump Czechoslovakia; he later fled to London and established the Czech government in exile.
2- The Popular Front government of France fell over controversy about the Munich agreement; the French cabinet moved sharply to the Right.
3- Poland absorbed Teschen, acquiring 400 square miles of territory and 240,000 citizens, less than half of whom were Polish.
4- The Czechoslovak government was forced to grant autonomy to the Slovak portion;
the new premier was Monsignor Joseph Tizo, a Nazi.
5- The Ruthenian area was given full autonomy and renamed Carpatho-Ukraine.
6- The Hungarians demanded and got a strip of territory in southern Slovakia.
7- On October 20th the Czecho-Slovak government outlawed the Communist party,
then terminated the alliance with the Soviet Union, and adopted anti-Jewish laws.
8- Hitler came into the possession of the Skoda munitions industry, more than 1500 Czech planes, 500 antiaircraft guns, 450 tanks, 43,000 machine guns, one million rifles and more than $29 million worth of Czech gold. Olson, p. 260.]

October 12, 1938

Anti-German Protest: Arthur Mitchell (D-IL), the lone African-American representative in Congress, rises to protest the German treatment of the Jews.

[Mitchell was the second African-American to be elected to Congress in the 20th century. He changed his party registration and played Uncle Tom to the Chicago Machine for their support to defeat three-term Republican Representative Oscar DePriest for his seat in South Chicago in the 1934 election. His first term was notable for his loyalty to the Machine and opposition to the NAACP.

In his second term he began representing his constituents, supporting the NAACP's anti-lynching bills and suing the railroads that had forced him into a segregated car when his train reached Arkansas. That suit was successfully won in the Supreme Court which ruled that the railroads' actions were in violation of the Interstate Commerce Act. Mitchell chose not to run for re-election in 1942, now persona non grata with the Machine. Nordin, The New Deal's Black Congressman.]

October 18, 1938

Charles Lindbergh receives the Service Cross of the German Eagle, the highest award the Third Reich can give to a civilian. It is personally presented by Hermann Göring.

[In voluntary exile in England since the re-investigation of the kidnapping of his baby son, Lindbergh and his wife, Anne, had taken up with the rabidly pro-Hitler Cliveden Set and were favorite dinner guests for Lady Astor. They made several trips to Germany where they were lionized and taken on carefully guided tours of airfields and airplane factories. The Lone Eagle got to fly a new Messerschmitt 109.

His exaggerated reports of the size of the Nazi air armada— ten thousand planes, double
the correct number and half of those unserviceable— went to the chief of the US Air Force. A decision to take up residence in Germany was canceled after Krystallnacht; Lindbergh returned to the United States in 1939 as a principal lecturer for General Robert Woods' isolationist America First organization. He did battle against the "warmonger" Roosevelt, urging America not to intervene in Europe's wars, and saying that her oceans would protect her. He had Hitler's word that America would not be threatened. Behn, pp. 413-417.

Anne Morrow Lindbergh's pro-fascist The Wave of the Future was published in 1939. Higham states that the book was inspired by their close friend, Lawrence Dennis, who was indicted by a grand jury in 1942 on charges of sedition. After the war it was discovered that Dennis was indeed a paid Nazi agent. American Swastika, pp. 56, 67.]

October 19, 1938

France: FDR meets secretly with economic envoys from Premier Daladier of France.
In case of war, FDR suggests, France could get around the US Neutrality Act by creating airplane assembly plants in Canada close to the border to which American companies could slip parts, thus producing 5000 planes a year. Freidel, Roosevelt, p. 309.

November 3, 1938

Japan - Prime Minister Prince Konoye declares a "New Order" for East Asia: Chiang no longer speaks for China and Japan will reconstruct North China. The "Open Door" is no more.

[In October Ambassador Grew had lodged a protest to Japan along with a veiled threat:
If Japan continues to restrict American interests in China, the US may be compelled to impose its own discriminations against Japanese commerce with the United States. Following the Konoye "New Order" declaration the hard-liners— Stanley Hornbeck, John Carter Vincent and Walter Adams— advocated economic sanctions as they believed that Japan menaced important American interests. Utley, pp. 50-51.

Secretary of State Hull and Treasury Secretary Morgenthau, disputed what response to make until December 30. Then Hull sent Japan a note calling Japanese actions "arbitrary, unjust and unwarranted" and saying that the US would never "assent" to such a "New Order" in China— a considerable retreat from the US position in October. LaFeber, p. 189; Utley, pp. 43-49.]

November 8, 1938

US Midterm Elections: As is typical in off-year elections, the opposition party increases its strength: The Republicans gain 81 seats in the House, six new Senators, and eleven governors, including John Bricker of Ohio, Leverett Saltonstall of Massachusetts, and Harold Stassen of Minnesota. Outside of the Solid South, the Republicans win a majority of the votes, or 8-10% above their disastrous 1936 showing.

[In New York Herbert Lehman was barely re-elected, and then only with the help of 400,000 American Labor votes and 100,000 Communist votes. His opponent Tom Dewey carried every county but one outside New York City; Lehman's margin of victory was 65,000 votes out of 4.5 million. FDR had weighed in for his protégé and successor as governor, saying that Dewey had "yet to win his spurs." FDR compared "old-time Republicans" with Fascists and Communists who threatened American democracy and implied that Dewey was their captive.

Dewey had called himself a "New Deal Republican" and campaigned for reforms in the spirit of the old Republican Progressives, such as Teddy Roosevelt. Alf Landon, also a moderate Republican, was one of the first to urge Dewey to seek the governorship and also to challenge FDR in 1940. Landon believed that an FDR victory in 1940 could be "the last free election in America."

A few days after the elections Dewey was first choice for the presidential nomination in a Gallup poll among 33% of Republicans, far ahead of Vandenberg, Hoover, Landon, and two freshmen Senators, Robert Taft and Henry Cabot Lodge. With this Dewey became the head of the Republican Party nationally. Smith, Dewey, pp. 265-276; 653-654.]

November 9, 1938

Germany - Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass, takes place throughout Germany. The pogrom organized by Reinhard Heydrich results in the burning of synagogues, the pillaging of Jewish-owned stores and the arrests of 20,000 Jews.

[The Germans who participated had been inflamed by anti-Semitic speeches of Hitler following the death of a German Embassy official in Paris by a Jewish exile, Herschel Grynzpan. In America, Dorothy Thompson's moving plea for a fair trial for Grynzpan led to the spontaneous establishment of a international fund for his defense.

The army generals were silent, still licking their wounds from the aborted coup. Senior naval officers, however, lodged protests and sought an audience with Hitler; they were told that the SA district leaders had just "gotten out of control." Fest, p. 104.

Roosevelt ordered Ambassador Hugh Wilson home from Berlin for "consultation"- and refused to allow him to return. Hitler similarly recalled Ambassador Hans Dieckhoff; neither country formally broke diplomatic relations. Offner, American Appeasement, pp, 272-273.]

December 21, 1938

France: FDR signs a secret memorandum authorizing the French government to inspect and purchase American warplanes provided that these purchases not "interfere with US new orders this spring."

[He had been persuaded by his friend, Secretary of the Treasury Morgenthau, to allow purchase of the new P-40 pursuit plane, reminding FDR of his own statement— that the French and British were "our first line of defense." Morgenthau wanted to sell them the newest and best planes "or tell them to go home, but don't give them some stuff which the minute it goes up in the air it will be shot down." Blum, From the Morgenthau Diaries, II, pp, 64-59.]

January 3, 1939

Germany - Hitler's Threat: "If international Jewry should succeed, in Europe or elsewhere, in precipitating nations into a world war, the result will not be the bolshevization of Europe and a victory of Judaism, but the extermination of the Jewish race." Poliakov, Harvest of Hate (1956) quoted in Cornwell, p. 278.

January 4, 1939

State of the Union Address: To the distress of isolationists such as Senator William Borah (R-ID), FDR calls on the democracies to be prepared, warning that neutrality and appeasement are no defense against aggression. He asks that the clause in the Neutrality Act requiring an arms embargo against belligerent nations be repealed. The next day his budget will ask for $1.3 billion for defense out of a $9 billion total.

January 8, 1939

War Preparedness in Great Britain: A New York Times article reveals that there is little evidence that "Britain is better prepared for her potential enemies than at the time of Munich. Crowded centers of population remain dangerously undefended against air attack; the civilian population does not yet know what to do or where to scurry for shelter if a German bombing fleet should roar over London."

[Not only were no bomb shelters under construction, but the RAF was building only fighter planes, no bombers. The RAF was not allowed to increase production to the German level— Sir Horace Wilson, Prime Minister Chamberlain's Karl Rove, explained to the air minister— as Germany could take it as a signal that Britain had decided to sabotage the Munich Agreement.

Chamberlain was opposed to any expansion of the army— then at 180,000 men plus 130,000 Territorials. Germany has "no more intention of aggression than we have . . . we are now piling these ruinous armaments under a misunderstanding." At the time of this statement to the House of Commons the German Army totaled more than 3 million men. There was only a four-month supply of sugar and wheat in Great Britain. Olson, pp. 185-187.]

January 23, 1939

France: The secret deal to sell American bombers to the French is exposed when a Douglas bomber crashes in California, killing the pilot and injuring his French passenger, demolishing a number of automobiles and injuring several observers on the ground.

[The Senate Committee on Military Affairs immediately held secret hearings about what this foreign air expert was doing in this state-of-the-art plane. Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau was forced to reveal the history of the French mission; he said Treasury was involved to give jobs to Americans in otherwise idle factories, and noted that Congress had been dilatory in funding planes for American defense. He told them that sixty-five million dollars to hire American workers was "good stuff."

FDR stonewalled the committee and refused to send them any copies of his authorization; Morgenthau also told them: "Since your request relates not to one but to many confidential communications, written and oral, between the President and departments of the Government . . . I am not at liberty to comply with it." FDR was widely reported as having said that America's frontier was on the Rhine, which he vehemently denied.

The French got their 200 Douglas and Martin bombers before the end of the year, however, and the experience readied the aviation industry for the mammoth production that was to come. In retrospect Edward R. Stettinius, Jr.— Secretary of State, 1944-1945— said that the French orders were "almost revolutionary in their effect upon our aviation industry, and laid the groundwork for the greater expansion that was to come." Blum, From the Morgenthau Diaries, II, pp. 71-78.]

January 26, 1939

Uranium-235 and the Atomic Bomb: At a theoretical physics conference in Washington Professor Niels Bohr (visiting from Copenhagen) and Enrico Fermi discuss the implications of the Hahn-Strassman bombardment of uranium the previous month in Germany. 29 Their calculations indicate that this "fission" of the uranium atom into two elements lower in the periodic table should release a tremendous amount of energy— 200 million electron volts, or 20 million times the energy of an equivalent amount of coal.

Fermi further suggests that neutrons released during the explosion might result in a chain reaction further increasing the energy to astronomical proportions.

Professor Bohr had the Archimedesean insight that that Hahn's slow neutron bombardment of uranium had affected only the 235 isotope which is quite rare— only 1 out of 139 nuclei. He published the results in Physical Review, February 1939. Experiments to confirm the Hahn-Strassman results began at every nuclear laboratory worldwide.

The March 18 issue of Nature contained the confirmation by Frédéric Joliot-Curie's lab in Paris. This article caused physical chemist Paul Harteck to alert German Army Ordnance to the possibility of a revolutionary new weapon. By June 1940 the basic facts about the release of atomic energy were known in every scientific community in the world. Bernstein, Uranium Club, pp. 1-13.]

29 Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassman had bombarded uranium with slow neutrons, causing a split into barium and what turned out to be an isotope of krypton. This puzzled Hahn, a radio chemist, who wrote his old colleague, nuclear physicist Lise Meitner, now a refugee in Sweden. He offered her three-way credit if she could come up with an explanation of his results.

It just so happened that Meitner's nephew, Otto Frisch, also a physicist and also a refugee— working with Neils Bohr in Copenhagen— was visiting his aunt for the Christmas holidays. Together they figured out the theoretical implications of the experiment in Berlin, notified Otto Hahn, and Frisch gave Bohr the news just as Bohr was leaving for the United States. The Frisch-Meitner paper was published in Nature in the February 11, 1938 issue. Neither Meitner nor Frisch shared in the Hahn Nobel Prize as indeed they should have. Bernstein,Uranium Club, pp. 9-12.

January 27, 1939

Spain - The Catalonian Front Collapses: The French government reluctantly opens its borders to the frightened and fleeing Republicans of the retirada.

[At first only women, children, the elderly and wounded Loyalist soldiers were admitted. The camps, hastily-constructed for the 240,000 refugees, lacked shelter and proper food and water supply. Many people slept on the beaches; many died from neglect, including the poet Antonio Machado. Beginning on the 5th of February 250,000 soldiers of the Republican army crossed the border, were disarmed and sent off to concentration camps such as Argelés sur Mer and St. Cyprien. Thomas, pp. 575-576; The Volunteer, vol 21, No 2, pp.7-8.

By April 1, 1939— Franco's proclaimed "Day of Victory"— more than 500,000 Spaniards had fled to France, trudging through the snow-covered mountain passes, enduring strafing and shelling from Nationalist planes. On arrival in France they were treated like criminals, families were separated, their meager possessions confiscated. Life photographers and newsreel cameras were there to record heart-wrenching scenes of what Susan Sontag has called the "first media war." Only months later with the start of World War II, many more people in many other countries would flee hostilities and become— a designation created at the end of the war—displaced persons or DPs. In 1999 the UN reported that in the 20th century 50 million people had become Displaced Persons, or one person in 214 on the planet. The Volunteer, March 2009, pp. 6-17.]

February 3, 1939

Civil Rights: Attorney General Frank Murphy establishes a group within the Department of Justice to study the civil rights provided by the Constitution and congressional legislation and to conduct prosecutions against violators of civil rights.

[First called the Civil Liberties Unit, then changed to the Civil Rights Section, it investigated complaints about lynchings and recommended passage of federal anti-lynching laws.
After Pearl Harbor it was politically important to prevent terrorism against African-Americans to counteract Japanese propaganda and insure the continuation of black labor in the war effort.

The Section went so far as to make "confidential checks" on some of the more outspoken segregationists, such as Georgia Governor Eugene Talmadge and Congressmen John Rankin of Mississippi and Martin Dies of Texas, to see whether they were reiterating the Japanese message. McGovern, pp. 145-146; O'Reilly, pp. 122-125.]

February 9, 1939

The Papacy: Pope Pius XI dies of a heart attack. He is succeeded to the papacy by his long-term closest aide, Eugenio Pacelli, who takes the name Pius XII.

[The private papers of Cardinal Eugene Tisserant, the prefect of the Vatican Library, which were opened after his death in 1972, contained two amazing revelations: Pope Pius XI had ordered the drafting of an encyclical protesting anti-Semitism— Humani Generis Unitas— and Mussolini had arranged for the murder of the pope to prevent its publication.

Pius XII never published the encyclical nor revealed its existence. Bob Keeler, "Silence of the Vatican: Some Clues," Los Angeles Times, February 6, 1998; Georges Passelecq and Bernard Suchecky, The Hidden Encyclical of Pope Pius XI, Harcourt Brace, 1998.]

February 10, 1939

Japan: The Japanese occupy Hainan Island which is separated from China's Canton Province (now Guangdong Province ) by a narrow strait.

[This was a strategic location from which to interdict shipments going to China. It would be a most important base if Japan were to move south, as it would dominate the northern part of the South China Sea and mitigate the effectiveness of the British base at Singapore. Utley, p. 51.

In 1988 Hainan, an island the size of Belgium, was designated as a separate province and a "special economic zone." The caverns of the nuclear submarine base are large enough to hide twenty nuclear ballistic missile submarines from satellite detection. In 2003 China announced the establishment of state-of-the-art cyber warfare units at the naval base for offense and defense in cyberspace. Clarke, p. 57; Wikipedia.]

February 24, 1939

Crime and Prosecution and Presidential Prospects: District Attorney Thomas Dewey wins his second trial against James J. Hines, the leader of the Eleventh District in New York City and the single most powerful man in Tammany Hall.

[Hines was convicted of accepting $200,000 in bribes from the late mobster, Dutch Schultz, and served five years in prison. Dewey's poll numbers for the Republican presidential nomination rose to 50%, way ahead of Vandenberg and Taft. Gallup ran a poll in May matching Dewey with FDR: Dewey emerged victorious, 58-42. This was pretty amazing for an almost 37-year-old prosecutor. Smith, Dewey, pp.125-126; 282-289.]

February 27, 1939

The Spanish Civil War is over: France and Great Britain recognize the government of General Francisco Franco.

February 27, 1939

Labor - Sit-Down Strikes: The Supreme Court outlaws the sit-down strike in NLRB v. Fansteel Metallurgical Corp. The Court refuses to uphold an order of the NLRB requiring reinstatement of workers fired after a sit-down strike in February, 1937. Chief Justice Hughes inveighed against the sit-down: "It was a high-handed proceeding without shadow of a legal right . . . The employees had the right to strike but they had no license to commit acts of violence or to seize their employer's plant . . . As respondent's unfair labor practices afforded no excuse for the seizure and holding of its buildings, respondent had its normal rights of redress [including] the right to discharge the wrongdoers from its employ . . .

[In the summer and fall of 1936 there had been several unsuccessful efforts to get the small processing plant to negotiate a contract with the union, the Amalgamated Association of Iron, Steel and Tin Workers. The company employed a spy and isolated the work place of the union head from the other workers. Finally, in February 1937, the workers sat down in two of the buildings. The company got an injunction, the sheriff and his deputies drove the sit-down workers out of the plant, and the company promptly fired them.

The company had committed wholesale violations of the Wagner Act, but the Chief Justice chose to address only one side of the dispute. The sit-down was becoming less approved by the public and was probably on its way out as a tool for labor anyway. However, the sit-down had been the indispensable tool in the unionization of the automobile industry.
In 1936 CIO unions were relying on the tool of the sit-down in a score of industries— maritime, shipbuilding, textiles, oil, shoes, retail trade, hospitals and so on, Despite the condemnations of the sit-down by Green and the AFL Executive Council, several AFL unions had used the sit-down. Hall, p. 491; Bernstein, Turbulent, pp.500-501; 678-680.]

Continued in another file,

The Roosevelt Presidency: March, 1939 - Pearl Harbor



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