"The Jewish people as a whole will be its own Messiah. It will attain world domination by the dissolution of other races...and by the establishment of a world republic in which everywhere the Jews will exercise the privilege of citizenship. In this New World Order the Children of Israel...will furnish all the leaders without encountering opposition..." (Karl Marx in a letter to Baruch Levy, quoted in Review de Paris, June 1, 1928, p. 574)

Saturday, 4 July 2009



The revisionist search for truth relative to the causes of the second World War is "serious, unfortunate, deplorable."
--Samuel Flagg Bemis, Journal of Modern History, March, 1947

One thing ought to be evident to all of us: by our victory over Germany and Japan, no matter what our folly in losing the peace, we have at least survived to confront the second even greater menace of another totalitarian power.
-- Samuel Flagg Bemis, New York Times, October 15, 1950

The folklore of war, of course, begins long before the fighting is done; and, by the time the last smoke has drifted away, this folklore has congealed into a "truth" of a neolithic hardness.
--Stewart H. Holbrook, Lost Men of American History, p. 4

Harry Elmer Barnes was born near Auburn, New York, on June 15, 1889. He attended Port Byron High School and Syracuse University, receiving his A.B. degree from the latter institution summa cum laude in 1913. He received his Ph.D. degree from Columbia University in 1918. While at Columbia he was University Fellow in Historical Sociology and Cutting Travelling Fellow in History. He has taught history and historical sociology at Syracuse University, Barnard College, Columbia University, Clark University, Smith College, Amherst College, Temple University, the University of Colorado, the University of Indiana, and in many university summer schools throughout the country. His most important historical writings are The History of Western Civilization (2 vols., 1935); and An Intellectual and Cultural History of the Western World (1937). Preserved Smith declared that the former is "incontestably the masterpiece of the New History."

Dr. Barnes's chief works in the field of diplomatic history and international relations are The Genesis of the World War (1926); In Quest of Truth and Justice (1928); and World Politics in Modern Civilization (1930). He also edited the important series of six volumes on American Investments Abroad: Studies in American Imperialism (1928-35), sponsored by the American Fund for Public Service.

Of the Genesis, Carl Becker wrote that it was "a marvellously straight, swift, cogent presentation of facts and conclusions," and William L. Langer declared that the facts about the responsibility for the first World War "could not be more successfully presented at the present stage of our historical knowledge." He took the lead, with the above-mentioned three books and earlier reviews and articles, in arousing popular interest in the causes of the first World War, with the result that the chief authority on the literature of this subject, Dr. George Peabody Gooch, asserted that "No other American scholar has done so much to familiarize his countrymen with the new evidence, and to compel them to revise their wartime judgments in the light of this new material." In his substantial brochure, The Struggle Against the Historical Blackout, he has once more become the pioneer in directing public attention to the subject of Revisionism, as bearing on the causes of the second World War, and to the great obstacles to the discovery and publication of truth in this field.

NOTE.--The biographical material preceding the individual chapters has been written by the editor. Any superlatives or other praise accorded the contributors represent his wishes, judgment, and responsibility exclusively, except in the case of himself, where he has cited the opinions of others.


The first World War and American intervention therein marked an ominous turning point in the history of the United States and of the world. Those who can remember "the good old days" before 1914 inevitably look back to those times with a very definite and justifiable feeling of nostalgia. There was no income tax before 1913, and that levied in the early days after the amendment was adopted was little more than nominal. All kinds of taxes were relatively low. We had only a token national debt of around a billion dollars, which could have been paid off in a year without causing even a ripple in national finance. The total Federal budget in 1913 was $724,512,000, just about one per cent of the present astronomical budget.

Ours was a libertarian county in which there was little or no witch-hunting and few of the symptoms and operations of the police state which have been developing here so drastically during the last decade. Not until our intervention in the first World War had there been sufficient invasions of individual liberties to call forth the formation of special groups and organizations to protect our civil rights. The Supreme Court could still be relied on to uphold the Constitution and safeguard the civil liberties of individual citizens.

Libertarianism was also dominant in Western Europe. The Liberal Party governed England from 1905 to 1914. France had risen above the reactionary coup of the Dreyfus affair, had separated Church and State, and had seemingly established the Third Republic with reasonable permanence on a democratic and liberal basis. Even Hohenzollern Germany enjoyed the usual civil liberties, had strong constitutional restraints on executive tyranny, and had established a workable system of parliamentary government. Experts on the history of Austria-Hungary have recently been proclaiming that life in the Dual Monarchy after the turn of the century marked the happiest period in the experience of the peoples encompassed therein. Constitutional government, democracy, and civil liberties prevailed in Italy. Despite the suppression of the Liberal Revolution of 1905, liberal sentiment was making headway in Tsarist Russia and there was decent prospect that a constitutional monarchy might be established. Civilized states expressed abhorrence of dictatorial and brutal policies. Edward VII of England blacklisted Serbia after the court murders of 1903.

Enlightened citizens of the Western world were then filled with buoyant hope for a bright future for humanity. It was believed that the theory of progress had been thoroughly vindicated by historical events. Edward Bellamy's Looking Backward, published in 1888, was the prophetic bible of that era.[1] People were confident that the amazing developments in technology would soon produce abundance, security, and leisure for the multitude.

In this optimism in regard to the future no item was more evident and potent than the assumption that war was an outmoded nightmare. Not only did idealism and humanity repudiate war but Norman Angell and others were assuring us that war could not be justified, even on the basis of the most sordid material interest. Those who adopted a robust international outlook were devoted friends of peace, and virtually all international movements had as their sole aim the devising and implementing of ways and means to assure permanent peace. Friends of peace were nowhere isolationist, in any literal sense, but they did stoutly uphold the principle of neutrality and sharply criticized provocative meddling in every political dogfight in the most remote reaches of the planet.

In our own country, the traditional American foreign policy of benign neutrality, and the wise exhortations of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Quincy Adams and Henry Clay to avoid entangling alliances and to shun foreign quarrels were still accorded respect in the highest councils of state.

Unfortunately, there are relatively few persons today who can recall those happy times. In his devastatingly prophetic book, Nineteen Eighty-Four,[2] George Orwell points out that one reason why it is possible for those in authority to maintain the barbarities of the police state is that nobody is able to recall the many blessings of the period which preceded that type of society. In a general way this is also true of the peoples of the Western world today. The great majority of them have known only a world ravaged by war, depressions, international intrigues and meddling, vast debts and crushing taxation, the encroachments of the police state, and the control of public opinion and government by ruthless and irresponsible propaganda. A major reason why there is no revolt against such a state of society as that in which we are living today is that many have come to accept it as a normal matter of course, having known nothing else during their lifetimes.

A significant and illuminating report on this situation came to me recently in a letter from one of the most distinguished social scientists in the country and a resolute revisionist. He wrote: "I am devoting my seminar this quarter to the subject of American foreign policy since 1933. The effect upon a Roosevelt-bred generation is startling, indeed. Even able and mature students react to the elementary facts like children who have just been told that there is (or was) no Santa Claus." This is also an interesting reflection on the teaching of history today. The members of the seminar were graduate students, nearly all of whom had taken courses in recent American and European history which covered in some detail the diplomacy of Europe and the United States during the last twenty years.

A friend who read the preceding material suggested that laboring men would be likely to give me a "horselaugh." That some would is no doubt true, but the essential issue would be the validity of the grounds for so doing. Being a student of the history of labor problems, I am aware of many gains for labor since 1914. I can well remember when the working day was ten hours long and the pay was $1.50. But I can also remember when good steak cost fifteen cents a pound and the best whisky eighty-five cents a quart. Moreover, the father, even if he earned only $1.50 a day, had every assurance that he could raise his family with his sons free from the shadow of the draft and butchery in behalf of politicians. The threat of war did not hang over him. There are some forms of tyranny worse than that of an arbitrary boss in a nonunion shop. Finally, when one considers the increased cost of living and the burden of taxation, it is doubtful if a man who earns $8.00 a day now is any better off materially than his father or grandfather who earned $1.50 in 1900.

For the sad state of the world today, the entry of the United States into two world wars has played a larger role than any other single factor. Some might attribute the admittedly unhappy conditions of our time to other items and influences than world wars and our intervention in them. No such explanation can be sustained. Indeed, but for our entry into the two world wars, we should be living in a far better manner than we did before 1914. The advances in technology since that time have brought the automobile into universal use, have given us good roads, and have produced the airplane, radio, moving pictures, television, electric lighting and refrigeration, and numerous other revolutionary contributions to human service, happiness, and comforts. If all this had been combined with the freedom, absence of high taxation, minimum indebtedness, low armament expenditures, and pacific outlook of pre-1914 times, the people of the United States might, right now, be living in Utopian security and abundance.

A radio commentator recently pointed out that one great advantage we have today over 1900 is that death from disease has been reduced and life expectancy considerably increased. But this suggests the query as to whether this is any real gain, in the light of present world conditions: Is it an advantage to live longer in a world of "thought-policing," economic austerity, crushing taxation, inflation, and perpetual warmongering and wars ?

The rise and influence of Communism, military state capitalism, the police state, and the impending doom of civilization, have been the penalty exacted for our meddling abroad in situations which did not materially affect either our security or our prestige. Our national security was not even remotely threatened in the case of either World War. There was no clear moral issue impelling us to intervene in either world conflict. The level of civilization was lowered rather than elevated by our intervention.

While the first World War headed the United States and the world toward international disaster, the second World War was an even more calamitous turning point in the history of mankind. It may, indeed, have brought us--and the whole world--into the terminal episode of human experience. It certainly marked the transition from social optimism and technological rationalism into the "Nineteen Eighty-Four" pattern of life, in which aggressive international policies and war scares have become the guiding factor, not only in world affairs but also in the domestic, political, and economic strategy of every leading country of the world. The police state has emerged as the dominant political pattern of our times, and military state capitalism is engulfing both democracy and liberty in countries which have not succumbed to Communism.

The manner and extent to which American culture has been impaired and our well-being undermined by our entry into two world wars has been brilliantly and succinctly stated by Professor Mario A. Pei, of Columbia University, in an article on "The America We Lost" in the Saturday Evening Post, May 3, 1952, and has been developed more at length by Caret Garrett in his trenchant book, The people's Pottage.

Perhaps, by the mid-century, all this is now water under the bridge and little can be done about it. But we can surely learn how we got into this unhappy condition of life and society--at least until the police-state system continues its current rapid development sufficiently to obliterate all that remains of integrity and accuracy in historical writing and political reporting.


The readjustment of historical writing to historical facts relative to the background and causes of the first World War--what is popularly known in the historical craft as "Revisionism"--was the most important development in historiography during the decade of the 1920s. While those historians at all receptive to the facts admitted that Revisionism readily won out in the conflict with the previously accepted wartime lore, many of the traditionalists in the profession remained true to the mythology of the war decade. Not so long ago one of the most eminent and revered of our professional historians, and a man who took a leading part in historical propaganda during the first World War, wrote that American historians had no reason to feel ashamed of their writings and operations in that period. That they had plenty to be ashamed of was revealed by C. Hartley Grattan in his article on "The Historians Cut Loose," in the American Mercury,[3] reprinted in the form originally submitted to Mr. Mencken in my In Quest of Truth and Justice,[4] and by Chapter XI of my History of Historical Writing.[5] In any event, the revisionist controversy was the outstanding intellectual adventure in the historical field in the twentieth century down to Pearl Harbor.

Revisionism, when applied to the first World War, showed that the actual causes and merits of that conflict were very close to the reverse of the picture presented in the political propaganda and historical writings of the war decade. Revisionism would also produce similar results with respect to the second World War if it were allowed to develop unimpeded. But a determined effort is being made to stifle or silence revelations which would establish the truth with regard to the causes and issues of the late world conflict.

While the wartime mythology endured for years after 1918, nevertheless leading editors and publishers soon began to crave contributions which set forth the facts with respect to the responsibility for the outbreak of war in 1914, our entry into the war, and the basic issues involved in this great conflict. Sidney B. Fay began to publish his revolutionary articles on the background of the first World War in the American Historical Review in July, 1920. My own efforts along the same line began in the New Republic, the Nation, the New York Times Current History Magazine, and the Christian Century in 1924 and 1925. Without exception, the requests for my contributions came from the editors of these periodicals, and these requests were ardent and urgent. I had no difficulty whatever in securing the publication of my Genesis of the World War in 1926, and the publisher thereof subsequently brought forth a veritable library of illuminating revisionist literature. By 1928, when Fay's Origins of the World War [6] was published, almost everyone except the die-hards and bitter-enders in the historical profession had come to accept Revisionism, and even the general public had begun to think straight in the premises.

Quite a different situation faces the rise of any substantial Revisionism after the second World War. The question of war responsibility in relation to 1939 and 1941 is taken for granted as completely and forever settled. It is widely held that there can be no controversy this time. Since it is admitted by all reasonable persons that Hitler was a dangerous neurotic, who, with supreme folly, launched a war when he had everything to gain by peace, it is assumed that this takes care of the European aspects of the war guilt controversy. With respect to the Far East, this is supposed to be settled with equal finality by asking the question: "Japan attacked us, didn't she ?"

About as frequent as either of these ways of settling war responsibility for 1939 or 1941 is the vague but highly dogmatic statement that "we had to fight." This judgment is usually rendered as a sort of ineffable categorical imperative which requires no further explanation. But some who arc pressed for an explanation will allege that we had to fight to save the world from domination by Hitler, forgetting General George C. Marshall's report that Hitler, far from having any plan for world domination, did not even have any wellworked-out plan for collaborating with his Axis allies in limited wars, to say nothing Of the gigantic task of conquering Russia. Surely, after June 22, 1941, nearly six months before Pearl Harbor, there was no further need to fear any world conquest by Hitler.

Actually, if historians have any professional self-respect and feel impelled to take cognizance of facts, there is far greater need for a robust and aggressive campaign of Revisionism after the second World War than there was in the years following 1918. The current semantic folklore about the responsibility for the second World War which is accepted, not only by the public but also by most historians, is far wider of the truth than even the most fantastic historical mythology which was produced after 1914. And the practical need for Revisionism is even greater now than it was in the decade of the 1920s.

The mythology which followed the outbreak of war in 1914 helped to produce the Treaty of Versailles and the second World War. If world policy today cannot be divorced from the mythology of the 1940s a third world war is inevitable, and its impact Will be many times more horrible and devastating than that of the second. The lessons learned from the Nuremberg and Tokyo trials have made it certain that the third world war will be waged with unprecedented savagery.

Vigorous as was the resistance of many, including powerful vested historical interests, to the Revisionism of the 1920s, it was as nothing compared to that which has been organized to frustrate and smother the truth relative to the second World War. Revisionists in the 1920s only risked a brisk controversy; those of toady place in jeopardy both their professional reputation and their very' livelihood at the hands of the "Smearbund." History has been the chief intellectual casualty of the second World War and the cold war which followed.

In many essential features, the United States has moved along into the "Nineteen Eighty-Four" pattern of intellectual life.[7] But there is one important and depressing difference. In Nineteen Eighty-Four Mr. Orwell shows that historians in that regime have to be hired by the government and forced to falsify facts. In this country today, and it is also true of most other nations, many professional historians gladly falsify history quite voluntarily, and with no direct cost to the government. The ultimate and indirect cost may, of course, be a potent contribution to incalculable calamity.

It may be said, with great restraint, that, never since the Middle Ages, have there been so many powerful forces organized and alerted against the assertion and acceptance of historical truth as are active today to prevent the facts about the responsibility for the second World War and its results from being made generally accessible to the American public. Even the great Rockefeller Foundation frankly admits{8] the subsidizing of historians to anticipate and frustrate the development of any neo-Revisionism in our time. And the only difference between this foundation and several others is that it has been more candid and forthright about its policies. The Sloan Foundation later supplemented this Rockefeller grant. Charles Austin Beard summarized the implications of such efforts with characteristic vigor:

The Rockefeller Foundation and the Council on Foreign Relations ... intend to prevent, if they can, a repetition of what they call in the vernacular "the debunking journalistic campaign following World War I." Translated into precise English, this means that the Foundation and the Council do not want journalists or any other persons to examine too closely and criticize too freely the official propaganda and official statements relative to "our basic aims and activities" during World War II. In short, they hope that, among other things, the policies and measures of Franklin D. Roosevelt will escape in the coming years the critical analysis, evaluation and exposition that befell the policies and measures of Woodrow Wilson and the Entente Allies after World War I.[9]

As is the case with nearly all book publishers and periodicals, the resources of the great majority of the foundations are available only to scholars and writers who seek to perpetuate wartime legends and oppose Revisionism. A good illustration is afforded by my experience with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation which helped to subsidize the book by Professors Langer and Gleason. I mentioned this fact in the first edition of my brochure on The Court Historians versus Revisionism. Thereupon I received a courteous letter from Mr. Alfred J. Zurcher, director of the Sloan Foundation, assuring me that the Sloan Foundation wished to be absolutely impartial and to support historical scholarship on both sides of the issue. He wrote in part: "About the last thing we wish to do is to check and frustrate any sort of historical scholarship since we believe that the more points of view brought to bear by disciplined scholars upon the war or any other historical event is in the public interest and should be encouraged."

In the light of this statement, I decided to take Mr. Zurcher at his word. I had projected and encouraged a study of the foreign policy of President Hoover, which appeared to me a very important and much Deeded enterprise, since it was during his administration that our foreign policy had last been conducted in behalf of peace and in the true public interest of the United States rather than in behalf of some political party, foreign government, or dubious ideology. One of the most competent of American specialists in diplomatic history had consented to undertake the project, and he was a man not previously identified in any way with revisionist writing. My request was for exactly one thirtieth of the grant allotted for the Langer-Gleason book. The application was turned down by Mr. Zurcher with the summary statement: "I regret that we are unable to supply the funds which you requested for Professor ---'s study." He even discouraged my suggestion that he discuss the idea in a brief conference with the professor in question.

A state of abject terror and intimidation exists among the majority of professional American historians whose views accord with the facts on the question of responsibility for the second World War. Several leading historians and publicists who have read my brochure on The Struggle Against the Historical Blackout have written me stating that, on the basis of their own personal experience, it is an understatement of the facts. Yet the majority of those historians to whom it has been sent privately have feared even to acknowledge that they have received it or possess it. Only a handful have dared to express approval and encouragement. It is no exaggeration to say that the American Smearbund, operating through newspaper editors and columnists, "hatchet-men" book reviewers, radio commentators, pressure-group intrigue and espionage, and academic pressures and fears, has accomplished about as much in the way of intimidating honest intellectuals in this country as Hitler, Goebbels, Himmler, the Gestapo, and concentration camps were able to do in Nazi Germany.[10]

The mental stalemate produced by this state of mind is well illustrated in the review by Professor Fred Harvey Harrington of Professor Charles C. Tansill's Back Door to War in the Political Science Quarterly, December, 1952. Harrington, in private a moderate revisionist, goes so far as to state that there is "no documentation" for Professor Tansill's statement that the "main objective in American foreign policy since 1900 has been the preservation of the British Empire." This may be compared with the appraisal of the book by a resolute and unafraid revisionist, the eminent scholar, Professor George A. Lundberg, who, in a review in Social Forces, April, 1953, said with regard to the above contention by Tansill: "This thesis is documented to the hilt in almost 700 large pages."

Moreover, the gullibility of many "educated" Americans has been as notable as the mendacity of the "educators." In Communist Russia and Nazi Germany, as well as in Fascist Italy, and in China, the tyrannical rulers found it necessary to suppress all opposition thought in order to induce the majority of the people to accept the material fed them by official propaganda. But, in the United States, with almost complete freedom of the press, speech, and information down to the end of 1941, great numbers of Americans followed the official propaganda line with no compulsion whatever. This is a remarkable and ominous contrast, especially significant because it has been the "educated" element which has been most gullible in accepting official mythology, taking the population as a whole. And this situation has continued since 1945, though of course the public has been less able to get the truth from the avenues of information since V-J Day than it was before Pearl Harbor.

The opposition to Revisionism--that is, to truth in the premises -stems in part from emotional fixation on the mythology built up after 1937 and in part from personal loyalty to President Roosevelt and the naturally resulting desire to preserve the impeccability of the Roosevelt legend. In regard to the latter, the Roosevelt adulators are much more solicitous about defending their late chief's foreign policy than they are in upholding the infallibility of his much more creditable domestic program. There is, of course, a powerful vested political interest in perpetuating the accepted mythology about the causes, issues, and results of the second World War, for much of the public policy of the victorious United Nations since 1945 can only make sense and be justified on the basis of this mythology.

In the United States it was made the ideological basis of tile political strategy of the Democratic party and the main political instrument by which it maintained itself in power until 1953. It has also been accepted by many outstanding leaders of the opposition party. It has been indispensable in arousing support for the economic policies which have been used to ward off a depression, with its probably disastrous political reverberations. The eminent railroad executive and astute commentator on world affairs, Robert R. Young, has stated the facts here with realistic clarity in the Commercial and Financial Chronicle:

The clash between a foreign policy which makes sense to Americans and a foreign policy which makes sense to those who seek to perpetuate political office (patronage or prominence) is one which will only be resolved by prohibiting reelection. We are very naive when we describe American foreign policy of recent years as stupid. Indeed, that foreign policy has accomplished its object for it has kept in power (patronage and prominence), election after election, those who conceived and facilitated it.

Powerful pressure groups have also found the mythology helpful in diverting attention from their own role in national and world calamity.

In addition to the opposition of public groups to the truth about responsibility for the second World War, many historians and other social scientists have a strong professional and personal interest in perpetuating the prewar and wartime mythology. One reason why numerous historians opposed the truth relative to responsibility for the first World War and the main issues therein was that so many of them had taken an active part in spreading the wartime propaganda and had also worked for Colonel House's committee in preparing material for the peacemaking. A considerable number of them went to Paris with President Wilson on his ill-fated adventure. Naturally they were loath to admit that the enterprise in which they had played so prominent a part had proved to be both a fraud and a failure.

Today, this situation has been multiplied many fold. Historians and other social scientists veritably swarmed into the various wartime agencies after 1941, especially the Office of War Information and the Office of Strategic Services. They were intimately associated with the war effort and with the shaping of public opinion to conform to the thesis of the pure and limpid idealism and ethereal innocence of the United States and our exclusive devotion to self-defense and world betterment through the sword. Hence, the opposition of historians and social scientists to truth about the responsibility for the second World War and its obvious results is many times greater than it was in the years following the close of the first World War. Since the war several corps of court historians have volunteered to work to continue the elaboration of official mythology. In addition, the State Department and the Army and Navy have a great swarm of historians dedicated to presenting history as their employers wish it to be written, and at the present time there is a new influx of American historians and social scientists into our "Ministry of Truth."[11]


The methods followed by the various groups interested in blacking out the truth about world affairs since 1932 are numerous and ingenious, but, aside from subterranean persecution of individuals, they fall mainly into the following patterns or categories: (1) excluding scholars suspected of revisionist views from access to public documents which are freely opened to "court historians" and other apologists for the foreign policy of President Roosevelt; (2) intimidating publishers of books and periodicals, so that even those who might wish to publish books and articles setting forth the revisionist point of view do not dare to do so; (3) ignoring or obscuring published material which embodies revisionist facts and arguments; and (4) smearing revisionist authors and their books.


There is a determined effort to block those suspected of seeking the truth from having access to official documents, other than those which have become public property. The outstanding official and court historians, such as Samuel Eliot Morison, William L. Langer, Herbert Feis, and the like, are given free access to the official archives. Only such things as the most extreme top secrets, like the so-called Kent Documents and President Roosevelt's communications with King George VI, carefully guarded at Hyde Park, are denied to them. Otherwise, they have freedom of access to official documents and the important private diaries of leading public officials.

Many of these important sources are, however, completely sealed off from any historian who is suspected of desiring to ascertain the full and unbiased truth with respect to American foreign policy since 1933. The man who is probably the outstanding scholarly authority on American diplomatic history found himself barred from many of the more important documents. Moreover, many of the notes which he had taken down from those documents he had been permitted to examine were later confiscated by State Department officials.

If the complete official documents would support the generally accepted views with respect to the causes and issues of the war, there would seem to be no reasonable objection to allowing any reputable historian to have free and unimpeded access to such materials. As Charles Austin Beard concisely stated the matter, "Official archives must be open to all citizens on equal terms, with special privileges for none; inquiries must be wide and deep as well as uncensored; and the competition of ideas in the forum of public opinion must be free from political interests or restraints."[12]

The importance of freedom of the archives to writers of sound historical material has also been commented upon by the editor of the London Times Literary Supplement of April 18, 1952, in relation to the appearance of Professors William L. Langer and S.E. Gleason's The Struggle Against Isolation, 1937-1940, which was produced by the Rockefeller Foundation subsidy mentioned above:

Once the principle is accepted that governments grant access to their archives to certain chosen historians and refuse it to others, it would be unrealistic to ignore the temptation that may arise in the future to let the choice fall on historians who are most likely to share the official view of the moment and to yield readily to discreet official promptings as to what is suitable, and what is unsuitable, for publication. When this happens, the last barrier on the road to "official history" will have fallen.


Some might sense that there is a seeming inconsistency between the statement that there has been an attempt to black out Revisionism after the second World War and the undoubted fact that important revisionist books have appeared sooner and in greater number since the second World War than they did after 1918. This gratifying situation in no way contradicts what has been said above relative to the far more vigorous opposition to Revisionism since 1945. Nearly all publishers were happy to publish revisionist volumes after 1918, or at least after 1923. But not a single major publisher has issued a revisionist book since 1945; neither is there any evidence that one will do so for years to come. Had not Charles Austin Beard possessed a devoted friend in Eugene Davidson of the Yale University Press, and had not the firms of Henry Regnery and Devin-Adair been in existence, it is very likely that not one revisionist book would have come from the press following V-J Day. For not only are historians who seek to establish the truth prevented from getting much of the material which they need, they also find it very difficult to secure the publication of books embodying such of the truth as they have been able to assemble from the accessible documents.

It would, naturally, be assumed that the first book to give the full inside information on the attack at Pearl Harbor would have been an exciting publishing adventure and that the manuscript would have been eagerly sought after by any and all book-publishing firms. Such, however, was far from the facts. After canvassing the publishing opportunities, George Morgenstern found that the Devin-Adair Company was the only one which had the courage to bring out his brilliant book, Pearl Harbor: the Story of the Secret War, in 1947.[13]

Charles Austin Beard informed me that he was so convinced that none of his former commercial publishers would print his critical account of the Roosevelt foreign policy[l4] that he did not regard it as even worth while to inquire. He was fortunate enough to have a courageous friend who was head of one of the most important university presses in the country.

The fourth important revisionist book to push its way through the blackout ramparts was William Henry Chamberlin's America's Second Crusade.[15] The history of the publication difficulties in connection with the book showed that, in the publishing world, there was no more inclination in 1950 than there had been previously to welcome the truth with respect to President Roosevelt's foreign policy and the second World War.

Chamberlin is a distinguished author. He has written many important books and they have been published by leading publishing houses. But none of his former commercial publishers was interested in the manuscript, though it is probably the most timely and important work Chamberlin has written. The head of one large publishing house, himself a noted publicist, declared his deep personal interest in the book but stated that he did not feel it ethical to jeopardize the financial interests of his company through risking retaliation from the blackout contingent. Two university presses turned down the manuscript, though in each case the director attested to the great merit of the book. That it was finally brought out was due to the courage and public spirit of Henry Regnery, who has published more realistic books relative to the second World War than all other American publishers combined. Yet Chamberlin's work is neither sensational nor extreme. It is no more than an honest and actually restrained statement of the facts that every American citizen needs to have at hand if we are to avoid involvement in a devastating, fatal "third crusade."

A fifth revisionist book, Design for War, by an eminent New York attorney and expert on international law, Frederic R. Sanborn, appeared early in 1951. It was published by the Devin-Adair Company which brought out Mr. Morgenstern's volume.

The sixth and definitive revisionist volume, Professor Charles Callan Tansill's Back Door to War: The Roosevelt Foreign Policy, 1933-1941, was published by Regnery. Professor Tansill's previous publishers were not interested in the book.

In a trenchant article on "A Case History in Book Publishing," in the American Quarterly, Winter, 1949, the distinguished university press editor, W.T. Couch, tells of the difficulties met with in inducing commercial publishers to print revisionist books, and he goes into detail about the problems encountered in securing a publisher for A. Frank Reel's courageous book, The Case of General Yamashita.

As a matter of fact, only two small publishing houses in the United States--the Henry Regnery Company and the Devin-Adair Company--have shown any consistent willingness to publish books which frankly aim to tell the truth with respect to the causes and issues of the second World War. Leading members of two of the largest publishing houses in the country have told me that, whatever their personal wishes in the circumstances, they would not feel it ethical to endanger their business and the property rights of their stockholders by publishing critical books relative to American foreign policy since 1933. And there is good reason for this hesitancy. The book clubs and the main sales outlets for books are controlled by powerful pressure groups which are opposed to truth on such matters. These outlets not only refuse to market critical books in this field but also threaten to boycott other books by those publishers who defy their blackout ultimatum.

When such critical books do get into the bookstores, the sales department frequently refuses to display or promote them. It required the personal intervention of the head of America's largest retail store to insure that one of the leading critical volumes was displayed upon the counter of the book department of the store. In the American Legion Monthly, February, 1951, Irene Kuhn revealed the efforts of many bookstores to discourage the buying of books critical of administration foreign policy. A striking example of how blackout pressures are able to discourage the sale of revisionist books is the experience at Macy's, in New York City, with the Chamberlin book. Macy's ordered fifty copies and returned forty as unsold. If the book could have been distributed on its merits, Macy's would certainly have sold several thousand copies.

Not only are private sales discouraged, but equally so are sales to libraries. Mr. Regnery discovered that, six months after its publication, there was not one copy of the Chamberlin book in any of the forty-five branches of the New York City Public Library. Another sampling study of the situation in libraries throughout the country showed that the same situation prevailed in most of the nation's libraries, not only in respect to the Chamberlin book, but also in the case of other revisionist volumes like John T. Flynn's The Roosevelt Myth.[16] Some of the reasons for this are explained by Oliver Carlson in an article on "Slanted Guide to Library Selections" in The Freeman, Januarv 14, 1957. As an example, the most influential librarian in the United States has described George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four as "paranoia in literature."

The attempt to suppress or exclude revisionist materials from publication extends beyond the book-publishing trade. Whereas, in the late 1920s and early 1930s, all of the more important periodicals were eager to publish competent revisionist articles by reputable scholars, no leading American magazine will today bring out a frank revisionist article, no matter what the professional distinction of the author. Most of them, indeed, even refuse to review revisionist books. The Progressive has been the only American periodical which has, with fair consistency, kept its columns open to such material, and its circulation is very limited.

While the periodicals are closed to neo-revisionist materials, they are, of course, wide open and eager for anything which continues the wartime mythology. If the authors of such mythology did not feel reasonably assured that answers to their articles could not be published, it is unlikely that they would risk printing such amazing whitewash as that by General Sherman Miles on "Pearl Harbor in Retrospect," in the Atlantic Monthly, July, 1948, and Admiral Samuel Eliot Morison's vehement attack on Charles Austin Beard in the August, 1948, issue of the same magazine.

Now, Admiral Morison is an able historian of nautical matters and a charming man personally. But his pretensions to anything like objectivity in weighing responsibility for the second World War can hardly be sustained. In his Foreword to Morison's Battle of the Atlantic, the late James Forrestal let the cat out of the bag. He revealed that, as early as 1942, Morison had suggested to President Roosevelt that the right kind of history of naval operations during the war should be written, and modestly offered his "services" to do the job so as to reflect proper credit upon the administration. Roosevelt and Secretary Knox heartily agreed to this proposition and Morison was given a commission as captain in the Naval Reserve to write the official history of naval operations in the second World War.

If Roosevelt and Knox were alive today, they would have no reason to regret their choice of an historian. But, as a "court historian" and "hired man," however able, of Roosevelt and Knox, Admiral Morison's qualifications to take a bow to von Ranke and pass stern judgment on the work of Beard, whom no administration or party was ever able to buy, are not convincing. President Truman's announcement in the newspapers on January 14, 1951, indicated that Morison's services have been recognized and that he is apparently to be court-historian-in-chief during the opening phases of our official entry into the "Nineteen Eighty-Four" system.[17] But Morison's various attacks on Beard were handled with appropriate severity by Professor Howard K. Beale in his address before the American Historical Association on December 28, 1952, published in the August, 1953, issue of the Pacific Historical Review.

Another example of the accessibility of our leading periodicals to anti-revisionist materials was the publication of many articles smearing the reputation of Beard at the time of his death, some of the most bitter articles appearing in journals that had earlier regarded Beard as one of their most distinguished and highly welcome contributors.

Equally illustrative of the tendency to welcome any defense of the traditional mythology and exclude contrary opinions was the publication of the somewhat irresponsible article by Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., on "Roosevelt and His Detractors" in the June, 1950, issue of Harper's Magazine. It was, obviously, proper for the editor to publish this article, but not equally defensible was his inability to "find space" for the publication of an answer, even by one of the outstanding contributors to Harper's.

Most of the professional historical magazines are as completely closed to the truth concerning the responsibility for and merits of the second World War, as are the popular periodicals. Likewise, the great majority of our newspapers are highly hostile to material questioning the traditional mythology about the causes and results of this war. The aversion of the New York Times to the truth about Pearl Harbor ten years later is dealt with below.[18]


In case a revisionist book squeezes through the publishing blackout, almost invariably as a result of the courage of the two small publishing companies mentioned above, the blackout strategists are well prepared to circumvent the possibility of its gaining any wide circulation or popular acceptance. The most common procedure is to accord such books the silent treatment, namely, to refuse to review them at all. As one powerful pressure group has pointed out, this is the most effective way of nullifying the potential influence of any book. Even highly hostile and critical reviews attract attention to a book and may arouse controversy which will further publicize it. The silent treatment assures a still-birth to virtually any volume. The late Oswald Garrison Villard recounts his own personal experience with the silent-treatment strategy of editors today:

"I myself rang up a magazine which some months previously had asked me to review a book for them and asked if they would accept another review from me. The answer was 'Yes, of course. What book had you in mind?' I replied, 'Morgenstern's Pearl Harbor.'
" 'Oh, that's that new book attacking F.D.R, and the war, isn't it?'
" 'Yes.'
" 'Well, how do you stand on it?'
" 'I believe, since his book is based on the records of the Pearl Harbor inquiry, he is right.'
" 'Oh, we don't handle books of that type. It is against our policy to do so.' "

The Henry Regnery Company of Chicago has been more courageous and prolific in the publication of substantial revisionist books than any other concern here or abroad.[19] It has brought out such important books as Leonard von Muralt's From Versailles to Potsdam; Hans Rothfels' The German Opposition to Hitler; Victor Gollancz's In Darkest Germany; Freda Utley's The High Cost of Vengeance; Montgomery Belgion's Victor's Justice; Lord Hankey's Politics: Trials and Errors; William Henry Chamberlin's America's Second Crusade; and Charles Callan Tansill's Back Door to War. Mr. Regnery has shown me a careful survey of the treatment accorded these books by our leading newspapers and periodicals. Some have not been reviewed at all; most of them were reviewed sparingly. Almost invariably, when they have been noticed, they have been attacked with great ferocity and uniform unfairness.

The obscuring of the neo-revisionist material may further be illustrated by the space and position assigned to the reviews of Beard's American Foreign Policy in the Making, 1932-1940, and Morgenstern's Pearl Harbor in the American Historical Review and in other leading newspapers and periodicals.

Despite the revolutionary nature and vast importance of the Beard book, it was given only a page in the American Historical Review, but, amusingly enough, the reviewer used the brief space at his disposal to praise the book. This was not allowed to happen again. Though Morgenstern's book was perhaps the most important single volume published in the field of American history in the year 1947, it was relegated to a book note in the American Historical Review and was roundly smeared.

Of all the book-reviewing columnists in New York City papers, only one reviewed Morgenstern's book and he smeared it. The Saturday Review of Literature ignored it completely and so did most of the other leading periodicals. Though many infinitely less important books, from the standpoint of timeliness and intrinsic merit of content, received front-page positions therein, neither the Morgenstern book nor the Beard volume was given this place in the Sunday book-review sections of the New York Times or Herald Tribune. Had these books ardently defended the Roosevelt legend, they would assuredly have been assigned front-page positions. As Oswald Villard remarked of the Beard volume: "Had it been a warm approval of F.D.R. and his war methods, I will wager whatever press standing I have that it would have been featured on the first pages of the Herald Tribune 'Books' and the Times literary section and received unbounded praise from Walter Millis, Allan Nevins, and other similar axemen."

Mr. Villard's prophecy was vindicated after his death. When the supreme effort to salvage the reputation of Roosevelt and his foreign policy appeared in W.L. Langer and S.E. Gleason's Challenge to Isolation, 1937-1940, it was promptly placed on the front page of the Herald Tribune Book Review of January 20, 1952, and praised in lavish fashion.

Beard's book on President Roosevelt and the Coming of the War, 1941, was so challenging that it could not be ignored. But it did not gain front-page position in either the New York Times or the Herald Tribune. Though reviewed in a number of newspapers and periodicals, the majority of the reviewers sought to discredit the book rather than to examine its facts and arguments in a spirit of fairness and integrity.

Chamberlin's America's Second Crusade was nowhere near as widely reviewed as the significance of the content of the book merited, irrespective of whether or not one agreed with all of the author's conclusions. It was the first comprehensive and critical appraisal of the nature and results of the most momentous project in which the United States was ever involved, politically, economically, or militarily. Hence, it merited careful and extended examination by every newspaper and periodical in the land. But it was reviewed in only a fraction of the leading newspapers, while most of the important periodicals, including the American Historical Review, ignored it entirely. In the 1920s periodicals like the New Republic and the Nation would have reviewed a book of this type lyrically and at great length, and, in all probability, have published special articles and editorials praising it warmly. Most reviews which the Chamberlin book received were of the smearing variety. The New York Times and Herald Tribune both reviewed the book in hostile fashion, gave it very brief reviews, and placed these in an obscure position.

Frederic R. Sanborn's able and devastating Design for War received about the same treatment as the Chamberlin volume. It was ignored by the great majority of the newspapers and by virtually all the important periodicals. The New York Times reviewed the book rather promptly, if not conspicuously, but handed it over to their leading academic hatchet man, Samuel Flagg Bemis. Though prodded by Sanborn, the Herald Tribune delayed the review from March to August and then assigned it to Gordon A. Craig, a leading anti-revisionist among the historians frequently employed by the Times and Herald Tribune in attacking books critical of Roosevelt foreign policy. Sanborn's book was not reviewed at all by Time, Newsweek, the New Yorker, the Nation, the New Republic, Harper's, the Atlantic Monthly, or the Saturday Review of Literature, though Sanborn wrote letters of inquiry to all of them. Correspondence with the Saturday Review of Literature from April to the end of September failed to produce a review. If a comparable book had appeared at any time between 1923 and 1935, there is every reason to believe that the Nation and New Republic, for example, would have hailed it with near-hysterical joy and given excessive space to praising and promoting it. The American Historical Review did not review or even notice the Sanborn volume.

So far as can be ascertained at the time these lines are revised [December, 1952], Charles Callan Tansill's Back Door to War was treated by the press in essentially the same manner as it had handled the Chamberlin and Sanborn volumes, although it is the definitive revisionist contribution and deserves as much consideration as Sidney B. Fay's Origins of the World War received in 1928.

It received slightly more attention than did Chamberlin and Sanborn in the newspapers, perhaps because a determined effort was made to get the book in the hands of the editor of every important newspaper in the country. The majority of the newspaper reviews were of a smearing nature. As one example of such a review by an interventionist newspaper we may cite the following from the San Francisco Chronicle of July 27, 1952: "To bring forth a very small mouse, Professor Tansill has labored mountainously to assemble this helter-skelter collection of facts, documents and hearsay about America's prewar foreign policy. ... This book is not history. It is awkward special pleading." The author of the review hid behind the initials "M.S."

The book failed to make the front page of either the New York Times Book Review or of the New York Herald Tribune Book Review. It was reviewed on page 3 of the former (May 11, 1952) and on page 10 of the latter (June 1, 1952), rather briefly in both cases. Even so, Dexter Perkins, who reviewed the book for the Times, had to request twice the space originally assigned. Among the important periodicals only the Freeman, the Saturday Review of Literature, and the Nation reviewed the book, the latter two rather belatedly. Time, Newsweek, the Atlantic, and Harper's gave the volume the "silent treatment," ignoring it entirely. The editor of the New Republic treated the book to an almost obscene smear. In the 1920s all of these periodicals (which were then in existence) would have reviewed the book promptly and at length, and it would have evoked almost frenzied ecstasy on the part of the Nation and New Republic.

The jaundiced and biased attitude of periodicals in reviewing or ignoring such books as these was well revealed at the time of the appearance of the ardently pro-Roosevelt masterpiece by W.L. Langer and S.E. Gleason, Challenge to Isolation, 1937-1940. In this instance virtually all of the magazines which had ignored the books by Worgenstern, Chamberlin, Sanborn, and Tansill immediately rushed into print with prominent and lyrical reviews of the Langer-Gleason volume. Among all the editors of professional journals in the historical and social science field, only Professor Howard W. Odum, editor of Social Forces, has been willing to open his publication to full and fair reviewing of revisionist volumes.

One of the most impressive examples of the ignoring and obscuring of the writings of men critical of our foreign policy since 1937 is presented by the case of Francis Neilson. Mr. Neilson is a distinguished publicist and he served as a member of Parliament before he came to the United States. He was the principal "angel" of the original Freeman and, like John T. Flynn, was once a darling of American liberals who were, in those days, revisionists and anti-interventionists. Mr. Neilson's How Diplomats Make War (1915) was the first revisionist volume to be published on the first World War, and it is still read with respect.

When Mr. Neilson opposed our interventionism after 1937, his erstwhile liberal friends fell away from him. Being a man of means, he was able to publish his gigantic five-volume work, The Tragedy of Europe, privately. It was scarcely noticed in any review, though it was praised by no less a personage than President Robert Maynard Hutchins of the University of Chicago. In 1950 Mr. Neilson published, again privately, a condensation of the more vital portions of his larger work, entitling it The Makers of War. The book contains a great amount of valuable revisionist material not embodied in any other revisionist volume on the second World War. But, Mr. Neilson assured me personally, it has never been reviewed at all.


When, rather rarely and for one reason or another, a newspaper or a periodical decides actually to review a revisionist book rather than to accord it the silent treatment, it has available a large supply of hatchet men who can be relied upon to attack and smear revisionist volumes and to eulogize the work of court historians and others who seek to perpetuate the traditional mythology.[20] For example, the New York Times has its own staff of such hatchet men, among them Otto D. Tolischus, Charles Poore, Orville Prescott, Karl Schriftgiesser, Drew Middleton, and others. When these do not suffice, it can call upon academicians of similar inclination, such as Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., Allan Nevins, Henry Steele Commager, Gordon A. Craig, Samuel Flagg Bemis, Dexter Perkins, and others. The Herald Tribune has Walter Millis, August Heckscher, and their associates on its staff, and also turns to such academicians as those mentioned above, whose gifts and talents are not limited to the Times.

The smearing device used almost universally in discrediting neo-revisionist books is a carry-over of the propaganda strategy perfected by Charles Michelson in political technique, and extended by Joseph Goebbels, John Roy Carlson, and others, namely, seeking to destroy the reputation of an opponent by associating him, however unfairly, with some odious quality, attitude, policy, or personality, even though this may have nothing to do with the vital facts in the situation. It is only a complex and skillful application of the old adage about "giving a dog a bad name." This is an easy and facile procedure, for it all too often effectively disposes of an opponent without involving the onerous responsibility of facing the facts.[21] The "blackout boys" have even implied that the effort to tell the truth about responsibility for the second World War is downright wicked. Samuel Flagg Bemis declares that such an excursion into intellectual integrity is "serious, unfortunate, deplorable."[22]

Inasmuch as the Morgenstern book was the first to shake the foundations of the interventionist wartime propaganda and because Morgenstern is not a professional historian of longtime standing, his work was greeted with an avalanche of smears. Virtually the only fair reviews of the Morgenstern volume were those by Edwin M. Borchard, George A. Lundberg, Harry Paxton Howard, and Admiral H.E. Yarnell. There was rarely any effort whatever to wrestle with the vast array of facts and documentary evidence which, both Beard and Admiral Yarnell maintained, bore out all of Morgenstern's essential statements and conclusions. Rather, he was greeted with an almost unrelieved volley of smears.

Some reviewers rested content with pointing out that Morgenstern is a young man and, hence, cannot be supposed to know much, even though the New York Times handed over to Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., a younger man, the responsibility for reviewing Beard's great book on President Roosevelt and the Coming of the War, 1941. Another reviewer asserted that all that needed to be said to refute and silence the book was to point out that Morgenstern is employed by the Chicago Tribune. Others stressed the fact that he is only an amateur, dabbling with documents, without the training afforded by the graduate historical seminar, though Morgenstern was an honor student of history at the University of Chicago. It was apparent to unbiased readers that most of the professors who reviewed his book departed entirely from any seminar canons of research and criticism which they may have earlier mastered. Morgenstern surely worked and wrote in closer conformity to von Ranke's exhortations than his professorial reviewers.

Other reviewers sought to dispose of the Morgenstern book by stating that it was "bitterly partisan," was composed in a state of "blind anger," or written with "unusual asperity," though it is actually the fact that Morgenstern is far less bitter, angry, or blind than his reviewers. Indeed, the tone of his book is more one of urbane satire than of indignation. Few books of this type have been freer of any taint of wrath and fury. The attitude of such reviewers is a good example of what the psychologists call the mechanism of "projection." The reviewers attributed to Morgenstern the "blind anger" that they themselves felt when compelled to face the truth.

In reviewing the book for the Infantry Journal, May, 1947, Harvey A. DeWeerd declared that it was "the most flagrant example of slanted history" that had come to his attention "in recent years," but he failed to make it clear that the uniqueness in the slanting of Morgenstern's book was that it was "slanted" toward the truth, something which was, and still is, quite unusual in historical writing on this theme. Probably the most complete smearing of the Morgenstern book was performed by Walter Millis in the Herald Tribune Book Review (February 9, 1947), though, with all the extensive space at his disposal, he made no serious effort to come to grips with the facts in the situation. He merely elaborated the smear in the caption: "Twisting the Pearl Harbor Story: A Documented Brief for a Highly Biased, Bitter, Cynical View." Gordon A. Craig, of Princeton, reviewing the book in the New York Times, February 9, 1947, rested content with stating that the book was no more than anti-Roosevelt "mythology" and completely "unbelievable," though he adduced no relevant evidence in support of these assertions.

One of the most remarkable attacks on the book was made by a onetime ardent revisionist historian, Oron J. Hale, in the Annals of the American Academy, July, 1947. After first assailing the book with the charge of bitter partisanship and asserting that the author made only a fake "parade" of the "externals of scholarship," Hale sought manfully but futilely to find serious errors in Morgenstern's materials. He then concluded that all or most of the statements in the book were true but that the book as a whole was a "great untruth." This reverses the usual line of the current apologists for the Roosevelt foreign policy, like Thomas A. Bailey and Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., who now agree that most of Roosevelt's public statements thereupon were untrue but that his program as a whole was a great truth which exemplified the desirable procedure of the "good officer"--the conscientious public servant.

The fact that Worgenstern is an editorial writer for the Chicago Tribune and that the Tribune has opened its columns to revisionist writings has encouraged the Smearbund to seek to identify Revisionism and all revisionist writers with the Tribune. Even Beard's books were charged with being dominated by the Tribune policy. Only recently a reviewer in the New Yorker linked Beard and the Tribune and referred to the "Charles Austin Beard--Chicago Tribune" view of war origins. Max Lerner wrote that "the man who once mercilessly flayed Hearst became the darling of McCormick."

No phase of the smear campaign could well be more preposterous. Aside from being willing to accept the truth relative to Roosevelt foreign policy, Beard and the Tribune had little in common. The American Civil Liberties Union once warmly praised Colonel McCormick for his valiant battle against the Minnesota press gag law. There was no attempt, then, to link the Civil Liberties Union with the total editorial policy of the Tribune. Roger Baldwin was not portrayed as a tool of Colonel McCormick, nor was there any hint of a Civil Liberties Union-McCormick axis. Those who write in behalf of freedom of the press can always gain access to the columns of the Chicago Tribune, but there is no thought in such cases of linking them with the total editorial policy of the Tribune.

Due to the fact that Beard was a trained and venerable scholar and, hence, obviously not a juvenile amateur in using historical documents, that he had a world-wide reputation as one of the most eminent and productive historians and political scientists the United States has ever produced, that he had served as president of the American Political Science Association and of the American Historical Association, and that he was awarded, in 1948, the Gold Medal of the National Institute of Arts and Letters for the best historical work of the preceding decade, it required more than usual gall and trepidation to apply the smear technique to Beard and his two splendid books on American foreign policy.

Yet Beard did not escape unscathed, though his facts and objectivity cannot be validly challenged. As Louis Martin Sears pointed out in the American Historical Review: "The volume under review is said to give annoyance to the followers of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. If that be true, their faith is scarcely founded upon a rock, for no more objective treatment could readily be conceived. The author nowhere injects a personal opinion."[23] Any testimonials as to Beard's historical prowess are, invariably, a red flag to the Smearbund bull. Only this consideration makes such things as Lewis Mumford's resignation from the National Institute of Arts and Letters, because of the award of the above-mentioned medal to Beard, or Harry D. Gideonse's explosion in the New Leader,[24] at all explicable.

The difficulty of attacking Beard relative to his status as an historian diverted most of the smearing of him into the allegation that his work is invalidated and unreliable because he was an "isolationist." The absurdity of this charge is obvious. Beard did, from 1937 onward, courageously and sanely warn against the manner in which the Roosevelt policies were deliberately leading us into a foreign war against the will of the overwhelming mass of the American people in what was supposed to be a democratic system of government. Beard's stand may not have been wise, though the facts today overwhelmingly prove its soundness, but such an attitude has nothing whatever to do with any literal isolationism unless one defines internationalism as chronic meddling abroad and unwavering support of our entry into any extant foreign war.

Any attempt to brand Beard as a literal isolationist is, of course, completely preposterous. Few men have had a wider international perspective or experience. In his early academic days he helped to found Ruskin College, Oxford. He had travelled, advised, and been held in high esteem from Tokyo to Belgrade.

The irresponsibility of this form of smearing Beard is well illustrated by the innuendo of Samuel Eliot Morison and Perry Miller that Beard was an ignorant isolationist with an archaic and naive view of world affairs because he was deaf and lived on a farm with his cows, thus implying that he had shut himself off from the world and human associations and did not know what was going on about him. That such charges were utterly without foundation is well known to anybody with any knowledge whatever of Beard and his mode of life and must have been known to be untrue by Admiral Morison and Professor Miller, themselves.

Beard provided himself with a most efficient hearing instrument which enabled him to carry on personal conversations with the utmost facility. He probably enjoyed wider personal contact with scholars and publicists than any other American historian down to the day of his death. He was visited at his suburban home constantly by a stream of prominent academic and scholarly admirers. He travelled widely and spent his winters in North Carolina. His deafness did not affect his personal relations or scholarly interests and activities in the slightest. His mode of life, at the most, only gave him the occasional quiet and detachment needed to digest and interpret the mass of information which came to him as a result of his wide reading and his extensive personal contacts with American and foreign scholars, both young and old. His dairy farm was located some twenty miles from his home.

I was present a few years ago at a conference on foreign affairs attended by about forty leading savants. Most of them wrung their hands about the sorry state of the world today, but only two or three were frank and candid enough to discern and admit that the majority of the conditions which they were so dolorously deploring stemmed directly from the foreign policies of Franklin D. Roosevelt, from his Chicago Bridge speech of October, 1937, to the Yalta Conference of early 1945. Beard was assailed for his "isolationism" and "cultural lag" by both the chairman and the chief participant for no earthly reason save that he opposed the policies which had led to the chaos over which the conference was holding the coroner's inquest--but with no intention of declaring it a homicide or seeking the culprit. They vented their spleen on a man who had advised against risking the ambuscade which led to the murder.

It is both vicious and silly to brand a person an "isolationist" merely because he opposed our entry into the second World War. Personally, I opposed our entry with all the energy and power at my command--just as vigorously as did Beard. But it also happens that I wrote one of the longest chapters in the first important book ever published in behalf of the League of Nations and that I have ever since supported any move or policy which seemed to me likely to promote international good will and world peace. Sane internationalism is one thing; it is something quite different to support our entry into a war likely to ruin civilization mainly to promote the political prospects of a domestic leader, however colorful and popular, to satisfy the neurotic compulsions of special interests and pressure groups, and to pull the chestnuts of foreign nations out of the fire.

The whole issue of "isolationism" and the epithet "isolationist" has been a very effective phase of the smearing technique invented and applied by interventionists between 1937 and Pearl Harbor, and so naively exposed and betrayed by Walter Johnson in his book, The Battle Against Isolation.[25] The absurd character of the whole process of smearing by the method of alleging "isolationism" has been devastatingly revealed by George A. Lundberg in his article on "Semantics in International Relations" in the American Perspective.[26] Senator Taft put the matter in a nutshell when he asserted that to call any responsible person an isolationist today is nothing less than idiocy--one might add, malicious idiocy.

The only man of any intellectual importance who ever believed in isolationism was a German economist, Johann Heinrich von Thunen (1783-1850), author of The Isolated State (1826), and




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