1939 and Gone With the Wind

Thursday, November 09, 2006
German troops in Warsaw, Poland September 1939

Having returned to America in April 1939, Lindbergh turned his attention toward keeping his country out of a war in Europe. At the time, most Americans shared his isolationist views. Germany invaded Poland five months later, drawing Britain and France into the war. Two weeks later, Lindbergh delivered his first nationwide radio address in which he urged America to remain neutral. In the speech he criticized President Roosevelt, who believed the Nazis must be stopped in their conquest of Europe. Lindbergh saw Nazi victory as certain and thought America's attention should be placed elsewhere. "These wars in Europe are not wars in which our civilization is defending itself against some Asiatic intruder... This is not a question of banding together to defend the white race against foreign invasion." Building on his belief that "racial strength is vital," Lindbergh published an article in Reader's Digest stating, "That our civilization depends on a Western wall of race and arms which can hold back... the infiltration of inferior blood."

It has been said that George Bush has failed to communicate to the nation the reality of the war we face with militant Islam. It is also said that he failed to make the case for the war in Iraq despite all the years of conflict and broken agreements and threats that preceded the present conflict.

But do people ever see? I can think of no two men who were more gifted communicators than Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt, but in 1939 the world was going to the movies to see Dark Victory, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, The Wizard of Oz and Gone With the Wind.

The only war they wanted to hear about was the highly romanticized one starring Clark Gable. How could intelligent men like Charles Lindberg be fooled by Adolf Hitler and yet unconvinced by Roosevelt? Lindberg said the only people that wanted us in that war were the British and the Jews. The America Firsters lost their influence after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and Germany's declaration of war. The Axis had struck and war was upon the United States. How many millions might have been saved if the United States had acted in 1939 when the Japanese were in the early stages of their conquest of Asia and Hitler had not yet invaded Poland? We will never know. But it begs the question: How could they not see that in a few short years much of their world would lie in ruins and nothing would ever be the same again?


Bo Steed said...

Excellent points, Terrye.

lurker said...

Hi, I have a hard time understanding why people think Bush's doctrine with Iraq is a failed policy.

It had been working quite well with the Iraqi police and military taking over a good portion of Iraq.

People just don't want to hear what Bush had to say, I guess.

Seneca the Younger said...

I don't think a lot of people commenting give a damn what happens to the Iraqis, or how the war is really going, as long as their side won.

But note some of the other recent posts today, eg, my Instapundit one: the news from Iraq is going to improve a LOT in tyhe next few days.

Oh, and Terrye, I wish *I'd* said that.

terrye said...


You are always flattering me and it works you know it really does. I am such a needy person.

Luther McLeod said...

Ah, BS, Terrye. False modesty will get you ever where. But, your's is a voice I always listen to.

MeaninglessHotAir said...

Excellent post. And I agree with the similar point you made the other day on Roger's: if they can't believe the attack on the WTC which they saw with their own eyes, they couldn't have been persuaded by a golden-tongued orator.

JB said...

They didn't want to see, Terrye.

The power of the irrational.

terrye said...


Or fear.

Bostonian said...

"Hi, I have a hard time understanding why people think Bush's doctrine with Iraq is a failed policy."

It's quite simple, really. Bush is a Republican, so he cannot truly have been motivated by a desire to spread democracy. Everyone knows the Democrats are the Good Guys (tm). It's ludicrous to believe for even a second that Bushitler is capable of a good deed. Why, that might make him a good guy, and he's not, so poof, logically, there can be no good in whatever he does.

Besides, as many a leftist has finally admitted, they thought the status quo really was acceptable after all. It turns out that all that talk about power for the people and down with dictators was pure rhetoric.

At least their true opinions are out on the table now.