[Marxism] The "Good War"?

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Jul 23 07:08:57 MDT 2004

Critical Analysis
The "Good War" Myth of World War II

The "Good War" story of World War II is a Big Lie, used today by the 
likes of George W. Bush and John F. Kerry to create a mind set in which 
America's rulers are the good guys who, despite all of their faults and 
foibles, are saving the world from the really really bad guys.

FDR told Americans that the war was about fighting fascism and tyranny. 
But FDR lied about his real war objectives, just as Hitler lied to the 
Germans and Japanese militarists lied to the Japanese people to get them 
to fight the bloodiest war in history.

War: An Instrument Of Social Control

Franklin Roosevelt, Adolf Hitler and the Japanese militarists all faced 
the same problem in the years leading up to the war. Their own working 
class populations were growing increasingly revolutionary. The elite 
rulers of these nations were terrified that they were losing control. In 
the United States the governors of numerous states were forced to call 
out the National Guard and federal troops, including infantry and 
machine gun units, to put down enormous strikes (in some cases general 
strikes) by textile workers, steel workers, auto workers, coal miners, 
and a host of others.

When a longshoremen’s strike in 1934 led to a general strike in San 
Francisco of 130,000 workers, which spread to Oakland and then up the 
Pacific Coast, the Los Angeles Times wrote: "The situation in San 
Francisco is not correctly described by the phrase 'general strike.' 
What is actually in progress there is an insurrection, a 
Communist-inspired and led revolt against organized government. There is 
but one thing to be done – put down the revolt with any force 
necessary." FDR's National Recovery Administration chief, General Hugh 
S. Johnson, went to San Francisco and declared the general strike a 
"menace to the government" and a "civil war."1

In the same year 325,000 textile workers, many of them women, used 
"flying squadrons" to spread their strike throughout the South from mill 
to mill, often battling guards, entering the mills, unbelting machinery 
and fighting non-strikers. So alarmed was The New York Times that it 
warned, "The grave danger of the situation is that it will get 
completely out of the hands of the leaders...The growing mass character 
of the picketing operations is rapidly assuming the appearance of 
military efficiency and precision and is something entirely new in the 
history of American labor struggles. Observers...declared that if the 
mass drive continued to gain momentum at the speed at which it was 
moving today, it will be well nigh impossible to stop it without a 
similarly organized opposition with all the implications such an attempt 
would entail."2 Declaring martial law, South Carolina’s governor said 
that a "state of insurrection" existed. When the strike spread to New 
England, Governor Green, of Rhode Island, declared that, "there is a 
Communist uprising and not a textile strike in Rhode Island," and then 
declared a state of insurrection.3

Georgia Governor Eugene Talmadge declared martial law. National 
Guardsmen began mass arrests of flying squadrons and held them without 
charge in a concentration camp where Germans had been held during WWI.. 
"By September 19 the death toll in the South had reached thirteen."4

Events like these hit all parts of the nation, and this was just the 
warm up to the wave of sit-down strikes in 1936-7 during which 10,000 
workers occupied GM's Flint, Michigan plant with help from thousands of 
workers who traveled hundreds of miles to join them. Following that 
strike, Chrysler faced 6,000 sit-downers with 50,000 picketers outside 
its plants and the New York Times felt obliged to warn business and 
government leaders, "It is generally feared that an attempt to evict the 
strikers with special deputies would lead to an inevitable large amount 
of bloodshed and the state of armed insurrection."5

Big business was even afraid that the electoral system, which was 
supposed to ensure that Americans would forsake mass direct action for 
reliance on tame and trusted politicians, was about to fail in this 
purpose. Louisiana's governor, Huey Long, had seven million followers 
who wanted a dramatic redistribution of wealth and viewed FDR as an 
obstacle. Most alarmingly, the Democratic Party in California was 
captured in 1934 by a radical mass movement which wanted the state to 
seize land and factories so that unemployed people could operate them in 
a moneyless network of production for need, not profit. Their leader, 
Upton Sinclair, a long-time socialist, swept away his opponents and won 
the Democratic Party primary, making him its candidate for Governor. He 
was only defeated in the gubernatorial election by an unprecedented 
smear campaign launched jointly by liberal and conservative California 
newspapers. But the handwriting was on the wall.

FDR tried to control the rebellion with New Deal promises. But it didn't 
work. His famous Wagner Act of 1935, for example, tried to pacify 
workers by making unions legal. The Act also locked unions into an 
elaborate system of government regulations designed to ensure that 
conservative labor leaders would be able to control their unruly 
rank-and-file. But workers developed the sit-down tactic in the next two 
years precisely to keep control in their own hands.

Ruling elites have known for centuries that when revolution threatens at 
home desperate measures are required, and the most effective one is to 
go to war. For example, on the eve of the Russo-Japanese War in 1904 the 
Russian Czar's interior minister, Vyacheslav Plehve, declared, "What 
this country needs is a short victorious war to stem the tide of 
revolution." 6 This is the only way to understand the little-known truth 
about how FDR's advisors reacted to the news of the Japanese attack on 
Pearl Harbor. Secretary of War Stimson's diary entry at 2pm December 7, 
written after learning from the President about the attack on Pearl 
Harbor, reads: "Now the Japs have solved the whole thing by attacking us 
directly in Hawaii...My first feeling was of relief that the indecision 
was over and that a crisis had come in a way which would unite all our 
people."7 Not shock, but relief. Relief that war would finally force 
American workers to unite with instead of rebel against America's rulers.

People like FDR and Stimson fully appreciated that the best way to rein 
in the growing insurrection they faced was to somehow get the United 
States into a war that would be perceived by Americans as a fight to the 
death between the entire population of the United States and the entire 
population of enemy foreign nations driven by satanically evil 
fanaticism. This way, American workers could be put on the defensive 
ideologically, by the assertion that it was unpatriotic for them to 
fight over class grievances or to pursue class aspirations when the 
country needed to unite (with its capitalist leaders) against the common 
enemy. For sophisticated upper class politicians like Roosevelt, this 
was simply Social Control 101.

full: http://www.axisoflogic.com/artman/publish/article_10208.shtml

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