[Marxism] Henry A. Wallace's Acceptance Speech July 1948
MLause at cinci.rr.com
Tue Oct 11 15:52:24 MDT 2005
I managed to hunt down Henry A. Wallace's speech, accepting the
presdintial nomination of the Progressive Party. ("Text of Wallace's
Acceptance Speech, "New York Times, July 25, 1948, p. 28+.) I scanned
it, and think I unkinked the typos, but some might have gotten
through..... The subheadings are from the newspaper report, not the
speech, of course....
If there's any interest, I can shuttle on some more from him....
Four years and four days ago, as Vice President of the United States and
head of the Iowa delegation to the Democratic convention, I rose
to5-second the nomination of Franklin Roosevelt; and said:
"The future belongs to those who go down the line unswervingly for the
liberal principles of both political democracy and economic democracy
regardless of race, creed or religion or color. Roosevelt can and will
lead the United States, in cooperation with the rest of the world,
toward that type of peace which will prevent World War 3."
That was four years ago. Do you remember that summer of casualty lists,
and the wreckage still smoldering on the beaches of Normandy? A time of
dying, a time of destruction and, yet, something more.
For in that time, you remember, every one of us held a dream. At the
lathe, in the fields in early morning, at the kitchen window, sweating
out a barrage in the line, everyone of us dreamed of a time .when the
sound of peace would again be heard in the land, and there would be no
more fear, and men would begin to build again.
And in that dark time, you remember, Franklin Roosevelt looked beyond
the horizon and gave us a vision of peace, an economic bill of rights;
the right to work, for every man willing to work. The right of every
family to a. decent home. The right to protection from the fears of old
age and sickness. The right to a good education. All the rights which
spell security for every man. woman and child, from the cradle to the
It was the dream that all of us had, and Roosevelt put it into words,
and we loved him for it.
Two years later the war was over, and Franklin Roosevelt was dead.
And what followed was the great betrayal.
Instead of the dream, we have inherited disillusion.
Instead of the promised years of harvest, the years of the locust are
In Hyde Park they buried our President-and in Washington they buried our
One day after Roosevelt died Harry Truman entered the White House. 9
And forty-six days later Herbert Hoover was there.
It was a time of comings and goings.
In Marched the Generals
Into the Government came the ghosts of the great depression, the banking
house boys and the oil-well diplomats.
In marched the generals- and out went the men who built the TVA, the
Grand Coulee, the men WQO had planned social security and built Federal
housing, the men who had dug the farmer out of the dust bowl and the
workers out of the sweatshop.
Yet, a time of comings and goings * * * the shadows of the past coming
in fast-and the lights going out slowly-the exodus of the torchbearers
of the New Deal.
I was still in the Cabinet-hoping that we might yet return, somehow, to
the course Franklin Roosevelt had charted for the nation in the peace to
come. And in that great hope, two years ago this month I wrote to the
I warned him that we had fallen upon cynical counsel, that the bankers
and the brokers and the big brass had launched us upon a dangerous
policy-the "get tough policy."
I said then that "our post-war actions have not yet been adjusted to the
lessons gained from experience of allied cooperation during the war and
the facts of the atomic age."
I said that it would be fruitless to seek solutions for specific
problems without establishing an atmosphere of mutual trust and
confidence-and I warned that our "get tough" policy would only produce a
"get tougher" policy. That warning was before the crises in Greece, in
Italy, in Palestine. in Czechoslovakia. That warning was two years
ago-two years before Berlin.
You have read your papers. In the two years since the people who planned
for living were eased out of Washington, and the ghosts who plan for
destruction were invited in-in \hose two Short years during which the
Department of State has been subtly annexed to the Pentagon, and the
hand of military has come to guide the hand of the diplomat- we have
ricocheted from crisis to crisis.
The "get tough policy" has spawned its inevitable breed-the "get tougher
World's Eyes on Berlin
And what harvest do we have of all our hoping, what fruits of the
hard-won victory? Not peace-but the sword; not an economic bill of
rights-but a mounting bill of wrongs.
Not life-but tens of thousands of deaths, on unnecessary battlefields in
Greece-in Palestine-in China-One world, yes-frozen in one fear.
The world's eyes today focus upon the burning spot in the cold
Berlin need not have happened. Berlin did not happen. Berlin was caused.
When we were set on the road of the "get tough" policy, I warned that
its end was inevitable. Berlin is becoming that end.
There is no reason why the peace of a world should hang on the actions
of a handful of military men stationed in Germany!
In all earnestness, I assure you that if I were president, there-would
be no crisis in Berlin today. I assure you that without sacrificing a
single American principle or public interest, we would have found
agreement long before now with the Soviet Government, and with our other
Long before now we could have embarked upon a policy for Germany upon
which a sound foundation could be built for peace throughout Europe.
It is not by accident that Germany has become, once again, the heart of
Germany will be the core of every world crisis until we have come to an
agreement with the Soviet Union. We have been manoeuvred into a policy
whose specific purpose has been this, sad only this: namely to revive
the power of the industrialists and cartelists -who heiled Hitler and
financed his fascism, and who were the wellspring of his war chest.
In the western zone of Germany today, we are told that there is enjoyed
"peace with justice."
This so-called just peace is not just. It is a peace which rebuilds the
war-making ^potential of German industry in the western zone.
This justice is being dispensed by local judges, of whom 60 per cent are
former Nazi officials. German war industry is on the rise again-and its
managers are the same Krupp and I, G. Farben men who made Germany into
There is no peace, no justice- for either allies or former enemies in
our German policy. It is a child born of lust for power and profit.
With a Germany groomed and muscled as the easternmost outpost of another
war, we cannot make a peace.
I repeat. If I were President, there would be no crisis in Berlin. Do
you remember when-only two months ago-our Ambassador to Moscow sent a
note to Molotov? It was a note which seemed to be an invitation to sit
around the table of reason-an invitation to talk over the problems which
have created this continued state of crisis? Do you remember bow the
Russians responded with what seemed like real eagerness? You remember
It was as if somebody had suddenly declared peace. Sit down and talk it
over, we said-that's the way. But what happened?
Within twenty-four hours, our Administration, having consulted its
carbon-copy opposite party, slammed the door it had itself swung open.
On that day. I addressed an open letter to Stalin. I detailed a program
-which would have safeguarded the interests of both nations and
preserved the peace. Ten days later, when Stalin-responded to that open
letter, the "get tough" boys slammed the door again. Since that time
there have been no more approaches-except toward conflict. There are two
sides to every curtain.
And so, Germany still festers at the heart of all peace-making- yet, by
closing the door to peace talks with Russian leaders, nothing remains
but the fruitless discussions of minor officials in Berlin.
I say the peace of the world is far too fragile to be shuttled hack and
forth through a narrow air corridor in freighter planes.
I say the lives of our children and our children's parents, are far too
precious to be left to the tempers of second lieutenants at road
barriers where zone meets zone-or to the generals who are quoted calmly
as favoring a "show of strength."
I say that if reasonable men, men without special interests,
peace-loving men-if Franklin Roosevelt were in Washington today-there
would be no crisis in Berlin. Long -before this the leaders of both
nations would have rooted out the causes for conflict-
We hear it said that we should have a showdown at Berlin. But what is
the showdown about? What is the American public interest which will be
served by a showdown? There may be some private interests . . . some
interests of Dillon, Head and international bankers. But there is no
public interest. Dillon, Read's distinguished alumni, Secretary
Forrestal and General Draper and Dewey's Wall Street lawyer, John F,
Dulles, are major advisers on this issue, but I have yet to meet the
American in shop or field or college or independent business who -wants
to give up his life to defend Dillon, Read or to obtain the privilege of
feeding 2,000,000 people in Berlin.
I think we should look coldly at some of the facts which confront us if
the cold war developed into a hot war:
There is not a single nation on the European Continent prepared to put
an army into the field to defend Anglo-Saxon, that is, British and
We can buy generals with dollars, but we can't buy wartime armies. These
generals won't die in battle. Their soldiers would. We can support-and
we are supporting-armies during this time of cold war, but we can't
purchase suicide. We can buy governments, but we can't buy peoples.
It is said that we must have a showdown or lose prestige. Truman may
lose prestige. Dulles may lose prestige. But the American people will
not lose prestige by demanding fundamental discussions looking to peace.
Our prestige in Germany went sinking when we divided Germany and
established the western sector as an American and British Puerto Rico-as
a colony. When we did that we gave up Berlin politically and after
having done that we can't lose anything by giving it up militarily in a
search for peace.
We who are met here tonight- who are met here at a time of crisis-are
talking to the people of the United States and the world on behalf of
the everlasting principles of the founding fathers of our country.
We who are gathered here tonight recall the crisis of 150 years ago,
when Thomas Jefferson was attacked here in the city of Philadelphia, at
that, time the capital of the United States, because he spoke
courageously for the peaceful settlement of alleged differences between
the United States and France.
It was a time of terror unsurpassed till now.
Thomas Jefferson was slandered as the tool of French revolutionaries
bought with French gold.
One hundred and fifty years ago Thomas Jefferson took leadership in
forming a new party-a successful new party, which overcame the odds" of
a hostile press, of wealth and vested interests and of a Government
which sought to undermine the new movement by putting its leaders in
The party Jefferson founded 150 years ago was buried here in
Philadelphia last week. It could not survive the Pauleys, the Hagues,
the Crumps, the racists, the bigots, the generals, the admirals, the
Wall Street alumni. A party founded by a Jefferson died in the arms of a
But the spirit which animated that party in the days of Jefferson has
been captured anew. It has been captured by those who have met here this
week-end with a firm resolve to keep our tradition of freedom that we
may fulfill the promises of an abundant, peaceful life for all men.
Lincoln's Party Reduced
Four score and seven years ago, the successful candidate of another new
party took office in Washington.
Lincoln, with the Emancipation Proclamation fulfilled the promise of the
new party which he led to victory. He headed a government of the people,
by the people, for the people. In the generations which followed his
party became a party of the corporations, by the corporations, for the
corporations. The party of a Lincoln has been reduced to the party of a
But we here tonight-we of the Progressive party-we here dedicate
ourselves to the complete fulfillment of Lincoln's promise; we
consecrate ourselves to a second emancipation; an emancipation that will
achieve for the Negro and all Americans of every race, creed, and
national origin a full, free, and complete citizenship everywhere here
in these United States. And we of the new party, because we are playing
for results and not for partisan advantage, hope and pray that the old
parties, in special session of Congress, will at the very least end the
poll tax and take strong Federal action against lynching.
We ally ourselves against those who turn to nightmares the peoples'
dreams of peace and equality.
We ally ourselves to stand against the kings of privilege who own the
old parties-the corrupted parties, the parties whose founders rebelled
in times past, even as we do today, against those whose private greed
jeopardizes the general welfare.
We stand against their cold war and against their red smear, under cover
of which they steal our resources, strike terror into our hearts, and
attempt to control our thoughts and dominate the life of man everywhere
in the world.
We stand together to stop the disasters-economic, political, and
military, which their policies must breed.
Only those who take the spirit of Jefferson and Lincoln and apply it to
the present world sit-" nation can bring the peace and security which
will end fear and unleash creative force beyond the power of man to
It was in the spirit of Jefferson and Lincoln that Roosevelt challenged
the money changers in his first inaugural address fifteen years ago. It
was in the spirit of Jefferson and Lincoln that he told the Wall Street
crowd in 1940 that they had met their master. In the spirit of Jefferson
and Lincoln he outlined the Pour Freedoms and the economic bill of
It was in the spirit of Jefferson and Lincoln that he addressed that
great Senator, George Norris, and said: "I go along with you because it
is my honest belief that you follow in their footsteps-radical like.
Jefferson, idealist like Lincoln, wild like Theodore Roosevelt, theorist
like Woodrow Wilson-dare to be all of these as you have in bygone
Franklin Roosevelt did not fear; he reveled in the names hurled by those
who feared the shape of his vision. We of the new party-the Progressive
party -shall cherish the adjectives and mound of hate thrown at us. They
are a measure of the fear in the temples of the money changers and the
clubs of the military. The base metal of vituperation cannot withstand
the attack of truth.
Frontiersmen Are Needed
We of the Progressive party must-and will-carry on where Roosevelt and
Norris, and La Guardia left off. They preserve for us all that was most
precious, the old-fashioned Americanism that was built for us by
Jefferson, by Jackson, by Lincoln, by Theodore Roosevelt and Wood-row
There are some who say they agree with our objectives, but we are ahead
of our times. But we are in the land of pioneers and trail blazers.
Though we have reached the end of the old trails to the West, a new
wilderness rises before us. The wilderness of poverty "and sickness and
Once again America has need of frontiersmen. A new frontier awaits us-no
longer west to the Pacific-but forward across the wilderness of poverty,
and sickness, and fear. We move, as the Pilgrim ships moved, as the
Conestoga wagons moved, not ahead of our time, but in the very tide. And
always before us, the bright star, the dream of the promised land, of
what this nation might be.
But the American dream is no Utopian vision. We do not plan rocket ships
for week-end trips to Mars. The dream is the hard and simple truth of
what can be done. In one fleet of heavy bombers lies wealth and skill
that could have saved Van port from the flood waters, that could have
taken a million veterans out of trailer camps and chicken coops.
We can build new schools to rescue our children from the fire-traps
where they now sit two at a desk. We can end the murderous tyranny of
sickness and disease. The dream is nothing but the possible. The facts
are that we spend $20,000,000,000 a year for cold war. The facts are
that world health authorities, given one-tenth of this sum, could, in
one year, with $2,000,000,000, wipe from the face of the earth
tuberculosis, typhoid, malaria and cholera!
The cold' war has already brought death to millions of Americans.
Look at your friends. Read the papers. Here are the casualty lists.
Millions-sick of cancer, tuberculosis, of pellagra, of heart disease and
polio. We can prevent and cure not only these diseases but a vast host
of others by devoting our science as enthusiastically to peace as to
A nation that is shaped for life, not death, can save these lives- your
.lives, the lives of your families. Together we must rise up and write
an end to the casualty lists of the cold war. This is the American
way-to conquer the forces of nature, not our fellow men.
Within the past month other men, candidates of the graveyard parties,
have stood in this city, have flexed their muscles, have declared their
intention to continue the cold war whose heaviest tolls have been taken
here at home. Both have said that "partisan politics must stop at the
water's edge." They have declared their agreement. It is an agreement
which would doom the nation and the world.
It is the policies which operate beyond the water's edge; the policies
which demand heavy arms, and draft acts, and the waste of resources and
skills in producing for disaster-it is those policies which determine
the real wages for American workers, prices for American consumers, and
the life-span of all the peoples of this earth.
Yes, other candidates have stood before the American people to declare
that they have made no commitments to obtain their nominations. But they
have committed themselves; they have committed themselves to the
policies of big brass and big gold; to the policies of militarization
and imperialism; to the policies which cast a shroud over the
life-giving, life-saving course which Franklin Roosevelt charted for
this post-war world.
I tell you frankly that in obtaining the nomination of the Progressive
party-a nomination which I accept with pride. I tell you in obtaining
that nomination, I have made commitments. I have made them in every
section of the land. 1 have made them in great halls, in sports arenas,
in huge open air meetings and in small gatherings, I have made
commitments in the basement of a Negro church and in union halls and on
picket lines. I have made commitments. I have made them freely. I shall
abide by them. I repeat them with pride:
I am committed to 'the policy of placing human rights above property
I am committed to using the power of our democracy to control rigorously
and, wherever necessary, to remove from private to public hands, the
power of huge corporations, monopolies and international big business.
I am committed to peaceful negotiations with the Soviet Government. I am
committed to do everything I can through the new party to save the lives
of those who are now to be drafted. I say that we can save those lives
without sacrificing any American principle or public interest.
I am committed to appointing to positions in the Cabinet and
Administration men whose training and private interests cannot conflict
with their public responsibilities.
I am committed to building and strengthening the United Nation.
I am committed to using the power and prestige of the United States to
help the peoples of the world, rather than their exploiters and rulers;
to help the suffering, frustrated people in the .colonial areas of the
world even as we help older civilizations which have felt the full
destructive force of war.
I am committed to planning as carefully and thoroughly f6r production
for peace as the militarists and bankers plan and plot for war. Too many
of today's 60 million jobs are cold war jobs, unstable jobs, suicide
jobs. I am committed to making 60 million, yea, more than 60 million,
jobs of producing for peace-house building jobs, school building jobs,
three or four times as many as we have today, school building jobs, the
jobs of building" dams and power plants and highways and clinics.
I am committed to a program of progressive capitalism-a program which
will protect from the tentacles of monopolists the initiative and
creative and productive powers of truly independent enterprise.
I am committed to fighting, with everything I have, the ugly practice of
stifling Taft-Hartley injunctions.
I am committed to rooting out the causes of industrial conflict and
anti-labor practices; to returning us to the basic principles of the
National Labor Relations Act and to strengthening the democratic
organizations which give our workers safeguards against economic and
I am pledged to fight the murderers who block, impede and stifle
legislation and appropriations which would eliminate segregation and
provide health and education facilities to bridge the gap "of ten years
life expectancy between a Negro child and a white child born this day.
I am pledged to licking inflation by stopping the cold war, the ruthless
profiteering of monopolies, and the waste of resources which could give
us an abundance of the goods of peace.
Committed to Peace
I am committed to helping lift the heavy hand of fear from our elder
citizens, whose minds and bodies have served to build this America and
whose reward must be the economic security which will enable them to
spend their days with the peace of mind that comes from work well done,
well appreciated. And I am committed to those programs-principally the
program for peace, which will lift from our young people the dread of
war and drafts and unemployment and which will replace these fears with
a hope born of security and the equal opportunity to develop fully their
individual talents and careers,
I am committed-as I have been my whole life through-to advancing those
programs for agriculture which will increase the productivity of our
land and better the lives of our farmers and their families.
I am committed to stopping the creation of fear; to using all my powers
to prevent the fear-makers from clogging the minds of the people with
the "red issue." The American people want and deserve fewer red issues
and more red meat. Millions know and millions more must see that it is
not the Kremlin, not the Communists who have sent milk to 24 cents a
quart and meat to $1.30 a pound: that it is the red issue not the reds
who did this to us.
Yes, I am committed to th< principle of using our democratic process to
the end that all men may enjoy the benefits made possible by modern
And I am committed and do renounce the support of those who practice
hate and preach prejudice; of those who would limit the civil rights of
others; of those who would restrict the use of the ballot; of those who
advocate force and violence; and I am committed to accept and do accept
the support of those who favor a program for peace, the program that I
have outlined here tonight.
I accept the support fro all those who truly believe in democracy, the
support of all those who know that the American dream can be given a
flesh and blood reality in our time. The American dream is a dream of
the prophets of old-the dream of each man living in peace under his own
vine and fig tree.
Then all the nations of the world shall grow unto the mountain of the
Lord and man shall learn war no more. We are the generation, blest above
all generations because to us is given for the first time in all history
the power to make that dream come true.
To make that dream come true we shall rise above the pettiness of those
who preach hate and factionalism, of those who think of themselves
rather than the great cause they serve. All you who are within the sound
of my voice tonight have been called to serve and to serve mightily in
fulfilling the dream of the Prophets and the founders of the American
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