FORD'S ROLE IN THE RISE OF NAZISM
THE AMERICAN AXIS Henry
Ford, Charles Lindbergh, and the Rise of the Third Reich By Max
Wallace St. Martin's.
CHRISTOPHER SIMPSON, WASHINGTON
POST - Contrary to comfortable myths, Ford and Lindbergh were
not "country club" anti-Semites who simply shared the
prejudices of their time, Wallace writes in "The American
Axis." They were the real thing. Indeed, based on the evidence
Wallace has marshaled, it is fair to say that Ford's factories
and Ford himself contributed significantly to Germany's war effort,
and that Lindbergh rallied more support for Nazi Germany than
any other individual in the English-speaking world. Neither "caused"
the Holocaust, yet both share responsibility for its devastation.
That each did so while waving an American flag and preaching
patriotism should give us all pause.
Wallace's text provides
an interesting counterpoint to this year's public relations hoopla
surrounding the centenary of the Ford Motor Co. That celebration
soft-pedals or remains silent about Henry Ford's use of Ford
dealerships to circulate "The International Jew," a
vicious bit of conspiratorial hate literature published in pamphlet
form. Many experts agree that this publication prompted more
damage to innocent people than Adolf Hitler's turgid "Mein
Kampf." True, as Wallace reports, Ford eventually apologized,
sort of, for his activities as America's most influential anti-Semite.
NY DAILY NEWS - Ford said that it used slave labor from concentration
camps at its factory in Nazi Germany, but didn't profit from
it. The automaker released a report that concluded it did not
"materially benefit" from the Ford-Werke factory in
Cologne, Germany, which used labor from the Buchenwald concentration
camp to build trucks and light armored vehicles. "The use
of forced and slave labor in Germany, including at Ford-Werke,
was wrong and cannot be justified," said John Rintamaki,
Ford's chief of staff. The company didn't say how many camp inmates
worked there. The automaker said it lost control of Ford-Werke
in 1941, when the Nazi government seized the factory's assets.
"The statements that we profited, that Ford U.S. profited
from Ford Germany, are just not true," Rintamaki said.
& DAVID WASTELL, LONDON TELEGRAPH: Up to 100 American companies
suspected of profiting from trade with Nazi Germany are being
targeted by lawyers working for Holocaust survivors. A lawsuit
was launched against the computer giant IBM. The action, however,
threatens to jeopardize an existing £3.3 billion deal to
compensate slave laborers from the Nazi era, according to warnings
from Germany. The suit against IBM alleges that the company,
through its German subsidiary, knowingly co-operated with the
Third Reich during the 1930s and 1940s by supplying the regime
with punch-card machines used to catalogue Jews sent to concentration
camps. A Washington legal firm has compiled a list of a further
100 American corporations - identified by records culled from
the FBI and the United States Treasury department - as having
traded with the Nazi regime in 1941, just as America entered
the Second World War. They include leading industrial and chemical
companies and some of the top names in US banking, according
to Michael Hausfeld, the leading attorney behind the IBM case.
Mr. Hausfeld refuses to identify the firms involved until more
research has been done. He said: "There has been huge interest
as a result of the IBM case and a lot of people have offered
their assistance." TELEGRAPH
AMERICAN BUSINESSES & THE NAZIS
IBM, the American computer giant, faces detailed charges that
it collaborated in Hitler's persecution of the Jews. More than
half a century after the second world war, an American investigative
writer, Edwin Black, says he has found extensive evidence that
the Holocaust depended not on German efficiency but on American
technology. Black writes that IBM punch card-sorters, a precursor
of computers, were used to facilitate all aspects of Nazi persecution
- from the identification of Jews in censuses in Germany and
occupied Europe to the running of concentration camp slave labor.
His book, IBM and the Holocaust, is serialized in The Sunday
Times and published tomorrow in America and Britain . . . Black
says Hitler's quest to destroy the Jews was "greatly enhanced
and energized" by IBM and its creator and chairman, Thomas
J Watson. Watson expressed admiration for Hitler and was awarded
the Merit Cross of the German Eagle with Star by the Führer.
The Nazis regarded him as a powerful friend, but his interest
was profit, not ideology. He micromanaged Dehomag, the company's
German subsidiary, writes Black. "IBM NY understood - from
1933 - it was doing business with the upper echelon of the Nazi
[From the United Electrical, Radio and Machine
Workers of America]
The major US
auto makers (including Chrysler) established multinational operations
as early as the 1920s and 1930s, locating plants in Germany,
eastern Europe and Japan. It wasn't all strictly business. Henry
Ford, a notorious anti-Semite, formed a kind of mutual admiration
society with Adolf Hitler. The German dictator enthusiastically
applauded American mass-production techniques. "I regard
Henry Ford as my inspiration," declared Hitler, who kept
a life-size portrait of the American industrialist next to his
desk. In 1938, Ford accepted the highest medal that Nazi Germany
could award a foreigner, the Grand Cross of the German Eagle.
Ford had a role
in Nazi Germany's prewar military buildup. US Army Intelligence
reported that the "real purpose" of the truck assembly
plant opened in Berlin in 1938 was to produce "troop transport-type
vehicles for the Wehrmacht (German military). A senior executive
of General Motors also received a medal from Hitler, apparently
for services rendered, and services to come. GM's involvement
in Germany began in 1935 with the opening of a truck factory
near Berlin. Within a few years trucks produced by that factory
would be part of German Army convoys rumbling through Poland,
France and the Soviet Union.
After the German
occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1939, GM Chairman Alfred P. Sloan
commented that the Nazis' behavior "should not be considered
the business of the management of General Motors." The GM
plant in Germany was highly profitable. "We have no right
to shut down that plant," Sloan declared.
GM and Ford were
vital components of the Nazi war effort. German Ford was the
second largest producer of trucks for the Nazi military. GM's
plants built thousands of bomber and jet fighter propulsion systems
for the Luftwaffe - while at the same time profiting from production
of aircraft engines for the US Army Air Corps.
of war in September 1939 resulted inevitably in the full conversion
by GM and Ford of their Axis plants to the production of military
aircraft and trucks," according to a 1974 report printed
by the US Senate Judiciary Committee. "On the ground, GM
and Ford subsidiaries built nearly 90 percent of the armored
'mule' 3-ton half-trucks and more than 70 percent of the Reich's
medium and heavy-duty trucks. These vehicles, according to American
intelligence reports, served as 'the backbone of the German Army
Motors was far more important to the Nazi war machine than Switzerland,"
says researcher Bradford Snell. "Switzerland was just a
repository of looted funds, while GM was an integral part of
the German war effort. The Nazis could have invaded Poland and
Russia without Switzerland. They could not have done so without
Apropos of "Cheerleaders
Take Flight" (September-October, page 86), there's something
of a dark side that didn't get mentioned. Ernst "Putzi"
Hanfstaengl '09, who was a member of Hitler's entourage, wrote
that Hitler got the idea for having the crowds at his rallies
chant "Sieg Heil" from Hanfstaengl's stories of how
Harvard cheerleaders used to get football crowds excited. Sorry
about that. -- Martin Needler '54 Monterey, Calif
NY TIMES: Rose Freedman, the last survivor of the Triangle Shirtwaist
fire in which 146 of her co-workers perished in 1911, in her
apartment in Beverly Hills, Calif., her daughter said. She was
107. Mrs. Freedman, who at the time of the Manhattan fire was
two days shy of 18, escaped death in 1911 by following company
executives to the roof to be rescued. She became a lifelong crusader
for worker safety, telling and retelling the story that the Triangle
workers died because the owners were not concerned with their
welfare. The disastrous factory fire, in which girls and young
women leapt from eighth- and ninth-story windows, their flaming
skirts billowing in the wind, horrified the nation and led to
some of the first city, state and federal laws dealing with workers'
safety. It gave a powerful impetus to the fledgling labor movement,
greatly strengthening the building of the International Ladies
Garment Workers Union, which two years before the fire had led
a three-month strike to focus attention on conditions in workplaces
like the Triangle factory. NY
MORE ON THE FIRE
EICHMANNS OF DRESDEN
WASHINGTON POST story doesn't use the phrase above in its story,
it certainly implies it. But why were the ordinary citizens of
Dresden responsible for their country's foreign policy but not
the workers at the WTC? The simple answer is that the Dresden
citizens weren't us.
The truth is,
however, that throughout history and across the world, ordinary
citizens go along with whatever their leaders tell them. If it
is evil then that evil resides in all of us, not just in residents
of a Nazi regime. Bear in mind that two thirds of Americans believe
that a myth - creationism - should be taught along with science
- evolution - in our schools and a third want the former taught
instead of the latter. What if the myth had ended with a Hitler
instead of a Jesus?
And what if the
myth of Dresden is changing right before our eyes? Even the Guardian
lumps together those who do not approve of the raid as revisionist
historians and neo-Nazis. Just a few years ago it was more acceptable
to question the Dresden bombing. As we have moved from Slaughterhouse
Five to Bush II our myths have changed as well.
The most honest
approach is probably to hold the big guys responsible and be
gentle on ordinary citizens, whether in Manhattan or Dresden.
It is hard to state the moral case for this; it is more like
a quid pro quo: If NY stockbrokers don't want to take responsibility
for 50 years of misbegotten American Mid East policy then the
Dresden folk don't have to take the blame for Hitler.
It's not perfect,
some might call it cynical; but at least it avoids the sort of
pompous hypocrisy apparent when 60 years later a major American
newspaper gives more attention to the moral deficiencies of the
targets of a brutal bombing than to those who targeted them.
And it offers the possibility of reconciliation and recovery
that perpetual blame never will.
One critic, writing
of a novel by a survivor of the Dresden bombing, put it well
when he said that Kurt Vonnegut felt as if "he was perpetrator,
observer and target all at the same time." With events such
as the Dresden bombing, it's probably the sanest approach. -
WASHINGTON POST - Several thousand neo-Nazis and skinheads marched
through the heart of this meticulously restored city Sunday to
protest its incendiary destruction by Allied forces 60 years
ago, the biggest effort yet by fringe groups to portray Germans
as equal victims of World War II. The demonstration was among
the largest gatherings of Nazi sympathizers in Germany since
the end of the war and overshadowed Dresden's official commemoration
of the city's virtual annihilation by British and U.S. bombers
on Feb. 13 and 14, 1945. . .
In Berlin, Chancellor
Gerhard Schroeder issued a statement criticizing extremists for
trying to minimize the Third Reich's responsibility for the war
and for the Holocaust, during which an estimated 6 million Jews
and several million others were killed. "Today we grieve
for the victims of war and the Nazi reign of terror in Dresden,
in Germany and in Europe," Schroeder said. "We will
oppose in every way these attempts to reinterpret history. We
will not allow cause and effect to be reversed.". . .
political analysts said that only a small fraction of Germans
subscribe to the neo-Nazi notion that German wartime suffering
was comparable to the atrocities committed by the Third Reich.
But they said there remains a widespread belief, especially in
Saxony and other parts of the former East Germany, that the people
who died in the Dresden fire bombings were innocent victims and
that the city had little or no role in supporting the German
military machine or the Nazi government.
a myth, the myth of the innocent Dresden," said Gerhard
Besier, director of the Hannah Arendt Institute for Totalitarian
Research, a political think tank in Dresden that studies extremist
groups. "People don't realize that the Nazis had been very
strong in Dresden and in Saxony. They insist that the population
of Dresden was innocent and was murdered, and that this bombing
didn't make any sense."
JON LAMB, GREEN
LEFT, AUSTRALIA - Dresden was of no military significance in
World War II and had few, if any, strategic targets of importance
to the war effort. In the briefings before the mission, bomber
crews were not given any specific details on bombing runs or
targets. The whole city of at least 1.2 million people - including
non-combatants, refugees, the wounded and prisoners of war -
was the target.
a Canadian navigator who flew in the raid (and later formed a
veterans peace group) told Peace magazine in 1985: "The
Dresden bombing was the only raid we went on where we didn't
like what we were going to do before we started. The Squadron
Commander had said, 'Well, we've got a juicy one tonight. It's
full of refugees.' . . .
1945: The American and British
begin the bombing by 1,800 planes of Dresden, which kills some
40,000 - 135,000 persons. The uncertainty is caused by the number
of bodies burned to ash. Some 650,000 incendiary bombs are dropped
on a city with few defenses and many refugees. 27,000 homes and
7,000 public buildings are destroyed. One of the survivors is
an American prisoner by the name of Kurt Vonnegut huddled in
an underground meat locker who, one critic notes, would come
to feel that "he was perpetrator, observer and target all
at the same time." Lothat Metzger would later recall, "We
saw terrible things: cremated adults shrunk to the size of small
children, pieces of arms and legs, dead people, whole families
burnt to death, burning people ran to and fro, burnt coaches
filled with civilian refugees, dead rescuers and soldiers, many
were calling and looking for their children and families, and
fire everywhere, everywhere fire, and all the time the hot wind
of the firestorm threw people back into the burning houses they
were trying to escape from."
THE FIREBOMBING OF GERMANY: A
LUKE HARDING, GUARDIAN
- Last week, one of Germany's most controversial historians,
Jörg Friedrich, published a new photo book. Called Brandstätten,
or Fire Sites, it contains some of the most grisly images from
the war ever to be published. None of them have been seen before.
The victims are not Jewish,
but German. The charred, mutilated bodies of women, children
and babies are all civilians who perished during the allies'
bombing campaign against Germany's cities.
In his book, Friedrich
argues that the RAF's relentless campaign against Germany during
the final months of the war served no military purpose. Instead,
he says that Winston Churchill's decision to drop more bombs
on a shattered Germany between January and May 1945, most of
them on small German towns of little strategic value, was a war
"The bombing left
an entire generation traumatized. But it was never discussed.
There are Germans whose first recollections are of being hidden
by their mothers. They remember cellars and burning human remains,"
Friedrich told the Guardian in an interview in Berlin last week.
. . . Around 600,000 German
civilians died during the allies' wartime raids on Germany, including
76,000 German children, Friedrich says. In July 1943, during
a single night in Hamburg, 45,000 people perished in a vast firestorm.
But in the immediate post-war period, the German victims of British
bombing were scarcely mentioned, being overshadowed by the far
greater evil of the Holocaust.
Friedrich believes that
most Germans refused to discuss what had happened because they
regarded the British destruction of their cities as a sort of
retribution for the crimes of the Nazi era.
. . . The historian's
previous book, Der Brand, or The Fire, published last year, created
a storm of publicity in both Britain and Germany. In it, he came
close to accusing Churchill of being a war criminal just weeks
after a BBC poll had voted the wartime prime minister the greatest-ever
[From a review
by Matthew Price of "Orwell: Wintry Conscience of a Generation,"
By Jeffrey Meyers]
"It is the
face of a man who is always fighting against something ... the
face of a man who is generously angry--in other words, of a nineteenth
century liberal, a free intelligence, a type hated with equal
hatred by all the smelly little orthodoxies which are now contending
for our souls." This is George Orwell writing in 1939 on
Charles Dickens, but these words could just as well describe
Orwell himself. Orwell may have felt hated by the smelly little
orthodoxies of his time, but since his death his soul has been
up for grabs. For the non-Communist left, Orwell has been the
exemplar of small "s" socialist decency; for the right,
a prophet against totalitarianism. What other writer could unite
Christopher Hitchens and Norman Podhoretz under the same banner?
But Orwell was sui generis, and his own fiercely guarded independence
has meant that he can be read any number of ways - and appropriated
for just about any cause. While those on the left ignore at their
own peril his often cutting remarks about the orthodox left-wingers
of his own time, right-wing critics like Podhoretz and Hilton
Kramer do more damage to Orwell when they trot out fatuous exercises
of the "if Orwell were alive today" variety when bashing
the left. The reason Orwell was such an effective writer and
thinker was that he wrote not in the service of dogmatic imperatives,
but rather of his own hard-headed opinions, which often annoyed
his nominal allies on the left. "A writer cannot be a loyal
member of any political party," he once wrote. IN
1874 Amy Lowell is born in
Brookline MA. She becomes a cigar-smoking, straight-talking poet
who would tell dull audiences, "Well, clap or hiss, I don't
care which, but for Christ's sake, do something!" When one
of her brothers was president of Harvard, an auto mechanic called
him, saying, "Some big, fat dame whose engine broke down
wants to charge the bill to you - claims she's your sister. She's
across the road, sittin' on a stone wall, smokin' a cigar."
President Lowell replied, "That's my sister, all right."
Of her other brother, a famous astronomer, she said, "Percival
is a great man - but he is not a good man." . . .
Levi Asher writes,
"The real genius behind the Beat movement in literature
never published a book during his life. He appeared as a main
character in many books, though, from 'Go' by John Clellon Holmes
to 'On The Road' by Jack Kerouac to 'The Electric Kool-Aid Acid
Test' by Tom Wolfe. His free-flowing letter writing style inspired
the young Kerouac to break his ties to the sentimental style
he'd picked up from Thomas Wolfe and invent his notion of 'spontaneous
prose.' Without Neal Cassady, the Beat Generation would never
have happened . . . It was [in New York] that he met Kerouac
and Ginsberg. Ginsberg immediately fell in love with him, and
Cassady, who had a hustler's instinct to be whatever the person
he's with wants him to be, began a sexual relationship with Ginsberg,
balancing it with the numerous heterosexual relationships he
enjoyed more. At the same time, he persuaded Kerouac to teach
him how to write fiction . . . After a night of hard partying
in Mexico in 1968, Cassady wandered onto a deserted railroad,
intending to walk fifteen miles to the next town. He fell asleep
on the way, wearing only a T-shirt and jeans. It was a cold rainy
night, and Cassady was found beside the tracks the next morning.
He was in a coma, and died in a hospital later that day. Kerouac
would die a year later" . . . Shortly before his death,
Cassady rapped with the Greatful Dead. Hank Harrison, in 'The
Dead Book,' writes: "Neal went to Mexico shortly after this
recording was made, and he never returned. It is significant
that the audience, consisting mostly of young people from Haight
Street, did not know who he was and were jeering him from the
floor . . . The Grateful Dead are in the background making Prankster
music and the totality is reminiscent of the acid tests."
. . . CASSADY
Forget the Alamo;
Remember Ft. Stevens
ONE OF THE PROBLEMS
with living in a colony like Washington, DC, is that not only
is democracy suppressed, but history as well. For example, one
of the crucial - but little known - confrontations of the Civil
War took place within the city itself. Were it not for Union
reinforcements arriving in the nick of time, the whole history
of the Civil War might have turned out differently.
In the summer
of 1864, Confederate General Jubal Early pushed his way towards
Maryland with 20,000 men. General Wallace, a Union recruit trainer
in Baltimore, found himself faced with an invasion but was uncertain
whether the target was Washington or Baltimore. Wallace chose
Frederick, MD, to make his stand, with the help of troops sent
by train from Baltimore. With only 6,000 troops to defend six
miles of river, he found himself overwhelmed. On the afternoon
of July 9, the Union force left some 1,800 casualties and retreated
to Baltimore. The confederates lost 1,300 men.
Though his own
force was battered, Early knew the immense coup that capturing
Washington would be. Further he probably knew that Washington
had only about 9,000 regular troops to guard the whole city,
Grant having removed some 14,000 soldiers to help him battle
Lee around Richmond and Petersburg. Early sent out sorties on
July 11 toward Ft. Stevens, located at the north end of Washington.
They found a battlement protected only by home guards, clerks,
and recovering soldiers literally rousted from their hospital
beds to help defend the city. a ragtag force of 2,300.
By light of the
next day, however, Early found the fort manned by regular troops,
reinforcements who had arrived from Virginia and who repulsed
Early's sorties. By the end of the day, Early was in full retreat.
There had been 874 casualties.
Among the spectators
for the two days were Abraham Lincoln and his wife. One Ohio
soldier would remember, "Lincoln got to the fort ahead of
us. He was quiet and grave. He mounted the parapet so he could
see better, and I saw him there in full view of the Johnnies,
watching them and what went on inside. You can imagine what a
target he made with tall form and stovepipe hat."
became the only president ever to have come under direct fire
and, according to legend, was told by a young soldier named Oliver
Wendell Holmes [r] to "get down, you damn fool." Another
story has a colonel telling Lincoln, "Please come down to
a safe place. If you do not, it will be my duty to call a file
of men and make you." Lincoln replied, "And you would
be quite right, my boy. You are in command of this fort. I should
be the last man to set an example of disobedience."
The Union force
held and Early gave up his invasion of Maryland and DC and returned
to the upper Potomac at a crossing known as White's Ford, which
would later become the home-port of perhaps the world's only
ferry whose bridge consisted of an overstuffed armchair on the
same deck as the cars. It was called the "Jubal Early."
to his staff that "We didn't take Washington, but we scared
Abe Lincoln like Hell."
Letter from Ft.
This is the first
opportunity I have had of writing you since the great Indian
massacre, and for a start, I will acknowledge I am ashamed to
own I was in with my Co." ... It is no use for me to try
to tell you how the fight was managed, only I think the officer
in command should be hung and I know when the truth is known,
it will cashier him. Bucks, women and children were scalped,
fingers cut off to get the rings on them ... A Lt. Col. cut off
ears of all he came across. A squaw ripped open and a child taken
from her. Little children shot while begging for their lives
and all the indignities shown their bodies that was ever heard
of. Women shot while on their knees with their arms around soldiers
a begging for their lives. Things Indians would be ashamed to
do. To give some little idea, squaws were known to kill their
own children and them themselves rather than to have them taken
prisoners. I told the Col that I thought it murder to jump them
friendly Indians. He says in reply: Damn any man or men who are
in sympathy with them. ... Major, I am ashamed of this."
-- Letter, recently discovered in an attic, written by Lt.
Joe A. Cramer, Dec. 19, 1864, from the scene of the Sand Creek
What it was about
US NEWS & WORLD REPORT
- In trying to honor
the soldiers who died, Civil War battlefields have historically
avoided referring to what the two armies were actually fighting
about. As a result, say scholars and park service officials alike,
the message of most Civil War parks is subtly pro-Confederate,
alienating many people who should find the parks compelling.
What's missing, they say, is a moral element, what Abraham Lincoln
referred to as "the better angels of our nature." The
Civil War was a fight over slavery. The South was for it, the
North against it. Not talking about slavery, they say, erases
right and wrong from history-not only in the parks but in the
national memory itself.
Gettysburg is the fight's most
prominent battlefield, traditionally described there as "the
high-water mark of the Confederacy," with the spotlight
on Robert E. Lee's audacious generalship and the bravery of the
Confederate charges. Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, and its "new
birth of freedom," are relegated to a small monument across
the street from the visitor center. That part of the story was
"almost ignored ... because it didn't agree with the older
version of the battle" as a morally neutral conflict between
two equally honorable foes, says Columbia University historian
Visitors leave with the impression
that Gettysburg was significant as a failed Confederate struggle,
rather than as a Union victory and the site of the Gettysburg
Address. "Not only does it perpetuate ignorance, it creates
bias," says George Washington University history professor
James Oliver Horton. "People who come with incomplete or
incorrect ideas leave without having that bias challenged."
The story is the same elsewhere; Foner says even Ken Burns's
acclaimed documentary The Civil War, which is being rebroadcast
this week for the first time since 1997, contributes by glossing
over the conflict's messy aftermath.
But from Fort Sumter to Appomattox,
parks that once confined their interpretation to military maneuvers
and strategy are now beginning to talk about the causes and consequences
of the war. "We're not being responsible public servants
if we don't explain the history that underpins these battles,"
says park service Chief Historian Dwight Pitcaithley. "You
can't possibly understand Gettysburg without understanding why
these armies were at each other's throats."
Not everyone's ready to hear
this version of the story. "This new interpretation is going
to put the war in the context of slavery, and that's going to
challenge a lot of people," says Princeton University historian
James McPherson. "Some southerners will tell you that to
put it in that context will reflect poorly on their ancestors.
I would respond that like the Germans and the Japanese after
World War II, they need to face up to the historical reality,
if only to come to terms with the problems of their own society."
In this fight over how we remember America's most divisive conflict,
national parks may be the final battlegrounds.
INTERESTING, LONG ARTICLE
SOUTH AND STATES RIGHTS
BLACK RADICAL CONGRESS: The comments of Interior Secretary nominee
Gale Norton talking about the "loss" of states rights
due to the Civil War just once more highlights the lie that the
Civil War was fought over states rights, rather than fought to
preserve slavery. In fact, if anything, the Civil War was caused
by southern states using their control of the Congress and the
Supreme Court to use federal law against northern states which
resisted slavery within their own territory. The primary example
of this was the Fugitive Slave Law used by the federal government
to force free states to return runaway slaves to their masters
in the South. In fact, southerners took this law and assumed
the right not only to go to court to force the return of slaves
but would go into northern states and kidnap blacks, often not
even slaves, while claiming that they had the right of "self-help"
in recovering their "property." . . . It was the South
that declared war on states rights in the north, using the Congress
and the US Supreme Court to de facto extend slavery into northern
mantra of government privatization, efficiency, management skills,
and so forth is not new. The reformers in the early part of the
last century used similar rhetoric but then, as now, it were
often on behalf of one group of citizens at the expense of others]
THE SHAME OF THE CITIES, 1904: Another ~ conceit of our egotism
is that which deplores our politics and lauds our business .
. . Now, the typical American citizen is the business man. The
typical business man is a bad citizen; he is busy. If he is a
"big business man " and very busy, he does not neglect,
he is busy with politics, oh, very busy and very businesslike.
I found him buying boodlers in St. Louis, defending grafters
in Minneapolis, originating corruption in Pittsburgh, sharing
with bosses in Philadelphia, deploring reform in Chicago, and
beating good government with corruption funds in New York. He
is a self-righteous fraud, this big business man. He is the chief
source of corruption, and it were a boon if he would neglect
politics. But he is not the business man that neglects politics;
that worthy is the good citizen, the typical business man. He
too is busy, he is the one who has no use and therefore no time
for politics. When his neglect has permitted bad government to
go so far that he can be stirred to action, he is unhappy, and
he looks around for a cure that shal1 be quick, so that he may
hurry back to the shop . . . His patent remedy is quack; it is
business. "Give us a business man," he says ("like
me," he means). "Let him introduce business methods
into politics and government . . . [Yet] the business man has
failed in politics as he has in citizenship . . . The commercial
spirit is the spirit of profit, not patriotism; of credit, not
honor; of individual gain, not national prosperity; of trade
and dickering, not principle.
JR, THE CITY BOSS IN AMERICA: The structural reformers held that
the proper role of government was to serve business. Men like
Grover Cleveland of Buffalo, Seth Low, John Purroy Mitchel, and
William F. Havemeyer of New York, and San Francisco's reform
mayor, James D. Phelan, believe that government should serve
not the interests of the "people," but the "right"
people, respectable people - the middle and patrician classes
- who would substitute business for political practices. Their
rhetoric, persuasive to a business-oriented society, echoed with
calls for efficiency, economy, responsibility, and clean government.
Their strategy called for reform in structural terms: revising
city charters, hacking budgets to the bone, drastically reducing
municipal services. Like the genteel reformers before them they
mounted crusades for the moral uplift of the "other half"
and attacks upon the vices of the working class - drinking, gambling,
and prostitution. Moral reform was aimed at changing the behavior
of the lower and middle class, rather than, as Andy Logan has
written, improving the morality of the financial and industrial
trusts whose dividends made it possible for them to practice
their civic philanthropy." The saloon was viewed with more
moral indignation than the absence of good parks and schools.
As M. R. Werner described the noisy reformer, Theodore Roosevelt,
"He became a terror to pinochle players in the back rooms
of saloons. The small joys began to disappear from daily life,
and their place was taken by that abstract ghost, The Law, which
could neither see, taste, nor touch." . . . Many reform
movements contained the seeds of their own disintegration. The
heart of the matter was their underlying philosophy, destructive
in itself, because it was essentially anti-political. It was
based on the proposition that good government could be achieved
not only by taking the boss and his machine out of politics but
also by taking politics itself out of politics. This could be
done by replacing professional politicians with professional
administrators; the neighborhood expert replaced by the efficiency
expert; nonpartisanship prevailing over partisanship. The art
of business, it was thought, and not the art of politics, was
the secret of good, clean, honest government. This concept appealed
enormously to those millions of Americans who felt that politics
was bad and politicians were venal and nonpolitical experts were
not only good but right. The hard fact is, however, that governing
a city, especially the larger city, depends upon the management
of conflict, which is a way of defining politics. To balance,
satisfy, control, and lead the many disparate urban interest
groups - ethnic, financial class - requires the skill of politics,
not the precision of budget balancing.
PLUNKETT: I've been studyin' the political game for forty-five
years, and I don't know it all yet. I'm learnin' something all
the time. How, then, can you expect what they call "business
men" to turn into politics all at once and make a success
out of it? It is just as if I went up to Columbia University
and started to teaching Greek.
ARMY AND DR. KING
MEMPHIS COMMERCIAL APPEAL, March 21, 1993: The intelligence branch
of the United States Army spied on the family of Dr. Martin Luther
King Jr. for three generations. Top secret, often illegal, intrusions
into the lives of black Americans began more than 75 years ago
and often focused on black churches in the south and their ministers.
The spying was born of a conviction by top Army intelligence
officers that black Americans were ripe for subversion - first
by agents of the German Kaiser, then by Communists, later by
the Japanese and eventually by those opposed to the Vietnam War.
At first, the Army used a reporting network of private citizens
that included church members, black businessmen such as Memphis's
Robert R. Church Jr., and black educators like the Hampton Institute's
Roscoe C. Simmons. It later employed cadres of infiltrators,
wiretaps and aerial photography by U2 spy planes.
As the civil
rights movement merged with anti-war protests in the late 1960s,
some Army units began supplying sniper rifles and other weapons
of war to civilian police departments. Army Intelligence began
planning for what some officers believed would soon be armed
rebellion. By March 1968, King was preparing to lead a march
in Memphis in support of striking sanitation workers and another
march a few weeks later that would swamp Washington with people
demanding less attention to Vietnam and more resources for America's
poor. By then the Army's intelligence system was keenly focused
on King and desperately searching for a way to stop him. On April
4, 1968, King was killed by a sniper's bullet at the Lorraine
Motel in Memphis . . . This newspaper's investigation uncovered
no hard evidence that Army Intelligence played any role in King's
assassination, although Army agents were in Memphis the day he
was killed. But the review of thousands of government documents
and interviews with people involved in the spying revealed that
by early 1968 Army Intelligence regarded King as a major threat
to national security.
FBI SPIED ON CORETTA KING'S WIDOW, AFRAID
CIVIL RIGHTS AND PEACE MOVEMENTS WOULD JOIN
AP - Federal agents spied on the widow
of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. for several years after his
assassination in 1968, according to newly released documents
that reveal the FBI worried about her following in the footsteps
of the slain civil rights icon. In memos that reveal Coretta
Scott King being closely followed by the government, the FBI
noted concern that she might attempt "to tie the anti-Vietnam
movement to the civil rights movement.". . . Also included
in the documents: The FBI suggested that Ralph Abernathy, a close
aide to Martin Luther King, be made aware of death threats against
his life for the benefit of "the disruptive effect of confusing
and worrying him."
of Carthel Weeden, former Chief of Fire Station Number Two in Memphis,
given in court, November 29, 1999]
Q. On April 4th,
1968, the day of the assassination, were you on duty?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. And on April
4, 1968, were you approached by two Army officers?
A. That's what they indicated, they were two Army officers.
Q. And what did
they ask you to do?
A. They wanted a look-out vantage for the Lorraine Hotel...
Q. You put these
Army officers on the roof of the number two fire station on the
4th of April, 1968? . . . Did you go up there on the roof with
A. I did.
Q. And were they
A. They had some briefcases or some items with them, yes.
Q. Did you come
to learn what was in those briefcases?
A. No, sir.
Q. Did they tell
you what was in the briefcases?
A. They said they wanted a vantage point for doing some photo
-- photograph --
A. Right, right.
Q. Did they at
the time show you any military identification?
A. Well, I'm sure they did or I wouldn't have carried them up
there but I - you know, we had a lot of people coming in and
out at that time, you know...
Q. Mr. Weeden,
has any law enforcement officers ever asked you about that day
and what you did?
A. No, sir.
Q. Nobody has
ever spoken to you?
A. No, sir...
Q. Did any member
of the House Select Committee on Assassinations, any investigator
for the House Select Committee ever speak to you about this incident?
A. Not at all.
Q. Any researchers
or book writers ever speak to you about this incident?
A. No, sir.
Q. My, my. Thank
you very much