A PROCLAMATION FOR A DAY OF PUBLIC
THANKSGIVING AND PRAISE
At the springtide and at the ebbing of the year, two American holidays are dedicated to gratitude. On Memorial Day we gather to commemorate the sacrifices made by man: on Thanksgiving Day we reverently acknowledge our debt to the mercy and providence of Almighty God.
In accordance with a custom at once reverent and inspiring, I, therefore, with the advice and consent of the Council, appoint Thursday, November Twenty-eighth, as a day of Thanksgiving Prayer and Praise.
May the scattered children of the Commonwealth return to the ancient hearthstone, that the successful may rejoice with those who have known them as brothers, that the afflicted may feel the consoling touch of a mother’s hand.
Material prosperity has been ours beyond the fortune of any other people, and with prosperity has come almost measureless power at the Council Board of the Nations. May it be granted to us to use that power for good. May we remember that the venerable charter of the colony from which our Commonwealth arose cites that the purpose to which Massachusetts was dedicated is reverence for religion and the spread of civilization and happiness among those less favored than ourselves.
Confident that even hardship and misfortune would, under Divine Providence, be converted for good, the Pilgrim Founders of the Feast gathered together in hope and even in joy, and faced their trials with a song.
Let us in our flood-tide of success desert not the duties of religion. In the liberality of faith, respecting every honest conviction, let us remember that no nation of atheists has ever been allowed to live. In returning thanks for the ever broadening Brotherhood of Man, let us the more gratefully acknowledge the beneficent Fatherhood of God.
Given at the Council Chamber, this thirtieth day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and seven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and thirty-second.
CURTIS GUILD, Jr.
By His Excellency the Governor, with the advice and consent of the Council.
Theodore “Dutch” Van Kirk (1924-2014) was the navigator on the Enola Gay when it dropped the atomic bomb “Little Boy” on Hiroshima, Japan, during World War II on August 6, 1945. As navigator, Van Kirk was responsible for guiding the plane to its target destination and confirming where exactly to drop the bomb. As the last surviving member of the crew, Dutch Van Kirk often spoke about the reasons behind employing the atomic bomb and how it led to the end of World War II. In the WallBuilders collection we have a picture of the destruction at Hiroshima inscribed by Dutch Van Kirk with the following statement:
Most people do not recall why we dropped the atomic bombs. It was forgotten after 64 years only remembering the large casualties they caused. We dropped the bombs to end the war and stop the killing by destroying military and military support facilities defending against an invasion. Earlier we dropped millions of leaflets which were largely ignored.
The leaflets Van Kirk refers to warned the Japanese citizens of the impending bombs and advised them to evacuate the cities targeted beforehand. (You can see some and read their translations at WallBuilders.)
With the worldwide Coronavirus outbreak in 2020 many people have been shocked at “the unprecedented steps government leaders have taken to contain the coronavirus.” Groups of people are no longer allowed to assemble, Churches have been closed, theaters and “non-essential” businesses have been shuttered—all by order of the government, whether local, state, or federal. Rushes on items like toilet paper, milk, and hand sanitizer led to nationwide shortages, and companies with production based in foreign nations have had their factories nationalized or exports restricted, compounding the issues.
The economic damages from the virus were incomprehensibly immense. Since the start of forcible shutdowns of “non-essential” businesses nearly 16.8 million Americans lost their jobs either temporarily or permanently. At one-point economic forecasters worried that the US GDP could drop nearly 40% in the second quarter, and international financial groups predicted anywhere from a Great Recession to a Great Depression level of crisis. Across the globe, 81% of workers “have had their workplace fully or partly closed.”
Such events led many to wonder about the effects which this pandemic will have upon the civil liberties in America. Some have cheered the expansion of government, exclaiming that “there are no libertarians in an epidemic,” and that Americans “need efficient, talented, thriving bureaucracies.” Others warn that “big government has hurt our ability to deal with this crisis.” Lawmakers have seen the pandemic as an opportunity to push their policies and agendas, while media outlets hope that Americans “will not only come to rely on the policies, but begin to see them as a right.”
These varying predictions, imaginations, and hopes all lead towards the underlying questions—what will America look like after this is all over? Will our political institutions even be recognizable? Can free markets survive? Will the Constitution lay shredded on the floor? Will there even be an America? What will become of this “last best hope of earth”?
While only time will truly answer these questions, history provides us a way to anticipate what could happen and what Americans need to be on guard against. The Bible explains that, “there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9). History hold answers to the problems of the present. So let us, “remember the days of old; consider the years of many generations; ask your father, and he will show you, your elders, and they will tell you” (Deuteronomy 32:7).
It might come as a surprise, but this is not the first time America has been through such a pandemic. For all the talk of quarantines, closures, and shutdowns being unprecedented there is a remarkable amount of precedent. Perhaps the situation which most parallels our current situation is the deadly Spanish Flu outbreak of 1918-1919. Quickly spreading, deadly, and confounding to the science of the time, the Spanish Flue eventually claimed 675,000 lives in America alone, and upwards of 50 million globally.
In response to the seriousness of this new strain of flu the local and state governments across the country enacted many different guidelines and regulations to slow the spread. For example, Wisconsin approached the situation with, “one of the most comprehensive anti-influenza programs in the nation.” By October of 1918 the state ordered the closure of all public institutions such as schools in accordance with the suggestion of the U.S. Surgeon General. Going on to then command localities, “to immediately close all schools, theaters, moving picture houses, other places of amusement and public gatherings for an indefinite period of time.” This included churches as well. When one city refused to immediately comply the state officials threatened to “quarantine the entire town.” When the hospitals ran out of beds for patients, emergency facilities were opened and large numbers of charities and volunteers filled in as nurses and sources of financial aid.
From a city perspective, San Diego instituted many similar restrictions. Once confirmed cases appeared, the local government “closed all public amusements and facilities indefinitely.” San Diego then authorized the police to enforce the shutdown of, “theaters, motion picture houses, churches, dance halls, swimming pools, gymnasiums, schools, bath houses, auction sales, billiard and pool halls, libraries, women’s weekly club meetings, and outdoor meetings.” Masks were to be worn and instructions were issued so that people could make them at home. When cases began to decline the regulations were loosened, but thereafter another wave arrived and the health board demanded more closures.
This time, however, businesses and citizens fought back, frustrated that after five weeks of being closed by the government they were once again to shut down. Eventually, the statewide California Board of Health forcibly ordered, “a quarantine of theaters, churches, schools, and other public places and gatherings.” In this second wave of government-mandated closures the order “only exempted businesses providing essential services.” Schools did not reopen until the following year.
Elsewhere, other places followed suit. San Antonio closed “all public gathering places, including schools, churches, and theaters,” telling stores not to hold sales and even banning jury trials and public funerals. Citizens were instructed to, “avoid contact with other people as far as possible.…keep your hands clean and keep them out of your mouth.” In Las Vegas they bemoaned that, “nobody knows how long it will last, but until further notice the churches, schools, clubs, and other places of public gathering will be closed.”
Likewise in Seattle they closed “places of amusement” in addition to “schools, churches, theaters, pool halls, and card rooms.” Seattle is also noted for inventing and administering their own vaccine and commanding people to wear masks with police enforcement. In total:
“The flu caused a six-week closure of churches, theaters, many places of business, and the University of Washington. It threatened to cripple wartime industry at a time of national emergency. It disrupted transportation and communication and taxed a medical community already depleted by conditions of war. It squelched campaign debate before the 1918 elections.…the second wave of flu further destabilized an already shaken society. The beginnings of the disillusionment that characterized the immediate postwar period might well be found in the flu epidemic and its aftermath.”
Economically, the ramifications of the closures were dramatic and damaging. In Little Rock, Arkansas, business reported that there was a 40% to 70% decrease in business, and on average those establishments suffered about $10,000 of actual loss per day during the pandemic (over $170,000 in 2020 dollars). In Memphis and the across of Tennessee, mines and industrial plants struggled to maintain their workforce and even the telephone companies had to begin censoring “unnecessary” calls due to the loss of capacity. Overall, “many businesses, especially those in the service and entertainment industries, suffered double-digit losses in revenue.”
Clearly the Spanish flu had drastic effects upon the nation throughout its duration. From the churches, to the economy, to the election, nothing seemed to be left uninfected by the disease which had covered the country. Literally tucked in between death notices of people dying it was noted during the 1918 midterms that the, “election day passed off quietly here.”
After all of this the Presidential Election of 1920 soon began to loom over the horizons. The political effects of the Spanish Flu continued to be felt all the way up to the presidential election of 1920 when, after a global war, deadly pandemic coupled with strict government regulations, and an increasing level of American commitment overseas, Americans seemed ready for a different direction.
On top of that, during the months leading up to the election a massive economic recession came on the back of the Armistice and the lingering worries for the Spanish Flu. The then Vice-Presidential candidate Calvin Coolidge recalled later that:
“The country was already feeling acutely the results of deflation. Business was depressed. For months following the Armistice we had persisted in a course of much extravagance and reckless buying. Wages had been paid that were not earned. The whole country, from the national government down, had been living on borrowed money. Pay day had come, and it was found our capital had been much impaired.”
In response to war, globalism, pandemics, and an increasingly regulatory policy, the nation overwhelmingly elected Republicans Warren G. Harding and his Vice President Calvin Coolidge to the White House. The Harding/Coolidge ticket won by a margin of 277 electoral votes in addition to 26% of the popular vote, clearly indicating a rejection of the progressivism which had been championed by Woodrow Wilson and his party for so long.
In response to the recession Harding, “cut the government’s budget nearly in half between 1920 and 1922,” instituted tax cuts across the board, and saw the national debt, “reduced by one-third.” When Harding died in office, Coolidge continued in that direction ensuring the booming economy of the 1920s.
When the chains were removed from the nation the economy recovered to such a degree that the effects of the Spanish Flu were largely forgotten in the following years. But it could have been much different. In 1920 the democratic ticket consisted of Ohio Governor James Cox for President, and upstart politician Franklin Delano Roosevelt for Vice President. Roosevelt’s predisposition towards widespread and overwhelming government action and involvement would become obvious during the 1930s and the New Deal legislation.
But James Cox’s views were not dissimilar to his more successful running mate. Even those in his own party recognized that Cox “thrives on campaigns” and offered no rebuttal to his acknowledged tendency of “being dictatorial.” Indeed, even businessmen who supported Cox knew that his policies would be, “hostile to all our financial interests,” begrudgingly confessing that, “my financial interests must not and will not taint my political views.” In short, Cox argued for the continuation of Wilson’s expansion of progressive government policies.
Warren, on the other hand, ran on the platform of returning back to the basic foundations of Americanism. He explained that for all the government efforts and interventions:
“Normal thinking will help more. And normal living will have the effect of a magician’s want, paradoxical as the statement seems. The world does deeply need to get normal.…Certain fundamentals are unchangeable and everlasting.”
Harding went on to observe that those who expanded the government during times of crisis, whether it be because of war or disease, are typically reluctant to return those powers back to the people:
“We have a right to assume the automatic resumption of the normal state, but power is seldom surrendered with the same willingness with which it is granted in the hour of emergency. But I think the conscience and conviction of the republic will demand the restored inheritances of the founding fathers.”
In this Harding was soon proved to be correct—the American people did demand the return of their liberties and constitutional government. His election, followed by Coolidge’s leadership, steered America away from a growing government. However, such a direction did not last as the economic policies of Hoover allowed for the rise of Franklin Roosevelt who instituted the kind of sweeping action which Wilson and Cox only dreamed of.
As Americans today treads cautiously through a political landscape dominated by the threat of coronavirus, they would do well to remember the lessons of the Spanish Flu and the election of 1920. Similarly, in 1779, Thomas Jefferson, along with fellow signer of the Declaration George Wythe, explained that:
“Experience hath shown, that even under the best forms [of government] those entrusted with power have in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny; and it is believed the most effectual means of preventing this would be to illuminate, as far as practicable, the minds of the people at large, and more especially thereby of the experience of other ages and countries, they may be enabled to know ambition under all its shapes, and prompt to exert their natural powers to defeat its purposes.”
The best way to defend America and the liberties we inherited is to learn from the past, and, “stand firm therefore, having girded their waist with the truth” (Ephesians 6:14). Otherwise, through measures sometimes imperceptible, conducted often during times of great duress, those freedoms which we ought to hold dear will be buried until a time when a new generation of patriots will rise up to retake them.
However, the American people on a whole have been vigilant throughout the centuries, and, if the election of 1920 is any indication, we have good reason to hope that they will continue to be so. Let us all learn from the lessons of history, and fight the good fight, strongly finish the race, and keep always the faith.
 Kevin Daley, “California’s Stay-at-Home Order Raises Constitutional Questions,” The Washington Free Beacon (March 20, 2020), here.
 Gordan Chang, “Coronavirus Is Killing China’s Factories (And Creating Economic Chaos),” The National Interest (February 24, 2020), here; Keith Bradsher and Liz Alderman, “The World Needs Masks. China Makes Them, but Has Been Hoarding Them,” The New York Times (April 2, 2020), here.
 Jeffry Bartash, “Jobless Claims Soar 6.6. Million in Early April as Coronavirus Devastates U.S. Labor Market,” MarketWatch (April 9, 2020), here.
 U.S. Chamber Staff, “Quick Take: Coronavirus’ Economic Impact,” U.S. Chamber of Commerce (March 16, 2020), here.
 Eric Martin, “Coronavirus Economic Impact ‘Will be Severe,’ at Least as Bad as Great Recession, says IMF,” Fortune (March 23, 2020), here; “Coronavirus: Worst Economic Crisis Since 1930s Depression, IMF Says,” BBC News (April 9, 2020), here.
 “Coronavirus: Four Out of Five People’s Jobs Hit by Pandemic,” BBC News (April 7, 2020), here.
 Peter Ncholas, “There Are No Libertarians in an Epidemic,” The Atlantic (March 10, 2020), here.
 Nolan Smith, “Coronavirus Might Make Americans Miss Big Government,” Bloomberg Opinion (March 4, 2020), here.
 Michael Tanner, “Big Government Has Hurt Our Ability to Deal with This Crisis,” The National Review (March 18, 2020), here.
 Abdallah Fayyad, “The Pandemic Could Change How Americans View Government,” The Atlantic (March 19, 2020), here.
 Abraham Lincoln, Message of the President of the United States to the Two Houses of Congress at the Commencement of the Third Session of the Thirty-Seventh Congress (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1862), 23, here.
 “1918 Pandemic (H1N1 Virus),” Center for Disease Control and Prevention (March 20, 2019), here.
 Steven Burg. “Wisconsin and the Great Spanish Flu Epidemic of 1918.” The Wisconsin Magazine of History 84, no. 1 (2000): 44.
 Steven Burg. “Wisconsin and the Great Spanish Flu Epidemic of 1918.” The Wisconsin Magazine of History 84, no. 1 (2000): 45.
 Steven Burg. “Wisconsin and the Great Spanish Flu Epidemic of 1918.” The Wisconsin Magazine of History 84, no. 1 (2000): 46.
 Steven Burg. “Wisconsin and the Great Spanish Flu Epidemic of 1918.” The Wisconsin Magazine of History 84, no. 1 (2000): 48-49.
 Richard H. Peterson, “The Spanish Influenza Epidemic in San Diego, 1918-1919,” Southern California Quarterly 71, no. 1 (1989): 92.
 Richard H. Peterson, “The Spanish Influenza Epidemic in San Diego, 1918-1919,” Southern California Quarterly 71, no. 1 (1989): 92.
 Richard H. Peterson, “The Spanish Influenza Epidemic in San Diego, 1918-1919,” Southern California Quarterly 71, no. 1 (1989): 96.
 Richard H. Peterson, “The Spanish Influenza Epidemic in San Diego, 1918-1919,” Southern California Quarterly 71, no. 1 (1989): 96.
 Richard H. Peterson, “The Spanish Influenza Epidemic in San Diego, 1918-1919,” Southern California Quarterly 71, no. 1 (1989): 97.
 Ana Luisa Martinez-Catsam, “Desolate Streets: The Spanish Influenza in San Antonio,” The Southwestern Historical Quarterly 116, no. 3 (2013): 297.
 Ana Luisa Martinez-Catsam, “Desolate Streets: The Spanish Influenza in San Antonio,” The Southwestern Historical Quarterly 116, no. 3 (2013): 297.
This is a part of our Alumni Series of articles written by past participants of the WallBuilders/Mercury One Leadership Training Program. Click here to learn more about LTP.
By Noah DeGarmo – Class of 2019
Manning Johnson, a black man born in 1908, joined the Communist Party USA in 1930, where he served as a national organizer for the Trade Unity League.[i] From 1931 to 1932, he served as the District Agitation Propaganda Director for Buffalo, NY, and was district organizer for Buffalo from 1932 to 1934. In 1935, Johnson ran as the Communist Party’s Candidate for New York’s 22nd Congressional District for the U.S. House of Representatives. From 1936 to 1939, he served on the Party’s National Committee, National Trade Union Commission, and Negro Commission. Despite his notable status, Johnson left the Communist Party in 1939.[ii]
Johnson explained that some of the biggest factors to his departure included his original religiosity, the Party’s promotion of “Soviet Negro Republic” in the “Black Belt” of the United States, the insincerity of the Party in saving the Scottsboro Boys, and finally, the Hitler-Stalin Pact of 1939.[iii] Additionally, Johnson saw that the Communists were using black Americans as pawns in their hope that a “bloody racial conflict would split America.”[iv]
After leaving the Party, Johnson became a government informant and witness, testifying in 18-20 cases by his own estimation.[v] In 1958, he published Color, Communism, and Common Sense detailing the Communist Party’s tactics for infiltrating the African-American community and inciting racial division in the United States, paving the way for a Communist takeover in America. Shortly after publishing the book, Johnson died in an automobile accident on June 26, 1959.[vi] The information he provides in this book is eerily similar to and has much to say about the state of America in 2020.
Johnson shares that the goal of Communist agents in the early 20th century was to cripple the black community in America and incite racial division. This division would consequently weaken the nation as a whole and provide the opportunity for Communists to gain power.
He writes that white Communists infiltrated black communities by presenting themselves as allies of the black cause. They preached that black Americans were oppressed and offered liberation as a guise for their Communist agenda:
White leftists descended on Negro communities like locusts, posing as “friends” come to help “liberate” their black brothers. Along with these white communist missionaries came the Negro political Uncle Toms to allay the Negro’s distrust and fears of these strangers. Everything was interracial, an inter-racialism artificially created, cleverly devised as a camouflage of the red plot to use the Negro.[vii]
Despite how they portrayed themselves, the Communists never did anything to advance the well-being of the black population. However, they gained power and money by parroting and hiding behind the cause of civil rights. The Communists placed all the responsibility for the condition of the African-American community on the white man. Johnson noted that this victimhood mindset strips black individuals of agency, discouraging initiative and responsibility.
The placing of the repository of everything, right and just, among the darker races is a dastardly Communist trick to use race as a means of grabbing and enslaving the whole of humanity.
Moscow’s Negro tools in the incitement of racial warfare place all the ills of the Negro at the door of the white leaders of America. Capitalism and imperialism are made symbols of oppressive white rule in keeping with instructions from the Kremlin.
To one familiar with red trickery, it is obvious that placing the blame for all the Negroes’ ills at the door of the white leaders in America is to remove all responsibility from the Negro. This tends to make the Negro:
feel sorry for himself;
blame others for his failures;
ignore the countless opportunities around him;
jealous of the progress of other racial and national groups;
expect the white man to do everything for him;
look for easy and quick solutions as a substitute for the harsh realities of competitive struggle to get ahead.
The result is a persecution complex — a warped belief that the white man’s prejudices, the white man’s system, the white man’s government is responsible for everything. Such a belief is the way the reds plan it, for the next logical step is hate that can be used by the reds to accomplish their ends.[viii]
Despite all the promises, plans, and “solutions,” Johnson understood that the Communists were only fanning the flames of racial tension in order to raise money which they poured into promoting more tension instead of using it to benefit black communities:
The fact that the reds have never contributed anything tangible to the progress of the Negro is overlooked though the reds have collected millions of dollars as a result of race incitement. Like the Communist Party, the N.A.A.C.P. has collected millions of dollars through exploitation of race issues. The bigger the race issue, the bigger the appeal and the bigger the contributions.[ix]
Yet one cannot find any report of any of this money being spent for factories and shops to provide jobs, land and home construction, specialized training for talented youth, hospitals, convalescent homes, classes in sanitation and personal hygiene, care and upkeep of property, combatting crime and juvenile delinquency, centers to aid Negro youth in preparing to meet stiff employment competition in science and industry.
It is then no accident that the N.A.A.C.P. is dubbed “The National Association for the Agitation of Colored People.” The record speaks for itself. Millions for agitation; not one cent for those things that win the respect and acclaim of other races and national groups.[x]
Johnson’s words from 1958 seemingly prophesy the events of 2020. Modern leftists of both races have artificially enflamed and exploited racial division for profit. Former NFL player Colin Kaepernick gained fame by kneeling during the national anthem in protest of police brutality, and has made millions off of this fame, securing an exclusive advertising deal with Nike and a recently-signed partnership with Disney. Additionally, organizations like Black Lives Matter collect millions in donations while doing nothing to practically advance black communities.
Johnson also writes that politicians would exploit racial division for votes, a practice continued by Democrats today.
Many white Northern politicians objectively aid the rapidly deteriorating racial situation through the exploitation of leftist propaganda to garner Negro votes. They care not a tinker’s dam about the Southern Negro and simply flatter the Northern Negro whom they consider a gullible fool. Getting elected and re-elected is their only concern.[xi]
The Democrat Party has maintained power in black communities for decades, while those communities continue to suffer from poor economies and high crime rates. Democrats claim to fight for black people, while doing nothing for their well-being.
Because the Communists were not truly on the side of the black community, they had to squash any voices who called them out on their hypocrisy. Any whites who opposed the communist agenda were accused of white supremacy, while black opponents were labeled Uncle Toms. Johnson, in a long but invaluable section of his book, reveals that this is not a new practice:
At the root of all the present racial trouble is interference in the internal affairs of Southern States by people not at all interested in an amicable settlement of any problems arising between Negro and white Americans.
This interference comes from organizations and individuals in the North seeking to use the Negro. Among them are found Communists, crypto-communists, fuzzy-headed liberals, eggheads, pacifists, idealists, civil disobedience advocates, socialists, do-gooders, conniving politicians, self-seekers, muddle-headed humanitarians, addle-brained intellectuals, crackpots and plain meddlers. Like “missionaries,” they descend on the South ostensibly to change or to benefit the Negro.
In fact and in implication, all of them seek to by-pass the responsible white and Negro leaders in the South to effect a solution. They employ a pattern of setting up provocative situations which inflame and agitate the white populace and then using it as propaganda here and abroad against the South in particular and all of America in general.
White Southerners who oppose these “missionaries” are pounced upon and labeled “race baiters”, “reactionaries”, “Ku Kluxers”, “white supremacists”, “persons outside the law” and so forth. Negro Southerners who oppose these “missionaries” are also attacked and labeled “Uncle Toms”, “traitors of the race”, “handkerchief heads”, “white folks niggers” and so forth.
Obviously such name calling is a deliberate attempt on the part of these “missionaries” to scuttle all the progress made by the Negro since slavery by creating an atmosphere of distrust, fear, and hate. Like a witch stirring her brew the “missionaries” stir up all the sectional and racial bitterness that arose in the wake of the Civil War and Reconstruction. They open old wounds. They thumb the pages of closed chapters. They rake over the dying embers of old grudges, old grievances, old fears and old hates, that time has been gradually consigning to history in the onward sweep of a young, lusty, healthy and growing nation.
Labeling opponents is a specialty of the reds. Smear is a cardinal technique. Any label found in the red stockpile, you may be sure, is carefully made and selected to draw the maximum hate to the person or persons, the group or the organization to which it is attached.
The use of such labels has a tendency to divide America. Nothing, in my opinion, would please the aforementioned weird assortment of “missionaries” more than a divided America unless it is a Soviet America. They are forever predicting it at the same time working tirelessly to bring it about.[xii]
Modern leftists still employ this tactic today. The Republican Party has been smeared as the party of racism, as the media constantly accuses conservatives, particularly President Trump, of white supremacy. Additionally, black conservatives are frequently labeled “coons” and “Uncle Toms.” In fact, conservative author and commentator Larry Elder, recently produced a documentary titled Uncle Tom exploring this exact phenomenon. Black conservatives in the public eye like Elder, Candace Owens, Jesse Lee Peterson, Ben Carson, and even Kanye West are often smeared as Uncle Toms by their leftist opposition.
Johnson goes on to share how the communists would highlight racial division and emphasize incidents of racist violence while downplaying racial progress to cultivate a victimhood mentality among blacks in America.
Moreover, while they talk about “racial strife” in America as providing grist for Moscow’s propaganda mill they are busy creating it. They are careful to hide the fact that they are responsible for the provocations of extremists as was the case in Little Rock.
In all red propaganda, here and abroad, such acts of extremists are made the symbol of the treatment of the Negro in America. It also is the red smear pot in which all opponents of a forthwith solution of the race problem are tossed. The fact is that the majority of white Southerners are opposed to extremists. All-white Southern juries have convicted some of them as troublemakers and white Southern judges have sentenced some of them to long prison terms. This is deliberately ignored or played down by the leftists.[xiii]
These facts, too, are ignored or played down by the leftist “missionaries” and irresponsible crusaders. In political warfare, it seems, a cardinal principle to credit your enemy with only that which will hasten the build-up for his destruction.
The media of public information is far from free of communists and fellow travelers who operate under the guise of liberalism. They are ready at all times to do an effective smear job. Among these red tools may be found editorial writers, columnists, news commentators and analysts, in the press, radio and television. They go overboard in giving top news coverage to racial incidents, fomented by the leftists, and also those incidents that are interpreted so as to show “biased” attitudes of whites against Negroes. This is a propaganda hoax aimed, not at helping the Negro, but at casting America in a bad light in order to destroy its prestige and influence abroad, thereby aiding Soviet Russia in the penetration and conquest of Asia and Africa.
Thus all racial progress based upon understanding, goodwill, friendship and mutual cooperation, built up painfully over the years, is wiped out. White Americans are set against Negro Americans and vice versa. The stage is thus set for the opening of a dark and bloody era in Negro and white relations. Many white Northern politicians objectively aid the rapidly deteriorating racial situation through the exploitation of leftist propaganda to garner Negro votes. They care not a tinker’s dam about the Southern Negro and simply flatter the Northern Negro whom they consider a gullible fool. Getting elected and re-elected is their only concern.[xiv]
Modern leftists likewise seek to define the African-American experience exclusively by horrible, yet rare, incidents of violence against blacks at the hands of whites, specifically white cops. Following the tragic murders of Ahmaud Arbery and George Flloyd, many prominent Democratic politicians and celebrities wasted no time in painting the picture that these murders reflect the treatment of blacks across America.
Additional statements include:
Watching his life be taken in the same manner, echoing nearly the same words as Eric Garner more than five years ago — ‘I can’t breathe’ — is a tragic reminder that this was not an isolated incident, but part of an ingrained systemic cycle that exists in this country.[xv]—Joe Biden
Being black in America should not be a death sentence. For five minutes, we watched a white officer press his knee into a black man’s neck. Five minutes. When you hear someone calling for help, you’re supposed to help. This officer failed in the most basic, human sense.—Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey
This does not necessarily mean that LeBron James is a communist. In fact, Manning Johnson reveals that Communists would manipulate progressives and liberals to spread their propaganda.
Significantly… there is only one highly organized, trained and disciplined force, and that is the Communists. So they are able to use, manipulate and combine this weird assortment of leftist “missionaries” in one way or another to bring about “a social upheaval which will plow up Southern institutions to their roots.”[xvi]
An essential tenet of the Communist strategy was the destruction of black businesses. Black communities could not have strong, independent, economies because that would undermine the communist argument that they were oppressed by the white man. According to Johnson, they schemed to ensure that black people were dependent on white businesses and on the U.S. government. If the black community was thriving, they wouldn’t be susceptible to the communist victimhood propaganda. As discussed earlier, the communists fostered “a persecution complex — a warped belief that the white man’s prejudices, the white man’s system, the white man’s government is responsible for everything.”[xvii] Independent, black-owned businesses were detrimental to this complex. Johnson writes:
The Negro business man has always been a chief target of the reds. They despise him because of his conservatism. They label him “a tool of the white imperialists” and an “enemy of the Negro masses.” Such labels are reserved for those the reds plan to liquidate and since the Negro business man is an inspiration and example to other Negroes to take advantage of the countless opportunities of the free enterprise system, he is therefore an object of derision by Communists. An enthusiastic response of the Negro to the appeal and opportunities for Negro business is a cardinal bulwark against Communism. Consequently, the reds seek to discredit, discourage and liquidate Negro business.
Only during the period of the Popular Front did the reds cease their attack on Negro business in order to link the Negro banker, broker, realtor, business man, merchant, lawyer, physician, preacher, worker and farmer with Bolshevism under the guise of a National Negro Congress.
Basically, the reds’ policy is now, and always has been, anti-Negro business. The fact that Negro business is sustained in the main by Negro patronage, that it exists almost entirely in the Negro community, makes it vulnerable to attack by the reds. They term it a product of “segregation,” “social isolation,” “the ghetto,” etc. And, too, the reds use the example of sharp competition between small and big business to discourage Negro entry into the general arena.[xviii]
While there were many peaceful protests following the murder of George Floyd, there were also violent riots in nearly every major city across America. Businesses were looted and communities were destroyed. The leftist message, parroted by the media, was that only large, insured corporations like Target were subject to looting. This is false. The brunt of the physical and financial destruction caused by these riots was borne by the Communists’ greatest enemy: black-owned small businesses.
Violent, racial conflict was the goal of the Communists — to divide America, weaken it, and make it ripe for Communist takeover.
Black rebellion was what Moscow wanted. Bloody racial conflict would split America. During the confusion, demoralization and panic would set in. Then finally, the reds say: “Workers stop work, many of them seize arms by attacking arsenals. Many had armed themselves before . . . Street fights become frequent. Under the leadership of the Communist Party the workers organize Revolutionary Committees to be in command of the uprising. Armed workers . . . seize the principal government offices, invade the residences of the President and his Cabinet members, arrest them, declare the old regime abolished, establish their own power. . .”[xix]
While it may seem conspiratorial, we should not underestimate the influence of Communists and Marxists in America today. Socialism is now viewed as favorable by millennials and Generation Z,[xx] with popular Democrat politicians like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders openly advocating for it. Marxism has spread through universities and left-wing activism, and one of the founders of Black Lives Matter has openly said, “We are trained Marxists.”
We should acknowledge the information shared by Manning Johnson and recognize that Communism is still a threat to American liberty, and it is a threat that we must take seriously and address accordingly.
Too few Americans in our day have the courage of their convictions. Too few will fly in the face of leftist opposition. Too few will stand up for truth in the face of the ominous and destructive storm of “me-tooism” or the communist ideological regimentation that hangs like a pall over our country. Many take the attitude that it is better to be safe than sorry or conclude, after a little difficulty or several reverses, that “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.” The words God, country and posterity have lost much of their substance and are becoming only a shadow in the hearts and minds of many Americans.[xxi]
Johnson’s entire book, which I encourage everyone to read, can be freely viewed at manningjohnson.org.
Disclaimer: The viewpoints expressed by the authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions of WallBuilders.
[iv] Manning Johnson, Color, Communism, and Common Sense (Belmont: American Opinion Reprints, 1963), 18.
[v] County Clerk’s Index. 1951. pp. 1180-1363 (all testimony), 1180 (birth), 1183-1184 (CPUSA service), 1294-1295 (witness against Gerhart Eisler), 1295 (18-20 cases).
[vi] National Cemetery Administration. U.S. Veterans’ Gravesites, ca.1775-2006 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006. Ancestry, Inc.
[vii] Manning Johnson, Color, Communism, and Common Sense (Belmont: American Opinion Reprints, 1963), 22.
[viii] Manning Johnson, Color, Communism, and Common Sense (Belmont: American Opinion Reprints, 1963), 43-44.
[ix] Manning Johnson, Color, Communism, and Common Sense (Belmont: American Opinion Reprints, 1963), 43-44.
[x] Manning Johnson, Color, Communism, and Common Sense (Belmont: American Opinion Reprints, 1963), 44-45.
[xi] Manning Johnson, Color, Communism, and Common Sense (Belmont: American Opinion Reprints, 1963), 54.
[xii] Manning Johnson, Color, Communism, and Common Sense (Belmont: American Opinion Reprints, 1963), 51-52.
[xiii] Manning Johnson, Color, Communism, and Common Sense (Belmont: American Opinion Reprints, 1963), 52-33.
[xiv] Manning Johnson, Color, Communism, and Common Sense (Belmont: American Opinion Reprints, 1963), 53-54.
[xv] Sullivan, Sean. Biden calls for federal civil rights investigation into death of George Floyd, April 27, 2020. https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/biden-calls-for-federal-civil-rights-investigation-into-death-of-george-floyd/ar-BB14G39Q?sf17491758=1.
[xvi] Manning Johnson, Color, Communism, and Common Sense (Belmont: American Opinion Reprints, 1963), 55.
[xvii] Manning Johnson, Color, Communism, and Common Sense (Belmont: American Opinion Reprints, 1963), 43-44.
[xviii] Manning Johnson, Color, Communism, and Common Sense (Belmont: American Opinion Reprints, 1963), 58.
[xix] Manning Johnson, Color, Communism, and Common Sense (Belmont: American Opinion Reprints, 1963), 18.
Recently in the mainstream media the words “Nazi” and “Hitler” are perhaps two of the most commonly used words employed by pundits and even politicians. Those on the Left go so far as to claim that the current President parallels to Hitler,[i] with some public schools even teaching it in classrooms.[ii] Members of the Right retort that the rapidly growing socialist elements within the leftist parties are more deserving of the association because “Nazi” is simply an abbreviation of its full name—Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, or, National Socialist German Workers’ Party.[iii]
With the centrality of the debate and the frequency of its usage, it is no surprise then that the political arguments have led directly into historical debates about Nazism. Thus, the most recent development in this match of political badminton has materialized in a slew of articles from left-leaning authors denying any connection between the National Socialism of Germany during Hitler’s regime and the socialism on the rise today in the American Left.[iv]
The claim that National Socialists were not true Socialist is not entirely new, with Western Marxist and socialist economists and historians distancing themselves from Nazism by claiming that Hitler and his followers were actually capitalists.[v] The historical facts of the Nazi regime, however, leave little room for doubt, the National Socialist party truly was ideologically socialist in name and in deed.
In order to competently answer this question definitions for both socialism and capitalism must be adopted. The generally accepted fundamental distinction between a capitalistic and a socialistic economic system rests upon the ownership of the means of production. In free markets the private ownership of capital is safeguarded as an intrinsic right which the government is bound to protect. For example, in the American tradition considers protections for private property paramount, with Thomas Jefferson explaining that:
“A wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.”[vi]
On the other hand, the general sentiments of socialist theorists suggest that the private ownership of the means of production leads only to the richer propertied classes oppressing the poorer non-propertied parts of the population. Thus, the hypothetical hallmark of a pure socialist society is one in which there is no real private ownership of the means of production, only public or state ownership.[vii] Simply put, socialism is the destruction of private property rights.
Although there are endless varieties when it comes to methods, ends, and styles of each capitalism and socialism, for the purposes of this investigation the basic understood definitions will provide a sufficient evaluative baseline. In short, the crux of whether or not the German National Socialists can be rightly considered as true socialists comes down to the status of private property during the Nazi regime. If the rights of private ownership were protected, then Nazism ought to be viewed as a form of capitalism. If, however, the Nazis dramatically infringed upon property rights to the extent that they failed to meaningfully exists, then their self-appointed moniker is rightly applied.
To discover how the Nazis approached the matter of private property Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf naturally reveals the early rational which would soon materialize once he gained power in 1933. The significance of Mein Kampf is seemingly often overlooked today with some writers drawing conclusions which even a quick perusal of the text directly refutes,[viii] but Hitler’s manifesto certainly captured much of what it meant to be a National Socialist. So much so, that the German Ministry of Culture later instructed that:
“Boys and girls in their teens must acquire a proper insight in order to understand this new Bible of the People. They must become acquainted and familiar with the lines of policy traced therein by the master’s hand. The grown-ups must, by reading this book, purify and strengthen their civic consciousness.”[ix]
Whatever the effect it had on German readers, one quickly learns two key facts concerning Hitler’s economic thought throughout Mein Kampf. First, that Hitler viewed Marxism as a Jewish scheme to destroy nations for their own capitalistic ends.[x] He explains that:
“I resumed the process of learning, and so came to realize for the first time what it was that the life work of the Jew Karl Marx was directed toward. Now I really began to comprehend his Capital, as well as the struggle of Social Democracy against the national economy.”[xi]
Hitler continued later in Mein Kampf to declare Marxism nothing more than “the pure essence of the Jew’s attempts” to achieve the “destructive purposes of the international world Jew.”[xii] For National Socialism to successfully come to power, Hitler believed that they must be extremely wary of being “eaten away by the poison of Marxism,” because the two ideologies, are on the face, so similar.[xiii] In fact, the future Führer
“What must fundamentally distinguish the populist world-concept [Nazi worldview] from the Marxist one is the fact that it recognizes not only the value of race, but the importance of the personality, and thus makes these the pillars of its whole structure…If the National Socialist movement were not to understand the fundamental significance of this basic realization, and instead were superficially to patch up the present State, or actually to regard the mass standpoint as its own [i.e. Democratic Socialism, which was a major party in Germany at the time], it would really be only a party competing with Marxism.”[xiv]
Thus, from Hitler’s perspective, Marxism differed from Nazism because the Nazis would not let the “international Jew” use them for capitalist ends, nor would they let any element of democracy remain. In fact, democratic elements were so repugnant to the National Socialist theory that the:
“State must release all leadership, but particularly the highest—that is the political—leadership, from its parliamentary principle of the majority (i.e. mass) rule.… Of course every man has counsellors to assist him, but one man makes the decision.”[xv]
This explains Nazism’s repression of Marxists throughout the regime—a fact sometimes offered as proof of National Socialism’s underlying capitalism. But Hitler and his followers rejected Marxism on the belief that it was a clandestine method for achieving capitalism, believing that the class warfare was merely a pretense, “meant solely to prepare the ground for the rule of truly international finance capital.”[xvi]
Thus, the problem with Marxism for the Nazis was its Jewish connections and Hitler’s belief in an undercover capitalism inherent in the methodology suggested for reaching socialism, not anything pertaining to economic socialism itself. Therefore, the professed goal of a Marxist revolution—that being socialism—was still a valid and desirable end, but the method for attainment would be that of German Nationalism.
In fact, Hitler routinely showed his frustration for those whose, “brains have not grasped the difference between Socialism and Marxism even yet.”[xvii] Significantly, the more astute and principled of German businessmen resisted Nazism on the grounds that it was a modification of Marxism sharing the same goal but substituting the class struggle with race.[xviii]
The second revelation about Hitler’s economic development is that after his interaction with soon-to-be Nazi economist Gottfried Feder, Hitler’s whole view towards capitalism and wider economics changed.[xix] Feder became one of the earliest members of the National Socialist party and his economic policy had enormous influence early on.
Hitler explains that even though he was, “attentive as I had always been to economic problems,” his knowledge was relegated to social experience with little theoretical development.[xx] But upon listening to Feder’s lectures, “the idea instantly flashed through my head that I had now found my way to one of the prime essentials of the foundation of a new party.”[xxi] These ideas led directly to the formal creation of the Nazi Party.
The influence of Feder on Hitler extended well beyond the pages of Mein Kamp. It is notably present when Hitler announced the Twenty-Five Points on February 24, 1920, which constituted the political
platform of the National Socialist party (at this point they were still the German Workers’ party, but changed the name later that year). Along with the typical and expected aspects of pre-war Nazism (such as abrogation of the Treaty of Versailles, the restoration of the colonies, and blatant anti-Semitism), there were many plainly socialist aspects reflecting Hitler’s growing commitment to the system.
Points 7 and 10 suggested increased government interference and control of the “industry and livelihood of citizens,” through ensuring everyone “work with his mind or with his body…for the general good.”[xxii] Point 11 demanded the “abolition of incomes unearned by work,” while point 13 called for the “nationalization of all businesses.”[xxiii] Many of the other articles within the platform—such as points 14, 15, 17, and 18—all advocated for distinct increases in government control of finances and close regulation of profits and property.
It was in the principles of the Twenty-Five Points that Hitler declared:
“The National-Socialist German Workers’ Party has a foundation which must be immovable. The task of our movement’s present and coming members must consist not in critically reworking these guiding principles, but in pledging themselves to them.”[xxiv]
But what happened once Hitler and his National Socialist party took power? His socialist intentions to regulate, direct, and nationalize the economic nature of Germany were plain, but upon taking the reins how did the Nazis manage their newfound Reich?
An invaluable source of information concerning the economy of the National Socialist Germany comes from those dissident voices who managed to escape the censors or flee before all contact to the outside world was cut off. One such voice was Emil Lederer, a Jewish professor of economics at the University of Berlin who fled to America after being deposed of his teaching position. In a 1937 article he explained a fundamental law of economic theory, writing that, “inasmuch as reality is never the crystallization of a pure principle, every historical system is more or less a compromise.”[xxv]
Thus, the Nazis were never able to perfect their Twenty-Five Points and create a pure socialist system—much like any other proclaimed socialist state, reality universally underperforms the ideal. In Hitler’s Germany, however, the central economic planners were able to get remarkably far in securing the government supremacy. Lederer concludes that, “this new economic system built up in Germany, taken in its structural character,” was designed so that the entire population was, “organized for purposes fixed by the government.”[xxvi]
Lederer is far from alone in his evaluation. Famous Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises, building off of his famous 1940 work on economics, declared shortly after the war that:
“The doctrines of Nazism are vicious, but they do not essentially disagree with the ideologies of socialism and nationalism as approved by other peoples’ public opinion. What characterized the Nazis was only the consistent application of these ideologies to the special conditions of Germany.”[xxvii]
Later in his writings Mises identifies Nazism as one of the “two patterns for the realization of socialism,” with the other being Russian Bolshevism.[xxviii] The key distinction between the German and Russian varieties, is that National Socialism, despite their intentions, “nominally and seemingly preserves private ownership of the means of production.”[xxix] At this point, some writers positively declare that Nazis were not real socialists and instead sought to preserve a capitalistic system, or at the least they failed to actively purge capitalism from their midst.[xxx]
However, although the term “private property” was preserved, it remained little more than an entry in the dictionaries. At any moment, if the Nazi leadership demanded it, anyone could be deprived of all their assets without warning or recourse. For example, we see the appropriation of the Junkers airplane factory in 1934 and the institution of Hermann Goring Works in 1937 designed specifically to, “encourage compliance with government production plans.”[xxxi]
Similarly, when even some of the most powerful manufacturers failed to meet government demands, “the state simply replaced his organization with one better suited to the National Socialist war effort.”[xxxii] In the end:
“the state therefore could direct the firms’ activities without acquiring direct ownership of enterprises.…They were opposed to capitalism and formal markets.”[xxxiii]
A different German businessman lamented to a confidant that the situation meant the destruction of private industry through a variety of means, saying that:
“You have no idea how far State control goes and how much power the Nazi representatives have over our work.…These Nazi radicals think of nothing except ‘distributing the wealth.’ Some businessmen have even started studying Marxist theories, so that they will have a better understanding of the present economic system.…You cannot imagine how taxation has increased. Yet everyone is afraid to complain about it. The new State loans are nothing but confiscation of private property.”[xxxiv]
In the end, Nazism left no room for private property. If the state has the power, ability, and inclination to confiscate the means of production whenever their wishes are not conformed to there is no real private ownership anymore. A common anecdote within the cowering business class remarked that:
“Under National Socialism you are allowed to keep the cows; but the State takes all the milk, and you have the expense and labor of feeding them.”[xxxv]
This nominalization was even outlined by Nazi economist Othmar Spann who desired a state where private ownership existed only in a, “formal sense, while in fact there will be only public ownership.”[xxxvi]
The effects of the National Socialist system of central planning, government control, and arbitrary powers destroyed whatever vestiges of private financial vivacity remained, with the purposes of making it all the easier for the State to consolidate its grip on every aspect of production. Quality of goods rapidly fell while prices remained steady, and out of what little raw materials which were available most was rapaciously consumed by the military. Thus, as early as, “1936 almost complete control over production could be exerted.”[xxxvii]
Even in military matters, the Nazi system was ill-equipped, and despite outspending England nearly two-to-one in 1940, Germany still produced 50% fewer planes and 100% fewer vehicles.[xxxviii] Additionally, factory laborers often were required to work up to 70 hours per week without a corresponding rise in wages.[xxxix]
Therefore, National Socialism rightfully earns its designation because it generally achieved, or significantly worked toward, the hallmarks of a socialist system. The objection on the grounds of private property has been proven to be merely a mirage, with the arbitrary State being the ultimate decision maker and real owner of the means of production.
To a large extent, perhaps unparalleled anywhere besides the Soviet Union, Hitler realized his vision of autocratic socialism. Thereby confirming his 1925 threat that, “the future lord of the highway is National Socialism,”[xl] which exists solely because, “it has the life of a people to destine and to regulate anew.”[xli] Nazism is clearly inseparable from socialism and ought to be recognized as such.
[i] Gavriel D. Rosenfeld, “An American Führer? Nazi Analogies and the Struggle to Explain Donald Trump,” Central European History Volume 52, Issue 4 (December 2019): 554-587.
[v] Cf. Maxine Sweezy, The Structure of the Nazi Economy (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1941); Richard Evans, The Coming of the Third Reich (New York: Penguin Group, 2003), 173; Ian Kershaw, Hitler: A Biography (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2010), 269-270.
[vi] Thomas Jefferson, “Inaugural Address, March 4, 1801,” The Works of Thomas Jefferson (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1905), 9.197.
[vii] Cf., Ludwig von Mises, Human Action: A Treatise on Economics (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1996), 4.998.
[viii] For a clear example of this see, Kershaw, Hitler, 269-270.
[ix] Quoted in the preface to, Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf (New York: Stackpole Sons Publishers, 1939), 5.
[xxx] Cf. Kershaw, Hitler, 269-270; Granieri, “The Right Needs to Stop Falsely Claiming that the Nazis were Socialists”; Gunter Reimann, The Vampire Economy: Doing Business Under Fascism (New York: Vanguard Press, 1939), 314; John D. Heyl, “Hitler’s Economic Thought: A Reappraisal,” Central European History 6, no. 1 (1973): 92.
[xxxi] Peter Temin, “Soviet and Nazi Economic Planning in the 1930s,” The Economic History Review, New Series, 44, no. 4 (1991): 576-577.
Seventy-six years ago today, on December 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor was treacherously attacked by the Japanese, killing more than 2,000. This date was described by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt as “a date which will live in infamy.” It was the worst naval disaster in American history, and brought declarations of war by Japan, Germany, and Italy against the United States, and by America against them. For four long years following this event, American men and women served and died on the battlefields of Europe and the Pacific.
One story from this day at Pearl Harbor relates to the USS California (a battleship, pictured on the right in the aftermath of the attack). During the attack, it took three direct hits — two torpedoes and one bomb, killing about 100. It caught fire and the remainder of the crew made their way to shore before the ship sank. The California was salvaged, repaired, and returned to service during World War II (pictured on the left is the rebuilt ship).
WallBuilders Collection includes the December 7, 1941 “Orders of the Day” for the USS California for the day of the attack. Since that day was a Sunday, the orders include times and locations for church services for the ship’s crew:
745 — Rig for church (starboard forecastle, weather permitting).
0750 — Send boat to Officers’ Club landing for Chaplain Maguire.
0830 — Chaplain’s Bible discussion class (port side Crew’s Reception Room).
0830 — Confessions (Crew’s library).
0900 — Divine Service (Catholic).
1000 — Divine Service (Protestant)
Obviously the attack, which began around 8 am, interrupted this schedule, preventing these church services from taking place. This document is an incredible glimpse into the normal routine these sailors were expecting for the day — events that never happened.
On Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, we remember the men and women who lost their lives. We also honor our veterans who have faithfully served our nation throughout the generations.
WallBuilders Live (our radio program hosted by Rick Green, David and Tim Barton) has interviewed WWII veterans who were Pearl Harbor survivors. Listen to their stories today.
The USS California (a battleship stationed in the Pacific) was one of the eight battleships sunk at Pearl Harbor. During the attack on December 7, 1941, it took three direct hits — two torpedoes and one bomb, killing over 100 crew. The California caught fire and the remainder of the crew made their way to shore before the ship sank. It was later salvaged, repaired, and returned to service during World War II before being decommissioned in 1947.
Below is the December 7, 1941 “Orders of the Day” for the USS California, from WallBuilders’ Collection. Since that day was a Sunday, the orders include notations for church services for the ship’s crew.
In Poland, the Nazi persecution of the Jews was concentrated at two main centers throughout the Second World War—Warsaw and Lodz. Both of those cities were transformed into large Jewish Ghettos which served as slave labor camps with the express intention of working the Jews to either death or until sent to one of the extermination camps. Although the Warsaw Ghetto was the larger of the two, Ghetto Lodz ran for a longer time, existing from February 1940 until it was liquidated in August 1944.[i]
In Lodz the persecution of the Jews began six month prior to the formation of the ghetto, on November 8, 1939, when the German army occupied the city.[ii] From that point the Nazi government enacted systematic laws for the isolation and repression of the Jews so as to reduce their ability to resist deportation and the eventual extermination.[iii] Another part of the germanization of Lodz involved renaming the city Litzmannstadt, after the German general who had captured the city during the First World War.[iv]
With the order for segregating the Jewish community, 160,320 people were forced by the Germans into a space barely over four square miles. The following year that number was augmented by another 19,722 Jews from other German territories and 17,826 Jews from smaller ghettos in 1941. In addition to these numbers 5,007 Austrian Gypsies were also shipped to Ghetto Lodz, bringing the total number of slaves to nearly 200,000.[v]
One of the factors contributing to the longevity of the ghetto was the fact that the Jews, under the administration of Chaim Mordechaj Rumkowski, produced an enormous amount of goods for Germany.[vi] The primary industry of Lodz before the war was textiles, and as Litzmannstadt this continued to be true.[vii] During Arthur Greiser’s (the governor of the majority of occupied Poland) trial after the war he related that the “the Lodz Ghetto was one of the largest industrial centers in the Reich.”[viii] The rapid growth of its labor institutions revealed the truth of that statement:
The Lodz Ghetto excelled in the organization of its labor and its achievements in production. The production system in the ghetto, set in motion immediately after the ghetto was established, quickly expanded… The first sewing workshop went into operation in May 1940, and by September 1940 there were seventeen resorts including seven sewing factories… in 1942-1943, 95 percent of the adult population in the ghetto was working.[ix]
In order to fuel the rapid expansion of slave industry, Germany ordered Jewish possessions helpful to those ends to be shipped to Lodz from across the Reich. An example of this kind of edict from March 21, 1942, included a provision stating, “Sewing machines and manual machines are to be sent to Lodz (for the occupations by inhabitants of ghettos.)”[x]
The machine pictured is one of those sewing machines used by the Jewish slaves in the Lodz Ghetto. It is a black Clemens-Muller brand treadle head which appears to have been originally branded as a Singer sewing machine. Engraved on the maintenance panel is the Star of David with the word getto within. Surrounding the star is the phrase Tekstil Abteilung Litzmannstadt. Altogether the inscription reads “Textile Division—Ghetto Litzmannstadt.” The Clemens-Muller base is 37 centimeter long and 18.5 centimeters wide. This sewing machine was most likely one of the 7,000 operational by the end of 1942 within the ghetto.[xi]
By August of 1944 the Russian army was steady approaching Poland and, with the success of the D-day invasion, defeat was fast approaching the Germans. This led to the final series of deportations from the Lodz Ghetto resulting in the murder of 67,000 Jews at Auschwitz. This, however, was only the last round of mass exterminations, with another 77,867 having been executed at the Chelmno death camp in the years prior—this includes the 15,681 children under 10 and elderly over 65 who were abducted on September 4, 1942. These numbers, added to the 45,327 people who died due to the inhuman conditions of the ghetto, means that out of the circa 200,000 Jews that were kept there, at least 190,194 of them died—a mortality rate of ~95%.[xii]
Below are pictures of the machine in the collection followed by several photos of the textile industry from the Lodz Ghetto.
The landings which took place on the coast of Normandy on June 6, 1944, remain one of the most notable episodes of bravery throughout military history. Prior to the deployment on the beach, however, 13,000 American troops from the 82nd and 101st Airborne landed in the dark behind enemy lines to secure targets which would prevent a heavy German counter attack.[i]
The commander of the 101st, Major General Maxwell Taylor, realized that in the confusing pre-dawn hours of the attack, troops would need a way to signal to others that they were friendly without giving their position away to the Germans. To solve this problem he turned to a clicker device known as a “cricket,” and issued them for the 101st to use during the mission.[ii] Taylor explained:
It rose out of my experiences earlier in the Mediterranean and from our Eagle exercise in England. There was so much dispersion in Sicily that I realized we needed some method of identification behind enemy lines. Eagle convinced me more than ever. We needed a little noisemaker a man could carry in his hand. The cricket seemed just right.[iii]
In operation, the lower tab made a “click” sound when depressed and another upon release. Thus the call would result in a “click-click” sound. The response, signaling that the recipient was friendly, involved pressing the cricket twice, producing a “click-click, click-click.” General Taylor himself, who jumped with the troops, used the cricket to locate his soldiers among the dark French hedgerows. [iv]
General James Gavin, commander of the the 82nd, decided against using the device and instead used only a vocal password-answer system in which a soldier would call out “Flash” and expect the reply “Thunder.” When asked about his decision to not issue the crickets to his troops, Gavin remarked:
There was a lot of gadgetry around, and a lot of it didn’t make much sense. In Normandy, the 82nd used only an oral password. It’s always more important to carry more ammunition … to stay alive … to fight … to get there. I even cut the fringes off the many maps I carried so there’d be more room for ammunition.[v]
Members from the 82nd did still acquire various styles of clickers to be used, though these were not issued by Gavin. Private Don Lassen who served in the 82nd Airborne’s 505th recalls using one during his drop on D-Day:
When I landed at about 2 am, it was darker than pitch. I was totally alone in a field, and tracers were going all around me. I couldn’t find anyone, so I went to get closer because I wanted to be sure that whoever it was would hear my click. As the sound got closer and closer I finally clicked. Sure enough, the person approaching me, someone from the 101st as it turned out, clicked his cricket and we both were OK.[vi]
Another member of the 82nd was Walter Barbour, who acquired and kept several cricket-style clickers he used during the war. Pictured below is Mr. Barbour during the war and one of those crickets which he carried.
On January 19, 1966, Lyndon Baines Johnson (1908-1973), the 36th president of the United States, held a ceremony at the White House to declare that 1966 would be a “Year of the Bible.” On that occasion he remarked that, “No human accountant can calculate the immense good that your Society has done over the years.”[i] Throughout his life, and especially while he was in office, Johnson repeatedly referred to the Bible in his conversations and speeches. Billy Graham, who was a personal friend to President Johnson, in an interview said of Johnson, “Well he had, as you know, an overwhelming personality. He always liked to have preachers around him.”[ii] Being one of those of those preachers, Graham had personal insight into Johnson’s faith and recalled:
He was very religious. … In fact, a number of times I had prayer with him in his bedroom at the White House, usually early in the morning. He would get out of bed and get on his knees, while I prayed. I never had very many people do that.[iii]
Johnson’s did not, however, confine his faith to private displays alone. In his speeches for various occasions and audiences he quoted the Bible extensively. Here are but a few examples:
To President Zalman Shazar of Israel:
And you know that our Republic, like yours, was nurtured by the philosophy of the ancient Hebrew teachers who taught mankind the principles of morality, of social. justice, and of universal peace.
This is our heritage, and it is yours.
The message inscribed on the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia is the clarion call of Leviticus:
“Proclaim Liberty throughout all the land unto all the Inhabitants thereof.”
It is a message not only for America, or for Israel, but for the whole world.
We cannot proclaim tonight that all men have liberty, that all men are moral, that all men are just. We do not have universal peace.
But those of good will continue their work to liberate the human spirit from the degradation of poverty and pestilence, of hunger and oppression. As spiritual heirs of the Biblical tradition we recognize that no society anywhere can be more secure unless it is also just.[iv]
On lighting the Christmas tree at the White:
For nearly 200 years of our existence as a nation, America has stood for peace in the world. At this Christmas season–when the world commemorates the birth of the Prince of Peace–I want all men, everywhere, to know that the people of this great Nation have but one hope, one ambition toward other peoples: that is to live at peace with them and for them to live at peace with one another.
Since the first Christmas, man has moved slowly but steadily forward toward realizing the promise of peace on earth among men of good will. That movement has been possible because there has been brought into the affairs of man a more generous spirit toward his fellow man.
Let us pray at this season that in all we do as individuals and as a nation, we may be motivated by that spirit of generosity and compassion which Christ taught us so long ago.[v]
On the death of the Archbishop of New York, Cardinal Spellman:
THE LORD has called home a man who served Him and all His children well.
Cardinal Spellman gave his life to God. For half a century, his faith and works were testament to God’s enduring and universal love of men.
The race of man mourns him now, for mankind was his ministry. The grace of his goodness touched all manner of men and nations. He brought to all who opened their hearts to his spirit the miracles on which men must build their earthly hopes–truth and charity, mercy and compassion, trust in God and in the destiny of God’s human family.[vi]
At a fundraising dinner in Detroit:
So the ultimate test of our beloved America is the larger purpose to which we turn our prosperity.
We must first turn it toward relief of the oppressed, the underprivileged, and the helpless. We must, in the words of the Bible, “Learn to do well, seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow” (Isaiah 1:17).[vii]
At the Annual Swedish Day Picnic in Minneapolis:
The Bible counsels us: “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven . . . a time of war and a time of peace” (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 8).
So I come today to speak to you in the hope that, after decades of war and threats of war, we may be nearing a time of peace.[viii]
At a breakfast meeting in Portland:
But it was not territory that made us great. It was men. Our West is not just a place. The West is an idea. The Bible says, “Speak to the earth and it shall teach thee” (Job 12:8). And here, in the West, we learned man’s possibilities were as spacious as the sky that covered him. We learned that free men could build a civilization as majestic as the mountains and the rivers that nourished him. We learned that with our hands we could create a life that was worthy of the land that was ours.
And that lesson has illuminated the life of all America–east, west, north, and south.[ix]
To the crowd at Soldiers and Sailors Square in Indianapolis:
The Bible tells us “Every man’s work shall be made manifest” (1 Corinthians 3:13). This is true, too, of our Government.
Seldom has an administration’s work been made manifest more abundantly than this one. We promised 4 years ago, under the leadership of that beloved, great champion of this country, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, that we would get the country moving again. Well, it is moving.[x]
At the Fifth Regiment Armory in Baltimore:
Our adversaries are not weak. They are strong, but I can assure you faithfully tonight that America is stronger. And I
want to announce to them and I want to announce to you that they should have no doubts or illusions about America’s strength.
In the words of the Bible, “When the strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace” (Luke 11:21).
We have strength in our country tonight, and you young men that must patrol our borders and wear those uniforms must maintain that strength.[xi]
And at a rally in Chattanooga:
The Bible admonishes us to “run with patience the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1).
Run with patience, and that is what I intend to do. We have grown strong in the last 4 years, and we must continue to increase that strength.[xii]
As evident by this small sampling of his many appeals to the Bible, President Johnson clearly saw the need for Americans and America itself to be guided by the Scripture.
American liberty is being eroded, and our Biblical foundation is under constant attack. Here at WallBuilders, we provide education, training, and resources to equip people to know and defend the truth to protect our freedom.
American liberty is being eroded, and our Biblical foundation is under constant attack. Here at WallBuilders, we provide education, training, and resources to equip people to know and defend the truth to protect our freedom.