September 19, 2016
Over his head, face, and neck the medieval executioner sometimes wore a loose-fitting hood of raven black. The grim garment was pierced by two eye-holes through which the wearer, himself unrecognized, caused terror by glancing among the onlookers while he proceeded to fulfill his gruesome function. In similar fashion today, under a black mask of censorship, which hides their identity and their purpose, the enemies of our civilization are at once creating fear and undermining our Constitution and our heritage of Christian civilization. In medieval times, the onlookers at least knew what was going on, but in modern times the people have no such knowledge. Without the ignorance and wrong judging generated by this hooded propaganda, an alert public and an informed Congress would long since have guided the nation to a happier destiny.
The black-out of truth in the United States has been effected (I) by the executive branch of the national government and (II) by non-government power.
In the mention of government censorship, it is not implied that our national government suppresses newspapers, imprisons editors, or in other drastic ways prevents the actual publication of news which has already been obtained by periodicals. It is to be hoped that such a lapse into barbarism will never befall us.
Nevertheless, since the mid-thirties, a form of censorship has been applied at will by many agencies of the United States government. Nothing is here said against war-time censorship of information on United States troop movements, military plans, and related matters. Such concealment is necessary for our security and for the surprise of the enemy, and is a vital part of the art of war. Nothing is said here against such censorship as the government’s falsification of the facts about our losses on December 7, 1941, at Pearl Harbor (Pearl Harbor, The Story of the Secret War, by George Morgenstern, The Devin-Adair Company, New York, 1947), though the falsification was apparently intended to prevent popular hostility against the administration rather than to deceive an enemy who already knew the facts.
Unfortunately, however, government censorship has strayed from the military field to the political. Of the wide-spread flagrant examples of government blackout of truth before, during, and after World War II the next five sections (a to e) are intended as samples rather than as even a slight survey of a field, the vastness of which is indicated by the following:
Congressman Reed (N.Y., Rep.) last week gave figures on the number of publicity people employed in all the agencies of the Government. “According to the last survey made,” he said, “there were 23,000 permanent and 22,000 part-time” (From “Thought Control,” Human Events, March 19, 1952.)
Our grossest censorship concealed the Roosevelt administration’s maneuvering our people into World War II. The blackout of Germany’s appeal to settle our differences has been fully enough presented in Chapter IV. Strong evidence of a similar censorship of an apparent effort of the administration to start a war in the Pacific is voluminously presented in Frederic R. Sanborn’s heavily documented Design for War (already referred to). Testimony of similar import has been furnished by the war correspondent, author, and broadcaster, Frazier Hunt. Addressing the Dallas Womans Club late in 1950, he said, “American propaganda is whitewashing State Department mistakes … the free American mind has been sacrificed… We can’t resist because we don’t have facts to go on.”
For a startling instance of the terrible fact of censorship in preparing for our surrender to the Soviet and the part played by Major General Clayton Bissell, A.C. of S., G-2 (the Chief of Army Intelligence), Ambassador to Moscow W. Averell Harriman, and Mr. Elmer Davis, Director of the Office of War Information, see “The Truth About the Katyn Forest Massacre,” by Arthur Bliss Lane, former U.S. Ambassador to Poland (The American Legion Magazine, February, 1952). There has been no official answer to Mr. Lane’s question:
Who, at the very top levels of the United States Government, ordered the hiding of all intelligence reports unfavorable to the Soviets, and the dissemination only of lies and communist propaganda?
Professor Harry Elmer Barnes’s pamphlet, “Was Roosevelt Pushed Into War by Popular Demand in 1941?” (Freeman’s Journal Press, Cooperstown, New York, 1951, 25¢) furnishes an important observation on the fatal role of government censorship in undermining the soundness of the public mind and lists so well the significant matters on which knowledge was denied the people that an extensive quotation is here used as a summary of this section:
Fundamental to any assumption about the relation of public opinion to political action is this vital consideration: It is not only what the people think, but the soundness of their opinion which is most relevant. The founders of our democracy assumed that, if public opinion is to be a safe guide for statecraft, the electorate must be honestly and adequately informed. I do not believe that any interventionist, with any conscience whatever, would contend that the American public was candidly or sufficiently informed as to the real nature and intent of President Roosevelt’s foreign policy from 1937 to Pearl Harbor. Our public opinion, however accurately or inaccurately measured by the polls, was not founded upon full factual information.
Among the vital matters not known until after the War was over were: (1) Roosevelt’s statement to President Benes in May, 1939, that the United States would enter any war to defeat Hitler; (2) the secret Roosevelt-Churchill exchanges from 1939 to 1941; (3) Roosevelt’s pressure on Britain, France and Poland to resist Hitler in 1939; (4) the fact that the Administration lawyers had decided that we were legally and morally in the War after the Destroyer Deal of September, 1940; (5) Ambassador Grew’s warning in January, 1941, that, if the Japanese should ever pull a surprise attack on the United States, it would probably be at Pearl Harbor, and that Roosevelt, Stimson, Knox, Marshall and Stark agreed that Grew was right; (6) the Anglo-American Joint-Staff Conferences of January-March, 1941; (7) the drafting and approval of the Washington Master War Plan and the Army-Navy Joint War Plan by May, 1941; (8) the real facts about the nature and results of the Newfoundland Conference of August, 1941; (9) the devious diplomacy of Secretary Hull with Japan; (10) Konoye’s vain appeal for a meeting with Roosevelt to settle the Pacific issues; (11) Roosevelt’s various stratagems to procure an overt act from Germany and Japan; (12) Stimson’s statement about the plan to maneuver Japan into firing the first shot; (13) the idea that, if Japan crossed a certain line, we would have to shoot; (14) the real nature and implications of Hull’s ultimatum of November 26, 1941; and (15) the criminal failure to pass on to Admiral Kimmel and General Short information about the impending Japanese attack.
If the people are to be polled with any semblance of a prospect for any intelligent reaction, they must know what they are voting for. This was conspicuously not the case in the years before Pearl Harbor.
Almost, if not wholly, as indefensible as the secret maneuvering toward war, was the wholesale deception of the American people by suppressing or withholding facts on the eve of the presidential election of 1944. Three examples are here given.
First of all, the general public got no hint of the significance of the pourparlers with the “left,” which led to the naming of the same slate of presidential electors by the Democratic, American Labor, and Liberal parties in New York – a deal generally credited with establishing the fateful grip (Executive Order of December 30, 1944) of Communists on vital power-positions in our government. Incidentally, the demands of the extreme left were unassailable under the “We need those votes” political philosophy; for Dewey, Republican, received 2,987,647 votes to 2,478,598 received by Roosevelt, Democrat – and Roosevelt carried the state only with the help of the 496,405 American Labor (Marcantonio) votes and the 329,236 Liberal votes, both of which were cast for the Roosevelt electors!
As another example of catering to leftist votes, the President arrantly deceived the public on October 28, 1944, when he “boasted of the amplitude of the ammunition and equipment which were being sent to American fighting men in battle.” The truth, however, was that our fighting men would have sustained fewer casualties if they had received some of the supplies which at the time were being poured into Soviet Russia in quantities far beyond any current Soviet need. It was none other than Mrs. Anna Rosenberg, “an indispensable and ineradicable New Deal ideologist, old friend of Mrs. Roosevelt” who, about a month before the election, “went to Europe and learned that ammunition was being rationed” to our troops. “It apparently did not occur to Mrs. Rosenberg to give this information to the people before election day.” After the election and before the end of the same tragic November, the details were made public, apparently to stimulate production (all quotes from Westbrook Pegler’s column “Fair Enough,” Nov. 27, 1944, Washington Times-Herald and other papers).
A third example of apparent falsification and deception had to do with President Roosevelt’s health in the summer and autumn of 1944. His obvious physical deterioration was noted in the foreign press and was reported to proper officials by liaison officers to the White House (personal knowledge of the author). Indeed, it was generally believed in 1944, by those in a position to know, that President Roosevelt never recovered from his illness of December, 1943, and January, 1944, despite a long effort at convalescence in the spring weather at the “Hobcaw Barony” estate of his friend Bernard Baruch on the South Carolina coast. The imminence of the President’s death was regarded as so certain that, after his nomination to a fourth term, Washington newspaper men passed around the answer “Wallace” to the spoken question “Who in your opinion will be the next president?” Former Postmaster General James A. Farley has testified that Roosevelt “was a dying man” at the time of his departure for Yalta (“America Betrayed at Yalta,” by Congressman Lawrence H. Smith, National Republic, July, 1951). The widespread belief that Roosevelt was undergoing rapid deterioration was shortly to be given an appearance of certitude by the facts of physical decay revealed at the time of his death, which followed his inauguration by less than three months.
Nevertheless, Vice Admiral Ross T. McIntire, Surgeon-General of the Navy and Roosevelt’s personal physician, was quoted thus in a Life article by Jeanne Perkins (July 21, 1944, p. 4) during the campaign: “The President’s health is excellent. I can say that unqualifiedly.”
In World War II, censorship and falsification of one kind or another were accomplished not only in high government offices but in lower echelons as well. Several instances, of which three are here given, were personally encountered by the author.
(1) Perhaps the most glaring was the omission, in a War Department report (prepared by two officers of Eastern European background), of facts uncomplimentary to Communism in vital testimony on UNRRA given by two patriotic Polish-speaking congressmen (both Northern Democrats) returning from an official mission to Poland for the House Foreign Affairs Committee. An investigation was initiated but before it could be completed both officers had been separated from the service.
(2) News was slanted as much as by a fifty-to-one pro-Leftist ratio in a War Department digest of U.S. newspaper opinion intended, presumably, to influence thought including the thought of U.S. soldiers. For example, the leftist PM (circulation 137,100) in one issue (Bureau of Publications Digest, March 14, 1946) was represented by 616 columnar inches of quoted matter in comparison with 35½ columnar inches from the non-leftist N.Y. World-Telegram (circulation 389,257). There was also a marked regional slant. Thus in the issue under consideration 98.7 per cent of the total space was given to the Northeastern portion of the United States, plus Missouri, while only 1.3 per cent was given to the rest of the country, including South Atlantic States, Gulf States, Southwestern States, Prairie States, Rocky Mountain States, and Pacific Coast States.
(3) Late in 1945 the former Secretary of War, Major General Patrick D. Hurley, resigned as Ambassador to China to tell the American government and the American people about Soviet Russia’s ability to “exert a potent and frequently decisive influence in American politics and in the American government, including the Department of Justice” (for details, see Chapter VI, a). General Hurley was expected to reveal “sensational disclosures” about certain members of the State Department’s Far Eastern staff in particular (quoted passages are from the Washington Times-Herald, December 3, 1945); but he was belittled by high government agencies including the Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee of the Senate, and large sections of the press connived to smother his message. A scheduled Military Intelligence Service interview arranged with General Hurley by the author was cancelled by higher authority. Be it said for the record, however, that the colonels and brigadier generals immediately superior to the author in Military Intelligence were eager seekers for the whole intelligence picture and at no time during the author’s conducting over 2,000 interviews made any effort to suppress the collection of information – except to transmit the order just referred to.
Incidentally the brush-off of General Hurley suggests that the leftist palace guard which was inherited from the Roosevelt administration had acquired in eight months a firmer grip on Mr. Truman that it ever had on the deceased president until he entered his last months of mental twilight. Roosevelt’s confidence in Hurley is several times attested by General Elliott Roosevelt in As He Saw It. In Tehran the morning after the banquet at the Russian Embassy the President said:
I want you to do something for me, Elliott. Go find Pat Hurley, and tell him to get to work drawing up a draft memorandum guaranteeing Iran’s independence… I wish I had more men like Pat, on whom I could depend. The men in the State Department, those career diplomats … half the time I can’t tell whether I should believe them or not (pp. 192-193).
At the second Cairo Conference, the President told his son:
That Pat Hurley… He did a good job. If anybody can straighten out the mess of internal Chinese politics, he’s the man… Men like Pat Hurley are invaluable. Why? Because they’re loyal. I can give him assignments that I’d never give a man in the State Department because I can depend on him… Any number of times the men in the State Department have tried to conceal messages to me, delay them, hold them up somehow, just because some of those career diplomats aren’t in accord with what they know I think (pp. 204-205).
The above passages not only throw light on the enormity of the offense against America of preventing the testimony of General Hurley, but give on the Department of State a testimony that cannot be regarded as other than expert.
With the passing of the years, government censorship has become so much more intensive that it was a principal topic of the American Society of Newspaper Editors at its meeting (April 21, 1951) in Washington. Here is an excerpt (The Evening Star, Washington, April 21, 1951) from the report of the Committee on Freedom of Information:
Most Federal offices are showing exceptional zeal in creating rules, regulations, directives, classifications and policies which serve to hide, color or channel news…
We editors have been assuming that no one would dispute this premise: That when the people rule, they have a right to know all their Government does.
This committee finds appalling evidence that the guiding credo in Washington is becoming just the opposite: That it is dangerous and unwise to let information about Government leak out in any unprocessed form.
In spite of this protest, President Truman on September 25, 1951, extended government censorship drastically by vesting in other government agencies the authority and obligation to classify information as “Top Secret,” “Secret,” and “Confidential” – a right and a responsibility previously enjoyed only, or principally, by the departments of State and Defense. Again the American Society of Newspaper Editors made a protest (AP, September 25, 1951). The President assured the public that no actual censorship would be the outcome of his executive order.
To anyone familiar with the use of “Secret” and “Confidential” not for security but for “playing safe” with a long or not fully understood document, or for suppressing information, the new order cannot, however, appear as other than a possible beginning of drastic government-wide censorship.
The day after the President’s executive order, “Some 250 members of the Associated Press Managing Editors Association” voiced their fears and their determination to fight against the “tightening down of news barriers” (AP, September 1, 1951). Kent Cooper, executive director of the Associated Press and a well-known champion of the freedom of the press, said: “I’m really alarmed by what is being done to cover up mistakes in public office.”
The reaction, after the censorship order was several weeks old, was thus summarized by U.S. News and World Report (October 19, 1951):
Newspaper men and others deeply fear that this authority may be broadened in application, used to cover up administrative blunders and errors of policy, to conceal scandals now coming to light, or to hide any information unfavorable to the administration, especially as the presidential campaign draws near.
It is to be hoped that the newspapers of the country will keep the issue alive in the minds of the American people. (It is to be hoped also that they will take concerted action to deal with censorship imposed by some of their advertisers. See section II, a, below.)
During World War II, the Congress of the United States was the victim of censorship to almost as great a degree as the general public. By virtue of his official position, the author was sent by his superiors to brief members of the Congress about to go abroad, and he also interviewed them on their return from strategic areas. He was also sometimes invited to a conference by members with whom he had in his official capacity become acquainted. He found them, including some Northern Democrats, restive at the darkness of censorship and indignant at the pressure upon them to vote funds for such projects as the extension of UNRRA without any full knowledge of its significance. With regard to secret data, the Congress was really in an awkward position. Because several Senators and Representatives, including members of the most sensitive committees, were indiscreet talkers and because of the possibility that some, like the Canadian Member of Parliament, Fred Rose (Rosenberg), might be subversive, the Congress could make no demands for full details on secret matters. The alternative was the twilight in which patriotic Senators and Representatives had to work and vote.
Alarmed by the threat of Communism, however, the Congress has made investigations and published a number of pamphlets and books (Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office, Washington 25, D.C.) intended to acquaint the American people with the danger to this country from Communists in general as well as from those embedded in the departments and agencies of the government. It is suggested that you write to your own Congressman or to one of your Senators for an up-to-date list of these publications. One of a series of ten-cent books (see below in this chapter) is actually entitled “100 Things You Should Know About Communism and Government.” How pathetic and how appalling that a patriotic Congress, denied precise facts even as the people are denied them, has to resort to such a means to stir the public into a demand for the cleanup of the executive branch of our government!
Censorship, however, has by no means been a monopoly of the administration. Before, during, and since World War II, amid ever-increasing shouts about the freedom of the press, one of the tightest censorships in history has been applied by non-government power to the opinion-controlling media of the United States. A few examples follow under (a) newspapers, (b) motion pictures, and (c) books. These examples are merely samples and in no case are to be considered a coverage of the field. The subject of the chapter is concluded by observations on three other subjects (d, e, f) pertinent to the question of censorship.
Newspaper censorship of news is applied to some extent in the selection, rejection, and condensation of factual AP, UP, INS, and other dispatches. Such practices cannot be given blanket condemnation, for most newspapers receive from the agencies far more copy than they can publish; a choice is inevitably hurried; and selection on the basis of personal and institutional preferences is legitimate – provided there is no blackout of important news. The occasional use of condensation to obscure the point of a news story is, however, to be vigorously condemned.
Still worse is a deliberate news slanting, which is accomplished by the “editing” – somewhere between fact and print – of such dispatches as are printed. During World War II the author at one time had under his supervision seven War Department teletype machines and was astounded to learn that dispatches of the news agencies were sometimes re-worded to conform to the policy or the presumed policy of a newspaper, or to the presumed attitude of readers or advertisers, or possibly to the prejudices of the individual journalist who did the re-wording! Thus, when Field Marshall von Mackensen died, a teletype dispatch described him as the son of a “tenant farmer.” This expression, presumably contrary to the accepted New York doctrine that Germany was undemocratic, became in one great New York morning paper “son of a minor landholder” and in another it became “son of a wealthy estate agent.” It is not here implied that the principal owners of these papers knew of this or similar instances. The changed dispatches, however, show the power of the unofficial censor even when his infiltration is into minor positions.
The matter of securing a substantially different meaning by changing a word or a phrase was, so far as the author knows, first brought to the attention of the general public late in 1951 when a zealous propagandist substituted “world” for “nation” in Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address.” The revamping of Lincoln’s great words “that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom” would have made him a “one worlder,” except for the fact that some Americans knew the Gettysburg Address by heart! Their protests not only revealed the deception in this particular instance, but brought into daylight a new form of falsification that is very hard to detect – except, of course, when the falsifiers tamper with something as well known as the Gettysburg Address!
Occasionally during World War II the abuse of rewriting dispatches was habitual. One foreign correspondent told the author that the correspondent’s paper, a “liberal” sheet which was a darling of our government, virtually threw away his dispatches, and wrote what they wished and signed his name to it. Be it said to this man’s credit that he resigned in protest.
Sometimes the censorship is effected not by those who handle news items, but by the writer. Thus the known or presumed attitude of his paper or its clientèle may lead a correspondent to send dispatches designed, irrespective of truth, to please the recipients. This practice, with especial emphasis on dispatches from West Germany, was more than once noted by the newsletter, Human Events (1710 Rhode Island Avenue, N.W., Washington 6, D.C.) during the year 1950. See the issue of December 20, 1950, which contains an analysis of the dim-out in the United States on the German reaction to the naming of General Eisenhower, the first implementer of the Morgenthau Plan, as Supreme Commander of our new venture in Europe.
In the early summer of 1951, the American public was treated to a nation-wide example of one form of distortion or falsification in certain sections of the press and by certain radio commentators. This was the presentation as fact of the individual columnist’s or commentator’s thesis that General MacArthur wanted war, or wanted World War III, or something of the sort – a thesis based on the General’s request for the use of Nationalist Chinese troops as allies and for the removal of the blindfold which prevented his even reconnoitering, much less bombing, the trans-Yalu forces of the enemy armies, vastly more numerous than his own (see Chapter VI, d, below), who were killing his men. The presentation of such a thesis is a writer’s privilege, which should not be denied him, but it should be labeled as a viewpoint and not as a fact.
One powerful means of effecting censorship in the United States was mentioned as early as 1938 by William Allen White, nationally known owner and editor of the Emporia (Kansas) Gazette, in a speech at the University of Pennsylvania. These are his words:
The new menace to the freedom of the press, a menace to this country vastly more acute than the menace from government, may come through the pressure not of one group of advertisers, but a wide sector of advertisers. Newspaper advertising is now placed somewhat, if not largely, through nationwide advertising agencies… As advisers the advertising agencies may exercise unbelievably powerful pressure upon newspapers…” (Quoted from Beaty’s Image of Life. Thomas Nelson and Sons, New York, 1940).
Details of the pressure of advertisers on newspaper publishers rarely reach the public. An exception came in January, 1946, when the local advertising manager of the Washington Times-Herald wrote in his paper as follows: “Under the guise of speaking of his State Department career in combination with a preview of FM and Television Broadcasting, Mr. Ira A. Hirschmann today, at a meeting of the Advertising Club of Washington at the Statler Hotel, asked the Jewish merchants to completely boycott the Times-Herald and the New York Daily News.” It is interesting to note that Mrs. Eleanor M. Patterson, the owner of the Times-Herald, published the following statement: “I have only this comment to make: This attack actually has nothing to do with racial or religious matters. It is merely a small part of a planned, deliberate Communist attempt to divide and destroy the United States of America.” She refused to yield to pressure, and before long those who had withdrawn their advertisements asked that the contracts be renewed. The outcome prompts the question: May the advertiser not need the periodical more than the periodical needs the advertiser?
Propaganda attitudes and activities in the United States motion picture output cannot be adequately discussed here. The field is vast and the product, the film, cannot, like the files of newspapers or shelves of books, be consulted readily at an investigator’s convenience. Some idea of the power of organized unofficial censorship may be gained, however, from the vicissitudes of one film which has engaged the public interest because it is based on a long-recognized classic by the most popular novelist of the English-speaking world.
As originally produced, the J. Arthur Rank motion picture, Oliver Twist, was said to be faithful to the text of the Dickens novel of that name. The picture was shown in Britain without recorded disorder, but when it reached Berlin, “the Jews and police fought with clubs, rocks and firehoses around the Karbel theater in Berlin’s British sector.” The door of the theater was “smashed by Jewish demonstrators who five times broke through police cordon established around playhouse.” These things happened although “not once in the picture … was Fagin called a Jew.” Needless to say, the Jews prevailed over the Berlin police and the British authorities, and the exhibitors ceased showing the film (all quotes from the article, “Fagin in Berlin Provokes a Riot.” Life, March 7, 1949, pp. 38-39).
The barring of Mr. Rank’s Oliver Twist from its announced appearance (1949) in the United States is explained thus by Arnold Forster in his book, A Measure of Freedom (Doubleday and Co., Inc., 1950, p. 10):
American movie distributors refused to become involved in the distribution and exhibition of the motion picture after the Anti-Defamation League and others expressed the fear that the film was harmful. The Rank Organization withdrew the picture in the United States.
Finally it was announced in the spring of 1951 that the British film “after seventy-two eliminations” and with a prologue by Dr. Everett R. Clinchy of the National Conference of Christians and Jews might be “accepted as a filming of Dickens without anti-semitic intentions” (Dallas Morning News). But is there any Charles Dickens left anywhere around?
On the question of Communism in Hollywood, there is available in pamphlet form a remarkably informative broadcast of a dialogue (Facts Forum Radio Program, WFAA, Dallas, January 11, 1952) between Mr. Dan Smoot of Dallas and the motion picture star, Adolphe Menjou. Replying dramatically to a series of questions climatically arranged, Mr. Menjou begins with Lenin’s “We must capture the cinema,” shows Americans their “incredible ignorance” of Communism, lists Congressional committees which issue helpful documents, and recommends a boycott of “motion pictures which are written by Communists, produced by Communists, or acted in by Communists,” – the term Communists including those who support the Communist cause. For a free copy of this valuable broadcast, write to Facts Forum, 718 Mercantile Bank building, Dallas, Texas. See also Red Treason in Hollywood by Myron C. Fagan (Cinema Educational Guild, P. O. Box 8655, Cole Branch, Hollywood 46, California), and do not miss “Did the Movies Really Clean House?” in the December, 1951, issue of American Legion Magazine.
Censorship in the field of books is even more significant than in periodicals, motion pictures, and radio (not here considered), and a somewhat more extended discussion is imperative.
With reference to new books, a feature article, “Why You Buy Books That Sell Communism,” by Irene Corbally Kuhn in the American Legion Magazine for January, 1951, shows how writers on the staffs of two widely circulated New York book review supplements are influential in controlling America’s book business. To school principals, teachers, librarians, women’s clubs – indeed to parents and all other Americans interested in children, who will be the next generation – this article is necessary reading. It should be ordered and studied in full and will accordingly not be analyzed here (American Legion Magazine, 580 Fifth Avenue, New York 18, New York; 10¢ per copy; see also “The Professors and the Press” in the July, 1951, number of this magazine). Important also is “A Slanted Guide to Library Selections,” by Oliver Carlson, in The Freeman for January 14, 1952.
Dealing in more detail with books in one specific field, the China theater, where our wrong policies have cost so many young American lives, is an article entitled “The Gravediggers of America, Part I: The Book Reviewers Sell Out China,” by Ralph de Toledano (The American Mercury, July, 1951, pp. 72-78. See also Part II in the August number). Mr. de Toledano explains that America’s China policy – whether by coincidence or as “part of a sharply conceived and shrewdly carried out plan” – has led to the fact that “China is Russia’s.” Mr. de Toledano then turns his attention to the State Department:
Meanwhile the real lobby – the four-plus propagandists of a pro-Communist line in Asia – prospered. Its stooges were able to seize such a stranglehold on the State Department’s Far Eastern division that to this day, as we slug it out with the Chinese Reds, they are still unbudgeable. Working devotedly at their side has been a book-writing and book-reviewing cabal.
With regard to books, book reviewers, and book-reviewing periodicals, Mr. de Toledano gives very precise figures. He also explains the great leftist game in which one pro-Communist writer praises the work of another – an old practice exposed by the author of The Iron Curtain Over America in the chapter, “Censorship, Gangs, and the Tyranny of Minorities” in his book Image of Life (pp. 146-147):
Praise follows friendship rather than merit. Let a novelist, for instance, bring out a new book. The critic, the playwright, the reviewers, and the rest in his gang hail it as the book of the year. Likewise all will hail the new play by the playwright – and so on, all the way around the circle of membership. Provincial reviewers will be likely to fall in step. The result is that a gang member will sometimes receive national acclaim for a work, which deserves oblivion, whereas a nonmember may fail to receive notice for a truly excellent work. Such gangs prevent wholly honest criticism and are bad at best, but they are a positive menace when their expressions of mutual admiration are poured forth on obscene and subversive books.
For still more on the part played by certain book-reviewing periodicals in foisting upon the American public a ruinous program in China, see “A Guidebook to 10 Years of Secrecy in Our China Policy,” a speech by Senator Owen Brewster of Maine (June 5, 1951). The tables on pp. 12 and 13 of Senator Brewster’s reprinted speech are of especial value.
The unofficial arbiters and censors of books have not, however, confined themselves to contemporary texts but have taken drastic steps against classics. Successful campaigns early in the current century against such works as Shakespeare’s play The Merchant of Venice, are doubtless known to many older readers of The Iron Curtain Over America. The case of Shakespeare was summed up effectively by George Lyman Kittredge (The Merchant of Venice, by William Shakespeare, edited by George Lyman Kittredge, Ginn and Company, Boston, 1945, pp. ix-x), long a professor of English in Harvard University:
One thing is clear, however: The Merchant of Venice is no anti-Semitic document; Shakespeare was not attacking the Jewish people when he gave Shylock the villain’s rôle. If so, he was attacking the Moors in Titus Andronicus, the Spaniards in Much Ado, the Italians in Cymbeline, the Viennese in Measure for Measure, the Danes in Hamlet, the Britons in King Lear, the Scots in Macbeth, and the English in Richard the Third.
Much more significant than attacks on individual masterpieces, however, was a subtle but determined campaign begun a generation ago to discredit our older literature under charges of Jingoism and didacticism (Image of Life, Chapter III). For documentary indication of a nation-wide minority boycott of books as early as 1933, write to the American Renaissance Book Club (P. O. Box 1316, Chicago 90, Illinois).
Still it was not until World War II that the manipulators of the National Democratic Party hit on a really effective way of destroying a large portion of our literary heritage and its high values of morality and patriotism. Since most classics have a steady rather than a rapid sale and are not subject to quick reprints even in normal times, and since many potential readers of these books were not in college, but in the armed forces, few editions of such works were reprinted during the war. At this juncture the government ordered plates to be destroyed on all books not reprinted within four years. The edict was almost a death blow to our culture, for as old books in libraries wear out very few of them can be reprinted at modern costs for printing and binding. Thus, since 1946 the teacher of advanced college English courses has had to choose texts not, as in 1940, from those classics which he prefers but from such classics as are available. The iniquitous practice of destroying plates was reasserted by “Directive M-65, dated May 31, 1951, of the National Production Authority,” which provides that “plates which have not been used for more than four years or are otherwise deemed to be obsolete” must be delivered “to a scrap metal dealer” (letter to the author from Appleton-Century-Crofts, Inc., June 15, 1951). In this connection, Upton Close wrote (Radio Script, August 12, 1951) that he “was a writer on the Orient who stood in the way of the Lattimore-Hiss gang and Marshall’s giving of China to the Communists,” and that such an order “wiped out” all his books on China and Japan. Mr. Close continued as follows:
The order to melt book plates on the pretense that copper is needed for war is the smartest way to suppress books ever invented. It is much more clever than Hitler’s burning of books. The public never sees the melting of plates in private foundries. All the metal from all the book plates in America would not fight one minor engagement. But people do not know that. They do not even know that book plates have been ordered melted down!
Censorship is applied even to those classics which are reprinted. Let us look at only one author who lived long ago, Geoffrey Chaucer (c. 1340-1400). In both of the two fluent and agreeable verse translations at hand as this is written, the fact that the Knight belonged to the Teutonic Order (Chapter I) is eliminated in the wording. Perhaps this is excusable, for the translator into verse faces many difficulties. Of different import, however, are the omissions in two other editions. The Heritage Press edition of the Canterbury Tales omits with no explanation the “Tale of the Prioress,” the one in which Chaucer, more than 550 years ago, happened to paint – along with the several Gentile poisoners and other murderers of his stories – one unflattering portrait, a version of the popular ballad “Sir Hugh and the Jew’s Daughter,” of one member of the Jewish race, and that one presumably fictitious! Professor Lumiansky’s edition (Simon and Schuster, 1941, preface by Mark Van Doren) of the Canterbury Tales likewise omits the Prioress’s tale, and tells why: “Though anti-Semitism was a somewhat different thing in the fourteenth century from what it is today, the present-day reader has modern reactions in literature no matter when it was written. From this point of view the Prioress’s story of the little choir-boy who is murdered by the Jews possesses an unpleasantness which overshadows its other qualities” (op. cit., p. xxiii).
No criticism of the translators, editors, and publishers is here implied. They may have merely bent to pressure as so many other publishers and so many other publishers and so many periodicals have done – to the author’s certain knowledge. One cannot, however, escape the question as to what would happen to American and English literature if persons of English, Scotch, Irish, German, Italian, or other decent, took the same attitude toward “defamation” of persons of their “races,” including those who lived more than 500 years ago! There would be no motion pictures or plays, and except for technical treatises, there would be no more books.
One of the most horrible results of the types of censorship illustrated above is the production, by writers without honor, of works which will “pass” the unofficial censor. The result is a vast output of plays, non-fiction prose, and especially novels, worthless at best and degraded and subversive at the worst, which will not be reviewed here.
Time and space must be given, however, to the blackout of truth in history. Fortunately the way has been illuminated by Professor Harry Elmer Barnes in his pamphlet The Struggle Against the Historical Blackout (Freeman’s Journal Press, Cooperstown, N.Y. 1951, 50¢). Professor Barnes defines the historical craft’s term “revisionism” as the “readjustment of historical writing to historical facts relative to the background and causes of the first World War” and later equates the term “revisionism” with “truth.”
After mentioning some of the propaganda lies of World War I and the decade thereafter and citing authorities for the fact that “the actual causes and merits of this conflict were very close to the reverse of the picture presented in the political propaganda and historical writings of the war decade,” Professor Barnes states – again with authorities and examples – that by 1928 “everyone except the die-hards and bitter-enders in the historical profession had come to accept revisionism, and even the general public had begun to think straight in the premises.”
Unfortunately, however, before the historical profession had got to be as true to history as it was prior to 1914, World War II was ushered in and propaganda again largely superseded truth in the writing of history. Here are several of Professor Barnes’s conclusions:
If the world policy of today  cannot be divorced from the mythology of the 1940’s, a third World War is inevitable… History has been the chief intellectual casualty of the second World War and the cold war which followed… In this country today, and it is also true of most other nations, many professional historians gladly falsify history quite voluntarily…
Why? To get a publisher, and to get favorable reviews for their books? The alternative is either oblivion or the vicious attack of a “smearbund,” as Professor Barnes puts it, of unofficial censors “operating through newspaper editors and columnists, ‘hatchet-men’ book reviewers, radio commentators, pressure-group intrigue and espionage, and academic pressures and fears.” The “powerful vested political interest” is strong enough to smother books by a truthful writer. “Powerful pressure groups have also found the mythology helpful in diverting attention from their own role in national and world calamity.” Professor Barnes is not hopeful of the future:
Leading members of two of the largest publishing houses in the country have frankly told me that, whatever their personal wishes in the circumstances, they would not feel it ethical to endanger their business and the property rights of their stockholders by publishing critical books relative to American foreign policy since 1933. And there is good reason for their hesitancy. The book clubs and the main sales outlets for books are controlled by powerful pressure groups, which are opposed to truth on such matters. These outlets not only refuse to market critical books in this field but also threaten to boycott other books by those publishers who defy their blackout ultimatum.
Bruce Barton (San Antonio Light, April 1, 1951) expresses the same opinions in condensed form and dramatic style, and adds some of the results of the “historical blackout”:
We have turned our backs on history; we have violated the Biblical injunction, “remove not the ancient landmarks”; we have lost our North Star. We have deliberately changed the meaning of words… More and more bureaucracy, tighter and tighter controls over Freedom and Democracy. Lying to the people becomes conditioning the public mind. Killing people is peace. To be for America First is to be an undesirable citizen and a social outcast… Crises abroad that any student of history would normally anticipate, hit the State Department and the Pentagon as a complete surprise.
Thus the study of falsified history takes its toll even among fellow-workers of the falsifiers.
The propagation of Marxism and other alien ideas is accomplished not only by persons in those businesses which control public opinion but also by the actual infiltration of aliens, or their captives among Americans of old stock, into the periodical-selecting and book-selecting staffs of a wide variety of institutions. The penetration is especially notable in the book-selecting personnel of bookstores, libraries, schools, and colleges.
The National Council for American Education (1 Maiden Lane, New York 38, N.Y.) is effectively showing the grip which persons tolerant of Communism and hostile to the American government have upon U.S. universities, and is also exposing Communist-inclined textbooks used in schools and colleges. Needless to say, such great facts of history as those outlined in Chapters I and II, above, have not been found in school history texts examined by the author. The menace is recognized by our own United States Congress, which offers a pertinent booklet entitled “100 Things You Should Know About Communism and Education” (Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., 10¢).
The question of Communist workers in the ranks of American clergy is not to be taken up here. Suffice it to say that many well-meaning but gullible members of the clergy have been lured into various “American” and “National” and other well sounding conferences, councils, and committees, many (but not all) of which are subversive.
In this connection, persons favorable to Western Christian civilization should be warned about carelessly joining an organization, even though it has an innocent-sounding or actually a seemingly praiseworthy name. The following organizations by their names suggest nothing subversive, yet each of them is listed by the Senate of the United States (“Hearings before the Subcommittee on Immigration and Naturalization of the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate,” 81st Congress, Part 3, pp. A8 and A9) as being not merely subversive, but Communist:
Abraham Lincoln School, Chicago, Ill.
American League Against War and Fascism
American Committee for Protection of Foreign Born
American Peace Mobilization
American Russian Institute (of San Francisco)
American Slav Congress
American Youth Congress
American Youth for Democracy
Civil Rights Congress and its affiliates
Congress of American Women
Council for Pan-American Democracy
Jefferson School of Social Science, New York City
Jewish Peoples Committee
Joint Anti-Fascist Refugee Committee
League of American Writers
Nature Friends of America (since 1935)
Ohio School of Social Sciences
People’s Educational Association
Philadelphia School of Social Science and Art
Photo League (New York City)
School of Jewish Studies, New York City
Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade
Walt Whitman School of Social Science, Newark, N.J.
Washington Bookshop Association
Wisconsin Conference on Social Legislation
Each of the above-named organizations is also listed, along with many others, in the valuable book, Guide to Subversive Organizations and Publications (May 14, 1951), issued by the House Committee on Un-American Activities (82nd Congress). As one example of the menace that may lurk behind an innocent name, read the Committee’s “Report on the Congress of American Women” (October 23, 1949, Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office, Washington 25, D.C.).
The patriotic American should not be deceived by the fact that there is no pressure-group censorship on the open expression of pro-Communist views (witness the continued publication of the official Communist Party organ, The Daily Worker, New York) or on gross indecency, pseudo-Freudian or other (witness some titles on your drugstore rack of 25-cent books). The obvious lack of censorship in these fields merely helps conceal it elsewhere. “Corrupt and conquer” is an ancient adage. Thus, according to the columnist, Constantine Brown (The Evening Star, Washington, D.C., December 27, 1948), “The Kremlin men rely on subversion and immorality. The only reason they have not plunged the world into another blood bath is that they hope moral disintegration will soon spread over the western world.”
The Kremlin masters are right. Men cannot live by bread, by science, by education, or by economic might. As Washington knew, when he was found on his knees in prayer at Valley Forge, they can live only by a body of ideals and a faith in which they believe. These things our unofficial censors would deny us.
To all “censorships,” governmental and other, there is an obvious corollary. As long as information received by the public – including those who poll public opinion – is, in vital aspects, incomplete and is often distorted for propaganda purposes, the most well-intentioned polls intended to reflect public opinion on foreign affairs or domestic affairs are to be relied on only with extreme caution. The perhaps unavoidable “leading question” tendency in certain types of opinion polls has rarely been illustrated better than in an article “What the GOP Needs to Win in 1952” by George Gallup in the September 25, 1951, issue of Look. Legitimately laying aside for the purposes of the article the commonly mentioned Republican presidential possibilities, Eisenhower, Dewey, Taft, Stassen, and Warren, “the American Institute of Public Opinion … chose nine Americans who might be dark horses in the GOP race.” The poll people have, of course, a perfect right to choose such questions as they wish and to select names of individuals about whom to ask questions. The nine chosen in the poll under discussion were Paul G. Hoffman, Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., Charles E. Wilson (of General Electric), James Bryant Conant, Robert Patterson, James H. Duff, Margaret Chase Smith, Alfred E. Driscoll, and John J. McCloy. Five of these are or have been functionaries under the New Deal and scarcely one of them is a Republican in the historical sense of the term.
Moreover, in dealing with the possibility of appealing to independent voters, why was no mention made of Senators Mundt, Brewster, Bridges, Martin, Bricker, Jenner, Capehart, Dirksen, Ecton, Millikin, Nixon, and Knowland, all of whom have drawn praise outside the Republican party? As to “independent” voters of leftist leanings, they may storm into precinct conventions or vote in Republican primaries to force the choice of a candidate to their liking, but how many will vote for the Republican nominee, and, especially, how many will vote for non-leftist candidates for the Senate and the House in the general election?
Several of the instances of censorship mentioned in this Chapter call attention to the deplorable fact that many persons in the United States who have fought Communism aggressively with facts have been branded as anti-Semitic. Under this form of censorship, it is permissible to rail vaguely against Communism in the abstract, particularly if unnamed Communists are denounced along with “Fascists,” “Nazis,” and “America Firsters”; but a speaker who calls by name the foreign-born organizers of Communistic atomic espionage in Canada (1946), or mentions the common alien background of the first group of Americans convicted of atomic espionage (1950, 1951) is, in the experience of the author, subject to a vicious heckling from the floor and to other forms of attempted intimidation on the charge of anti-Semitism. For information on Communist tactics, every American should read “Menace of Communism,” a statement of J. Edgar Hoover, Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, before the Committee on Un-American Activities of the House of Representatives, March 26, 1947. Mr. Hoover said in part:
Anyone who opposes the American Communist is at once branded as a “disrupter,” a “Fascist,” a “Red baiter,” or a “Hitlerite,” and becomes the object of a systematic campaign of character assassination. This is easily understood because the basic tactics of the Communist Party are deceit and trickery.
See also, “Our New Privileged Class,” by Eugene Lyons (The American Legion Magazine, September, 1951).
The label of anti-Semitic is tossed not only at those who mention Jewish Communists by name; it is tossed also at the opponents of government ventures which are Jewish-sponsored or Jewish-endorsed. For an official Jewish attitude toward an opponent of American involvement in the program of political Zionism and an opponent of the Morgenthau plan, see Arnold Forster’s A Measure of Freedom (pp. 62 to 86). In this connection, it is interesting to recall that in the 1940 campaign the third term presidential candidate made much sport of “Martin, Barton, and Fish.” At a conference of Democrats at Denver, Colorado, launching the 1952 campaign, Secretary of Agriculture Brannan recalled the success of the phrase and suggested for a similar smear in 1952 the “off-key quartet” of “Taft and Martin, McCarthy and Cain.” Would an opposing candidate dare crack back with humorous jibes at “Frankfurter, Morgenthau, and Lehman”? Your answer will reveal to you something you should know as to who wields power in the United States.
A zealous approach to securing the co-operation of Gentiles is shown in an article, “Glamorous Purim Formula: Exterminate Anti-Semitic Termites…,” by Rabbi Leon Spitz (The American Hebrew, March 1, 1946): “American Jews … must come to grips with our contemporary anti-Semites. We must fill our jails with anti-Semitic gangsters. We must fill our insane asylums with anti-Semitic lunatics…”
The Khazar Jew’s frequent equating of anti-Communism with so-called “anti-Semitism” is unfortunate in many ways. In the first place, it is most unfair to loyal American Jews. Charges of “anti-Semitism” are absurd, moreover, because the Khazar Jew is himself not a Semite (Chapter II, above). The blood of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob flows not at all (or to a sporadic degree, as from immigrant merchants, fugitives, etc.) in the veins of the Jews who have come to America from Eastern Europe. On the contrary, the blood of Old Testament people does flow in the veins of Palestine Arabs and others who live along the shores of the eastern Mediterranean. Palestinians, true descendants of Old Testament people, are refugees today from the barbarity of non-Semitic Khazars, who are the rapers – not the inheritors – of the Holy Land!
Charges of “anti-Semitism” are usually made by persons of Khazar stock, but sometimes they are parroted by shallow people, or people who bend to pressure in Protestant churches, in educational institutions, and elsewhere.
Seeking the bubble reputation in the form of publicity, or lured by thirty pieces of silver, many “big-time” preachers have shifted the focus of their “thinking” from the “everlasting life” of St. John III, 16, to the “no man spake openly of him” of St. John VII, 13. In their effort to avoid giving offense to non-Christians, or for other reasons, many preachers have also placed their own brand of “social-mindedness over individual character,” their own conception of “human welfare over human excellence,” and, in summary, “pale sociology over Almighty God” (quotes from “This morning” by John Temple Graves, Charleston, S.C., News and Courier, February 10, 1951).
Similar forces inimical to Western Christian civilization are at work in England. In that unhappy land, worn out by wars and ridden almost to death by Attlee’s socialist government (1945-1951), the “Spring 1950 Electoral Register” form dropped the traditional term “Christian name” for the new “Forename” presumably inoffensive to British Jews, Communists, atheists, and other non-Christians. In America, of course, “Christian name” and “Family name” have long since yielded to “first,” “middle,” and “last.” These instances are trivial, if you like, but though mere straws, they show the way the wind is blowing.
Realizing the vast penetration of anti-Christian power – communist, atheist, and what not – into almost every thought-influencing activity in America, a commendable organization known as The Christophers (18 East 48th St., New York 17, N.Y.) has suggested a Christian counter-penetration into vital spots for shaping the future of our children and our land.
Here in their own words, with emphasis supplied by their own italics, is a statement of the purpose of the Christophers:
Less than 1% of humanity have caused most of the world’s recent major troubles. This handful, which hates the basic truth on which this nation is founded, usually strives to get into fields that touch the lives of all people: (1) education, (2) government, (3) the writing end of newspapers, magazines, books, radio, motion pictures, and television, (4) trade unions, (5) social service, and (6) library work.
If another 1% go (or encourage others to go) as Christophers or Christ-bearers into these same 6 fields and work as hard to restore the fundamental truth which the other 1% are working furiously to eliminate, we will soon be on the high road to lasting peace.
Each Christopher works as an individual. He takes out no membership, attends no meetings, pays no dues. Tens of thousands have already gone as Christ-bearers into the marketplace. Our aim is to find a million. Positive, constructive action is needed. “It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.”
The Christophers publish “News Notes” (monthly, free of charge). By these notes (circulation 700,000) and by several books, including Careers That Change Your World and Government Is Your Business, their effort has already made substantial progress. Their movement is worthy of support and imitation. Be it noted that the Christophers are not “anti-” anything. Their program is positive – they are for Christian civilization.
This chapter may well be closed by a reference to the most far-reaching plan for thought-control, or censorship of men’s minds, ever attempted in the United States. Mrs. Anna Rosenberg’s triumphal entry into the Pentagon in late 1950 was not her first. With the administration’s blessing, she appeared there once before to present a plan for giving each World War II soldier an ideological disinfecting before releasing him from service, she to be in charge, presumably, of the ideas to be removed and those to be inculcated. Fortunately (or unfortunately, according to viewpoint) all general officers in the Pentagon were summoned to hear Mrs. Rosenberg, and their unconcealed disgust, along with the humorous and devastating attack of the Washington Times-Herald, killed the proposal. A recent account of Mrs. Rosenberg’s “scheme to establish reorientation camps for American soldiers at the close of the World War II, on the theory they would be unfit to resume their normal lives at home” appeared in the Washington Times-Herald for November 13, 1950.
The public is entitled to know what facts have been blacked out and what ideological doctrines have been inculcated in propaganda fed to our soldiers by the foreign-born Mrs. Rosenberg while in the manpower saddle in the wider field of our unified Department of Defense. In a song by William Blake used in their successful campaign in 1945, British Socialists pledged that they would not abstain from “mental fight” until they had made “Jerusalem” of England (Time, November 5, 1951).
According to Who’s Who in America (Vol. 25), Mrs. Rosenberg’s interests include “mental hygiene.” Can it be that her strong effort for lowering the draft age to eighteen was due to the known fact that boys of that age are more susceptible than older boys to propaganda?
Who is it that has enjoyed the highest military position held by woman since Joan of Arc led the French armies against the English in the fifteenth century? For a partial answer, see the article on Mrs. Rosenberg in the Reader’s Digest of February, 1951. For a portrait of another modern woman who has wielded power over armed men, see the similar article on Ana Rabinsohn Pauker in the same magazine, April, 1949.
The issue – so alive in American hearts – of using the draft, or universal military training, for sinister political propaganda was bluntly stated by Major General William B. Ruggles, Editor-in-Chief of the Dallas Morning News, on March 3, 1951:
If the nation is to draft or even to enlist its manpower in national defense, the nation owes some sort of guarantee to the cannon fodder that it will not be sacrificed to forward devious methods of foreign policy or of war policy that somebody in high office is unwilling to lay on the line. They [U.S. soldiers] face the hazards of death with sublime courage. But they have a right to demand that their own leaders must not stack the cards or load the dice against them.
In 1952, however, the “thought-controllers” grew bolder. “The Pentagon received a jolt in the past week when it scanned a proposal from the State Department that the Army should install ‘political officers,’ one to each unit down to the regimental level” (Human Events, April 9, 1952).
Comparing the startling proposal with the Soviet use of “political commissars,” Human Events states further that “the current daring attempt … to gain control over the minds of youths in uniform” is “embodied in the bill for Universal Military Training, which was shaped and supported by Assistant Secretary of Defense, Anna Rosenberg.”
Surely censorship is at its peak in America today. We must pass quickly into a thought-dictatorship which out-Stalins Stalin – or begin now to struggle as best we can for our ancient liberties of political freedom and freedom of thought.
In the temple in ancient Jerusalem, Christ said: “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (St. John, VIII, 32). This is true not only for religion but for national safety. J. Edgar Hoover, Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, wrote recently: “Communism can be defeated only by the truth” (The Educational Forum, May, 1950).
To become free then we must demand the truth from a government which spends monthly a king’s ransom in propaganda to cover its mistakes and sugar-coat its policies. We must achieve, also, a relaxation of that unofficial censorship which perverts our school books, distorts our histories and our classics, and denies us vital facts about world affairs.
Donate and Make a Difference
War Is Crime is an independent non-commercial website. It is not addressed to "the masses" but to the individuals, to you personally. Please consider sending a donation to help us keep it running. Your generous support makes the world a better place!