...The 20th century has been characterized by three developments of great political importance: The growth of democracy, the growth of corporate power and the growth of corporate propaganda against democracy.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013





Cash strapped towns and cities are scrambling to find ways to save and keep services going. For Highland Park Michigan, the solution is both dangerous and sad:

As the sun dips below the rooftops each evening, parts of this Detroit enclave turn to pitch black, the only illumination coming from a few streetlights at the end of the block or from glowing yellow yard globes.

It wasn't always this way. But when the debt-ridden community could no longer afford its monthly electric bill, elected officials not only turned off 1,000 streetlights. They had them ripped out - bulbs, poles and all. Now nightfall cloaks most neighborhoods in inky darkness.

"How can you darken any city?" asked Victoria Dowdell, standing in the halo of a light in her front yard. "I think that was a disgrace. She said the decision endangers everyone, especially people who have to walk around at night or catch the bus.

Highland Park's decision is one of the nation's most extreme austerity measures, even among the scores of communities that can no longer afford to provide basic services.




The dawn of a new year is usually a time of hope and ambition, of dreams for the future and thoughts of a better life. But it is a long time since many of us looked forward to the new year with such anxiety, even dread.

In Britain, many economists believe that by the end of 2012  could well  slipped into a second devastating recession. The Coalition remains delicately poised; it would take only one or two resignations to provoke a wider schism and a general election.

But the real dangers lie overseas. In the Middle East, the excitement of the Arab Spring has long since curdled into sectarian tension and fears of Islamic fundamentalism. And with so many of the world’s oil supplies concentrated in the Persian Gulf, American families will be keeping an anxious eye on events in the Arab world.

The Battle of Cable Street: Mosley's fascists tried to march through the Jewish East End, a scene that could be repeated

The Battle of Cable Street: Mosley's fascists tried to march through the Jewish East End, a scene that could be repeated

Wall Street Crash 1929: Scenes outside the New York Stock Exchange on the day the stock market crashed may once again become a reality

Wall Street Crash 1929: Scenes outside the New York Stock Exchange on the day the stock market crashed may once again become a reality

Meanwhile, as the eurozone slides towards disaster, the prospects for Europe have rarely been bleaker. Already the European elite have installed compliant technocratic governments in Greece and Italy, and with the markets now putting pressure on France, few observers can be optimistic that the Continent can avoid a total meltdown. 

As commentators often remark, if Europe fails….America follows. The world picture has not been grimmer since the dark days of the mid-Seventies, when the OPEC oil shock, the rise of stagflation and the surge of nationalist terrorism cast a heavy shadow over the Western world.

For the most chilling parallel, though, we should look back exactly 80 years, to the cold wintry days when 1931 gave way to 1932.

The ultimate warning from history: If our political leaders fail to provide adequate direction the results, as demonstrated 80 years ago, could be catastrophic

The ultimate warning from history: If our political leaders fail to provide adequate direction the results, as demonstrated 80 years ago, could be catastrophic

Then as now, few people saw much to mourn in the passing of the old year. It was in 1931 that the Great Depression really took hold in Europe, bringing governments to their knees and plunging tens of millions of people out of work.

Then as now, the crisis had taken years to gather momentum. After the Wall Street Crash in 1929 — just as after the banking crisis of 2008 — some observers even thought that the worst was over.

But in the summer of 1931, a wave of banking panics swept across central Europe. As the German and Austrian financial houses tottered, Britain’s Labour government came under fierce market pressure to slash spending and cut benefits.

Bitterly divided, the Labour leader Ramsay MacDonald decided to resign from office — only to return immediately as the leader of an all-party Coalition known as the National Government, dominated by Stanley Baldwin’s Conservatives.

Like today’s Coalition, the National Government was an uneasy marriage. Sunk in self-pity and spending much of his time flirting with aristocratic hostesses, MacDonald cut a miserable and semi-detached figure. By comparison, even Nick Clegg looks a model of strong, decisive leadership.

As for the Tory leader Stanley Baldwin, he had more in common with David Cameron than we might think. A laid-back Old Harrovian, tolerant, liberal-minded and ostentatiously relaxed, Baldwin spent as much time as possible on holiday in the South of France, preferring to enjoy the Mediterranean sunshine rather than get his hands dirty with the nuts and bolts of policy.

Meanwhile, far from offering a strong and coherent Opposition, the rump Labour Party seemed doomed to irrelevance. At least its leader, the pacifist Arthur Henderson, could claim to be a man of the people, having hauled himself up by his bootstraps from his early days as a Newcastle metal worker.

Not even his greatest admirers could possibly say the same of today’s adenoidal, stammering Opposition leader, the toothless Ed Miliband.

The end of Democracy: The dire situation in 1932 led to many threats to the democratic system we so value, including the assassination of the French President Paul Doumer

The end of Democracy: The dire situation in 1932 led to many threats to the democratic system we so value, including the assassination of the French President Paul Doumer

With the politicians apparently impotent in the face of the economic blizzard, many people were losing faith in parliamentary democracy. Their despair was hardly surprising: in some industrial towns of the North, Wales and Scotland, unemployment in 1932 reached a staggering 70 per cent.

With thousands more being plunged out of work every week, even the National Government estimated that one in four people were making do on a mere subsistence diet. Scurvy, rickets and tuberculosis were rife; in the slag heaps of Wigan, George Orwell saw ‘several hundred women’ scrabbling ‘in the mud for hours’, searching for tiny chips of coal so they could heat their homes.

Feeling betrayed by mainstream politicians, many sought more extreme alternatives. Then as now, Britain was rocked by marches and demonstrations. In October 1932, a National Hunger March in Hyde Park saw bloody clashes between protesters and mounted policemen, with 75 people being badly injured.

Toothless: Ed Miliband can hardly claim to be a man of the people like the pacifist Arthur Henderson

Toothless: Ed Miliband can hardly claim to be a man of the people like the pacifist Arthur Henderson

And while Left-wing intellectuals were drawn to the supposedly utopian promise of the Soviet leader Josef Stalin — who turned out to be a brutal tyrant — thousands of ordinary people flocked to the banners of the British Union of Fascists, founded in the autumn of 1932 by the former Labour maverick Sir Oswald Mosley.

Never before or since has the far Right commanded greater British support — a worrying reminder of the potential for economic frustration to turn into demagogic resentment.

But the most compelling parallels between 1932 and 2012 lie overseas, where the economic and political situation was, if anything, even darker.

Eighty years ago, the world was struggling to come to terms with an entirely new financial landscape. In August 1931, the system by which currencies were pegged to the value of gold had fallen apart, with market pressure forcing Britain to pull the pound off the gold standard.

Almost overnight, the system that was supposed to ensure global economic stability was gone. And as international efforts to coordinate a response collapsed, so nations across the world fell back on self-interested economic protectionism.

In August 1932, the British colonies and dominions met in the Canadian capital, Ottawa, and agreed a policy of Imperial Preference, putting high tariffs on goods from outside the Empire. International free trade was now a thing of the past; in this frightening new world, it was every man for himself.

Today’s situation, of course, is even more frightening. Our equivalent of the gold standard — the misguided folly of the euro — is poised on the brink of disaster, yet the European elite refuse to let poorer Mediterranean nations like Greece and Portugal leave the eurozone, devalue their new currencies and start again.

Should the eurozone collapse, as seems perfectly likely given Greece’s soaring debts, Spain’s record unemployment, Italy’s non-existent growth and the growing market pressure on France’s ailing economy, then the consequences would be much worse than when Britain left the gold standard.

The shockwaves across Europe — which could come as early as next spring — would see banks tottering, businesses crashing and millions thrown out of work. For British firms that trade with Europe, as well as holiday companies, airports, travel firms and the City of London itself, the meltdown of the eurozone would be a catastrophe.

If the eurozone crisis intensifies, then it is no idle fantasy to imagine that Angela Merkel, Nicolas Sarkozy and their Brussels allies will demand an even greater centralisation of powers

If the eurozone crisis intensifies, then it is no idle fantasy to imagine that Angela Merkel, Nicolas Sarkozy and their Brussels allies will demand an even greater centralisation of powers

Vladimir Putin looks almost cuddly in comparison to the rule of dictatorial Stalin in 1932

Vladimir Putin looks almost cuddly in comparison to the rule of dictatorial Stalin in 1932

And as the experience of 80 years ago suggests, the political and social ramifications would be too terrible to contemplate. For in many ways, the 12 months between the end of 1931 and the beginning of 1933 were the tipping point between democracy and tyranny, the moment when the world plunged from an uneasy peace towards hatred and bloodshed.

In the East, new powers were already on the rise. At the end of 1931, Imperial Japan had already launched a staggeringly brutal invasion of China, the Japanese armies pouring into the disputed province of Manchuria in search of raw materials.

Today the boot is on the other foot, with China ploughing billions into its defence programme and establishing de facto economic colonies across Africa, bringing copper, cobalt and zinc back to the mother country.

Indeed, future historians may well look back and see the first years of the 2010s as the moment when the Chinese Empire began to strengthen its global grip.

In the Soviet Union in 1932, meanwhile, Stalin’s reign of terror was intensifying. With dissent crushed by the all-powerful Communist Party, his state-sponsored collectivisation of the Ukrainian farms saw a staggering 6 million die in one of the worst famines in history.

By these standards, the autocratic Vladimir Putin looks almost cuddly.

Barack Obama cuts a similarly impotent, indecisive and isolationist figure. The difference is that in 1932, one of the greatest statesmen of the century, the Democratic politician Franklin D. Roosevelt, was waiting in the wings

Barack Obama cuts a similarly impotent, indecisive and isolationist figure. The difference is that in 1932, one of the greatest statesmen of the century, the Democratic politician Franklin D. Roosevelt, was waiting in the wings

And yet we should not forget that Putin himself described the fall of the Soviet empire as one of the greatest catastrophes of the century — and that half of all Russian teenagers recently told a survey that Stalin was a wise and strong leader.

By comparison, Europe’s democratic leaders look woolly and vacillating, just as they did back in 1932. Indeed, for the democratic West, this was a truly terrible year.

Democracy itself seemed to be under siege. In France, President Paul Doumer was murdered by an assassin. In Portugal, the authoritarian, ultra-Catholic dictator Antonio Salazar launched a reign of terror that would last into the Seventies. And in Italy, the Fascist leader Benito Mussolini strengthened his grip, consolidating Italian power in the looted colonies of Albania and Libya.

Eighty years on, we have no room for complacency. Although the far Right remains no more than a thuggish and eccentric minority, the elected prime ministers of Greece and Italy have already been booted out to make way for EU-approved technocrats for whom nobody has ever voted.

In the new Europe, the will of the people seems to play second fiddle to the demands of Paris and Berlin. And if the eurozone crisis intensifies, then it is no idle fantasy to imagine that Angela Merkel, Nicolas Sarkozy and their Brussels allies will demand an even greater centralisation of powers, provoking nationalist outrage on the streets of Europe’s capitals.

Sadly, there seems little point in looking across the Atlantic for inspiration. In 1932, President Herbert Hoover, beleaguered by rising unemployment and tumbling ratings, flailed and floundered towards election defeat.

Today, Barack Obama cuts a similarly impotent, indecisive and isolationist figure. The difference is that in 1932, one of the greatest statesmen of the century, the Democratic politician Franklin D. Roosevelt, was waiting in the wings.

Today, American voters looking for alternatives are confronted only with a bizarre gaggle of has-beens, inadequates and weirdos, otherwise known as the Republican presidential field. And to anybody who cares about the future of the Western world, the prospect of President Newt Gingrich is frankly spine-chilling.

In Italy, the Fascist leader Benito Mussolini, pictured with Hitler, strengthened his grip, consolidating Italian power in the looted colonies of Albania and Libya

In Italy, the Fascist leader Benito Mussolini, pictured with Hitler, strengthened his grip, consolidating Italian power in the looted colonies of Albania and Libya

Above all, though, the eyes of the world back in 1932 were fixed on Germany. As the Weimar Republic staggered towards oblivion, an obscure Austrian painter was setting his sights on supreme power.

With rising unemployment eating away at the bonds of democratic civility, the National Socialist Party was within touching distance of government.

And in the last days of 1932, after the technocrats and generals had failed to restore order, President Paul von Hindenburg began to contemplate the unthinkable — the prospect of Adolf Hitler as Chancellor of Germany.

We all know what happened next. Indeed, by the end of 1932 the world was about to slide towards a new dark age, an age of barbarism and bloodshed on a scale that history had never known.

Eighty years on, it would be easy to sit back and reassure ourselves that the worst could never happen again. But that, of course, was what people told each other in 1932, too.

The lesson of history is that tough times often reward the desperate and dangerous, from angry demagogues to anarchists and nationalists, from seething mobs to expansionist empires.

Our world is poised on the edge of perhaps the most important 12 months for more than half a century. If our leaders provide the right leadership, then we may, perhaps, muddle through towards slow growth and gradual recovery.

But if the European elite continue to inflict needless hardship on their people; if the markets continue to erode faith in the euro; and if Western politicians waste their time in petty bickering, then we could easily slip further towards discontent and disaster.

The experience of 1932 provides a desperately valuable lesson. As a result of the decisions taken in those 12 short months, millions of people later lost their lives.

Today, on the brink of a new year that could well prove the most frightening in living memory, we can only pray that our history takes a very different path.

The seismic events which have seen the near-destruction of the investment banking sector and the collapse of insurance giant AIG are on the scale of the Great Crash of 1929.

That was such a disaster because it created conditions for the emergence of fascism in continental Europe and then World War II.

Although it is hard to predict the consequences, we should expect ramifications of equal significance — including the re-emergence of violent Far Right parties across the globe.

Some experts were talking this week as if the financial crisis was nearly over. They
could not be more wrong. The downturn has only just begun — and for most citizens
uninvolved with finance the consequences have not been felt at all.

But they will be felt very soon and very brutally. The British economy is in the same position as the Texan coast earlier this month as Hurricane Ike approached — apparently calm, with life going on as normal, but an almighty storm is raging just
over the horizon and heading our way with terrifying speed.

We can expect a sharp increase in personal bankruptcies. Yet the numbers will not peak until this time next year at the earliest.

Hundreds of thousands of people will lose their jobs, with many forced to sell their houses. Property prices will slump.

There will be extreme human suffering, panic and despair. Many careers will be
destroyed. This is considerably worse than the downturn of the early 1990s.

The orthodoxy from the British Government, the Confederation of British Industry and elsewhere that there will be a mild slowdown ending late next year is nonsense.

This crisis is vicious, dynamic and only just beginning.

Even those of us lucky enough not to lose our jobs and our homes will have friends and relatives who do.

Let us examine, first, the fate of City bankers from firms such as Lehman Brothers — all summarily dismissed when their firm went under this week.

They will receive no severance payment and almost no chance ever again of benefiting from the six-figure salaries and massive bonuses they have taken for
granted over the past few years.

That means they cannot service the huge mortgages they have taken out on hugely expensive houses. So this weekend they have become forced sellers — which means that thousands of new For Sale signs will be going up in London and the South-East
in the coming weeks.

Traders work at Lehman Brothers

Personal bankruptcy:Traders and investment bankers face an uncertain future

If these unemployed investment bankers had the misfortune to buy anywhere near the top of the market, they now face the prospect of personal bankruptcy.

This is because they will find that their houses are worth much less than they paid for
them, and will therefore be unable to repay their loan.

With so many vendors on the market obliged to sell at any price, it can be assumed that any London house will fetch 25 per cent less this weekend than it would have done this time last week.

Many of the younger bankers — those in their 20s and 30s with young families — now face utter disaster.

Of course, there is scant public sympathy for these former ‘masters of the universe’ who enjoyed good times.

But we already know that Thursday’s merger of Lloyds Bank and HBOS (supposing it
is completed: contrary to statements by Chancellor Alistair Darling, this is by no means certain) will lead directly to the loss of some 40,000 jobs among
bank workers.

There will be bloodletting on every High Street where there is both an HBOS and Lloyds outlet — one branch will undoubtedly be closed.

But that body-blow is just the start. Over the coming months, the financial typhoon will mercilessly spread outwards and wreak devastation on the economy.

Banks will foreclose on thousands of small businesses.Massive corporate failures are inevitable.

These disasters will then rebound on the financial sector, as company bankruptcies
and plunging house prices force fresh balance sheet write-downs and yet more sackings.

Unemployment — already rising fast and up 80,000 over the summer — is set to surge ahead and will increase well above the two million predicted by economists.

This will produce a vicious spiral. Every worker out of a job means less tax receipts and higher welfare payments.

In last March’s Budget (a work of fiction when it was published), Alistair Darling forecast borrowing this year of £43 billion. Even at the time, this figure was shockingly large.

It meant that only Egypt, Pakistan and Hungary among significant world economies had more profligate government spending than Britain.

Why would a handful of wealthy central banking families want to impoverish the US and render its citizens penniless? Our conclusion is simple: World government is on the way and the American culture is still resistant to the kind of hyper-regulatory corporatism that is necessary to support this kind of governance.

America (the West, generally) has apparently been under attack by an organized cabal of inter-generational banking families and corporate, business and military enablers for at least 200 years now, and perhaps 300 years. In the past 50 years, the pace has accelerated.

One by one, the UN, IMF, World Bank, BIS, ICC (international court), WHO and countless other globalist organizations have been put in place. The mainstream media treats this evolution as inevitable. It cannot be. Each evolution must be planned, funded and promoted. When it comes to politics of this sort, there are no coincidences, as FDR once observed.

We have taken to calling what has evolved “directed history” – in which events including wars are planned to ensure maximum destruction of the culture as it is in order to further militarize, globalize (and impoverish) what remains.

Because America was a “great exception” – founded as a republic with a culture that was relentlessly entrepreneurial and agricultural – America has been under sustained attack to ensure that its culture is Europeanized and recreated as what we call “regulatory democracy.”

Regulatory democracy is one word for what has evolved. Corporatism is another. Fascism (of a sort) would be a third. No matter what word is used, the current Western model for nation states relies heavily on unelected bureaucrats, intelligence agencies and a military industrial complex that basically reports to the aforementioned elites and is not affected by voting or other democratic elements.

The modern nation state is funded by central banks, also seemingly controlled by these elite families, and the ultimate goal is formal global governance. Some question why a formal international government is necessary. The answer is that the elites like to work within a “lawful” environment of their own creation. The more that reality corresponds to their notions and plans, the easier it is to continually consolidate power.

Nothing else – no other sociopolitical model – seems to explain what has happened to America and Europe. The EU is a disaster and the euro has proven to be a currency that has brought ruin on the Southern crescent of that artificial entity. The one-size-fits all central banking policies of the union continue to collapse jobs and economies – something we’ve been forecasting for several years now.

European elites are on record as anticipating the disaster and welcoming it because it will allow for the creation a closer “political union.” But in the Internet era, people are not so easily manipulated as they were in the 20th Century. The pushback to elite plans is extreme. The fate of the EU is by no means pre-determined. Events could easily spin out of control.

In the US, the great merger between Canada, Mexico and America has been all-but-abandoned – for the time being. However, one of the primary figures behind that putative merger is Texas governor Rick Perry who spent much time and political energy in the early 2000s trying create a “North American Union.” In our view it is no accident that he was once a front-runner for the presidency.

The Rick Perry story is certainly illustrative of how the elites work. Perry actively supported a superhighway of some 20 lanes plus railroad tracks that was (and is) planned to bisect the US, running from Mexico to Canada. It would effectively turn the country into two separate halves, both of which would be economic backwaters, as trade and prosperity flowed between Canada and Mexico.

Perry also supported a kind of international health-care in which the US would subsidize medical treatments for Mexicans. He tried to portray this as a rare opportunity to address flaws in the health care system that a bi-national program would counteract. But in reality, it was more internationalism.

Perry was and is a globalist; he is likely a candidate of the elites and it is perhaps no coincidence that he is suddenly a leading GOP choice to run for president. Perry’s globalist sympathies were so evident in Texas that he had to write a book renouncing them.

In his book, from what we can tell, he basically repurposes most if not all of libertarian presidential candidate Ron Paul’s message of small government and reliance on the private sector. Perry’s statements were so extreme, however, that he has made himself a target on both sides of the aisle.

Perry is just one more unmoored and unprincipled politician, willing to undermine his country and its hundreds of millions for personal gain. (Some have compared him to a used car salesman and claimed in another, less corrupt era he would never have achieved his current position.) He has become a millionaire several times over during his political career, and no doubt millions more await him if he does by some chance become president.

Meanwhile, the larger American economy continues to suffer. Critics in the mainstream media will have plenty of explanations for how their country came to be in the shape that it is in. But from our humble perspective, there can only be one explanation; it’s part of a larger plan, at least to some degree. Here’s some more from the article, above:

The poverty rate for all Americans rose in 2010 for the third consecutive year, matching the 15.1% figure in 1993 and pushing many more young adults to double up or return to their parents’ home to avoid joining the ranks of the poor. Taken together, the annual income and poverty snapshot released Tuesday by the U.S. Census Bureau underscored how the recession is casting a long shadow well after its official end in June 2009 …

The total number of Americans who fell below the official poverty line last year rose from 43.6 million in 2009. Of the 2.6-million increase, about two-thirds of the people said they did not work even one week last year. Those with jobs were much less likely to be poor, but the recession and weak recovery have wiped out income gains of prior years for a broad spectrum of workers and their families.

Inflation-adjusted median household income — the middle of the populace — fell 2.3% to $49,445 last year from a year ago and 7% from 2000. “It’s a lost decade for the middle class,” said Sheldon Danziger, a poverty expert at the University of Michigan. The number of poor children younger than 18 reached its highest level since 1962, said William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution.

This is an unmitigated disaster, and it is hitting young people the hardest. Overall, the number of 25- to 34-year-old men and women who were living with their parents last spring totaled 5.9 million, the article tells us, and this is a 25.5% increase since the recession began in 2007.

Of course, we note the words that are used in the article to describe the current conflagration, specifically the “R” word, recession. This is no recession, from what we can tell. Nor has there been a “weak recovery.”

With 50 million or so Americans relying on food stamps and unemployment realistically hovering at least in the 20 percent area (we think its closer to 30 percent), one can use any words one wants to – even “banana” – but a depression is a depression.

The elites, of course, fear depression. While it is important to remove prosperity from people’s lives in order to make them malleable, too much hardship can cause social chaos and the kind of pushback that puts “civilized” institutions at risk. During the Great Depression, the elites were most worried about armed insurrection in America and Europe, especially because there were so many young men with military experience as a result of World War One.

But depression is the logical outcome of the economic system now in place throughout the West. Driven by central bank fiat money divorced from underlying value, powered by taxes, visible and invisible, that take up to 50 percent of the average person’s income, and rigorously controlled by a blizzard of incomprehensible and destructive regulations, the system in place now is Babylonian in its devious intricacy and seemingly beyond redemption.

Add in five or six regional wars in the Middle East and Africa (with more doubtless coming) and the general militarization of the population and the larger model of corporatism, and the results become clear. The economy of the West has been so distorted that price signals are simply not available. No one knows what to invest in because government subsidies, regulation and fiat money have made it impossible to tell a healthy enterprise from a fraudulent one.

There is an easy way out of the depression that is gradually lengthening over the West like a malevolent shadow. Return to free and unregulated markets, disband central banks and let money freely compete and circulate, especially gold and silver.

Stop distorting the economy with endless government fixes, phony wars and the saddlingof the larger culture with the inevitable failing prescriptions of “wise men.” These are simple solutions. They have worked in the past and sooner or later they will work again. The elites, as powerful as they are, cannot forever hold back the logic of the larger market.

It is, in fact, inevitable in our view. In this era of the Internet Reformation, it is likely impossible for the elites to fully complete their globalist campaign. Too much is known about what’s planned and as a result, the great families are turning more and more (ineffectively) to repression, wiretapping and violence to achieve their ends.

Conclusion: This is evidence of the weakness of their position and we have seen no evidence that their situation can much improve either in the long or short term. In the 21st Century we would tend to believe that people may not prove so malleable as the elite has hoped. The Internet Reformation proceeds apace, bringing to the West more and more that is unexpected and hard to control. Directed history is harder and harder to implement. “Things fall apart,” novelist Chinua Achebe once observed. Not just in Africa.

Source: http://www.thedailybell.com/2927/Deliberate-Impoverishment-of-the-Western-World


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Laughing in the face of the Great Depression: Stunning LIFE magazine photos offer glimpse into decades past

magazine LIFE takes on a new form as a coffee table book is released this week to celebrate the publication's 75th anniversary.

The book shows some of the magazine's most famous photographs and includes an entire reprinting of the inaugural issue from November 1936, giving a glimpse back into life during the Great Depression.

The magazine was the brainchild of publisher Henry Luce who had previously founded Time in 1920 and Fortune in 1930.

Having fun in their down time: Workers enjoying a drink in the shanty town that was built to help the construction of the Fort Peck Dam in Montana

Having fun in their down time: Workers enjoying a drink in the shanty town that was built to help the construction of the Fort Peck Dam in Montana

Lively: Life editor Henry Luce preferred to publish the photos showing their fun moments over their working woes

Lively: Life editor Henry Luce preferred to publish the photos showing their fun moments over their working woes

Sign of the times: The signs shown behind the drinking woman highlight the discrimination faced by Native Americans in 1936, an the country's support of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Sign of the times: The signs shown behind the drinking woman highlight the discrimination faced by Native Americans in 1936, an the country's support of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Mr Luce dedicated his new creation to highlighting the value in photojournalism, placing a heavy emphasis on the images of a story as opposed to the text.

The first issue covered the construction of the Fort Peck Dam in Montana, which was slated to be the largest dam ever built at the time.

The cover: Life magazine was dedicated to showcasing photojournalism, and the inaugural cover was particularly ground breaking because it was shot by a female photographer

The cover: Life magazine was dedicated to showcasing photojournalism, and the inaugural cover was particularly ground breaking because it was shot by a female photographer

Men at work: The Fort Peck Dam was a Works Progress Administration project, aimed to increase employment during the Great Depression

Men at work: The Fort Peck Dam was a Works Progress Administration project, aimed to increase employment during the Great Depression

Mr Luce assigned the story to Margaret Bourke-White, the magazine's first female photographer, making her cover shot even more ground-breaking.

Showing his predilection towards the tawdry, Mr Luce preferred the photos shot inside the saloons where the workers went after a long day's labour as opposed to the more industrial images of the efforts of the Works Progress Administration, created in 1935 during the Great Depression to help the unemployed.

World news: This 1934 photo shows Adolf Hitler when he was coming to power in Germany five years before the outbreak of the war in Europe

World news: This 1934 photo shows Adolf Hitler when he was coming to power in Germany five years before the outbreak of the war in Europe

Laughs and screams: The magazine showed the lighter side of life as well, like this photo of children at a puppet show in France dated 1963

Laughs and screams: The magazine showed the lighter side of life as well, like this photo of children at a puppet show in France dated 1963

Caught: Prisoners at Buchenwald, a German Nazi concentration camp, were pictured at the end of World War II

Caught: Prisoners at Buchenwald, a German Nazi concentration camp, were pictured at the end of World War II

Tragic: A U.S. Marine is shown holding a near-dead infant that he found abandoned under a rock while investigating a cave in Japan during WWII

Tragic: A U.S. Marine is shown holding a near-dead infant that he found abandoned under a rock while investigating a cave in Japan during WWII

'It just shows the power of the editors because Bourke-White was a a great photojournalist. ... She went out there and got the whole story, brought it back to New York, Luce looked at it — and he wanted half the story,' said Bob Sullivan, the current managing editor of Life Books.

'The editors, I'm sure at Luce's instruction, only ran the sexy stuff,' he told NPR.

The photos span all topics, but some of the most lasting images are the ones of war.

World War II broke out just five years after the magazine first appeared, and it dedicated quite a staff to the war effort from the get-go.

Civil disobedience: Indian leader Mohandas Gandhi shown with a spinning wheel in the foreground, known as a symbol of the country's independence

Civil disobedience: Indian leader Mohandas Gandhi shown with a spinning wheel in the foreground, known as a symbol of the country's independence

Hollywood: Stars like Marilyn Monroe always caught the public's interest

Hollywood: Stars like Marilyn Monroe always caught the public's interest


The moment: A young kitchen staffer was shown trying to comfort Senator Robert Kennedy after he was shot in a hotel ballroom in 1968

Photographers were sent to the front lines, but kept mind of the magazine's name, paying attention to the daily lives of people across Europe.

In order to span all parts of the American consciousness, the magazine deemed itself a general interest photojournalism magazine, with articles covering Hollywood stars like Marilyn Monroe, baseball players like Mickey Mantle, and jazz legends like Louis Armstrong.

In January 1971, the magazine switched from a weekly to a monthly publication and finally closed its doors to regular circulation in 2000. Now there are occasional special thematic editions.

Legend: Baseball player Mickey Mantle throwing a helmet during a bad game

Legend: Baseball player Mickey Mantle throwing a helmet during a bad game

A different war: Life photographers were also sent to Vietnam and some of their photos from the front lines are the most disturbing

A different war: Life photographers were also sent to Vietnam and some of their photos from the front lines are the most disturbing

Creative genius: Artist Pablo Picasso pictured as he painted with light

Creative genius: Artist Pablo Picasso pictured as he painted with light

let  us go back to the 1940's America and relieve those heady days before WWII. A time similar to our present times.

United States - officially United States of America, republic (2000 pop. 281,421,906), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. It consists of 50 states and a federal district. The conterminous (excluding Alaska and Hawaii) United States stretches across central North America from   Read More...

United States - officially United States of America, republic (2000 pop. 281,421,906), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. It consists of 50 states and a federal district. The conterminous (excluding Alaska and Hawaii) United States stretches across central North America from the Atlantic Ocean on the east to the Pacific Ocean on the west, and from Canada on the north to Mexico and the Gulf of Mexico on the south. The state of Alaska is located in extreme NW North America between the Arctic and Pacific oceans and is bordered by Canada on the east. The state of Hawaii, an island chain, is situated in the E central Pacific Ocean c.2,100 mi (3,400 km) SW of San Francisco. Washington, D.C., is the capital of the United States, and New York is its largest city.

The outlying territories and areas of the United States include: in the Caribbean Basin, Puerto Rico (a commonwealth associated with the United States) and the Virgin Islands of the United States (purchased from Denmark in 1917); in the Pacific Ocean, Guam (ceded by Spain after the Spanish-American War), the Northern Mariana Islands (a commonwealth associated with the United States), American Samoa, Wake Island, and several other islands. The United States also has compacts of free association with the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Republic of Palau, and the Federated States of Micronesia.

Political Geography

The conterminous United States may be divided into several regions: the New England states ( Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut), the Middle Atlantic states ( New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia), the Southeastern states ( North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Kentucky), the states of the Midwest ( Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, and Missouri), the Great Plains states ( North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas), the Mountain states ( Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, and Utah), the Southwestern states ( Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona), and the states of the Far West ( Washington, Oregon, California, and Nevada).

Alaska is the largest state in area (656,424 sq mi/1,700,578 sq km), and Rhode Island is the smallest (1,545 sq mi/4,003 sq km). California has the largest population (2000 pop. 33,871,648), while Wyoming has the fewest people (2000 pop. 493,782). In the late 20th cent., Nevada, Arizona, Florida, Colorado, Utah, Georgia, and Texas experienced the fastest rates of population growth, while California, Texas, Florida, Georgia, Arizona, and North Carolina gained the greatest number of residents. West Virginia, North Dakota, and the District of Columbia experienced population decreases over the same period. The largest U.S. cities are New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, and Philadelphia. Among the other major cities are Boston, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Richmond, Virginia Beach, Charlotte, Atlanta, Jacksonville, Tampa, Miami, Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Detroit, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Saint Louis, Nashville, Memphis, New Orleans, Kansas City, Oklahoma City, DallasFort Worth, Austin, San Antonio, El Paso, Albuquerque, Denver, Salt Lake City, Phoenix, Tucson, Las Vegas, Seattle, Portland, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Jose, Fresno, Long Beach, San Diego, and Honolulu.

Physical Geography

The conterminous United States may be divided into seven broad physiographic divisions: from east to west, the Atlantic–Gulf Coastal Plain; the Appalachian Highlands; the Interior Plains; the Interior Highlands; the Rocky Mountain System; the Intermontane Region; and the Pacific Mountain System. An eighth division, the Laurentian Uplands, a part of the Canadian Shield, dips into the United States from Canada in the Great Lakes region. It is an area of little local relief, with an irregular drainage system and many lakes, as well as some of the oldest exposed rocks in the United States.

The terrain of the N United States was formed by the great continental ice sheets that covered N North America during the late Cenozoic Era. The southern edge of the ice sheet is roughly traced by a line of terminal moraines extending west from E Long Island and then along the course of the Ohio and Missouri rivers to the Rocky Mts.; land north of this line is covered by glacial material. Alaska and the mountains of NW United States had extensive mountain glaciers and were heavily eroded. Large glacial lakes (see Lake Bonneville under Bonneville Salt Flats; Lahontan, Lake) occupied sections of the Basin and Range province; the Great Salt Lake and the other lakes of this region are remnants of the glacial lakes.

The East and the Gulf Coast

The Atlantic–Gulf Coastal Plain extends along the east and southeast coasts of the United States from E Long Island to the Rio Grande; Cape Cod and the islands off SE Massachusetts are also part of this region. Although narrow in the north, the Atlantic Coastal Plain widens in the south, merging with the Gulf Coastal Plain in Florida. The Atlantic and Gulf coasts are essentially coastlines of submergence, with numerous estuaries, embayments, islands, sandspits, and barrier beaches backed by lagoons. The northeast coast has many fine natural harbors, such as those of New York Bay and Chesapeake Bay, but south of the great capes of the North Carolina coast (Fear, Lookout, and Hatteras) there are few large bays. A principal feature of the lagoon-lined Gulf Coast is the great delta of the Mississippi River.

The Atlantic Coastal Plain rises in the west to the rolling Piedmont (the falls along which were an early source of waterpower), a hilly transitional zone leading to the Appalachian Mountains. These ancient mountains, a once towering system now worn low by erosion, extend southwest from SE Canada to the Gulf Coastal Plain in Alabama. In E New England, the Appalachians extend in a few places to the Atlantic Ocean, contributing to a rocky, irregular coastline. The Appalachians and the Adirondack Mountains of New York (which are geologically related to the Canadian Shield) include all the chief highlands of E United States; Mt. Mitchell (6,684 ft/2,037 m high), in the Black Mts. of North Carolina, is the highest point of E North America.

The Plains and Highlands of the Interior

Extending more than 1,000 mi (1,610 km) from the Appalachians to the Rocky Mts. and lying between Canada (into which they extend) in the north and the Gulf Coastal Plain in the south are the undulating Interior Plains. Once covered by a great inland sea, the Interior Plains are underlain by sedimentary rock. Almost all of the region is drained by one of the world's greatest river systems—the Mississippi-Missouri. The Interior Plains may be divided into two sections: the fertile central lowlands, the agricultural heartland of the United States; and the Great Plains, a treeless plateau that gently rises from the central lowlands to the foothills of the Rocky Mts. The Black Hills of South Dakota form the region's only upland area.

The Interior Highlands are located just W of the Mississippi River between the Interior Plains and the Gulf Coastal Plain. This region consists of the rolling Ozark Plateau (see Ozarks) to the north and the Ouachita Mountains, which are similar in structure to the ridge and valley section of the Appalachians, to the east.

The Western Mountains and Great Basin

West of the Great Plains are the lofty Rocky Mountains. This geologically young and complex system extends into NW United States from Canada and runs S into New Mexico. There are numerous high peaks in the Rockies; the highest is Mt. Elbert (14,433 ft/4,399 m). The Rocky Mts. are divided into four sections—the Northern Rockies, the Middle Rockies, the Wyoming (Great Divide) Basin, and the Southern Rockies. Along the crest of the Rockies is the Continental Divide, separating Atlantic-bound drainage from that heading for the Pacific Ocean.

Between the Rocky Mts. and the ranges to the west is the Intermontane Region, an arid expanse of plateaus, basins, and ranges. The Columbia Plateau, in the north of the region, was formed by volcanic lava and is drained by the Columbia River and its tributary the Snake River, both of which have cut deep canyons into the plateau. The enormous Colorado Plateau, an area of sedimentary rock, is drained by the Colorado River and its tributaries; there the Colorado River has entrenched itself to form the Grand Canyon, one of the world's most impressive scenic wonders. West of the plateaus is the Basin and Range province, an area of extensive semidesert.

The lowest point in North America, in Death Valley (282 ft/86 m below sea level), is there. The largest basin in the region is the Great Basin, an area of interior drainage (the Humboldt River is the largest stream) and of numerous salt lakes, including the Great Salt Lake. Between the Intermontane Region and the Pacific Ocean is the Pacific Mountain System, a series of ranges generally paralleling the coast, formed by faulting and volcanism. The Cascade Range, with its numerous volcanic peaks extends S from SW Canada into N California, and from there is continued south by the Sierra Nevada, a great fault block. Mt. Whitney (14,495 ft/4,418 m), in the Sierra Nevada, is the highest peak in the conterminous United States.

The Pacific Coast, Alaska, and Hawaii

West of the Cascades and the Sierra Nevada and separated from them by a structural trough are the Coast Ranges, which extend along the length of the U.S. Pacific coast. The Central Valley in California, the Willamette Valley in Oregon, and the Puget

The forties are pretty well defined by World War II. US isolationism was shattered by the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor. As President Franklin D. Roosevelt guided the country on the homefront, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower commanded the troops in Europe. Gen. Douglas MacArthur and Adm. Chester Nimitz led them in the Pacific. The successful use of an antibiotic, penicillin, by 1941 revolutionized medicine. Developed first to help the military personnel survive war wounds, it also helped increase survival rates for surgery. The first eye bank was established at New York Hospital in 1944.  Unemployment almost disappeared, as most men were drafted and sent off to war. Shopping downtown Houston in 1940's, Rice Hotel in background The government reclassified 55% of their jobs, allowing women and blacks to fill them. First, single women were actively recruited to the workforce. In 1943, with virtually all the single women employed, married women were allowed to work. Japanese immigrants and their descendants, suspected of loyalty to their homelands, were sent to internment camps.

Sailor with cow - There were scrap drives for steel, tin, paper and rubber.  These were a source of supplies and gave people a means of supporting the war effort. Automobile production ceased in 1942, and rationing of food supplies began in 1943. Victory gardens were re-instituted and supplied 40% of the vegetables consumed on the home front. In April, 1945, FDR died, and President Harry Truman celebrated V-E Day on May 8, 1945. Japan surrendered only after two atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The United States emerged from World War II as a world superpower, challenged only by the USSR. While the USSR subjugated the defeated countries, the US implemented the Marshall Plan, helping war-torn countries to rebuild and rejoin the world economy. Disputes over ideology and control led to the Cold War. Communism was treated as a contagious disease, and anyone who had contact with it was under suspicion. Alger Hiss, a former hero of the New Deal, was indicted as a traitor and the House Un-American Activities Committee began its infamous hearings.

Returning GI's created the baby boom, which is still having repercussions on American society today. Although there were rumors, it was only after the war ended that Americans learned the extent of the Holocaust. Realization of the power of prejudice helped lead to Civil Rights reforms over the next three decades. Nurse in front of typical 40s car. The Servicemen's Readjustment Act, commonly known as the GI Bill of Rights, entitled returning soldiers to a college education. In 1949, three times as many college degrees were conferred as in 1940.  College became available to the capable rather than the privileged few.

Television made its debut at the 1939 World Fair, but the war interrupted further development. In 1947, commercial television with 13 stations became available to the public. Computers were developed during the early forties. The digital computer, named ENIAC, weighing 30 tons and standing two stories high, was completed in 1945.

REF E169.12 .A419   American Decades 1940-1949
Business, government, education, arts, science and sports .
REF E178.5.A48  Album of American History  Vol V and VI
This is a great book to give the reader the real flavor of the decade because it is made up of photographs, captions, and brief entries.
REF E174.D62  Dictionary of American History
From very brief to multi-page signed entries on topics in American history. Also available through NetLibrary.
REF E740.7 .E53  Encyclopedia of the United States in the Twentieth Century
Articles evaluating the trends in American politics, people, economics, culture.
REF E169.1 A471872  America in the 20th Century
1940-1949 is covered in volume 5.  Information is readable and concise, covering the War, the homefront, labor and the arts. 
REF E173.A793 The Annals of America
Use volume 16.  Set contains essays and excepts from important writers and on important topics of the time.  Most valuable for this research.
At the beginning of the Thirties the American 1930s cars had also foot boards, sunshades on the windscreen of the car, separate drum formed headlights and also rear lights attached to the car by connecting rods. American cars appeared with rounded edges, headlights build within the chassis of the car, but also the driving comfort improved. The radiator grille and shell were titled back slightly, which made the 1930s automobiles looking like more speedier. Affordable security glass was used as windscreens. Low pressure inner tube tires and also windscreen wipers appeared on the American cars during the Thirties mostly as safety measures.
In the 1930s, a wide variety of automobile manufacturers were also offering increasingly sophisticated and beautiful vehicles -- especially for the fortunate few who lived in luxury during the Great Depression. The luxury 1930s cars saw the implementation of new manufacturing methods, new inventions (e.g., the automatic transmission), new engines (e.g., the V-8, the V-12, and the V-16), in addition to the rise of automotive stylists, such as Harley Earl.
The 1930s cars, in contrast to the style-conscious luxury days of the 1920s -- saw a renewed emphasis on the mechanical qualities of cars. Many new innovations were introduced into the 1930s automobiles, and became common by the end of, the 1930s, including: synchromesh transmissions (for smoothing shifting), automatic chokes, built-in trunks, hydraulic brakes, and gear shifts mounted on steering columns ("stick-on-a-tree").

    All through the 1930s, GM engineers and designers made continual improvements in 1930's cars' frames, bodies, engines, and transmissions. In 1933, GM added no-draft ventilation to all its cars and developed independent front-wheel suspension. In 1936, Knee-Action suspension made Chevrolets an even smoother ride. All 1937 GM automobiles of the 1930s makes featured an all-steel body and optional windshield defrosters. In 1938, a car radio was introduced as an option on Buicks, and GM’s Harley Earl designed a historic one-off: the Buick Y-Job. The world’s first “concept car” prefaced a generation of dream cars and anticipated the styling of the 1940s cars . Featuring a revolutionary flowing look, it had power windows, a power convertible top, power door locks, and power steering. In the late 1930s GM changed the economy of trucks and trains by perfecting the 2-cycle diesel engine, and in 1939 the first standard turn signals blinked on GM 1930s cars.


    After 1929, the American automobile industry, suffered a hard blow because of the economical depression which started with the crash on Wall Street in October 1929. The years 1931 and 1932 were very hard for the American automobile industry. There were not so many 1930s cars sales as during the 1920s, because of the depression, but the face lift, styling and design of a car was a very important invention to attract new buyers . The gloomy (chromed) and streamline styled cars were very typical for the end of the 1930s. The American automobile changed during the Thirties. The automobile changed from the traditional four-square styling that prevailed into the early Thirties, towards a streamlined (Tear-drop shaped) car at the end of the Thirties. The Thirties are in fact the decade that largely established the shape of cars we know today. A comparison of the typical 1930 model (T-Ford model) with its 1939 descendant provides dramatic proof of how complete the transformation was on the Ford 1930s cars.

    The greatest impact of the streamlined designs was in fact that the 1930's cars became eye catchers. Automobiles of the 1930s became to look like art. Most cars were build on a simple, high, carriage-like chassis rolling on wood-spoke wheels and solid tires. From 1932 on, American cars changed.

    Most of the design innovations that appeared in the 1930s cars originated at the various independent manufacturers and not the "Big Three" of Chrysler, Ford, and GM. It is not strange that the smaller car producers used more techniques of renewing design and styling, they mostly suffered from the depressed economy of the car business throughout the 1930s. The big car producers could lean back and look what happened with the little ones during the depression, they were big enough to survive.


    American Automakers


    Another interesting invention 1930s cars was made by GM . GM introduced the re-styling or face-lift of automobiles. Other automobile producers followed GM with the face-lift strategy. Before this face-lift operation by GM, you already could build your own car together by your own taste and view. But the change in philosophy of car producing throughout the 1930s was in fact that a car should be designed as a whole rather than as a bunch of collected parts. During the 1930s the radiator jacket became more the face of the 1930s cars. Most of the radiator jackets became chromed. Such a chromed radiator jacket looked more attractive and made the car more gloomier. But also other parts of the car, like parts of the wheel protection boards became chromed and also other ornamental strips. The car became to look more and more gloomier throughout the Thirties. The car became a symbol of new prosperity hopes during the depression of the 1930s. The aerodynamic vision also became an important part in designing 1930s cars throughout the Thirties. Aerodynamics and the streamlined design increased as well the volume of the automobiles engine. Streamlining a car also meant that more fuel, which already was cheap in the US, could be saved because of this streamlining.

    1933 Buick


    The first automobile producer of the US who really used the techniques of aerodynamics and streamlining was Chrysler . Chrysler used it as the first in its Airflow model in 1934. The Airflow was in fact the first streamlined car of the world, but the American public didn't like it. The Airflow was in fact the breakthrough of the American car entering the era of streamlined and aerodynamic designed and styled 1930s cars. Most of the car producers, also from the "Big Three", were entering this new era, although slowly. Lots of these car producing manufacturers had their own architects and designers at work for designing new streamlined and gloomy looking cars, which were typical for the second half of the 1930s.


    Another victory won by Henry Ford was patent battle with George B. Selden. Selden, who had never built an automobile, held a patent on a "road engine", on that basis Selden was paid royalties by all American car manufacturers. Ford overturned Selden's patent and opened the American 1930s car market for the building of inexpensive cars. In 1932, Henry Ford introduced his last great personal engineering triumph: his "en block", or one piece, V-8 engine. Offered as an option to an improved 4-cylinder Model "B" engine in these low priced 1930s cars, this compact V-8 power plant, with its down draft carburetor, enabled 1932 Ford to outperform all other popular competitors and was 20 years ahead of its time. The improved proportions and styling of these cars reflected Edsel Ford's genius for design.

    1932 Ford V-8 Cabriolet

    The 1932 Ford automobile combines the attractive facelift of the 1931 Model A with the world's first low-priced, cast-in-one-piece V-8 engine. When the V-8 first made its appearance in the 1932 Ford, it heralded the era of the American dream car: large, powerful, and soft-sprung. Basic mechanical configuration changed little from the late 1930s until the advent of the downsized front-wheel-drive cars of the 1980s. The final element in the equation, the automatic transmission, first appeared in the 1940 Oldsmobile.


    Had it not been part of General Motors, Cadillac might have perished in the Depression, a time when few could afford -- or wanted to be seen in -- big, expensive automobiles no matter how superb.Unlike independent Packard, which was forced to survive with medium-priced products, Cadillac was protected by GM's vast size and enormous financial strength. Then, too, the division already had a medium-priced car, the LaSalle, introduced in 1927. All this helped Cadillac endure "hard times" without squandering its blue-chip image, even as it built ultra-luxury 1930s cars selling only in small numbers. Cadillac introduced its ultra-luxury V16 model, the Sixteen, in 1930.

    1930 Cadillac Sixteen Convertible


    Historically speaking, 1930 was not a very exciting year for Plymouth - or for anyone else in the automobile industry for that matter. 1929 had been a banner year, the best year ever in the industry's history to be exact, despite the fact that the stock market had crashed in October, plunging the world into the worst depression ever known by man. But the real effects of the Depression were just really starting to be felt. Plymouth entered the market with a car that can best be described as "confusing" - it was almost a totally new car, yet it was very much the same old car it had been in years past - Model 30U. It sat on a new frame, it had a completely revised engine, a new wide band radiator and most importantly, an all steel body; yet with the exception of the new radiator shell, it looked almost identical to the cars it was to replace. And as the model year continued, the car changed ever so slightly, in some cases incorporating items that were being developed for the totally new car that was to replace it, the Model PA. Production of the Model 30U enjoyed a 14 month production run, one of the longest in Plymouth's history. But its 1930s cars gave the company some staying power.


    European Automakers

    Car sales in Sweden fell as a result of the international economic crisis. Even so, Volvo (now owned by
    Ford) maintained its market share of 8% of its 1930s cars. A great deal happened at Volvo during 1935. The big news was the PV36, "the streamlined car". The PV36 were advanced 1930s cars which was clearly inspired by US designs.The PV36 was nicknamed the Carioca, perhaps because the Carioca was a South-American dance that was in fashion at the time. 1939With the onset of the Second World War, fuel shortages became acute. One alternative to petrol was producer-gas, which was made of charcoal. Volvo had already started manufacturing producer-gas units by the spring of this year, which meant a head start over the competition.

    BMW 328 Roadster - one of 25 finalists for Car of the Century
    The BMW 328 Roadster, produced between 1936-1940, has been named one of 25 finalists for Car of the Century by a world wide panel of automotive journalists. The program began in 1996 with an initial list of 700 eligible cars that has been narrowed to the 25 recently announced."We are thrilled to have the BMW 328 as one of 25 nominees for the Car of the Century," states Mr. Hendrik von Kuenheim, President and CEO of BMW Canada Inc. "What made the 328 such a huge success 60 years ago - sporty performance, enduring styling and Mille Miglia-winning reliability - still remains a hallmark of our marque today. This honour is certainly a testament to the engineering and design heritage of
    BMW ."The BMW 328 is a milestone in automobile history and was the most successful sports car of the 1930s. Making its competition debut at the famed Nürburgring racetrack in June 1936, the BMW 328 proved unbeatable in international sportscar races in the two-liter class. This high performance sportscar proved suitable not only for the BMW factory drivers, but also perfect for everyday motoring. The elegantly cowled back wheels, long hood and distinctive dashboard made the 328 an instant hit with sportscar aficionados of the 1930s cars, and helped set styling trends still in evidence today. These 1930s cars command very high prices in the vintage market.

    Mercedes Benz Speed Record
    January 28, 1938: Rudolf Caracciola, a Mercedes-Benz (now owned by
    Daimler) racing car and the all-time world record of 432.7 kilometers per hour on the motorway; "Once again, the road ahead contracted into a narrow white band and bridges across the motorway into small black holes. I had to steer with maximum precision at the speed I was driving, but before my brains realized what to do, the car had already raced past."

    In the thirties of the last century, motor manufacturers liked to highlight the launch of a new car – and especially a new racing car – with impressive records. In early 1934, for instance, the newly founded company AutoUnion established the highly prestigious one-hour world record in a first attempt, thereby providing convincing proof of its capabilities. Needless to say, this was also a challenge for their well-established competitor in Stuttgart-Untertürkheim.


United States Rearmament
AS 1937 drew to a close the situation in the world became increasingly threatening. The hostilities between China and Japan raged with growing intensity; in Europe, Spain was torn by a civil struggle which threatened to turn into a general continental war. In November 1937 Italy joined Germany and Japan in the Anti-Comintern Pact. Meanwhile, Germany, arming at a feverish pace, was causing grave apprehension as to its intentions toward the European political structure.

During this period there developed considerable public support in the United States for the adoption of a constitutional amendment requiring a popular vote as prerequisite to a declaration of war by the Congress. Both President Roosevelt and Secretary of State Hull at various times expressed their strong opposition to this proposal. On January 6, 1938 the President wrote to the Speaker of the House of Representatives that such an amendment "would cripple any President in his conduct of our foreign relations" and "would encourage other nations to believe that they could violate American rights with impunity" Secretary Hull on January 8 warned that the proposal would impair the ability of the Government to safeguard the peace of the people of the United States. On January 10 the proposal was voted on by the House of Representatives but was rejected by the close vote of 209 to 188.

President Roosevelt recommended to Congress, in a special message of January 28, 1938, the strengthening of our national defense. The President reported with deep regret that armaments were increasing "at an unprecedented and alarming rate". He called attention to the ominous fact that at least one fourth of the world's population was involved in "merciless devastating conflict" in spite of the fact that most people in most countries wished to live at peace. As Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy, the President deemed it his constitutional duty to report to the Congress that the national defense of the United States was, in the light of the increasing armaments of other nations, inadequate for purposes of national security and therefore required increase. The President said that "adequate defense" meant that for the protection not only of our coasts but also of our communities far removed from the coasts, we must keep any potential enemy many hundreds of miles away from our continental limits. We could not assume, he stated, that our defense would be limited to one ocean and one coast and that the others would certainly be safe. "Specifically and solely because of the piling up of additional land and sea armaments in other countries" the President recommended to Congress that authorizations be granted for substantial increases in military and naval armament. Included were recommendations for increasing by 20 percent the existing naval building program and for appropriations to lay down two additional battleships and two additional cruisers during 1938.

The President's proposals for military and naval rearmament were debated in Congress during the spring of 1938. Doubt was expressed in some quarters that the proposed naval increases were really necessary for the defense of the United States, and several Senators and Representatives voiced the suspicion that the contemplated naval increases were based on an agreement for naval cooperation with some other power, such as Great Britain. Secretary of State Hull took cognizance of these ideas in a letter to a member of Congress on February 10, 1938. He stated categorically his opinion that the proposed naval program was needed for the defense of the United States. Referring to the desire of the people and Government of the United States to keep out of war, he said that those who, with a full sense of responsibility, were advocating this program, were doing so in the belief that its adoption would contribute to achieving this desire. Secretary Hull pointed out that the Navy, even with the proposed increases, would not be able to embark upon offensive or aggressive operations overseas.

The Secretary also declared that the proposed program did not contemplate naval cooperation with any other power in the world that the policy of the United States was to avoid both extreme internationalism and extreme isolation; that, while avoiding alliances and entangling commitments, it was advisable to confer and exchange information with other governments having common objectives and, when practicable, to proceed on parallel lines. Finally, the Secretary said that if every peaceful nation insisted on remaining aloof from every other peaceful nation and on pursuing a policy of armament limitation without reference to relative armaments, the inevitable consequences would be to encourage and even to assist nations inclined to play lawless roles.

The President's proposals for military and naval rearmament were substantially adopted by the Congress.

By July 1, 1938 Secretary of War Woodring was able to report encouraging improvements in the military establishment. He declared, however, that there were still deficiencies in organization, equipment, and personnel that required correction. The Chief of Staff of the Army, General Malin Craig, pointed out at the same time that the Regular Army ranked only eighteenth among the standing armies of the world.
German Occupation of Austria
During this period Secretary Hull was proceeding on the theory that Germany was "bent on becoming the dominating colossus of continental Europe", as he later said during a conversation with the Canadian Minister.

The Secretary conferred with German Ambassador Dieckhoff on January 14, 1938. He told the Ambassador that the supreme issue of the time was whether the principles underlying the structure of international law and order should be preserved or whether the doctrine of force, militarism, and aggression and destruction of all international law and order should prevail. He said that all nations could with perfect consistency join in support of the former alternative no matter what their form of government. The Secretary said that this program contemplated that the road to permanent peace was based upon these principles which in turn rested upon the solid foundation of economic readjustment.

On March 11, 1938 Hitler sent his armed forces into Austria and on March 13 proclaimed the union of Germany and Austria. This action was taken in violation of Hitler's declaration of three years earlier that Germany had neither the intention nor the wish to annex Austria.
Secretary Hull's Address of March 17
The Secretary of State in an address at Washington, March 17, 1938, declared that the momentous question was whether the doctrine of force would once more become enthroned or whether the United States and other peaceful nations would work unceasingly to preserve law, order, morality, and justice as the bases of civilized international relations.

The Secretary said that the United States might, if it chose, turn its back on the whole problem and decline the responsibility of contributing to its solution. But he warned of what such a choice would involve. It would mean a voluntary abandonment of some of the most important things that had made us great; an abject retreat before the forces which we had consistently opposed throughout our whole national history. Our security would be menaced as other nations came to believe that through fear or unwillingness we did not propose to protect our legitimate interests abroad, but intended to abandon them at the first sign of danger. The sphere of all of our international relations would shrink until we stood practically alone among the nations, "a self-constituted hermit state". We would find it necessary to reorganize our entire social and economic structure, which would mean lower living standards, regimentation, and wide-spread economic distress.

All this, the Secretary said, would be done in order to avoid war. But, he asked, would this policy give any such assurance? He believed that reason and experience definitely pointed to the contrary. We might seek to withdraw from participation in world affairs, "but we cannot thereby withdraw from the world itself". Isolation, he declared, "is not a means to security; it is a fruitful source of insecurity".

Secretary Hull emphasized that for the sake of our own best interests we must maintain our influence in world affairs and our participation in efforts toward world progress and peace. Only by making our reasonable contribution to a firm establishment of a world order based on law "can we keep the problem of our own security in true perspective, and thus discharge our responsibility to ourselves".

Increased Tension in Europe
The months following the seizure of Austria saw a new wave of tension sweep over Europe. It soon became evident that Hitler, his appetite whetted for further conquests, was casting covetous eyes toward the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia. Meanwhile, the ruthless and barbarous persecution of minorities which the Nazis had imposed in Germany was drastically put into effect in Austria.

On July 7, 1938 Secretary Hull talked with the German Ambassador about the European situation. He told the Ambassador that this Government had been earnestly hoping that the German Government would reach a stage where it would decide to support the program of peace and orderly progress which the United States had been striving to keep alive and to advance. The Secretary said that there was only one alternative course-the course of force, militarism, and territorial aggression with all the accompanying hurtful and destructive practices; that this course was leading the world inevitably backward instead of forward and would sooner or later bring on a general war.

Throughout the summer of 1938 the tension between Germany and Czechoslovakia mounted. Germany launched a "War of nerves" against the latter, and it became evident that Hitler was bent on securing his territorial designs on the Sudetenland, even at the risk of a general war. By the middle of September the crisis was nearing a climax, and all over Europe armies were put on a war footing The British Government tried to halt the threatened catastrophe when Prime Minister Chamberlain went to Germany for several conferences with Hitler, but this effort appeared fruitless as the latter remained inexorable in his demands upon Czechoslovakia.

In the midst of this tension, President Roosevelt early on September 26 sent a personal message to the heads of the Governments of Czechoslovakia, France, Germany, and Great Britain. The President stated that the fabric of peace on the continent of Europe and possibly throughout the rest of the world was in immediate danger; that the consequences of its rupture were incalculable. He said that the supreme desire of the American people was to live in peace, but in the event of a general war they faced the fact that no nation could escape some measure of its consequences. Referring to the Kellogg-Briand Pact and other instruments for the pacific settlement of disputes, he said that whatever might be the differences in the controversies at issue he was persuaded that there was no problem so difficult or so pressing for solution that it could not be justly solved by resort to reason rather than by resort to force. The President said that so long as negotiations continued there would remain the hope that reason and the spirit of equity might prevail and that the world might thereby escape the madness of a new resort to war. On behalf of the people of the United States and for the sake of humanity everywhere, he appealed for the continuance of negotiations looking to a peaceful, fair, and constructive settlement of the questions at issue.

Later on September 26 President Roosevelt received replies from the Governments of Czechoslovakia, France, and Great Britain assuring him of their desire to avoid recourse to force and of their willingness to search for a peaceful solution. On the same day the President received a reply from Chancellor Hitler which made it clear that if the Sudetenland were not handed over to Germany, Hitler would endeavor to take it by force.

On September 27 Secretary Hull sent urgent instructions to our diplomatic representatives throughout the world to express the opinion of this Government that no step should be overlooked that might possibly contribute to the maintenance of peace and that if the governments to which they were accredited would send messages to Germany and Czechoslovakia emphasizing the supreme importance of a peaceful settlement of the dispute, the cumulative effect of such an expression of opinion might possibly contribute to the preservation of peace.

In a message of September 27 to Premier Mussolini the President asked whether the latter would extend his help in the continuation of the efforts to arrive at an agreement by negotiation rather than by resort to force.

President Roosevelt on September 27 sent a second appeal to Hitler for the continuance of negotiations until a fair and constructive solution was reached. The President reminded Hitler that negotiations were still open; that they could be continued if he would give the word. Should the need for supplementing them become evident, the President believed that nothing stood in the way of widening their scope into a conference of all the nations directly interested in the controversy. The President said that such a meeting might be held at once in a neutral country in Europe and would offer an opportunity for this and correlated questions to be solved in a spirit of justice and fair dealing. The President concluded his appeal with the statement that "the conscience and the impelling desire of the people of my country demand that the voice of their Government be raised again and yet again to avert and to avoid war".

On September 28, 1938 the German Ambassador called on the Secretary of State. The Secretary referred to the impression create that Hitler was seeking "general dominion by force". The Ambassador hastily denied that Hitler had world ambitions. The Secretary again referred to the question of acquiring dominion generally over territory, and the Ambassador denied again that Germany had such territorial ambitions.

At literally the "eleventh hour", when almost all hope of preventing a general European war had vanished, the heads of government of Great Britain, France, Germany, and Italy agreed to meet at Munich, in a last-minute effort to avoid war. They reached an agreement on September 29, 1938 that the Sudetenland of Czechoslovakia be handed over to Germany.

On the next day Secretary Hull, by way of warning against any assumption that the Munich agreement insured peace or was based on sound principles, and of emphasizing the necessity for the nations of the world to redouble their efforts on behalf of maintaining peace base on such principles, made a statement as follows:

"As to immediate peace results, it is unnecessary to say that the afford a universal sense of relief. I am not undertaking to pass upon the merits of the differences to which the Four-Power Pact signed Munich on yesterday related. It is hoped that in any event the forces which stand for the principles governing peaceful and orderly international relations and their proper application should not relax, but redouble, their efforts to maintain these principles of order under law resting on a sound economic foundation."

A month after the Munich crisis, which had brought Europe close to a general war than it had been since the guns were stilled in November 1918, Secretary of State Hull made another urgent appeal for a return to the ways of peace. In an address on November 1, 1938 the Secretary warned that the world was at a crossroads but that it power of choice was not lost. One of the roads ahead, he said, was that of increased reliance on armed force as an instrument of nation policy, which meant the sacrifice of individual well-being, a regimentation of national life, and a lowering of material, cultural, an spiritual standards. If the nations continued along this road, declared, they would be marching toward the final catastrophe of new world war, "the horror and destructiveness of which pass human imagination". The other road, he said, was that of reliance on peaceful processes and the rule of law and order in personal and international relations, with the result that vast productive forces would be released for the advancement of mankind and the human mind enabled to turn once more to the arts of peace.

In this address Secretary Hull expressed his conviction that with out economic security and well-being there could be no social or political stability in national life, and that without economic, social and political stability within nations there could be no peaceful an orderly relations among nations. He declared that the withdrawal by a nation from orderly trade relations with the rest of the world inevitably leads to regimentation of all phases of national life, to the suppression of human rights, and frequently to preparation for war and a provocative attitude toward other nations. (119)
Return of United States Ambassador From Germany
During the autumn of 1938 German persecution of the Jews, which had been severe for some time, became increasingly violent and profoundly shocked the people of the United States. On November President Roosevelt stated that he could "scarcely believe that such things could occur in a twentieth-century civilization". As an expression of the condemnation by the people and Government of the United States, the President ordered Ambassador Hugh Wilson to return from Germany at once.
Lima Conference
With wars and rumors of wars in Europe and Asia, the American republics, at peace with the world, continued their efforts to advance the principles of international law and order and to protect themselves from dangers outside the Western Hemisphere. They had taken definite steps in this direction at Montevideo in 1933 and Buenos Aires in 1936. They assembled again in December 1938 Lima.

At the Lima conference the 21 American republics agreed upon a "Declaration of the Solidarity of America", which stated in effect: They reaffirmed their continental solidarity and their purpose to collaborate in the maintenance of its underlying principles; faithful to these principles and to their absolute sovereignty, they reaffirmed their decision to maintain and defend them against all foreign intervention or activity that might threaten; they proclaimed their common concern and their determination to make effective their solidarity in case the peace, security, or territorial integrity of any American republic should be threatened; and in order to facilitate consultation, the Foreign Ministers of the American republics agreed to meet whenever it was deemed desirable.

The 21 republics also issued a "Declaration of American Principles" calling for pacific settlement of international differences, proscription of force as an instrument of national or international policy, proscription of intervention; respect for treaties and international law, peaceful collaboration and intellectual interchange among nations, economic reconstruction, and international cooperation.

ART & ARCHITECTURETypical early ranch style house during the 40s

As Adolf Hitler systematically eliminated artists whose ideals didn't agree with his own, many emigrated to the United States, where they had a profound effect on American artists. The center of the western art world shifted from Paris to New York. To show the raw emotions, art became more abstract. Abstract Expressionism, also known as the New York School, was chaotic and shocking in an attempt to maintain humanity in the face of insanity. Jackson Pollock was the leading force in abstract expressionism, but many others were also influential, including Willem de Kooning, Mark Rothko, Ad Reinhardt, Robert Motherwell, Lee Krasner, Franz Kline, Piet Mondrian, Arshile Gorky, Adolf Gottlieb, and Hans Hofmann. Andrew Wyeth, the most popular of American artists, didn't fit in any movement. His most popular work, Christina's World, was painted in 1948. Sculpture, too, became abstract and primitive, utilizing motion in Alexander Calder's mobiles, and modern materials such as steel and "found objects" rather than the traditional marble and bronze.

In architecture, nonessentials were eliminated, and simplicity became the key element. In some cases, such as Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's famous glass house, even practicality was ignored. Modern glass-and-steel office buildings began to rise after the war ended. Pietro Belluschi designed the prototype Equitable Savings and Loan building, a "skyscraper" of twelve stories. Eliel Saarinen utilized contemporary design, particularly in churches. The dream home remained a Cape Cod. After the war, suburbs, typified by Levittown, with their tract homes and uniformity, sprang up to house returning GI's and their new families. The average home was a one level Ranch House, a collection of previously unaffordable appliances surrounded by minimal living space. The family lawn became the crowning glory and symbol of pride in ownership.

Paranoia is a powerful and underappreciated force for defining and enforcing group norms. A paranoid world is one of strong contrasts, with a few points of light --- certainly not a thousand --- and much threatening shadow.

Group paranoia members get a twofer: a shared worldview and a "reason" for every setback --- and small groups have many. The power and resourcefulness of one's enemies testify to your own importance.

One way to justify the abuse of power is to claim victimhood --- not a stretch for the paranoiac. The New Testament stories of Christian persecution and injustice offer Westerners a vivid script that elevates prosaic disagreements into cosmic battles for the soul of man and the fate of the universe.

Recently, for example, some particularly clueless Christians claimed to suffer persecution for their faith, as shopkeepers wished them an ecumenical "happy holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas." Proof, they said, of a conspiracy by liberals, atheists and Jews to eviscerate the republic's core Christian beliefs, such as democracy (invented by pagans well before the time of Jesus) and freedom of religion: the only logical response to the horrors of the "Christian on Christian" Thirty Years War.

The shared vision of a secret unholy cabal of great power battling selfless and beleaguered Christians encapsulates and defines true believers, while giving cosmic significance to pedantic rants against shopkeepers. By contrast, numerically much less successful Judaism, which has suffered continual persecution for over 3,000 years, has not abandoned itself to such paranoia. Perhaps differentiating real threats from imagined threats has survival value for a militarily weak people.

As with early Christians, the young America also fought a great power that threatened destruction to its true believers and chief actors. Some bold plots were hatched against the young country, up to and including treason. Disagreements over whether a strong central government should be empowered to respond to these and other threats divided the founders and led to the rise of faction and then parties. Over time America grew stronger and became the centerpiece of the world's power structure. But the paranoia engendered by our early history and our national penchant for credulity still play an important role in our national mythology.

Today America is the world's only superpower. It may be difficult to imagine the post-WWII world in which a virtually unscathed America felt deeply threatened by a few thousand Communist zealots and their overseas supporters.

It was a time when far-rightists called Dwight D. Eisenhower a Communist, when a sitting wartime President faced vicious right-wing smears of his patriotism and motives, when an arch-conservative senator would lead a witch hunt that paralyzed the nation through intimidation and fear ... while the nation's media either cheered him on or simply failed to call him to account.

It was, finally, a time when the US Congress passed, and the President signed, a bill establishing a chain of detention camps in expectation of mass arrests of subversives, saboteurs and enemy aliens.

This sounds like McCarthyism, but it wasn't.

Senator Joe McCarthy, the freshman minority-party senator from Wisconsin had no real power, but Senator Patrick McCarran --- majority-party senior senator from Nevada, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, master political infighter and populist turned anti-New Dealer and ardent anti-Communist --- did. Joe McCarthy was a sideshow, ever colorful and quotable, who dominated news coverage ... while the heavy lifting was done by McCarran and his Republican co-conspirators.

Ybarra's book gives an exhaustive recounting of McCarran's anti-communist crusade of the early 50's, in addition to a detailed and sympathetic portrait of his impoverished early life.

§     §     §

McCarran can't be understood without historical context. The time of America's great depression was a complex time and Ybarra recounts it nicely. Weaving McCarran's early life into the history of Nevada, Ybarra ties them into the social history of the Great Depression and the concomitant social upheaval here and in Europe. The great fear was the bloody Communist revolution in Russia --- just as 130 years earlier the fear of a bloody French revolution brought to these shores had split the Whigs from the Jeffersonian Republicans.

From Russia, Stalin sought to export Communism wherever he could. Moscow supported foreign Communist parties and used them for intelligence and, where possible, active subversion. In Europe the battles between right and left were often pitiless. In depression-era America, though, the Communist effort was attenuated by America's natural practicality. The system was badly broken but most Americans wanted improvement, not revolution.

The Communist conspiracy was real. Card-carrying Communists and sympathizers existed, and some of them worked for the government and policy organizations. Some of them provided a steady stream of internal government papers and memoranda that were promptly transmitted to the Comintern and Moscow.

Later, some of these fellow-travelers repented and testified against their former colleagues. In many cases it is only now --- with access to the former Soviet Union's intelligence files --- that we can sort out the truth of the many charges and counter-charges that flew in the overheated atmosphere.

In the '40's, of course, Stalin's Soviet Union was the most important US ally in World War II against Nazi Germany. The Russians bore the brunt of the Nazi war machine, and the brutal war of attrition against the Wehrmacht finally drove the Nazis back.

Without our Russian allies, America would have faced a much tougher fight against the Nazis, especially after the invasion of Normandy and the collapse of the German army in northern Europe. America's Lend-Lease investment literally traded trucks for the blood of millions of Russians.

So America went from hating Stalin in the '30's, to coöperating with him in the 40's, to hating and fearing him in the 50's. For left-wingers who justified Stalin's atrocities beginning in the 20's, even through the later purges and show trials, the backlash against Communism in the early 50's was unimaginable. For conservatives who'd been pushed into irrelevance during the New Deal, it was payback time.

Stalin's post-WWII actions --- the Iron Curtain, the Berlin blockade, the development of atomic weapons --- confirmed the Soviet Union as America's chief post-war rival and enemy. The obvious corollary was that those who supported the Soviets in the 30's must also be dangerous.

In 1950, Chiang Kai-shek fled China, tripling the world's Communist-ruled population. The fear of Communist world domination grew apace. "Who lost China?" became the rallying cry of the right. Mao injected Chinese troops into the Korean War, almost pushing American troops off the peninsula.

Fed by bad news and red meat from Joe McCarthy, Pat McCarran and a host of right-wing pundits made "liberal" a dirty word. It was all a part of a larger agenda to roll back Roosevelt's New Deal.

The House had the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). McCarren set up the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee (SISS), stocked it with the most conservative Republicans and Democrats he could find, and named himself chair. SISS focused on China and leftwing labor unions, especially those whose Nevada chapters had opposed McCarran's re-election.

In hearings stretching for more than a year, McCarran's committee left a trail of brutalized witnesses. Most of them were people whose major crime was to be liberal-to-far-left in the 30's, advocates of policies that were, in hindsight, too solicitous of the Soviet Union.

On the big question, "Who lost China?" Occam's razor tells us it has to be Chiang Kai-shek. The general was famously corrupt, reluctant to fight the Japanese. Despite three billion dollars in American military aid, his rule and he were so ineffective that they were, ultimately, doomed.

But Chiang Kai-shek was a gifted self-promoter, and had the crucial support of Time Magazine's Henry Luce. Roosevelt, who preferred direct contact over the opinions of the State Department professionals, was impressed ... even though General Joe Stilwell, Chiang's US military liaison, vociferously argued for dumping the general in favor of supporting the Communists (who were actually actively fighting the Japanese). Yet when the Nationalists fled the mainland, American diplomats were blamed.

All this drama fed domestic hysteria. While Communist conspiracy was real, it was also never a serious threat to the US, even at the depths of the depression, certainly not in the much more prosperous '50's. While the Communists used fifth columnists effectively, they had much broader support in much smaller countries. The image of a couple of million American Communist sabotaging America from within had the right manning the barricades, waiting for non-existent hordes.

§     §     §

A frightening image, yes. A realistic one? No.

CPUSA membership peaked at 70,000 in the 1930's. Pick your own multiplier for "fellow-travelers" and sympathizers. Five would be a generous number, given how quickly the topic of Marxism can clear even an open bar. So the question is: in a democratic and conservative nation of 150 million people how dangerous are 500,000 radicals?

Yet for five years McCarran and McCarthy played on America's fears: fear of a devious and powerful enemy; fear of one who subjugated foreign hordes; fear of one who could seduce our elites. There was no more powerful nation than America in the world, yet millions of Americans raged about the imminent threat of Communist subversion. McCarran didn't create these fears, but he was the politician most skilled at playing on them.

The liberal's need to be "tough on Communism" led us directly into Viet Nam --- America's longest war and biggest military failure. Today, a similar dynamic has given us the folly in Iraq.

Students of history and/or American political paranoia will enjoy Ybarra's evocation of the 1930's, 40's and 50's --- a time when so much of what George Bush is dismantling was being created. Washington Gone Crazy is a fine and careful telling of this important era in American and world history.


World Events

"In 1943 Harlem there was a great energy," says playwright John Henry Redwood. "We are 10 years removed from the end of Prohibition, we are in the war years. African-American soldiers are chomping at the bit to prove themselves again as good citizens by waiting to fight for the Democracy they share very little in. We are just coming out of the Harlem Renaissance. It's the Harlem of Malcolm X, and of Duke Ellington and Count Basie and all of these giants in music and literature, such as Zora Neale Hurston. Soldiers and sailors walking around in uniform, the Cotton Club going, the Savoy going...
"This is the Harlem that my parents would go to when they wanted to go out. Born and raised in Brooklyn, they were the first generation from the South. Elizabeth and Quilly, you have two generations there. And then a generation after, you have Lou Bessie and Bucket and Husband coming up from the South. It's like the second of the great migrations. The [Harlem] churches still have remnants of the Southern black church. We are still at that point where we speak of our life in the South. All these things make for a colorful people trying to make that transition from rural South to urban America."
Dating back to Colonial America, the Upper Manhattan enclave of Harlem (extending from 110th to 168th Streets) has been, by turn, a Dutch, German and Jewish neighborhood. The influx of African-Americans for which Harlem is more widely known didn't occur until 1904 when black entrepreneur Philip A. Payton Jr. opened the Afro-American Realty Company and began leasing apartments to blacks at slightly higher rents than those charged to other ethnic groups. Black Harlem emerged as landlords opened their doors to this new market sector. Considered a ghetto by some, a sanctuary by others, this neighborhood was home to the Harlem Renaissance, incubator of the Jazz and Swing Eras, and witness to two World Wars. Harlem's history is intricately woven into the experience of African-Americans, who migrated by the thousands to what Harlem Renaissance poet and writer Claude McKay called "the Negro Metropolis":
"[Harlem] is the Negro capital of the world. And as New York is the most glorious experiment on earth of different races and diverse groups of humanity struggling and scrambling to live together, so Harlem is the most interesting sample of black humanity marching along with white humanity."
The Great Migration
In 1896 the Supreme Court's ruling in Plessy vs. Ferguson upheld the "separate but equal" concept that provided justification for the South's segregationist Jim Crow laws that would continue into the 1960s. Beginning in the early 1900s, thousands of blacks sought relief in Harlem from the institutionalized racism and violence below the Mason-Dixon line. In the 1920s artists, intellectuals and reformers flocked to Harlem seeking an atmosphere that was both socially tolerant and conducive to the creative expression of the black community. Others made their pilgrimage after a series of natural and economic disasters (worst of all, the Great Depression in the 1930s) left them without any form of agricultural work. By the end of World War II, Harlem had become the terminus for hundreds of thousands of blacks that had begun their northern exodus four decades earlier.
The Harlem Renaissance
Emerging in the 1920s, the Harlem Renaissance was a creative movement grounded in the belief that race relations could be improved -- and society reshaped -- through art. Using black experiences and disappointments to mirror a "democratic society" that did not treat its citizens equally, writers such as Countee Cullen, Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston made up the literary arm of the movement. Visual artists such as Aaron Douglas, William H. Johnson and Malvin Gray Johnson contributed unforgettable images that emphasized the emotional and daily realities of black life. The musicians Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Earl Hines and Louis Armstrong -- to name just a few --brought Jazz to Harlem. Less self-reflective, but infinitely more pervasive, Jazz's immense popularity infuriated the mainstream cultural sentinels. African-American music was the golden goose in nightclubs that would eventually become centers for integration. However, the energy and exuberance of these and many other Harlem Renaissance artists buckled in the 1930s under the weight of the Great Depression. The social changes that the movement had hoped for would not be realized until World War II pulled America, both black and white, out of its economic morass.
The Savoy Ballroom
Lenox Avenue was the heart of Harlem and the site of the many of entertainment venues that made Harlem's nightlife famous. One of these clubs, the Savoy Ballroom, would emerge as a focal point, in part, because it allowed interracial dancing, unlike other famous Harlem nightspots such as the Cotton Club, which did not welcome African-American patrons. Opened in December of 1926, the "home of happy feet" spanned a full city block and boasted a 10,000-square-foot dance floor. Two bands, perched on each of the Savoy's bandstands, "battled" one another for audience approval. "Lindy Hoppers" and "Shim-Shammers" gathered on the wooden dance floor to elect one band as the evening's winner, or to compete in athletic dance contests. Raucous and festive, the Savoy hired black performers and kept admission reasonable so the less affluent could enjoy its festivities. Hot, progressive and always happening, the Savoy Ballroom thrived through the Harlem Renaissance, the Jazz Era and the Wartime Swing Era, finally closing its doors in 1958.
Economic Reality And The Harlem Race Riot Of 1935
Even during the early '20s, when it seemed that Harlem blacks might be overcoming the insults of a racist society, they were still shut out of skilled jobs. Educated professionals were relegated to positions as elevator operators and housekeepers. That is, until the Crash of 1929 when the economic meltdown forced them from these menial positions. They joined 16 million other Americans who were also unemployed during The Great Depression, but the economic resources of the African-American community could not be contrasted favorably with even the poorest of whites. The Harlem Race Riot of 1935 was not only an eruption in response to the rumored murder of a young black shoplifter by white police, but the culmination of years of humiliation and miserable poverty. The riot would be a defining moment for Black Harlem. In the years that followed, the New Deal's public works projects initiated a halting economic recovery. During WWII, almost full employment for New York City accompanied unprecedented social and economic changes for Harlem.
World War II
Harlem swarmed with uniformed black soldiers on leave, many of whom frequented clubs like the Savoy Ballroom. Some 750,000 African-Americans served in WWII in segregated all-black units. But at home, the war proved to be a meaningful back-drop for civil-rights initiatives. Black labor organizer A. Philip Randolph assembled a March on Washington that compelled the federal government to respond to black interests. On June 25, 1941, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 8802, forbidding racial discrimination "in the employment of workers in defense industries." New York, which became a center for the war industries, opened up jobs in shipbuilding and other trades that had previously been barred to blacks.
The twist to this story is that people began to have money but nowhere to spend it. Goods ranging from coffee to automobiles were rationed or unavailable for civilian purchase. The government urged cutting back and recycling to help in the war effort. There were 'dim outs' on Broadway and in Grand Central Station. Posters warned of 'idle talk' because gossip and speculation about the war or about one's job in a factory could be overheard by spies. Billboards said, 'Is this trip really necessary?' to remind people to conserve gas. Even fashion was affected: people were encouraged to wear clothes that used less fabric -- short skirts for women and cuffless pants for men. The entire nation was subject to a kind of self-control that had previously been associated with poverty, but was now a great show of patriotism.
Although the daily reports of the dead, missing and wounded traumatized Americans, this war of wars managed to end the Depression and pull Harlem out of economic devastation. Also, the government propaganda that raised public consciousness about the value of freedom and human rights abroad created a vocabulary and awareness that would later be used to address racial oppression at home. In 3,000 Miles To A Hospital, Elizabeth M. Phillips, the first African-American female war correspondent, writes about American race relations that "a trip to the European Theatre of War could never be any worse. Over there I'll not be shot at because I'm colored, but because I am an enemy." Together the Depression and WWII became the great social levelers of the 20th century and paved the way for the civil rights movements of the '60s.
The Immigrant Experience
It can be said that Black Harlem was one of New York's most famous examples of the immigrant experience -- in this case, immigrants in their own country. Beginning around 1915, transplanted Southerners -- grandchildren of slaves -- moved north in droves in search of a viable society, trading rural lives for the gritty urban environment of Harlem. Although the North proved to be a disappointment in terms of racial equality, there was a transforming energy that came from living in a teeming African-American community. Harlem Renaissance writer-editor Alain Locke captured the atmosphere in 1925:
"Harlem has attracted the African, the West Indian, the Negro American; has brought together the Negro of the North and the Negro of the South; the man from the city and the man from the town and village; the peasant, the student, the business man, the professional man, artist, poet, musician, adventurer and worker, preacher and criminal, exploiter and social outcast. Each group has come with its own separate motives and for its own special ends, but their greatest experience has been the finding of one another."

Farming in the 1940s on the Great Plains was perhaps the most difficult occupation in the world. Farmers not only faced a global economic slow down of historic proportions, but they also faced one of the worst and longest droughts in America's history. People around the world had no money to buy the crops and animals that farmers produced, and the drought made it almost impossible to plant and harvest the crops in the first place. As a result, many farmers lost their farms. Many moved west out of the Great Plains of the United States, looking for any kind of work they could find. Many became migrant farm laborers on the West Coast.

There have been depressions and economic slow downs in other times in history, but this is the only one known as the "Great" Depression, and it changed history.

Hanging On
Despite some of the worst times in history, farmers hung on with everything they had. They fought to stay on the land and to make a living. And what’s even more remarkable is that they fought to find the money to invest in some of the most revolutionary new agricultural technologies to come along.

  • Bigger and better tractors with new rubber wheels.
  • Combines that ended the era of threshing.


  • German dictator Adolf Hitler invades Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands , Belgium, Luxembourg, and then France. He devastates opposing forces with "blitzkrieg," a strategy that stresses surprise, speed, and overwhelming force using air planes and mechanized ground forces. The USSR annexes Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. Winston Churchill becomes Prime Minister of Great Britain and vows Britain will never surrender. The German Luftwaffe far outnumber the Royal Air Force (RAF) as Hitler bombs London for months.
  • The US government publicly opposes Hitler's aggression in Europe but refuses to get involved. President Roosevelt says he will not send troops into any foreign wars. The government promotes hemispheric defense through a Good Neighbor Policy in Latin America. The dictators of Germany, Japan and Italy join forces. The US advocates peace but starts supplying Britain aid to help that country defend itself.
  • High unemployment carries over from the Great Depression, but agriculture and industry begin to rebound. Normal rainfall returns and farmers harvest a big crop of corn, wheat, soybeans, and other crops. Production increases and prices rise. European countries are cut off by German blockades, so exports go down, but America's demand for agricultural goods goes up. The Social Security Administration, created by 1930s New Deal legislation, sends out its first checks. Banking and credit industries become stronger after the 1930s.
  • Congress passes several laws related to national defense, including the Selective Training and Service Act of 1940, which provides drafting and training men for the army and navy, marines and national guard. More than 16 million men register for the draft, which also allows for conscientious objectors to be employed in non-combat work. Congress authorizes money to build planes and ships, housing for soldiers, and establishes new military bases across the country. The Alien Registration Act requires that all aliens register with the government.
  • Scientists learn that plasma can be substituted for whole blood transfusions; the Rh factor of blood is discovered. Food is freeze dried for the first time.
  • CBS demonstrates the first color television in New York City, and WNBT in New York City becomes the country's first regular television station, broadcasting to about 10,000 viewers.
  • Transportation expands. The first multi-lane superhighway, the Pennsylvania Turnpike opens; and the first Los Angeles freeway opens. Burma Shave roadside ads are set up along the highways, and the first MacDonald's hamburger stand opens in Pasadena, California.
  • People enjoy an array of popular books, movies and dances. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck is popular, and the movie Gone with the Wind wins an Academy Award. Walt Disney releases "Pinocchio" and "Fantasia." Other movies include "The Great Dictator," "The Philadelphia Story," and "The Grapes of Wrath," staring former Nebraskan Henry Fonda. Americans enjoy "Bugs Bunny" cartoons and hear the "Superman" radio show for the first time. Big band music is popular and the Swing Era is in full swing.
  • Following the 1940 election, Franklin Roosevelt is inaugurated for a third term as president and urges that the US become an arsenal of democracy. Iowan Henry Wallace is vice president. The Lend-Lease Act gives the President power to sell or lend war supplies to other countries. Roosevelt sends emergency food aid to the Soviet Union.
  • US General Leslie R. Groves is appointed to direct the Manhattan Project, a top secret effort to build an atomic weapon before Germany or Japan. General Groves starts engineering and production centers at Los Alamos, New Mexico, directed by physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer; Oak Ridge, Tennessee; and at the Hanford Engineer Works in eastern Washington. At the University of Chicago, physicist Enrico Fermi, who had fled the Fascist regime in Italy, supervised related experiments. Under university's football stadium stands in 1942, the first self-sustaining nuclear reaction occurs. At Los Alamos a team of international engineers and scientists races to create atomic weapons for the US.
  • In Europe, Germany forces 5,000 Jewish people in Paris to labor camps and isolates Jews in Warsaw, Poland, into a walled ghetto. Jews are prohibited from appearing in public without wearing a star and they cannot leave residential areas without police permission. Hitler ignores the German-Soviet nonaggression pact and invades the Soviet Union. Slowed by the bitter Russian winter, the German war machine fails to conquer Moscow.
  • The Japanese attack the US base at Pearl Harbor on Sunday, December 7, 1941. In the surprise attack, more than 350 Japanese airplanes sink 12 US ships and destroy or damage more than 300 aircraft. More than 2,300 military personnel are killed and 1,100 wounded. More than 1,100 men on the battleship Arizona die and the ship sinks. The Japanese attack nearby Hickam Air Field and destroy nearly 20 bombers and fighters. A few US fighters manage to get into the air during the attack. Twenty-nine Japanese aircraft are shot down by US pilots and by ground fire. The next day, President Roosevelt says that December 7, 1941 is date which "will live in infamy" and declares war against Japan. Japan's allies Italy and Germany declare war on the US.
  • A presidential warrant gives the US attorney general power to have the FBI arrest dangerous enemy aliens, including German, Italian and Japanese nationals. Within weeks, more than 1,300 people are detained.
  • The United Service Organizations (USO) is started. The USO provides recreation for armed forces personnel. During World War II, more than 730,000 volunteers operate more than 3,000 recreational clubs wherever they could find space in churches, museums, barns, railroad cars, or stores. The USO gives soldiers a place to talk, dance, see movies, or write letters home. Bob Hope is the most famous member of touring USO shows. During his career, he brought laughter to millions of homesick soldiers fighting in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.
  • Popular movies this year: "Citizen Kane," "How Green was My Valley," "Sergeant York," "The Maltese Falcon," "Dumbo." Popular comic book characters: Wonder Woman, Superman, Batman, Pogo, and Sad Sack. The year's most popular song is "Chattanooga Choo Choo" by Glenn Miller, who spent time as a child in North Platte, Nebraska. New York Yankees center fielder Joe DiMaggio sets a record with hits in 56 consecutive games, and baseball legend Lou Gehrig dies of the disease that today bears his name. One of the first World War II patriotic songs is "Remember Pearl Harbor," soon followed by "Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition."
  • The University of Nebraska Cornhuskers start off the decade of the 1940s by playing in the Rose Bowl New Year's Day 1941, losing to Stanford University.
  • Nazi leaders call a conference to coordinate the final solution to the Jewish question – what comes to be known as The Holocaust, the systematic genocide of Jews and other minorities that do not fall within Hitler's concept of a master Aryan race.
  • More than 120,000 Japanese Americans (Nisei) living on the West Coast are moved inland to internment camps, some for the duration of the war. Although most were born in this country, the Nisei are designated enemy aliens who must obey travel restrictions, curfew, and contraband regulations. Many lose their homes, farms and property during this time of internment.
  • President Roosevelt urges Americans to support the war effort, and the country shifts into a wartime economy. Industry accelerates production, automakers produce tanks and planes and new industries are created when items such as rubber are cut off by war in Asia. Employment jumps. Unions gain new members. Farmers prosper as yields and crop prices go up. The US creates the Office of War Information (OWI), which creates Uncle Sam wants you, posters. The OWI's goal is to inspire patriotism and attract workers to jobs fueling the war effort.
  • Dozens of everyday items such as gasoline and sugar are rationed. At the end of 1941 the government halts the production of cars to save steel, glass and rubber for war industries. In 1942 the government stops manufacture of refrigerators, radios, sewing machines, vacuum cleaners, and phonographs.
  • The work force changes as millions of men leave their jobs for military service. To fill the labor shortage, women work in factories, earning the nickname Rosie the Riveter. [LINK TO FAMILY LIFE/WOMEN] Hundreds of thousands of African Americans leave farms in the South to take defense-related factory jobs in the North. Prison inmates help harvest beets and potatoes in western states. Nearly 400,000 Mexican Americans serve in the military during the war; others work in industry. To meet the demand for field workers, the US establishes the work hands program; thousands of Mexican immigrants come to farms in the Southwest to work.
  • Radar is put to general use. The first nuclear reactor was built. The first electronic digital computer is built in Iowa. The 1,522-mile Alcan Highway opens, connecting Dawson Creek, British Columbia with Fairbanks, Alaska. The concern about a Japanese invasion through Alaska makes construction of the Alcan a military priority. Thousands of US and Canadian soldiers build the highway in a little over eight months. They work through the heat, mosquitoes in the summer, and winter temperatures near 40 degrees below zero.
  • "Casablanca" premieres in theatres about the same time the Allied Expeditionary Forces landed and started bombing the real Casablanca in Morocco, North Africa, an area occupied by the Nazis. Also at the movies: "Yankee Doodle Dandy," "Pride of the Yankees."
  • The Allies try to stop German munitions and aircraft production centers by bombing key German cities. In Eastern Europe, 200,000 German troops surrender to Soviet forces after months of savage fighting and heavy losses on both sides. On the Pacific front, Japan conquers the Philippines, Malaysia, the Dutch East Indies and Burma. In the battles at Iwo Jima and Okinawa, US forces take heavy casualties. Even after a major defeat at the Battle of Midway in 1942, Japan refuses to surrender.
  • The US Army activates the 442nd Regimental Combat Team made up of the 100th Battalion from Hawaii and Japanese American volunteers from mainland concentration camps. Nearly 10,000 Hawaiian Nisei volunteer for military service. The 100th Battalion fights in North Africa, Italy, France and Germany. They rescue the "lost battalion" in 1944 and liberate the survivors at the Dachau Nazi concentration camp.
  • Americans continue their hard work, cooperation, and patriotism. Citizens buy war bonds and planted victory gardens to grow their own food. School enrollment goes down as teenagers took jobs or join the military. Families continue to cope with rationing and, in some areas, housing shortages. As cities grew with defense workers, house shortages added to racial tensions. A riot in a federally sponsored Detroit housing project left 35 blacks and 9 whites dead.
  • The Pentagon in Washington D.C. is completed and becomes the largest office building in the world. President Roosevelt freezes prices, and wages to prevent inflation. Wage-earners have a 20 percent flat income tax taken out of their paychecks. Because copper is needed for war material, 1943 US pennies are made from steel and zinc. War industries boost the growth of cities as farm-dwellers move to the cities and work in defense industries.
  • Selman Waksman discovers streptomycin and coins the term "antibiotic."
  • The jitterbug is a hot dance craze. "Oklahoma" is a popular musical on stage, and people go to see "For Whom the Bell Tolls," "The Ox-Bow Incident" and "Desert Victory" at the movies. Frank Sinatra and Dinah Shore are America's most popular singers.
  • At the University of Nebraska, football coach Biff Jones leaves for military service, as do many of the region's athletes. Like other schools, Nebraska fields some rag-tag teams during the war years. Tom "Train Wreck" Novak earns 1949 All-America honors on a team with a 4-5 record. In the 1940s Nebraska has a string of losing seasons that doesn't end until 1950.
  • President Franklin Roosevelt is elected to a fourth term. The GI Bill of Rights is passed, providing a variety of benefits for military veterans. The Supreme Court rules that internment of Japanese Americans is constitutional.
  • The morning of June 6, 1944, (known as D-Day) 3,000 warships carry 200,000 American and British soldiers cross the stormy English Channel and land on the heavily fortified beaches of Normandy, France, to begin a vicious battle with the German army. The Battle of the Bulge begins in December as Hitler musters 500,000 troops along the Allied front from southern Belgium into Luxembourg. In bitter cold, they push ahead 50 miles, creating a bulge in the Allied lines. By the end of January, 1945, more than 76,000 Americans have been killed, wounded or captured.
  • Nearly one million men, women, and children in the Leningrad, Russia, die from starvation and cold during a two-and-a-half-year siege and blockade by German troops. In China, the war begins its seventh year and Japanese troops occupying China were given orders to make the land uninhabitable. In Japan, children are taken out of school to work in factories producing bombs and other war equipment.
  • DDT is developed to wipe out lice, a carrier of typhus, a disease which is infecting soldiers. DNA is isolated by Oswald Avery. The Germans develop the V-2, the first missile.
  • In 1946, the first digital computer is introduced at the Moore School of Electrical Engineering in Philadelphia. The machine is huge – 30 by 60 feet – and weighs 60,000 pounds. A little different than today's hand-held computers!
  • Movies: "Going My Way," with Bing Crosby and Ingrid Bergman, "Gaslight," "Lifeboat," "Meet Me in St. Louis," and "The Fighting Lady." Favorite books include The Razor's Edge by Somerset Maugham and A Bell for Adano by John Hersey. NBC airs the first US television network newscast.


  • In March, US General George Patton's Third Army crosses the Rhine River and invades Germany. Allied forces liberate Paris after four years of Nazi occupation. That same month, the US bombs Tokyo with incendiary bombs, creating a firestorm and killing 120,000 people in a few hours. black and Japanese American troops are among those who liberate concentration camps and expose German atrocities.
  • On May 7, 1945, Germany surrenders. The war in Europe is over. As Germany falls, Adolf Hitler commits suicide.
  • In the Pacific, the Philippine Islands are recaptured. Marines land at Iwo Jima. After 36 days of vicious fighting that kills 20,000 Japanese and 4,000 Americans, the Japanese retreat from the island.
  • Women are in the workforce and in uniform. By 1945 more than 250,000 women serve in the Women's Army Corps (WACS), Army Nurses Corps, the Women Accepted for Voluntary Emergency Service (WAVES), the Navy Nurses Corps, the U.S. Marines, and the Coast Guard. Most servicewomen are nurses or replace men in non-combat roles. During the war, the marines excluded black Americans, the navy used them as servants, the army created separate black regiments.
  • President Franklin Roosevelt dies of a brain hemorrhage, and Missouri native Harry S. Truman becomes president. After considering all options, Truman gives the order and on August 6, 1945, the US drops an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. In minutes, half of the city vanishes and about 200,000 people are killed or missing. Radiation reaches more than 100,000 people. On August 9, the US drops an atomic bomb on Nagasaki. In September, Japan surrenders unconditionally on board the USS Missouri.
  • "Carousel" opens on Broadway in New York City. Big band swing and "zoot" suits become popular. Popular songs include music from "Carousel," "At Mail Call Today" by Gene Autry; "Aren't You Glad You're You" by Bing Crosby; and "This Heart of Mine," by Judy Garland, as well a songs by Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra. Gwendolyn Brooks, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and John Steinbeck are popular authors. Richard Wright's book Black Boy has an impact on the awareness of racial discrimination in the US.
  • Grand Rapids, Michigan, is the first US city to fluoridate its water supply, improving dental health for the entire community. Raymond Libby develops oral penicillin.
  • By the time World War II was over, nearly 300,000 Americans had been killed. In all countries bout 55 million people lost their lives. And more civilians lost their lives than soldiers.
  • After World War II, the US and the USSR emerged as world powers. Although they fought as allies during World War II, the relationship between the two nations and the two political systems (democracy and capitalism vs. Communism) entered a new era of mutual hostility and conflict. As the two superpowers launched plans to construct and control nuclear arms, the world entered the Cold War.
  • The first meeting of the United Nation's general assembly is held in London. Winston Churchill gives a speech cautioning the world of the Soviet Union's expansion ambitions. He uses the term "Iron Curtain." Twelve Nazi leaders are sentenced to hang after war trials at Nuremberg, Germany.
  • The 1945 War Brides Act allows foreign-born wives of US citizens who served in the US military to enter the US A year later, another law permits fiancés of American soldiers to enter the US legally
  • Jukeboxes go into mass production. One-story, split-level houses, called ranch style homes, become a trend in post-war housing construction.
  • Dr. Benjamin Spock writes a best-selling book called Baby and Child Care, the famous how-to book for parents. A nationwide telephone numbering plan begins. Soap operas air on television for the first time with "Faraway Hill." On Broadway, Irving Berlin's musical "Annie Get your Gun" is a hit. People read John Hersey's book Hiroshima and Robert Penn Warren's novel All the King's Men. At the movies, people see "The Best Years of Our Lives," a story about the readjustment families face when loved ones return from war. "The Yearling," "The Razor's Edge," and "It's a Wonderful Life" are also popular.
  • George C. Marshall, Army chief of staff during World War II and US secretary of state from 1947-1949, developed the European Recovery Program, known as the Marshall Plan, designed to rebuild the devastated cities of Europe. The Marshall Plan was a $13 billion effort to boost European economies, as well as to halt the spread of Communism.
  • Industry booms as the pent-up demand for big and small appliances, cars, farm equipment, radios, and other household items that had been rationed or had ceased production during the war. Innovations from war equipment make their way into consumer goods. Chuck Yeager breaks the sound barrier in an X-1 rocket-powered research plane. African-American Jackie Robinson joins the Brooklyn Dodgers and breaks the color barrier in baseball. The transistor and microwave oven are invented.
  • Television grows. President Harry Truman's State of the Union address and the Baseball World Series are televised. "Meet the Press," television's longest running program begins. "Howdy Doody" begins its 13 years on television. With television programming comes the start of commercials. By the end of the year, America had 139 commercial broadcast TV stations, but there were only an estimated 9,000 households with televisions.
  • Weather grabs the headlines as a blizzard drops 70 inches of snow in New England and 170 people die and 10,000 homes are destroyed in a series of tornadoes in Texas and Oklahoma. A freighter carrying nitrate sets off an explosion at the Monsanto chemical plant in Texas City, Texas. The tragedy destroys the entire city. More than 500 people are killed, 2,100 injured.
  • The musical "Brigadoon" and the play "A Streetcar Named Desire" launch on Broadway. Anne Frank's Diary of a Young Girl is published. At the movies: "Gentlemen's Agreement," "Miracle on 34th Street," "The Farmer's Daughter," "The Egg and I."
  • People across the country become fascinated by the reports of flying saucers (unidentified flying objects, UFOs) during the summer. The government confirms to a New Mexico newspaper that a flying saucer has crashed near Roswell and alien bodies were recovered from the site; but the source later cancels all accounts of the crash, saying the object was a government weather balloon.
  • The Soviet Union blockades Berlin, Germany, trying to force the Allies out of West Berlin. The Allies respond with a huge effort to supply the 2 million residents of West Berlin by airdrop. From June 1948 through September, 1949, huge cargo planes bring in more than 2 million tons of frozen American beef, flour, sugar, dehydrated foods, soap and medical supplies, newspapers, coal for fuel and equipment. The pilots also bring in candy for children. Food and supplies are packaged at the US Army Transport Terminal in Bremerhaven, Germany. By the end of the airlift, pilots log more than 277,000 flights.
  • By executive order, President Harry Truman abolishes racial segregation in the US armed forces. The government upheld segregation during World War II, creating the first all-black military aviation program at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. The 99th Fighter Squadron fights battles in North Africa, Sicily and Anzio and was joined by three all-Black squadrons. Together, they are known as the 332nd Fighter group and come home with 150 medals.
  • The Displaced Persons Act permits people from Europe who were displaced by the war to enter the US outside of existing immigration quotas.
  • A group of movie and television writers, producers, and directors are called as witnesses by the House Un-American Activities Committee. The group is put in jail for contempt of Congress when they refuse to state if they are or are not Communists.
  • "The Ed Sullivan Show" premieres on television. People are reading The Naked and the Dead; The Age of Anxiety; Cry, the Beloved Country; and Intruder in the Dust. Leo Fender invents the electric guitar. Western Union manufactures Deskfax machines. "Kiss Me Kate," is on Broadway. "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre," "Johnny Belinda," "The Snake Pit," and "Red River" are at the movies. Baseball player Babe Ruth dies soon after the release of the movie "The Babe Ruth Story." The Polaroid camera develops pictures in one minute, and the Bic ballpoint pen is on the market. Long playing (LP) records (25 minutes per side) are introduced.
  • The US joins in forming the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), a pact for mutual defense of Belgium, Britain, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, and the US. The USSR's leader Joseph Stalin signs an alliance with the People's Republic of China, a Communist nation formed in 1949. The Soviet Union conducts its first atomic test.
  • Germany is split into the German Democratic Republic (East Germany under Soviet Communist rule and the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany).
  • The US Air Force begins Operation Haylift, an emergency effort to get food to 2 million cattle and sheep stranded by heavy snow on the Great Plains.
  • The musicals "South Pacific" and "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" and the play "Death of Salesman" are popular. Influential books include: The Second Sex, presenting the idea of male oppression of women; 1984, describing a bleak, fascist future; and Norman Vincent Peale's upbeat Guide to Confident Living. RCA markets 45 rpm records and record player. Milton Berle hosts the first telethon, and the Emmy Awards for television begin. Movies: "Twelve O'Clock High," "Sands of Iwo Jima," "Battleground," and "The Third Man."
  • The popularity of big band music declines. A faster style based on improvisation, called bebop or bop, emerges. Popular jazz musicians are saxophonist Charlie Parker, trumpeter Miles Davis, pianist Earl Powell, drummer Max Roach, pianist-composer Thelonious Monk, and composer-arranger Gil Evans. Modern jazz bands led by Dizzy Gillespie and Stan Kenton are popular.

1940 With the rearming of US forces the Great Depression was finally beginning to ease , and Americans were earning more and buying more so being able to buy goods and further fueling the economy . But outside of America things were not good as Germany invaded France which meant between Germany and Italy most of Western Europe was controlled by them except for England. In the US the feel good feeling of leaving the depression behind fueled the making of some great movies including "Gone With the Wind" and the "Great Dictator" , and Jazz sounds were the popular music of the day from the likes of Benny Goodman and Count Basie amongst others. The Nylon stockings invented the previous year were all the rage with women, FDR was elected for a third term but Americans were starting to believe they should help Britain in it's fight for survival with Germany and the first peacetime draft occurred in September 1940 which had ominous overtones for the future. Britain was being bombed incessantly and many believed it may only be time before America would be involved. And a worker in the New Factories appearing can earn up to $1,250 per year
Cost Of Living, - World War II, - News, Facts and Events, - Movies, TV and Music, - Technology, - Born This Year, World Leaders,

Events 40's

  • First nuclear bomb that dramatically changed the war and international relationships between those who had the technology and those countries who did not
  • VE Victory In Europe Celebrated May 8th
  • VJ Victory In Japan Celebrated August 14th Which signals the end of World War II
  • Following the end of the war during the second half of the 40's marked the beginning of the East-West conflict and the Cold War.
  • One of the gains from the war was the setting up of the United Nations to help negotiate and manage future world conflicts
  • Countries gaining independence from the UK included Pakistan and India
  • NATO / North Atlantic Treaty Organization, also called the North Atlantic Alliance, was formed by the major western powers for collective security and established in 1949
  • Following the continued growth of Jewish refugees and settlers to Israel during the war, in 1948 the region became embroiled in Arab-Israeli War
  • After achieving the independence he so desired for his country On January 30, 1948, on his way to a prayer meeting, Gandhi was shot dead

Forties Popular Culture

The late 30's and The war in the 40's changed many things and one of those was how black sportsmen became popular heroes and paved the way for future generations, these included Joe Louis ( Boxer ), Jesse Owens ( Runner ) and Jackie Robinson ( Baseball Player ). Find Out More About The History Of Baseball including the Jackie Robinson and other great players

Some of the Most Well Known Movie Stars of the Forties
Clark Gable couple of his films from the 40's
The Hucksters and
Bob Hope couple of his films from the 40's

Bing Crosby couple of his films from the 40's

Humphrey Bogart couple of his films from the 40's

Abbott and Costello couple of films from the 40's

Gary Cooper couple of his films from the 40's

Spencer Tracy couple of his films from the 40's

James Cagney couple of his films from the 40's

Music From The 40's

  • Rhythm and blues Music becomes popular and the beginnings of Rock and roll


Toys From The 1940s

World War II 1940's

The Forties were dominated by World War II , and after a long period of Economic Recession throughout the world, starting with Wall Street Crash in 1929 and through most of the 30's, the world would be a different place after the 2nd world war ended. As so often happens during war technological advances in any technology that is seen to provide some advantage jump in leaps and bounds the 40's provide some of the best examples
America helped fun the war by issueing War Savings Bonds, for each $75.00 American's invested 10 years later they would pay out $100.00
The first ever use of a Nuclear Bomb during wartime when the US bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan.
Major advancements in radar to help with tracking Enemy aircraft which after the war changed the aviation industry
The improvements in the use of Jet Engines
The use of unmanned rockets as a weapon ( V2 ) to carry bombs
Mans inhumanity to Man exceeded anything preceding with the use of concentration camps as part of "The Holocaust " the name applied to the systematic state-sponsored persecution and genocide of the Jews
More About

Sporting Changes In The 40's

Baseball Stars are quick to join the forces and fight for their country
Following the end of world war II Jackie Robinson signed a contract to play first base for the Brooklyn Dodgers, breaking the color barrier in baseball.
Other Leagues created earlier fall by the wayside and the National Basketball Association NBA comes to the fore
Association Football (Soccer)
The famous Latin goal call is first heard, when Brazilian radio announcer Rebelo Junior. shouts (GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL) during a soccer match.
American Football
Notre Dame / Fighting Irish win four championships
The platoons introduced using different players for offense and defense
Ice Hockey
Rocket Richard
The center red line Introduced
The first All-Star Ice Hockey game
The first All-Star Ice Hockey game
For More Sporting history, Origins, Events and Changes, Please Check Out Our New
Sports History Section.

Technology From The Forties

  • Jet Engines, Radar and Nuclear Fission technological advances due to the war
  • Colossus, the world's first totally electronic and digital computer
  • First Supersonic faster than sound Flight ( Chuck Yager )
  • First Transistor developed

Inventions The Year Invented Inventors and Country ( or attributed to First Use )
45 rpm Record ----- 1949 USA
Artificial Intelligence ----- 1947 England by Alan Turing
Atomic Bomb ----- 1945 USA by Robert Oppenheimer's team
Atomic Power ----- 1942 USA by Enrico Fermi's team creating first self-sustaining chain reaction
Aqualung ----- 1943 France by J Cousteau and E Gagnon
Automation ----- 1946 USA by Henry Ford
Computer ----- 1948 England by Freddie William's team
Guided Missile ----- 1942 Germany by Werner von Braun
Hologram ----- 1947 Hungary by Denis Gabor
Kidney Dialysis ----- 1944 Netherlands by Willem Kolff
Long Playing Record LP ----- 1948 USA made of vinyl and played at 33 rpm
Microwave Oven ----- 1946 USA by Percy L Spencer
Mobile Phone ----- 1947 USA
Napalm ----- 1942 USA from Harvard University
Transistor ----- 1947 USA from Bell Laboratories
Velcro ----- 1948 Switzerland by George deMestral

Money and Inflation 1940's

To provide an estimate of inflation we have given a guide to the value of $100 US Dollars for the first year in the decade to the equivalent in today's money
If you have $100 Converted from 1940 to 2005 it would be equivalent to $1433.77 today
In 1940 a new house cost $3,920.00 and by 1949 was $7,450.00
In 1940 the average income per year was $1,725.00 and by 1949 was $2,950.00
In 1940 a gallon of gas was 11 cents and by 1949 was 17 cents
In 1940 the average cost of new car was $850.00 and by 1949 was $1,420.00 More
Cars and car prices from the 1940's
A few more prices from the 40's and how much things cost
100 aspirin 76 cents
Philco Refrigerator $239.00
Pork Loin Roast per pound 45 cents
Nylon Hose 20 cents
New Emerson Bedroom Radio 1938 $19.65
Men's Suits from $24.50
Portable electric heater $42.50
Ford Super Deluxe Sedan Coupe $1395
Sealey Mattress $38.00
Food Prices Clothes Prices Electrical Prices Furniture Prices
Example of a house for sale Example From Realty for sale in the 40's
1945 Income property Lincoln Nebraska 3 apartments furnished 2 separate baths automatic heat $5,300

Although times were quite rough for many people, the teens of this era managed to persevere, and they grew up knowing that they never wanted to live in a state of depression again.

Throughout the 1940s youth were preoccupied with the Second World War. Teens were sent off to fight for their countries, and younger people contributed to the war effort by collecting newspaper, rubber, rags, tin cans and other scrap metal, which were all recycled. Children in the U.S. also spent money on War Stamps which, when accumulated, could buy War Bonds.
As France was heavily involved in the war, most Paris designers were unable to continue their work, giving North American designers the opportunity to create their own styles.

As there were few materials available at the time, clothes became much simpler and less fabric was used. Women's dresses acquired shorter arms and hems. Their fancy hats no longer existed, but turban-style hats were more useful to keep women's hair back when they worked in the factories. However, after the war ended, Paris fashions returned and fancy clothing was once again popular.

For young men, zoot suits became extremely popular. These suit jackets, "fingertips," hung to the mid thighs and incorporated wide-padded shoulders. The pants, "drapes," were tight at the ankles but the legs themselves were ballooned out. These suits were often accompanied by wide-brimmed hats and long watch chains.

Although the war made the '40s a very difficult time for teenagers, people made do with what they had. However they would be left with the memories of WWII for the rest of their lives.

For most Americans on the home front during World War Two, the war years are a time of achievement as well as a time of uncertainty. It is also a time where many learn to live with less in a land of plenty. Despite the sacrifices endured by this notable generation, they made extraordinary contributions to help win the war and write the peace.

January 1942, the Office of Price Administration, OPA, is established to ration supplies that are needed for the war effort. Twenty essential commodities from sugar to rubber to meat become strictly regulated. Ration books with designated point values are distributed to every household. American women quickly learn how to "get by." Careful planning becomes essential to make the available food supply last. Wartime recipes are devised to help homemakers stretch their meals. Delicacies such as franks and beans casserole become a family favorite. Only 2 pounds of meat per person is allotted each week. With inflationary prices and a restricted market the OPA places ceilings on prices. Volunteers visit shopkeepers to explain the need to display these signs. Without the restraint of both the consumer and the shopkeeper, inflation and the black market could spin out of control. With very little gas available, the OPA requires the 8 million automobile owners to register for gas rationing. Of all the sacrifices Americans are asked to make gas rationing is the least popular. Drivers have classifications from "A" to "E." "A" ticket holders are "pleasure drivers" and "E" ticket holders or "emergency" drivers are fortunate enough to have unlimited gas.

Victory Gardens
To offset the food shortage, The Department of Agriculture urges Americans to plant their own vegetables. They are dubbed "Victory Gardens." The War Food Administration begins its campaign to encourage all Americans to grow, harvest, and share their bounty. Suddenly Americans all across the country grab their rakes and hoes and set in motion the greatest voluntary movement the country has ever known. Millions of small town backyards and city rooftop gardens begin to sprout up. Anywhere there is a parcel of land, you can find a victory garden. Neighborhoods share vacant lots, taking turns working the garden. Canning centers emerge. At its peak in 1944, over 20 million victory gardens produce a phenomenal 8 million tons of food -over half of the vegetables consumed in America. These extraordinary efforts make every American feel like they are striking a personal blow against the Axis. In fact, they play a major role in winning the war.

Scrap Drives
To supplement the raw materials essential for defense, Americans are asked to scour their garages and attics for scrap metal, rubber and paper. Virtually all consumer goods have a second life. Food handlers are urged to save kitchen fat which is used to make explosives. Rubber is one of the scarcest commodities. When the salvage truck arrives, Americans are ready to pitch in. Their discards will go into the manufacturing of weapons. Children of all ages take part in the salvage drives. It makes them feel like they are doing their part and earning a penny a pound doesn't hurt either! So zealous are these young scrap-hunters that the government has a hard time handling the huge mass of materials they collect. In fact, most of the materials collected are never used but it does continue to keep the morale high on the home front.

Women Enter The Work Force
With some ten million men at war, the solution to fill the jobs is both unexpected and obvious - Women! Crossing the complete spectrum of race, economic class, and educational backgrounds, women take jobs never before thought appropriate or even possible for a woman to perform. The poster image of the woman in overalls, wrench in hand, becomes the symbol of the new 1940's woman. "Rosie the Riveter" will become one of the most enduring icons of the war. With her powerful physic, perfect features and gender-bending persona, "Rosie" encourages women to roll up their sleeves and go to work. Women's uniquely precise skills and attention to detail often surpass those of their male counterparts. Other male concerns include family issues and future job security. Despite the challenges at home and in the workplace, women respond by doing their patriotic best. Whether they are motivated by propaganda, patriotism, economic benefits, independence or necessity, women join the work force at never before seen rates. In July 1944, when the war reaches its peak, 19 million women are employed. Without the contribution of women, America could not have won the war.

Women In The Military
To free more men for combat, in May of 1942 Congress creates the WAAC's -Women's Army Auxiliary Corps. Some commanders are reluctant to accept women into their units, but by mid-1943 the demand for them far exceed the numbers available. These women, eager to make their contribution, are voluntarily recruited for non-combat duties at home and overseas. The WAAC's are given Army pay, Army uniforms, Army discipline and Army training but the jobs they perform are often those of support ranging from administrative roles to aircraft mechanics to service at Aircraft Warning stations. In September 1942, The Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron, WAFS, a division of the Army Air Force is created. The original mission for these commercially licensed pilots is to ferry light aircraft from the factory to the air fields. But soon, these "Fly Girls" are delivering fighters, bombers and transports planes to military bases. During WWII, over 350,000 women don military uniforms. Which ever military branch they serve, their contributions to the war effort earn them the respect they deserve.

Adolf Hitler Germany third Reich  75th anniversary chancellor  nazi party dictator holocaust

Out of Obscurity
After serving unremarkably in the First World War, the future dictator immersed himself in the German nationalist politics of Munich.

In 1921, he claimed control of the German Workers Party and renamed it the National Socialist German Workers Party, and gave himself the title of Führer. In this 1922 photo, he poses with members of the group's paramilitary organization, the Sturmabteilung, known by its initials, SA.

Adolf Hitler Germany third Reich  75th anniversary chancellor  nazi party dictator holocaust

After an abortive seizure of power in 1923, known in history books as the Beer Hall Putsch, Hitler was arrested and tried. During the trial, however, he was given unlimited time to speak and his popularity soared. By the time this photo was taken in 1929, he was out of jail and gaining prominence.

Photo of Franklin D. Roosevelt

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Assuming the Presidency at the depth of the Great Depression, Franklin D. Roosevelt helped the American people regain faith in themselves. He brought hope as he promised prompt, vigorous action, and asserted in his Inaugural Address, "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself."

Born in 1882 at Hyde Park, New York--now a national historic site--he attended Harvard University and Columbia Law School. On St. Patrick's Day, 1905, he married Eleanor Roosevelt.

Following the example of his fifth cousin, President Theodore Roosevelt, whom he greatly admired, Franklin D. Roosevelt entered public service through politics, but as a Democrat. He won election to the New York Senate in 1910. President Wilson appointed him Assistant Secretary of the Navy, and he was the Democratic nominee for Vice President in 1920.

In the summer of 1921, when he was 39, disaster hit-he was stricken with poliomyelitis. Demonstrating indomitable courage, he fought to regain the use of his legs, particularly through swimming. At the 1924 Democratic Convention he dramatically appeared on crutches to nominate Alfred E. Smith as "the Happy Warrior." In 1928 Roosevelt became Governor of New York.

He was elected President in November 1932, to the first of four terms. By March there were 13,000,000 unemployed, and almost every bank was closed. In his first "hundred days," he proposed, and Congress enacted, a sweeping program to bring recovery to business and agriculture, relief to the unemployed and to those in danger of losing farms and homes, and reform, especially through the establishment of the Tennessee Valley Authority.

By 1935 the Nation had achieved some measure of recovery, but businessmen and bankers were turning more and more against Roosevelt's New Deal program. They feared his experiments, were appalled because he had taken the Nation off the gold standard and allowed deficits in the budget, and disliked the concessions to labor. Roosevelt responded with a new program of reform: Social Security, heavier taxes on the wealthy, new controls over banks and public utilities, and an enormous work relief program for the unemployed.

In 1936 he was re-elected by a top-heavy margin. Feeling he was armed with a popular mandate, he sought legislation to enlarge the Supreme Court, which had been invalidating key New Deal measures. Roosevelt lost the Supreme Court battle, but a revolution in constitutional law took place. Thereafter the Government could legally regulate the economy.

Roosevelt had pledged the United States to the "good neighbor" policy, transforming the Monroe Doctrine from a unilateral American manifesto into arrangements for mutual action against aggressors. He also sought through neutrality legislation to keep the United States out of the war in Europe, yet at the same time to strengthen nations threatened or attacked. When France fell and England came under siege in 1940, he began to send Great Britain all possible aid short of actual military involvement.

When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Roosevelt directed organization of the Nation's manpower and resources for global war.

Feeling that the future peace of the world would depend upon relations between the United States and Russia, he devoted much thought to the planning of a United Nations, in which, he hoped, international difficulties could be settled.

As the war drew to a close, Roosevelt's health deteriorated, and on April 12, 1945, while at Warm Springs, Georgia, he died of a cerebral hemorrhage.

Roosevelt At The Wheel 

The War in Georgia was designed to escalate tensions between NATO and Russia, using the region as a means to create a wider conflict. However, Russia’s decision to end the combat operations quickly worked to its benefit and had the effect of diminishing the international tensions. The issue of NATO membership for Georgia is very important, because had it been a NATO member, the Russian attack on Georgia would have been viewed as an attack on all NATO members. The war in Afghanistan was launched by NATO on the premises of ‘an attack against one is an attack against all.’

It also was significant that there was a large pipeline deal in the works, with Georgia sitting in a key strategic position. Georgia lies between Russia and Turkey, between the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea, and above Iran and Iraq. The significance of Georgia as a strategic outpost cannot be underestimated. This is true, particularly when it comes to pipelines.

The Baku Tblisi Ceyhan (BTC) Pipeline, the second largest pipeline in the world, travels from Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, through Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, to Ceyhan, a Mediterranean port city in Turkey. This pipeline creates a route that bypasses both Iran and Russia, to bring Caspian Basin oil resources “to the United States, Israel and Western European markets.” The US company Bechtel, was the main contractor for construction, procurement and engineering, while British Petroleum (BP), is the leading shareholder in the project.[49] Israel gets much of its oil via Turkey through the BTC pipeline route, which likely played a large part in Israel’s support for Georgia in the conflict,[50] as a continual standoff between the West and the East (Russia/China) takes place for control of the world’s resources.

Zbigniew Brzezinski, co-founder, with David Rockefeller, of the Trilateral Commission, and Jimmy Carter’s National Security Adviser who played a key role in the creation of the Afghan Mujahideen, which became known as Al-Qaeda, wrote an op-ed for Time Magazine at the outbreak of the Russia-Georgia conflict. Brzezinski, being a Cold War kingpin of geopolitical strategy, naturally blamed Russia for the conflict. However, he also revealed the true nature of the conflict.

He started by blaming Russia’s “invasion of Georgia” on its “imperial aims.” Brzezinski blamed much of this on the “intense nationalistic mood that now permeates Russia’s political elite.” Brzezinski went on to explain Georgia’s strategic significance; stating that, “an independent Georgia is critical to the international flow of oil,” since the BTC pipeline “provides the West access to the energy resources of central Asia.” Brzezinski warned Russia of being “ostracized internationally,” in particular its business elite, calling them “vulnerable” because “Russia’s powerful oligarchs have hundreds of billions of dollars in Western bank accounts,” which would be subject to a possible “freezing” by the West in the event of a “Cold War-style standoff.”[51] Brzezinski’s op-ed essentially amounted to geopolitical extortion.

Regime Change in Iran

There was, for many years, a split in the administration of George W. Bush in regards to US policy towards Iran. On the one hand, there was the hardliner neoconservative element, led by Dick Cheney, with Rumsfeld in the Pentagon; who were long pushing for a military confrontation with Iran. On the other hand, there was Condoleezza Rice as Secretary of State, who was pushing for a more diplomatic, or “soft” approach to Iran.

In February of 2006, Condoleezza Rice introduced a new Iran strategy to the Senate, “emphasizing the tools of so-called soft diplomacy. She called for ramping up funding to assist pro-democracy groups, public diplomacy initiatives, and cultural and education fellowships, in addition to expanding U.S.-funded radio, television, and Internet and satellite-based broadcasting, which are increasingly popular among younger Iranians.” She added that, “we are going to work to support the aspirations of the Iranian people for freedom in their country.” There were three main facets to the program: “Expanding independent radio and television”; “Funding pro-democracy groups,” which “would lift bans on U.S. financing of Iran-based nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), trade unions, human rights groups, and opposition candidates”; and “Boosting cultural and education fellowships and exchanges,” which “would help pay Iranian students and scholars to enroll in U.S. universities.”[52]

This marked a significant change in U.S. foreign policy with Iran, which would have the effect of making Iran’s domestic situation “more intense,” or as one expert put it, “this is the thing that can undo this regime.” Another expert stated that if the strategy failed, “we will have wasted the money, but worse than that, helped discredit legitimate opposition groups as traitors who receive money from the enemy to undermine Iran ‘s national interest.”[53]

In March of 2006, the Iraq Study Group was assembled as a group of high level diplomats and strategic elites to reexamine US policy toward Iraq, and more broadly, to Iran as well. It proposed a softer stance towards Iran, and one of its members, Robert Gates, former CIA director, left the Group in November of 2006 to replace Donald Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense. Cheney had fought to keep his ally in the Pentagon, but had failed in not only that, but also in preventing Robert Gates from being his replacement.[54]

In February of 2006, the Guardian reported that the Bush administration received “a seven-fold increase in funding to mount the biggest ever propaganda campaign against the Tehran government,” and quoted Secretary Rice as saying, “we will work to support the aspirations of the Iranian people for freedom and democracy in their country.” The “US is to increase funds to Iranian non-governmental bodies that promote democracy, human rights and trade unionism,” which started in 2005 for the first time since 1980, and that, “the US would seek to help build new dissident networks.”[55]

In April of 2006, the Financial Times reported that, “The US and UK are working on a strategy to promote democratic change in Iran,” as “Democracy promotion is a rubric to get the Europeans behind a more robust policy without calling it regime change.”[56] Christian Science Monitor reported that the goal of the strategy was “regime change from within,” in the form of “a pro-democracy revolution.”[57]

In July of 2007, it was reported that the White House had “shifted back in favour of military action,” at the insistence of Cheney.[58] Josh Bolton, former US Ambassador to the United Nations, said in May of 2007, that US strategy consisted of three options: the first was economic sanctions, the second was regime change, and the third was military action. Bolton elaborated that, “we’ve got to go with regime change by bolstering opposition groups and the like, because that’s the circumstance most likely for an Iranian government to decide that it’s safer not to pursue nuclear weapons than to continue to do so. And if all else fails, if the choice is between a nuclear-capable Iran and the use of force, then I think we need to look at the use of force.” Ultimately, the aim would be “to foment a popular revolution.”[59]

In September of 2007, it was reported that the Bush administration was pushing the US on the warpath with Iran, as “Pentagon planners have developed a list of up to 2,000 bombing targets in Iran.” It was even reported that Secretary Rice was “prepared to settle her differences with Vice-President Dick Cheney and sanction military action.” It was reported that Rice and Cheney were working together to present a more unified front, finding a middle ground between Rice’s soft diplomacy, and Cheney’s preference to use “bunker-busting tactical nuclear weapons” against Iran.[60]

That same year, in 2007, the United States launched covert operations against Iran. ABC broke the story, reporting that, “The CIA has received secret presidential approval to mount a covert “black” operation to destabilize the Iranian government.” The President signed an order “that puts into motion a CIA plan that reportedly includes a coordinated campaign of propaganda, disinformation and manipulation of Iran’s currency and international financial transactions.” The approval of these covert operations marked a temporary move away from pursuing overt military action.[61]

As the Telegraph reported in May of 2007, “Bush has signed an official document endorsing CIA plans for a propaganda and disinformation campaign intended to destabilise, and eventually topple, the theocratic rule of the mullahs.” As part of the plan, “the CIA [has] the right to collect intelligence on home soil, an area that is usually the preserve of the FBI, from the many Iranian exiles and emigrés within the US,” as “Iranians in America have links with their families at home, and they are a good two-way source of information.” Further, “The CIA will also be allowed to supply communications equipment which would enable opposition groups in Iran to work together and bypass internet censorship by the clerical regime.”[62]

“Soft” power became the favoured policy for promoting regime change in Iran. David Denehy, a senior adviser to the State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, was “charged with overseeing the distribution of millions of dollars to advance the cause of a more democratic Iran.” He was responsible for disbursing the $75 million that Ms. Rice asked the Senate for in February of 2006. The appropriations included “$36.1 million into existing television and radio programs beaming into Iran,” and “$10 million would pay for public diplomacy and exchange programs, including helping Iranians who hope to study in America,” and “$20 million would support the efforts of civil-society groups — media, legal and human rights nongovernmental organizations — both outside and inside Iran.” The administration was requesting an additional $75 million for 2008.[63]

In 2008, award-winning journalist Seymour Hersh revealed in the New Yorker that in late 2007, Congress approved “a request from President Bush to fund a major escalation of covert operations against Iran, according to current and former military, intelligence, and congressional sources.” While the Cheney hard-liners in the Bush administration were long pushing for a direct military confrontation with Iran, the military had to be reigned in from being controlled by the neo-conservatives. Robert Gates, a former CIA director, had replaced Donald Rumsfeld as Defense Secretary, and while still saber rattling Iran, had to take a more strategic position, as many military leaders in the Pentagon felt “that bombing Iran is not a viable response to the nuclear-proliferation issue.”

The covert operations that were approved ran at a cost of approximately $400 million dollars, and “are designed to destabilize the country’s religious leadership. The covert activities involve support of the minority Ahwazi Arab and Baluchi groups and other dissident organizations. They also include gathering intelligence about Iran’s suspected nuclear-weapons program.” The operations were to be expanded under both the CIA and JSOC (the Joint Special Operations Command). The focus was “on undermining Iran’s nuclear ambitions and trying to undermine the government through regime change,” of which a major facet was “working with opposition groups and passing money.” Hersh elaborated:

Many of the activities may be being carried out by dissidents in Iran, and not by Americans in the field. One problem with “passing money” (to use the term of the person familiar with the Finding) in a covert setting is that it is hard to control where the money goes and whom it benefits. Nonetheless, the former senior intelligence official said, “We’ve got exposure, because of the transfer of our weapons and our communications gear. The Iranians will be able to make the argument that the opposition was inspired by the Americans. How many times have we tried this without asking the right questions? Is the risk worth it?” One possible consequence of these operations would be a violent Iranian crackdown on one of the dissident groups, which could give the Bush Administration a reason to intervene.

Included in the strategy was to use ethnic tensions to undermine the government; however, this strategy is flawed. Unlike Pakistan, Lebanon, and Iraq, Iran is a much older country, “like France and Germany—and its citizens are just as nationalistic. The U.S. is overestimating ethnic tension in Iran.” This turned out to be an important point in regards to the elections in the summer of 2009.

Flashback to 1953

To understand the nature of American and British “democracy promotion” in Iran, it is important to examine their historical practices regarding “democracy” in Iran. Specifically, the events of 1953 present a very important picture, in which the United States orchestrated its first foreign coup, with guidance and direction from the British, who had extensive oil interests in Iran. The first democratically elected government of Mohommad Mossadeq in 1951 announced the nationalization of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (later to be re-named British Petroleum), which had an exclusive monopoly on Iranian oil. This naturally angered the British, who, in 1952, convinced the CIA to help in a plot to overthrow Iran’s government.

The idea to topple the Iranian government was born in Britain, but it didn’t take much to convince the CIA to launch a joint operation with the SIS. Government documents were made public which revealed that CIA “officers orchestrating the Iran coup worked directly with royalist Iranian military officers, handpicked the prime minister’s replacement, sent a stream of envoys to bolster the shah’s courage, directed a campaign of bombings by Iranians posing as members of the Communist Party, and planted articles and editorial cartoons in newspapers.” The strategy was aimed at supporting an Iranian General and the Shah through CIA assets and financing, which would overthrow Mossadeq, “particularly if this combination should be able to get the largest mobs in the streets.”

The Shah was to play a pivotal role, as he was “to stand fast as the C.I.A. stirred up popular unrest and then, as the country lurched toward chaos, to issue royal decrees dismissing Dr. Mossadegh and appointing General Zahedi prime minister.” CIA operatives stoked pressure by pretending to be Iranian Communists, threatening Muslim leaders with “savage punishment if they opposed Mossadegh,” in an effort to stir anti-Communist and anti-Mossadeq sentiments in the religious community. The CIA even bombed the house of a prominent Muslim. Further, the CIA was advancing a major propaganda campaign, as a major newspaper owner was paid $45,000 to support the efforts. The CIA, once the coup was underway, used American media as propaganda, in an attempt to legitimize the coup plotters, as the CIA sent The Associated Press a news release saying that, “unofficial reports are current to the effect that leaders of the plot are armed with two decrees of the shah, one dismissing Mossadegh and the other appointing General Zahedi to replace him.” The CIA also disseminated this propaganda through Iranian media.

Following the beginning of the coup, which began on August 15, Mossadeq suspended the Parliament, which ultimately played “into the C.I.A.’s hands.” After having several plotters arrested, he let his guard down. Then the American Embassy planned a counterattack for August 19, specifically using religious forces. At this time, the Communist Party blamed “Anglo-American intrigue” for the coup. However, just as the CIA thought it was a failure, Iranian papers began publishing en masse the Shah’s decrees, and suddenly large pro-Shah crowds were building in the streets. An Iranian journalist who was an important CIA agent, “led a crowd toward Parliament, inciting people to set fire to the offices of a newspaper owned by Dr. Mossadegh’s foreign minister. Another Iranian C.I.A. agent led a crowd to sack the offices of pro-Tudeh papers.”

Then coup supporters in the military began to enter the streets, and soon “the crowds began to receive direct leadership from a few officers involved in the plot and some who had switched sides. Within an hour the central telegraph office fell, and telegrams were sent to the provinces urging a pro-shah uprising. After a brief shootout, police headquarters and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs fell as well.” Interestingly, according to the declassified documents, the CIA “hoped to plant articles in American newspapers saying Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlevi’s return resulted from a homegrown revolt against a Communist-leaning government,” but that ultimately, “its operatives had only limited success in manipulating American reporters.” The CIA planted stories in US media, such as one instance where the State Department planted a CIA study in Newsweek.

One of the key lessons the CIA learned in this operation, was that it “exposed the agency’s shortcomings in manipulating the American press.” The CIA even manipulated a reporter with the New York Times to disseminate propaganda. While Soviet media was proclaiming the US responsible for the coup, American mentions of this in the media dismissed these accusations outright, and never “examined such charges seriously.”[68]

By the end of Operation Ajax, as the CIA coup was codenamed, “some 300 people had died in firefights in the streets of Tehran,” largely due to the CIA “provoking street violence.” The coup resulted in “more than two decades of dictatorship under the Shah, who relied heavily on US aid and arms.”[69]

The West Sponsors Terrorists in Iran

In 2005, Scott Ritter, former UN weapons inspector, reported that, “the Mujahadeen el-Khalq, or MEK, an Iranian opposition group, once run by Saddam Hussein’s dreaded intelligence services,” was now working for the CIA in terror bombings inside Iran.[70] In February of 2007, the Telegraph reported that, “America is secretly funding militant ethnic separatist groups in Iran in an attempt to pile pressure on the Islamic regime to give up its nuclear programme.”

The CIA operations “involve dealing with movements that resort to terrorist methods,” and the article noted that, “there has been a wave of unrest in ethnic minority border areas of Iran, with bombing and assassination campaigns against soldiers and government officials,” and interestingly, the CIA operations are focused on “helping opposition militias among the numerous ethnic minority groups clustered in Iran’s border regions.” A former State Department counter-terrorism agent was quoted as saying, “The latest attacks inside Iran fall in line with US efforts to supply and train Iran’s ethnic minorities to destabilize the Iranian regime.”

ABC News reported in April of 2007 that, “A Pakistani tribal militant group responsible for a series of deadly guerrilla raids inside Iran has been secretly encouraged and advised by American officials since 2005.” The group, named Jundullah, operates out of the Baluchistan province in Pakistan, on the boarder of Iran, and “has taken responsibility for the deaths and kidnappings of more than a dozen Iranian soldiers and officials.”

In 2008, Pakistan’s former Army Chief said that, “the US is supporting the outlawed Jundullah group to destabilize Iran,” and that, “the US is providing training facilities to Jundullah fighters–located in eastern areas of Iran–to create unrest in the area and affect the cordial ties between Iran and its neighbor Pakistan.”

The 2009 Election Protests

The events of 1953 presented a blueprint for the 2009 Iranian election protests, an attempted “soft revolution” in Iran, also drawing from the “colour revolutions” in the post-Soviet states of Eastern Europe [See: Colour-Coded Revolutions and the Origins of World War III]. It is the thesis of this author that the 2009 election riots in Iran were a covert US (and British) plot designed to orchestrate regime change in Iran. The aim was to put in place a US-friendly leader, and thus, exert political, economic and strategic hegemony over Iran. Following the stratagem of US-funded “colour revolutions” in the former Soviet bloc, but with heavy CIA influence, drawing parallels with the 1953 coup; the plot was ultimately unsuccessful.

While the 1953 coup revealed the failure of the CIA to greatly influence and manipulate US media, the 2009 riots revealed a great success in American media manipulation; however, ironically, it was the focus on this triumphant success that may have impeded the ultimate success of the plot. American popular perception of an illegitimate election and political oppression was enough to support regime change, but not to enact regime change. So, in a bitter irony for the US, the failure of the 1953 coup, became the success of the 2009 plot; while the success of the 1953 coup, became the failure of the 2009 plot. It just so happens that the success of the 1953 coup . . . was that it worked.

In November of 2008, Iranian media reported that, “the White House is making strenuous efforts to orchestrate a “Velvet Revolution” in Iran.” The former Iranian ambassador to the United Nations said that, “that Washington is conspiring to foment discord among Iranians in order to topple the Tehran government.”

Iranian media reported in April of 2009, two months prior to the Presidential elections, that Iran’s Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) had “uncovered a plot for a ‘soft overthrow’ of the country’s government,” and “accused the Netherlands of conspiring to foment a velvet revolution in the country by supporting the opposition through the media and different Internet sites.” In 2005, the Dutch parliament funded a 15 million euro “media polarization campaign” inside Iran, which was “Coupled with British assistance and secret US funding.”

In the lead-up to the elections, there were increasing attacks within Iran. Two weeks before the election, on May 28, 2009, in southeastern Iran, a Shi’a mosque bombing resulted in the deaths of 20 people. An Iranian official accused the United States of involvement in arming the terrorists, who committed the act in a Sunni area of Iran, a religious minority within the country. Jundullah, the terrorist organization armed and funded by the US through the CIA, claimed responsibility for the bombing.[76] The following day, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s election campaign office was attacked by gunmen in the same city as the bombing, resulting in several injuries.[77] These attacks, aimed at stirring up religious tensions, are reminiscent of the attacks carried out by the CIA in Iran in the 1953 coup.

The day before the election, on June 11, 2009, it was reported that the National Endowment for Democracy, the main institution behind the “colour revolutions” in Eastern Europe (covered in Part 2 of this series), had spent a lot of money that made it into the hands of pro-Mousavi groups inside Iran, as Mousavi was the Western favoured candidate in the Iranian elections. It was even reported that there was talk of a “green revolution” in Iran, as the Mousavi campaign was full of green scarves and banners at the rallies.[78]

On June 10, 2009, two days before the election, a New York Times blog reported that there was concern among many Ahmadinejad supporters in Iran that they fear “that what they are witnessing is a local version of the Orange Revolution, which swept an opposition government into power in Ukraine.”[79]

On June 12, 2009, the Iranian election took place. Immediately, the propaganda machine went into effect and the plan for a colour revolution in Iran was underway. Iran’s state run news agency reported that Ahmadinejad had won in a landslide victory of 69%. Immediately, his main rival and the American-favoured candidate, Moussavi, claimed that he had won and that there were voting “irregularities,” and was quoted as saying, “I am the absolute winner of the election by a very large margin.”[80]

Immediately, Western governments denounced the election as a fraud, and protests began in the streets of Tehran, where young people clad in the green of the Mousavi campaign declared “Death to the Dictator” referring to Ahmadinejad. Mousavi encouraged the protests to continue, and in the second day of protests, young people “broke the windows of city buses on several streets in central Tehran. They burned banks, rubbish bins and piles of tyres used as flaming barricades. Riot police hit some of the protesters with batons while dozens of others holding shields and motorcycles stood guard nearby.” Western governments then openly declared their solidarity with the protests and denounced the Iranian government for repressing them.[81]

Despite all the claims of vote fraud and irregularities, those taking this position offered no actual evidence to support it. As Politico reported on June 15, the people proclaiming fraud “ignore the fact that Ahmadinejad’s 62.6 percent of the vote in this year’s election is essentially the same as the 61.69 percent he received in the final count of the 2005 presidential election.” These people also conveniently ignore many popular perceptions within Iran, such as the fact that most Iranians saw Ahmadinejad as having won the televised debates and that he can also be viewed as a populist campaigner. Ahmadinejad has the support of a large amount of Iranians, “including the religiously pious, lower-income groups, civil servants and pensioners.”[82]

Some “evidence” for fraud was highly circumstantial, in that it claimed that because Mousavi comes from an Azeri background, “he was guaranteed to win Iran’s Azeri-majority provinces,” and so, when Ahmadinejad won in these provinces, “fraud is the only possible explanation.” However, Ahmadinejad also speaks Azeri quite fluently, had formerly served as an official in two Azeri areas, and the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khameini, is also Azeri.

This also ignores the class based voting of Iranians. While the West tends to portray the Middle East and Africa through an Orientalist lens, viewing them as “the Other,” and often portraying the people of these regions as backwards or barbaric, reality is a far cry from Western perception. People in the Middle East, including in Iran, vote with concerns about the economy and social conditions in mind just as much as voters in the west do. Voting in the Middle East is not simply based upon religious or ethnic differences, there is more to consider, and any analysis that forgets this is flawed. Even the Financial Times was quoted as saying, “Change for the poor means food and jobs, not a relaxed dress code or mixed recreation,” and that, “Politics in Iran is a lot more about class war than religion.”

As James Petras wrote, “The only group, which consistently favored Mousavi, was the university students and graduates, business owners and the upper middle class.” These also happened to be the highly Westernized Iranians. The Iranians protesting in the “green revolution” were holding signs written in English, and were giving interviews to western media all in English. Many were western educated and raised. The Iranian diaspora in the west was also largely supportive of the “green revolution,” as they are the sons and daughters of those who had emigrated out of Iran following the 1979 Iranian Revolution. They are the children of the exiled Iranian capitalist class, and do not represent a fair assessment of the internal Iranian population. After all, the poor and the masses do not have the means to emigrate to the west. Naturally, many westernized youth in Iran have legitimate concerns and social issues with the present way of governance within Iran; however, the majority of Iranians are more concerned with their daily meals than Islamic dress codes.

As Petras further pointed out, “The ‘youth vote’, which the Western media praised as ‘pro-reformist’, was a clear minority of less than 30% but came from a highly privileged, vocal and largely English speaking group with a monopoly on the Western media.”[86] Even the Washington Post reported on June 15, about a major Western poll conducted in Iran three weeks prior to the election, in which it “showed Ahmadinejad leading by a more than 2 to 1 margin — greater than his actual apparent margin of victory,” and the “scientific sampling from across all 30 of Iran’s provinces showed Ahmadinejad well ahead.”

The Washington Post article further pointed out that, “Much commentary has portrayed Iranian youth and the Internet as harbingers of change in this election. But our poll found that only a third of Iranians even have access to the Internet, while 18-to-24-year-olds comprised the strongest voting bloc for Ahmadinejad of all age groups.” Further, the only demographic where Mousavi was “leading or competitive with Ahmadinejad were university students and graduates, and the highest-income Iranians.” The article ended by saying that, “The fact may simply be that the reelection of President Ahmadinejad is what the Iranian people wanted.”[87]

The Internet played a very large role in the international perception of the Iranian elections, as social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook were used to advance the aims of the “green revolution,” often giving it the name the “Twitter Revolution.” Remember that in 2007, “a CIA plan that reportedly includes a coordinated campaign of propaganda, disinformation and manipulation,” was put into effect, which were “intended to destabilise, and eventually topple, the theocratic rule of the mullahs.” As part of this, “The CIA will also be allowed to supply communications equipment which would enable opposition groups in Iran to work together and bypass internet censorship by the clerical regime.”[88]

In the midst of the protests, the Iranian government cracked down on dissent, banning foreign reporters and blocking websites. As the Washington Times reported, “Well-developed Twitter lists showed a constant stream of situation updates and links to photos and videos, all of which painted a portrait of the developing turmoil. Digital photos and videos proliferated and were picked up and reported in countless external sources safe from the regime’s Net crackdown.”[89] Naturally, all of this information came from the upper class Western students, who had access to this technology, which they were using in English.

On June 15, “a 27-year-old State Department official, Jared Cohen, e-mailed the social-networking site Twitter with an unusual request: delay scheduled maintenance of its global network, which would have cut off service while Iranians were using Twitter to swap information and inform the outside world about the mushrooming protests around Tehran.” Further, the New York Times reported that, “Mr. Cohen, a Stanford University graduate who is the youngest member of the State Department’s policy planning staff, has been working with Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and other services to harness their reach for diplomatic initiatives.”[90]

It turned out only a small number of people in Iran actually used Twitter for organizational purposes; however, “Twitter did prove to be a crucial tool in the cat-and-mouse game between the opposition and the government over enlisting world opinion.” Twitter also took part in spreading disinformation during the protests, as the New York Times pointed out that, “some of the biggest errors on Twitter that were quickly repeated and amplified by bloggers: that three million protested in Tehran last weekend (more like a few hundred thousand); that the opposition candidate Mir Hussein Moussavi was under house arrest (he was being watched); that the president of the election monitoring committee declared the election invalid last Saturday (not so).”[91]

On the 28th of June, the Iranian Intelligence Minister blamed western powers, specifically the United States and Britain, for the post-election protests and violence. Iran even arrested British embassy staff in Tehran.[92] On July 3, the head of Iran’s Guardians Council said that, “British embassy staff would be put on trial for inciting violent protests.” Iran had arrested nine “British embassy employees it accused of playing a role in organising pro-democracy demonstrations,” but had released seven of them by July. However, one Embassy staff member had been accused of “a significant role” in the election riots.[93]

Amidst all the British denials of any involvement, the Telegraph revealed in late July that two exiles, “Azadeh Assadi and Vahid Saderigh have been providing crucial support to opposition leaders in Tehran from their homes in London,” who “take their cue from Iran’s Green Movement which has been the rallying point for an unprecedented challenge to the leadership of the Islamic Republic.” They further organized the protests at the Iranian Embassy in London, which lasted for 31 days, longer than anywhere else.[94]

Hossein Rassam, head of the security and political division of the British Embassy in Tehran, was arrested under suspicions that he played a key role in the protests “in providing guidance to diplomats and reporters of the British media.” Further, an Iranian-American scholar was arrested. In 2007, Iran arrested “Haleh Esfandiari, head of the Wilson Center’s Middle East program, and Kian Tajbakhsh, with links to the Soros institute, on suspicions of endangering the country’s national security.” They were released after three months detention.[95]

Of great interest were the statements made my former high-level American strategic kingpins of the foreign policy establishment in the wake of the riots: among them, Henry Kissinger, Zbigniew Brzezinski, and Brent Scowcroft. Former US National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft, in an interview with Al-Jazeera shortly after the start of the protests, when asked if the US had intelligence agents on the ground in Iran, replied, without hesitation, “Of course we do.” The interviewer asked if they would help the protesters, to which Scowcroft replied, “They might be, who knows. But that’s a far cry from helping protesters against the combined might of the Revolutionary Guard, the militias, and so on, and the police, who are so far, completely unified.” He explained that he feels the “movement” for change is there in Iran, and that, “It’s going to change Iran, I think that is almost inevitable.”[96]

Zbigniew Brzezinski, former National Security Adviser in the Jimmy Carter administration, co-founder with David Rockefeller of the Trilateral Commission, and arch-hawk geopolitical strategist, was interviewed on CNN shortly after the protests began. When asked how the situation could be worked out to resemble Eastern Europe, as in, successful colour revolutions putting western puppets in power, Brzezinski responded, “Well, I think it will not work out the way Eastern Europe worked out, and hopefully it will not end the way Tiananmen Square ended. Eastern Europe became intensely pro-Western, pro-American, and so forth.” Further, he explained, “If there is a change of regime in Iran, there is a greater chance of accommodation, and I think that is to be fervently wished for. But that requires patience, intelligent manipulation, moral support, but no political interference.”[97]

Henry Kissinger, former National Security Adviser and Secretary of State; was interviewed by BBC at the outbreak of the riots. He stated that, “Now if it turns out that it is not possible for a government to emerge in Iran that can deal with itself as a nation rather than as a cause, then we have a different situation. Then we may conclude that we must work for regime change in Iran from the outside.”[98]

Clearly, there were extensive Western interests and involvement behind the Iranian “democracy” movement that resulted in the protests following the election. However, the ultimate goal of the attempted “colour revolution” failed, as it did not succeed in achieving regime change. Brzezinski’s strategy of “intelligent manipulation” ultimately failed, and so, as Henry Kissinger stated, “we may conclude that we must work for regime change in Iran from the outside.”

Latin America Is Not to Be Left Out: The Coup in Honduras

It is important to take a look at recent events in Latin America in an imperial context to understand how wide and vast American and NATO imperial strategy is. While the world’s eyes and media were fixated on events in Iran, another event was taking place in Latin America, which was conveniently ignored by international media.

On June 28, 2009, the Honduran military kidnapped the President of Honduras and flew him into exile. The official line was that the coup was prompted when Manuel Zelaya, the President of Honduras, was attempting to schedule a poll on holding a referendum about rewriting the constitution. The Supreme Court secretly issued an arrest warrant for Zelaya on June 26, “charging him with treason and abuse of power.”[99] The military entered his house two days later, and put him on a military plane to Costa Rica, and the same day, the Honduran Congress voted to remove Zelaya and replace him with the Speaker of Congress Roberto Micheletti.

Zelaya happened to be a close ally of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, as well as Bolivian President Evo Morales; who represent the populist leaders of the new move to the left in Latin America, and pose a strong opposition force to the hegemony of US and Western interests in the region. Hugo Chavez alleged that the coup had the hands of the United States in it, and that the upper class in Honduras helped and “have turned Honduras into a ‘banana republic’, into a political, military and terror base for the North American empire.”[100]

The New York Times reported that the Obama administration was “surprised” by the coup, “But they also said that they had been working for several weeks to try to head off a political crisis in Honduras as the confrontation between Mr. Zelaya and the military over his efforts to lift presidential term limits escalated.” Further, “The United States has long had strong ties to the Honduras military and helps train Honduran military forces.” It was further reported that Secretary of State Hilary Clinton visited Zelaya on June 2, and that the United States thought Zelaya’s plans for reforming the Constitution was a “bad idea.” The US Ambassador to Honduras had held discussions with military officials where “There was talk of how they might remove the president from office, how he could be arrested, on whose authority they could do that.”[101]

As it turned out, the General in the Honduran Army who overthrew Zelaya “is a two-time graduate of the U.S. Army School of the Americas, an institution that has trained hundreds of coup leaders and human rights abusers in Latin America.” Past graduates have included Argentine Gen. Leopoldo Galtieri, Guatemalan dictator Gen. Efrain Rios Montt, “Panamanian dictators Gen. Omar Torrijos, who overthrew a civilian government in a 1968 coup, and Gen. Manuel Noriega, a five-time SOA graduate, who ruled the country and dealt in drugs while on the CIA payroll,” Ecuadoran dictator Gen. Guillermo Rodriguez, Bolivian dictators Gen. Hugo Banzer Suarez and Gen. Guido Vildoso Calderon, and Peruvian strongman Gen. Juan Velasco Alvarado.[102]

As was reported the following day of the coup, over the previous ten years, “the United States has delivered $18.41 million in weapons and defense articles to Honduras through the foreign military sales program,” with Foreign Military Financing totaling $7.3 million between 2003 and today, and “International Military Education and Training funds in that same period came to $14.82 million.”[103]

The Washington Post reported, two days following the coup, that when Clinton was asked if it was a US priority to see Zelaya reinstated, she responded, “We haven’t laid out any demands that we’re insisting on, because we’re working with others on behalf of our ultimate objectives.” Zelaya had fired Gen. Romeo Vasquez prior to the coup, and Air Force commander, Gen. Luis Javier Prince Suazo, along with many other military leaders resigned. Both Vasquez and Suazo were trained at the School of the Americas.[104]

An article in the Guardian published a few days after the coup stated that, as countries around the world condemned the coup and called for the reinstatement of Zelaya, “Washington’s ambivalence has begun to raise suspicions about what the US government is really trying to accomplish in this situation.” One possibility for this is that “the Obama administration may want to extract concessions from Zelaya as part of a deal for his return to office.” Following the coup, oppression in Honduras was rampant: “political repression, the closing of TV and radio stations, the detention of journalists, detention and physical abuse of diplomats and what the Committee to Protect Journalists has called a “media blackout” have yet to draw a serious rebuke from Washington.” As the author astutely stated:

The battle between Zelaya and his opponents pits a reform president who is supported by labour unions and social organisations against a mafia-like, drug-ridden, corrupt political elite who is accustomed to choosing not only the supreme court and the Congress, but also the president. It is a recurrent story in Latin America, and the US has almost always sided with the elites.[105]

This harks back to 2002, when the United States had its hands involved in the attempted coup in Venezuela to oust President Hugo Chavez, which ultimately failed. In the months leading up to the attempted coup in April 2002, US officials held a series of meetings with “Venezuelan military officers and opposition activists.” Further, “a few weeks before the coup attempt, administration officials met Pedro Carmona, the business leader who took over the interim government after President Hugo Chavez was arrested.”

The Pentagon even “confirmed that the Venezuelan army’s chief of staff, General Lucas Romero Rincon, visited the Pentagon in December and met the assistant secretary of defence for western hemispheric affairs.” Further, when “Mr Carmona and other opposition leaders came to the US they met Otto Reich, the assistant secretary of state for western hemisphere affairs.” Otto Reich was a veteran of the Reagan-era “dirty tricks” in Latin America, such as the contra operations, which involved the US funding drug-running terrorists and death squads, and Reich “was the head of the office of public diplomacy in the state department, which was later found to have been involved in covert pro-contra propaganda.”[106]

The Observer reported that the coup attempt in 2002 “was closely tied to senior officials in the US government.” Among the officials involved, “Elliot Abrams, who gave a nod to the attempted Venezuelan coup, has a conviction for misleading Congress over the infamous Iran-Contra affair.” There was of course Otto Reich, who met with all the coup leaders in the months preceding the coup. Finally, there was John Negroponte, who was in 2002 “ambassador to the United Nations. He was Reagan’s ambassador to Honduras from 1981 to 1985 when a US-trained death squad, Battalion 3-16, tortured and murdered scores of activists. A diplomatic source said Negroponte had been ‘informed that there might be some movement in Venezuela on Chavez’ at the beginning of the year.”[107]

Two weeks following the coup in Honduras, Roberto Micheletti, the man who replaced Zelaya following the coup, showed up at the house of President Óscar Arias of Costa Rica, who was to mediate between the “interim government” and Zelaya. Micheletti however, was accompanied with an interesting cast of characters. He arrived with six advisers, among them, “an American public relations specialist who has done work for former President Bill Clinton and the American’s interpreter, and an official close to the talks said the team rarely made a move without consulting him.” International pressure for US sanctions on Honduras was building, however:

Mr. Micheletti has embarked on a public relations offensive, with his supporters hiring high-profile lawyers with strong Washington connections to lobby against such sanctions. One powerful Latin American business council hired Lanny J. Davis, who has served as President Clinton’s personal lawyer and who campaigned for Mrs. Clinton for president.

[. . . ] Mr. Micheletti brought the adviser from another firm with Clinton ties to the talks in Costa Rica. The adviser, Bennett Ratcliff of San Diego, refused to give details about his role at the talks.

“Every proposal that Micheletti’s group presented was written or approved by the American,” said another official close to the talks, referring to Mr. Ratcliff.[108]

Clearly, whatever the end result, which has yet to be determined, the hand of the United States can be seen in the Honduran coup. The bias and ultimately the failure of the international media became quite evident as a result of the coup. While the global media, particularly the western corporate media, were devoting non-stop coverage to the Iranian elections, proclaiming fraud, while offering no evidence; a military coup ousting a democratically elected president and installing an oppressive dictatorship which immediately began its heavy handed repression received scant attention. The western media attacked an actual democratic process in action, while ignoring a military assault against democracy. Which story receives more coverage is determined by the interests involved: in Iran, the West wanted a new government, so the media pushed for one; in Honduras, the US wanted a new government, so the media turned a blind eye while they got one through non-democratic means.

The Afghanistan-Pakistan War Theatre

In late March, Obama announced his plan for a new Afghanistan and Pakistan strategy, which are to be a combined strategy. As part of the strategy, known as the AfPak strategy, “More U.S. troops, civilian officials and money will be needed,” and “Obama pledged to tighten U.S. focus on Pakistan.” Further, Obama announced in late March that, “he would send 4,000 U.S. troops — beyond the additional 17,000 he authorized” in February, “to work as trainers and advisers to the Afghan army, and hundreds more civilian officials and diplomats to help improve governance and the country’s economy,” bringing the total number of US troops up to 60,000.[110]

In May, a major event took place in military circles, as one of the few times in over 50 years an American wartime general was fired in the field. In May of 2009, Defense Secretary Robert Gates fired the top general in Afghanistan saying that what was needed was “fresh thinking” and “fresh eyes” on Afghanistan. Gates “recommended that President Obama replace McKiernan with a veteran Special Operations commander, Lt. Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal.” As the Washington Post reported, McKiernan, the general whom Gates fired, “was viewed as somewhat cautious and conventionally minded.”[111] Could it be that McKiernan did not see the AfPak strategy as a viable option; that it went against “caution”?

His replacement, General McChrystal, was “the director of the Pentagon’s Joint Staff. From 2006 to August 2008, he was the forward commander of the U.S. military’s secretive Joint Special Operations Command, responsible for capturing or killing high-level leaders of the Sunni insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq.”[112] One expert summed up the new General as such: “McChrystal kills people.” One senior military official at the Pentagon asked; “what message are we sending when our high-value-target hunter is sent to lead in Afghanistan?”[113]

However, there is another twist to this story. As Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, Seymour Hersh revealed, Cheney created a special unit called the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), which was to carry out high-level assassinations. This unit was kept a secret for many years, and Hersh referred to it as an “Executive assassination ring.” Hersh reported that they carried out many assassinations, “not just in Iraq and Afghanistan, it’s in a lot of other countries, in the Middle East and in South Asia and North Africa and even central America.” The new General of the AfPak war theatre, Stanley McChrystal, used to run Cheney’s assassination squad.[114]

At the end of November 2009, Obama announced a surge of an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan, “bringing the total American force to about 100,000.”[115] Further, in early December, it was reported that Obama “authorized an expansion of the C.I.A.’s drone program in Pakistan’s lawless tribal areas, officials said this week, to parallel the president’s decision, announced Tuesday, to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan.”[116]

Clearly, the Afghanistan-Pakistan strategy will only further inflame the region in conflict and turmoil. Expanding the Afghan war into Pakistan is akin to playing with matches around a stick of dynamite. Perhaps this was the clarity of the previous general, McKiernan, in seeing this strategic insanity, and thus, the reason for his removal. The destabilization of this region threatens all of the neighboring countries, including India, China, Russia, Turkey and Iran. The possibility of creating a much wider war in the region, and even between the great powers, is ever increasing.

Africa and AFRICOM

During the Cold War, Africa was an imperial battleground between the USSR and the US-NATO powers, with the ultimate goal being the control over strategic resource-rich areas. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia’s influence in Africa largely dissipated, and with that, came the neo-imperial struggle among the western powers for control over key strategic points. Now, the great battle in Africa is between the NATO powers, primarily the United States, and China, which has had exponential growth and influence on the continent.

The 1990s saw the Rwandan genocide as a key event in Africa, which was, in actuality, a struggle between France and the United States over the key strategic location of Rwanda. The World Bank and IMF laid the groundwork for conflict, creating the economic conditions that exacerbated colonial-era ethnic tensions. Meanwhile, the United States, through its proxy state of Uganda, funded military operations and trained the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), which conducted military operations from Uganda into Rwanda. The Civil War waged from 1990-1993, with the US funding all sides of the conflict. In 1994, the RPF shot down the plane carrying the Presidents of Rwanda and Burundi, which sparked the genocide. Following the genocide, the US-trained puppet, Paul Kagame, became President of Rwanda.[117]

Following these events, the US had two protectorates in Central Africa, Uganda and Rwanda, both of which bordered the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). This was the ultimate prize in the area. From both Rwanda and Uganda, military operations were funded and paramilitary forces were trained by the United States to venture into the DRC, which erupted in coups and Civil War. However, western, primarily American and Canadian corporations were plundering the resource-rich Congo, while millions of Congolese civilians died.[118]

In April of 2001, Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney held a hearing on Western involvement in the plunder of Africa, in which she stated, “at the heart of Africa’s suffering is the West’s, and most notably the United States’, desire to access Africa’s diamonds, oil, natural gas, and other precious resources . . . the West, and most notably the United States, has set in motion a policy of oppression, destabilization and tempered, not by moral principle, but by a ruthless desire to enrich itself on Africa’s fabulous wealth.”[119]

In the New World Order, Africa has not lost its significance as a geopolitical prize for the great powers. While the Middle East, save Iran, is largely under the influence of the United States and its NATO allies, Africa is the main battleground between the US and China. Imperialism in Africa goes under many names: the “War on Terror”, military assistance, economic aid, and “humanitarian intervention” to name a few.

U.S. Strategy in Africa

In 2005, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), the main policy-planning group of the US elite, published a Task Force Report on US strategy in Africa called, More Than Humanitarianism: A Strategic U.S. Approach Toward Africa. In the report, it was stated that:

Africa is becoming more important because of its growing role in supplying the world with oil, gas, and non-fuel minerals. Now supplying the United States with 15 percent of oil imports, Africa’s production may double in the next decade, and its capacity for natural gas exports will grow even more. In the next decade, Africa could be supplying the United States with as much energy as the Middle East.[120]

The report stated that, “The United States is facing intense competition for energy and other natural resources in Africa,” identifying India and primarily China as its main competitors “in the search for these resources and for both economic and political influence on the continent.”[121] In particular, “China presents a particularly important challenge to U.S. interests.”[122]

Further, “To compete more effectively with China, the United States must provide more encouragement and support to well-performing African states, develop innovative means for U.S. companies to compete, give high-level attention to Africa, and engage China on those practices that conflict with U.S. interests.”[123]

In analyzing the threat China poses to the US in Africa, the report hypocritically and misleadingly states that one of its main concerns is that China uses “its seat on the UN Security Council to protect some of Africa’s most egregious regimes from international sanction, in particular Sudan and Zimbabwe.”[124] This conveniently ignores the United States doing the same thing in regards to Israel, as well as its tacit, overt and covert support for brutal regimes across the world, not simply in Africa.

The report explained that much of China’s growing influence is due to its “soft loans,” meaning that Chinese loans to African countries do not come attached with “conditions” as in World Bank and IMF loans, which make them much more attractive to African countries. China is also heavily invested in the oil of Sudan, specifically in Darfur, which the West does not have access to.

In analyzing how the War on Terror had been brought to Africa, the report stated:

Post-9/11, the U.S. counterterror approach to Africa has been led by the U.S. military: CENTCOM in the Horn; EUCOM in West, Central, and southern Africa; and the U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM). More quietly, U.S. intelligence cooperation with key states has expanded in parallel with the enlargement of the U.S. military’s role.[125]

As the Guardian reported in June of 2005, “A new ‘scramble for Africa’ is taking place among the world’s big powers, who are tapping into the continent for its oil and diamonds.” A key facet of this is that “corporations from the US, France, Britain and China are competing to profit from the rulers of often chaotic and corrupt regimes.”[126]


In May of 2006, the Washington Post reported that the US has been “secretly supporting secular warlords who have been waging fierce battles against Islamic groups for control of the capital, Mogadishu.”[127]

In December of 2006, Ethiopia, heavily backed and supported by the US, invaded and occupied Somalia, ousting the Islamist government. The US support for the operations was based upon the claims of Somalia being a breeding ground for terrorists and Al-Qaeda. However, this was has now turned into an insurgency. Wired Magazine reported in December of 2008 that, “For several years the U.S. military has fought a covert war in Somalia, using gunships, drones and Special Forces to break up suspected terror networks

– and enlisting Ethiopia’s aid in propping up a pro-U.S. “transitional” government.”[128]

However, there is naturally more to this than fighting “terrorists.” Civil war has raged in Somalia since 1991, creating destabilization and political instability. The UN intervened between 1992 and 1995, and the US sent in Special Forces in 1993. As the Los Angeles Times revealed in 1993, “four major U.S. oil companies are quietly sitting on a prospective fortune in exclusive concessions to explore and exploit tens of millions of acres of the Somali countryside.” According to the article, “nearly two-thirds of Somalia was allocated to the American oil giants Conoco, Amoco, Chevron and Phillips in the final years before Somalia’s pro-U.S. President Mohamed Siad Barre was overthrown and the nation plunged into chaos in January, 1991.”


Conoco Inc., the only major multinational corporation to maintain a functioning office in Mogadishu throughout the past two years of nationwide anarchy, has been directly involved in the U.S. government’s role in the U.N.-sponsored humanitarian military effort.

Conoco, whose tireless exploration efforts in north-central Somalia reportedly had yielded the most encouraging prospects just before Siad Barre’s fall, permitted its Mogadishu corporate compound to be transformed into a de facto American embassy a few days before the U.S. Marines landed in the capital, with Bush’s special envoy using it as his temporary headquarters. In addition, the president of the company’s subsidiary in Somalia won high official praise for serving as the government’s volunteer “facilitator” during the months before and during the U.S. intervention.[129]

The Ethiopian troops occupied Somalia for a couple years, and in January of 2009, the last Ethiopian troops left the capital city of Mogadishu. In 2007, the UN authorized an African Union (AU) peacekeeping mission in Somalia. In March of 2007, Ugandan military officials landed in Somalia. Essentially, what this has done is that the more overt Ethiopian occupation of Somalia has been replaced with a UN-mandated African Union occupation of the country, in which Ugandan troops make up the majority. Since Uganda is a proxy military state for the US in the region, the more overt US supported Ethiopian troops have been replaced by a more covert US-supported Ugandan contingent.


In 2007, Newsweek reported that, “America is quietly expanding its fight against terror on the African front. Two years ago the United States set up the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership with nine countries in central and western Africa. There is no permanent presence, but the hope is to generate support and suppress radicalism by both sharing U.S. weapons and tactics with friendly regimes and winning friends through a vast humanitarian program assembled by USAID, including well building and vocational training.” The Pentagon announced the formation of a new military strategic command called “Africom” (Africa Command), which “will integrate existing diplomatic, economic and humanitarian programs into a single strategic vision for Africa, bring more attention to long-ignored American intelligence-gathering and energy concerns on the continent, and elevate African interests to the same level of importance as those of Asia and the Middle East.”

The article gave brief mention to critics, saying that, “Not surprisingly, the establishment of a major American base in Africa is inspiring new criticism from European and African critics of U.S. imperial overreach.” Some claim it represents a “militarization of U.S. Africa policy,” which is not a stretch of imaginations, as the article pointed out, “the United States has identified the Sahel, a region stretching west from Eritrea across the broadest part of Africa, as the next critical zone in the War on Terror and started working with repressive governments in Chad and Algeria, among others, to further American interests there.”

As Newsweek further reported:

The problem is that, increasingly, African leaders appear not to want Africom. They see it as the next phase of the War on Terror—a way to pursue jihadists inside Africa’s weak or failed states, which many U.S. officials have described as breeding grounds for terror. They worry that the flow of arms will overwhelm the flow of aid, and that U.S. counterterrorism will further destabilize a region already prone to civil wars.[130]

Africom is the new American military command designed to control Africa, which currently sits as an important neo-colonial battleground between the US and China. Africa still remains a major front in the imperialist adventures of the dominant powers of the New World Order. Its rich wealth in resources makes it an important strategic location for the world powers to seek hegemony over.


The continuation of the Cold War stances of the West versus the East remain and are exacerbated, in what can be referred to as a “New Cold War.” At the same time, global regional conflicts continue to be waged and expanded, be it in the Middle East, Central Africa or Central Asia, with coups and regime change being furthered in Eastern Europe, South America and across the globe. However, these two major global issues: regional wars and conflict and the New Cold War, are not separate, but inherently linked. An exacerbation of conflict, in any and all regions, will only serve to strengthen the political-strategic conflict between the US-NATO alliance and the Russia-China alliance.

All that is required for a new major world war is just one spark: whether it comes in the form of a war between Pakistan and India, or a military strike on Iran, in which case China and Russia would not sit idly by as they did with Iraq. A strike on Iran, particularly with nuclear missiles, as is proposed, would result in World War III. So why does strategy on the part of the US and NATO continue to push in this direction?

As George Orwell once wrote:

The war is not meant to be won, it is meant to be continuous. Hierarchical society is only possible on the basis of poverty and ignorance. This new version is the past and no different past can ever have existed. In principle the war effort is always planned to keep society on the brink of starvation. The war is waged by the ruling group against its own subjects and its object is not the victory over either Eurasia or East Asia, but to keep the very structure of society intact.

A New World War would be a global war waged by a global ruling class against the citizens of the world, with the aim of maintaining and reshaping hierarchical society to serve their own interests. It would indeed symbolize a New World War for a New World Order. In a globalized world, all conflict has global implications; the task at hand is whether the people can realize that war is not waged against a “distant” or “foreign” enemy, but against all people of the world.

Herman Goering, Hitler’s second in command, explained the concept of war when he was standing trial at the Nuremberg Trials for war crimes, when he stated, “Why, of course, the people don’t want war,” and that, “Naturally, the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.” When Goering was corrected that in a democracy, “the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives,” Goering responded:

Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.[131]

Having coped with Libya, the West is ready to hunt down new victims, Syria and Iran being next on the hit list. The campaign against Syria runs into major roadblocks as the country’s leader Bashar al-Assad offered the society a package of reforms which are indeed long overdue, while Russia and Iran prevented the UN Security Council from passing a resolution that could expose Syria to an intervention modeled on the one recently faced by Libya. As a result, the West’s plans for Syria are being adjusted to current circumstances, and at the moment the West’s bet is on destabilizing the country from within by combined efforts of the Western intelligence community, foreign mercenaries, and the local fifth column. A revolution was similarly attempted in Iran but met with well-organized resistance, and the international sanctions imposed on Iran may create certain problems but are not lethal to its economy. Moreover, the enforcement of “democracy” in Iraq and Libya had a sobering effect even on Iran’s pro-western political forces. Yet, the impression is that at the moment the Western leaders simply cannot wait for new revolution opportunities to arise.

The collapse of the USSR, which, by the way, did not result from natural causes, made the world sway towards unipolarity, but it came into being in the form of an order completely different from what Anglo-Saxon geopolitical thinkers like Alfred Mahan, Halford John Mackinder, or Nicholas John Spykman used to dream of. Their expectation was that global dominance in the future world would stem from marine power, but it became clear instead at the dawn of the XXI century that the world is ruled by the groups running global finances. Those at the helm are a conglomerate of 147 interwoven kinships controlling the global financial sector and the emission of the US dollar, the latter being a mechanism of keeping national elites across the entire world on a short leash. The Rockefeller and Rothschild clans along with the Vatican are known to play the key roles in the shadowy authority network. In the early XX century, a secret convention of US financial operators held at a US island adopted the so-called Marburg Plan premised in the assumption that power was essentially an asset, but the costliest one and as such had to belong to the richest. The plan could not materialize as long as the USSR was in place and became completely realistic after its collapse. As of today, the keys to the international politics are in the hands of the global financial oligarchy with its network of financial centers, national and transnational banks, governance bodies like the IMF and the World Bank, research centers, and secret political headquarters, and with its own money-printing press officially titled the US Federal Reserve. The objectives of the global financial oligarchy, already accomplished or currently pursued, are:

•    Setting money as the core value of human existence and the main value for nations and societies;

•    Linking all national currencies, along with the national economies, to the US dollar;

•    Inducing the transparency of national borders for financial flows, products, and services;

•    Forming controllable “elites” that act in the interests of the global financial community and the dispatch of the “elites” to positions of authority worldwide;

•    Achieving total control over individual and collective conduct in the economic and political spheres.

The arsenal of instruments employed by the global financial oligarchy is enormous and includes corruption, arranged bankruptcies, defamation, and terrorism along with the elimination of nation states and the unleashing of wars. The system as a whole, therefore, deserves to be regarded as a global financial dictatorship equipped with an ideology of fascism. The underlying formula of this type of rule is that everything is doable with money.

* * *

Since the 1990ies, the world saw a sweeping attack on all types of proponents of the socialist experiment and on all opponents of the global world order which gives unlimited power to a group of bankers. Yugoslavia was devastated as a country which searched for its own development model and continued to regulate the domestic circulation of the US dollar at the time when the rest of Europe had no intention to defy the grip of the financial empire. Iraq came under fire as it similarly probed into the feasibility of an Arab brand of socialism under S. Hussein, rolled out a plan to reject the US dollar as the currency for its oil business, and generally showed untamed independence. In Libya’s case, the Western intervention followed as M. Gadhafi worked towards an African Union and drafted ambitious plans from switching the continent’s economy to the gold dinar to creating the African Union’s own armed forces. At the moment, the West is undermining the regime in Syria, mercenaries are flowing into the country, and US diplomats urge the opposition to brush off Bashar al-Assad’s reform offers and to put up armed resistance due to the fact that Syria did not bow to the new world order. The financial dictators have no problems with regimes like those running the Persian Gulf countries where rulers keep their money in Western banks and take commands from Washington readily, or with countries like Somalia, Iraq, and Afghanistan which are locked in permanent domestic conflicts.

For Wall Street, Iran is the main opponent of the global financial dictatorship in the Middle East. There was a time when Turkey staked a bid for some amount of independence, but the impression is that the Turkish premier R. Erdogan and foreign minister A. Davutoğlu failed to break out of control and now Ankara is taking part in bringing down Syria and supports tighter sanctions against Iran.

Iran is the target of an operation aimed at destroying its sovereign and the island of stability it used to be despite being strategically located on the line of instability stretching from the Balkans to Pakistan. Tehran faces punishment for defying the control of the global governance system and, particularly, for ignoring the US dollar.

Notably, an offensive against Iran would be much harder to implement than the recent campaign against Libya. NATO air raids will likely prove inefficient in Iran, plus Europe with its lingering crisis is unprepared for costly efforts and sacrifices. In the meantime, the global financial elite is confronted with serious challenges; the zone of the US dollar circulation is shrinking and the Occupy Wall Street moment is gaining momentum, China and India are rising economically and militarily, Latin America is en route to deeper integration, and regional groups – the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, BRICs, ASEAN, APEC are growing increasingly active. Even Russia’s administration is implicitly steering a course towards ever greater independence from the global financial centers. For the oligarchy, the solution in sight is to launch a powerful strike that would safeguard the US dollar and those whose might it props up, weaken China and Europe, and show to the whole world who is in charge.

There are indications that an attack against Iran is a decided matter. The IAEA report based on intelligence data from obscure sources and portraying Iran as a country struggling to become nuclear-armed is supposed to convince the US taxpayers and the international community that no alternative to a military campaign exists… Since B. Obama as a winner of the Nobel Prize for Peace and a re-election hopeful has limited space for maneuver, the strike against Iran will be initiated by Israel. The fear that the Israeli nuclear monopoly in the Middle East may come to an end is meant to push Israel’s population towards accepting the plan. The Israeli administration and media uphold the theme of the Iranian nuclear threat and call for a strike on Iran as instructed by the Wall Street Big Brother. Chances are high that the plan will materialize as public protests are easy to handle for the police and the unipolar world is ruled by money, with the international law or moral concerns playing no role. Like Yugoslavia, Iraq, and Libya, Iran can have to pick up the challenge with no allies whatsoever – unless North Korea sends a bunch of soldiers to help it, which clearly would not change the outcome. Maintaining a sizable army, Iran still has nothing comparable to the US military might, nor has the potential to counter the Israeli air raids. Classic forms of defense would not work for Iran in a fight with the immensely superior enemy. What Tehran would need is an asymmetric response that would cause massive damage to the enemy, not necessarily on the enemy territory, and put the very existence of the state of Israel in jeopardy. It is unclear whether Iran has a plan of the kind.

Beijing should realize that an attack on Iran would derail China’s development, considering that a conflict in the region, especially a nuclear one, would disrupt oil supplies to China. As for Europe, it will be getting limited supplies of crude at $300-400 per barrel, which would imminently result in the collapse of the EU. In other words, part of the plan for an attack against Iran is to defeat Europe, China, and India as the economic rivals of the US, as well as to weaken the Muslim world which would see its development and revolutionary activity de-energized once its inflow of petrodolars dwindles.

A look into history should help to predict the future.

The systemic crisis of the early XX-century predatory capitalism led to revolutionary situations in Russia and Europe and triggered two world wars. The world became bipolar in the wake of the defeat of fascism in World War II, the colonial system fell, and opportunities opened up for scores of nations to chose between various development models. The above clearly reflected a profound trend in the global evolution, meaning that the current attempts to impose financial fascism on mankind are doomed. It will, however, take time and sacrifices for the healthy forces to prevail, and Iran, with its resistance to neofascism, will lay the foundations of the future victory. Other nations will follow the lead. The East and the West’s anti-globalist forces will eventually become aware of the need for a higher form of organization, and a leading civilization – evidently, Russia – will offer mankind a new model of the global arrangement, civilized coexistence, and individual harmony with the world. The US as the driver of the new fascism will suffer more than others in the coming conflict – it carries too much negative energy which always attract trouble.

The body of Poland's wartime leader has been exhumed as part of a probe into claims his death in a 1943 air crash was the result of a plot by Britain and Russia.

Authorities hope the exhumation of General  Wladyslaw Sikorski, head of occupied Poland's government-in-exile, which was based in Britain, will cast light on suspicions that his death was ordered by Soviet or British leaders who were starting to find him politically inconvenient.

There has been speculation that the notorious British traitor Kim Philby, then a British agent working for the Soviets, was involved. 

Probe: Officers from Krakow's Assault Division carry the coffin with the remains of Poland's World War II leader, Gen. Wladyslaw Sikorski from the Wawel Castle Cathedral to be taken for forensic examination

Probe: Officers from Krakow's Assault Division carry the coffin with the remains of Poland's World War II leader, General Wladyslaw Sikorski from the Wawel Castle Cathedral to be taken for forensic examination

'Given Sikorski's important role in Poland's history - and having the tools and the know-how that we have now - we cannot let this remain a historical mystery,' said Ewa Koj, the prosecutor overseeing the investigation.

Polish Gen. Wladyslaw Sikorski was killed in a plane crash off Gibraltar in 1943 but his body has been exhumed to see if he was the victim of a Russian and British plot

The official explanation into General Wladyslaw Sikorski's death was a plane crash off Gibraltar in 1943

Stone masons lifted a block of marble weighing more than two tons inside a crypt in Krakow's Wawel Castle Cathedral to get at the wooden coffin with Sikorski's remains.

Forensic and medical experts then took samples to carry out DNA and toxicology tests. 

n Wednesday his remains will be laid to rest again after a Roman Catholic Mass.

The DNA will be used to verify the body is indeed Sikorski's by comparing it with samples known to be from him.  

Computer tomography and X-rays should reveal all fractures or possible bullet wounds; a toxicology test was to check whether Sikorski could have been poisoned or whether he drowned.

There has been speculation that he was killed before the plane took off, and that the crash was engineered as a smokescreen.

The official explanation holds that Sikorski, leader of the free Polish army and prime minister in exile in London, died on July  4, 1943 when his plane plunged into the sea just 16 seconds after taking off from Gibraltar.

He was returning to London from the Middle East, where he had inspected Polish troops about to join the Allies.

He daughter Zofia Lesniowska, and eight others, also died in the crash.

Sikorski was widely respected on the international stage and stood shoulder to shoulder with Winston Churchill as a symbol of occupied Poland's survival in its darkest hour.

After the crash, a hasty British investigation ruled it was an accident, saying the plane had become 'uncontrollable for reasons which cannot be established'. 

Exhumed: The marble sarcophagus on the grave of Gen. Wladyslaw Sikorski at the Wawel cathedral in Krakow before he was exhumed

Exhumed: The marble sarcophagus on the grave of Gen. Wladyslaw Sikorski at the Wawel cathedral in Krakow before he was exhumed

This was widely seen by Poles as a cover-up and since then Sikorski's fate has become an enduring historical whodunnit which finally forensic science maybe able to answer.

Fuelling suspicions, British papers on Sikorski's fate remain classified to this day despite pressure to release them in order to unravel the mystery. 

It is unquestionably true that Sikorski had become a thorn to both the British and the Soviets.  

He stood up valiantly for Polish interests even as the risks of the coming carve-up eastern Europe were first mooted, insisting his country's post-war borders and independence should be as before the war.

London saw the importance of keeping good relations with the Kremlin in order to win the war.

Traitor: There is speculation that British agent and notorious traitor Kim Philby, who secretly worked for the Soviets, was involved

Traitor: There is speculation that British agent and notorious traitor Kim Philby, who secretly worked for the Soviets, was involved

Three months before his death, Sikorski publicly blamed Stalin for the 1940 'Katyn' massacre of 22,000 Polish soldiers captured by the Soviets in 1939 when Moscow was in a pact with Hitler.

Some experts believe Stalin tried to silence Sikorski by tampering with the RAF aircraft he died in.

A plane used by the Soviet ambassador in London was next to Sikorski's on the tarmac in Gibraltar, giving Soviet agents the chance to tamper with the aircraft.

A Czech pilot, the sole survivor among the 17 people aboard, testified that the controls had jammed.

The Britain-bound aircraft had earlier flown without a hitch from the Middle East.  

One theory holds that Soviet mole Philby - who was on Gibraltar at the time of the crash and who defected to the Soviet Union in the early 1960s - might have had a role in the crash.

Warsaw University historian Pawel Wieczorkiewicz said: 'The general was killed. The order was given in Moscow and Britain turned a blind eye.' 

Forensic scientist Malgorzata Klys of Krakow's Jagiellonian University said: 'The aim is to verify the different versions of his death. We want to try to determine if he died in an accident or was assassinated.' 

Poland's Institute of National Remembrance, which investigates crimes from the German occupation in World War II and the post-war communist era, launched the probe in September.

Respect: Polish army officers stand in line as the body of Gen. Wladyslaw Sikorski is taken from the Cathedral

Respect: Polish army officers stand in line as the body of Gen. Wladyslaw Sikorski is taken from the Cathedral

Available documents, and the tense wartime context, lend an element of credibility to the theory that Sikorski's assassination was ordered by the Soviets, the institute said.

Sikorski's death undoubtedly robbed the government-in-exile of authority, making it easier for London and Washington in November 1943 to recognise the Soviet seizure of pre-war Polish territory.

Sikorski was buried in Britain. Even dead, he was a pariah in Communist-era Poland, and his body was only moved to Krakow's Wawel Castle crypt in 1993, four years after the regime collapsed.

'Exhumation is unlikely to reveal any new answers, or to put an end to the conspiracy theories,'

In August of 1939, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union signed a non-aggression treaty -- one week later, Germany invaded Poland and World War II began. The first attack of the war took place on September 1, 1939, as German aircraft attacked the Polish town of Wielun, killing nearly 1,200. Five minutes later, the German battleship Schleswig-Holstein opened fire on a transit depot at Westerplatte in the Free City of Danzig. Within days, the United Kingdom and France declared war on Germany and began mobilizing their armies and preparing their civilians. On September 17, the Soviet Union invaded Poland from the east. Polish forces surrendered in early October after losing some 65,000 troops and many thousands of civilians. In November, Soviet forces invaded Finland and began a months-long battle dubbed the Winter War. By the beginning of 1940, Germany was finalizing plans for the invasions of Denmark and Norway. Collected here are images of these tumultuous first months and of Allied forces preparing for the arduous battles to come.


These images, by photographers of the Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information, are some of the only color photographs taken of the effects of the Depression on America’s rural and small towns. The color digital photographs, scans of color transparencies, show the places of Depression Era America – the industry, the homes, the landmarks and the landscapes of a country emerging from the Great Depression and into World War II. All the caption information is taken from the original photographers and, where noted, was added to by the Library of Congress staff.

Captured: Color Landscapes


A cross roads store, bar, "juke joint," and gas station in the cotton plantation area, Melrose, Louisiana, June 1940. [Library note: Photograph shows sign on left building: Frenchies Beer Garden; above porch: Frenchies Bar.] (Photo by Marion Post Wolcott, color slide, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #

Captured: Color Landscapes


Bean field under cultivation, Seabrook Farm, Bridgeton, N.J. June, 1942? (Photo by John Collier, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C) #

Captured: Color Landscapes


View from the Skyline Drive, Virginia, ca. 1940. (Photo by Jack Delano, color slide, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C) #

Captured: Color Landscapes


A woman painting a view of the Shenandoah Valley from the Skyline Drive, near an entrance to the Appalachian Trail, Virginia, ca. 1940.(Photo by Jack Delano, color slide Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #

Captured: Color Landscapes


A mountain farm along the Skyline Drive in Virginia, ca. 1940. (Photo by Jack Delano, color slide, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #

Captured: Color Landscapes


Cornshocks in mountain farm along the Skyline Drive in Virginia, ca. 1940. (Photo by Jack Delano, color slide, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #

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Mountain farm along Skyline Drive, Virginia, ca. 1940. (Photo by Jack Delano, color slide, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #

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Burning the autumn leaves in Norwich, Connecticut, November 1940. (Photo by Jack Delano, color slide, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #

Captured: Color Landscapes


A view of the old sea town, Stonington, Connecticut, November 1940. (Photo by Jack Delano, color slide, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #

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Potato farm in Aroostook County, Maine, after the potatoes had been harvested, October 1940. (Photo by Jack Delano, color slide, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #

Captured: Color Landscapes


A starch factory along the Aroostook River, Caribou, Aroostook County, Maine, October 1940. (Photo by Jack Delano, color slide, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #

Captured: Color Landscapes


Factory buildings in Lowell, Massachusetts, December 1940 or January 1941. [Library note: Photo shows buildings later converted to a residential unit complex known as the Massachusetts Mills at the confluence of the Merrimack and Concord rivers, in Lowell, MA.] (Photo by Jack Delano, color slide, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #

Captured: Color Landscapes


Brockton, Massachusetts, second-hand plumbing store, December 1940. (Photo by Jack Delano, color slide, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #



Railroad cars and factory buildings in Lawrence, Massachusetts, January?, 1941. [Library note: Identified as Ayer Mill clock tower, Lawrence, Massachusetts. Previously identified as Lowell.] (Photo by Jack Delano, color slide, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #

Captured: Color Landscapes


Douglas Shoe Factory, Spark St., Brockton, Massachusetts, ca. December 1940. (Photo by Jack Delano, color slide, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #

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Train and several sets of railroad tracks in the snow, Massachusetts, December 1940 or January 1941. (Photo by Jack Delano, color slide, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #

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Industrial town in Massachusetts, possibly New Bedford, ca. January 1941. (Photo by Jack Delano, color slide, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #

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Landscape on the Jackson farm, vicinity of White Plains, Georgia, June 1941. (Photo by Jack Delano, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #



Christiansted, Saint Croix, Virgin Islands. Catholic [i.e. Anglican] Church, December 1941. [Library note: Photo shows St. John's Anglican Church, 27 King St.] (Photo by Jack Delano, color slide, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #

Captured: Color Landscapes


Christiansted, St. Croix? Virgin Islands, December 1941. (Photo by Jack Delano, color slide, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #



On the coast of Puerto Rico?, December? 1941. (Photo by Jack Delano, color slide, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #

Captured: Color Landscapes


Apartment houses near the cathedral in old part of the city, San Juan, December 1941. (Photo by Jack Delano, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #

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Llano de San Juan, New Mexico, Catholic Church, July or October 1940. (Photo by Russell Lee, color slide, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #

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Farmland in the vicinity of Mt. Sneffels, Ouray County, Colorado, October 1940. (Photo by Russell Lee, color slide, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #

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Ouray, Colorado, October 1940. (Photo by Russell Lee, color slide, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #

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Looking down the valley toward Ouray from the Camp Bird Mine, Ouray County, Colorado, October 1940. (Photo by Russell Lee, color slide, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #

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Home of a fruit tree rancher, Delta County, Colorado, October 1940. (Photo by Russell Lee, color slide, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #

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Flour mill, Caldwell, Idaho, July 1941. (Photo by Russell Lee, color slide, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #

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On main street of Cascade, Idaho, July 1941. (Photo by Russell Lee, color slide, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #

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Milk and butter fat receiving depot and creamery, Caldwell, Idaho, July 1941. (Photo by Russell Lee, color slide, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #

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Cherry orchards, farmlands and irrigation ditch at Emmett, Idaho, July 1941. (Photo by Russell Lee, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #

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Wheat farm, Walla Walla, Washington, July 1941. (Photo by Russell Lee, color slide, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #

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Shasta dam under construction, California, June 1942. (Photo by Russell Lee, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #

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Lincoln, Nebraska, 1942. (Photo by John Vachon, color slide, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #

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Church near Junction City, Kansas, 1942 or 1943. (Photo by John Vachon, color slide, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #

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Road out of Romney, West Virginia, 1942 or 1943. (Photo by John Vachon, color slide, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #

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Wisdom, Montana, April 1942. (Photo by John Vachon, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #

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Cabin in southern U.S., ca. 1940. (Photo by Marion Post Wolcott, color slide, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #

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Copper mining and sulfuric acid plant, Copperhill, Tennessee, September 1939. (Photo by Marion Post Wolcott, color slide, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #

Captured: Color Landscapes


A train bringing copper ore out of the mine, Ducktown, Tennessee. Fumes from smelting copper for sulfuric acid have destroyed all vegetation and eroded the land, September 1939. (Photo by Marion Post Wolcott, color slide, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #

Captured: Color Landscapes


Planting corn along a river in northeastern Tennessee, May 1940. (Photo by Marion Post Wolcott, color slide, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #

Captured: Color Landscapes


Natchez, Mississippi, August 1940. [Library note: Photograph shows store or cafe with soft drink signs: Coca-Cola, Orange-Crush, Royal Crown, Double Cola, and Dr. Pepper.] (Photo by Marion Post Wolcott, color slide, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #

Captured: Color Landscapes


Field of Burley tobacco on farm of Russell Spears, drying and curing barn in the background, vicinity of Lexington, Kentucky, September 1940. (Photo by Marion Post Wolcott, color slide, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #

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Row houses, corner of N and Union Streets S.W., Washington, D.C., between 1941-1942. (Photo by Louise Rosskam, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #

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Field with tree stumps, between 1941 and 1942. (Photographer unknown, color slide, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #

Captured: Color Landscapes


General store, near Questa, Taos County, New Mexico, Spring 1943. (Photo by John Collier, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #

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Cerros, near Costilla, New Mexico, Spring 1943. (Photo by John Collier, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #

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Placita, New Mexico, on the Rio Pueblo, Spring 1943. (Photo by John Collier, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #

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Romeroville, near Chacon, Mora Co., New Mexico, Spring 1943. (Photo by John Collier, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #

Captured: Color Landscapes


Plaza of Costilla, near the Colorado line, New Mexico, Spring 1943. [Photo shows the plaza of Costilla, New Mexico, on the east side of Route 522.] (Photo by John Collier, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #

Captured: Color Landscapes


Chapel, Vadito, near Penasco, New Mexico, Spring 1943. (Photo by John Collier, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #

Captured: Color Landscapes


A farm, Bethel, Vermont, June 1943. (Photo by John Collier, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #

Captured: Color Landscapes


Church along the Delaware River, New York, July 1943. (Photo by John Collier, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #

Captured: Color Landscapes


White Mountains National Forest, New Hampshire, June 1943. (Photo by John Collier, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #

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General view of a classification yard at C & NW RR's Proviso yard, Chicago, Illinois, December 1942. (Photo by Jack Delano, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #

Captured: Color Landscapes


The giant 10 million bushel grain elevator of the Santa Fe R.R., Kansas, March 1943. (Photo by Jack Delano, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #

Captured: Color Landscapes


General view of the city and the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad, Amarillo, Texas. Santa Fe R.R. trip, March 1943. (Photo by Jack Delano, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #

Captured: Color Landscapes


Grain elevators along the route of the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad, Amarillo, Texas. MArch 1943. (Photo by Jack Delano, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #

Captured: Color Landscapes


Farm land in Texas panhandle near Amarillo, Texas. Santa Fe R.R. trip, March 1943. (Photo by Jack Delano, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #

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Amarillo, Texas, general view, Santa Fe R.R. trip, March 1943. (Photo by Jack Delano, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #

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Santa Fe R.R. yard, Gallup, New Mexico, March 1943. (Photo by Jack Delano, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #

Captured: Color Landscapes


Passing a section house along the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe railroad, Encino vicinity, New Mexico. March 1943. (Photo by Jack Delano, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #

Captured: Color Landscapes


Indian houses and farms on the Laguna Indian reservation, Laguna, New Mexico. In the background is Mount Taylor. The Santa Fe R.R. crosses the reservation, March 1943. (Photo by Jack Delano, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #

Captured: Color Landscapes


Santa Fe R.R. line leaving Cadiz, California. This town is a junction point with a branch going to Phoenix, Arizona. March 1943. (Photo by Jack Delano, color transparency,Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #

Captured: Color Landscapes


Mojave Desert country, crossed by the Santa Fe R.R., Cadiz, California. March 1943. (Photo by Jack Delano, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #

Captured: Color Landscapes


Illinois Central R.R., freight cars at the South Water Street freight terminal, Chicago, Illinois The C & O and Nickel Plate Railroads lease part of this terminal from the I.C.R.R. April 1943. (Photo by Jack Delano, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #

Captured: Color Landscapes


Freight Depot of the U.S. Army consolidating station, Chicago, Illinois. April 1943. (Photo by Jack Delano, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #

Captured: Color Landscapes


Loading a freighter with coal at one of the three coal docks owned by the Pennsylvania Railroad, Sandusky, Ohio. May 1943. (Photo by Jack Delano, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #

Captured: Color Landscapes


Pennsylvania R.R. ore docks, unloading ore from a lake freighter by means of "Hulett" unloaders, Cleveland, Ohio. May 1943. (Photo by Jack Delano, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #

Captured: Color Landscapes


Partly finished open hearth furnaces and stacks for a steel mill under construction which will soon be producing vitally needed steel, Columbia Steel Co., Geneva, Utah, November 1942. (Photo by Andreas Feininger, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #

Captured: Color Landscapes


Old lead mines here have been reopened, Creede, Colorado. Creede for many years was "a ghost town," but has resumed the activities that made it an important lead producing center years ago, and is now producing much vitally needed metal for the war effort, December 1942. (Photo by Andreas Feininger, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #

Captured: Color Landscapes


Street scene, with building of the Southington News, Southington, Connecticut, May 1942. (Photo by Fenno Jacobs, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #

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Street corner, Dillon, Montana. Dillon is the trading center for a prosperous cattle and sheep country. August 1942. (Photo by Russell Lee, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #

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First snow of the season in the foothills of the Little Belt Mountains, Lewis and Clark National Forest, Meagher County, Montana. August 1942. (Photo by Russell Lee, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #

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Development at the site of the mill for the Mouat Chromite mine, Stillwater County, Montana. August 1942. (Photo by Russell Lee, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #

Captured: Color Landscapes


Looking north on Woodward Ave., from the Maccabee[s] Building with the Fisher Building at the far left, and the Wardell Hotel at the middle right, Detroit, Michigan. July 1942. (Photo by Arthur Siegel, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #

Captured: Color Landscapes


Hanna furnaces of the Great Lakes Steel Corporation, stock pile of coal and iron ore, Detroit, Michigan. November 1942. (Photo by Arthur Siegel, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #

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Nearly exhausted sulphur vat from which railroad cars are loaded, Freeport Sulphur Co., Hoskins Mound, Texas. May 1943. (Photo by John Vachon, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #

Captured: Color Landscapes


U.S. Supreme Court building, Washington, D.C. ca. 1943. (Photographer unknown, color transparency, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.) #

Meanwhile Back In Turbulent Europe

The years leading up to the declaration of war between the Axis and Allied powers in 1939 were tumultuous times for people across the globe. The Great Depression had started a decade before, leaving much of the world unemployed and desperate. Nationalism was sweeping through Germany, and it chafed against the punitive measures of the Versailles Treaty that had ended World War I. China and the Empire of Japan had been at war since Japanese troops invaded Manchuria in 1931. Germany, Italy, and Japan were testing the newly founded League of Nations with multiple invasions and occupations of nearby countries, and felt emboldened when they encountered no meaningful consequences. The Spanish Civil War broke out in 1936, becoming a rehearsal of sorts for the upcoming World War -- Germany and Italy supported the nationalist rebels led by General Francisco Franco, and some 40,000 foreign nationals traveled to Spain to fight in what they saw as the larger war against fascism. In the last few pre-war years, Nazi Germany blazed the path to conflict -- rearming, signing a non-aggression treaty with the USSR, annexing Austria, and invading Czechoslovakia. Meanwhile, the United States passed several Neutrality Acts, trying to avoid foreign entanglements as it reeled from the Depression and the Dust Bowl years. Below is a glimpse of just some of these events leading up to World War II.




Adolf Hitler, age 35, on his release from Landesberg Prison, on December 20, 1924. Hitler had been convicted of treason for his role in an attempted coup in 1923 called the Beer Hall Putsch. This photograph was taken shortly after he finished dictating "Mein Kampf" to deputy Rudolf Hess. Eight years later, Hitler would be sworn in as Chancellor of Germany, in 1933. (Library of Congress)

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A Japanese soldier stands guard over part of the captured Great Wall of China in 1937, during the Second Sino-Japanese War. The Empire of Japan and the Republic of China had been at war intermittently since 1931, but the conflict escalated in 1937. (LOC) #


Japanese aircraft carry out a bombing run over targets in China in 1937. (LOC) #

Japanese soldiers involved in street fighting in Shanghai, China in 1937. The battle of Shanghai lasted from August through November of 1937, eventually involving nearly one million troops. In the end, Shanghai fell to the Japanese, after over 150,000 casualties combined. (LOC) #




Peiping (Beijing) in China, on August 13, 1937. Under the banner of the rising sun, Japanese troops are shown passing from the Chinese City of Peiping into the Tartar City through Chen-men, the main gate leading onward to the palaces in the Forbidden City. Just a stone's throw away is the American Embassy, where American residents of Peiping flocked when Sino-Japanese hostilities were at their worst. (AP Photo) #

First pictures of the Japanese occupation of

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Japanese soldiers execute captured Chinese soldiers with bayonets in a trench as other Japanese soldiers watch from rim. (LOC) #

The competition was reported in a Tokyo newspaper, and it was clear that two soldiers of the Japanese Imperial Army were partaking with extraordinary enthusiasm.

‘Incredible record in the contest to behead 100 people!’ screamed the headline with gruesome relish. ‘Mukai 106 - 105 Noda - Both 2nd Lieutenants go into extra innings.’

According to the report, two junior officers had a wager to see who could decapitate 100 Chinese soldiers first.

City Of Life And Death

Brutal history: A scene from the new film City Of Life And Death

But they hit their target so quickly that they decided to set a new goal of 150. The date was December 13, 1937, and the Japanese Imperial Army was in the process of ruthlessly conquering Nanking, which was then the capital of China.

Ten years later, the story came to the attention of the Nanjing War Crimes Tribunal.

Second Lieutenants Mukai and Noda were extradited from Japan and executed.

Hitler and Stalin may have killed millions more by gassing or starving, but the sheer velocity of the Nanking massacre is what takes the breath away.

In just six weeks, hundreds of thousands of Chinese soldiers and civilians were slaughtered by the Imperial Army in and around Nanking.

Quite how many hundreds of thousands has never been agreed.

China claims 300,000. The official tribunal put the death toll at 200,000.

The more conservative elements of Japanese society have always argued that the figures were wildly exaggerated. Where some revised it down to 100,000, or even less, others went so far as to question whether the killings took place at all.

You might imagine that nearly three-quarters of a century on, none of this matters any more. But the massacre is a historical event that refuses to be consigned to the past.

To many Chinese and Japanese alike, it still matters intensely. While the argument about massaging the figures and the extent of Japanese guilt continues to simmer, the smoking bonfire of the conflict cannot be extinguished. And while that remains the case, relations between two of the world’s biggest and most important economies will never be normalised. This month not one but two new films about Nanking are out in British cinemas.

Watching them is a brutalising experience. The first, called City Of War: The Story Of John Rabe, tells the story of a German resident and Nazi party leader in Nanking who set up a safety zone in the city. Like Oskar Schindler, whose story was told in Schindler’s List, Rabe helped to save the lives of thousands of civilians.


Barbarity: 20,000 Chinese women were raped by Japanese soldiers in Nanking during the 1930sCity Of War includes a reenactment of the beheading contest. But for the sheer scope of violence, it finishes in second place to the other film, City Of Life And Death.

Though Rabe is featured in this film, too, the main characters are Chinese and Japanese. City Of Life And Death is one of the most unsparing films about the horrors of war ever made. There are mass shootings and executions, crowds indiscriminately mown down and men shot at the stake by firing squad. Victims dig their own mass graves.

A barn full of hundreds of screaming prisoners is locked and incinerated. The carnage is indescribable. In the charnel house that is Nanking, Japanese soldiers drunk on death kill like addicts getting a fix. Nor does the film flinch in visiting the other horrific aspect of Japanese crimes: the rape of 20,000 women, most of whom were then killed.

In one scene a woman lies numbed, as if in a self-protecting coma, while a group of eager soldiers queue up. A few frames later, her naked body is tossed on to a cart already loaded with female corpses. The viewer is at least spared the uniquely ghastly method of ritualised mutilation, which was to stab the rape victim afterwards with bayonets or bamboo. Nor is there any overt reference to another aspect of the Imperial Army’s sadism: the random slaughter of children. Babies were speared on bayonets. Pregnant women were raped. One was raped at full-term, then stabbed in her womb.

While China continues to refer to this bloodstained moment in Chinese history as the Nanking Massacre or the Rape of Nanking, in Japan they call it the Nanking Incident, as if it’s some slightly embarrassing faux pas committed by a drunken uncle a few years back. So what was the background to such atrocities? It was in 1931 that Japan invaded Manchuria. The trigger was a bomb attack on a stretch of railway on the Chinese coast leased by Japan. The bomb did little damage, feeding speculation that it was planted by the Japanese themselves.


Civilians were 'shot down like the hunting of rabbits in the streets' by soldiers

However, the Imperial Army promptly occupied several cities along hundreds of miles of coastline.

Resistance from the Chinese began only once the communists and nationalists buried their differences and agreed to unite.

That was in 1937. As a result, the Japanese army took huge casualties and several bloody months to subdue Shanghai. Nanking was next.

The Chinese leadership anticipated a heavy defeat and withdrew the majority of their troops. A rump of 100,000 mostly untrained soldiers remained, many of whom later fled, forcing civilians to hand over their clothes to them before they left. Civilians were prevented from fleeing by the blockage of the roads and port.

The conditions could not have been more perfectly created for what happened next. And it’s not difficult to see why, for many, this is a wound that stubbornly refuses to heal. According to Japanese historians and politicians, the deaths, such as they were, were a legitimate consequence of war.

Yes, punishment was threatened for soldiers who ‘dishonour the Japanese army’. But according to a journalist travelling with the army, the rapid advance on Nanking was fuelled by ‘the tacit consent among the officers and men that they could loot and rape as they wish’.

A small number of remaining Westerners, mostly Americans, were able to keep a record of events as they unfolded. Among them was a rookie reporter for the New York Times.

At the waterfront he saw ‘a group of smoking, chattering Japanese officers overseeing the massacring of a battalion of Chinese captured troops. They were marching about in groups of about 15, machine-gunning them’.In just ten minutes he saw 200 prisoners meet their deaths. The Japanese were evidently enjoying themselves. The Japanese government had agreed to attack only those parts of the city containing Chinese troops. Civilians fled to the Nanking safety zone, but it turned out to be no guarantee of salvation. John Magee, an American missionary who had lived in Nanking for more than 20 years, witnessed civilians ‘shot down like the hunting of rabbits in the streets’.

He captured on film examples of Japanese crimes, including the murder in one house of 12 residents, from grandparents to babies.


'We stabbed and killed them, all three - like potatoes in a skewer,' a Japanese soldier recalled The females, including teenagers, were raped and horrifically mutilated.

‘The slaughter of civilians is appalling,’ wrote Robert Wilson, a surgeon in the University Hospital, in a letter home on December 15.

‘I could go on for pages telling of cases of rape and brutality almost beyond belief.

‘Two bayoneted corpses are the only survivors of seven street cleaners who were sitting in their headquarters when Japanese soldiers came in without warning or reason and killed five of their number and wounded the two that found their way to the hospital.’

‘Rape! Rape! Rape!’ wrote the Reverend James McCallum.

‘We estimate at least 1,000 cases a night, and many by day. In case of resistance or anything that seems like disapproval, there is a bayonet stab or a bullet.’

John Rabe reported the same figure: a tariff of 1,000 rape victims in one night, including one woman behind his garden wall.

She was raped, then stabbed in the neck.

‘You hear nothing but rape,’ he wrote.

‘If husbands or brothers intervene, they’re shot. What you hear and see on all sides is the brutality and bestiality of the Japanese soldiers.’

A Chinese witness recalled a pregnant woman being raped, then stabbed.

‘She gave a final scream as her stomach was slashed open. Then the soldier stabbed the unborn child and tossed it aside.’

It’s not as if the only witness accounts were from neutrals or victims. A Japanese soldier called Azuma Shiro later recalled capturing nearly 40 old people and children, including one woman with a child in each arm.

‘We stabbed and killed them, all three - like potatoes in a skewer. I thought then that it’s been only one month since I left home ... and 30 days later I was killing people without remorse.’

An English language teacher called Minnie Vautrin kept a diary.

‘There probably is no crime that has not been committed in this city today,’ she wrote on December 16.

‘Thirty girls were taken from the language school last night, and today I have heard scores of heartbreaking stories of girls who were taken from their homes last night - one of the girls was but 12 years old.’

Her diary refers to scenes ‘that a lifetime will not erase from my memory’.


Japanese soldiers raped up to 1,000 women a day - anyone who resisted was stabbed or shot

After a breakdown, she returned home in 1940 and a year later committed suicide.

Prophetically, she wrote: ‘How many thousands were mowed down by guns or bayoneted we shall probably never know.’

And that is the nub of the argument between China and Japan that continues to this day.

If anything, in the past decade it has intensified. Where Germany has long since admitted its guilt for wartime genocide and made Holocaust denial a crime, Japan has passed no equivalent legislation.

Ten years ago, a Nanking survivor - who was eight when she saw seven family members murdered and heard her mother and sister being raped and then killed - sued two Japanese authors and their publisher for allegedly distorting the truth about the event.

Hiding under a quilt, she had been stabbed three times. She bore witness at the war crimes tribunal in 1945.

And yet one of the writers, a professor, said in an interview that there was ‘no record’ proving the massacre had taken place.

For Japanese schoolchildren there was, indeed, very little record.

In Japan, history lessons have tended to ignore the atrocities committed by the Imperial Army. Textbooks tell their own version of the truth while Takami Eto, a senior Japanese politician, described the Nanking massacre as ‘a big lie’.

For much of the past decade, China refused to hold bilateral talks with Japan because its then prime minister kept visiting the shrine memorial to Japan’s war dead in Tokyo.

Among the dead are several convicted war criminals held responsible for the Nanking massacre.

Now we have the latest instalment in this toxic saga with the release of City Of Life And Death.

It is an immensely powerful film, brilliantly directed by Lu Chuan, a young star of the Chinese cinema. When the film opened last April in China, it caused a storm of protest. On his official blog, Lu received a number of death threats. The interesting thing about these violent responses is that they did not come from Japan. They came from China. Lu’s crime, in the eyes of some, has been to humanise the enemy. One Japanese soldier is seen wandering through the scenes of horror looking profoundly shaken by the senseless acts of savagery perpetrated by his compatriots.

The idea that a Japanese soldier might have feelings turns out to be deeply shocking to some Chinese. Some detractors called for City Of Life And Death to be deleted from the history of Chinese cinema. It was not included in the official list of films celebrating the 60th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China. It was also withdrawn at the last minute from the Chinese equivalent of the Baftas. Despite the furore, City Of Life And Death made $20million (£13.1million) in its first two weeks.

The film has been seen elsewhere in the world. Two weeks ago, it won best movie at the Asian Film Awards.

But however much it humanises the enemy, there is one country in Asia where there is no immediate prospect of a release.


Chinese General Chiang Kai-shek, right, head of the Nanking government at Canton, with General Lung Yun, chairman of the Yunan provincial government in Nanking, on June 27, 1936. (AP Photo) #


On Feb. 5, 1938, A Chinese woman surveys the remains of her family, all of whom met death during Japanese occupation of Nanking, allegedly victims of atrocities at the hands of Japanese soldiers. (AP Photo) #


Buddhist priests of the Big Asakusa Temple prepare for the Second Sino-Japanese War as they wear gas masks during training against future aerial attacks in Tokyo, Japan, on May 30, 1936. (AP Photo) #

Italian Fascist leader Benito Mussolini, center, hands on hips, with members of the fascist Party, in Rome, Italy, Oct. 28, 1922, following their March on Rome. This march was an act of intimidation, where thousands of fascist blackshirts occupied strategic positions throughout much of Italy. Following the march, King Emanuelle III asked Mussolini to form a new government, clearing the way towards a dictatorship. (AP Photo) #



Four Italian soldiers taking aim in Ethiopia in 1935, during the Second Italo-Abyssinian War. Italian forces under Mussolini invaded and annexed Ethiopia, folding it into a colony named Italian East Africa along with Eritrea. (LOC) #


Italian troops raise the Italian flag over Macalle, Ethiopia in 1935. Emperor Haile Selassie's appeals the the League of Nations for help went unanswered, and Italy was largely given a free hand to do as it pleased in East Africa. (LOC) #


In Spain, loyalist soldiers teach target practice to women who are learning to defend the city of Barcelona against fascist rebel troops of general Francisco Franco during the Spanish Civil War, on June 2, 1937. (AP Photo) #



Three hundred fascist insurgents were killed in this explosion in Madrid, Spain, under the five-story Casa Blanca building, on March 19, 1938. Government loyalists tunneled 600 yards over a six-month period to lay the land mine that caused the explosion. (AP Photo) #


An insurgent fighter tosses a hand grenade over a barbed wire fence and into loyalist soldiers with machine guns blazing in Burgos, Spain, on Sept. 12, 1936. (AP Photo) #


German-made Stuka dive bombers, part of the Condor Legion, in flight above Spain on May 30, 1939, during the Spanish Civil War. The black-and-white "X" on the tail and wings is Saint Andrew's Cross, the insignia of Franco's Nationalist Air Force. The Condor Legion was composed of volunteers from the German Army and Air Force. (AP Photo) #


Scores of families are seen taking refuge underground on a Madrid subway platform, on Dec. 9, 1936, as bombs are dropped by Franco's rebel aircraft overhead. (AP Photo) #



Aerial bombing of Barcelona in 1938 by Franco's Nationalist Air Force. The Spanish Civil War saw some of the earliest extensive use of aerial bombardment of civilian targets, and the development of new terror bombing techniques. (Italian Airforce) #


Following an aerial attack on Madrid from 16 rebel planes from Tetuan, Spanish Morocco, relatives of those trapped in ruined houses appeal for news of their loved ones, Jan. 8, 1937. The faces of these women reflect the horror non-combatants are suffering in the civil struggle. (AP Photo) #


A Spanish rebel who surrendered is led to a summary court martial, as popular front volunteers and civil guards jeer, July 27, 1936, in Madrid, Spain. (AP Photo) #



A fascist machine gun squad, backed up by expert riflemen, hold a position along the rugged Huesca front in northern Spain, Dec. 30, 1936. (AP Photo) #


Solemnly promising the nation his utmost effort to keep the country neutral, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt is shown as he addressed the nation by radio from the White House in Washington, Sept. 3, 1939. In the years leading up to the war, the U.S. Congress passed several Neutrality Acts, pledging to stay (officially) out of the conflict. (AP Photo) #


Riette Kahn is shown at the wheel of an ambulance donated by the American movie industry to the Spanish government in Los Angeles, California, on Sept. 18, 1937. The Hollywood Caravan to Spain will first tour the U.S. to raise funds to "help the defenders of Spanish democracy" in the Spanish Civil War. (AP Photo) #


Two American Nazis in uniform stand in the doorway of their New York City office, on April 1, 1932, when the headquarters opened. "NSDAP" stands for Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, or, in English, National Socialist German Workers' Party, normally shortened to just "Nazi Party". (AP Photo) #


About to be engulfed in a gigantic dust cloud is a peaceful little ranch in Boise City, Oklahoma where the topsoil is being dried and blown away during the years of the Dust Bowl in central North America. Severe drought, poor farming techniques and devastating storms rendered millions of acres of farmland useless. This photo was taken on April 15, 1935. (AP Photo) #


Florence Thompson with three of her children in a photograph known as "Migrant Mother." This famous image is one of a series of photographs that photographer Dorothea Lange made of Florence Thompson and her children in early 1936 in Nipomo, California. More on the photo here. (LOC/Dorothea Lange) #


The zeppelin Hindenburg floats past the Empire State Building over Manhattan on Aug. 8, 1936. The German airship was en route to Lakehurst, New Jersey, from Germany. The Hindenburg would later explode in a spectacular fireball above Lakehurst on May 6, 1937. (AP Photo) #


England's biggest demonstration of its readiness to go through a gas attack was staged, March 16, 1938, when 2,000 volunteers in Birmingham donned gas masks and went through an elaborate drill. These three firemen were fully equipped, from rubber boots to masks, for the mock gas "invasion". (AP Photo) #


Adolf Hitler of Germany and Benito Mussolini of Italy greet each other as they meet at the airfield in Venice, Italy, on June 14, 1934. Mussolini and his fascists put on a show for Hitler, but on the details of their subsequent conversations there was little news. (AP Photo) #


Four Nazi troops sing in front of the Berlin branch of the Woolworth Co. store during the movement to boycott Jewish presence in Germany, in March, 1933. The Hitlerites believe the founder of the Woolworth Co. was Jewish. (AP Photo) #


The Nazi booth at a radio exhibition which started in Berlin on August 19, 1932. The booth is designed as propaganda of the Nazi gramophone plate industry which produces only records of the national socialist movement. (AP Photo) #


Thousands of young men flocked to hang upon the words of their leader, Reichsfuhrer Adolf Hitler, as he addressed the convention of the National Socialist Party in Nuremberg, Germany on Sept. 11, 1935. (AP Photo) #


Adolf Hitler is shown being cheered as he rides through the streets of Munich, Germany, November 9, 1933, during the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the National Socialist movement. (AP Photo) #


Hitler youth honor an unknown soldier by forming a swastika symbol on Aug. 27, 1933 in Germany. (AP Photo) #


The German army demonstrated its might before more than a million residents during the nationwide harvest festival at Bückeburg, near Hanover, Germany, on Oct. 4, 1935. Here are scores of tanks lined up just before the demonstration began. Defying provisions of the Treaty of Versailles, Germany began rearming itself at a rapid rate shortly after Hitler came to power in 1933. (AP Photo) #



Thousand of Germans participate in the Great National Socialistic meeting in Berlin, Germany, on July 9, 1932. (AP Photo) #


A group of German girls line up to learn musical culture under auspices of the Nazi Youth Movement, in Berlin, Germany on Feb. 24, 1936. (AP Photo) #


Hitler's Nazi party convention, underway in Nuremberg, Germany, on Sept. 10, 1935. (AP Photo) #


America's Jesse Owens, center, salutes during the presentation of his gold medal for the long jump on August 11, 1936, after defeating Nazi Germany's Lutz Long, right, during the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin. Naoto Tajima of Japan, left, placed third. Owens triumphed in the track and field competition by winning four gold medals in the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes, long jump and 400-meter relay. He was the first athlete to win four gold medals at a single Olympic Games. (AP Photo) #


British Premier Sir Neville Chamberlain, on his return from talks with Hitler in Germany, at Heston airfield, London, England, on September 24, 1938. Chamberlain brought with him a terms of the plan later to be called the Munich Agreement, which, in an act of appeasment, allowed Germany to annex Czechoslovakia's Sudetenland. (AP Photo/Pringle) #


Members of the Nazi Youth participate in burning books, Buecherverbrennung, in Salzburg, Austria, on April 30, 1938. The public burning of books that were condemned as un-German, or Jewish-Marxist was a common activity in Nazi Germany. (AP Photo) #


Mass gymnastics were the feature of the "Day of Community" at Nuremberg, Germany on September 8, 1938 and Adolf Hitler watched the huge demonstrations given on the Zeppelin Field. (AP Photo) #


Windows of shops owned by Jews which were broken during a coordinated anti-Jewish demonstration in Berlin, known as Kristallnacht, on Nov. 10, 1938. Nazi authorities turned a blind eye as SA stormtroopers and civilians destroyed storefronts with hammers, leaving the streets covered in pieces of smashed windows. Ninety-one Jews were killed, and 30,000 Jewish men were taken to concentration camps. (AP Photo) #


View of one of the large halls of the Rheinmetall-borsig Armament factories at Duesseldorf, Germany, on August 13, 1939, where gun barrels are the main output. Before the start of the war, German factories were cranking out pieces of military machinery measured in the hundreds per year. Soon it climbed into the tens of thousands. In 1944 alone, over 25,000 fighter planes were built. (AP Photo) #


While newly-annexed Austria awaited the arrival of Adolf Hitler, preparations were underway. Streets were decorated and street names were changed. A workman in Vienna City square carries a new name plate for the square, renaming it "Adolf Hitler Place" on March 14, 1938. (AP Photo) #



Before And After The Periods Of War


Adolf Hitler, age 35, on his release from Landesberg Prison, on December 20, 1924. Hitler had been convicted of treason for his role in an attempted coup in 1923 called the Beer Hall Putsch. This photograph was taken shortly after he finished dictating "Mein Kampf" to deputy Rudolf Hess. Eight years later, Hitler would be sworn in as Chancellor of Germany, in 1933. (Library of Congress)

View of an undamaged Polish city from the cockpit of a German medium bomber aircraft, likely a Heinkel He 111 P, in 1939. (Library of Congress)



In 1939, the Polish army still maintained many cavalry squadrons, which had served them well as recently as the Polish-Soviet War in 1921. A myth emerged about the Polish cavalry leading desperate charges against the tanks of the invading Nazis, pitting horsemen against armored vehicles. While cavalry units did encounter armored divisions on occasion, their targets were ground infantry, and their charges were often effective. Nazi and Soviet propaganda helped fuel the myth of the noble-yet-backward Polish cavalry. This photo is of a Polish cavalry squadron on maneuvers somewhere in Poland, on April 29, 1939. (AP Photo) #


Associated Press correspondent Alvin Steinkopf broadcasting from the Free City of Danzig -- at the time, a semi-autonomous city-state tied to Poland. Steinkopf was relating the tense situation in Danzig back to America, on July 11, 1939. Germany had been demanding the incorporation of Danzing into the Third Reich for months, and appeared to be preparing military action. (AP Photo) #


Soviet premier Josef Stalin (second from right), smiles while Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov (seated), signs the non-aggression pact with German Reich Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop (third from right), in Moscow, on August 23, 1939. The man at left is Soviet Deputy Defense Minister and Chief of the General Staff, Marshal Boris Shaposhnikov. The nonaggression pact included a secret protocol dividing eastern Europe into spheres of influence in the event of a conflict. The pact now guaranteed that Hitler's troops would face no resistance from the Soviets if they invaded Poland, bringing the war one step closer to reality. (AP Photo/File) #


Two days after Germany signed the non-aggression pact with the USSR, Great Britain entered into a military alliance with Poland, on August 25, 1939. This photo shows the scene one week later, on September 1, 1939, one of the first military operations of Germany's invasion of Poland, and the beginning of World War II. Here, the German battleship Schleswig-Holstein is bombing a Polish military transit depot at Westerplatte in the Free City of Danzig. Simultaneously, the German Air Force (Luftwaffe), and ground troops (Heer) were attacking several other Polish targets. (AP Photo) #


German soldiers comb the Westerplatte after it was surrendered to German units from the Schleswig-Holstein landing crew, on September 7, 1939. Fewer than 200 Polish soldiers defended the small peninsula, holding off the Germans for seven days. (AP Photo) #



Aerial view of bombs exploding during a German bombing run over Poland in September of 1939 (LOC) #

Two tanks of the SS-Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler Division cross the Bzura River during the German invasion of Poland in September of 1939. The Battle of Bzura, the largest of the entire campaign, lasted more than a week, ending with the German forces capturing most of western Poland. (LOC/Klaus Weill) #


Soldiers of the SS-Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler Division, resting in a ditch alongside a road on the way to Pabianice, during the invasion of Poland in 1939. (LOC/Klaus Weill) #


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A ten-year-old Polish girl named Kazimiera Mika mourns over her sister's body. She was killed by German machine-gun fire while picking potatoes in a field outside Warsaw, Poland, in September of 1939. (AP Photo/Julien Bryan) #


German advance guards and scouts are shown in a Polish town that has been under fire during the Nazi invasion of Poland, September 1939. (AP Photo) #


German infantry cautiously advance on the outskirts of Warsaw, Poland on September 16, 1939. (AP Photo) #


Several civilian prisoners of war, with arms raised, walk along a road during the German invasion of Poland in September of 1939. (LOC) #


Britain's King George VI broadcasts to the British nation on the first evening of the war, on September 3, 1939, in London. (AP Photo) #

A conflict which would end with the dropping of two nuclear bombs began with a proclamation read aloud by a town crier. Acting Town Crier and Saltbearer of the City of London, W.T. Boston, reads the war proclamation from the steps of the Royal Exchange, in London, on September 4, 1939. (AP Photo/Putnam) #


A crowd reads newspaper headlines, "Bombs Rain On Warsaw" as they stand outside the U.S. State Department building where diplomats held a conference on war conditions in Europe, on September 1, 1939. (AP Photo) #


On September 17, 1939, the Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Courageous was hit by torpedoes from the German submarine U-29, and sank within 20 minutes. The Courageous, on an anti-submarine patrol off the coast of Ireland, was stalked for hours by U-29, which launched three torpedoes when it saw an opening. Two of the torpedoes struck the ship on the port side, sinking it with the loss of 518 of its 1,259 crew members. (AP Photo) #


The scene of devastation seen on Ordynacka Street in Warsaw, Poland on March 6, 1940. The carcass of a dead horse lies in the street among enormous piles of debris. While Warsaw was under nearly constant bombardment during the invasion, on one day alone, September 25, 1939, about 1,150 bombing sorties were flown by German aircraft against Warsaw, dropping over 550 tons of high explosive and incendiary bombs on the city. (AP Photo) #


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German troops marching into the city of Bromberg (the German name for the Polish city of Bydgoszcz) found several hundred German nationals dead from Polish sniper fire. The snipers were equipped with arms by the retreating Polish forces. Bodies are shown on a forest road, September 8, 1939. (AP Photo) #

A damaged Polish armored train carrying tanks captured by the 14th SS-Leibstandard Adolf Hitler Division, near Blonie, during the invasion of Poland in September of 1939. (LOC/Klaus Weill) #


German soldiers, taken prisoner by the Polish army during the Nazi invasion, are shown while they were held captive in Warsaw, on October 2, 1939. (AP Photo) #


A young Polish boy returns to what was his home and squats among the ruins during a pause in the German air raids on Warsaw, Poland, in September of 1939. German attacks lasted until Warsaw surrendered on September 28. One week later, the last of the Polish forces capitulated near Lublin, giving full control of Poland to Germany and the Soviet Union. (AP Photo/Julien Bryan) #

Adolf Hitler salutes parading troops of the German Wehrmacht in Warsaw, Poland, on October 5, 1939 after the German invasion. Behind Hitler are, from left to right: Colonel General Walther von Brauchitsch, Lieutenant General Friedrich von Cochenhausen, Colonel General Gerd von Rundstedt, and Colonel General Wilhelm Keitel. (AP Photo) #


Earlier in 1939, Imperial Japanese army and naval units continued to attack and push forward into China and Mongolia. Here Japanese soldiers advance inland over the beach after landing at Swatow (Shantou), one of the remaining South China coast ports still under Chinese control at that time, on July 10, 1939. After a short engagement with the Chinese defenders the Japanese entered the city without encountering much further opposition. (AP Photo) #


On the Mongolian border, Japanese tanks roll across the vast plains of the Mongolian-Manchurian steppe, near the Mongolian border, on July 21, 1939. Manchukuo troops were reinforced by the Japanese when the border warfare with Soviet forces flared up suddenly in this sector. (AP Photo) #

A Japanese machine gun unit cautiously moves forward, past two Soviet armored cars abandoned in fighting along the Mongolian frontier in July of 1939. (AP Photo) #


On November 30, 1939, after Soviet demands made to Finland went unmet -- they were asking the Finns to give them land concessions and to destroy fortifications along the border -- the USSR invaded Finland. Some 450,000 Soviet soldiers crossed the border, starting a brutal, frozen battle that would be called the Winter War. In this image, a member of a Finnish anti-aircraft detachment, wearing his white camouflage uniform, works with a range-finder on December 28, 1939, during a Russian aerial attack. (AP Photo) #


A house burns furiously after being hit by a Soviet bomb during a Russian air raid on Turku, a port city in the southwest of Finland, on December 27, 1939. (AP Photo) #


In a frozen, wooded battlefront "somewhere in Finland," Finnish troops scatter to take shelter as Soviet planes fly over on an air raid on January 19, 1940. (AP Photo) #


Finnish soldiers, members of one of the ski battalions that fought against invading Russian troops, march with their reindeer on March 28, 1940. (Editor's note: this photo shows evidence of being retouched by hand, likely in an effort to boost sharpness and contrast) (AP Photo) #


Spoils of war -- captured Soviet tanks and cars, along a road in a snow covered forest on January 17, 1940. Finnish troops had just overpowered an entire Soviet division. (LOC) #


A Swedish volunteer, "somewhere in Northern Finland," protects himself from the sub-zero arctic cold with a mask over his face on February 20, 1940, while on duty against the Russian Invaders. (AP Photo) #


The winter of 1939-1940 in Finland was exceptionally cold. In January, temperatures dropped below -40° in some places. Frostbite was a constant threat, and the corpses of soldiers killed in battle froze solid, often in eerie poses. This January 31, 1940 photo shows a frozen dead Russian soldier, his face, hands and clothing covered with a dusting of snow. After 105 days, the Finns and Russians signed a peace treaty, allowing Finland to retain sovereignty, while it ceded 11 percent of its territory to the Soviets. (LOC) #



The German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee, in flames off Montevideo, Uruguay on December 19, 1939. The crew of the Admiral Graf Spee had just engaged in the Battle of the River Plate, after three Royal Navy cruisers hunted it down and attacked. The damage from the attack did not sink the German battleship, but sent it to a harbor in Montevideo for repairs. Unable to stay long enough for repairs, and unwilling to run a waiting blockade, the crew of the Admiral Graf Spee sailed a short distance out of port and scuttled the ship, seen here shortly before it sank. (AP Photo) #


Restaurant operator Fred Horak of Somerville, Massachusetts, put this sign on the window of his lunch room, shown March 18, 1939. Horak was a native of Prague, Czechoslovakia. (AP Photo) #


Curtiss P-40 Warhawk fighter aircraft being manufactured, likely in Buffalo, New York, ca 1939. (Editor's note, the AP caption for this photo was in error, previously stating these were Boeing bombers) (AP Photo) #

While German forces were concentrated on Poland, anxiety was rising on the Western Front, with French troops welcoming British soldiers as they deployed along the border with Germany. Here, French troops pose in a cantonment in France on December 18, 1939. (AP Photo) #


Vast masses of Parisians gathered at the Basilica Church of the sacred heart on the hill of Montmartre to attend a religious service and pray for peace. Part of the huge crowd gathered in front of the church in France on August 27, 1939. (AP Photo) #


Members of the French Army man an acoustic locator device on January 4, 1940. The device was one of many experimental designs, built to pick up the sound of distant aircraft engines and give their distance and location. The introduction and adoption of radar technology rendered these devices obsolete very quickly. (AP Photo) #


A party of newspaper men on the Western Front are shown atop one of the big forts somewhere in the Maginot Line, France, on October 19, 1939, with a French army guide pointing out to them the "no man's land" that separates the French and German troops. (AP Photo) #


British troops cheerfully board their train for the first stage of their trip to the western front, somewhere in England, om September 20, 1939. (AP Photo/Putnam) #


London's Westminster Bridge and the Houses of parliament, shrouded in darkness, after the great black-out began, on August 11, 1939. This blackout was the first trial conducted by the Home Office, in preparation for possible German air raids. (AP Photo) #


This was the scene at Holborn Town Hall, in London, England, as officials and mothers tested the reactions of babies to a respirator designed to protect them against poison gas on March 3, 1939. Several babies, all under the age of two, were fitted with the "baby helmets." (AP Photo) #


German Chancellor and dictator Adolf Hitler consults a geographical survey map with his general staff including Heinrich Himmler (left) and Martin Bormann (right) at an undisclosed location in 1939. (AFP/Getty Images) #


On Friday, Oct. 30, 2008, a man looks at a photograph of Johann Georg Elser, mounted on a monument in Freiburg, Germany. Elser, a German citizen, attempted to assassinate Adolf Hitler with a self-made bomb in the "Buergerbraukeller" beer hall in Munich on November 8, 1939. Hitler finished his speech early, escaping the timed explosion by just thirteen minutes. Eight people died, 63 were injured, and Elser was caught and imprisoned. Shortly before the end of World War II, he was executed in the Nazi concentration camp in Dachau. (AP Photo/ Winfried Rothermel) #



May 8
The German spring offensive in southern Russia begins.


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