Saturday, September 10, 2016

January 17, 1941: Henry Must Speak

Article in the Spectator by Opa for the International Relations Club


Henry Speaks for I.R.C.
By Thomas Doeppner

Panel Discussion Today 

The International Relations Club is giving a panel discussion on the topic "Should the United States give aid to Britain?" today at four o'clock in the S.U.R. Able members of the club will take part in the discussion, which will later be opened to a general discussion. Everybody, whether IRC member or not, is invited to this program.

The World At Large

While Europe and Asia are entangled in fighting for their very lives, a battle rages here in America. President Roosevelt, supported by a host of followers, pushes on our program to aid Great Britain to the utmost. Committees organized to promote national defense by adding Great Britain join in the spree and furnish many slogans to raise money and good will.

Opposition to such programs of aid has largely been overshadowed by the sweeping programs of congressional legislation proposed and debated for the benefit of our democracy. But the greatest opposition to such programs finds its voice only in the senate chamber. Probably the voice of Henry is not heard with all the shouting.

"Where's Henry?" ought to be the slogan, much more appropriate than "Where's Elmer?" ever was. Does Henry want Hitler to win? Does Henry want to be a "selectee"? Does Henry like Winston Churchill? Does Henry think America has gone too far towards war? Does Henry think the United States has aided Great Britain as much as it should? Does Henry still hold hopes for Isolation? America should know. Henry should make himself heard, and America should listen.

Radio Programs of Interest 

Next Sunday at 1:30 p. m., the University of Chicago will give a round table discussion over all NBC stations. Next Monday at 10:30 a. m. both the NBC and the CBS will broadcast the presidential Inauguration from Washington. Wednesday at 9:15 p. m., CBS will broadcast an address by the chairman of the committee to Defend America by Aiding the Allies.

Magazine Articles of Interest

Schuman Dennis, and Lerner, "Who Owns the Future?" Nation, 152:36. January 11, 1941.

Stone, I. F., "Munichman from Montana". ibid. page 35.

Miller, C.R. "Radio and Propaganda," Annals. 213:69. January, 194.

Graves, H.N."European Radio and the War." ibid. page 75.

Chamberlin, W. H., "Hitler's Alternatives," Atlantic Monthly, 167:4. January, 1941.

It is eerie to read real time debates about whether or not America will enter World War 2. I don't know what would have happened if they didn't, or if they waited longer or started earlier. These are honestly worthless questions. If you start the what-if game, you have to be willing to ask that of every variable on back through till the beginning of time. That's impossible and impractical for us. So I watch the history unfold inevitably, and it reminds me that our decisions have impact. We may not know exactly what that impact might be, or how it will trickle down the years, but our decisions are powerful. 

Opa reminds his readers that they are every man or woman- and the name Henry he uses to represent them. What does Henry think about all of this discussion in DC? Henry needs to speak and speak clearly. Opa does not tell his readers what to think and say, but merely to speak. Opa remembers finagling the radios so that he and his sister could listen to "illegal" outside programs that would tell them something other than propaganda. He remembers when Hitler claimed ultimate power, that the schools shut down for three months and reopened with brand new curriculum and textbooks, whitewashed and infused with blind patriotism, racism, and hate. 

Opa remembers. So he tells his readers: speak.

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