Lend Lease 9 – The Party in the USA – Aug 4, 2019

Description: US-Soviet Relations and Communist Party USA activities under FDR and Henry Wallace. Discussion by Bill, Nate, and Greg.

Links and notes for episode 9 (PDF): http://arsenalfordemocracy.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Lend-Lease-Episode-9-Links-and-Notes-US-Soviet-Relations-Under-FDR.pdf

Music by friend of the show Stunt Bird.

May 10, 2017 – Arsenal For Democracy Ep. 179 Extended

Posted by Bill on behalf of the team.

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Topics: French presidential election results; the Republican House passes their healthcare bill; recalling the Battle of the Bulge in 2017. People: Bill and Nate Produced: May 8th, 2017.

Episode 179 (58 min, incl. 8 bonus minutes):
AFD 179

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Music by friend of the show @StuntBirdArmy.

The Battle of the Bulge in 2017

My theme this week, and especially today with the healthcare vote in the US House, is about late battles that went the opposite direction of an overall war.

History is written largely as a linear flow, and by the victors. Certain points of the US Civil War or World War II are declared to be the point at which it was “inevitable” that eventually the US would prevail, even if it took a while. But at the time, in the moment, you have no way to know.

Maybe the next big counteroffensive by the enemy will actually turn the tide in their favor and deprive you of victory that seemed inevitable so recently. Until it doesn’t — and you realize it was just the horrid last gasp. It is ferocious and massively fatal to those bearing the brunt of it, but then it’s over and the war winds down.

What if we’re currently experiencing our version of the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944? That was when the Nazis made one last overwhelming push with the possibility of encircling four Allied Armies and forcing an armistice on the Western Front (which might have allowed the Nazis to win the war at least as far as remaining in power within Germany, even if not all across Europe).

In 2017, it would be the Republicans making one last massive counteroffensive that will claim a lot of lives and cause immense damage but ultimately be defeated. Ideally also leading to their annihilation, aided by a resurgent left. Maybe that’s pure fantasy, but it’s a dark hope that is better than no hope.

During the Battle of the Bulge, many U.S. units sacrificed to the last man to block certain roads and critical access points that prevented the German armored divisions from making the planned rapid encirclement. Every point the Nazis failed to take immediately then stalled their advance on other points, saving lives there, and ultimately they failed completely.

Today it is our duty to hold every defensive point to the last person, knowing that even if it falls, that sacrifice will have stalled the Republican counteroffensive from advancing on five, ten, twenty, or fifty other points of policy by which they would kill millions if they ultimately prevail. Eventually, we will stall them long enough in enough places to break their final effort and turn the tide.

But let me be clear: This will come at a severe cost and it will not happen without a ferocious, pitched battle.

U.S. Government-funded childcare during WWII

Arsenal Bolt: Quick updates on the news stories we’re following.

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Who Took Care of Rosie the Riveter’s Kids? – The Atlantic:

During World War II the United States government operated a far-reaching, heavily-subsidized childcare program—the likes of which Americans haven’t seen in the seven decades since.
[…]
Established in late 1942, emergency nursery schools became the tool to relieve anxious mothers and keep raucous children at bay. Funded through both federal and local money allocated by an amendment to the Lanham Act, a 1940 law authorizing war-related government grants, childcare services were established in communities contributing to defense production. These programs reorganized one kind of domestic labor—child-rearing—to enable another kind: paid labor in the domestic economy that helped fortify America against its foreign enemies.

The scope of the program was enormous. Daycare centers were administered in every state except New Mexico. Between 1943 and 1946, spending on the program exceeded the equivalent of $1 billion today, and each year, about 3,000 childcare centers served roughly 130,000 children. By the end of the war, between 550,000 and 600,000 children are estimated to have received some care from Lanham Act programs. (Still, the demand for childcare was barely tapped. The Department of Labor estimated that each year, Lanham funds made it to only about 10 percent of the children in need.) By one historical account, the government had a hard time amassing a sufficient staff.

 

13 of Truman’s 21 policy points from 1945 are relevant today

In an address to Congress just days after the celebration of V-J Day in the United States, President Harry S. Truman outlined to Congress what the country must do after World War II. 13 of those 21 policy points remain fully or significantly relevant in 2015, seventy years later.

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“Special Message to the Congress Presenting a 21-Point Program for the Reconversion Period” – September 6, 1945
1. Unemployment compensation
2. Fair Labor Standards Act

5. Full Employment
6. Fair Employment (non-discrimination)
7. Harmonious Industrial-Labor relations
8. Job creation for returning veterans and in regions where job opportunities are scarce
9. Sustainable agriculture

11. Housing for all (urban and rural) and socially responsible city planning
12. Support for research (academic, industrial, governmental)
13. Responsible tax policy (matching revenues to expenditure needs, balancing burden distribution)

15. Support for small business
16. Support for returning veterans in all arenas of life (GI Bill and health care)
17. Investment in public works and conservation of national resources

(These points are all elaborated in greater detail at the link above to the full speech. The points not included all relate more specifically to the World War II situation itself or its immediate aftermath.)

Russian diplomat explains that Soviet invasion of Poland was Poland’s fault

If you were wondering why Poland has been readying itself to go underground as an insurgency again in case of Russian re-invasion, we just saw a pretty strong reason for the Polish people to be at least mildly concerned…

“Russian Ambassador Says Poland Was Partly to Blame for World War II” – The New York Times

Ambassador [to Poland] Sergey Andreev of Russia on Friday described the Soviet Union’s 1939 invasion of Poland as an act of self-defense, not aggression.

Uh. In… in what way? That would require interwar Poland to have had threat capacity.

In an interview broadcast on the private TVN station, Mr. Andreev also said: “Polish policy led to the disaster in September 1939, because during the 1930s Poland repeatedly blocked the formation of a coalition against Hitler’s Germany. Poland was therefore partly responsible for the disaster which then took place.”

But… But the Soviet Union itself was in Hitler’s coalition in September 1939. So…how? What?

The Russian Ambassador to Poland’s version of 1939 history appears to be “Oops, the Soviet Union slipped in the tub and fell into Poland.” Or perhaps, at best, “We just had to invade Poland and all the Baltic states to create a bigger buffer zone between Hitler and the edge of the real Soviet Union.”

You know what? Never mind. This is too much nonsense to figure out.

Flag of Poland's Home Army during World War II. (Credit: Bastianow - Wikimedia)

Flag of Poland’s Home Army during World War II. (Credit: Bastianow – Wikimedia)

Europe Must Strengthen and Expand Its Refugees Policy

The European project was born in the ashes of World War II and its own massive refugee crisis.
Guest Post by Etienne Borocco of France.

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On August 28, 2015, 71 corpses were found in a truck at the Austrian border. They were refugees, mainly from Syria. Days later, after the latest ship full of refugees sank in the Mediterranean, images seen worldwide showed the drowned victims, including a small child. All were trying to escape a horrific war, which has reached a death toll greater than 200,000 casualties after a 4-year conflict.

Syrians are not alone, however. There are a lot of refugees from Eritrea, which is sometimes called “Africa’s North Korea.” Or from South Sudan, prey to a merciless civil war. Or from Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, and so on…

All these refugees are qualified to a granted asylum because the situation is terrible in their home country. However, they cannot apply to asylum in a European embassy. They must first travel illegally to apply. This trip is dangerous and creates a big opportunity for unscrupulous human traffickers.

The latter can be grateful to the European countries for their flourishing business. The situation on the European side results from an absence of agreement for a common policy to host refugees.

Moreover, the Dublin convention has serious pitfalls. The first Member State where fingerprints are stored or an asylum claim is lodged is responsible for a person’s asylum claim. The countries at the border of the EU are then overwhelmed.

160,000 refugees landed in Greece between January and July 2015, to say nothing of those who came in the previous two years. This figure alone is already comparable to the Irish exodus during the Great Famine in 1847. In that era, 215,000 Irish immigrants fled to the United States.

Recently, Germany decided to not enforce the Dublin regulation anymore. The German government decided to grant asylum to all the Syrian refugees regardless of which country of the Dublin-regulation area they landed in first .

On the other hand, Hungary has recently built a wall at the border with Serbia, and Austria seeks to control its borders more strictly. The whole European project is threatened because governments are tempted to act alone without coordination.

The irony is the European project was born from the ashes of the Second World War. During this period, a lot of refugees fled conflicts. French citizens crossed the borders with Spain, where they were illegal aliens. Francoist Spain used to deport them and a great part was directly delivered to Nazi Germany. They were promised to a certain death.

However, those who managed join the Free Forces participated to the French liberation. In the Netherlands, the “England-Voyagers” (Engelandvaarders) took makeshift boats to cross the North Sea to England. Some famous Dutch resistance members like Erik Hazelhoff Roelfzema were part of the “England-Voyagers”.

London also hosted the central command of the French Resistance directed by General de Gaulle, as well as several other governments-in-exile of Nazi-occupied territories.

Several other countries hosted significant numbers of refugees from Axis countries during the war. Many wartime refugees risked and lost their lives crossing borders or the Mediterranean to flee. When the borders were being redrawn after the Axis surrender in 1945, millions more people were also displaced. It was in this context that the European project began.
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