Great masses of aliens

George Creel

George Creel

[The lack of allegiance to the United States of] “great masses of aliens” [who are responsible for] “seditious attacks upon the government and bold disruptions of industry” [constitutes] “a domestic peril that threatens the permanence of American institutions as gravely as any menace of foreign foe.”

– George Creel, future director of the WW1-era Committee on Public Information, explaining in 1913 that strikes and other manifestations of class antagonism in the United States were not a legitimate response on the part of American workers to indigenous inequalities, but that they came about rather as the result of the importation into the United States of ‘foreign’ ideas, ie. Socialism, and that the integrity of American institutions was under a clear and present threat from a ‘radical alien’ [ie radical immigrant] menace. The work of Creel’s CPI and its ability to skilfully demonise its enemies was later cited by Adolf Hitler in chapter 6 of Mein Kampf as the main inspiration for Nazi propaganda.

(Source: Frank Van Nuys, Americanizing the West: Immigrants and Citizenship, 1890-1930, Lawrence; University of Kansas Press, 2002, p. 46.)

Capitalist altruism

William H. Vandebilt

William H. Vandebilt

“The public be damned.”

– William H. Vanderbilt, American railroad magnate, explaining to a reporter in 1882 who wanted to question him about the methods used to finance railroads, and who insisted that the public had a right to know, that the free market had not nurtured his altruistic tendencies after all.

A day that will live in infamy

USS SHAW exploding at Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941

USS SHAW exploding at Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941

A. Make an arrangement with Britain for the use of British bases in the Pacific, particularly Singapore.

B. Make an arrangement with Holland for the use of base facilities and acquisition of supplies in the Dutch east Indies [now Indonesia].

C. Give all possible aid to the Chinese government of Chiang Kai-shek.

D. Send a division of long-range heavy cruisers to the Orient, Phillipines, or Singapore.

E. Send two divisions of submarines to the Orient.

F. Keep the main strength of the U.S. Fleet, now in the Pacific, in the vicinity of the Hawaiian Islands.

G. Insist that the Dutch refuse to grant Japanese demands for undue economic concessions, particularly oil.

H. Completely embargo all trade with Japan, in collaboration with a similar embargo emposed by the British Empire.

– Office of Naval Intelligence memo authored by Lieutenant Commander Arthur H. McCollum, October 7, 1940, putting forward a plan to provoke Japan into committing an overt act of war that could be used to mobilise public support for America’s entry into WW2. Many Americans who had experienced the first bloodbath, said at the time to be ‘a war for democracy’ and the ‘war to end all wars,’ were opposed to sending their sons to die in another. All of the suggestions were adopted; the attack on Pearl Harbour came two months later. (source: Robert Stinnett, Day of Deceit: The Truth about FDR and Pearl Harbour)

Arbeit macht frei

Work will free you

Work will free you

“Work will free you.”

– Slogan posted at the entrance to Auschwitz death camp, explaining that the road to freedom was to be found in habituating oneself to slavery and that freedom does not require the maintenance of a basic harmony between ends and means.

I'll furnish the war

William Randolph Hearst

William Randolph Hearst

“You furnish the pictures, I’ll furnish the war.”

– William Randolph Hearst, media tycoon, responding in 1898 to artist Stephen Remington stationed in Cuba to cover a minor revolt against the Spanish colonial government. “There is no war,” Remington wrote to his boss. “Request to be recalled.” When the USS Maine was blown up in Havana harbour shortly afterwards by unknown persons the Hearst press blamed Spain, stirring up patriotism, hatred of the cowardly Spanish and war fever. Next stop: Spanish-American war.

The Big Lie

Joseph Goebbels

Joseph Goebbels

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”
– Joseph Goebbels, Nazi propaganda minister, explaining that the ends justify the means as long as the end is the protection and extension of state power.