On January 6, 1941, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt gave his State of the Union address to the members of the Seventy-Seventh Congress. In many ways, the “Four Freedoms” speech was a plea to the American people to reject passivity in the face of mounting evidence of the wanton cruelty taking place during WWII. Dachau, Auschwitz, the concentration camps in Europe, and POWs in the Pacific forced to endure sickening, unimaginable “experiments” in the name of “research”, and other inhumane acts on captives.
Rumors of widespread, indiscriminate atrocities committed against men, women and children. The Master Race’s wholesale mechanical slaughter of those that they routinely referred to as inferior sub-humans. Genocide of the gypsies, homosexuals and the Jews – it was the Holocaust – a final, murderous in the extreme, Final Solution.
No doubt many Yankees safe on American shores wondered, how could these stories be true? Why, there were well respected leaders, Joe Kennedy and Henry Ford to name a couple of vocal supporters who publically expressed sympathy, if not admiration for the Nazi cause. News traveled a bit slower in those days. The Miller, um…Goebbels propaganda machine was already planning to make a Nazi version of the Titanic as a warning of the spoils of rampant, decadent western capitalism.
There was however, a “blip” on the silver screen worth mentioning.
On October 31st, 1940, Charlie Chaplin released “The Great Dictator” in the United States. A “fictional” tale hardly disguised at all as a parody of Hitler, it’s final, now legendary speech told of the urgent need to take up the call for action. To stand up and fight, for humanity.
Still, America resisted. Isolationism was still our way. With two mighty oceans to protect us, America still felt it was someone else’s war. FDR knew it was only a matter of time. America had begun withholding oil exports to Germany in an effort to slow down the seemingly unstoppable German war machine. The Flying Tigers were in China, fighting Japan in a proxy war.
On December 7th, 1941, the Japanese not content on waiting to see if and when the Americans would enter the war, launched an all-out surprise attack on the Pacific Fleet docked at Pearl Harbor. In a miscalculated effort to eliminate our fighting capabilities, Japan awoke a sleeping giant. Or at least so said So Yamamura, the actor playing Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto’s at the end of Tora! Tora! Tora!
“I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.”
On December 8, 1941, The US of A officially entered World War II when all but one member of Congress voted for a formal declaration of war. Sleeping giant or not, GI Joe was on the way.
In the Four Freedoms speech, FDR laid out a vast and expansive view of America’s role in the new world order. He announced that all persons have four essential freedoms.
Freedom of speech, of worship, from want and from fear.
And then he did something remarkable. He went global. No longer were these freedoms guaranteed to Americans, but to all people, everywhere. Global. And so, the next time someone asks you when did we become the watchdog or policeman of the world, you tell them it was January 6, 1941.
By the end of the war, we were the only superpower left standing. We would be the ones who all else would follow as we forged a brave new world into existence. Nobody complained (maybe the Russians). What could the average economically weak and recovering needing to rebuild country say? At any rate, we were America Hell Yeah! And we have your backs. And we did. Till now.
Now you might be asking yourself, Perfesser, who put the Kurds in your whey? What suddenly brought all of this on? Yes, it was the Kurds. History will remember that on October 7, 2019 we, the United States of America sold out the Kurds and betrayed our now former allies who helped us defeat ISIS in the region. Leaving them to be slaughtered.
For what? So three tyrants, Trump, Putin and Erdogan could make a self-serving, blood money deal behind our backs? One day, we will find out the extent of their treachery but I doubt they’ll make a movie out of it. No one will believe it. The Kurds will be gone. My advice? We find ourselves a Winston Churchill as soon as possible. Otherwise, all may be lost.