Committee to Defend America by Aiding the Allies

William Allen White was a supporter of a "pro-British policy" in the Second World War and in May 1940 he established the Committee to Defend America by Aiding the Allies (CDAAA). White gave an interview to the Chicago Daily News where he argued: "Here is a life and death struggle for every principle we cherish in America: For freedom of speech, of religion, of the ballot and of every freedom that upholds the dignity of the human spirit... Here all the rights that common man has fought for during a thousand years are menaced... The time has come when we must throw into the scales the entire moral and economic weight of the United States on the side of the free peoples of Western Europe who are fighting the battle for a civilized way of life." It was not long before White's organization had 300 chapters nationwide. in May 1940.

Other members of the CDAAA included Clark M. Eichelberger (National Director), Adlai Stevenson, John J. Pershing, Claude Pepper and Philip Dunne. Members of the CDAAA argued that by advocating American military materiel support of Britain was the best way to keep the United States out of the war in Europe. The CDAAA disagreed strongly with the America First Committee, the main pressure group supporting complete neutrality and non-intervention in the war.

The main concern of the CDAAA was to “Aid the Allies.” However, they also adopted several concrete goals: the sale of destroyers to Great Britain; the release by the U.S. government of Flying Fortresses, pursuit planes, and mosquito boats to Great Britain; the use of convoys to safely escort Allied supplies; and the revision of the 1935 Neutrality Actto arm U.S. ships for defense against Axis attacks.

The Committee to Defend America by Aiding the Allies played an important role in the passing of the Lend-Lease Act on 11th March, 1941. The legislation gave President Franklin D. Roosevelt the powers to sell, transfer, exchange, lend equipment to any country to help it defend itself against the Axis powers. A sum of $50 billion was appropriated by Congress for Lend-Lease. The money went to 38 different countries with Britain receiving over $31 billion.

The CDAAA refused to support military intervention in the war. William Stephenson as the head of the British Security Coordination (BSC), found this frustrating and he encouraged William Donovan and Allen W. Dulles, with the support of BSC agent, Sydney Morrell, to establish the pro-intervention Fight for Freedom (FFF) group in April 1941.

Here is a life and death struggle for every principle we cherish in America: For freedom of speech, of religion, of the ballot and of every freedom that upholds the dignity of the human spirit... The time has come when we must throw into the scales the entire moral and economic weight of the United States on the side of the free peoples of Western Europe who are fighting the battle for a civilized way of life.

Letters, 1940-1941, n.d., to Lewis Mumford.

American journalist known as the "Sage of Emporia" owner and editor of the "Emporia Gazette." From the description of Papers of William Allen White, 1890-1940 [manuscript]. (University of Virginia). WorldCat record id: 647837106 Journalist. From the description of Letters, 1889-1945. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122644557 Pulitzer Prize-winning Emporia, Kansas, newspaper editor and author. From the description of William Allen White letter.

Kingdon, Frank, 1894-1972

Dr. Frank Kingdon was an educator, Methodist minister and author. He served as President of Newark University. From the description of Frank Kingdon collection, 1928-1946. (Plainview-Old Bethpage Public Library). WorldCat record id: 725547772 .

Atkinson, Alfred

Canby, Henry Seidel, 1878-1961

Writer, editor, critic. From the description of Reminiscences of Henry Seidel Canby and Amy Loveman : oral history, 1955. (Columbia University In the City of New York). WorldCat record id: 122481130 Epithet: editor of 'Saturday Review of Literature' British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000000758.0x0001e2 Canby was a critic, editor and Yale University professor (1899-1922). He was one of the founder.

Eichelberger, Clark M. (Clark Mell), 1896-1980

Clark Mell Eichelberger (1896-1980) was a lecturer on national and international affairs with the Radcliffe Chautauqua System from 1922 to 1928. He was appointed director of the mid-West office of the League of Nations Association in 1928 and became director of the national organization in 1934. The name of the organization was changed to the American Association of the United Nations (A.A.U.N.) in 1945 and Eichelberger continued to serve as executive director until 1964. When the A.A.U.N. was m.

Committee to Defend America by Aiding the Allies

The Committee to Defend America by Aiding the Allies was founded in May, 1940, by William Allen White and Clark M. Eichelberger in order to mobilize American support against the Axis powers before the entry of the United States into World War II. The organization was dissolved in January, 1942. From the description of Records of the Committee to Defend America by Aiding the Allies, 1940-1942. (Princeton University Library). WorldCat record id: 84433568 The Committee to Defen.

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50d. The Arsenal of Democracy

Although short of planes and pilots, the British Royal Air Force managed to hold off Hitler's Luftwaffe during the Battle of Britain.

Two days after Britain and France declared war on Nazi Germany, President Roosevelt issued a proclamation of neutrality and ordered the suspension of munitions sales to all belligerents. But Roosevelt stopped short of asking that Americans remain emotionally neutral in the European conflict. FDR knew that the only chance Britain and France would have to defeat the German Reich was to have ample supplies of weaponry. He immediately began to press Congress to repeal the arms embargo .

The request was simple. Allow trade of munitions with belligerent nations on a "cash and carry" basis. There would be no danger to American shipping if the Allies had to carry the supplies on their own ships. Isolationists were concerned, but support for the President's initiative was strong enough. The Neutrality Act of 1939 ended the arms embargo and permitted the sales of munitions on a "cash and carry" basis.

Meanwhile, the European war seemed to be more talk than action. Throughout the fall and winter of 1939-40, Stalin moved Soviet troops into sovereign Eastern European states including eastern Poland, but Hitler's Wehrmacht was silent. Europeans nervously joked of a "phony war" as the winter drew to a close.

Suddenly on April 9, 1940, the German blitzkrieg moved rapidly into Denmark and Norway. As the weeks passed, the German war machine steadily advanced through the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and into northern France. Hitler arrived in France to sign the terms of French surrender. The hapless French were forced to submit to the Germans in the very same railroad car the Germans surrendered twenty-two years previously at the end of World War I. Britain was the only democracy in Europe in open opposition to Germany.

Not to be outdone by the swelling "Arsenal of Democracy," German production increased as well during World War II.

New Prime Minister Winston Churchill desperately pleaded with Roosevelt for assistance. In the summer of 1940, Hitler launched Operation Sea Lion , an all-out assault on the British mainland. The Royal Air Force of Britain battled the German Luftwaffe in the greatest air battle in history as Americans watched nervously.

Slowly but surely American public opinion shifted toward helping the British. The Committee to Defend America by Aiding the Allies launched a propaganda campaign to mobilize the American public. Groups like the America First Committee , which contained prominent Americans such as Charles Lindbergh , insisted a hemispheric defense was the wisest choice for the United States to follow. A great debate was on.

Miraculously Britain held its own with Germany while America deliberated. In September 1940, the United States agreed to the transfer of 50 old destroyers to the British fleet in exchange for naval bases in the Western Hemisphere. By directly aiding the Allies , America could no longer hide behind the shield of neutrality. At Roosevelt's urging, Congress authorized the construction of new planes to defend America's coast. Congress also enacted the first peacetime draft in the nation's history in September 1940. The interventionist argument seemed to be prevailing, but debate continued into 1941.

Congress eventually approved the Lend-Lease Act, but not without a great deal of debate. Senator Robert Taft argued that the Act allowed the U.S. "to carry on a kind of undeclared war."

The Destroyer Deal was helpful, but Britain simply did not have the financial reserves to pay for all the weapons they needed. Roosevelt feared another postwar debt crisis so he hatched a new plan called Lend-Lease. Roosevelt publicly mused that if a neighbor's house is on fire, nobody sells him a hose to put it out. Common sense dictated that the hose is lent to the neighbor and returned when the fire is extinguished. The United States could simply lend Great Britain the materials it would need to fight the war. When the war was over, they would be returned. The Congress hotly argued over the proposal. Senator Robert Taft retorted: "Lending war equipment is a good deal like lending chewing gum. You don't want it back."

In March 1941 after a great deal of controversy, Congress approved the Lend-Lease Act , which eventually appropriated $50 billion of aid to the Allies. Meanwhile Roosevelt began an unprecedented third term.

Neutrality was no longer a façade behind which America could hide. Hitler saw Lend-Lease as tantamount to a war declaration and ordered attacks on American ships.

Roosevelt urged Congress and Americans to take action. In his famous Four Freedom speech he enumerates what the rights of any citizen of the world are and why it is important for America to lead the way:

Congress still vacillated. Roosevelt met with Churchill in the summer of 1941 and agreed to the Atlantic Charter , a statement that outlined Anglo-American war aims. At this point, the United States was willing to commit almost everything to the Allied war machine &mdash money, resources, and diplomacy.

The Committee's William Allen White News Service, headed by John Balderston, was based at the Rockefeller Center in New York, along with British Security Coordination and a number of other fronts. Δ]

The Committee acted as a BSC cutout in sponsoring propaganda broadcasts on radio station WRUL. Ε] It was also one of a number of British fronts which sponsored opinion polls by the BSC-controlled Market Analysts Inc. Ζ]

In 1941, David Dubinsky hired Jay Lovestone to run the Committee's labour division. Η]

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Biographical / Historical

Florence Ledyard Cross Kitchelt was born in Rochester, New York, on December 17, 1874 to Frederick Holland and Jennie Ledyard (Wilcox) Cross. She attended Wells College in Aurora, New York, graduating in 1897 with an A.B. Throughout her early career Kitchelt was a social reform worker at a number of settlement houses in New York City and state. Immediately after college Kitchelt was a resident and volunteer worker caring for dependent and delinquent youth at the George Junior Republic in Freeville New York. She spent the next four years working for the College Settlement on the lower east side of Manhattan and its summer location in Mount Ivy, New York. In 1903 she was the head worker of an Italian American settlement called the "Little Italy House" in Brooklyn, New York. For a short time in 1904 she was a voluntary probation officer for women at the reformist Essex Market Court. From 1904 to 1905 Kitchelt worked at the Lowell House in New Haven, Connecticut.

After spending several months in Italy learning about the conditions from which her many immigrant cases came, Kitchelt returned to her hometown of Rochester, New York. In 1907 she opened "The Housekeeping Center" in an Italian neighborhood there, and the center operated under her supervision until1910. In June 1911, she married New York socialist agitator Richard Kitchelt.

By 1915 Florence Kitchelt had become a suffragette, continuing her work when she moved to New Haven, Connecticut three years later. There she became the Citizenship Director of the Connecticut League of Women Voters in 1920, and served as the Executive Director of the Connecticut branch of the League of Nations Association (CLNA) for twenty years beginning in 1924. During 1943 she was Chairman of the Connecticut Committee for the Equal Rights Amendment, a group she supported until 1956 when she and her husband moved to Ohio to live with Florence's sister Dorothy Zeiger.

Kitchelt was also a dedicated peace activist and worked with a variety of organizations to pursue pacifist goals, including thethe Connecticut Council on International Relations, the National Council for the Prevention of War, and the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.

Throughout her lifetime, Kitchelt was an active socialist, pacifist, member of the Unitarian society, and author of several books of poetry, a prose work called The World's Work , and editor for the Rochester magazine The Common Good . She died in Wilberforce, Ohio, on April 4, 1961.

The Dumbing-Down of America

"Is our children learning?" as George W. Bush so famously asked.

Well, no, they is not learning, especially the history of their country, the school subject at which America's young perform at their worst.

On history tests given to 31,000 pupils by the National Assessment of Education Progress, the "Nation's Report Card," most fourth-graders could not identify a picture of Abraham Lincoln or a reason why he was important.

Most eighth-graders could not identify an advantage American forces had in the Revolutionary War. Twelfth-graders did not know why America entered World War II or that China was North Korea's ally in the Korean War.

Only 20 percent of fourth-graders attained even a "proficient" score in the test. By eighth grade, only 17 percent were judged proficient. By 12th grade, 12 percent. Only a tiny fraction was graded "advanced," indicating a superior knowledge of American history.

Given an excerpt from the Supreme Court's 1954 decision Brown v. Board of Education -- "We conclude that in the field of pubic education, separate but equal has no place, separate education facilities are inherently unequal" -- and asked what social problem the court was seeking to correct, 2 percent of high school seniors answered "segregation."

As these were multiple-choice questions, notes Diane Ravitch, the education historian, the answer "was right in front of them."

A poster put out by the Committee to Defend America by Aiding the Allies, circa 1940, was shown and the question asked, "The poster above seeks to protect America and aid Britain in the struggle against . " Four countries were listed as possible answers.

A majority did not identify Germany, though the poster contained a clue. The boot about to trample the Statue of Liberty had a huge swastika on the sole.

"We're raising young people who are, by and large, historically illiterate," historian David McCullough told The Wall Street Journal.

"History textbooks," added McCullough, "are "badly written." Many texts have been made "so politically correct as to be comic. Very minor characters that are currently fashionable are given considerable space, whereas people of major consequence" -- such as inventor Thomas Edison -- "are given very little space or none at all."

Trendies and minorities have their sensibilities massaged in the new history, which is, says McCullough, "often taught in categories -- women's history, African American history, environmental history -- so that many students have no sense of chronology . no idea of what followed what."

But if the generations coming out of our schools do not know our past, do not who we are or what we have done as a people, how will they come to love America, refute her enemies or lead her confidently?

This appalling ignorance among American young must be laid at the feet of an education industry that has consumed trillions of tax dollars in recent decades.

Comes the retort: History was neglected because Bush, with No Child Left Behind, overemphasized reading and math.

Yet the same day the NAEP history scores were reported, The New York Times reported on the academic performance of New York state high school students in math and English. The results were stunning.

Of state students who entered ninth grade in 2006, only 37 percent were ready for college by June 2010. In New York City, the figure was 21 percent, one in five, ready for college.

In Yonkers, 14.5 percent of the students who entered high school in 2006 were ready for college in June 2010. In Rochester County, the figure was 6 percent.

And the racial gap, 45 years after the federal and state governments undertook heroic exertions to close it, is wide open across the Empire State.

While 51 percent of white freshman in 2006 and 56 percent of Asian students were ready for college in June 2010, only 13 percent of New York state's black students and 15 percent of Hispanics were deemed ready.

The implications of these tests are alarming, not only for New York but for the country we shall become in this century.

In 1960, there were 18 million black Americans and few Hispanics in a total population of 160 million. By 2050, African Americans and Hispanics combined will, at 200 million, roughly equal white Americans in number.

If the racial gap in academic achievement persists for the next 40 years, as it has for the last 40, virtually all of the superior positions in the New Economy and knowledge-based professions will be held by Asians and whites, with blacks and Hispanics largely relegated to the service sector.

America will then face both a racial and class crisis.

The only way to achieve equality of rewards and results then will be via relentless use of the redistributive power of government -- steep tax rates on the successful, and annual wealth transfers to the less successful. It will be affirmative action, race preferences, ethnic quotas and contract set-asides, ad infinitum -- not a prescription for racial peace or social tranquility.

Biographical/historical information

Clark Mell Eichelberger (1896-1980) was born at Freeport, Illinois, the son of Joseph Elmer and Olive (Clark) Eichelberger. The family was descended from Swiss and English settlers who came to America before the Revolution. During W. W. I. Eichelberger served with the A. E. F. in France. His university studies at Northwestern were interrupted by the war and he never took a degree. After familiarizing himself with the operations of the newly formed League of Nations at Geneva Eichelberger became a lecturer (1922-28) on national and international affairs with the Radcliffe Chautauqua System. In 1928 he was appointed director of the Midwest Office in Chicago of the League of Nations Associations (LNA), and in 1934 he assumed the directorship of the national organization in New York. When the name of the LNA was changed (1945) to the American Association of the United Nations (AAUN), Eichelberger continued as the organization's executive director until 1964.

In that year the AAUN was merged with the United States Committee for the United Nations to form a new organization entitled the United Nations Association of the U. S. A. (UNAUSA). Eichelberger served as vice president of the UNAUSA until 1968, but his role was diminished. After the merger (in 1964) Eichelberger devoted most of his time to the Commission to Study the Organization of Peace (CSOP) which he helped to found in 1939, and of which he was successively director (1939-1964), chairman (1964-1968), and executive director (1968-1974). At the time of his death he was honorary chairman of the CSOP.

Other organizations with which Eichelberger was associated or which he helped to found include the Committee to Defend America by Aiding the Allies, and its predecessor, the Non-Partisan Committee for Peace through Revision of the Neutrality Law the Committee for Concerted Peace Efforts Citizens for Victory Free World Association Americans United for World Organization and the World Federation of United Nations Associations.

Eichelberger also served as consultant (1938) to the League of Nations Secretariat, to the United States Delegation to the San Francisco Conference (1945), and he was a member of the committee which created the first working draft of the Charter of the United Nations. He was the author of several books on the United Nations.

The Great Debate

From our 21st-century point of view, it is hard to imagine World War II without the United States as a major participant. Before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, however, Americans were seriously divided over what the role of the United States in the war should be, or if it should even have a role at all. Even as the war consumed large portions of Europe and Asia in the late 1930s and early 1940s, there was no clear consensus on how the United States should respond.

Top Image Courtesy of the Associated Press

From our 21st-century point of view, it is hard to imagine World War II without the United States as a major participant. Before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, however, Americans were seriously divided over what the role of the United States in the war should be, or if it should even have a role at all. Even as the war consumed large portions of Europe and Asia in the late 1930s and early 1940s, there was no clear consensus on how the United States should respond.

The US ambivalence about the war grew out of the isolationist sentiment that had long been a part of the American political landscape and had pervaded the nation since World War I. Hundreds of thousands of Americans were either killed or wounded during that conflict, and President Woodrow Wilson’s idealistic plan to ensure permanent peace through international cooperation and American leadership failed to become a reality. Many Americans were disillusioned by how little their efforts had accomplished and felt that getting so deeply involved on the global stage in 1917 had been a mistake.

Neither the rise of Adolf Hitler to power nor the escalation of Japanese expansionism did much to change the nation’s isolationist mood in the 1930s. Most Americans still believed the nation’s interests were best served by staying out of foreign conflicts and focusing on problems at home, especially the devastating effects of the Great Depression. Congress passed a series of Neutrality Acts in the late 1930s, aiming to prevent future involvement in foreign wars by banning American citizens from trading with nations at war, loaning them money, or traveling on their ships.

But by 1940, the deteriorating global situation was impossible to ignore. Nazi Germany had annexed Austria and Czechoslovakia and had conquered Poland, Belgium, the Netherlands, and France. Great Britain was the only major European power left standing against Hitler’s war machine. The urgency of the situation intensified the debate in the United States over whether American interests were better served by staying out or getting involved.

Isolationists believed that World War II was ultimately a dispute between foreign nations and that the United States had no good reason to get involved. The best policy, they claimed, was for the United States to build up its own defenses and avoid antagonizing either side. Neutrality, combined with the power of the US military and the protection of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, would keep Americans safe while the Europeans sorted out their own problems. Isolationist organizations like the America First Committee sought to influence public opinion through print, radio, and mass rallies. Aviator Charles Lindbergh and popular radio priest Father Charles Coughlin were the Committee’s most powerful spokesmen. Speaking in 1941 of an “independent American destiny,” Lindbergh asserted that the United States ought to fight any nation that attempted to meddle in the affairs of the Western Hemisphere. However, he argued, American soldiers ought not to have to “fight everybody in the world who prefers some other system of life to ours.”

Interventionists believed the United States did have good reasons to get involved in World War II, particularly in Europe. The democracies of Western Europe, they argued, were a critical line of defense against Hitler’s fast-growing strength. If no European power remained as a check against Nazi Germany, the United States could become isolated in a world where the seas and a significant amount of territory and resources were controlled by a single powerful dictator. It would be, as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt put it, like “living at the point of a gun,” and the buffer provided by the Pacific and Atlantic would be useless. Some interventionists believed US military action was inevitable, but many others believed the United States could still avoid sending troops to fight on foreign soil, if only the Neutrality Acts could be relaxed to allow the federal government to send military equipment and supplies to Great Britain. William Allen White, Chairman of an interventionist organization called the Committee to Defend America by Aiding the Allies, reassured his listeners that the point of helping Britain was to keep the United States out of the war. “If I were making a motto for [this] Committee,” he said, “it would be ‘The Yanks Are Not Coming.’”

Female isolationists from the America First Committee, Keep America Out of War, and the Mothers’ Crusade picket British Ambassador Lord Halifax in Chicago, May 8, 1941.
(Image: Everett Collection Historical/Alamy Stock Photo, F2AWAM.)

"We well know that we cannot escape danger, or the fear of danger, by crawling into bed and pulling the covers over our heads."