Joseph Hansen

Big Business Militarists Push
for Peace-time Conscription

(16 June 1945)

Source: The Militant, Vol. IX No. 24, 16 June 1945, p. 6.
Transcription/Editing/HTML Markup: 2018 by Einde O’Callaghan.
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The widespread hope of the people for an end to war after the present slaughter is doomed to disappointment if the Wall Street profiteers have their way. They are now busily pushing legislation in Congress that would enable them to prolong the lucrative bloodshed indefinitely. They have falsely labelled their proposals “Peacetime Military Training." They are masking the true purpose of this legislation with the argument that it will preserve and stabilize – peace!

In the hearings before the House Committee on Post-War Military Policy, representatives of these war-mongers all wore the feathers of peace. Major Fielding Eliot, who shakes down a profitable income commenting on battle moves on the military maps, argued that “if we want our influence to be felt we have got to have the force to back it up.”

Joseph C. Grew, Acting Secretary of State, for 40 years a professional representative of the dollar diplomacy of American imperialism, declared in carefully chosen phrases, “our international policy, to be effective, must have strength behind it.”

The New York Times, reactionary mouthpiece of Big Business, which has been campaigning for this legislation, summed up the line of propaganda they hope will win over public sympathy:

“Two threads of belief ran through almost all the testimony in support of peacetime training, namely, that preparedness for war is the best assurance of peace, and that next time we might not have the opportunity to get ready that we have had in the past.”

The real purpose glossed over by these deceptive words is almost self-evident. What kind of “peace” requires preparation for war? “To get ready” for the “next time,” means getting ready for the Third World War!

This is glaringly apparent in the opinion expressed by Paul Hammond, a director of the reactionary outfit which recently took out corporation papers as the “Citizens Committee for Military Training of Young Men, Inc.”

“We shall never have enough time to proceed in the ‘horse and buggy’ manner employed in 1942,” Hammond declared. “A rocket war would be over before draft boards had time to begin the process of selection.”

“Citizens Committee”

Among the other directors of the “Citizens Committee” are Major Duncan G. Harris, Colonel John W. Castles, Lieutenant Colonel Jay Cooke, John K. Olyphant, Jr., vice-president of the Central Hanover Bank and Trust Company, and Brigadier General Julius Ochs Adler, vice-president and general manager of the New York Times, a newspaper which has proven remarkably responsive to the influence of Thomas W. Lamont, “brains” of the Morgan dynasty. Long before the United States was plunged into the Second World War the directors of this committee, together with the New York Times, fostered the universal conscription finally embodied in the Selective Service Act.

The professional officers who make a career of the scientific slaughter of mankind likewise display paternal interest in the proposed “peacetime military training.” General Bradley at the West Point graduation exercises June 5 advocated “retaining the core of a professional force about which we can mobilize a great citizen army – perhaps systematically trained through some form of military service.” Bradley utilized arguments singularly in tune with those of the corporation which calls itself the “Citizens Committee,” including the “use of military power to enforce ... diplomacy.”

Wall Street obviously believes that the era of “peace” will be scarcely more than a lull between world wars. The monopolists have no real perspective but continuous war. To safeguard their profits and holdings they intend to militarize the United States, modeling the lives of American youth on the Prussian pattern.

Hanson W. Baldwin let the cat out of the bag. Baldwin is the authoritative spokesman of the mushrooming military caste. His declarations invariably reflect the views of the Wall Street owners of The New York Times, who keep him on their pay roll. In his column of June 8, he comes out for “peacetime conscription – for service not for training.” (His emphasis.)

Baldwin feels that up to now the hearings before the House Committee have over-emphasized the benefits of training. But, says he, a law purely for training purposes “would be useless.” Baldwin apparently is of the opinion that his fellow propagandists appearing before Congress must now begin emphasizing a quite different aspect of the proposed law.

“The military needs of the dangerous post-war era have been too much glossed over in the hearings so far held,” he declares. What “military needs”? might ask the surprised worker who was promised that shedding his blood on foreign battlefields would establish democracy, freedom from fear, etc.

Baldwin does not specify another war against Japan or Germany. He does imply however – in diplomatic language – future conflict with the Soviet Union. “We hear irresponsible talk of the need for universal peacetime military training to prepare for war against Russia.” This, nevertheless, is not the major problem of the moment, he assures us. “There is no imminent danger of war against Russia, for the peoples of the world are war-weary, and the American people, the British people and the Russian people would not fight it.” Baldwin does not estimate how long the war-weariness would prevent Wall Street from plunging into such a war.

But if “peacetime military training” is not for “training,” what is it for? Baldwin here makes a damning admission that exposes one of the main purposes of this proposed legislation: “Men in the services for the ‘duration’ will be clamoring to come home and armies must be found to take their places in occupying and policing roles overseas.” Nothing less than armies – armies to suppress and hold down the European workers!

This military propagandist in the pay of Wall Street further enlarges on the necessity for creating new expeditionary forces: “The most important and testing phase in world political stability will come immediately after the end of hostilities and may last from two to five years.” What does Baldwin mean by this ambiguous double talk? Is the Second World War only half over?

“Political vacuums in Europe and the Orient,” he explains, “and the major economic, psychological and other problems that always ride in the wake of war will create unrest and disturbances, and unless we are careful and very wise, a pattern may be set in those days that will shape – for good or evil – our future world.” Could Wall Street express more plainly its fears of the mighty revolutions certain to follow the end of the war? It is to put down such revolutions that armies are needed!

“We shall need these large forces for occupation and policing duties, if necessary for relief and rehabilitation, and to help, by the stabilizing presence of strength, to restore political stability.” Baldwin, of course, means the political stability of the rotten capitalist system.

He emphasizes his point: “It is precisely in this ‘interim’ era of evolution and instability that the need for peacetime conscription – for service, not for training, will be greatest.”


Last updated on: 7 November 2018