‘Savage Galahad’

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    ‘Eighty years later, the battle of faith and conviction is unabated.’

    CORRECT was Thomas Mann: “This world has become small and the universal scene of one and the same battle — of a battle, which is a battle of faith and conviction.” [“The Rebirth of Democracy,” Delivered at Federal Union Dinner, New York City, January 22, 1941]

    The faith of democrats (“I assert, therefore, that universities have a duty to civilization just as civilization has a duty toward them.” — Harry Woodburn Chase, Chancellor of New York University, January 25, 1941) versus the conviction of fascists (The “prosperity of our country has been advanced in the past through the courageous endurance and dauntless activity of our ancestors, sustained invariably by the august virtue of the Emperor.” — Prince Fumimaro Konoye, Prime Minister Of Japan, The 76th Session Of The Imperial Diet, Tokyo, Japan, January 21, 1941).

    The contradiction between fearful caution (“We have no plan. We are drifting into suicide…The world is in chaos. We must give our thoughts and energy to building our defenses.” — Dr. Robert M. Hutchins, President of the University of Chicago, Delivered over the radio, January 23, 1941) and the four essential human freedoms (“The first is freedom of speech and expression—everywhere in the world. The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way—everywhere in the world. The third is freedom from want, which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants—everywhere in the world. The fourth is freedom from fear, which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor—anywhere in the world.” — The State Of The Union by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Delivered to the 77th Congress, January 6, 1941).

    A confrontation between profiteers and the producers: “Expropriate the Sixty Plutocratic Families! They own most of the wealth of the country – the Morgans and Rockefellers and Fords and Mellons and the rest – and they have tremendous power. It was the same kind of all-powerful plutocrats, magnates of capital and magnates of industry, who brought Fascism to power in Germany, who put in a military dictatorship in France, who are driving towards totalitarianism in England. They want the same thing here and, given their tremendous economic and social power, they’ll get it, too. They must be stripped of their power to finance and promote totalitarian reaction in the United States.” [Max Shachtman, “How to Fight the Fascist Menace,” Labor Action, Vol. 5, No. 4, 27 January 1941, p. 3]

    A clash between landlords and the tillers of the soil: “The sharecroppers are in about the same situation as the workers in Germany. There is no democracy in the United States for them. These sharecroppers know that the place for them to fight for democracy is right on the cotton plantations where they slave and starve. That is what they are doing in their union, trying to free themselves from an oppression, starvation and misery just as bad as in Germany.” [David Coolidge, “Chattel Slaves in All but Name…,” Labor Action, Vol. 5, No. 4, 27 January 1941, pp. 1-2]

    A civil war in the Middling Kingdom: “The long-simmering tension between Chiang Kai-shek and the ‘Communist’ armies has come to a boil again. Chiang’s troops and the Stalinist-controlled Fourth Route Army have clashed in Central China and General Yeh Ting, the Communist commander, has been arrested and is being held for court-martial.” [George Stern, “On the War Fronts,” Socialist Appeal, Vol. 5, No. 4, 25 January 1941, p. 1]

    Not just word play but contest of arms, with the Allies scoring in the second year of what would turn out to be World War II: “In its first major action of the War, Australia’s 6th Division had captured Bardia on 5 January and now advanced to Tobruk with the aim of also capturing this vital port from the Italians. The objective was achieved on 22 January, 1941.”

    “The 2nd/3rd Australian Battalion attacked at 5.40am, covered by artillery fire distributed through an area where engineers had previously disabled booby traps and lifted mines.

    This made a clear pathway through the anti-tank ditch. After an hour, the 16th Brigade and 18 tanks had broken through a 1.6km front against patchy resistance…The operation resulted in the capture of more than 27,000 Italians and over 200 artillery pieces.” [https://veteranssa.sa.gov.au/story/the-capture-of-tobruk/]

    World War II in the first month of 1941 was combat between armies, between social classes, Americans versus Americans, Chinese contra Chinese. And the Darkness was spreading: “Tokyo, January 27, 1941-6 p.m. A member of the Embassy was told by my ——- colleague that from many quarters, including a Japanese one, he had heard that a surprise mass attack on Pearl Harbor was planned by the Japanese military forces, in case of ‘trouble’ between Japan and the United States; that the attack would involve the use of all the Japanese military facilities. My colleague said that he was prompted to pass this on because it had come to him from many sources, although the plan seemed fantastic.” [The Ambassador in Japan (Grew) to the Secretary of State Warning of an Attack on Pearl Harbor; U.S. Department of State, “Peace and War: United States Foreign Policy, 1931-1941,” Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1943, pp. 617-618]

    Eighty years later, the battle of faith and conviction is unabated: “In the lawsuit filed by former comfort women and others against the Government of Japan on January 8, 2021, the Seoul Central District Court of the Republic of Korea rendered a judgment which ordered the Government of Japan, inter alia, to pay compensation to the plaintiffs, denying the application of the principle of State immunity under international law. On January 23, 2021, this judgment was confirmed…Japan once again strongly urges the Republic of Korea to immediately take appropriate measures to remedy the status of its breaches of international law on its own responsibility as a country.” [Statement by Foreign Minister MOTEGI Toshimitsu; https://www.mofa.go.jp/press/danwa/press6e_000269.html]

    In turn: “The Korean government strongly protests against the Japanese government’s reiteration of unjust claims over Dokdo, an integral part of the Korean territory, through the Japanese Foreign Minister’s foreign policy speech at the Japanese Diet on January 18, and sternly demands an immediate withdrawal of the claims.” [MOFA Spokesperson’s Statement on Japanese Foreign Minister’s Foreign Policy Speech; http://www.mofa.go.kr/eng/brd/m_5676/view.do?seq=321490&srchFr=&srchTo=&srchWord=&srchTp=&multi_itm_seq=0&itm_seq_1=0&itm_seq_2=0&company_cd=&company_nm=&page=1&titleNm=]

    “A strange world, that—a soft, slow-turning world of dream more than reality; of hope rather than realization; of delusion taking the place of struggle.” [Bryce Walton, “Savage Galahad,” Planet Stories, Winter 1946]

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