Editorial: Unprepared (5-15-41)

The Pittsburgh Press (May 15, 1941)


By Mrs. Walter Ferguson

Many military experts say we are unprepared for war because we lack armaments. In time, this condition can be remedied. But the layman knows we are unprepared for war on another front, and, in my opinion, this fact should be faced boldly by our leaders.

As a people, we are united in our determination to defend our own country against invasion; we are as one in our wish for British victory; every humble hamlet holds a few individuals who are doing some kind of work for England. We are bound together in resistance to totalitarianism.

But we have come nowhere near unity on the question of sending troops to Europe or patrolling the seas. The Lend-Lease Law was enacted after bitter debate; not even its most ardent advocate can deny that its passage was made possible only because the people were repeatedly told it was the only way we had to keep out of the shooting.

Its opponents warned that such would not be the case; but the bill’s supporters made promises. They said England would not need men but only wanted machines. Now we hear it stated that promises of that sort cannot be kept because events shape the course of nations.

That is true. But it would be foolhardy to ignore the feeling among the common people that they have been deceived. It would be worse than foolhardy; it would be perilous.

After all, human memory is not that short. Less than two years ago, most political leaders were busy building up the notion that the war, then just beginning, was none of our business. Moreover, the people knew too much about the way they had been misled into the other war. They were sick and tired of European diplomacy and European strife.

Last November, they endured one of the most disturbing presidential campaigns of their history, in which both major candidates pledged solemnly that this would not become our war. It takes longer than six months to undo the work of 25 years. We may not like the situation; it may, as some say, be a perilous attitude. Nevertheless, it confronts us, and to those who are not deluded by their own emotions, it is more plain than any facts now coming out of Europe.

1 Like