Election 1940: Willkie Raps U.S. Defeatism (10-12-40)

The Pittsburgh Press (October 12, 1940)


On Way to Upper New York, Talks in Troy Tonight

By William H. Lawrence, United Press Staff Writer

Aboard Willkie Special Train En Route to Troy, N.Y., Oct. 12 –

Republican presidential nominee Wendell Willkie asserted today that “a government which preaches defeat never can win any battle against unemployment or against any foreign foe.”

Mr. Willkie was talking to the small town businessmen and industrial workers of Western Massachusetts on his way by special train and motorcade to Troy, N.Y., where tonight he makes a major speech.

The speech at Lawrence, Mass., was expected to form the theme of the talks Mr. Willkie will deliver during the day at Lowell, Worcester, Springfield, Pittsfield and Albany where he arrives at 7 p.m. After dinner there, he will motor to Troy.

The New Dealers do not learn. In an effort to cover up their own failures they keep telling us that the era of expansion in America is over. Just a few days ago, the Democratic National Committee issued a statement attacking me because I had promised in my campaign to provide jobs for all of our people in private industry and this is what the Democratic National Committee said:
No man now living, or whoever lived, could fulfill such a promise.

No wonder your factories are empty, your relief rolls increased and men look vainly for jobs. A government that does not believe that its people can be employed will never see to it that they are employed. A government that preaches defeat never can win any battle against unemployment or against any foreign foe.

Mr. Willkie recalled again that in his 1932 campaign, President Roosevelt had said that the American industrial plant was built. He said this statement was just as foolish as that of the patent commissioner who, in 1886, before the invention of modern devices, he predicted that the end of human improvement was reached.

Recalls Gloomy Statement

Since Mr. Roosevelt first told us that there was no more room for expansion, many revolutionary new inventions and new industries have come along. The third term candidate himself has had air-conditioning installed in the White House since he made his gloomy statement.

Mr. Willkie climaxed his New England campaign last night with a nationally-broadcast speech before a crowd officially estimated at approximately 30,000 persons in the National League baseball park in Boston.

He charged that the New Deal was irresponsible and that Mr. Roosevelt had seriously delayed the national defense program at a time when Adolf Hitler “has designs on us.”

Charges Defense Delay

In his Boston speech, Mr. Willkie charged that the President knew as early as 1936 of the danger of world conflict. Mr. Willkie said he had done little but make “speeches about the necessity for defense.”

And yet, he cut more than half a billion dollars from the War Department’s requests in 1939. He did this when the very calamity he warned against was happening. He seriously delayed the defense program.

Before going to the ball park, Mr. Willkie called on William Cardinal O’Connell, Archbishop of Boston and dean of the Catholic hierarchy in America.

I had a very pleasant visit with Cardinal O’Connell.

Mr. Willkie spoke to a cheering throng on a crisp autumn night following a tour through the Bay State in which he accused the New Deal of tax discrimination against the North in favor of the Democratic South.

Points to Tax Differences

For example, he said, Massachusetts citizens pay $37 per capita a year in federal taxes while Mississippians pay only $3. Yet, he continued, the federal government spends $41 per capita a year in Mississippi and only $33 in Massachusetts.

At Cambridge, he told a crowd of 5,000, which included many Harvard students, that President Roosevelt was financing a political campaign train with public money, “playing politics with defense” and engaging in “pretense and sham.”

Mr. Willkie was greeted by thousands in Boston and Boston’s suburbs, and for the first time in New England was the target for a couple of missiles – one a small rock which missed and the other a boiled potato which broke against the shoulders of one of his bodyguards. The rock was thrown at Brocton, the potato at Dorchester Station in Boston.