Chicago Tribune (Chicago, Illinois) · 1 Apr 1941, Tue · Page 1
America First Rally Today To Hear Talk By Miss Lillian Gish
Miss Lillian Gish, stage and screen star, and Gen. Thomas S. Hammond, former head of the Illinois National Guard, will address an antiwar luncheon rally today at 1 p.m. in the Grand ballroom of the Hotel Sherman. The rally is sponsored by the first Chicago chapter of the America First committee.
Both Miss Gish and Gen. Hammond advocated the entry of the United States into war in 1917, but are now convinced that the participation in the present European conflict would bring dictatorship and financial collapse.
Miss Gish, who starred in British propaganda films which helped to draw the United States into the first world war, will describe propaganda technique again being used by the British and American governments. Gen. Hammond, chairman of the Illinois America First committee, will discuss the economic peril to America if the nation goes to war.
Mrs. Janet Ayer Fairbank, national vice chairman of the America First committee will preside. All the 55 state chapters are expected to send representatives to the luncheon.
Miss Gish’s Argument
“Why not bring freedom of speech and religion, freedom from fear and want, to our own land before we set out to bring them to other lands by letting the people of the United States, who will have to pay, decide by vote on the issue of war?” Miss Gish asked. “If there is any foresight or justice in Washington, the question will be put to a vote.
“In 1936 I voted for Mr. Roosevelt. I didn’t vote in the last election, however, because I felt that both candidates were more interested in other countries than their own. We won the last war, but what did we get out of it? Three hundred forty-six thousand dead and wounded, an over-all cost of 45 billion, prohibition with its attendant hypocrisy, lawlessness, gangsters, ten thousand bank failures and a depression from which we have not yet recovered.
“Now is a good time for us to recall George Washington’s words – that the nation which holds toward another an habitual hatred or an habitual fondness is in some degree a slave – a slave to its animosity or its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interests.”