Opposing Views On Nation’s Role In War Are Given (Chicago Tribune – 1941)

Chicago Tribune – Thursday, April 17, 1941 – Page 2

Opposing Views On Nation’s Role In War Are Given

W-G-N Broadcasts Talks

By Kerwin, Miss Gish

The opposing viewpoints of the America First committee and the Committee to Defend America by Aiding the Allies was given by Miss Lillian Gish, the actress, and Prof. Jerome G. Kerwin of the political science department of the University of Chicago in a coast to coast broadcast last night over W-G-N and the Mutual network.

Miss Gish, star of the play “Life With Father,” representing America First, called for a referendum to decide whether the freedoms of democracy be brought to this country “before we set out to bring them to other lands.” Prof. Kerwin, speaking for Aid the Allies committee, presumed that the American people already have reached the stage where they are willing to risk peace momentarily that they may preserve the heritage of peace for years to come.

Miss Lillian Gish, the actress, and Prof. Jerome G. Kerwin W-G-N Radio - 1941
Miss Lillian Gish, the actress, and Prof. Jerome G. Kerwin W-G-N Radio – 1941

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.

Recalls Washington Words

“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.”

Prof. Kerwin asserted that if the American people would believe the news reports from Europe rather than doubt them, there would be few who would oppose aid to those now standing out against the German menace “even at the risk of war.”

Chicago Tribune (Chicago, Illinois) 17 Apr 1941, Thu Page 2 - Ne

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