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The Battle Against Intervention 1931–41

By Justus Doenecke ’60, Krieger Publishing, Malabar, FL 1997.

by Nigel Young

For many veteran European pacifists I have spoken to, the years 1939–41 were ones in which the world (to quote one) "seemed lost." Some migrated, some resisted the war, or the Nazis — or both — some withdrew from the world and some even took their own lives. But in America it was quite different; the fierce debate across a wide spectrum continued for two years, until Pearl Harbor. This modest but fascinating collection in the Anvil Series introduced and compiled by Justus Doenecke should be on the shelf of anyone interested in American attitudes (and ambivalences) towards war and peace in the 20th century. Doenecke’s 82-page introduction (a series of chapter essays) is clear and to-the-point. His selections represent a fascinating range of documents from Dalton Trumbo on the left ("Johnny Got his Gun," 1939) through to those accused of traveling with Fascism (the Lindberghs). They include John Haynes Holmes, Villard and Commentary from the Christian Century and they formed a motley (but powerful) antiwar, or anti-intervention, coalition, including many leading figures in American life. The "anti-imperialist" language was still used by many of them (not just the Communists who opposed the war only until the invasion of Russia).

Reading these repeatedly impassioned arguments against US involvement in "yet another European power Struggle," one is reminded of Bosnia or Iraq today. Like the debates over the US role in Vietnam, these were intense and comprehensive arguments, often of high intellectual quality — yet much of it was based on speculation. The dilemmas were nevertheless real, and once lives have been lost, the "passive peace" option (even for many erstwhile pacifists) became problematic; for the pragmatists too, there was a problem in "negotiating with aggression" (i.e not that it was wrong, but that it might not work).

As this valuable small collection reveals, between 1939 and 1941 and once the shooting had started, it was hard for many Americans to see much of a role for transnational or non-governmental initiatives, or for non-state actions. In retrospect, this was a tragic failure of vision — especially since the fate of European Jewry was not yet sealed, and suffering of all sorts could have been alleviated. As we view the Dayton agreements, or the uneasy results of the partial pacification of Iraq, the issues of 1939-41 become relevant again. Interventionism? Internationalism? The role of unilateral action, the limits of force — the issues are as alive in the 1990s as in the 1930s. In the Middle East and the Balkans, perhaps we have a keener sense of the growing limitations of nation-state politics — whether by intervention, negotiation or neutrality — than in 1940. One lesson is clearly the need for pre-emptive, often non-state, action. Otherwise war again becomes an "unnecessary necessity," as the Christian Century put it in 1941, "breeding as many problems as it solves."

Nigel Young is Cooley Professor of Peace Studies and director of the Peace Studies Program at Colgate.


Older Than Dirt

Older Than Dirt, Suma Records, Black Market Productions, 89 Ridge Rd., Katonah, NY 10536, 914-232-5548,1997.
 
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Marc Black '71 flanked by Peter Blum and Michael Esposito
Marc Black ’71, one-third of Older Than Dirt, asks his listeners to stretch. This, his latest CD, is a potpourri of sound in which egg slicers and bicycle pumps are as elemental as acoustic guitars, and chants and computer-manipulated voices stand shoulder-to-shoulder with a cover of Eddy Arnold’s classic "You Don’t Know Me."

Older Than Dirt — Peter Blum and Michael Esposito round out the trio — move from Black’s "gently ironic modern folk songs" to ambient dream sketches, all with a mellowness that soothes. And produces smiles. Only on Older Than Dirt do you find the gentle blues of "Trouble" and "Write Myself a Letter Eat Myself a Pizza" with "You Running Through Noon Shadow But" and "Take a Shaman Shower Yep." There’s some Ray Charles and Willie Dixon too.

Improvised studio pieces, meditations with an aboriginal feel, sweet spirited crooning all combine to make Older Than Dirt something new. JH


Runaway Horses, Chickens and Other Upset People

By Julian Padowicz ’54, BFI AudioBooks, Stamford, CT, 800-260-7717, $13.45, s&h included.

by Joy Meeker
Adjunct professor in Peace Studies

Feelings are real, and listening is a powerful way to help others become resourceful about their emotions. This is the central theme in Julian Padowicz’s taped story titled "Runaway Horses, Chickens and Other Upset People." The story takes place in the Wild West, an imaginative place for kids to learn that listening to a person who is upset is a wise first step. Padowicz’s story is an excellent tool for parents, caretakers and teachers to demonstrate how listening can help kids face conflicts nonviolently, and also how listening can spread to help others in ways one might not even imagine.

As the story begins, Miss Sally tries to force her runaway horses back in their places to no avail. She finally takes a cowboy’s advice, "Ifn’ you wanna stop a runaway team, you first gotta be goin’ in the same direction they is." When this cowboy goes in the same direction as the horses, he successfully leads them back to a safer place.

Sally applies the cowboy’s advice to her own life, which starts a chain of listening that helps many people in her town. When Sally’s customer Mrs. Tankersley angrily complains about the dress Sally made for her, Sally decides to "go in the same direction" as Mrs. Tankersley, and listens to her with empathy instead of arguing back. Since this works so well, Mrs. Tankersley in turn listens to her husband the sheriff, and the sheriff later listens to a man who was seeking violent revenge for the loss of his horse. Not only is listening demonstrated as powerful, but it also helps the town members avoid violent conflict and a cycle of revenge.

The tape is a fun and imaginative way to introduce or reinforce the skill of listening. Especially helpful are Padowicz’s suggestions and questions enclosed with the tape, which encourage kids to role-play this tale as a skit. The one thing I would encourage you to add after role-playing is to ask the kids how things are different today than they were in the Wild West. This will give them a chance to imagine how conflicts take specific forms in certain moments of history and specific cultures. It will also provide the opportunity to discuss why here today we don’t suggest killing someone for stealing, and how not only do wives need to listen to husbands, but husbands need to learn to listen to wives as well. This can help remind kids that not only do we have to "go in the same direction" as the person who is upset, but we should take turns so that everyone gets the chance both to be listened to and to listen, which can be the most powerful direction of all.


Albania

By Antonia Young, ABC Clio Publishing, Santa Barbara, CA, 1997. 330 pp.

During the fifteenth century Albania enjoyed a brief period of independence under the legendary hero, Skanderbeg, but with this exception it was not until 1912 that the country fully gained independence after 500 years of Ottoman domination. Albania remained independent during, and after, World War I but by 1928 King Zog had begun to cede Albania’s sovereignty to Italy and in 1939 the Italians invaded the country. Immediately after the Second World War Enver Hoxha established a hard-line Stalinist dictatorship in Albania that lasted more than 40 years. There was a slight relaxation under Hoxha’s chosen successor, Ramiz Alia, who came to power in 1985, but after 1989, Albania was to be the last European Communist country to experience the impact of the end of Soviet Communism. The country’s first multiparty elections were held in 1991 but the speedy transition to democracy created innumerable problems.

This selective, annotated bibliography containing more than 900 entries represents a fully revised and updated edition of the original Albania volume (1988).

Antonia Young holds research positions at Colgate and Bradford University. Her interest in the Balkans was sparked by her parents, who travelled widely in Eastern Europe between the wars, and by her brother’s experiences in Yugoslavia after World War II. She is co-editor (with John Allcock) of Black Lambs and Grey Falcons: Women Travellers in the Balkans (Bradford University Press, 1991). Young has been instrumental in the founding of the Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution Centre in Shkodra. She was an OSCE Monitor observing the June 1997 Albanian parliamentary elections.

A correction

In the November Scene Florence Wallin was incorrectly identified in a notice about her recently published novel, According to Helen. Mrs. Wallin is the wife of former dean of the faculty and acting president Franklin Wallin. The Scene regrets the error.