Anthology – Peoples’ Plan for Life, Now and Forever …
Dean Acheson, Truman’s Secretary of State and Truman himself bear responsibility too for their vacillation in the face of MacArthur’s provocations, as explained by another noted historian, William Appleman Williams. His 1959 (rev. 1972) book The Tragedy of American Diplomacy, (ISBN 978-0-393-30493-0) elucidates their role.
“The power of that belief [by the American elite] that the world could be organized according to the principles of the Open Door Policy of the 1880s (by which America could expand and develop markets for its products) and reap the benefits of a benevolent and liberal empire prompted the Truman Administration to intervene, immediately and without public debate, when the North Koreans launched their effort on June 25, 1950, to unify and revolutionize that divided country….As he so often did, Secretary of State Acheson sounded reassuring: the military intervention had been undertaken ‘solely for the purpose of restoring the Republic of Korea to it status prior to the invasion from the north.’
“The mission, as Acheson later revealed, was to realize one of the earliest, turn-of-the-century objectives in the strategy of the Open Door Policy. Put simply, it was to free Korea of Russian as well as Japanese influence. World War II had accomplished the latter; the Korean conflict would finish the job.
“Within three months, however, that apparent moderation had been proved illusory….The attitude toward China that was an inherent part of the open door outlook served to subvert the effort to apply the strategy of the Open Door Policy to Korea. The United States assumed that it could unify Korea by force because it did not believe, despite many indications to the contrary, that the Chinese Communists would intervene. The assumption of overweening power, developed at the grass roots as well as within the elite during the 1880s and 1890s, remained a vital – and dangerous – part of the American outlook in the 1950s.”
You will see more of Mr. Williams below.
Now back to William Manchester. Somewhere along the line, I picked up one of his thicker tomes and placed it on a shelf, unread, observing it warily from time to time by virtue of the weight of its subject and the book’s girth. Once I cracked the cover for a closer look, I couldn’t let it go.
I knew that Manchester would find the truth of a matter, no matter what was at issue, and write about it compellingly. Even though he might reveal sympathy for a person in the story, you never had any doubt that he’d tell everything he had learned about that person. His narrative gift is superb. His ability to place the story in the setting of its origins adds immeasurably to the knowledge of the subject transmitted. His place as one of the major writers in the Little, Brown and Company pantheon of writers has been taken by James Patterson, writer of fictive mysteries, many gruesome, the most successful writer ever in terms of sales. Somehow I feel uneasy for society over the implication of that change. But, things do change. Let me continue with the theme of how, the more they do, the more they remain constant. This is a portion of Manchester’s account of what the family business, the Krupp steel industry, did to survive its country’s defeat in WWI. William Manchester The Arms of Krupp – 1587 – 1968, pub. Little, Brown and Co. © 1968 [pg. 324]
“…Weimar Republic’s tax coffers [provided] subsidies to Krupp have been calculated at anywhere from 300 millions up. To maintain his idle arms forges…they must have been tremendous. Yet surviving documents provide only fragments of evidence; e.g., two comments from ex-chancellors: an entry in Stresemann’s diary for June 6, 1925 “Dann mussten wir für Krupp 50 millionen Mark verschaffen” — (Then we had to raise 50 million marks for Krupp) and a letter from Karl Josef Wirth written to Gustav on August 9, 1940, immediately after Krupp became the first German to receive the War Merit Cross First Class.
“Wirth’s congratulatory message is jarring to those who believe that Weimar was a noble experiment which was sabotaged by the Nazis. In addition, it contradicts the view that democracy and rampant militarism cannot coexist [Italics added by ARJ]. They were working together smoothly less than two years after the armistice, when a Sternberg dentist was designing the first swastika and Adolf Hitler was still an obscure demagogue furtively organizing brown-shirted squads (Ordnertruppen) for street fighting. Not only was Wirth the leader of the German government in this period; on May 11, 1921, he signed Weimars’s official acceptance of the Versailles Treaty, promising to respect his country’s obligations under it:
‘On the strength of the decision by the Reichstag, I have been charged to declare as requested, the following, in the name of the new government and in connection with the resolution of the Allied Powers dated 5 May 1921:
‘The German Government is determined….To carry out without reservation or delay the measures relative to the disarmament of military, naval, and aerial forces as specified in the memorandum the by the Allied Powers dated 21 January 1921.’
“His word was no more reliable than Hitler’s Although this committed him both as chancellor and a man of his word, to seeing that ‘The manufacture of arms, munitions, or any war material, shall only be carried out in factories or works the location of which shall be communicated to and approved by the Governments of the Principal Allied and Associated Powers, and the number of which they retain the right to restrict, and bound him to prohibit ‘importation into Germany of arms, munitions, and war material of every kind’ and the dispatch ‘to any foreign country’ of ‘any military, naval, or air mission,’ he was flagrantly violating both the letter and spirit of his pledge at the moment he signed it. As he later wrote Gustav [Krupp], he recalled ‘with satisfaction the years of 1920 till 1923, when together with [Krupp] Director Dr. [Otto] Wiedfeldt both of us were able to lay new foundations for the development of the German armament technique (um neue Grundlagen für den technischen Fortschritt der deutschen Rüstung zu legen) through your great and most significant firm. Herr Reich President von Hindenburg…had been informed of it. His reaction also was very credible, though nothing of this has as yet been disclosed to the public. I also write down these lines to add them to my files, which already contain the… letter of Dr. Wiedfeldt of 1921, stating that your most respected firm was assured of ten years service for the government on account of my initiative as the Reich Chancellor and Reich Minister of Finance, by releasing considerable sums of the Reich for the preservation of German armament technique’ (wurden beträchtliche Summen vom Reich an die Firma gezahlt, um die deutsche Rüstungstechnologie zu erhalten).
“Wirth cautioned that he was setting all this down ‘in a purely personal and confidential way,’ since the government of the Third Reich had spread the word that ‘any publication about previous preparations for the recovery of national freedom would be discouraged. All the same, he added, ‘our hearts are very much in the events of those days.’ Gustav’s heart certainly was. Nor could he see any reason to keep quiet about it. The summer he received Wirth’s letter he had become convinced that the betrayal of [Germany by] the November criminals [the German officials who signed the Versailles Treaty] had been avenged and that he would end his life in a Europe ruled by Germany’s New Order. Therefore he triumphantly set down the facts of Krupp’s secret rearming after the armistice of 1918. Captured by American troops in April 1945, his papers show a remarkable talent for international intrigue. Though he omitted the size of Weimar’s subsidies (that was in Haux’s department, and by then Haux was dead) he included virtually everything else, including details which would have rung alarm bells in the chancelleries of the ‘20’s. Together with certain military documents which also fell into American hands, they reveal the degree to which Krupp anticipated Hitler. At Versailles Ausländer thought they had deprived Germany of the tools of aggression. They were dreaming. And as they dreamed, Gustav carefully ‘schmiedete das neue deutsche Schwert’ (forged the new German sword).”