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Echoes of A New Tomorrow: Life after Revolution in the Commonwealth of Britain

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DensleyBlair

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Absolutely this. Though I must admit my mind leaped to this diary being written as a voice-over, while on screen the actual events were playing out.
I’m quite into this idea of Bevan and Crossman having their own Persuaders-style series dedicated to undoing the evils of the Mosley era.

The directors commentary on the whole aar is an amusing idea, basically a more extreme example of the old unreliable narrator seen in past aars.
Ron Howard’s turn on Arrested Development springs to mind.

By the way, the bAAR's open again.
Oh good stuff. Thanks for the tip.
 
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99KingHigh

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George Kennan was the giant of mid-century American diplomacy and the author of the theoretical doctrine of containment. After engineering this policy, he became disillusioned with the militarization of containment and American foreign policy in general. In this passage from his compilation work of essays, Nuclear Delusion: Soviet-American Relations in the Atomic Age (1982), Kennan critiques the lead-up to the grave nuclear crises of the mid-1960s.


Excerpt from his essay, The American-Soviet Relationship: A Retrospective (1976)


...against this backdrop of mutual misunderstanding, the course of Soviet-American relations in the immediate years after the Pacific War, and to some extent down into the Khrushchev era, was determined by a series of spontaneous misinterpretations and misread signals which would have been comical had they not been so dangerous. The crisis of the Chinese War and American participation therein was assumed in Moscow as the beginnings of a campaign to deprive the Soviet Union of the fruits of its victory in northwest Asia over the Japanese armies. The Soviet intervention therefore was a predictable reaction to these Western encroachments, the response to which was similarly misread on the Western side.

Shortly thereafter came the crisis of the Korean War, where the Soviet attempt to employ a satellite military force in civil combat was read in Washington as the preamble to a final Soviet push for world conquest, beginning in Asia, whereas the subsequent American military riposte, provoked by this Soviet move, appeared in Moscow as a threat to the Soviet position in China and Eastern Siberia. And so it went, even more intensively, after Stalin’s death, into the respective misinterpretations of such later events as the Treaty of Frankfurt, the Sputnik launch, the ECZ, and finally, the decision to introduce nuclear weapons into the continental components of the United States’ informal alliance with the democratic states of Europe.



"Let liberty ring, not just here, but everywhere," - President Kefauver in Ottawa, 1961.

One of the most fateful effects of this new preoccupation with the prospective military aspects of this competition was to dull to many Americans, and their leaders, their sensitivity to real and significant changes occurring in Soviet society and leadership. Most fateful of all was their effect in obscuring the significance of Stalin’s death. The changes that followed were, of course, gradual and ones of degrees. In part they were the objects of deliberate efforts at concealment on the part of the new leadership. All this, admittedly, made them not always easy to recognize. But they were important, and greatly deserved American attention. And they were not indiscernible to trained and attentive eyes, of which the American government had a number, if it had cared to use them.

The Khrushchev era presented what was unquestionably the most favorable situation that had existed since the 1920s for an improvement of relations with the Soviet Union and for a tempering of what was by this time becoming a dangerous, expensive, and generally undesirable competition in the development of armed forces and weapons systems. Khrushchev had his feelings, among them his boasting, his crudeness, his occasional brutalities, his preoccupation with Soviet prestige, and his ebullient efforts to advance it, but most of these were the failings of a man who was outstandingly a peasant parvenu, not born to the habit or to the expectation of great power and with a tendency to overdo in the exercise of it.

But he was intensely human, even in relations with the ideological opponent. One could talk with him, talk, so far as he was concerned, to the very limits of physical stamina. The primitive nature of Khrushchev’s faith in Marxist-Leninist principles as he understood them was, strange as this may seem, an advantage; for it caused him to wish, even in confrontation with the capitalist visitor, to convert, and to this event, to communicate. From the standpoint of efforts to reach a better bilateral understanding, this was far better than the brilliant and cruel cynicism of Stalin. To which must be added the recollection that Khrushchev’s secret speech, at the Party Congress in 1956, dealt to the extreme Stalinist tendencies in the Party and in the world communist movement a blow from which they were never fully to recover.



"About the capitalist states, it doesn't depend on you whether or not we exist. If you don't like us, don't accept our invitations, and don't invite us to come to see you. Whether you like it or not, history is on our side. We will bury you!" - Khrushchev in 1956.

The Khrushchev period, too, was of course not lacking in serious crises. In addition to the serious escalation over the First Taiwan Strait Crisis, there was, above all, the January War. The latter moment marked the most egregious breach of international principles committed by the Soviet Union; it was an intolerable intrusion into the character of free nations. As for the American reaction, the resort to armed force by the West was never a feasible alternative; the conflict could not have been limited to Europe, and even Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria were not worth a nuclear war. Where the United States might usefully have acted was by an offer to make certain modifications in its approach to Soviet relations if the Kremlin would let things in Eastern Europe run their course and quiet down. But the preoccupation of American leaders with the idea that Moscow premised their foreign policy from a proactive agenda of communist aggrandizement, together with the metastasizing commitment of the United States to the ECZ, made such an offer impossible. The situation remained, therefore, essentially unchanged. And lack of change meant the status quo of slow deterioration would be perpetuated.

In certain and relatively powerless sectors of the American government establishment, people continued to explore, patiently and with insight, the possible channels of approach to a less dangerous and more hopeful state of affairs. But in other and more powerful echelons, leaders continued to carry on with the concepts born of the Korean and Chinese Wars, as though Stalin had never died, as though no changes had occurred, as though the problem was still, and solely, the achievement of a technical superiority in preparation for a future military encounter accepted as inevitable, rather than the avoidance of a disastrous struggle for which there was no logical reason at all and in which no one could expect to win. The interests of gathering military intelligence continued to be given precedence over the possibilities for diplomatic communication. And who does not remember the result? The most predictable accident occurred.


The 1960 U-2 crisis kickstarted the cascading serious of events of which we are all familiar.

The U-2 plane was brought crashing to the ground in the center of Russia, carrying with it the prestige of Khrushchev, discrediting him in the eyes of his own colleagues, shattering his ascendancy over the Soviet military establishment, and jeopardizing his career. When the Soviets pushed economic and military contracts with Cuba in reaction, the cascade of miscommunication and retaliation reached a quickening pace. When the president would not countenance an invasion of Cuba, the American secretary of state, Mr. Fulbright, pushed to leverage our new friends in Europe instead. Central Europe was said to “hold the key” to expelling Marxism from the Americas. He went in September 1961 to Berlin—where the framework was laid, with assistance from Chancellor Klaus Bonhoeffer over the concerns of his Eurocentric foreign minister, Erich Ollenhauer—for a U.S. military presence in Germany.

It was thought by the foot-soldiers of this new intrusion that we would advance our policy of Soviet containment and check, for the first time, the syndicalists of Western Europe, who were considered dangerous in their unity, and bound to violate the principles of the Monroe doctrine (in the former colonies of South America, and wherever syndicalists played party politics) and American domination in the Pacific, for doctrinal ends. Never-mind the mitigating factors, that relations between the two wings of the European communist movement were tempestuous, or that the Western syndicalists were mired in post-imperial crises of legitimacy. All of this was relegated in importance and few could see the motion of international politics. Zbigniew Brzeziński, later the Polish foreign minister, wrote at the time that the great Marxist nations—EuroSyn, the Soviet Union, and China—might quibble but could never divorce. These projections of solidarity were read back in Washington as being wholly unfavorable for compromise. Our leaders preferred that America have a
Weltpolitik in defense of ‘freedom,’ one which would combat subversion with confident force of arms.


I do not know of any public apathy to the issue of Communism; any further excitement would have, and did, worsen the instability of our competition.

The only impediment was that public opinion had to be satisfied. Yet America’s power had been so augmented relative to the rest of the world that making its purpose known in the new Europe was now an effortless endeavor. When Fulbright went again to Berlin that next April to meet the new German Chancellor, Ollenhauer, he came bearing the promise of intermediate-range ballistic missiles, THORs, and insisted that Germany make a remorseful gesture as absolution for its earlier sins. Kennedy and his team thought up the issue of Austria, not least because it was poignant for American Catholics, but more so because it brightened the vision of the Old World shaped anew by a compassionate Washington. There was a tendency in those "last shining days" of the Kefauver presidency to express its will in terms of form, and not substance.


Thus to remake Europe in imitation of its happier offspring was our highest calling. Though we did not understand ourselves, not least our erstwhile allies, those who shrank from our destiny were assumed to be enemies of this evangelical ideal. For our friends were the heralds of democracy and human rights, and our foes were malicious vestiges, waiting to be swept away by the New Order. In the view of wiser, and cooler heads, we were thrusting the United States into a web of obligations without foresight or acknowledgement of the grave danger. The system of international relations in Europe retained its anarchic quality yet had gained a destructive edge in the form of nuclear weapons. Our strategy was to sharpen all the existing divides and then to darken that divide by adding nuclear weapons as the ultimate arbitrator of our mission. This was achieved when in March 1963, only a few months before that fateful August, the poll on Austrian independence succeeded by a two-thirds result. American leaders read this return as an endorsement of their political clairvoyance. If the people of Europe yearned for freedom, what other honorable choice was there except to protect that destiny by the capabilities of a cataclysmic weapon?

--

More this weekend, from someone else.


 

TheButterflyComposer

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Well...shit.
 

TheButterflyComposer

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A beautiful new dawn, comrade! The water will turn to lemonade! The onward march of Bevanism will reform away all of Europe’s troubles!
Well, yeah sure. But then amercia will nuke it.
 

DensleyBlair

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Well, yeah sure. But then amercia will nuke it.
Washington gravely misjudging their response to a series of routine crises of Cold War brinkmanship, and the Soviets doing little to dissuade them, is exactly the sort of paranoid calamity that’s called for just at the time when Western Europe seems to be getting its act together. Because we couldn’t possibly have all the powers stable at once…:rolleyes:

Of course, it’s just as well Mosley isn’t around to stoke all of this even further.
 

stnylan

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Mmm. I get a distinct old-school Civilization vibe of "Our words are backed with nuclear weapons!"

Let the light of liberty radiate forthwith!
 

DensleyBlair

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Mmm. I get a distinct old-school Civilization vibe of "Our words are backed with nuclear weapons!"

Let the light of liberty radiate forthwith!
Yes it does rather give off that vibe, doesn't it? Let's hope liberty is the only thing that will be radiating before the decade is out…
 
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DensleyBlair

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Now that we've all been thoroughly depressed by the news of imminent nuclear war, it's time to put all that out of mind for a second. Cultural update up shortly.

Also, two weeks to go until the ACA's are closed for voting! You know what to do if you haven't already.
 
Nye Bevan's New Britain: A Retrospective New

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NYE BEVAN’S NEW BRITAIN
A RETROSPECTIVE

KENNETH TYNAN
NEW PARTISAN REVIEW, 1978



Under the dull lamp of hindsight, Nye Bevan’s promise of fifteen years ago that a thaw would come upon the frozen state of British discourse feels unfulfilled. In part this is Bevan’s own fault; as soon became apparent, he opened the floodgates before he had learnt how to swim. But equally we must look back on the arc of the last fifteen years as a merry slide into foul waters, in which many of us were complicit. The burst of optimism that followed Bevan’s liberalising reforms was, in the long run, premature; it blossomed without taking root. After 1967 much of what was developed had already been superseded by younger voices. The Bevanite reaction (liberal it may have been, but let us call it what it was) was perpetrated by men and women of the previous generation, who regretted the evaporation of popular front leftism in the postwar years and took their chance, long overdue, to haul it back into public view. Beyond the fringe of the Bevanite project, those who had grown up expecting to become servants of the Mosleyite tendency suddenly had their horizons exploded. In 1961, the British cultural landscape was dominated by men who had stayed radical into their forties. Six years later few of the Commonwealth’s cultural movers and shakers were old enough to remember the General Strike. This, in short, was the central conflict of the Sixties. Understanding this is the key to understanding what would follow.


After Bevan came to power at the end of 1961, seeing off John Strachey’s half-hearted bid to keep Mosley’s fire burning, his immediate concern was staying on top. Almost all of 1962 was given over to political wheeler-dealing while the government put old rivalries to bed and sorted out just what it meant to attempt multi-party rule in modern Britain. Thus in historical terms we have a strange hangover period – a sort of Bevan, minus. The minus includes perhaps everything we now remember Bevan for: his noble commitment to reform had yet to find expression, and his alliance was frustrated in its hope of making an immediate impact. Also, in deference to a political truism, the economy came first; Bevan and his wife Jennie Lee, reliably installed at the rebranded Office for Economic Coordination, got to work unpicking the paranoid devilry of Mosley’s managerialist programme. The workers were returned some of their freedoms before the government got to work worrying about the thesps, as was only proper. (As much as we may kid ourselves to the contrary, this country was not built on the back of Shakespeare alone.) Ambitious plans for the development of social services were slated to be put into effect after the election, including the renovation of schools and hospitals, and the modernisation of the academy. There were to be revisions to the labour laws and a suite of political reforms (deferred, in the true style of a politician, until after the 1963 election). That large part of Britain that had stultified over the previous thirty years was, in accordance with the Bevanites’ grand plan, to be shaken vigorously back into life.


Only once the Commonwealth had taken its first unlabored breaths in decades, and its viability were properly assessed, would the makeover begin. It would not do for Bevan if his new socialism were stillborn. He would not suffer applying rouge to a corpse. After the tentative coalition had weathered its first election in 1963 (looking back the result was hardly ever in doubt), the work of liberalisation could begin in earnest. The first task, that which had become the cause célèbre of the final days of Mosley’s tenure, was the matter of the censorship. This was dealt with swiftly, which meant twenty months after coming to power. The powers of the censor’s office were heavily restricted to deal only with the nebulous category of work that threatened “the political integrity of the Commonwealth”, as well as the usual provisions against extreme sexual deviancy and overt moral bankruptcy. This nebulousness itself threatened to hamper the entire point of liberalisation; it was not inconceivable that the new regulations would be counterproductive in their ill definition. But in practice, it was hard to argue that much drama, radio and filmmaking was truly dangerous, even if we liked to flatter ourselves that our words might bring down governments. Across 1963/4 there followed a boom in new British theatre, but more enduring was the explosion of new filmmaking and the arrival of what became known as British Free Cinema. The politically radical arm of the Free Cinema movement had previously been tied up in the Heatherden scandal, and somewhat appropriately (if shamefully) the birth of an accompanying movement on screen coincided with the final release and pardon of the Heatherden Twelve after three years imprisonment.



1964 TYNAN.jpg

Kenneth Tynan, theatre critic extraordinaire.


Fitting, then, that the first landmark film of the era, Karel Reisz and Lindsay Anderson’s The Weekend was hastily revised over summer 1963 to include parts for each member of the newly freed Twelve, including a breakout supporting role for Vanessa Redgrave as a young teacher turned secondary love interest. The Weekend was mostly filmed in 1962, telling the story of a two young dockworkers from the East End who take a trip to Margate in search of an escape from the drudgery of work (gone is the old school veneration of labour for labour’s sake). In Margate, the pair discover the fantasia joys of the arcades, illicit after hours dance parties, jazz cafés staffed by sexually available waitresses dreaming of better things (Redgrave) and the healing powers of existential beach-front conversations in the small hours of the morning. The late night return to London on Sunday comes as one hell of a comedown.


In common with much of the Free Cinema output as it had developed underground, The Weekend eschews all hallmarks of the populist Heatherden style of cinema in favour of raw and innovative editing techniques, a verité-style social realism and the use of unproven young actors (Albert Finney and Tom Courtenay) in the lead roles. Much of the footage looks like it was captured for a documentary, and famously the jazz party scene was shot at an actual concert by Johnny Dankworth. Compared with the pot-boiled escapism and geriatric farces coming out of the state-sponsored studios, The Weekend was something between a kick in the teeth and shot in the temple. (A punch in the nose, perhaps?) Traditional audiences hated it, and no sooner had the censorship been lifted than the Domestic Bureau received a barrage of calls for the film to be axed. David Lewis, in his greatest service to British cultural life, would have none of it. The Weekend scandalised the elderly and galvanised the young. It made almost half a million pounds, hastily ploughed back into the production of new material.



"Let's Slip Away", by Johnny Dankworth and Cleo Laine.
From the film
The Weekend (dir. Karel Reisz and Lindsay Anderson, 1963).


At the same time, other members of the anti-Mosleyite resistance were hard at work proving that the cinema was not the only medium fit the new world. Just ten days after The Weekend opened to a furious reaction in licensed cinemas across the country, a consortium of actors, producers and directors led by Laurence Olivier announced the revival of the National Commonwealth Theatre, which had been established by the Communist Party in the 1930s only to fall into a parlous state by the end of the Forties. The NCT was a given a new home in a refurbished building managed by the London Regional Council on the former Commonwealth festival site on the South Bank, which opened to the public in the spring of 1964. The first play was Will Marr’s adaptation of Hamlet, starring the young Peter O’Toole in the title role. Marr’s Hamlet performed two great services to Commonwealth drama in the Twentieth century: the first, near singlehandedly reviving serious critical interest in the work of Shakespeare after a generation of indifference; the second, dragging the Dane kicking and screaming into the new world, demonstrating that Shakespeare’s work bore responding to as much as it demanded reverence. The Hamlet of Marr’s imagination (and O’Toole’s masterful origination) seems to carry in him every last anxiety turned up by the passing of ‘old’ Britain. Marr’s great trick was to present the play at a slight remove, inviting (in good Brechtian fashion) the real time interpretation of Hamlet’s tribulations as a reflection on Mosley’s demise. It was a strong start to the new programme of the NCT, and by the end of 1964 Olivier was already having to think about relocating to a larger venue (work began on Lasdun’s masterful building in spring 1966).


The new dramatic tendency in Bevan’s Commonwealth benefited from the reformation of the CBC’s television and radio arms in summer 1964. The demise of the Current Service and the Light Service in favour of Comrades 1 and 2[1] was a small mercy, bringing with it a lifting of the ban on broadcasting dance music and a broadening of the sorts of entertainment permissible for diffusion by radio. Radio plays and serial drama had been a staple of the British light entertainment diet since Miller’s Dale for Tideswell first shuffled onto the airwaves in 1934, but never before had radio listeners been treated to what might snobbishly be called serious work. Audio recordings of a number of NCT plays were played over the radio in their entirety, starting with Peter Brook’s iconoclastic English-language adaptation of Peter Weiss’s Marat/Sade in October 1964.


Far more revolutionary was the overhaul of the television network, which saw CBC TV split into CBC One (for news, sport and current affairs) and CBC Two (drama, entertainment and music) also in the summer of ’64. The most lasting of the newly minted programmes was likely CBC Two’s Beat Club. A pet project of CBC Two’s daring young inaugural controller David Attenborough, Beat Club was the first television programme in Britain dedicated to the broadcasting of live musical performance, which went out every Friday evening at 6pm from June 5 1964. Much more interesting to me was the decision to devote the final two hours of programming each Thursday night to the screening of films and filmed theatrical productions. A dazzling array of work hit the small screen in the middle of the Sixties, including Marr’s Hamlet and Brook’s Marat/Sade, giving an invaluable popularity boost to the careers of countless young writers, directors and actors. The offering was not limited to up and coming British productions, either, and Commonwealth audiences profited from an agreement between Eurosyn and the CBC in January 1965 that syndicated certain broadcasts across the Eurosyn territories. In the summer of 1965 alone audiences were treated to showings of films by Truffaut, Godard, Antonioni, Fellini and Pasolini. Later, in 1966, Antonioni took advantage of international CBC production agreements to shoot his Grand Guignol countercultural opus Blow-up in London, and the city became a key node in the mid-Sixties Syndicalist Renaissance.



1965 MARAT SADE.jpg

Marat/Sade, the play that sparked a revolution on the British stage, broadcast on CBC Two, October 1964.


So how do we square this optimism with what came after? It is too simple minded to conclude that the polyvocal fury of the end of the decade was a natural reaction to the libertinage of its start. Having discovered that, to revive Stuart Hall’s elegant analogy, life is not something one passes through like tea through a strainer, for the first time a new generation were waking up to the realisation that they could afford some debate over what exactly that life would look like. This, naturally, took on many forms; while many pictured a return to the easy socialism of the inter-war imagination, there were those in the younger generation who were sooner drawn to alternative models of liberalism. None more so than the group behind the New Spectator, founded by the lawyer Ian Gilmour in 1964.


In the mid-Sixties Gilmour typified the new divergent liberal tendency that emerged during the Bevan years. Urbane and aristocratic by breeding (revolution notwithstanding, he was the heir to a baronetcy), he was born a year before the beginning of the General Strike and grew up in an alien world of abolished private schools and the erasure of class privilege. As a young man he remained apolitical, and only with the coming of the Bevanite thaw did he enter public life. Socially liberal, he did not regret the revolution and was reconciled to the world he had grown up in. He disagreed with the necessity of socialist planning and sympathised with the social democratic movement that grew in Eastern Europe during the 1950s. As the Spectator’s first editor until 1965, he developed an original stance for the magazine that endorsed Bevan’s social reforms while criticising his economics, and questioning the need for sweeping state oversight. Under his successor Iain Macleod, the magazine expanded its focus to take in foreign affairs, lamenting the divisions in Europe and opposing American attempts to interfere with British influence in the Third World. The views developed in the pages of the New Spectator remained a minority opinion, but in time the magazine would come to exert a far greater influence over the British public than suggested by its forty-thousand odd circulation.



1974 IAN GILMOUR.jpg

Ian Gilmour, publisher and inaugural editor of the New Spectator.


The birth of the New Spectator demonstrates how far Bevan’s liberalisation drive had travelled in the two years after the 1963 election. Periodicals independent of the state presses were now afforded the latitude to publish opinions that would have been scandalous only five years previously. The year before the New Spectator first hit Commonwealth newsstands, Bevan had taken the unprecedented decision to divest direct Party of Action control over the Daily Herald as part of his wider attempt to reform the ruling party. This was as much a political decision as a matter of principle – prior to 1963 the Herald remained an outlet for the Mosleyite minority that championed the cause of John Strachey – but it carried important implications, and the Commonwealth’s major newspaper was reconstituted as a semi-autonomous body along the lines of the CBC. The Labour Unionist Party, as the Party of Action became, renounced editorial control, and restrictions on political coverage were loosened. Over the decade, the paper shifted towards a broader editorial line that expressed support for the Bevanite coalition while turning a critical eye to the Mosleyite past. This was the sort of introspection that Bevan and his ministers hoped would help to reignite the British democratic tradition.


What came out of this period of frenetic reform above and beyond any one predominate viewpoint was the simple fact of a new plurality of expression. That this plurality was now permissible, never mind sustainable, was a major leap forward for freethinkers in the Commonwealth. The range of ideas now out in the open for public consumption ranged from the dissident humanist socialism of the Partisan Review (resurrected from the underground presses in 1963) to the sceptical liberalism of the New Spectator. Around these two poles, swirling gleefully in a heady vortex of cultural rejuvenation, heretical ideas in art and literature redefined the limits of the possible. Bevan’s great problem was a simple truth: once out in the open, ideas such as these were very hard to overcome.


_________________

1: CBC Radio 1 and CBC Radio 2.
 

Le Jones

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For a quiet routine patrol something like a Petya the Soviets designated it a "sentry ship" which sounds about right. They were small light frigates for sub hunting and patrol work, no missiles just old school guns and torpedoes. If instead you want something really small then a Poti corvette would do it, fast little 500t ships for coastal patrol, odd jobs and second line work.

They all served in and around the Baltic so pick the number you like best. Because sadly they only got numbers not names, which was very Soviet but not very evocative. Even those names were invented by NATO for reporting purposes, the Soviets just game them a Project Number. :(
Well yes, I'd also throw in the rather tatty, battered little Kolas, or even the 29Ks. They're ancient, so wouldn't be risked too far from home waters at this stage. One of them chugging around Visby or the the Finnish coast could come a cropper.

Don't forget that the Baltics are fertile ground for legal misunderstanding; we're pre UNCLOS (assuming we even get one in this TL) so coastal waters etc are not as clearly defined.

As ever, remarkable work @DensleyBlair and @99KingHigh, I particularly loved the sense of factions quietly moving around the heart of UK politics. As for the US update, I suddenly had visions of the gun-toting traffic warden from Threads. Thank you, I think.
 

DensleyBlair

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Well yes, I'd also throw in the rather tatty, battered little Kolas, or even the 29Ks. They're ancient, so wouldn't be risked too far from home waters at this stage. One of them chugging around Visby or the the Finnish coast could come a cropper.
Very helpful, thank you.

Don't forget that the Baltics are fertile ground for legal misunderstanding; we're pre UNCLOS (assuming we even get one in this TL) so coastal waters etc are not as clearly defined.
Hold that thought!

As ever, remarkable work @DensleyBlair and @99KingHigh, I particularly loved the sense of factions quietly moving around the heart of UK politics. As for the US update, I suddenly had visions of the gun-toting traffic warden from Threads. Thank you, I think.
Thank you, Le J. Ultimately I'm hoping to avoid any further Threads comparisons, but let's see how close our wise leaders are willing to take things, eh?
 

mad orc

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At one point I had caught up with you and looked forward to riding side by side.
It was after the chapter 'WHITECHAPEL SEPTEMBER 1956'

Sadly my haitus dis not make that possible. Nevertheless I am back. Just read the Boothby letter. Your uniwue style used in that chapter of explaining a letter conversation is absolutely amazing and gives me ideas of my own!

Very good. I am back to enjoying this AAR
 

99KingHigh

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Well yes, I'd also throw in the rather tatty, battered little Kolas, or even the 29Ks. They're ancient, so wouldn't be risked too far from home waters at this stage. One of them chugging around Visby or the the Finnish coast could come a cropper.

Don't forget that the Baltics are fertile ground for legal misunderstanding; we're pre UNCLOS (assuming we even get one in this TL) so coastal waters etc are not as clearly defined.

As ever, remarkable work @DensleyBlair and @99KingHigh, I particularly loved the sense of factions quietly moving around the heart of UK politics. As for the US update, I suddenly had visions of the gun-toting traffic warden from Threads. Thank you, I think.
You just need the right type of liberals to explain all the scary stuff away...
 

DensleyBlair

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At one point I had caught up with you and looked forward to riding side by side.
It was after the chapter 'WHITECHAPEL SEPTEMBER 1956'

Sadly my haitus dis not make that possible. Nevertheless I am back. Just read the Boothby letter. Your uniwue style used in that chapter of explaining a letter conversation is absolutely amazing and gives me ideas of my own!

Very good. I am back to enjoying this AAR
Glad to have you back, orc! Hope you enjoy catching up and do let me know any thoughts you have as you go along. I'd love to hear them, as ever.

You just need the right type of liberals to explain all the scary stuff away...
There is no greater equality than everyone being equally at risk of immediate annihilation.
 

DensleyBlair

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Double bill today thanks to @99KingHigh who takes us through to the end of the Kefauver years. I'll put a content notice on this one just to say that there is a frank account of the lack of progress made with the civil rights movement, so do be aware that it gets a little bit heavier than our recent updates on theatre.
 

99KingHigh

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Six Thousand Days: Kefauver, Kennedy, and the Frontiersmen in the White House
Excepts from chapters on domestic affairs from Part II (1960-1963)

ARTHUR M. SCHLESINGER

Having achieved a spectacular public victory in Austria, President Kefauver seemed at last to regain the initiative back at home. He had escaped from the right-wing trap of Cuba and scored his own coup de grâce for liberal anti-communism. His popularity recovered from the legislative failures of 1960 and 1961, during which his push for consumer reform had snapped the conservative coalition back into uniformity. By the summer of 1962 he was even well settled in the Presidency. It had not been an easy feat for him, despite his long tenure. While General MacArthur had glided into the White House as if it was his birthright, Kefauver rarely felt at home in Pennsylvania Avenue. An outsider from the outset, the President’s sense of exclusion was continually aggravated by the whisperings of the New Frontiersman, who were rarely discreet in blaming Kefauver for failing to accomplish their ambitious agenda. But with the German alliance secured and the American economy restored to excellent health, Kefauver started to feel himself within the Oval Office. His face was lined and furrowed, heavier and less handsome, but more powerful. The experience deepened him and gave emphasis to a certain somber side of his nature even as it liberated him from his previous anxieties. He was himself, at last, though somewhat more subdued than might be expected of the great campaigner. The force of his intelligence, passion, and wit had taken altogether a more authoritative character. Averell Harriman, then serving as Assistant-Secretary of State for European Affairs, quipped that he “at last, is the President.” But the portrait is incomplete without credit to the bottle, which gave this lively personality its own brooding badge and its own tragedy to the last shining days of his Presidency.



Kennedy threw his own weight behind the revival of Kefauver’s fortunes. Grievously concerned over Cuba, Kennedy’s visceral displeasure with the President over his stance towards Havana dissipated as foreign policy victories in Europe and Asia scored new influence for the Vice President and his court. Kennedy, in particular, thought the independence of Austria was his own accomplishment, and he no longer worried, as he had done in 1961, that a Democratic contender would knock him out as the “anti-administration” candidate in the 1964 election. With the executive office within his grasp, Kennedy thought to apply himself as productively as possible so as to disarm not only party challengers but the Republicans as well. To shore up his image with the liberal flank, Kennedy and Attorney General Ribicoff pressed for the appointment of Thurgood Marshall of the NAACP to the Second Circuit Court. Kefauver had to concede to the appointment of the segregationist Harold Cox and J. Robert Elliot (both endorsed by the American Bar Association) to court judgeships in Alabama and Mississippi to allow the Marshall nomination through the Senate Judiciary Committee, where the segregationist James Eastland of Mississippi was chairman. Though he differed from Kefauver on what constituted the core agenda of the Democratic Party, the Vice President also came around in support of Kefauver’s pro-consumer and anti-trust instincts, if only to keep Democratic legislative momentum alive in time for his own coronation. As ever, the arithmetic was against the administration. For one thing, in a number of states in 1960 Kefauver and Kennedy had run behind the Democratic candidates for Congress. "The people in Congress do not feel that they owe the President anything," one such Congressmen told U.S. News and World Report. Furthermore, "some Democrats," as Kennedy observed in 1962, "have voted with the Republicans for twenty-five years, really since 1938...so that we have a very difficult time, on a controversial piece of legislation, securing a working majority." The Democrats had lost twenty seats in the 1960 congressional election, all from the North, nearly all liberal Democrats, nearly all defeated because of the religious issue or Nixon's superior record on civil rights. Many times in the previous two years Kefauver had desperately needed these votes. Without them he was more than ever dependent on the South. The old Confederacy was represented by ninety-nine Democratic Congressmen and twenty-one Democratic senators. Moreover, by virtue of their seniority, the old Confederacy controlled most of the critical committee chairmanships and thereby had further leverage over legislation. Thus the legislative progress of the New Frontier was largely in the hands of aging men, mostly born in another century, mostly representing rural areas in an urban nation. For four months in 1962 a feud between Representative Clarence Canon (83) and Senator Carl Hayden (84), each of whom angrily refused to attend to the office of the other, held up appropriation bills and left a number of agencies without money to meet their payrolls.


Nicknamed the the "silent Senator," Carl Harden's comments were oft said to be "canon law" on Capitol Hill, and such authority frequently lead to grave confrontations with the lower house.

Both the President and the Vice President therefore looked to November and their recent foreign policy successes as an opportunity to improve their maneuverability. Kennedy used to quote Jefferson: "Great innovations should not be forced on slender majorities," and in many ways that was the perfect mantra for the Kefauver administration. Yet, despite these aphorisms, they did, in fact, submit to Congress an astonishing number of innovations, not so much in the expectation of enactment but to accustom the Congress and the public to their notions. I doubt, for example, whether Kennedy counted on getting Medicare or Kefauver a Department of Consumers bill through in 1961 or 1962. But they knew that if they sent up a message and a bill, there would be a debate and hearings; Congress would begin to accustom itself to unfamiliar ideas; the legislation would be revised to meet legitimate objections; the opposition would in time expend itself and seem frantic and irrelevant; public support would consolidate; and by 1963 or 1964 or even 1965 the bills would be passed. Concurrently, a revamped congressional liaison staff under Lawrence O'Brien would give the White House a more organized legislative role than ever before. The fact that Larry suffered the shifting winds with magnanimity and worked for the presidential program with tact and devotion was a testament to his commitment to the New Frontier. He understood that things frequently had to get worse before there was a possibility of putting them better. Thus the President's bill for the control of the marketing of drugs, known to us as the Harris Amendment, lingered in committee to utter public indifference until the thalidomide scandal provoked national anger and congressional action, only a month before the midterms…


Capitol Hill in 1962.

...Kennedy and Kefauver traveled more miles in the campaign of 1962 than MacArthur and Kefauver had in 1954 and 1958 put together. Their central theme was to brandish their foriegn policy successes and establish a clear difference in domestic policy between the two parties. Kefauver liked to say that "we have won and lost vote after vote by one or two or three votes in the Senate...and I don't think we can find jobs for our people, I don't think we can educate our younger people, I don't think we can provide security for our older citizens, when we have a party which always votes no." He would conclude with a sharpening voice and stabbing hand: "And that's why the election is so important." Across the country the Democrats, surpassing any administration in a midterm election since 1934, gained four seats (among them George McGovern) in the Senate and lost a net of only two in the House. The outcome left the internal composition of the Congress little changed, but in light of the losses usually suffered by incumbent administrations in midterm elections, the President's mandate was happily refreshed. Richard Nixon's declaration of disdain for the press and his "withdrawal" from politics after losing the California gubernatorial race gave the White House an added swig of entertainment…

In the winter of 1962-3 the civil rights leaders, more bent than ever on legislation, watched the success of the President's electoral strategy with understandable frustration. Ever since the 1958 death of Martin Luther King Jr. in a frenzied attack by a mentally-ill housekeeper, the movement had suffered from an acephalous and disjointed leadership and deepening disillusionment with repeated legislative failures. Nor did there seem much they could do for legislative progress. In January 1963, when the attempt to amend Senate Rule 22 on filibusters failed, civil rights leaders sat down to discuss strategy in Joseph L. Rauh Jr.’s office. Roy Wilkins, the president of the NAACP, bemoaned the fact that though he had "attacked President Kefauver for ten minutes...everyone sat on their hands...then when I said a few favorable words about the things he had done, they clapped and clapped and clapped." The President, meanwhile, had already decided for a new maneuver. On February 28, 1963, he sent a message to Congress decrying the shame of inequality, not only in voting and education but in employment and public welfare. Racial discrimination, he warned, hampered our growth and our world leadership. But what he offered after this eloquent start was the produce of a prototypical Southern liberal; piecemeal improvements in voting legislation, technical assistance to districts voluntarily seeking desegregation, and another try at the failed 1957 civil rights bill.



Roy Wilkins, beside the actor and singer, Sammy Davis, during a 1963 protest in Washington.

Attorney General Ribicoff, meanwhile, was concerned that existing federal statutes were insufficient to charge into the Southern states under the banner of the Department of Justice. Certainly the federal courts were now prepared to define the rights of Negros alongside the unalterable purpose of the Negro to claim them. But the brutality to which southern whites were determined to maintain their racial hierarchy, and most troubling of all, the intentions of local police authorities to support the frustration of federal law, weakened the resolve of the administration to attempt a frontal assault. Ribicoff could send marshals to protect freedom riders in Alabama because the Interstate Commerce Act afforded clear responsibility to the national government for the safeguarding of interstate travel; the same could be said of sending the Army to Mississippi in the autumn of 1962 because state officials were actively defying federal court orders. But what would the Department do when defiance was less fragrant or the breakdown of local enforcement less manifest? How could the federal government resolve "wholesale local interference with the exercise of federal constitutional rights"? Nothing gave the Attorney General greater distress than his sense of the impotence of the federal government in the face of "organized mistreatment of our Negro American citizens." Thurgood Marshall worried that "while federal authority appears powerless to take effective steps...the gulf between Negroes and whites everywhere is widened, and the chances of racial conflict increased...there is a generation of students who will lose faith in their government, with consequences for the future that cannot be foreseen." However impressive the achievements of the Kefauver administration (and by comparison to its predecessors, it had been impressive) terrible verities persisted; fewer than 13,000 Negro children in the South were attending school with white children, and more than 2000 school districts remained wholly segregated; de facto segregation was growing in northern schools; the right to vote was smothered in litigation; Negro unemployment was two and a half times worse that of whites; the federal government still subsidized discrimination through federal programs; housing was hopeless; the emancipation proclamation, a hundred years gone, and the Negro still in bondage.


Thurgood Marshall, soon after his appointment to the Second Circuit.

Negro militants were growing impatient not only of Kennedy and his strategy of executive action but of Roy Wilkins and his strategy of law. The rise in these years of the Muslims in the back ghettos of the North, where Elijah Muhammad and Malcolm X preached the ineradicable evil of the white man, conveyed chilling portents for the future. Earlier that year, Robert F. Williams wrote a book called Negroes with Guns to argue that armed self-defense was the only way to combat the malicious double standard of southern law enforcement. Williams, who then fled to Cuba, engaged in anti-American diatribes over the Havana radio, inspiring a new generation of extremists who approached a quasi-Maoist belief in the virtues of violence. Then in April 1963 a new crisis developed when the Negroes of Birmingham under Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth launched a great campaign to end discrimination in shops, restaurants and employment. But these brazen demonstrations produced sharp retaliation. The leadership of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, under the public direction of Charles Kenzie Steele and the organizing genius of Bayard Rustin, decided to intervene. A new and more moderate city administration was about to take office, and the Attorney General counseled the Birmingham leaders not to force the issue until the infamous Bull Connor left office as the city’s Commissioner of Public Safety. But with a movement of its own, the SCLC refused to back down. Arrests and demonstrations sharply increased, culminating in May 2 on the arrest of 500 Negro students, many of them high school students. The following day, as the student movement grew, white bystanders threw bricks and bottles while the police hosed the marchers and released the dogs. On May 4, newspapers across the country ran a shocking photograph of a police dog lunging at a Negro woman.


A famous image by Bill Hudson of the New York Times captures a the moment when a Parker High School student is attacked by Birmingham police dogs.

Kefauver received many representatives that day who demanded action, but he publicly regretted that the demonstrators had not waited for the new administration. Secretary Dilon, meanwhile, worked to persuade business leaders with Birmingham branches to use their influence towards resolution. No sooner had an agreement been reached on May 10 than Governor George Wallace announced he would "not be party to any compromise on the issues of segregation." The following night, white patriots bombed houses and hotels in the black district. Rioting continued until dawn. The mayor of Birmingham, about to retire from office, observed of the Attorney General: "I hope that every drop of blood that's spilled he tastes and I hope he chokes on it...these n*****s [Charles Kenzie Steele, James Bevel, Walker, and Dorothy Cotton] have got the blessing of the Attorney General and the White House!" In point of fact, Kefauver had been relatively quiet. It was Kennedy, instead, who insisted that the President send federal troops into Alabama and federalize the state's National Guard.

The mood of the nation was rapidly transformed and it was no longer possible to look with complacency upon the issue that John Quincy Adams had eloquently called "the foul stain on the American conscience." Rep Adam Clayton Powell, the Negro Congressman from Harlem, warned that the white man "has seen little children stand against dogs, pistol-packing policemen and pressure hose, and they kept on coming wafe after wave...so the white man is afraid, afraid of his own conscience...now is the time to keep him on the run." Ironically, Powell was later discovered to have blackmailed Rustin for his covert homosexuality back in 1960, but in these trying times, fierce enemies found new allies. No one assailed the grave shame of white America with such poignancy and efficacy as James Baldwin. In a long piece for the New Yorker in November 1962 called "Letter from a Region of My Mind," he evoked with penetrating power the fate of the Negro in white society, the past of "rope, fire, torture, castration...fear by day and night, fear as deep as the marrow of the bone; doubt that he was worthy of life, since everyone around him denied it; sorrow for his women, for his kinfolk, for his children, who needed his protection, and whom he could not protect...rage, hatred, and murder, hatred for white men so deep that it often turned against him and his own...and the present of wine-stained and urine-splashed hallways, knife and pistol fights, clanging ambulance bells, helplessness and terrors...for the horrors of the American Negro's life...there has been almost no language." Only the fear of retaliation could deter the white man, and so he described meetings with Muhammad and Malcolm X, and while rejecting their racism, he acknowledged their appeal. "Things are as bad as the Muslims say they are," he quipped. In the end, though, Baldwin argued, the white man could save himself, only if he accepted the unconditional freedom of the Negro: "The price of the liberation of the white people is the liberation of the blacks...God gave Noah the rainbow sign. No more water, the fire next time!” as the old Negro spiritual spoke. After the Attorney General met with James Baldwin in March 1963, he told the President, “the river is rising, and fast.”



James Baldwin, shortly before his meeting with Attorney General Ribicoff.

In May 1963, the President at last acknowledged that the revolution was overflowing its banks. As Governor George Wallace railed against judicial attempts to integrate the University of Alabama as the "embodiment of the sovereignty of this state," the New Frontiersmen launched a desperate assault on Congress. They wanted to leverage the explosion of white consciousnesses to outmaneuver the conservative coalition, for here they could expect the reliable, if moderate support of the Republican Party. On June 19 the President sent his civil rights bill to the Hill. He called for equal accommodations in public facilities, the grant of authority to the Attorney General to initiate school desegregation suits and other federal rights issues, new programs to assure fair employment, the creation of a civil rights commission and a Fair Employment Practices Commission. The civil rights leaders, while acknowledging that this was the most comprehensive civil rights bill to receive serious consideration from Congress, wanted a more sweeping bill. And even this proposal had no assurance of an easy passage. We began to hear throughout the country of a "white backlash." John Bartlow Martin spent a few days in a Chicago suburb and returned to Washington depressed over the anxiety and rancor expressed by his neighbors over the pace of integration. James Lanigan brought back a similar report from New York. Politicians with roots in the Polish and Irish-American communities were pessimistic and described widespread panic in traditionally Democratic areas over the prospective induction of their neighborhoods and schools by Negroes. The President and the Vice President never had any illusions about the political advances of equal rights. But hey saw no alternative to leading the fight in order to prevent the isolation of the Negro leadership and the embitterment of their people. To triumph over congressional arithmetic, however, was an entirely different story—Charles A. Boyle struggled heroically to overcome opposition in the House but in the Senate the Southern cavalry were in full array. Strom Thurmond provided his famous 24 hour filibuster and James O. Eastland threatened to sink the whole project from his throne in the Senate Judiciary Committee. The Republicans, staring down another election, thought to outmaneuver the Southern Democrats only as far as they thought was right and fit to prevent a moral Democratic victory.


Strom Thurmond announces his filibuster on national television.

The final legislation, the Civil Rights Act of 1963, was hardly a triumph on the scale that the Negro people deserved in their moment of agony. It created a civil rights division in the Justice Department, and empowered federal officials to prosecute individuals that conspired to deny another citizen’s right to vote; it formed a six-member Civil Rights Commission charged with investigating allegations of voter infringement and overseeing voter registration and practices, and it ensured federal inspection of local voter registration polls by appointed referees to oversee southern elections and ensure that African Americans were permitted to vote. Roy Wilkins immediately labelled the act “A Small Crumb from Congress.” Certainly, the burdensome procedure of appeal required individuals to navigate a complex process and furnish their own proof that race had been the deciding factor in the denial to vote. The Chicago Defender lamented: “We may as well have no Civil Rights Act if its provisions are unenforceable...” I did not share the opinion of the skeptics. Not since Reconstruction had the national government resolved to support the Negro on federal terms, and therefore on sovereign footing. For the first time we could raise investigations that exposed the discriminatory records of southern registrars and hold them to account for their wanton application of literary tests by judicial means. Based on the evidence gathered through our initiatives, the Department of Justice had filed thirty-three voter discrimination cases by the end of 1966, all of which contributed to the mounting evidence that Negros were denied the right to vote based on race, and that white Americans could no longer be complacent to that reality. Voting rights activities were now equipped with overwhelming evidence of a race-based voting system that could link up with federal oversight to enforce compliance of the 15th amendment. This was the eventual rooting, in my estimation, of the racial advances that were realized by the end of the decade...

The Last Gasp

If there is any criticism to be laid before President Kefauver on the issue of civil rights, it was his gradualism. He was as fine a defender of civil rights as could sprout from the South, but the urgency to which he attached his energy was paltry, as if he underestimated the danger and overestimated the solution. He was not equipped, I admit, to handle the moment, and was surprised when the civil rights leaders despaired for their cause after he signed the Civil Rights Act. Nevertheless, his hesitation was not borne of malice but distraction. He continued to look upon his grand design of progressive economic reform as the ultimate test of his presidency and considered the favorable returns in the midterm elections as the final endorsement of his program. For three years his legislation had been languishing in committee or killed by Congress, but at last he felt liberated to prosecute its passage with a seriousness that had never been afforded to his agenda before. The politics of the consumer, he wagered, would sustain public sympathy and his legacy.


A Southern progressive to the very end.

By the end of 1962, President Kefauver had warded off the Keynesians from among the New Frontiersmen who had variously pressed for deficit spending and tax cuts. Galbraith, in particular, felt dispirited by the lack of investment that he maintained was so crucial to America’s material revival. With the economy otherwise on sound footing, however, Kefauver wanted no legislative distractions from his ultimate ambition of creating a powerful Department of the Consumer. He often remarked, especially after the success of the Harris Amendment, that “when the consumer is safe, I’ll cut the salesman’s taxes.” Even so, there were serious concessions to be made to business before cutting this daring advance. In July 1962 the Treasury had announced the liberalization of depreciation allowance, a measure intended to increase capital investment but alternatively representing an act of government generosity to business which even the MacArthur administration had hesitated to undertake. Then, soon after the election, the President decided to put the communications satellite system under private ownership. Perhaps the most recriminatory accusation, well known to Republicans and the Left, was that the President had struck a bargain with the Southern Bloc—the debasement of civil rights legislation in exchange for congressional acquiescence on consumer legislation. As far as I am aware, there is not a shred of proof for this conspiracy, yet it has been a stain that weighs on Kefauver’s legacy as if its veracity was handed down by the New York Times itself. In truth, I believe the ultimate success of his 1963 legislative package instead speaks to the delicacy with which Lawrence O'Brien and his team handled Congress and the basic fact that the measures attracted their own deal of popularity within the constituencies that conventionally shrank from reform.

His victory was not a total one; such a thing rarely exists in politics. The Harris Amendment nevertheless was the first, and its powers were not immaterial, for it held the drug manufacturers to greater account in terms of their marketing, safety, and practices, particularly given the oversight of the FDA. But here the administration had been aided by the thalidomide crisis, enabling Democrats and concerned Republicans to pass the most comprehensive revision of food and drug laws since 1938. By contrast, the push for a Department of Consumers, the lingering dream of defiant Southern progressivism, would require a herculean effort. It had at last become clear to the President that another burst of antitrust activity was outside his reach. Modern liberals, not least myself, understood the issue of scale and efficiency better than our antecedents. To wage war on big business seemed not only impolitic but also counterproductive for our program of economic progress and coordination. Protecting the consumer, however, from structures never immune from the temptations of avarice, and which in our modern period, were rapidly expanding the products and services available to the public, appeared to service a righteous and forward-looking cause. Furthermore, for a Democratic majority to have perpetuated its torpor when the opposition was at last recovering from the scandals of the previous decade would have been the height of political folly. As the party of Roosevelt, we hoped to prove the vitality of our agenda, and to demonstrate to the American public that the common man was still best represented by the progenitors of the New Deal…



The monopoly devours the states (1959).

...as the fight in the Senate on the Consumer Protection bill languished into August, I flew home to New York on Wednesday morning with Katharine Graham, whose husband Phillip had died a few months before, for a luncheon with the editors of her magazine, Newsweek. Kenneth Galbraith had come down from Cambridge for the occasion. We were sipping drinks before luncheon in an amiable mood of Thursday-before-the-Harvard-Yale game relaxation when a young man in shirtsleeves entered the room and said, a little tentatively, "I am sorry to break in, but I think you should know that the President has collapsed in Washington.” The old beaver had been busy heckling senators when he suffered what was then reported as a “mild heart attack” by onlooking reporters. This calmed our nerves somewhat but we could not help but to huddle around the nearest television. By that evening the calls had gotten nervous and we decided to abandon New York for Bethesda Naval Hospital (now Walter Reed) back in Washington. In a few moments Galbraith and I were on Katharine Graham’s plane bound for the capitol. By the time we boarded we knew the situation was critical—it was the most anxious of one’s life. When I stumbled, almost blindly, into the East Wing, the first person I encountered was Franklin D. Roosevelt Jr, and in a short time our White House colleagues formed a somber procession. For a ‘mild’ heart attack, the end came quickly, and the President, unconscious since his episode, died in his sleep that very night. Bitterness, anguish, disbelief, and emptiness mingled inextricably in one’s mind. Tapers were lit around the bier as they carried his flag-covered coffin out from the hospital. Nancy, wracked with grief, knelt in the cool night beside the bier and buried her tears in the Stars and Stripes. Though in Dallas school children applauded the news, and in Peking the Daily Worker ran a savage cartoon entitled "Kefauver Bites the Dust," we did not grieve alone. At Yale, the bells of University Church tolled as students wept hysterically; Negroes mourned, and A. Philip Randolph said that "his place in history will be beside Lincoln." Many were surprised by the intensity of the loss. Alistair Cooke spoke of "the sudden discovery that he was more familiar, in death, than ever before; he was our acquaintance once more.." Richard Hofstadter wondered, "Is there some principle of nature, which requires that we never knew the quality of what we have had, until it is done?" Around the land people sat shocked in front of the television sets watching the tragedy unfold before them. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the Assistant Secretary of London, remarked that "I don't think there's any point in being Irish if you don't know that the world is going to break your heart eventually."


Crowds gather in New York as CBS reports on the President's deteriorating health.

It was all gone now. The life-affirming zealotry, the wit, the steady purpose, the fulminating passion. Yet he had accomplished so much; the affirmation of democracy on earth, new policies towards Latin America and the third world, the reordering of American defense, the commencement of a new emancipation process for the American negro, the liberation of the union worker and the protection of the ordinary consumer, the fight for reason against extremism and mythology. Lifting us beyond our capacities, he gave his country back to its best self, wiping away the world's impression of an old nation of old men. He gave the republic a new generation of leaders, and restored it to its best traditions, progressive and idealistic. So the people of the world grieved as if they had terribly lost their own leader, friend, brother. And into the darkness we plunged, into new trials and grave tribulations, into the cold, and another three thousand days, unlike the last.
 
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stnylan

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America does seem rather ripe for a revolutionary change or three - to mirror what is happening across the pond.

Did like the detail of David Attenborough in CBC 2 - one of the most important figures in the history of British television.
 

TheButterflyComposer

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America does seem rather ripe for a revolutionary change or three - to mirror what is happening across the pond.

Did like the detail of David Attenborough in CBC 2 - one of the most important figures in the history of British television.
Yes, he was high up in BBC even back then, the only reason he was never director was because he didn't want to stop making TV programmes himself.