February 27, 2024

1943. The Occupation of Kharkiv

Nazi Germany's Colonization of Ukraine
A delicatessen Kharkiv, Ukraine during the Nazi occupation in 1941 (Photo by Johannes Hähle source)

Bill Downs visited the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv following its initial liberation in February 1943. He later reported on the city's reoccupation during the Third Battle of Kharkov. Parentheses in the reports featured here indicate text that did not pass Soviet censors for military security or propaganda reasons.

(For more, see the complete 1943 Moscow reports.)

Bill Downs

CBS Moscow

February 27, 1943

I have just had a close-up of how Adolf Hitler's New Order makes history—you know, the kind of history he raves about at the drop of a helmet. The Nazi brand of history he has sold to Italy and certain other countries in Europe. The kind of history Japan is trying to market in the Far East.

At 9:30 this morning I took a plane out of Russia's rich Ukraine. I spent Thursday and Friday wandering around the streets of Kharkov talking to people and seeing what I could see.

Right now, Kharkov is a very special place. It is more than just another city which the Red Army has recaptured. It's the first big city in Europe that has been retaken from the Axis in which Hitler's New Order had a chance to work. You remember the Germans held Kharkov for fifteen months. And I got to Kharkov with a party of other news reporters only eight days after the New Order was kicked outbefore the smell of it had completely left the city.

(Yes, you can still smell Hitler's New Order tonight, if you were in Ukraine. It's the stench of cordite, and the dry smell of bombed buildings and the wet smell of charred wood. It's the sweet smell of blood and the bitter smell of people too weak from hunger to walk a couple of miles to the river to wash.)

(When we flew with a Russian fighter escort towards Kharkov the other day, you could follow the path of the New Order very easily. The miles were marked with the walls of ruined villages where fighting had occurred. Along the railroad leading eastward from the city were the hulks of ruined tanks and occasionally Junkers or a Heinkel bomber.)

(After we landed on the ruined airport—there wasn't a building left standing—we saw our first definite sign that the Germans had actually possessed this Ukrainian industrial center. It was a German sign which read, "Parking verboten." We found out that a lot of things were "verboten" during the German occupation of Kharkov.)

There is no doubt that the Germans thought they were in Kharkov for keeps. All the street signs were written in both German and Ukrainian—German first, of course.

German colonists—at least that's what Hitler calls them—had set up business, and there were restaurants and shops with German signs on them. Yes, the Nazis sent a lot of loyal German families to (examine the corpse of Kharkov) collect what they thought was going to be easy money and a pleasant life in the wake of Hitler's Wehrmacht. No one knows just how many colonists Hitler sent to Kharkov. They were a little difficult to count—like flies on a sugar stack. For months they played at being super-men. Ukrainians couldn't ride in the same street cars with them—they had to catch the one hitched on behind.

If Ukrainians had better homes or business than [the colonists] had been allotted, the colonists went around to authorities and arranged to take over. That's the way the New Order works. But these good Nazi families were too smart to get themselves caught by the Russians. They ran away with everything they could carry early in January when the Red Army started to march.

Two days before the German army fled the city, the Nazi command destroyed every major building in Kharkov. There literally is not one single store, office building, hotel, or government house in the main part of the city which has not been gutted by fire, blown to bits, or bombed.

But during the occupation, the Germans did something else—something much more damaging than making piles of rubble out of buildings.

It's something you can see in the face of every kid you run into on the streets. The women and old men who are left have the same look.

The people are pale from hunger. The boys and girls, particularly, have faces the color of wet dough. They have rings under their eyes like old people.

I stopped what I thought was a 10-year-old boy on the street to talk with him. He was thin and had black hair that hung down into his eyes.

He grinned when I introduced myself and said in a tough kind of way that he supposed he would tell me his name. He was Vladimir Voskresensky, a good Ukrainian name. He was 14. You see, kids just don't grow very fast without food.

I asked him what he did while the Germans were there. He shrugged and answered, "Oh, sometimes I begged for food. Some bread or a piece of chocolate if I was lucky. And sometimes I could earn some food by taking my sledge and dragging luggage to the station for German officers. I would get half a slice of bread for that."

I noticed that Vladimir had on an outside man's suit coat which struck him below the knees. He looked a little bit like Jackie Coogan used to in the silent pictures. I asked him where he got that coat—I should never have asked.

Vladimir started out bravely enough. "It belonged to my father," he said. "He was an engineer. They took him to the hotel over there and beat him for four days. He died. I never saw him again."

He was crying when he finished the story. He was a tough kid, like all the kids that survived the New Order in Kharkov.

But those kids won't forget. And neither will the rest of the world.

During the fifteen months of German occupation, a lot of things happened to Kharkov—all of them bad. For example, there are some facts repeated to me at random by a half-dozen people to whom I talked on the streets of the city.

A year ago last October when the Germans took the city they started hanging people. By the second day of the occupation, every balcony stretching for two miles on the main street through the center of the city had become a gallows. Scores of men and women were trussed up and left to hang.

Six weeks after the occupation, every Jew in the city was ordered to go to an empty machine tool shop nine miles out of town. Women cried as they told me about this. 10,000 Jews were herded into this camp. Ten days later a huge ditch was dug and a squad of German Tommy-gunners shot every man, woman, and child.

It is estimated that 18,000 people were executed in the first weeks of the occupation, but no one knows the exact number. The Germans didn't bother about death proclamations or keeping records. I have checked that figure not only with Soviet officials now in charge of Kharkov, but also with a school teacher, a college professor, and four other people who were in the city at the time.

This is simply another example of how the New Order works.
Bill Downs

CBS Moscow

February 28, 1943

Hitler's guns, which for fifteen months were held against the heart of Kharkov, were pushed further back westward from the city last night. This morning's communiqué announced that another series of inhabited points have been taken west of the wreckage and ruined buildings which today mark the site of one of the proudest cities in the Ukraine.

I left Kharkov yesterday morning after spending Thursday and Friday wandering around the city's streets talking to people and seeing what I could see.

Kharkov was about the size of Washington, D.C. before Hitler got to it. It had a peacetime population of 900,000 which swelled to over a million inhabitants as the war progressed.

Imagine every major building in Washington gutted with fire. Imagine all of the buildings across the Potomac blown to bits. Imagine every railroad station deliberately wrecked. Imagine street car and bus trolley wires lying over the street. Imagine Washington with just two water fountains and the sewage system wrecked with the streets thick with ice. Scatter a goodly number of bomb craters throughout the city. Then you will have a pretty good picture of Kharkov after fifteen months of Hitler's New Order.

But the New Order has done something else to Kharkov. Something more terrible than mere wrecking of buildings and homes and streets. Something more deeply significant than putting up street signs in German and deliberately looting the city. Something more than taking warm clothing from men and women who walked the streets.

Kharkov has a hungry population of only 350,000 today. This means that during the fifteen months of Hitler's New Order, something has happened to about 600,000 people. This does not include a quarter of a million people which the Russian government succeeded in evacuating from Kharkov before the Germans took the city a year ago last October.

In talking with Soviet officials, college professors, and people on the street, here's all I could find out about the 600,000 Kharkov citizens who have disappeared under Hitler's New Order.

During the first days of the occupation about 18,000 people were executed. Bodies hanging from balconies were a common sight. Among these 18,000 executed were about 10,000 Jews—men, women, and children—who were taken nine miles out of the city, shot and buried in a big ditch.

One hundred and ten thousand people were shipped to Germany for forced labor.

Meanwhile, it is estimated unofficially that at least 70,000 people died of starvation under the German rule. (And all the time during the fifteen months the executions went on. As conditions grew worse, more and more people escaped from the city to unoccupied Russia.)

All in all, it is estimated that between 90,000 and 100,000 Kharkov citizens will never be accounted for. It's something to think about as Doctor Goebbels prattles about saving European civilization from the "eastern hordes."
Soviet partisans hanging from the balcony of an administrative building on the Mius-Front near the Ukrainian village of Dyakivka in March 1943 (source)
Bill Downs

CBS Moscow

March 9, 1943

(Ever since Hitler took over Czechoslovakia and marched into Poland, we have been hearing about the slavery and semi-slavery into which has been throwing the conquered European peoples. With the Red Army killing his soldiers in Russia—and with the United States and British air forces knocking out his factories in Germany and Western Europe—the Fuehrer has been forced more and more to rely on kidnapped labor to keep his war machine working.)

At Kharkov a couple of weeks ago, I got my first glimpse of just what Nazi "forced labor" means. Simon Legree, with his whip and bloodhounds, was a sissy compared to the Nazi with his rubber hose, his barbed wire, and his hangman's noose.

An estimated 110,000 Kharkov citizens are doing forced labor in Germany today. They range from boys and girls of fourteen years of age to men and women of forty. The only requirements for work in Germany is a strong back and a brace of biceps.

According to the people to whom I talked in Kharkov, the Germans there used two methods of getting workers to work in their factories. They simply picked them up off the street and packed them off, or they sent around a notice saying the workers should report to a recruiting headquarters—or else.

The Germans have an efficient, standard identification card with which they register their foreign workers. It's printed in eleven languages, so it comes in handy for a dozen countries from which they can kidnap labor.

This identification card serves as a passport. When the kidnapped worker gets to Germany, he finds that it allows him to move from his factory, or his labor gang, to his barracks—and no place else.
Bill Downs

CBS Moscow

March 16, 1943

We (the American and British foreign correspondents who live at the Metropol Hotel) here in Moscow are a pretty sad group of people today.

It's because of the bad news from Kharkov.

It was only two weeks and two days ago that we were in that Ukrainian city—and every one of us came away with a clearer picture of what Hitler's New Order means to the conquered people of Europe than any one of us ever had before.

(During the fifteen months of occupation by the German forces, Kharkov had all but died of Nazism. Over 18,000 people had been executed. 70,000 had died of starvation. Over 110,000 had been shipped off to Germany. And about 90,000 were simply listed as "missing.")

Today the Germans are back in Kharkov. (It is depressing to think just how many of the 350,000 Kharkov residents we found there two weeks ago will be left when the Red Army again takes the city. And it will be retaken—make no mistake about that.)

(Another thing which saddens the foreign press corps here is the uncertainty of) We are wondering what is going to happen to the people to whom we talked. The people who told us the horrible story of the German occupation.

For example, the little 14-year-old boy who (broke down and) cried as he told how his father was killed by the Germans. (The indigent Ukrainian housewife who wept when she told how her sister had been shipped away to Germany.) The kindly little college professor who was trying to reorganize Kharkov's educational and social services to care for the children orphaned by German executions. He was very pleased when we talked to him that he had found homes and food for 300 of these orphans.

(You see, as news reporters, we used the names of all these people so that you people in America reading our stories could have verified evidence of what the Nazis did to Kharkov.)

If I know anything about the efficiency of the Gestapo, (the names of) these people today head the list of German reprisals. I and the rest of my colleagues here in Moscow can only hope that those people evacuated the city with the Red Army. Or that they go into hiding until the city is captured again.

I know, as every correspondent does, that it is not often the problems of news reporting make significant news. (These things are part of our job).

But there is no better demonstration of just what Hitlerism stands for in this world than Kharkov.

Usually, discussions about "truth" have a nebulous quality that almost always end up in confused arguments about what is right and what is wrong.

I don't want to preach any sermons. There is nothing nebulous about "truth" in Kharkov today. The people who told the truth to us American and British reporters now stand under the thread of execution.

Truth in that Ukrainian city today is a matter of life and death. (And so it is in this whole war raging throughout the world.)

One writer in the Moscow newspapers said this morning that "it is not easy to give up Kharkov." Kharkov is a city of tears. Then he added, "but for every Russian tear, let there be mountains of dead Germans."

That's the way the foreign press corps in Moscow feels this morning.

February 24, 2024

1940. "Eyes of the World Turn to America's Election"

The Urgency of the 1940 Presidential Election
President Franklin Roosevelt in Kingston, New York on Election Day, November 5, 1940 (source)
From The New York Times, November 3, 1940:

Our Decisive Power in Both War and Peace Fully Recognized Abroad

Not since the wartime vote of 1916 has the choice of an American President interested the outside world so keenly as the present election. People everywhere, in the depths of Russia and China as well as in Britain and occupied Europe, will watch us anxiously as we cast our ballots next Tuesday. They will watch us because popular elections are becoming a rare sight on this planet. In most countries free choice is just a remembered luxury, like safety, coffee, planning ahead.

But the main reason for their intentness is selfish—the feeling that they, too, are involved in our choice. Sometimes vaguely, sometimes acutely, they feel that the man empowered to head this government for the next four years is destined to play a leading part in the widening drama of war and peace.

A Hope Disappointed

At home it was hoped that the candidates' agreement on such fundamentals as full aid to Britain, conscription, armament, to the limit of our speed and capacity, would expunge foreign policy from the political debate. Inevitably, however, the argument has tended to focus more and more on this issue. The earth revolves in a red fog of war, and as the campaign developed nothing could prevent the war from dominating all other questions in the mind of the American people.

The President recognized this when he changed his plan and went out to explain his attitude to the country. In the early days of his administration, scenes from his first campaign were thrown on a screen one evening in the upper hall of the White House. "How I miss the crowds!" was his comment as he looked. He is an extremely perceptive and observant man, and as he resumed the role of campaigner, in touch with the crowds, it is noteworthy that he laid increasing stress on his determination to keep the country out of the war.

Mr. Willkie also met the American crowd. In a few places they greeted him with eggs and "boos." Most of the time he was received with enthusiasm, louder, it seemed, as his own voice grew hoarser.

Thoughtful Americans

But what struck him in all the crowds was their seriousness. Hostile or friendly, the people were thoughtful and deeply in earnest, he told a friend after a cross-country tour. He, too, sensed the reason for this anxiety; his later speeches were almost entirely devoted to questions rising out of the war and the defense program.

The people, in short, raised the question the candidates at first wished to ignore. As the race neared the end, with Mr. Willkie demanding greater help to Britain and Mr. Roosevelt dispatching ships and planes and promising more, the main issues had narrowed down to two: Which contender will arm us fastest? Which is more likely to keep us out of the conflict?

Abroad, likewise, these questions overshadow more immediate concerns. For the past week or two, despite the thrust into Greece, the major struggle seems to have been held in suspense, almost as if the war were waiting for the result of the election. In the heat of the electoral battle it was charged that the British hope for the re-election of Mr. Roosevelt and the Axis Powers favor Mr. Willkie. If this is true, in each case the preference is based on the fact that both the Germans and the British know the President. Mr. Willkie is an unknown quantity; while he has given every assurance that his foreign policy will be identical with Mr. Roosevelt's, the Germans may figure that any change would be for the better and the British are quite satisfied with things as they are.

True or not, the preference does not affect many voters in this country. As between the two sides of the war, the American preference is solidly and almost unanimously "set." Few oppose helping the British or blocking the Axis. As between the two candidates, however, Americans were never so bent on deciding for themselves, according to their own conception of the national interests.

The injection of this red-herring issue is nevertheless significant. It proves that next Tuesday's balloting is an international event of far-reaching importance. The choice of Mr. Willkie may be taken in Germany as a sign of American unwillingness to enter the war. The choice of Mr. Roosevelt may be interpreted in England as an augury of more active participation. Europe inclines to echo our most contradictory campaign arguments—that the President will move more rapidly toward intervention than his opponent and that the Republican candidate will put more speed into the building of a war machine.

Fear of America Itself

The inner recesses of governmental minds are not likely to harbor these contradictions. If Hitler and Mussolini discussed this election at Florence, doubtless they agreed that we are already virtually in the war. Publicly they might cheer the defeat of Mr. Roosevelt; privately what they fear is America itself, the incalculable power of the people in a democracy. They are under no illusion that American policy in a crisis can be decided by any will but the will of the people.

The British know this even more certainly. Mr. Churchill is on close terms with the President and would regret to see him leave office. But the relations between the White House and Downing Street were just as intimate when Mr. Chamberlain was Prime Minister. Methods, persons, emphasis and conditions alter, but representative governments do not reverse their policies overnight, as dictators can. In the present case, moreover, a change of administration does not mean a change of policy, and this implies far more than a unity of view on the part of the candidates; it is striking proof of popular agreement on our primary interests.

Why, then, if the election supposes no drastic shift in policy, is it watched with such interest from Singapore to Narvik?

The answer lies in the nature of the world struggle now in process. It lies in the preponderant weight America throws into the balance as other powers are absorbed drained or by war. This conflict has a tidal quality; it ebbs and flows, roars and subsides. The spurts and lulls indicate that it is only partly military. From the beginning armies, navies and air fleets have merely supported other means of pressure. Between battles, behind the war front, all the manoeuvres have but one object—to anticipate and determine the shape of the peace.

Where Great Battles Lie

In this contest, in fact, military operations constitute only one phase. The great engagements are political, diplomatic and psychological. This is why the leader we select is of such importance in the international view.

People in Europe who are still able to think ahead look more and more to the White House as a lighthouse in the universal blackout. It is about the only normal seat of government to which they can look as a point of reference. This is true of the subjugated peoples and also of the British; engrossed wholly just now in the struggle to survive, they turn to us not for material support only but for visible reassurance that the life they are defending is still going on. Be sure, moreover, that the Germans and Italians regard this Federal union as the supreme standard of comparison, the challenging alternative to Hitler's "new order."

Even last Spring, before the Continent was "occupied," unofficial Europe was thinking of the United States as a factor in the war and as the arbiter of the peace that would eventually follow. Repeatedly, especially from government heads in small capitals, now no more, the writer heard remarks like these:

"The next Administration in your country will represent the new balance of power in the world." "In the next four years you will decide the fate of your country and ours." "The next President will have to be a greater statesman than your last Messiah, Wilson, presumed to be; he will have to make terms with a revolution."

With the world background in mind supporters of Mr. Roosevelt argue approximately thus: "The President is a great figure. He has played a conspicuous role in a world drama that has already destroyed most of the performers. His relations with foreign powers have been closer and more constant than those of any of his predecessors. This experience is invaluable; in foreign affairs he has knowledge, a sure touch, a horse trader's shrewdness, a useful confidence in the ability of this country to hold its own against any combination of brains or power. Above all he has imagination, a sense of American destiny as well as his own. He has been working for a long time on plans for peace, for a new order to oppose to Hitler's. If he ever fulfills his ambition to be a peacemaker, he will produce a blueprint that would inspire the world and reduce the Nazi organization to something like a prison code."

The Counter-Arguments

On the other hand, the arguments for Mr. Willkie might be these:

"Internationally, Mr. Willkie starts from scratch. If he lacks the advantages and renown of the President's experience he also lacks the disadvantages. Mr. Roosevelt has aroused great confidence abroad and sharpened deep antagonisms. The bitterness and disappointment of defeated peoples like the French are sometimes transferred to him. Some blame him for his part in Munich, others because his words encouraged the democracies to rely on American support we were not prepared to give. His name is associated, one way or another, with the tragic controversies that divide nations within themselves. Mr. Willkie has uncommon sense, the drive and energy needed to speed up our defenses, a fervent and contagious faith in the genius of this country and the benefit of being a new man with a fresh approach to problems the old hands have failed to solve."

Europe hangs on our choice—because Europe hangs on America. To the watching world, dictators and democrats, it is America and American power that count. The President may give a direction and emphasis to this power, but he cannot control it, and Hitler knows this as well as Churchill does.

As for Americans, they know that both candidates put American interests first. They are aware that this country will influence outside events in the degree in which it is strong, united, wise and faithful to itself. The President who will best mobilize that strength and express that unity and faith will be the best minister of our foreign policy and therefore the best hope of the world.

February 23, 2024

1970. Aircraft Hijacking Foiled

Calls for a Federal Commission on Aircraft Hijacking
Front page of The Arizona Republic on June 5, 1970 (source)

Bill Downs

ABC Washington

June 5, 1970

Next to treason and murder, the crime of piracy has for centuries been one of the most heinous in the catalogue of evils that one man can commit against his society. It was true in the olden days because nations depended on shipping to provide the essentials of life for their people. Even so, Spain, France, Holland, and England have used pirate ships as unofficial men-of-war—and many captured pirates ended their lives at the end of a yard-arm.

Air piracy, of course, is a twentieth century innovation. And the abortive hijacking of the TWA Jetliner yesterday demonstrates the difficulty of preventing and stopping this most dangerous crime. However the Airline Pilots Association, the aircraft industry, and the government are determined to crack down on hijackers. And Arthur Barkley, the Phoenix, Arizona cookie truck driver charged with taking over the TWA plane, is in a serious position. Aircraft piracy is a federal charge, and it carries a penalty, on conviction, ranging from twenty years in prison to the maximum sentence of death.

Like ocean-going ships of old, the commercial airliner has become the major long-distance passenger carrier for most nations of the world. The successful hijacking of a plane consists of an implied threat to the safety of every other airliner in the world. Had not airborne pirates been successful in hijacking more than fifty airliners from the US to Cuba, there probably would not have been the subsequent rash of hijackings in South America, nor attacks on Israeli and other planes in Europe and the Middle East.

All the same, there is a difference between today's serial hijacker and the men like Blackbeard and others who terrorized the Spanish Main of old.

The swashbuckling scoundrels who lived by piracy those days were mostly pirates in search for gold.

By contrast, the serial hijacker of today is lucky to get away with his life.

A federal commission is now studying ways to prevent the piracy of commercial airliners. Possibly the most effective weapon is the psychiatrist.

This is Bill Downs in Washington for the American Entertainment Network, a service of ABC News.

February 22, 2024

1934. "Concept of Third Reich Begins to Take Reality"

Nazis Use Nationalist Nostalgia to Claim Legitimacy
Map featured in The New York Times on March 27, 1938

From The New York Times, October 7, 1934:

With Their Leader Firmly Entrenched in Power, the Nazis Hope for a New Era of German Greatness

Adolf Hitler, heavily entrenched in power, recently predicted that the Third Reich would last a thousand years. Even if, to those outside Germany, it does not seem firmly established, in the minds of the Nazis the concept of the new Reich is taking a definite form. For a year and a half the Third Reich has been a hope and a slogan, with Hitler sharing his power with Field Marshal von Hindenburg. Hindenburg's tomb at Tannenberg was also the Third Reich's birthplace.

What is the Third Reich, and what were the First and Second Reichs from which the new order seeks inspiration?

To Hitlerites the Third Reich is a new Germany in which Nazi supreme authority is exerted by a Leader to whom Germans everywhere bow. Its sources and ideology were described by the theoretician Moeller van den Bruck, whose volume "Das Dritte Reich" is Nazi gospel, second in importance only to Hitler's own book. In the view of van den Bruck and his disciples, the Third Reich must comprise all people of German blood, whether born in Germany or outside. A German, they say, owes allegiance to the Third Reich notwithstanding that he may be the citizen of another country.

It may be pointed out that among the principal Nazi leaders are some who were born in Austria, Egypt, Argentina and Russia. Dr. Alfred Rosenberg, born a Russian but withal the spiritual director of the Third Reich, thus expresses the essence of that realm: "Under its rule race ranks higher than the State, and the protection of the race is the supreme aim of law."

Conformity a Duty

Hence, while Germany's present boundaries contain about 65,000,000 inhabitants, the population of the Third Reich is regarded as 100,000,000. According to the Nazi doctrine, it is the duty of all members of this Reich to feel and think alike. This can be accomplished only by ultimately uniting the Germans living outside of the geographical Reich with their fellows at home.

The Third Reich, as the Nazis set it forth, seeks to emulate the autocratic greatness of the First Empire in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, when Germany's famous Hohenstaufen family ruled over a large part of Europe as Holy Roman Emperors. It seeks at the same time to eclipse the greatness of the Second Reich, that was born in 1871 in the Versailles Hall of Mirrors, at the end of the Franco-Prussian War, and died in the same hall in 1918, at the end of the World War. Both the first and Second Reichs are considered by the Nazis in many ways the high points of their country's history.

In adopting the name "Third Reich" the Nazis have taken a label that might militate against Communist gains in Germany. The phrase "Third Reich," it is their hope, will hold greater appeal for Germans than the Third International. It has often been suggested that number three stands for finality. Whereas the First and Second Reichs together lasted for less than two centuries, the Hitlerites expect the Third Reich to endure for a millennium.

Heroes of the First Reich

What inspiration can a twentieth-century Third Reich draw from a twelfth-century First Reich? Nazi leaders express admiration for the sterling virtues of German forefathers. They take particular pride in the two great heroes of the First Reich, who have also been adopted as the heroes of the Third Reich, and about whom books and plays have been written in profusion.

In Adolf Hitler a reverent Nazi author sees the reincarnation of one of these First Reich chieftains, Frederick Barbarossa. According to an ancient legend, Emperor Frederick of the ruddy beard fell asleep centuries ago in a cavern of Thuringia's Kyffhaeuser hills. Ever since then his red whiskers have been growing around the marble slab on which his head rests. In Germany's hour of need he will return and, mounted on a white charger, lead his nation against the enemy.

During his glory-filled lifetime, Frederick Barbarossa was a German Fuehrer in the Nazi sense. He struck terror into Europe's heart and extended Germany's frontiers far beyond the language boundary. The great herald of the German idea of the "Drang nach Osten," he led his army toward the eastern star, bound on the conquest of the Holy Land.

Progress in Second Reich

But the First Reich's greatness was fully revealed only at the court of his grandson, Emperor Frederick II, who was known to his contemporaries as the Marvel of the World. Frederick was a master not only of a large part of Europe's body but also of its soul. He gave Europe a new idea of culture and made the German name respected as far south as Sicily.

In his declining years he showed a desire to return to paganism. His words and deeds are quoted today by anti-Christians of the Third Reich. Dr. Rosenberg takes these words from Frederick's mouth: "The cross must be removed from the altar, because it is the sign of suffering and humility."

As the Nazis survey history, the First Reich was followed by centuries of darkness in which German fought German in wars of religion, of territorial expansion, or merely as a manly sport or whim. The Thirty Years' War left German land reduced to mounts of ruins on which stray humans fought stray wolves for scraps of food. Eventually Prussia took the lead and gave unity to German purpose; yet as late as 1866 German again fought German in battle.

The proclamation of the Second Reich was another triumph of unity. When Wilhelm I, King of Prussia, became German Emperor on January day of 1871, the way was open for a breath-taking phase of German influence. The Nazis, looking back, see the Second Reich forging the arms with which to force its way to a higher place in the sun. They see it acquiring colonies and spheres of influence, challenging for supremacy of the world.

"Crime" of Weimar Republic

The Second Reich is too near the present, however, to receive the unqualified endorsement of the Nazis; too fulsome praise might inspire the Germans to seek the return of the Hohenzollerns. Nor can the Nazis afford to extol too much of the giant of the Second Reich, Prince Bismarck, without inviting comparison with Adolf Hitler, their own idol. Yet it is the policy of the Nazis to give a friendly picture of the Second Reich, so that the "crime" of the Weimar Republic in "stabbing it in the back" may be emphasized. The Nazis do not forget they were aided in their upward climb by the assertions that the republicans had dug the grave of German greatness.

The Hitlerites see the Third Reich as cultivating the best virtues of the First and Second Reichs plus their own. They insist on even more complete obedience to authority than did Frederick Barbarossa or Wilhelm II. They believe that their Fuehrer is to be viewed not only as a leader but also as an oracle and seer. The Third Reich is expected to become a sovereign power in the most pronounced sense of the word.

There are some aspects of the First and Second Reichs that the Nazis do not wish to emulate. They do not want, for the time being at least, to mix their blood with that of other races, as Frederick II did. They are satisfied with ruling over the 100,000,000 people of German blood.

The Nazis have criticized the Second Reich for opening its Parliament to "destructive" Socialists and liberals. They have chosen an opposite course; they have not only driven dissenting parties out of the Reichstag but have also outlawed all political party organizations except their own. Starting with the Communists and following with the Socialists, they have driven underground one group after another that has dared to dispute their power.

February 21, 2024

1970. The Political Implications of the 1970 Census

The Midterm Elections
The opening session of the 92nd Congress on January 21, 1970 (photo by Marion S. Trikoskosource)
Bill Downs

ABC Washington

August 12, 1970

The Ides of August are rapidly approaching, which means the nation's political bookmakers should be establishing the odds on the Republican and Democratic candidates for this November's off-year elections. The more than 30 Senate, 435 congressional, and a phalanx of state gubernatorial seats up for grabs in November have all been charted—and the party hopefuls have been weighed in, saliva-tested, and now are making training runs across the grassroots in preparation for the real campaign races which get underway around Labor Day.

However, this muggy mid-August season have really been the dog days for political prognosticators. The reason? The United States Census returns, which now are just beginning to be released by the Census Bureau. The data from the 1970 headcount records the migration of the electorate over the past ten years.

The preliminary census returns already show that for the first time in US history, more Americans live in the suburbs than those within the city limits and on the farms put together.

For Washington's political pros, it means further diminution of the once-powerful farm vote, and it probably means further concentration of Blacks and other minorities in the urban ghettos. But here too the statisticians are not sure because these families, too, are escaping the central core tenements and heading for exurbia.

The census indicates that every major city north of the so-called "Sun Belt" that runs from the Gulf Coast and across the Southwest to California has lost its population—a fact of great political and career significance to men like Mayors Lindsay of New York, Stokes of Cleveland, and Daley of Chicago.

California now is unchallenged as the most populous state in the Union, and if the figures stand up it means the state may get as many as four additional congressmen, while New York state may lose two seats in the next reapportionment of the House of Representatives.

Republican National Committee leaders here say they are most pleased with the demographic portrait now being painted by the Census Bureau. Democratic leaders are sad—as befits the party out of the White House this time of year.

So the summer book on the November elections will be late this year, because privately the political pros confess they just don't know.

Former Census Director Richard Scammon, now a private research specialist, says the 1970 and '72 elections will be settled in the suburbs—that's where the action is. But, says Scammon, neither political party can stake out a claim on the commuter vote—it's moving too much.

This is Bill Downs for ABC in Washington.

February 20, 2024

1948-1950. The Berlin Blockade Reports

Bill Downs Reports from Blockaded Berlin
Bill Downs and Edward R. Murrow in East Berlin standing under a Free German Youth banner in 1948
Berlin, 1948 - 1950

Bill Downs served as the CBS correspondent in Berlin for nearly two years to cover the blockade and airlift. He stayed in the city from 1948 to 1950 with his wife, writer Rosalind "Roz" Downs (née Gerson). During that time he reported extensively on political developments in postwar Germany. In one letter home dated October 1948, he wrote:
You know just about as much as we do about what is going to come out of this mess. The decisions will not be made here. However the reflection of our policy shows here first and as far as I can make it out, we are preparing to continue this air lift for two years if necessary. There has been nothing that gives any hope for the lifting of the blockade in the near future. The Russians go as far as they dare without overtly precipitating war. I get the feeling that we do the same more or less. And the feeling is that there will not be any open, official conflict between the two major powers.
In another letter dated September 1948, Roz wrote about the devastation in Berlin:
We drove into the city the other day. [Edward R. Murrow] wanted to see what was left of it. The only opinion I have of the Germans after seeing Berlin and the other parts of Germany we've driven through is that they sure were damn fools. I think before the war Berlin must have been one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Now, there is no city. For miles on end there is nothing but rubble. You are startled when you see a building standing until you drive close to it and see it's only four walls with no insides. . . . It is very depressing to go into Berlin proper. As Ed said, it looks like the end of the world. It looks like something out of a fantastic story magazine; something that looks like a civilization of the past, now dead.
Below are some of Bill Downs' reports from 1948 to 1950. The text is adapted from his typewritten scripts.

July 22, 1948 to September 22, 1948: Berlin's newspaper propaganda wars

July 30, 1948: Politics and the black market in West Berlin

September 12, 1948: Communists hold "Victims of Fascism" rally in Berlin

September 13, 1948: Rumors of an "X-Day" putsch

September 14 to September 16, 1948: Outcry over the sentencing of West German protesters

September 17, 1948: The East-West standoff rattles the city

September 18, 1948: US celebrates Air Force Day by ramping up the airlift

September 19, 1948: Uneasy quiet ahead of UN meeting

September 20 to September 23, 1948: Western Allied Commanders convene on the eve of UN meeting

September 24, 1948: US increases the airlift operation

September 25, 1948: Worried speculation of Soviet interference in the airlift

September 26 to September 28, 1948: The Western occupation powers appeal to the UN

September 30, 1948: The tenth anniversary of the Munich Agreement

September 30 to October 12, 1948: One hundred days of blockade

October 2, 1948: War of nerves behind the Iron Curtain

November 16, 1948: Moscow withdraws recognition of Ernst Reuter

November 18 to November 26, 1948: Elections near as the Anglo-American airlift continues

November 21, 1948: Downs' car vandalized

November 28 to November 30, 1948: Eastern sector Communists oppose West Berlin elections

November 30 to December 4, 1948: The East-West divide widens

December 4, 1948: West Berliners go to the polls

December 6, 1948: Berlin, the "island of anticommunist opposition"

December 7 to December 10, 1948: The deepening isolation of West Berlin

December 16 to December 20, 1948: The French destroy Soviet-controlled radio transmission towers

December 18, 1948: Signs of economic difficulty reported in the Soviet zone

December 19 to December 30, 1948: Christmas in Berlin

December 1948: Germans making the most of the holiday
A crowd of approximately 200,000 listens to Mayor Ernst Reuter speak in Berlin at a demonstration against the policies of the SED and the Soviet military government, September 9, 1948 (source)

January 1949: Bill Downs on the "moral reconstruction" of Germany

January 4, 1949: The Kasernierte Volkspolizei

January 5, 1949: The Harnack House club

January 10 to January 24, 1949: The fascist remnants in Germany

January 12, 1949: Simmering tensions over the Ruhr

January 13, 1949: Dispute over missing German war prisoners in Russia

January 14, 1949: The West Berlin assembly prepares to meet in Schöneberg

January 14, 1949: The Communist-Socialist divide in East and West Berlin

January 17, 1949: Protests against the Ruhr occupation

January 24 to January 29, 1949: The Socialist Unity Party convenes in Berlin

January 26, 1949: The future of the two Germanies

January 28, 1949: West Germany's booming industry alarms Britain and France

January 30, 1949:  Reports of a shakeup for the US military government in Germany

January 31 to February 13, 1949: Stalin's conditions for lifting the blockade

February 7, 1949: Social Democrats accuse Soviets of espionage

February 9, 1949: Debate over Cardinal Mindszenty's sentencing in Budapest

February 16, 1949: Tensions grow as the Berlin blockade continues

February 17 to March 4, 1949: The eight Russians who refused to leave Frankfurt

February 19, 1949: Criminal trials in Munich

February 19 to February 20, 1949: Five men charged with espionage against the United States

February 23 to February 24, 1949: The Soviets opt to remain in Germany

March 2, 1949: Ultranationalism in West Germany

March 8, 1949: Fear dominates Leipzig

March 11, 1949: Soviets conduct defensive exercises along the Elbe

March 13, 1949: The West prepares for indefinite blockade

April 17, 1949: Easter in West Berlin

April 18, 1949: The US stages a major field exercise in Germany

April 19, 1949: New wave of blockade speculation in Berlin

April 20, 1949: The Kremlin reconsiders its blockade policy

April 23, 1949: The SPD and CDU work on drafting a constitution

April 23 to April 25, 1949: Western occupation powers urge statehood for West Germany

April 26 to April 27, 1949: The Kremlin calls for a Big Four conference

April 28, 1949: General Clay announces he will step down as military governor

April 29 to April 30, 1949: Berlin readies for May Day

May 5, 1949: The price to pay for lifting the blockade

May 7, 1949: Strategic failure as the Soviets plan to lift the Berlin blockade

May 8, 1949: Victory Day ceremony in Treptower Park

May 10 to May 13, 1949: Soviets dispute Western claims of ending the counter-blockade

May 11 to May 12, 1949: Celebrations as the blockade is lifted

May 14, 1949: Western powers grant West Berlin more autonomy

May 15 to May 17, 1949: Unexpected anti-Communist movement in East Berlin elections

May 21 to May 27, 1949: Massive worker uprising hits East Berlin

May 28, 1949: Council of Foreign Ministers meets in Paris to discuss Berlin crisis

June 3, 1949: Gerhart Eisler criticizes the United States

June 4 to June 10, 1949: No end in sight for the elevated rail workers' walkout

June 6, 1949: Pro-Soviet propaganda downplays D-Day's significance

June 11 to June 16, 1949: Rail workers vote to continue strike

June 18 to June 29: Occupation powers clash over rail strike

June 19 to June 23: Deal sought to end rail strike

June 25, 1949: Airlift marks its first anniversary

June 30 to July 1, 1949: Traffic snafu in Berlin

July 2 and July 8, 1949: The East awaits the economic collapse of the West

July 3 to July 6, 1949: American High Commissioner John McCloy in Berlin

July 4, 1949: American occupation troops celebrate the Fourth of July

July 10 to July 14, 1949: The "Little Blockade" of Berlin

July 16, 1949: Tragic accidents in Germany

July 17 to July 29, 1949: The Catholic Church's "open warfare" with communism

July 19 to July 22, 1949: East Germany seeks a united front

July 25 to July 27, 1949: "Little Blockade" finally ends

July 29, 1949: Western Allies pay tribute to lives lost during the airlift

July 31 to August 2, 1949: Allied occupation officials convene ahead of West German elections

August 7 to August 15, 1949: Factions vie for power in West Germany

August 15 to August 17, 1949: United States backs right-wing coalition government

August 19 to August 21, 1949: The Communists lose influence in the West

August 22, 1949: American officials promote the Marshall Plan

August 24, 1949: Adenauer set to form coalition

August 26, 1949: Intelligence reports of increased Volkspolizei activity

August 29 to September 10, 1949: US officials appeal to Soviets to release two American youths

September 3, 1949: Tensions rise with the Yugoslav-Soviet split

September 7, 1949 to September 9, 1949: The West German parliament meets in Bonn for the first time

September 11 to September 15, 1949: Konrad Adenauer becomes Chancellor of West Germany

September 18, 1949: Son of Communist leader Max Reimann escapes the Volkspolizei

September 22, 1949: Adenauer government begins work

September 26, 1949: The Soviets successfully develop nuclear weapons

October 11, 1949: Massive pro-Communist parade down Unter den Linden

November 14 to November 15, 1949: Secretary Acheson meets with Allied High Commissioners

November 16 to November 25, 1949: Adenauer signs the Petersberg Agreement

November 30, 1949: East Berlin marks anniversary of rump magistrate's founding

December 4, 1949: American labor leader Walter Reuther visits Germany

December 5, 1949: Threats of violence overshadow West Berlin elections

December 6, 1949: East Berlin criticizes West; Germans clean up World War II battlefields

December 9, 1949: Yugoslav diplomats detained in East Berlin

December 10, 1949: The question of rearming West Germany

December 11, 1949: More purges in East Germany as technicians flee to the West

December 14, 1949: Soviet Foreign Minister Vyshinsky visits Berlin

December 15, 1949: Occupation powers back German youth movements

December 17, 1949: US ramps up economic ties to West Germany

December 18, 1949: Far-right nationalist movement emerges in Bavaria

December 21, 1949: East Berlin celebrates Stalin's birthday

December 23, 1949: Downs reports for the American Forces Network

December 24, 1949: Berlin prepares for its first Christmas after the blockade

December 24, 1949: Positive news for West Germany on Christmas Eve

December 25, 1949: Downs celebrates another Christmas in West Berlin
The Free German Youth marches in East Berlin to protest the Marshall Plan and the Western Powers, with a banner reading "Yankee, go home," May 1950 (source)

January 6, 1950: Downs returns to Berlin from New York

January 8, 1950: Germany reacts to British recognition of Communist China

January 13 to January 15, 1950: Adenauer meets with French Foreign Minister Schuman Meet in Bonn

January 18 to January 22, 1950: East Germany threatens to impose new traffic blockade on Berlin

January 25, 1950: Soviets shut down internment camps in East Germany

January 27 to January 28, 1950: East Berlin announces the creation of the Stasi

February 1, 1950: Traffic slowdown at Helmstedt-Marienborn checkpoint

February 6 to February 10, 1950: Klaus Fuchs arrested in Britain

March 1 to March 3, 1950: East criticizes Western preconditions for reunifying Germany

March 4, 1950: Soviet deportation plan for Germans stokes tensions with British

April 2, 1950: German Communists react to Senator Joseph McCarthy

April 28, 1950: East German lieutenant testifies Soviets building a German army

April 29 to May 2, 1950: East and West Berlin hold dueling May Day demonstrations

May 7, 1950: Political reshuffling on both sides of Germany

May 8, 1950: West Germans scoff at Communist declaration of "Liberation Day"

May 18, 1950: West Germany celebrates holiday as the East prepares for elections

May 20, 1950: US stages Armed Forces Day parade in Berlin

February 18, 2024

1944. "The Battle of Nijmegen Bridge" by Bill Downs

The Battle of Nijmegen
"Cromwell tanks of 2nd Welsh Guards crossing the bridge at Nijmegen, 21 September 1944" (source)
This report by Bill Downs on September 24, 1944 was published in the BBC's The Listener magazine on September 28, 1944. As an eyewitness, Downs described the Nijmegen bridge assault as "a single, isolated battle that ranks in magnificence and courage with Guam, Tarawa, Omaha Beach."

From The Listener, September 28, 1944:
The Battle of Nijmegen Bridge


The story of the battle of Nijmegen bridge should be told to the blowing of bugles and the beating of drums for the men whose bravery made the capture of this crossing over the Waal River possible. You know about the Nijmegen bridge. It's been called the gateway into northern Germany. It stretches half-a-mile over the wide tidal river and its flood land. And without the bridge intact the Allied airborne and ground operation northward through Holland could only be fifty per cent successful.

The Nijmegen bridge was built so it could be blown, and blown quickly. Its huge arching span is constructed in one piece. Only two strong charges of explosives would drop the whole thing into the river. Special cavities for these dynamite charges were built into the brick by the engineers that designed it. The bridge was the biggest single objective of the airborne invasion and its capture intact is a credit to all the American and British fighting men.

American airborne patrols reached the area at the southern end of the bridge on Sunday night, September 17th, shortly after they landed, but at that time they were not in enough strength to do anything about it. On Monday the paratroops and glider forces were too busy beating off the German counter-attacks to co-ordinate an assault on the bridge. By this time the armour of the British Second Army was on its way northwards from the Escaut Canal. Then on Tuesday the British tanks arrived on the outskirts of Nijmegen and an attack was commenced, but still the Germans held on strongly in the fortification and houses on the south end of the bridge. American airborne infantry and British tanks were only 300 yards from the bridge in the streets of Nijmegen, but they couldn't get to it.

Tuesday night was the strangest. The American troops took machine guns to the top of the houses and sprayed the approaches and the entrance to the bridges with bullets. All night they shot at anything that moved. Perhaps it was this constant fire that kept the Germans from blowing the bridge then. But still the shuddering blast that would signal the end of the bridge did not come. And when morning arrived a new plan was devised. It was dangerous and daring and risky. The commanders who laid it out knew this; and the men who were to carry it out knew it too. Thinking a frontal assault on the bridge from the south was impossible, American infantry were to fight their way westwards down the west bank of the Waal River and cross in broad daylight to fight their way back up the river bank, and attack the bridge from the north.

On Wednesday morning the infantry made their way westward through the town and got to the industrial outskirts along the river bank near the mouth of a big canal. Some British tanks went with them to give them protection in the street fighting and to act as artillery when the crossings were to be made. Accompanying this task force were trucks carrying twenty-six assault boats brought along by the British armoured units in case of such an emergency. Most of the men who were there to make the crossing had never handled an assault boat before. There was a lot of argument as to who would handle the paddles and preference was given to the men who had at least rowed a boat. Everything was going well. The Germans were supposed to be completely surprised by the audacity of the move.

But late in the morning the impossible happened. Two men showed themselves on a river bank and were fired at by the enemy. No Americans were supposed to be in that part of the town. The 88 mm. shells began plastering the area. The gaff was blown. Reconnaissance spotted batches of German troops being transferred to the opposite bank. A few hours later, machine guns were dug into the marshes on the far side—the plan had been discovered. The task force was under shell-fire, and several hundred Germans with machine guns were sitting on the opposite bank waiting for the crossing. This was about noon.

There was a quick conference. It was decided that the original plan would proceed, but this time the men crossing the river would have the help of heavy bombers: Lancasters and Stirlings flying in daylight a few miles from the German border to drop their bombs on the opposite bank in tactical support of the men from the assault boats.

Working under enemy shell-fire, the assault boats were assembled. When they were put into the water, another difficulty arose. The tide was moving out with a downstream current of eight miles an hour. Some of the boats drifted 300 yards down river before they were retrieved and brought back. Meanwhile machine guns spluttered on the opposite bank and German artillery kept smashing the embarkation area regularly.

At last everything was ready. The bombers went in but didn't drop their bombs close enough to knock out the machine guns. Twenty-six assault boats were in the water. They would carry ten men each: 260 men would make the first assault. Waiting for them on the other bank were some 400 to 600 Germans. The shelling continued. Every man took a deep breath and climbed in. Someone made a wisecrack about the airborne navy and someone else said they preferred airborne submarines to this job. And off across the river they started. At the same time behind them, the British tanks fired their heavy guns, and our own heavy machine guns fired into the opposite bank giving the little fleet as much cover as possible.

And over on the other side of the river the enemy tracers shrieked at the boats. The fire at first was erratic, but as the boats approached the northern bank the tracers began to spread on to the boats. Men slumped in their seats—other men could be seen shifting a body to take over the paddling. One man rose up in his seat and fell overboard. There was no thought of turning back. The paddling continued clumsily and erratically, but it continued. One of the boats had so many holes in it that the men were baling out with their tin helmets—it was almost splintered when it reached the other side.

The fighting, though, had only just begun. The hundred or so men who had arrived on the opposite side fought their way forward with bayonet and grenade, going from one machine gun nest to the other until they had established a bridgehead only a few yards deep and several hundred feet wide. The thirteen boats had hardly left for the return trip for the reinforcements, when the men on the north bank saw specks in the water. The men on the opposite bank, seeing the casualties suffered in the landing under fire, were not waiting for the boats. Some of them had stripped off their equipment, and taking a bandolier of ammunition, were swimming the river with their rifles on their backs. And thus it went—the thirteen little boats going time after time across the river under fire; the men on the bridgehead digging in and firing as rapidly as possible, routing out the German machine gun nests by hand while British tanks fired for all they were worth. After an hour and a half of concentrated hell, the infantry were over. They held a bridgehead several hundred yards wide and one hundred yards deep. At that time, one officer counted 138 Germans dead in a space of sixty yards of that bloody beachhead.

There was a welcome pause as the men consolidated and rested in their foxholes. Some had thrown the German bodies out of the Nazi machine gun nests and were using these to stiffen their defences. The plan was to turn eastwards and assault the northern end of the bridge. But on the left flank of that minute bridgehead was another menace—for there on the high ground overlooking the bridge and firing at us with some 88 mm. guns, was an ancient fort. It is called Hatz van Holland and was supposed to have been used centuries ago by Charlemagne as a fortress. The Germans had been using the fort as an anti-aircraft gun position to defend Nijmegen, and now they turned the ack-ack guns downward to bear on the bridge and the airborne bridgehead across the Waal. While these guns were firing at the back, the troops could not fight their way to the northern end of the bridge. A detail was formed to attack the Hatz van Holland and put its guns out of action.

That, as warriors centuries ago found out, was extremely difficult because the Hatz van Holland was surrounded by a moat. This moat had a few feet of water in it—black dirty water, covered with a layer of bright green slime. Also, the attacking party would have to advance under point blank 88 mm. fire. But anyhow the party set out. They crawled towards the high ground and the 88s banged away at them. And then they came to a zone where there were no 88 shells. It was found out that the other 88 guns were so installed that the guns could not reach downward that far. The German gun-crews discovered this too late and rushed to put up a rifle and machine gun defence along the moat.

But the Americans by this time had faced so much that a few machine guns were nothing. They made a stand-up attack, shouting like Indians, and, with tommy-guns blazing, knocked out the historic Hatz van Holland. A few Americans with blood in their eyes left seventy-five Germans dead in that moat. The remaining troops fought their way up the river all right. They captured the northern end of the railroad bridge and worked their way to the junction of the railroad highway from the main bridge. The entire German position on the northern side of the river was cut off. There was bitter bayonet fighting and Americans died, but more Germans died. And finally, British tanks made their way across the bridge and it was ours.

British tanks and airborne American infantry had begun their frontal assault on the southern end of the bridge at the same time as the river crossing was started. They had to make their way down streets alive with Germans. And this is how it was done. The tanks went down the streets firing at targets of opportunity, which means any German or German tank or vehicles that appeared. And the Americans went through the houses on either side of the street. Yes, literally through the houses—for instead of going along the outside of the houses and risking cross-fire from the Germans within, the American troops blew holes through the sides of the houses with bazookas. That was how they made their way through the strong defence area built to protect the bridge—blowing a hole with a bazooka into a house, clearing it of Germans and going on.

Meanwhile, the tanks had discovered that sitting on one street corner was a German Tiger tank waiting for them to make their appearance. It was out of sight and protected by the houses, but one of the Sherman tanks mounting a big 17-pounder gun decided to have a shot anyway. It aimed its armour-piercing shell in the general direction of the tank. There was a great boom: the shell plunged through twelve houses and came out with a great crash, taking a large section of the last house with it. The Tiger, seeing this destruction, decided he did not like the neighbourhood so well and retreated.

At the southern end of the bridge were stationed four self-propelled German guns guarding the streets leading to the bridge area. There was nothing to do but rush them. So the tanks lined up four abreast around the corner of the wide main street leading to the bridge and, at a signal, all roared into the street firing their mortars, their heavy guns and even machine guns. The assault was so sudden and heavy that three of the self-propelled guns were knocked out before they could bring fire to bear. The fourth gun ran to safety. Between the two—the American airborne troops and the British tankmen—the south end of the bridge was seized. At first only tanks could get across the bridge because a half-dozen fanatical Germans remained high in the girders of the bridge sniping. These were soon cleaned up. Today the Nijmegen bridge is in our hands intact—a monument to the gallantry of the Americans who crossed the river and the British and airborne troops who stormed it from the south.

February 16, 2024

1970. Today's Youth and the Environmental Crisis

The Generation Gap
"New York City Earth Day crowd, April 22, 1970" (source)
Bill Downs

ABC Washington

August 13, 1970

We of the barbershop, square generation might as well face up to it. All the tortured, masochistic, and guilt-ridden adult talk about bridging the generation gap is a lot of bunk and time-wasting twaddle.

It's my generation gap, too—and I want to keep it that way, just as did my father and his father before him.

So it ill-behooves the older generations who couldn't keep themselves out of a half-dozen wars of living memory to be shocked at the antics of a small minority of young peace protestors. And for the generations which invented bootleg booze, goldfish swallowing, and the Black Bottom—their professed shock at long hair, pot parties, and adenoidal guitar pickers smacks of hypocrisy.

Parents who deplore the bas couture, low-style hobo-jungle look that is now the "thing" among the young should come off it. They should welcome the fact that junior and his sister are shopping at the Goodwill Industries and Salvation Army store. It certainly doesn't hurt the family budget.

For our money, the only group of adults who have a legitimate gripe about the bedraggled mode of the flower children are the hair stylists and barbers union. But just wait, their day will come when the pendulum returns and everyone goes on a Yul Brynner kick. In case you've forgotten when you were a younger generation: as far as youth groups are concerned, they are about as non-conformist as West Point cadets.

As a parent of two college students and one high school type, their mother and I worry—just as my parents did when I decided to leave home and work in a soap factory. But that's about all we can do, because by now we've made them what they are, and so did you.

So concerned parents may take comfort from the words of battling Margaret Mead, a venerable little lady who has fought anthropological battles across the world.

Speaking in New York on last April's Earth Day, Miss Mead had this assessment of today's younger generation:

"Young people have a sense of this planet that older people did not have when they grew up." Margaret Mead goes on to say, "They have a sense of the unity of the human race that older people had only as a dream . . . All these things are linked together . . . their feeling about the whole planet . . . about war . . . about population balance and the environment."

And Miss Mead concludes: "If we put all these things together in a new ethic . . . that ethic ought to give us the possibility of inventing the kind of scientific advances which will cope successfully with the ecological crisis mankind has inflicted on the Earth."

Margaret Mead is 68 years old. It appears it is we of the middle-aged generation and those with intellectual arthritis that she objects to. So do I.

After World War I, there was the "Lost Generation," then the Depression Generation, and after World War II the Silent Generation which, in part, fathered this present tribe of kids.

Discounting the Charles Mansons and the lunatic fringe that turns up in every age, I'm betting the flower children are going to turn out all right.

This is Bill Downs in Washington with "The Shape of One Man's Opinion," a service of ABC News.

February 13, 2024

1957. Senator Richard B. Russell Rejects Criticism of South on Civil Rights

The Civil Rights Act of 1957
"Lyndon B. Johnson (left) and Richard Russell (right) in 1963. The two Democrats were on opposing sides in the argument around the 1957 Civil Rights Act" (source)

Transcript of "Capitol Cloakroom" entered into the Congressional Record on July 10, 1957 (PDF):


(Broadcast over the CBS Radio Network, July 8, 1957, 9:30 to 10 p. m.—guest: The Honorable Richard B. Russell, United States Senate, Democrat, of Georgia—CBS news correspondents: Griffin Bancroft, Bill Downs, Paul Niven—producer: Michael Marlow)

GRIFFIN BANCROFT: Senator Russell, will there be a real showdown on civil rights?

BILL DOWNS: Senator, would this bill really punish the South?

PAUL NIVEN: Senator, would the South accept a compromise on civil rights?

BANCROFT: Senator Russell, welcome to "Capitol Cloakroom." One of the real veterans here, you have been in the United States Senate now for more than 24 years.

And right now you are the leader of the southern Senators in this current battle over civil rights. So let's start with that.

Do you think this time there will be a real showdown on civil rights?

SENATOR RUSSELL: Well, there is, of course, a very decided disposition to press this bill which is titled a civil-rights bill to a conclusion in this session of the Congress. Now we have a very attractive habit here of labeling bills, sometimes, when they don't always live up to their label.

But if you are referring to the bill that is now being discussed on the floor of the Senate, it is apparent that a very determined effort will be made to force a legislative conclusion on that measure.

BANCROFT: Well, we want to ask you what might happen on that, but first, you say whether this should properly be called a civil-rights bill.

RUSSELL: Well, in some of its aspects it is more of a force bill aimed at the customs and laws of the South that were upheld for a hundred years than it is a civil-rights bill.

It has been presented to the public generally as being a bill to assure the right to vote. But as a matter of fact that is the mildest of all the provisions of the bill.

DOWNS: Well, Senator, there was a coalition of so-called liberal Republicans and liberal northern Democrats that got this bill to the floor in the first place.

What happens to the conservative coalition among southerners and conservative Republicans under these circumstances?

RUSSELL: Well, I don't know just exactly what that term "coalition" implies. At times it seems to be used as a term of condemnation or derision.

In times past when some of the southern Democrats have voted with the Republicans not to move quite as fast in some areas as some of our Democratic Presidents would have had us to move, that's been called a coalition between southern Democrats—Mr. Reuther and his crowd always said Dixiecrats without regard to how loyal we had been to the Democratic Party—and the reactionary Republicans.

We do have a most unusual coalition this time in that the Republican leadership has joined hands with some of our very liberal friends, such as Senator Douglas and Senator Humphrey and others to force this bill to a conclusion.

But, then, politics makes strange bedfellows. In this case we undoubtedly have a game where the South is a mere pawn on the political checkerboard. The minority groups have apparently convinced the leadership of both parties that the party that is willing to wage the furthest punitive expedition into the South will win the Presidency in 1960.

NIVEN: Senator, some Republicans have charged and northern Democrats have denied that there was a deal in the voting over the procedure of the civil-rights bill and the Hells Canyon bill.

RUSSELL: Yes; I saw that in the press. If there is anything to that, I have no knowledge of it. I saw the article.

I happen to be one of the five Democrats who changed his vote on Hells Canyon. I did it because of the tax amortization feature which made it very apparent that the Federal Government was going to pay for the dam in any event. If we were going to pay for it, I thought we ought to have title to it.

NIVEN: But you did not offer and were not offered any kind of deal?

RUSSELL: No; there was no deal in any sense I know of. I hope, however, such a thing as appreciation still exists even in the Senate of the United States where any citizen. Senator finds that he can out of his heart do so to vote to make this bill a tolerable bill or a reasonable bill and not a force bill, that they will vote for amendments.

I hope that the purpose of this charge was not to frighten the true liberals in the Senate who will support, for example a jury-trial amendment.

We have a very anomalous situation when so-called liberals are trying to abolish the right of trial by jury, as is being done in this bill.

BANCROFT: Well, Senator Russell, if there was a deal made, you apparently lost it anyway, because the bill went on the calendar over your objections. 

RUSSELL: Yes; and very frankly, when I saw the coalition that was there—that I called the Knowland-Douglas-Humphrey axis—I had very little hopes of getting a majority vote. I did make a fight because I believe in orderly procedure in the Senate, by just such charges as that, that the whole and I did not think that the procedure that was followed was orderly, and we are paying If it is not a civil-rights bill, what is it? the penalty for it right now.

We put the bill on the calendar and it comes out later that there's been an error in the print of the bill that was sent over that they are undertaking to correct today.

When you get away from established precedents in the Senate, when you try to take shortcuts for temporary advantage, it nearly always brings a great deal of trouble.

BANCROFT: Well, now, coming back just one moment to this bill, President Eisenhower, who claims that this is a moderate bill and who says at least his principle desire is to protect voting rights has expressed some surprise at your statement, I believe, about how far you think this bill could go.

And there was some talk that you might have a conference with the President to talk about this. Is there any conference now set for you at the White House?

RUSSELL: Well, now you ought to go back to what you were talking about—

BANCROFT: All right.

RUSSELL: Before you get down to that.

President Eisenhower also stated that he had gotten out the bill and tried to read it and had found some of its provisions very confusing.

BANCROFT: That is right.

RUSSELL: An I may say that he has a great deal of company, because it is a very adroitly and cunningly drafted bill.

I have no comment to make on the other because I am of the old school, came up here at a time when Senators didn't go out and make an announcement they were trying to get down to the White House or were invited to the White House.

I would only say that I earnestly hope that I may have an opportunity to discuss this bill with President Eisenhower, either personally or with any legal adviser that he wants there, to show him that the right-to- vote provision in this bill is the least momentous of all its provisions.

DOWNS: Well, Senator, you said that in the case of jury trial, in demanding a jury trial in voting rights cases, for example, that this bill should contain that provision. 


DOWNS: Isn't it true, sir, that in the South, and hasn't it been proved in the South, that when you have an all-white jury voting on the rights of a Negro voter, that he doesn't have much of a chance of winning?

RUSSELL: Well, that's one of the common slanders that's been repeated against the South without a word of evidence to substantiate it. You have got any number of criminal statutes on your books now where it is made a violation of criminal law, punishable by imprisonment and fine, to interfere with the voting rights of any citizen.

Now the South is entitled to have at least threat in the bill. some proof brought forward of this charge that is repeatedly bandied that every southern white man is so irresponsible that he would forswear himself or perjure himself in a case involving a Negro citizen.

I practiced law for many years before I came into the Senate, and I did not find that to be true. And we were at least entitled, before a whole great section of this country was indicted as everyone of us being perjurers, we were at least entitled to have the Attorney General come out and say, "Here, I tried to get an indictment in this case before a grand jury for a violation of a right to vote, and I didn't get an indictment," or if "I did get an indictment," that the jury "didn't do justice."

They haven't done that; they have just gone on this wave of public sentiment, this anti-Southern feeling that has been built up by just such charges as that, that the whole white South would just forswear themselves. 

As a matter of fact, there is no great problem about the Negro voting in the South today. In my own State, and that's the only one I have personal knowledge of, there's no limitation or prohibition on the right of qualified Negroes to vote. Why in the city of Atlanta they elected a Negro over one white man to one of the most responsible of all the city positions, a member of the board of trustees for the schools. He was reelected within the past few months by white votes. And the Negroes vote there, they vote generally over the State. And this is just part of this campaign to make it appear that throughout the entire South that Negroes are denied the right to vote. It is certainly not the truth.

NIVEN: Senator, isn't there a good deal of social and economic pressure against Negroes to restrain them from voting? 

RUSSELL: I have heard that that was true in some areas. I was giving you what I know of my own knowledge in my own State. And there may be, I don't say there aren't, isolated instances where Negroes are denied the right to vote—in every State of this Union you've got wards and communities and counties where you have got so-called courthouse gangs, and they deny some white people as well as some Negroes the right to vote if they don't belong to that gang.

But we have got criminal statutes to punish that, and why doesn't the Attorney General invoke them before coming in here and making a blanket indictment of the South, "The white man in the South is so venomous against the Negro that he won't do justice." For that is not true.

The relations between the races in the South have been gravely disturbed in the last 2 or 3 years; but until that time there had never been any place in all the history of human civilization where two races so equal in number had started out with the disparity that there was between them—one coming out of slavery—and had made the progress over the period of 80 years that has been made in the South.

The white South should be commended for what they have done. They have taxed themselves even in the desolation of destruction following the Civil War to create schools. And for a hundred years, under the protection of the law, they have paid taxes and bonded themselves to build separate but equal schools for the white and colored people.

And that's the purpose of this bill, to forcibly commingle the white and Negro children of the South in the schools. This voting business is all a smokescreen for that vicious provision of the bill—and not only in the schools, but in all our places of public entertainment.

NIVEN: Well, Senator, you and other southern Democratic Senators are now emphasizing the segregation—this integration threat in the bill.

The bill was debated for about a week in the House and the southerners there did not place great emphasis on this, they seemed to debate the bill on its open merits.

RUSSELL: Well, I of course don't know what took place over there. They perhaps were taken in by this campaign that it was just a voting bill. I haven't read the debate in the House. I did read the bill here. I spent the better part of 3 days with about 40 law books running down this cunningly contrived bill. And I leave it up to you and your personal attorneys, right now, to take the remarks that I made in the Senate last Tuesday on this bill and take this bill and if he doesn't come up and tell you that it can be used as a force bill to bring the whole might of the United States Government to bear to integrate the schools of the South, why you'd better get you another lawyer.

It's very clear, when you run it down.

BANCROFT: Senator Russell, it seems to me you go a little further than that. You say that not only can it do that, but that that was the intention of those who sponsored the bill.

RUSSELL: Undoubtedly. This section, this part—

BANCROFT: Well then, whom do you—

RUSSELL: I don't know who drafted this bill.

BANCROFT: Accuse of doing this? Do you think Attorney General Brownell

RUSSELL: I don't know whether—

BANCROFT: Deliberately brought in a bill that goes—

RUSSELL: Mr. Brownell knew what was in this bill or not. I am confident that he didn't draft it. But I would certainly like to meet the man who did draft it because it is a masterpiece of obscuring the purpose.

BANCROFT: If this is a deliberate plot, who do you think was—

RUSSELL: I don't know who is responsible for it. But I assert unhesitatingly that this part 3 of the bill was drawn for the express purpose of obscuring a vast grant of power to destroy any system of separation of the races in the South.

And I will say that after the people of the South have known no other way of life, no other social order for a hundred years, this is a monstrous proposal to come in and to ask for any such grant of power as that over night.

This condition wasn't changed by an act of Congress, where it was debated, people had an opportunity to see what was said and discuss it themselves—it came through a decision of the Supreme Court, based on a book by the Swedish Socialist who said that our Constitution is a plot against the common people of the United States. And it came overnight—like that—with no preparation.

BANCROFT: This is the Supreme Court school segregation decision you are talking about?

RUSSELL: Yes, this bill proposes to enforce judicial law, a law that has been written by the courts rather than legislative law, a law that's been written by the Congress, that's what it does.

DOWNS: Senator, you also expressed I think last week the fear or prediction that American troops could be used.

RUSSELL: Why this bill is tied in with one of your old reconstruction statutes that was passed by Sumner and Stephens when they set out, as they said themselves, to put black heels on white necks in the South. The criminal counterpart of this civil statute was stricken down by the Supreme Court declaring that it was passed by an impassioned Congress at a time when the Southern States were being treated as conquered provinces.

And yet that is the law that it skillfully ties into without being apparent on its face. Why didn't they write out in this bill what they propose to do where we could read it, instead of saying "section 1895," and then having that section refer to section 1993, where it requires a lawyer who is a jigsaw puzzle expert to put it all together to see exactly what it does?

But you will see that the real lawyers of this Senate will not refute one iota of what I said when they have studied this bill, and I care not which side of it they're on. They may say "We don't intend to do it," but they won't say it can't be done.

"Supporters campaign at the 1952 Democratic National Convention for the presidential nomination of Richard B. Russell Jr." (source)

NIVEN: Senator, can you imagine Federal troops actually being sent into the South?

RUSSELL:  I certainly can. I certainly can. When they can make such a political pawn out of the South, as has been done now, and where they can—when men are seeking political preferment, they make all kinds of commitments, and I can very readily see that Federal troops could be sent into the South to enforce—why we have had troops and tanks at two schoolhouses in the South already, without this law.

DOWNS: That was National Guard troops.

RUSSELL: Yes, that's true. But you're just as dead if you're shot by a tank bullet from a National Guard man as if you were shot by a regular or a marine.

DOWNS: Senator Russell, in answer to my question you said that you do believe, then, that this bill is really designed to punish the South?

RUSSELL: I have no question about it. Now I don't know why they take such an admonitory attitude toward the South, as if we were a group of wild and uncivilized people. Some of them feel that they are doing a very meritorious thing. to resort to any means to force the South to conform to what the rest of the Nation thinks is the proper social order for the South.

Well, this is a great Nation of ours—

NIVEN: Senator, I want—

RUSSELL: If a man wants to move from one State to another, if the southern people want their children in integrated schools, it's mighty easy to move to a State where they have them; they are not more than 300 miles away from anywhere in the South. If any other person preferred for his child to go to school with children of his own race, why, he might move to the South. Then he'd be safe for the time being, until this bill passes and is enforced.

DOWNS: Don't you believe, sir, that the social order in the South has changed and is changing?

RUSSELL: Oh, of course, it has, and is. But it has happened through a process of evolution, and this proposes to enforce a revolution on the South and to drive men. There's a great deal of difference between leading and in driving or letting people themselves lead and drive.

We have made great progress in the South. Why, in the voting, not in my time have there been any restrictions on Negroes in general elections in the South, but we did have a law for a long time that they couldn't vote in the Democratic primaries. Now that's all been done away with, and they do vote; there's no longer a white primary. We have moved forward very rapidly when you consider the full impact of it.

It's all well and good for a man that lives in a State where it is 98 percent white and 2 percent Negro to say, "Why, where is this problem? There's nothing to it." Let him go to a State where they are nearly equal in numbers, where the races in communities are about equal in numbers, and then undertake to enforce overnight such a bill as this.

NIVEN: Senator, the colored leaders reply that, despite this evolution and this progress, large numbers of them are still denied a right which they have been guaranteed by the Constitution for 90 years.

RUSSELL: You mean the right to be in integrated schools?

NIVEN: The right to vote.

RUSSELL: Well, the Supreme Court said that for 90 years they had been denied right that they were entitled to be in integrated schools. The Constitution hadn't changed; the complexion of the Court has changed.

And I deny that statement as to voting. At least, as far as the greater portion of the South is concerned, there is there is no real limitation or restriction on the right of qualified Negroes to vote.

DOWNS: Well, the qualifications, sir—

RUSSELL: You can come to my State when they are having an election and see them; they are lined up there for blocks to go and vote, and their votes are counted just like anyone else.

NIVEN: Well, Senator, would you concede that qualification has been interpreted differently for white and colored persons?

RUSSELL: I have heard that, but I don't concede it—no; I don't concede it, generally, in my State; no. There may be areas where it has been, small communities, it is probably true.

NIVEN: Well, why don't Negroes vote in larger numbers, then?

RUSSELL: Well, they vote in—we have practically 225,000 registered in Georgia, and they vote. Perhaps in some of the elections they have a higher percentage voting than white people.

Oh, you pillory the South by giving the figures voting in a general election and saying only 45 percent of the people voted. But as a matter of fact we have had the one-party system in the South, and our people vote in the primaries. And you compare the vote in the primaries, when we really settle our election, and it's not too much behind the rest of the country. But we don't vote in the general election because everything has been settled in the primary.

But that's the figures they always give you, just 45 percent here in the general election.

NIVEN: But the percentage of Negro voting is not anywhere near as high as the percentage of whites voting: is it?

RUSSELL: No; because there are a great many more white people in my State than there are Negroes. We have about 2,300,000 white people and about 1,200,000 Negroes.

NIVEN: Isn't that a proportionate basis?

RUSSELL: Well, that may be slightly true. I concede that, because they haven't been voting long. They haven't been voting too long. We only abolished the poll tax in Georgia about 10, 11 years ago.

But where can the Attorney General come in and say, "In Georgia they violated the criminal law by denying this man, Bill Jones, the right to vote"? And he should do it and prove, "I tried to indict and I tried to convict before a jury," before you come in and indict the whole State of Georgia and say we have deprived the Negro of his right to vote illegally.

NIVEN: Sir, is it your case that until recently there were impediments in the way of the Negro voting?

RUSSELL: Of course there were in voting in the primary. I explained that a while ago. They could vote in the general election, but it didn't mean anything because the man who was nominated in the primary was going to win the general election. That may be a mistake, we may have—should have been a two-party State. I sometimes think that we would have fared much better if we had been.

BANCROFT: Senator Russell, I wonder if I could explore a moment what's apt to happen here on the floor of the Senate.

You are leading this strategy. And the motion made today, of course, is a motion to take up the bill.


BANCROFT: Which, if it prevails, would of course be followed by the discussion and the motion to pass or to act on the bill and amendments. There has been some talk that you might not filibuster or unduly prolong and defeat a vote on the motion to take up. How about that?

RUSSELL: Well, Mr. Bancroft, I intend to act as each circumstance presents itself and as this matter unfolds in such a way that I think will cause us to be able to get our maximum strength for the amendments to this bill that will see that it is a right-to-vote bill instead of a punitive bill against the South.

BANCROFT: Well, now, on that, Senator Russell, an amendment cannot be offered or acted upon—

RUSSELL: Oh, no.

BANCROFT: Until after this motion to take up the bill acted on.

RUSSELL: We are now debating this bill strictly on its merits. There is no part of this discussion that consists of reading long papers, the ordinary earmark of a filibuster.

BANCROFT: Well, I'm trying to find out if and when—

RUSSELL: I'm not prepared to say just when we'll let the bill be made the unfinished business. We want to discuss it. We have found that there are a number of Senators who have been busy with other matters and didn't really understand the full impact of this bill.

I want the situation in the Senate to jell a little where we can see just where we are going with these different amendments.

BANCROFT: Well, then, after it has jelled a little, then presumably you will allow a vote to take place on the motion to take up?

RUSSELL: Oh, I think the Senate will vote on amendments to this bill.

BANCROFT: On the motion to take up, first? And—

RUSSELL: I think the Senate will vote on amendments to this bill.

BANCROFT: Then to vote on amendments?

RUSSELL: Well, I'm not prepared to say just when, but I'm very confident that it will.

DOWNS: Senator, you indicated strongly that this is a political measure—

RUSSELL: Yes; I feel that strongly.

DOWNS: Being presented by a coalition of Democrats and Republicans, and then—

RUSSELL: I feel this—

DOWNS: Also you said perhaps it would be a good thing if the South did have a two-party system.

Do you think that your opposition to the bill, Democratic opposition to the bill might strengthen the Republican Party in the South?

RUSSELL: No; not when the Republican Party is furnishing more votes for this particular bill than the Democratic Party is in the Senate. I don't think that it would. I was talking about we would have been in a better bargaining position if we had not all been tied up in what's called the Southern Democratic Group.

As it is now, the minority groups outside the South, though they are relatively small in numbers compared to the voting strength of the white South, they can go to the political leaders there and convince them that these elections depend on their action in these doubtful States.

And by having had strictly a one-party political system in the South, I think we have denied ourselves a similar bargaining power.

But the Republicans, of course, are going at it in a very poor way to improve their position by putting more votes behind this force bill than the Democratic side of the aisle, here in the Senate.

DOWNS: Well, what do you think the general outcome, say, in next year's elections will be as a result of this debate?

RUSSELL: Well, I couldn't say—my crystal ball is not that good. I can't pass on what it will do.

I don't believe that the great mass of the American people favor extreme measures—we are all in favor of civil rights, everybody is in favor of civil rights.

The question is, where do my rights end and where do yours intervene? That's the question that's involved here, wholly aside from this voting proposition and this separation of the races. And they put a tag on it and call it civil rights.

But if this bill were explained to the American people, there is no doubt in my mind that an appeal from the politicians to the people would be sustained and that the American people would vote down this bill in a referendum, because it is a very unfair piece of legislation.

NIVEN: Senator, can you project any kind of compromise on this bill that would be acceptable to you?

RUSSELL: Well, I would have to see it. I would have to see it. I am perfectly willing to entertain any ideas that any responsible leader of those that are pressing this bill might care to discuss. I do resent this whole theory of the bill that the South needs a guardian in the person of the Attorney General.

Now if there is any one State where the Negro is denied the right to vote, you have got clauses in the Constitution guaranteeing a republican form of government. Apply that without coming in here and abolishing the right of jury trial and tying it into the force bills of reconstruction so you will have the power to bring the Armed Forces of the United States to bear on the southern people.

We—the country as a whole doesn't realize what we have gone through with in this whole period. We have been a very poor people. It was from 1940, 80 years after 1880, until the tax values of my State got back to where they were, prior to the great fratricidal war.

And we have taxed ourselves, taxed our poverty heavier proportionately than any other section of the country to try to carry on this separate but equal system of education. And you can get your statistics and you will see that the tax according to wealth has been heavier in the Southern States than anywhere else for education.

We don't like to be threatened with this kind of force legislation.

NIVEN: You may recall that a national poll a couple of years ago found that 55 percent of Southern whites expected that integration in public schools would eventually take place. Would you agree with that?

RUSSELL: I didn't see it, but I am not in a position to challenge your statement because I don't know. I didn't understand your question.

NIVEN: Apart from your preferences in the matter, do you feel that school integration is inevitable in the long run?

RUSSELL: Well, forever is a long time. In the foreseeable future I don't see any integration of the schools in my State, particularly with this force legislation, because you can badger and arrest and bait people until they get in a frame of mind to close down the schools before they will do it.

BANCROFT: Senator Russell, you said that amendments, in your opinion, amendments to this bill would be voted on, and I—


BANCROFT: Presume you think some would be accepted?

RUSSELL: Well, I would certainly devoutly hope so. If it is not amended it will be the worst piece of legislation ever considered.

BANCROFT: Now I presume one would be the jury trial amendment, for example, the one that was defeated in the House?

RUSSELL: Yes, and the one to strike part 3 of this bill, the force provision. It is not related to the right to vote.

BANCROFT: In other words, Senator,that would leave in it simply the provision for a civil-rights commission and a new division in the Department of Justice?

RUSSELL: Yes. Of course, that's a rather unusual provision.

BANCROFT: Would you accept that much of the bill?

RUSSELL: No; I wouldn't be prepared to vote for a bill that was such a reflection on the people of Georgia as I deem this one.

BANCROFT: In other words, no matter how many amendments are adopted you still won't vote for this bill?

RUSSELL: Oh, I didn't say that, now. You just narrowed it down. You just narrowed it down to—in the first place, this bill is wrong in policy. Here you have got a proposal that you are going to establish an entirely new division in the Department of Justice to take up all these cases, whether a man wants it done or not, and do it at Government expense.

Now the National Colored People Association and their kindred organizations have had no difficulty at all in getting up money to bring all these lawsuits.

You are starting a new system there, and the next thing you are going to do is to have some system where labor will be able to have a division in the Department of Justice to enforce their rights on employers at the expense of the Government, or vice versa, and in other fields. I don't approve of that.

I could not support such a measure. I think it is wrong in policy where a man is able to hire a lawyer, to say because it is a certain kind of case that the Attorney General can proceed at the taxpayers' expense whether the man involved wants him to or not. I don't approve of that general philosophy.

BANCROFT: Well, I'm afraid that's all the time we have, and Senator Russell, we want to thank you very, very much for being with us on Capitol Cloakroom, and we will watch with interest to see what happens down there on the floor of the Senate.

Thank you, sir.