Communist China was born of a struggle not only between two rival factions or two opposing political conceptions, but between the 85 per cent of Chinese who wanted to be sure of getting their daily bowl of rice and the 15 per cent who, supported by foreign capital, wanted to go on living in luxury at the expense of the others. Anyway, Americans cannot with good grace complain if the Chinese decided to take seriously their denunciations of colonialism and poverty….
Whether we like it or not, there is leadership, a plan, and a determination hitherto unknown. Collective action, organized and directed by a centralized executive, draws upon the potential energies of 425,000,000 human beings. Nothing comparable has happened in China for 800 years.
–J. Alvarez del Vayo, March 6, 1954
Colonialism is evil. Not liking evil, we do not choose to remain colonials forever and be forever exploited, overtly or covertly. We want liberty. Count Leo Tolstoy wrote: “I sit on a man’s back, choking him and making him carry me and yet assure myself and others that I am very sorry for him and wish to ease his lot by all possible means–except by getting off his back.” What a fitting description of the relationship between the peoples of Africa and Europe!
–M.O.M. Maduagwu, “Africa: The Last Stronghold,” January 1, 1955
The Cohorts of Fear
The vitality of American liberalism is not to be measured by the volume of indignation directed against McCarthyism or against the outpouring of ex-Communists bent on expiating their past sins. It is easy to attack such inviting targets…[and] many a liberal or independent radical feels his job is done when he lands a direct hit on either one…. As for the refugees from the far left, the harm they do is just as grave, for they clothe their fanaticism in the lingo of liberalism and, like all psychotics, seek the destruction of what they fear within themselves…. From both–but from the McCarthys in particular–stems also the epidemic of official timidity that has turned too many liberal public men into cringing facsimiles of their enemies on the right.
–Freda Kirchwey, April 14, 1951
Liberation by Death
The Korean War forced a revision of the magazine’s World War II position on the relative value and morality of air war.
Some day soon the American mind, mercurial and impulsive, tough and tender, is going to react against the horrors of mechanized warfare in Korea. It will take time. We were all hardened by the methods of mass-slaughter practiced first by the Germans and Japanese and then, in self-defense, adopted and developed to the pitch of perfection illustrated at Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the Western allies and, particularly, the Americans. We became accustomed to “area” bombing, “saturation” bombing, all the hideous forms of strategic air war aimed at wiping out not only military and industrial installations but whole populations. By the time the first atom bomb burst over Hiroshima it was possible to still the sharp voice of warning, and even the anxious whisper of conscience, by calculating the greater numbers that would have died if the bomb had not been dropped. The calculations, as it turned out, were probably wrong; but even if they were not, something else was.