Freda Utley, America First member and ex-Communist, argues the isolationist case against US involvement in WWII
Freda Utley is one of those writers who was incredibly popular during their day, but whose relevance and name recognition has largely faded as the decades have passed. This is somewhat unfortunate in Utley’s case, because her life was varied and fascinating, and she wrote a number of significant works on Asia, communism, and fascism which deserve to be remembered. Utley’s early background was progressive, middle-class, and solidly English. The financial difficulties the family experienced after her father passed away in 1918 helped lead Utley, already an idealistic young woman, into socialism – first as a member of the Independent Labour Party, then from 1927 as a passionate activist for the British Communist Party, and eventually as a paid employee of the Comintern. In 1930 she and her husband (Arcadi Berdichevsky, a Russian Jew and Soviet functionary), moved to Moscow permanently, and it was here that Utley’s slowly-blooming disillusionment with Communism became overwhelming. Utley’s firsthand experiences of Soviet poverty, corruption, inefficiency, and ultimately terror (her husband was arrested and sent to Siberia in 1936) led her to leave the USSR, eventually settling in America, where her reputation as a writer saw her become something of a minor celebrity for a time, rubbing shoulders with figures like Eleanor Roosevelt and Cornelius Starr. Yet Utley’s reawakened liberal principles, fostered via direct experience under totalitarianism, led her down some controversial avenues as WWII commenced. Utley’s view at that time was that the Soviet Union was the most totalizing dictatorship in existence, and therefore stood as the greatest enemy to human liberty. Hitlerism, while still villainous, was also clearly the lesser of two evils, and a negotiated peace with Germany was thus essential in order to save Britain from destruction and to prevent Europe’s domination under a “monolithic Communist empire.” This stance naturally brought Utley into the isolationist camp, and thereby under the wing of the America First Committee; articles like the one transcribed below, from October 1941, provide a good summation of her position during this period (although perhaps some of the arguments are not quite so convincing with the benefit of hindsight). This particular article was distributed in hundreds of thousands of copies by America First, and helped make Utley’s name as an anti-war campaigner. It also caused her considerable trouble in trying to attain American citizenship, being directly cited by US authorities (along with Utley’s Communist past) as evidence that the author was a hostile enemy alien.
An Englishwoman Pleads:
Must the World Destroy Itself?
First published in Common Sense, August, 1941, under the title “God Save England From Her Friends.” This revised version was transcribed from the The Reader’s Digest of October, 1941, vol.39, no.234.
FREDA UTLEY, well known as an author and lecturer on three continents, has firsthand knowledge of the world’s present battlefronts. As correspondent for the London News Chronicle she covered Japan’s war against China. For six years she lived in Russia, a convinced believer in the Soviet experiment, and labored as a government official in the Comintern, the Commissariat of Foreign Trade and the Institute of World Economy and Politics. Her resulting complete disillusionment with the Communist Utopia is graphically described in her recent book, The Dream We Lost. Coming to America, Miss Utley has devoted herself to publicizing the truth about Communism as it was revealed to her in Moscow. Among her other books are Japan’s Feet of Clay, Lancashire and the Far East and China at War. Miss Utley was born in The Temple, London. Her father came from the little village of Utley, in Yorkshire, named for the family. He was able to trace his ancestry back to the conquest of Britain by the Vikings. The author asked to revise and expand this article for The Reader’s Digest.
A year hence it may seem to most English people that England’s friends in the United States were more dangerous to her than those Americans called isolationists. For too many American friends of Britain, swayed entirely by their emotions, refuse to consider England’s present situation realistically. They speak as if the defeat of Germany were a foregone conclusion, simply because the Americans have decided upon it. Would-be saviors, not only of Britain and her Empire, but of the whole world, they exhort the British not to give up the fight “until Hitlerism is destroyed,” although by now it should be obvious to any keen observer that England cannot reconquer the Continent of Europe. Yet anyone who dares to face such facts is denounced as an appeaser, or worse.
In England, forums of intelligent citizens debate the terms of the eventual compromise peace. Yet so fearful are Americans of being called defeatists or appeasers that hardly anyone in this country will admit that the best chance of saving both England and some democracy in the world is for the United States to back England at the proper moment in a negotiated peace, before the balance of forces turns itself yet more heavily in Germany’s favor.
Being an Englishwoman, I hope fervently, of course, that the United States will continue all-out aid to England. For the defeat of England would be a catastrophic disaster for America. But I hope Americans will realize that in due season the United States must be prepared to back England in negotiating peace. It is time that Americans of good will and intelligence discuss realistically the pros and cons of a not too distant peace without letting wishful thinking obscure their judgement.
Take first the question of war supplies. Many people imagine that Britain, by her stupendous efforts since Dunkirk, is catching up with Germany in armament production, and that the mighty industrial power of the United States will soon enable her to achieve decisive superiority. Yet it seems more probable that Germany has actually been getting about twice as much in the way of war material out of occupied France as Britain has been getting from the United States; while, as regards British production, it is manifestly incapable of matching Germany’s. Because of Germany’s tremendous head start – by many years – not even the thousands of planes to come from American factories in 1942 and 1943 can give England enough superiority to win the war. And after all, what sense does it make for nations to concentrate all their power on the single aim of destroying each other when neither side can win complete victory?
Next, consider the question of manpower. “The Germans,” General Sir Archibald Wavell said recently, “must be beaten on their own soil, exactly the way Napoleon was beaten. And if that is the way it is to turn out, we certainly are going to need American manpower, just as we did in the last war.” The other outstanding British general in this war, Auchinleck, has similarly stated that American manpower is essential. General de Gaulle has publicly given an identical opinion. Competent military authority attests that at least six or seven million American soldiers would be needed for the job. But is there any evidence to support the supposition that the American people would submit voluntarily to a sufficiently drastic curtailment of their standard of living to make possible the equipment of such a gigantic expeditionary force, and the building of the huge quantity of ship-tonnage necessary to transport it across the Atlantic and supply it, while also keeping England going with war supplies until the war is fought to a finish?
If Americans felt that their own country were to be invaded, they would no doubt make every necessary sacrifice; but no amount of propaganda and exhortation has so far been able to convince them that such is the case. The interventionists have proceeded on the assumption – without seeming to note the obvious contradiction – that England cannot be invaded by Germany across 2 miles of water, but that the United States can be invaded by Germany across 3000 miles of ocean; and that the United States can conquer Hitler now if she declares war, but that she can’t defend herself against him if she doesn’t.
The great majority of Americans, however, remain skeptical of the proposition. They ask this embarrassing question: If Hitler can invade America across 3000 miles of ocean – should she be able to capture the British navy as the interventionists insist – why cannot England, which already has the British navy, and boasts of 3,000,000 men under arms, invade the Continent of Europe across 22 miles of channel?
Germany is engaged in a desperate struggle with Russia on her other frontier; yet England does not move. What is the answer? Simply this: If this war has proved anything, it has established the fact that no naval power, however strong, can force a landing on a hostile shore adequately defended by armies, guns, and land-based air-power. Knowing this, the American people have not been taken in. Instead, the most recent Gallup poll (August 17) shows that 83 percent are opposed to the sending of an American expeditionary force to Europe.
But even if we assume that the American people will eventually be persuaded to attempt the conquest of Europe, what prospect is there that such full-scale participation would defeat Germany? Russia had millions of fully-trained soldiers right on the German borders – they did not have to be transported or supplied by ships. Russia had more planes, more tanks, more big guns than the United States will have by 1943. For 12 years the U.S.S.R. had concentrated the whole of her economy on armaments, her people forced to endure the hardest privations by a dictator using the most ruthless methods of compulsion. Yet all this gigantic armament, all these millions of men, all this aid flung in on Britain’s side at the scene of conflict, is not proving sufficient to open the way for a British invasion of the Continent. If England and Russia together thus make no important impression on the Nazi military machine, how can we assume that England and America together – the latter 3000 miles away from Europe – will be able to put troops ashore in Europe and defeat Hitler?
Wishful thinkers will reply that an American expeditionary force will not be needed, that Germany can be defeated by unlimited bombing, until civilian morale is shattered. The answer to this was recently supplied by Bernard Shaw when he pointed out that the wholesale bombing of cities, whether in Germany or Britain, does not destroy morale but instead improves it, for it makes a people fighting mad. The German bombing of England, as we all know, has made Englishmen more determined than ever to carry on; and nothing in history justifies the assumption that the German people are less tough than the British. Even the poor, unwarlike Chinese, without airplanes or anti-aircraft guns to protect them, have not been bombed into submission by Japan. Nor were the Spanish driven to surrender in bomb-torn Barcelona. Recently Lord Beaverbrook himself stated emphatically that he did not believe the British could count upon victory simply by air attack.
As for those who imagine that, merely by offering the German people vague promises and platitudes of a better world after the war, Hitler can be overthrown by a revolution of dissidents from within, let them remember that the German people down to the last man believe that they are fighting for their very existence. Moreover, they remember that after 1918, when the Germans were disarmed and helpless, their conquerors did not live up to solemn promises. The German people today fear a vengeful super-Versailles as the penalty of defeat, and even Hitler’s bitterest enemies in Germany will fight to prevent that.
The stubborn nature of Russia’s current defense is in itself proof that hatred of a tyranny which rules a people does not stop them from fighting for their country; for certainly Stalin is no less hated than Hitler, the Russian people having suffered an even worse fate at Stalin’s hands than have the Germans under Nazidom.
Again, we are told that, if Europe is hermetically blockaded, starvation and distress will cause Hitler’s victims in the occupied countries to rise up against the Nazis and to fight them with their bare hands. Unfortunately this is not the lesson of history. When the conquered starve they do not become heroes, especially in the face of modern weapons of war. Men who see their children dying of hunger are more likely to accept slavery for bread than to rise in rebellion.
Finally, it may be well to recollect that the wishful thinkers, who now tell us that Germany can be conquered by these other-than-orthodox military means, have been proved tragically wrong in their past judgements. When the war began, they were certain that Germany would soon collapse from within on account of the hatred of the people for the Nazi regime. They insisted the Maginot Line was impregnable, that the German army lacked trained officers, that Germany lacked oil, iron and supplies, and today they are confident that Russia will fight on indefinitely. They must learn before it is too late that this war cannot be won by words, or economic blockades, or the building of unlimited numbers of bombing planes; only superior armed might, on the actual field of battle, can overcome the German war machine.
Most certainly England will never be able to do the job alone. Is England, then, to fight on, at the risk of losing all without hope of total victory? Or should those Americans who wish to save her face the facts and, at a favourable moment, seek a peace which would salvage from the ruins of Europe as much as may be possible under existing circumstances? Are not Americans doing an incalculable harm not only to Britain but also to themselves by refusing to face these grim realities of the situation? Remember that if England is encouraged by her friends to reject any thought of peace until Germany is destroyed, and to risk defeat without hope of victory, she may yet find herself in France’s position – forced to turn against her friends in order to exist. Is not the surest guarantee of America’s future safety to be found in a peace which would preserve England’s sovereignty and that of her Dominions?
To those who reply to every rational argument for a negotiated peace with the phrase that “You can’t trust Hitler,” I say: “Granted – and a thousand times so!” Instead, we must rely upon our own strength and upon the superiority of our own social and economic systems. A fully armed America and a reformed and rejuvenated British Empire would be strong enough to maintain the integrity of our territories and spheres of influence. If we can keep better than half the world free from Hitler, we shall in the future be more than a match for a German Empire wasting its strength on the gigantic task of making slaves productive.
For America and Britain to remain two out of four great powers would seem far easier and surer of attainment than for America and Britain to destroy Germany and Japan and to make themselves the sole two great powers in the world. To say that Britain and America can remain great powers only if they make themselves the sole two great powers in the world is to argue against all the precedents and experience of the past. If America and Britain cannot hold their own as equals of Germany and Japan in the future, they certainly cannot defeat Germany and Japan at present.
And what peace terms can we have? Although the United States is not in a position to give victory to England, her potential influence is so enormous that by placing herself unequivocally behind Britain, but not insisting on the impossible aim of freeing the Continent of Europe by war, she could in all probability force Germany to make a peace of equals with Britain.
The common idea that the fear of America is so great in Germany that an American declaration of war would lead to an internal German collapse is of course fantastic; but it would seem true that the Germans are sufficiently doubtful of their ability to win a war against the United States – as distinct from their fear of losing it – as to make it almost certain that an American offer to mediate peace on the basis of hands-off-Britain-and-her-Empire would have such an effect in Germany as to force Hitler to negotiate. The desire for peace with England which exists even in the ranks of the Nazi party was strikingly proved by Hess’s spectacular flight to England. As William Shirer shows in his Berlin Diary, written on the spot, so long as the Nazis can say that the war goes on because England refuses to make peace, and that Germans are fighting for their very lives, their hold on the people cannot be weakened.
But unfortunately for England, and for the whole world, most Americans have not realized how great is their influence. Half in and half out of Europe, they have been saying that they shouldn’t be compelled to fight again in Europe’s wars, and yet insist that Europeans should continue to fight among themselves even at the cost of the ruin of both Europe and England. Hence, Britain is today in a position in which she is not only practically compelled by American interventionist opinion to continue indefinitely “fighting for the right” – and to the bitter end – against unsurmountable odds, but is also still told by the overwhelming majority of the American people that no American blood is to be shed on European battlefields. And since only wholehearted American support can enable Britain to survive, she cannot afford to alienate American opinion by any suggestion that she may eventually be compelled to make a peace which, although it would leave the Continent of Europe under German domination, would at least save Britain and her Empire. Only an Englishwoman like myself dares make this statement.
As an Englishwoman, I hope that the United States will not unwittingly play toward England the same role that England found herself playing toward Poland and Norway, Greece, and Jugoslavia. I hope that America. will not promise aid which she will not be in a position to give for years, and bring England into a position in which all is lost when much might have been saved. There are times when there is only a choice of evils, and today the evil of accepting the fact of Nazi domination of continental Europe is less than the evil which is likely to result from encouraging England to continue indefinitely a hopeless fight until English liberties also are destroyed – either from without from within.
If English policy is to be as realistic and intelligent and as free from outside interference as it was in the days of Napoleon, Britain will eventually compromise with Hitler, just as she compromised with the “Corsican ogre” in 1802.
For what will it profit England to have held but against Hitler, and to be able to inflict upon the Germans the same sufferings she herself is enduring, if all her sacrifices cannot give her victory, and if in the meantime her trade, her productive plant, her very lifeblood have been destroyed? Wishful thinkers may reply that she will at least have preserved her freedom. But is even this sure? Is it likely that an England suffering the universal impoverishment brought about by total war would escape the fate of Germany after the last war? It is hard to see how our liberal and humanitarian values can survive the aftermath of a long and increasingly bitter war.
Can we expect that there is some peculiar virtue in the Anglo-Saxon peoples which will prevent them from reacting from great feat, misery and privation differently from other people? Tolerance and moderation, respect for law and the rights of individuals – these qualities cannot long survive a war which demands the same regimentation of men’s bodies and minds as has been instituted in Nazi Germany, nor are they likely to survive even a victory which had bled Britain white, destroyed her cities, and created economic problems insoluble by democratic means.
Britain is less a part of Europe than a great world Empire, and is not necessarily doomed if she cuts herself off from the Continent of Europe as a few men like Lord Lothian and Lord Beaverbrook wished her to do before the war began.
Out of universal war on the total scale no good can come, only perhaps an even worse, or a more universal, evil than Hitlerism. But there is at least some hope that, with peace, the foundations of Hitler’s tyranny may be destroyed. The German people are of the same flesh and blood as ourselves and must yearn for something else in life besides sacrifices and death, bloody glory, and the hatred of their neighbors. The universal testimony is that the older Nazi soldiers – the married men – in the occupied countries are restless and want peace. German morale, which alone can preserve the German Reich, will not endure if Hitler’s promise of a peaceful, prosperous and better-ordered world fails to materialize.
It is possible to hope that, after her victories have wiped out the memory of past defeats, national humiliation, and the material privations of the past quarter of a century, and once she has no cause to envy the great territorial possessions of Britain and France, Germany may rid herself of the gangsters who now rule her, and revert to the civilized values which alone can give a people permanent satisfaction. The prospect is less hopeless than continuation of the war until there is universal wretchedness and despair.
While the disarmed millions in the occupied countries cannot revolt, the German people may find means of changing their government. There is the reasonable hope that her leaders, bloody-minded men, may divide. In war the Nazis go from strength to strength, for their power is founded upon the emotions which war breeds. Peace might give a chance to other elements in Germany to assert themselves. The army may transfer its allegiance to new leaders when peace shall have brought the Germans to think as citizens rather than as soldiers. This happened in both Germany and Russia after the last war.
Perhaps it is an unconscious realization of all these real factors which is keeping the American people from participation in the war as belligerents. The last war having resulted in the destruction of democracy over all Europe east of the Rhine, there is now an underlying distrust among Americans as to the possibility of saving democracy by once again sacrificing millions of young men in Europe’s wars. The idea was well expressed by the late Lord Lothian: “The lesson of the last war is that we get neither democracy, nor liberty, nor peace out of a world war, however noble the end for which it is fought.”
Excellent, this is another outstanding ARPLAN Blog Post where your research coincides with my own. Coming from an American perspective, I can attest to the historical fact that most Americans in the early 20th century were reluctant about entering the two World Wars. The American First Committee document reflects that general sentiment, but it does not provide us with precise clues as to why the American people eventually decided to intervene in both World Wars. Just going by the context in which the document was written, we do not need to cite the Pearl Harbor attacks that would later happen two months later in December 1941 as evidence. Instead, we need to investigate the broader historical and social trends among the American people during the early 20th century in order to understand why they were willing to impose Thomas Jefferson’s Empire of Liberty on Europe and Asia, its post-1945 Liberal Capitalist legacy thriving throughout the Cold War and surviving (albeit in a state of decline nowadays) as the Liberal International Economic Order (LIEO). To understand American Isolationism and Internationalism is to realize why both are two halves of the same Jeffersonian whole.
By the early 20th century (which is your area of research), Jeffersonianism continued to go unchallenged after having prevailed against Alexander Hamilton and the Federalist Party a century earlier. It had already claimed a unilateral American hegemony over South America thanks to one of Jefferson’s two protégés, James Monroe, introducing the Monroe Doctrine. But it was until around World War I under the Jeffersonian Woodrow Wilson that America exhibited both Isolationism and Internationalism at the same time. The last time this occurred was during the Napoleonic Wars, when Jefferson and his protégés James Madison and Monroe were Presidents. It does not matter if the year is 1801, 1811, 1921, 1941, 1991, 2001, or 2021; most Americans and non-Americans alike remain unaware of the historical significance.
Why does Jeffersonianism exhibit its Internationalist and Isolationist tendencies? Isolationism began as a domestic policy, rather than as a foreign policy.
The earliest example came in the 1790s, when Hamilton proposed waging a trade war against the British Empire and protecting American industries from British technology theft and industrial espionage (which did in fact happen in those days) to George Washington. American historians have long claimed that Hamilton was a so-called ‘Anglophile’ and Jefferson as a ‘Francophile’, but why did Jefferson, a man who seriously hated the British, not agree with Hamilton’s proposal? In essence, the endeavor contradicted Jefferson’s ideal of America being an agrarian utopia, its Isolationist tendencies driven by Americans being nothing more than complacent, ignorant consumers and producers. Seen in this light, America becomes an island unto itself, and it is that mentality which provided the convenient pretexts for Jeffersonian Internationalism in the sinking of the USS Maine and the Lusitania, Pearl Harbor, the Tonkin Gulf Incident and 9/11.
The Internationalist tendencies emerged as part of Jefferson’s desires to impose on all of humanity his Empire of Liberty, an ambition that he had as early as 1780 at the height of the Revolutionary War. It finally came into being when he, Madison and Monroe came to power during the 1800s-1810s. They were adamant about trying to wipe out the National Debt, cut taxes, introduce Free Trade, and unbalance the Federal budget to the point of endangering the Union and sparking the War of 1812.
All of these factors fit neatly into the arguments of various ARPLAN Blog Posts where its German authors voiced opposition to the terms of the Versailles Treaty and even outright hostility toward the League of Nations. Both were advocated by Woodrow Wilson himself and only rejected by Congress since the latter was predominantly Isolationist in its ideological outlook. It explains why the US neither played a major role in the affairs of the League of Nations nor enforced the terms of the Versailles Treaty, preferring to remain in Isolationism during the interwar years.
This brings us to the real reason why the US suddenly changed its positions away from an Isolationist posture toward an Internationalist one shortly after Pearl Harbor. Like the USS Maine (which began the Spanish-American War) and Lusitania (which began America’s entry into World War I) before it or the Tonkin Gulf Incident (which began the Vietnam War) and 9/11 (which began the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars) afterward, Pearl Harbor is a well-known example of the Jeffersonian worldview advocating for control over the thoughts, perceptions, emotions and personalities of the American people through the manipulation of “Public Opinion.” Hamilton and the Federalist Party resented this idea, and it was because of their opposition that James Madison betrayed both Hamilton and the Federalists in the “Great Divergence” of the 1790s. It is also why America was never able to become the first Western country to truly develop a “Council Democracy” espoused by the German authors on the ARPLAN Blog.
All of these considerations are what forced me to draw the line upon reading Freda Utley’s arguments for “peace.” Utley is insisting to me, as an American, that the Union should enter on the side of the Allies. She has advocated for continuing the “Lend Lease,” an American business venture originally intended to mitigate the Liberal Capitalist incompetence of dealing with the Great Depression. And she has tried to appeal to my disliking of Hitlerism in order to believe that Jeffersonianism would be a better alternative for the post-1945 world. There’s always a false dialectic whenever I am dealing with Jeffersonianism.
So what other options am I left with? If Hamiltonianism was in the position of power during this pivotal moment in World War II, how different would the course of world history have been?
As much as I do not want to say this but by the time Utley’s article was circulated by the American First Committee, the damage has already been done by the Hitlerists. Operation Barbarossa has pretty much sealed the fate of the Third Reich for me, even by Hamiltonianism’s Prussian standards. Had America been more Federalist and Hamiltonian in its ideological outlook, I am convinced that there would be some sort of American attempt to prevent Operation Barbarossa from happening. I say this because the Jeffersonians preferred 1941 as the best year to intervene; but as a Federalist myself, I am convinced that 1939 and 1940 are the ideal years for an American intervention.
What would Hamiltonianism have done differently? What sort of post-1945 future could that America have offered to Europe and Asia?
I will explain more whenever I have time to think it through first. For now, allow me to present you with the sources I have regarding my earlier statements:
Alexander Hamilton’s Alternative: Technology Piracy and the Report on Manufactures. doi:10.2307/2947292.
Thomas Jefferson’s Agrarian Vision and the Changing Nature of
“Bank-Notes Will Be but as Oak Leaves”: Thomas Jefferson on Paper Money: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4249329.
Madison v. Hamilton: The Battle over Republicanism and the Role of Public Opinion: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4145337.
The Great Divergence Reconsidered: Hamilton, Madison, and U.S.-
British Relations, 1783-89: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30043515.
“A Second Bounaparty?” A Reexamination of Alexander Hamilton
during the Franco-American Crisis, 1796-1801: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30043587.
Open Door Expansionism Reconsidered: The World War II Experience.
PS: As promised, I did a bit of thinking after taking care of some personal matters on my end. Yes, had Hamiltonianism been the prevailing ideological orientation of American domestic and foreign policy (Alexander Hamilton himself specifically stressed the need to view both as being closely integrated with each other), the outcome of World War II could have gone entirely different. Going back to what I had discussed earlier about the American First Committee document and the 1939 KPD document regarding the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact (“German Communism under the Nazi-Soviet Pact”: https://arplan.org/2021/01/15/german-communism-nazi-soviet-platform/), allow me to elaborate.
I stated in my initial comment that a Federalist America under Hamiltonianism would have intervened in World War II far earlier than the Democratic-Republican America that continues to exist today. In an America where the Federal government takes greater precedence, there would be a faster recovery from the Great Depression by the US as it will be a “planned economy.” Granted, there is a difference between the concept of a planned economy and a “command economy.”
Even so, I am convinced that a more refined Hamiltonianism is capable of implementing the latter because it advocates for a Prussian-like vocational civil service on behalf of the Union through the Federal government. There is tremendous potential for the Federal government to find conservative revolutionary solutions to the problems of running a Command Economy, and that can be achieved through Hamilton’s Department of Treasury (the Federal Reserve is only beholden to that governmental body). Put another way, it would not be difficult to envisage Prussian Capitalism replacing Liberal Capitalism and thus paving the groundwork for Prussian Socialism.
This “Federal Socialism” is easily distinguishable from FDR’s New Deal since the New Deal itself actually prolonged the Great Depression in America, as evidenced by the Recession of 1937. The Federalism is Nationalistic insofar as Hamiltonianism saw the Union itself as a nation-state in the European sense, arguing that economic independence within international trade is inseparable from political independence within international diplomacy.
I do believe the term ‘Federal Socialist’ best describes the true American Dasein (in the Heideggerian sense) of Hamiltonianism. But if we are to believe that a Federal Socialist is a ‘National Socialist’, I am genuinely and sincerely convinced that they will in opposition to Hitlerism. No Hitlerist interpretation of National Socialism will ever take kindly to the idea of an Americanized version being conceptualized by a Jew like Hamilton. Literally, it would have been tantamount to becoming the National Socialist equivalent of the Sino-Soviet Dispute from Marxism-Leninism. Of course, this is not to suggest that a Federalist America would align itself with the Allied Powers for that simple reason alone.
The reason why I am bringing this to your attention, Bogumil, is because all of these considerations which I had raised would have deterred both the Isolationists and the Internationalists. There would be no Lend Lease as an American stopgap for recovering from the Great Depression. Rather than an Empire of Liberty or an America being an island unto itself, the US would intervene, but on whose side is the real question here. Freda Utley’s arguments within the American First Committee document provides a few clues on the alignments of a Federalist America.
Imagine for a moment that the year is 1939 in the opening moments of World War II. It is a late summer morning in September. The Germans are invading Poland and the Soviets are following suit shortly thereafter. The Italians and Japanese intervene on Germany’s behalf, while an uneasy peace develops in Eastern Europe between the Soviets and Germans. The British and the French are counting on the Americans to fight the Germans in Europe and the Japanese in Asia. These pleas grow with increasing fervor by 1940, following the fall of France as the Germans and Japanese continue their offensives against the Allied Powers.
Since Utley presented us with the false dialectic of either aligning with the Allies or staying neutral, there are four other options to consider:
-Federalist America aligns with the Axis against the Allies and Soviets;
-Federalist America aligns with the Comintern against the Allies and Axis;
-Federalist America opposes the Allies, Axis, and Soviets;
-Federalist America coalesce the Axis and Soviets against the Allies (“Left Meets Right, East Meets West”).
Going by the strategic vision of Hamilton and the Federalist Party, these four options will be presented to the Federal government before Operation Barbarossa between late 1940 and early 1941. The first two will yield the German-American and Soviet-American Bipolarity of the Cold War, with Imperial Japan being the surrogate for Maoist China. The third option may be tempting, but that was what brought the Jeffersonians into power in the first place thanks to the Federalists waging the “Quasi War” against France and the trade war against Britain simultaneously under President John Adams between 1798 and 1800.
That leaves us with the fourth option as the most ideal, albeit it is also the most difficult to achieve. It involves America playing a proactive role in preventing the Soviets and Axis from butchering each other. What would have happened, had the US worked with the Axis and Soviets, is Europe and Asia will be split between German, Italian, Soviet and Imperial Japanese spheres of influence. The Allies are defeated and Liberal Capitalism dies as a result. If the US does prevent a conflict between the Soviets and Axis, I guarantee that the post-1945 world order will be far more preferable than the Empire of Liberty that continues to exist.
In closing, allow me to quote a relevant passage by Hamilton from Federalist Paper No. 6. Note that the “republic” which he describes is far more applicable to idea of Council Democracy on the ARPLAN Blog than it is under Parliamentarian Democracy:
“From this summary of what has taken place in other countries, whose situations have borne the nearest resemblance to our own, what reason can we have to confide in those reveries which would seduce us into an expectation of peace and cordiality between the members of the present confederacy, in a state of separation? Have we not already seen enough of the fallacy and extravagance of those idle theories which have amused us with promises of an exemption from the imperfections, weaknesses and evils incident to society in every shape? Is it not time to awake from the deceitful dream of a golden age, and to adopt as a practical maxim for the direction of our political conduct that we, as well as the other inhabitants of the globe, are yet remote from the happy empire of perfect wisdom and perfect virtue?” (https://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/fed06.asp)