Monday, April 30, 2012

30 April 1941 “The Spirit of Self-Sufficiency, America First Rally in NYC, and a Free War Time Recipe Booklet”

Its unfortunate that while we were happy to remember the atrocities of war to try and not fight again (though that seems a failed attempt today) we were happy to let go of the camaraderie, and self sufficiency. Had we remembered what it was we could do without, how little we really needed to survive and be happy, and that people and not things were important; perhaps we would not have been swept up in the ensuing commercialism of the following decades.

Certainly, we were happy to have things again. Safety and a new world seemed to make us willing to build more houses, buy more things and pave over our lands to allow easy travel by automobile. Yet, I wonder, how many homemakers of the war years, though happy to have the war over, sometimes thought, “Gee, we were fine without all these things before the war, now we have so much to pay for and care for”.

It would have been the homemaker who would have noticed such things. And happy though she was to have an easier time of it, one wonders if the TV and the need for cars ever made them think of life during the war and before with less cars and less things. Or had thoughts of how her new flower borders might be better used to grow vegetables for her family as they once did during the war. She might even have missed the scratch and peck of her chickens to the sound of endless lawnmowers trimming the sea of new postage stamp lawns. The good, in even the bad times, can always be paid forward. I hope that is a lesson we can still learn today.

With the fear for loved ones, the scarcity and uncertainty of the future came a self-sufficiency and a brotherhood unlike times before. It was really more akin to say the late 19th century and pre WWI. And the realization of how little “things” were so important. Today we fight wars over “things” at the expense of people. We are always concerned with how can we get more and if we run low on things we must have more at any cost. Not, how can we simply live differently to spare those future lives fought at an expense far too great for any to pay. The concept of living differently rather than fighting for cheaper and more of what we think we need seems never to cross our minds. It wouldn’t be easy, but mightn’t it be fun and possibly better for our communities and the lower classes? But, I digress, on with some news.

americafirst On 23 April 1941, the first major Rally of the The America First Committee (AFC) was held. This organization was the foremost “ non-interventionist pressure group against the American entry into World War II. Peaking at 800,000 paid members in 650 chapters, it was one of the largest anti-war organizations in American history. Started in 1940, it shut down after the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941.”

There were no such things as ‘hippies’ yet and this anti war organization held many prominent people as well as business men, such as a future president Gerald Ford. Many felt that the only way to keep American sovereignty and protect its own borders was to stay out of the war in Europe.

Charles Lindbergh, the famous aviator, air force Colonel, and son of the famous senator, Charles Lindbergh Sr.,  spoke at this rally and urged listeners “to look beyond the speeches and propaganda they were being fed (about the need for USA to go into the War) and instead look at who was writing the speeches and reports, who owned the papers and who influenced the speakers.” This was later seen as an anti-Semitic  feeling as most of these were controlled by Jewish individuals. Yet, he felt their religion was not the point but that their actions, despite their religion, must be watched. But it was easier to spin the idea that he simply was a Nazi sympathizer. This was untrue and he went on to be quite a war hero.

Though Charles Lindbergh had resigned his Air Force Colonel pilots commission as part of his feelings against the US going into the War, he later ( after Pearl Harbor)  strongly supported the war effort after Pearl Harbor and flew many combat missions in the Pacific Theater of World War II as a civilian consultant even though President Franklin D. Roosevelt had refused to reinstate his Army Air Corps colonel's commission that he had resigned in April 1941.

On 11 December 1941, after Pearl Harbor and the USA was in the war, the American First Committee disbanded and made the following formal statement:

“Our principles were right. Had they been followed, war could have been avoided. No good purpose can now be served by considering what might have been, had our objectives been attained.
We are at war. Today, though there may be many important subsidiary considerations, the primary objective is not difficult to state. It can be completely defined in one word: Victory”

HERE is the speech, which is both cheered and booed, by Lindbergh on the reasons behind the coming of America’s involvement in WWII. (I cannot embed the video as it is not allowed, but you can follow the link to watch it on YouTube if you like.)  His father, a state senator from Minnesota, had been against the US in WWI and also strongly opposed the formation of the Federal Reserve. Lindbergh's son, Charles III was kidnapped famously in 1932. One wonders, with his father’s involvement against the Federal Reserve and the general move towards the increase in Banking Power and reformation of American money and Business interest, was there a tie or connection? What I have continued to learn about history, with its odd little “coincidences” I honestly don’t rule anything out any more.

Now, for some fun Wartime Recipes:

warrecipebook Here is a free online Recipe book of the time. You can read it online or print it out. The link is HERE.

Here are a few of the recipes from the book that sound rather fun:

Eggless, Milkless, Butterless Cake (Fruit Cake)
1 cup brown sugar                                  1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups water                                      1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup seeded raisins                              1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 ounces citron, cut fine                          1 cup corn or wheat flour 
1/3 cup shortening                                   1 cup rye or barley flour
               5 teaspoons Royal Baking Powder
Boil sugar, water, fruit, shortening, salt and spices together in saucepan 3 minutes. When cool, add flour and baking powder which have been sifted together. Mix well; bake in loaf pan in moderate oven about 45 minutes.


Cheese Pudding
3/4 cup yellow corn meal                       1/4 teaspoon paprika
3 cups boiling water                               1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups grated cheese                      1 cup milk
Few grains cayenne                               1 egg
3 teaspoons Royal Baking Powder
Pour corn meal slowly into boiling water, stirring constantly, and allow to boil about ten minutes. Add cheese, seasoning, milk and beaten egg yolk and cook until well blended. Remove from fire, and when cold add baking powder and fold in the beaten egg white. Bake in greased dish in moderate oven about 30 minutes. Serve immediately. When cold, it can be sliced and fried for either luncheon or supper.


I believe I will do more War time posts this week. My week on holiday has left me contemplating my life and future changes all the more. And my family, on this trip, has felt closer and more inclined to want to make more changes to our lives. The future is uncertain and might even be bleak. But, if we choose now to make choices that will help in hard times yet fun in the doing, we shall not be sad for the changes no matter the outcome of tomorrow.

I hope all have a lovely day and Happy Homemaking.

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