Center for Labor Education & Research, University of Hawaii - West Oahu: Honolulu Record Digitization Project

Honolulu Record, Volume 10 No. 3, Thursday, August 15, 1957 p. 8


Ike's Great Failing

By Koji Ariyoshi

One evening for three hours, two top generals of World War II parried with words. In one corner, defending capitalistic democracy, stood Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower. Defending communism fr6m the other corner was Marshal Georgi Zhukov.

At a recent White House press conference President Eisenhower, in recounting this World War II experience in Germany explained:
"We tried each to explain to the other just what our two systems meant, to the individual, and I was very hard put to it when he insisted that their system appealed to the idealistic, and we completely to the materialistic, and I had a very tough time trying to defend our position."

"Leave You Breathless"

As reporters asked questions, some were apparently confused, if not amused at the President's frankness, and they must have felt that the President had lost the duel of words and ideology.

A friendly reporter faced with the maze of words uttered by the President, evidently tried to clear up the confusion and to bail out the Chief Executive by asking if Ike wanted to leave the impression that it was, difficult to defend the proposition that democracy is a more ideal system than communism."

The Chief Executive explained that when one encounters the kind of belief in communism held by Zhukov "you run against arguments that almost leave you breathless, you don't know how to meet them."

A good question which was not asked is this, "What if Zhukov encountered a similar deep-going belief in capitalistic democracy? Would he have been left 'breathless,' too?"

What are Strong Points

What is the strong talking point for the U.S. in a freedom-loving, freedom-seeking, humanitarian world?

Certainly, it is not loyalty purges, anti-labor laws, billions in tax give-away to industrialists, McCarthyism, Jim crow, Dulles' brink-of-war big capitalist policy, piggy-backing Chiang Kai-shek, Syngman Rhee, Francisco Franco, etc.

It is the spirit of 1776 and democratic tradition which is far, from full-blown in its development. This democratic tradition of Tom Paine, Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln and FDR has been-stopped and turned back time and again. Now this country is in a deep and hard struggle to emerge from the abyss of McCarthyism.

The free manner in which/the President discussed his wartime experience demonstrated that this country has come a long way from the heyday of McCarthyism. Even Ike seems relaxed, enjoying more free speech than at the time McCarthy was challenging even him.

Poor Excuse

Many U.S. diplomats viewed Ike's disclosures of his talk with Zhukov with regret and much sorrow, wondering if Soviet propaganda would make capital of them.

Others said Ike is apolitical; that he is military-minded.

This was poor excuse. Gen. Joseph Stillwell and Gen. Evans Carlson, Ike's contemporaries, were familiar with politics, much more than Ike, and their knowledge served them and this country well.

Knowledge and appreciation of one's country should be universal, and politics should not only be the province of politicians. Thomas Paine, for example, the great inspirational leader in the war for American. Independence whose ideas in Common Sense formed the basis for Thomas Jefferson's draft of the Declaration of Independence, was a corset-maker, a preacher and a teacher.

The experience of Ike with Zhukov drives home the lesson that the people of this country must have an open mind, must study and be familiar with U.S. history as a chronicle of people's struggle on the global stage for a better and more democratic life, often repressed and set back, but continuing on with regained strength and vision.

Such a vigorous knowledge is essential. But most schools and teachers spoon-feed history from the dishes of knowledge prepared by those who serve vested interest.

Behind Tough, Complacent Talk

In this changing world it is folly and foolish to believe complacently that people in this country live in the best of all possible environments, and that others are inferior and backward.

Such a narrow approach makes one oblivious to the struggle of hundreds of millions elsewhere for better living, and to their present antagonism toward Americans.

No matter what Dulles, GM and their crowd say about U.S. superiority and the backwardness of others, their feverish diplomatic and military activities belie their tough, complacent talk. U.S. needs friends, and so do the Soviet bloc countries. Friends cannot be cultivated by being a tough guy.

For Americans to grow and develop mentally in this changing World, We must institute and popularize an honest study of U.S. history, with respects to the War of Independence, the struggle for and growth of democratic traditions, the Bill of Rights, slavery, Civil War, Emancipation Proclamation, Reconstruction, rise of industry and the labor movement, depressions, Willkie's One World approach, etc.

In order to develop well-informed citizens, better schools and teachers are essential, and these require adequate funds. But Ike, it was, who was chiefly responsible, only recently, in the failure of Congress to pass the school aid bill.

Well-grounded Americans who are not spoon-fed—as the local DPI attempts ,to spoon-feed our young people—will not be left "breathless" when they encounter a Zhukov. They will discuss, they will argue, and they will learn in the give and take. Both parties will grow.

Who wins the argument is immaterial. What matters is, what system can give the majority a better living, freedom and decency? And the continued growth and development of a country depends on the caliber of its people—physical, moral and mental.