This is war, stop griping and go to biting.

This is war, stop griping and go to biting.

Published Date

  • published 1942

Description

  • Reprinted from The Saturday Evening News -- issue of February 21, 1942. Macfarlane is ''Chairman Hillsborough County [Fla.] Defense Council and Commander Civil Defense Corps.''

Transcript

This is War!!!
Stop "Griping and Go to Biting"!
(Editor's Note-The above headline was inspired by Mr. Howard
Macfarlane's radio talk last Thursday evening. Every real American
should read it and remember it from now on for the "duration".)
By Howard P. Macfarlane
Chairman Hillsborough County Defense Council and Commander
Civil Defense Corps
This is perhaps one of the black weeks in our country's
history. Singapore has fallen. Pearl Harbor and
Wake Island are history. Some part of the Philippines
remain to us by the grace of God and General Mac-
Arthur. The last of the Dutch Indies are open to assault
and are being assaulted, a part of the German fleet has
run the Straits of Dover and Axis submarines are active
on our Atlantic seaboard and in the Caribbean.
[left column]
Since the measure of the
worth of a nation, as of an individual
lies in the attitude in
adversity rather than in prosperity,
let us take stock.
What has happened as yet really
affects the United States but little
except as a blow to our pride. We
have been pleased to regard ourselves
as so strong, so rich, so
powerful, that none would dare to
attack us. We failed to take account
of the fundamental human
traits of jealousy, of greed, and of
lust for power; we failed to recognize
the plain truth that our wealth
and general attitude of benevolent
ineptitude made us fair game for
any highwayman with the nerve to
take the chance involved; in short,
we have allowed ourselves to be
caught unprepared in the face of
years of the plainest warning.
So today our pride has sorely suffered
and perhaps will suffer still
more, but, and bear this in mind,
as yet it is principally our pride
that has suffered. We have received
no vital blow. Our strength as a
nation remains unimpaired and our
task lies plain before us.
Because we have grown and are
so powerful, the situation now
starkly facing us comes as a shock,
but for that reason only.
We have been in far worse situations
and because we had the qualities
which God had given us, we
made the most of what we had,
which was far less even comparatively
than we have now, and won
our war.
The time has come to stop moaning
about what we have not and
to make what we have suffice us
until we can develop more.
So what of hurts to our pride
when we know our own strength,
and we must know it and realize it
and comprehend it.
Knowing it and comprehending
it, we have but one course - to put
our shoulders to the wheel, to lift
the wagon out of the rut, and to
proceed to the ultimate victory, be
it near or be it distant.
For after all, our enemies are
only men; they have two arms, two
legs, they hunger and they thurst
the suffer [sic] wounds and they thurst,
as we do. But if we believe what
the past says of them and of us
they lack what is our greatest asset
-the will to fight the hardest when
[middle column]
the going is the toughest, and to
fight on for the ultimate victory
without thought of the immediate
danger. The story of our race, and
by race I mean the Anglo-Saxon-
Norman strain which is predominant
in all English speaking peoples,
is the story of battles against
insurmountable odds, sometimes
miraculously turned into astounding
victories. The world has not forgotten
and will never forget Bunker
Hill and Kings Mountain, Jackson
at New Orleans, the Alamo, Wake
Island and now Batan [sic]. Men do not
die in vain upon such occasions.
And that brings me to a matter
which seems to me to be of the utmost
importance, which first came
to my attention through reading
one of the news commentators in
the daily press. That is the wave
of criticism of the British which
has recently swept the country and
which this commentator attributed
to Nazi strategy. Whether that be
its source or not, it should be
stopped.
The British are our friends and
allies, just as we are theirs. Of late
they have not done so well. Neither
have we. If they were unprepared,
so were we. If their production
has not been all they hoped for
neither has ours, and probably for
much the same reasons. And if they
have characteristics which at times
somewhat irritate us, no doubt the
converse is true. But in spite of all
this, the fact remains-and it is the
salient fact-that we have made a
partnership with them, as they with
us. Good sense, as well as good
faith, demands our fullest cooperation,
and theirs. In no other way
can any partnership succeed. Nations
and peoples are but the aggregate
of the individuals who compose
them. No one individual is
typical. It is the aggregate which
counts. If you are so unfortunate
as to meet a Britisher who thinks
that we should have gone to war
sooner, you are prone to reply that
had they used good sense there
would have been no war to go. If
you think the British failed in not
adequately supplying and manning
Singapore, he has his answer in the
Philippines. That water is under
the bridge. If there is any more
useless occupation than recrimination
over responsibility for the milk
[right column]
already spilled, it remains to be discovered.
Our duty lies in action calculated
to bring this war to a victorious
conclusion; not in debate as to past
errors. And above all, we should
have faith in our partner, for he is
worthy of it.
You overlook the idiosyncrasies
of your friends, some of which are
slightly annoying, almost daily. We
should do likewise with the British,
and they with us. And perhaps the
whole story lies in the fact that we
spring from a common stock, have
like qualities of strength and weakness,
and in the last analysis are
antagonistic for that very reason.
But do not let yourself be blinded
by their manner of superiority,
their idiosyncrasies, and their mistakes.
Fundamentally, they are
sound. You have only to remember
the beach at Dunquerque [sic]; their will
to continue the fight after the
French collapse; their fortitude under
the bombings of 1940, and their
last historic fight at Singapore after
they had lost it, to know that.
As our partners, they are entitled
to our loyalty, and that means in
word and thought as well as deed.
You don't need to love them. You
only need to recognize their fundamental
worth, to stand with them
and to support them as they stand
with us and support us. No parter[sic]
ship ever succeeded when one of
the partners was constantly panning
the other.
Therefore, if there be any of you
who have doubt of the ultimate outcome,
put that doubt from you. It
is your duty to have in your own
heart the will to win and the abiding
faith in ultimate victory and to
instill that will and that faith into
all with whom you come in contact.
If there be any of you who in
times past have not agreed in all
particulars with those elected to
lead us, put that behind you, give
them the utmost of your support in
the prosecution of this war and encourage
a like support in all with
whom you come in contact. They
are our elected leaders, and under
our system of government you will
have no others.
If there be any of you who have
shirked any task heretofore imposed
upon you in connection with
our war effort, remedy that situation
by accomplishing that which is
required. Your country is entitled
to your time and effort as needed.
Your private affairs must be relegated
to a secondary place.
Above all, remember that our
destiny as a nation lies in our own
hands. If we act as we should, no
power on earth can prevent our ultimate
victory, no matter how long
postponed or how costly the attainment.
The sacrifice for victory is
of no moment. It is the cost of defeat
which will be devastating
and that we shall never have to pay
if we do our duty as it lies clearly
before us and as God gives us
strength.
(Reprinted from the Saturday Evening News - Issue of February 21, 1942)