We can see now that we Americans were caught unprepared, because we were ordinary human beings, following the best advice we had at the time. No one would have guessed in 1941 that we would be attacked in such an unsportsmanlike manner as we were. No one could have visualized Pearl Harbor, either out there or in Washington. But if we had known then what we know now, we would have expected an attack in 1941.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
On December 7, 1941, an event took place that had nothing to do with me or my family and yet which had devastating consequences for all of us - Japan bombed Pearl Harbour in a surprise attack. With that event began one of the shoddiest chapters in the tortuous history of democracy in North America.
In 1941, the BBC was setting up local, low-powered transmitters that were switched off if there was an air raid so they couldn't be used by German planes to navigate. As a 'youth in training,' my job was to switch the transmitter on in the mornings and off at night, and to check that it, and the feeder land lines, were working.
I first came into the labor force in 1941 when the minimum wage was 40 cents an hour, and that was my first job. And each time that we've tried to boost the lower level of salary for the most underpaid workers, there have been predictions of catastrophe. But each time, in [m]y opinion, the change has helped our Nation and its economic strength.
We were postwar middle-class white kids living in the slipstream of the greatest per-capita rise in income in the history of Western civilization; we were 'teen-agers' - a term, coined in 1941, that was in common usage a decade later - a new, recognizable franchise. We had money, mobility, and problems all our own.
Some people did not like this ceremonious style. But after all when you have to kill a man it costs nothing to be polite. [Churchill ended his December 8, 1941 letter to the Japanese Ambassador, declaring that a state of war now existed between the United Kingdom and Japan, with the courtly flourish "I have the honour to be, with high consideration, Sir, Your obedient servant".]
There is no structural organization of society which can bring about the coming of the Kingdom of God on earth since all systems can be perverted by the selfishness of man. The Malvern Manifesto: Drawn up by a Conference of the Province of York, January 10, 1941; signed for the Conference by Temple, then Archbishop of York .
But what began in 1941 was a process of destruction not planned in advance, not organized centrally by any agency. There was no blueprint and there was no budget for destructive measures. They were taken step by step, one step at a time. Thus came about not so much a plan being carried out, but an incredible meeting of minds, a consensus - mind reading by a far-flung bureaucracy.
As late as the summer of 1941, the Atlantic Monthly , then a still respected magazine for literates and edited by White men, published a long article by Albert Jay Nock, in which he proved that the Jews are an Oriental race that is incompatible with ours. He was not punished and the magazine was not destroyed, strange and almost incredible as that seems today.
Revilo P. Oliver
He [Ted Williams] was only a 23-year-old kid when he batted.406 in 1941, but then the season ended and our country came under attack at Pearl Harbor-and by 1943 he was a Marine fighter pilot serving overseas who cheated death on several documented occasions. He came back in 1946, and he won his first career MVP after hitting 38 home runs.
Elizabeth disliked the tragic, martyred image of Virginia Woolf which grew up after her death. When she read the first volume of William Plomer's autobiography, At Home, in 1958, she told him that 'only you seem to bring back Virginia's laughter - I get so bored and irked by the tragic fiction which has been manufactured about her since 1941.
I found Mr. Carter's actions toward the Republic of China so incredible that they defy description by socially acceptable expletives. If December 7, 1941 was a "day of infamy" then December 15, 1978 ranks right up there in international betrayal...The pathetic thing about this whole mess, however, is that it is typical of this administration's conduct of foreign affairs, which could be kindly described as being riddled by ineptitude and hypocrisy.
The Doctor: Amazing. Nancy: What is? The Doctor: 1941. Right now, not very far from here, the German war machine is rolling up the map of Europe. Country after country, falling like dominoes. Nothing can stop it, nothing. Until one tiny, damp little island says "No. No, not here." A mouse in front of a lion. You're amazing, the lot of you. I don't know what you do to Hitler, but you frighten the hell out of me.
Pearl Harbor is a two-hour movie squeezed into three hours, about how on December 7, 1941, the Japanese staged a surprise attack on an American love triangle. Its centerpiece is 40 minutes of redundant special effects, surrounded by a love story of stunning banality. The film has been directed without grace, vision, or originality, and although you may walk out quoting lines of dialog, it will not be because you admire them.
So much of the inexplicable about the Soviet experience-the hatred of the peasantry for example, the secrecy and paranoia, the murderous witch hunt of the Great Terror, the placing of the Party above family and life itself, the suspicion of the USSR's own espionage that led to the success of Hitler's 1941 surprise attack-was the result of the underground life, the konspiratsia of the Okhrana and the revolutionaries, and also the Caucasian values and style of Stalin. And not just of Stalin.
Simon Sebag Montefiore
They stared at each other. Every ocean, every river, every minute they had walked together was in their gaze. He said nothing and she said nothing. She kneeled by him, her hands on him, on his chest, on his heart, on his lungs that took air in but could not move air out, on his open wound; her eyes were on him, and in their eyes was every block of uncounted, unaccounted-for time, every moment they had lived since June 22, 1941, the day war started for the Soviet Union. Her eyes were filled with everything she felt for him. Her eyes were true.
Commemorative stone in the floor of the Chapel of St. George in Westminster Abbey, London, dedicated in 1947: TO THE MEMORY OF ROBERT Baden-Powell CHIEF SCOUT OF THE WORLD 1857-1941 Upon one side of the stone was the badge of the Boy Scouts, the arrow-head to point the true way as it had pointed the way for sailors and navigators from the time of the earliest maps; and on the other the badge of the Girl Guides-the three-leafed clover.
I am convinced that 1941 will be the crucial year of a great New Order in Europe. The world shall open up for everyone. Privileges for individuals, the tyranny of certain nations and their financial rulers shall fall. And last of all this year will help to provide the foundations of a real understanding among peoples, and with it the certainty of conciliation among nations. . . . Those nations who are still opposed to us will some day recognize the greater enemy within. Then they will join us in a combined front, a front against Jewish exploitation and racial degeneration.
Let the children have their night of fun and laughter. Let the gifts of Father Christmas delight their play. Let us grown-ups share to the full in their unstinted pleasures before we turn again to the stern task and the formidable years that lie before us, resolved that, by our sacrifice and daring, these same children shall not be robbed of their inheritance or denied their right to live in a free and decent world." Winston Churchill Christmas Eve Message, 1941 as printed in "In the Dark Streets Shineth.
There's going to be no more digital enhancements or digital additions to anything based on any film I direct. I'm not going to do any corrections digitally to even wires that show... If 1941 comes on Blu-ray I'm not going to go back and take the wires out because the Blu-ray will bring the wires out that are guiding the airplane down Hollywood Blvd. At this point right now I think letting movies exist in the era, with all the flaws and all of the flourishes, is a wonderful way to mark time and mark history.
This isn't to deny that there were fierce arguments, at the time and ever since, about the causes and goals of both the Civil War and the Second World War. But 1861 and 1941 each created a common national narrative (which happened to be the victors' narrative): both wars were about the country's survival and the expansion of the freedoms on which it was founded. Nothing like this consensus has formed around September 11th... Indeed, the decade since the attacks has destroyed the very possibility of a common national narrative in this country.
American schools in Guam, both before 1941 and after 1945, were established to eradicate the Chamoru, tongue and person. To educate the old Chamoru out of the new American. The native out of the patriot... But the nastier lesson their schools taught was that their dreams were ours. That indigenous knowledge had no place in the new world... As vehicles for our assimilation, American schools have attached to our longings alien aspirations for material wealth, money and power. How much of our creativity and our vision has already been laid to waste for the sake of these?
Because I became a refugee in Macau during 1941, we had this war in Hong Kong, I fought for the government as an air raid warden for 15 days. Our government surrendered, Hong Kong Government surrendered, so I took a junk and came to Macau in 16 hours and I was a refugee, so that's why I was so much indebted to Macau.
Je pense e Dora Bruder. Je me dis que sa fugue n'etait pas aussi simple que la mienne une vingtaine d'annees plus tard, dans un monde redevenu inoffensif. Cette ville de decembre 1941, son couvre-feu, ses soldats, sa police, tout lui etait hostile et voulait sa perte. A seize ans, elle avait le monde entier contre elle, sans qu'elle sache pourquoi.
I'm sort of optimistic about what we could do, but I'm very pessimistic about what we will do. I can't tell you that Al Gore's 10-year plan is impossible. I'm old enough to remember the Second World War - if we had a World War II-type mobilization, we might accomplish Gore's plan. In 1940 we were making tens of thousands of automobiles, and in 1941 we were making tens of thousands of airplanes. We mobilized as a nation. If we get that kind of mobilization as a nation or globally, then we could solve a lot of these problems.
Paul R. Ehrlich
I came up in 1941 and I played against men who played in the 1930s. I stayed until 1963 playing against men who will be playing in the 1970s. So I think I can feel qualified to say that baseball really was a great game, and baseball is really a great game, and baseball will always be a great game.
The more a man is imbued with the ordered regularity of all events the firmer becomes his conviction that there is no room left by the side of this ordered regularity for causes of a different nature. For him neither the rule of human nor the rule of divine will exist as an independent cause of natural events. To be sure, the doctrine of a personal God interfering with the natural events could never be refuted, in the real sense, by science, for this doctrine can always take refuge in those domains in which scientific knowledge has not yet been able to set foot. But I am persuaded that such behavior on the part of the representatives of religion would not only be unworthy but also fatal. For a doctrine which is able to maintain itself not in clear light but only in the dark, will of necessity lose its effect on mankind, with incalculable harm to human progress. - Science and Religion (1941)
The War Department in Washington briefly weighed more ambitious schemes to relieve the Americans on a large scale before it was too late. But by Christmas of 1941, Washington had already come to regard Bataan as a lost cause. President Roosevelt had decided to concentrate American resources primarily in the European theater rather than attempt to fight an all-out war on two distant fronts. At odds with the emerging master strategy for winning the war, the remote outpost of Bataan lay doomed. By late December, President Roosevelt and War Secretary Henry Stimson had confided to Winston Churchill that they had regrettably written off the Philippines. In a particularly chilly phrase that was later to become famous, Stimson had remarked, 'There are times when men have to die.
Not very long ago I was driving with my husband on the back roads of Grey County, which is to the north and east of Huron County. We passed a country store standing empty at a crossroads. It had old-fashioned store windows, with long narrow panes. Out in front there was a stand for gas pumps which weren't there anymore. Close beside it was a mound of sumac trees and strangling vines, into which all kinds of junk had been thrown. The sumacs jogged my memory and I looked back at the store. It seemed to me that I had been here once, and the the scene was connected with some disappointment or dismay. I knew that I had never driven this way before in my adult life and I did not think I could have come here as a child. It was too far from home. Most of our drives out of town where to my grandparents'house in Blyth-they had retired there after they sold the farm. And once a summer we drove to the lake at Goderich. But even as I was saying this to my husband I remembered the disappointment. Ice cream. Then I remembered everything-the trip my father and I had made to Muskoka in 1941, when my mother was already there, selling furs at the Pine Tree Hotel north of Gravehurst.
We have been waiting for an hour when we see a squad of German soldiers line up on the roadbed alongside the train. Next comes a column of people in civilian clothes. Surely they are Jews. All of them are rather well dressed, with suitcases in their hands as if departing peacefully on vacation. They climb aboard the train while a sergeant major keeps them moving along, 'Schnell, schnell.' There are men and women of all ages, even children. Among them I see one of my former students, Jeanine Cremieux. She got married in 1941 and had a baby last spring. She is holding the infant in her left arm and a suitcase in her right hand. The first step is very high above the rocky roadbed. She puts the suitcase on the step and holds on with one hand to the doorjamb, but she can't quite hoist herself up. The sergeant major comes running, hollers, and kicks her in the rear. Losing her balance, she screams as her baby falls to the ground, a pathetic little white wailing heap. I will never know if it was hurt, because my friends pulled me back and grabbed my hand just as I was about to shoot. Today I know what hate is, real hate, and I swear to myself that these acts will be paid for.
During the youthful period of mankind's spiritual evolution human fantasy created gods in man's own image, who, by the operations of their will were supposed to determine, or at any rate to influence, the phenomenal world. Man sought to alter the disposition of these gods in his own favor by means of magic and prayer. The idea of God in the religions taught at present is a sublimation of that old concept of the gods. Its anthropomorphic character is shown, for instance, by the fact that men appeal to the Divine Being in prayers and plead for the fulfillment of their wishes. Nobody, certainly, will deny that the idea of the existence of an omnipotent, just, and omnibeneficent personal God is able to accord man solace, help, and guidance; also, by virtue of its simplicity it is accessible to the most undeveloped mind. But, on the other hand, there are decisive weaknesses attached to this idea in itself, which have been painfully felt since the beginning of history. That is, if this being is omnipotent, then every occurrence, including every human action, every human thought, and every human feeling and aspiration is also His work; how is it possible to think of holding men responsible for their deeds and thoughts before such an almighty Being? In giving out punishment and rewards He would to a certain extent be passing judgment on Himself. How can this be combined with the goodness and righteousness ascribed to Him? (Albert Einstein, Science, Philosophy, and Religion, A 1934 Symposium published by the Conference on Science, Philosophy and Religion in Their Relation to the Democratic Way of Life, Inc., New York, 1941; from Einstein's Out of My Later Years, Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1970, pp. 26-27.)
Now we will live!' This is what the hungry little boy liked to say, as he toddled along the quiet roadside, or through the empty fields. But the food that he saw was only in his imagination. The wheat had all been taken away, in a heartless campaign of requisitions that began Europe's era of mass killing. It was 1933, and Joseph Stalin was deliberately starving Soviet Ukraine. The little boy died, as did more than three million other people. 'I will meet her, ' said a young Soviet man of his wife, 'under the ground.' He was right; he was shot after she was, and they were buried among the seven hundred thousand victims of Stalin's Great Terror of 1937 and 1938. 'They asked for my wedding ring, which I... ' The Polish officer broke off his diary just before he was executed by the Soviet secret police in 1940. He was one of about two hundred thousand Polish citizens shot by the Soviets or the Germans at the beginning of the Second World War, while Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union jointly occupied his country. Late in 1941, an eleven-year-old Russian girl in Leningrad finished her own humble diary: 'Only Tania is left.' Adolf Hitler had betrayed Stalin, her city was under siege by the Germans, and her family were among the four million Soviet citizens the Germans starved to death. The following summer, a twelve-year-old Jewish girl in Belarus wrote a last letter to her father: 'I am saying good-bye to you before I die. I am so afraid of this death because they throw small children into the mass graves alive.' She was among the more than five million Jews gassed or shot by the Germans.
For Dawkins, atheism is a necessary consequence of evolution. He has argued that the religious impulse is simply an evolutionary mistake, a 'misfiring of something useful', it is a kind if virus, parasitic on cognitive systems naturally selected because they had enabled a species to survive. Dawkins is an extreme exponent of the scientific naturalism, originally formulated by d'Holbach, that has now become a major worldview among intellectuals. More moderate versions of this 'scientism' have been articulated by Carl Sagan, Steven Weinberg, and Daniel Dennett, who have all claimed that one has to choose between science and faith. For Dennett, theology has been rendered superfluous, because biology can provide a better explanation of why people are religious. But for Dawkins, like the other 'new atheists' - Sam Harris, the young American philosopher and student of neuroscience, and Christopher Hitchens, critic and journalist - religion is the cause of the problems of our world; it is the source of absolute evil and 'poisons everything.' They see themselves in the vanguard of a scientific/rational movement that will eventually expunge the idea of God from human consciousness. But other atheists and scientists are wary of this approach. The American zoologist Stephen Jay Gould (1941-2002) followed Monod in his discussion of the implications of evolution. Everything in the natural world could indeed be explained by natural selection, but Gould insisted that science was not competent to decide whether God did or did not exist, because it could only work with natural explanations. Gould had no religious axe to grind; he described himself as an atheistically inclined agnostic, but pointed out that Darwin himself had denied he was an atheist and that other eminent Darwinians - Asa Gray, Charles D. Walcott, G. G. Simpson, and Theodosius Dobzhansky - had been either practicing Christians or agnostics. Atheism did not, therefore, seem to be a necessary consequence of accepting evolutionary theory, and Darwinians who held forth dogmatically on the subject were stepping beyond the limitations that were proper to science.
He couldn't have known it, but among the original run of The History of Love, at least one copy was destined to change a life. This particular book was one of the last of the two thousand to be printed, and sat for longer than the rest in a warehouse in the outskirts of Santiago, absorbing the humidity. From there it was finally sent to a bookstore in Buenos Aires. The careless owner hardly noticed it, and for some years it languished on the shelves, acquiring a pattern of mildew across the cover. It was a slim volume, and its position on the shelf wasn't exactly prime: crowded on the left by an overweight biography of a minor actress, and on the right by the once-bestselling novel of an author that everyone had since forgotten, it hardly left its spine visible to even the most rigorous browser. When the store changed owners it fell victim to a massive clearance, and was trucked off to another warehouse, foul, dingy, crawling with daddy longlegs, where it remained in the dark and damp before finally being sent to a small secondhand bookstore not far from the home of the writer Jorge Luis Borges. The owner took her time unpacking the books she'd bought cheaply and in bulk from the warehouse. One morning, going through the boxes, she discovered the mildewed copy of The History of Love. She'd never heard of it, but the title caught her eye. She put it aside, and during a slow hour in the shop she read the opening chapter, called 'The Age of Silence.' The owner of the secondhand bookstore lowered the volume of the radio. She flipped to the back flap of the book to find out more about the author, but all it said was that Zvi Litvinoff had been born in Poland and moved to Chile in 1941, where he still lived today. There was no photograph. That day, in between helping customers, she finished the book. Before locking up the shop that evening, she placed it in the window, a little wistful about having to part with it. The next morning, the first rays of the rising sun fell across the cover of The History of Love. The first of many flies alighted on its jacket. Its mildewed pages began to dry out in the heat as the blue-gray Persian cat who lorded over the shop brushed past it to lay claim to a pool of sunlight. A few hours later, the first of many passersby gave it a cursory glance as they went by the window. The shop owner did not try to push the book on any of her customers. She knew that in the wrong hands such a book could easily be dismissed or, worse, go unread. Instead she let it sit where it was in the hope that the right reader might discover it. And that's what happened. One afternoon a tall young man saw the book in the window. He came into the shop, picked it up, read a few pages, and brought it to the register. When he spoke to the owner, she couldn't place his accent. She asked where he was from, curious about the person who was taking the book away. Israel, he told her, explaining that he'd recently finished his time in the army and was traveling around South America for a few months. The owner was about to put the book in a bag, but the young man said he didn't need one, and slipped it into his backpack. The door chimes were still tinkling as she watched him disappear, his sandals slapping against the hot, bright street. That night, shirtless in his rented room, under a fan lazily pushing around the hot air, the young man opened the book and, in a flourish he had been fine-tuning for years, signed his name: David Singer. Filled with restlessness and longing, he began to read.