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May 24, 1951 - Image 4

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Michigan Daily, 1951-05-24

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THE MICHIGAN DAILY

THURSDAY, MAX 24, 1951

_______________________ - I I

Birth of a Nation

EE RISING sap of spring which brings
blooming lilacs and a shaded diag to
campus, has ushered in the annual per-
of activity for the "liberal" conscience.
The Labor Youth League has broken
'ough its winter cocoon and begun the
nual spring membership drive. '
The MacArthur hearings and sequels have
rred indignant letters to the editor against
zerica's "war mongering in the Far East.
The cry of "fascist" is again being heard
the land.
And this week, the wearying "Birth of
Nation" controversy has been revived,
)mplete with threats of picket lines and
reanimation of adjectives such as "ata-
istic" and "mendacious." Once again, agi-
tors with a love for self-dramatization
ave set themselves up for the week as a
inior decency league and are going
bout knocking at their poor breasts with
reat round stones in an effort to impose
heir wills on the student body.
Last year, partly because of the chronic
ice-straddling and inefficiency of the
ident Legislature, they were successful in
)hibiting the showing of the D.W. Grif-
hs' film.
This year, they have already frightened
e managers of several local rental halls
t of making their premises available for
showing of the film; and those students
o want to see the film and determine for
emselves what all the fuss is about ap-
ar to have been frustrated for another.
ar by a benighted pressure group.
rhere may be good reasons for prohibit-
i the showing of "Birth of a Nation" un-
r certain conditions. If a showing here
uld be likely to precipitate a race riot or
n hundreds of students into racial big-
,then the film should be banned. Such,
wever, is clearly not the case.
Very few of those who are protesting
he showing of "Birth of a Nation" have
ditorials published in The Michigan Daily
written by members of The Daily staff
:d represent the views of the writers only.
NIGHT EDITOR: HARLAND BRITZ

ever seen the film. There is a vast amount
of literature of one sort or another avail-
able on it, however, and it is to be assumed
that their impressions have been formed
from this second-hand source. Some peo-
ple who have viewed the movie report
that it is an interesting milestone in the
development of cinematic technique, vi-
cious in its thematic implications, but so
unsophisticated as to be harmless to a
fairly intelligent audience.
The generally accepted criterion for deter-
mining whether a work of art is so danger-
ous to public morals or safety as to warrant
its suppression is to select a hypothetical
normal reagent corresponding, to the "rea-
sonable man" in the law of torts, and deter-
mine the effect which that piece of art will
have upon him.
Using themselves as yardsticks, presum-
ably, members of this group of "liberal" agi-
tators feel that "Birth of a Nation" will have
a destructive effect upon the moral fiber of
the students who see it. Apparently they
choose to ignore the fact that the courts
have consistently ruled in such cases that
we need only concern ourselves with the re-
actions of "normal" persons, a category
which, I submit, includes all but a few
members of the student body.
However, it would be false to suggest
that all those who are protesting "Birth
of a Nation" are of the same political in-
clination as the members of the Labor
Youth League and the pro-Soviet letter
writers guild.. There are doubtless indi-
viduals with ordinarilypurer otivtions
who are so emotionally involved in the
issue that they either do not notice or do'
not care that they are acting in an un-
democratic manner.
Those who would burn "Birth of a Na-
tion" argue that it is contributing to the
"fascization of America."
To those of us who feel that there is more
danger of America becoming an authoritar-
ian state through the suppression of the
right of individuals to make up their own
minds on controversial questions than
through the screening of a movie which a
certain group finds objectionable, this state-
ment is a paradox worthy of top honors for
1951.
--Dave Thomas

.MATTE R

OF FAC

By JOSEPH ALSOP

Human Rights
THE MAJOR TRAGEDY of the six men
on trial for their lives in Trenton, N.J.
is that all during this long drawn out case,
these men have been subjected to a series of
injustices.
The vital concept of human dignity and
the right of all men to receive humane
treatment must not be lost in an attempt
to make a political issue out of such cases
as the Trenton Six.
In the editorial about the Trenton case in
Tuesday's Daily I neglected this point. It is
extremely significant that "a group of dem-
ocratic Americans have undertaken the de-
fense of innocent men instead of allowing
the Communists to exploit them." But by
underlining the Committee's action in tak-
ing the case from the Communists the pri-
mary importance of human rights can eas-
ily be obscured.
The present wheat for India drive is a
perfect example of this tendency. Professed
liberals in Congress are demanding wheat
for India on the grounds that the U.S. must
feed the Indians before the Communists do,
not on the grounds that humans are dying
from hunger.
The Willie McGee case is another example
of how the fear of Communism can confuse
and contort the main issue-a man's life.
The unfortunate spread on McGee in last
week's Life magazine contained the under-
lying implication that "McGee is dead, now
we have showed the Communists." Even
though the tactics of such committees as
the Civil Rights Congress are-and should
be-objectionable to most Americans-to
allow a fear of Communism to overshadow
every American ideal and principal of jus-
tice serves only to aid the Communist cause.
The American liberal must use every
possible restraint to keep from exploiting
the issue of Communism when a case of
humanitarianism arises.
This editorial is not a reversal of any-
thing said in the Trenton Six editorial. It
is a necessary expansion of the idea that,
though it is encouraging and laudable that
Americans have replaced the Communists
in the Trenton Six case, the main issue is
that the case facts are a "fantastic jumble
of errors and injustices" and that these six
men must be defended because they are hu-
man beings undergoing unjust treatment.
-Alice Bogdonoff
DORIS FLEESON:
No Exit
WASHINGTON - Under heavy pressure
from their colleagues, two Democratic
Senators recently approached President
Truman on what they knew was a touchy
subject Secretary of State Acheson's con-
tinued tenure of office.
Both Senators are party regulars and
supporters of administration foreign po-
licy; they have never hazed the Secre-
tary, for whom they have personal ad-
miration. They agreed to carry the mes-
sage to Garcia because they felt that the
Acheson-must-go sentiment among Dem-
ocrats on the hill was reaching the peril
point.
It was love's labor lost, however. The
President reacted with swift anger. He said
that Dean Acheson was doing a fine job and
he was satisfied with him. This effectually
shut off discussion of the dim prospects un-
der Acheson leadership for the new Foreign-
Aid Program which is said to total about
$10,000,000,000 in its present draft form. Nor
did anyone venture into the realm of the
1952 Democratic presidential campaign in
which Acheson promises to be an issue.
Few politicians are on the kind of easy
terms with the Secretary of State that per-
mit personal review with him of the prob-
lem. The reports which reach them are that
the Secretary reflects Mr. Truman, that
what he has said publicly is what he feels

privately.
It is that he is doing his work properly,
that it is up to the President and he will
stay as long as the President wants him.
The Senators are not giving up. They
do not want to go into another campaign
under the Acheson load and they will re-
new their pressures at every opportunity.
They are not particularly concerned about
the Secretary's role in the MacArthur in-
quiry. They are satisfied that he can handle
anything thrown at himby his hostile in-
quisitors; with the Bradley precedent be-
hind them they are not worried about a con-
tempt citation. What they do groan about is
having to steer his Foreign-Aid Program
through Congress and the campaign.
Meanwhile, Acheson is coming under fire
from his own supporters for the changes in
China policy which were acknowledged by
Assistant Secretary Dean Rusk over the
week end. Comment on it is bitter and ap-
peasement of his critics is freely charged to
the Secretary.
A year ago most Democrats felt that the
Secretary of State could ride out the storm
and their arguments included the question
of who could replace him. When they discuss
replacements now they come tip with some
surprises.
One of the most astute, who is doing
a notable job for the administration
right now, wants the job offered to Gov-
ernor Dewey of New York. He insists that
the former Republican presidential nomi-
nee is in substantial accord with Tru-

"I Can Lick Any Man In The House. Carry Me Back In"

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ON THE
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with DREW PEARSON

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Brth of a Nation .
To the Editor:
CHAPMAN and MacDougall are
both entirely correct when, op-
posing the showing of "Birth of a
Nation," they state that. the chief
threat to free speech and other
human liberties in America comes
from McCarthyism and assorted
reactionaries. It does not follow,
however, that presenting "Birth
of a Nation," admittedly a product
of American fascism, as an educa-
tional feature "fits into a national
pattern behind the current drive
toward fascism in the United
States."
It is precisely because the threat
from the totalitarian Right-partly
one of racism-is so immediate
that students should acquaint
themselves with the precise nature
of the threat. Calls to the battle
against fascism are needed, but it
is essential that, as thinking hu-
mans, we understand fully what
we are battling against. We must
insist upon the right to do this for
ourselves and in our own way.
I believe that most University
of Michigan students have the
maturity and firmness of purpose,
to so benefit from the film. If those
who oppose its showing disagree,
let them say so in public. Thus far,
this has been an unexpressed basis
of their argument.
The power to censor is a fearful
and dangerous one. It is bad policy
for those who stand to lose most by
rigidification of thought in Ameri-
ca to use weapons which can and
will be turned against them with
devastating effect by much more
powerful enemies.
Censorship over the educational
process must be denied to any
group if only because there is no
way to prevent other groups from
assuming the same privilege. That
we must often pay a fearful price
to this end is evidenced by such
things as "The Birth of a Nation."
But pay it we must.
It is only in the free society
where, among its other advantages,
maligned and unjustly treated
groups can hope for equality. At a
time when that society is under the
severest attack, we have the duty
to passionately and tenaciously
protect and improve it.
-Allan Silver,
Neptune Film Society

night will demonstrate precisely
the opposite. It will be a concrete
contribution to the preservation
of Ann Arbor asa community in
which intellectwal freedom - the
democratic idea of education-is
profoundly realized.
-Homer Swander
** *
Birth fa CartO * *.

1

To the Editor:

W E AGREE with both Mr. Mac-
Dougall and Mr. Chapman
that pictures which show only one
side of any question should be
banned from Ann Arbor.
In order to fulfill this policy, we,
as carrot-lovers, feel that "The.
Thing" should also be picketed at
any future showing. This pictures
is narrow and bigoted in that ib
portrays only one side of the ques-
tion of the relationships of human
beings and carrots. Persecuted and
misunderstood from the start, the
poor carrot never had a chance.
To paraphrase Mr. MacDougall,
we must "realize that with the.
present world situation (this) is
only making the United States
more despised in foreign (gal-
axies) ." Films of this type should
definitely be discouraged in the
future.
--Carol Butts, Grad.
Peg Detlor, Grad.
* * *
Ensian Errs . .
To the Editor:

A

LONDON-After observing the appalling
effects of the MacArthur controversy
on this side of the Atlantic (where our al-
lies are half-convinced that America has
gone mad) any sensible man must hesitate
to contribute to the clamor. NTone the less,
it is really important for people at home to
understand the secret mainspring of re-
cent British policy in the Far East and else-
where.
This reporter got his first inkling of
the truth while talking to a high official
of the Labor government who is notable
both for proven personal courage and
sound political judgment. The possibility
of a war this year, touched off by a So-
viet attack on 'Yugoslavia, was under dis-
cussion. Suddenly the official ceased to
speak, gazing for a while through the
window at Whitehall, rain sodden but
bravely cheerful with festival decorations.
Then he burst out with unexpected ve-
hemence:.
"If war comes this year, it must come
this year; I for one want no Munichs. But
you must realize that if war breaks out as
soon as that, it will be the end of these Is-
lands, the end of Europe as we know it, the
end of almost everything that is precious to
us. Somehow, one hopes, it can be at least
staved off until a minimum defense is
ready."
Later investigation made it clear that the
official was informally stating what is in
fact the basic, officially recognized chief
factor in current British policymaking. The
truth is simple enough. The British do not
yet possess an efficient air defense. Until an
air defense is built up, their Chiefs of Staff
have told the Cabinet that the country can
be devastated beyond repair by atomic
bombs in Soviet hands.
FURTHERMORE, if war breaks out before
the Kremlin has built up a big stock of
atomic bombs, it is also clear that this coun-
try, the chief Western stronghold on this
side of the Atlantic, will be the prime So-
viet target. This is because the Soviet can
theoretically get relatively decisive results
here in Britain with a small atomic stock,
whereas a substantial stock will be needed
for a successful attack on the vastly larger,
more dispersed and far more distant Am-
erican industrial complex. The more brilliant
American planners and strategists concur
with their British colleagues in this analysis
of probable Soviet tactics.
These grim facts touched off a grave
debate within the British Cabinet when a
more adequate defense program was first
proposed last summer. At that time, the
more left-wing Ministers actually advo-

year to eighteen months more must pass
before a reasonable level of security is at-
tained. Meanwhile Britain's vulnerability
to atomic attack will remain a cardinal in-
fluence on British policy making, as it has
been during the past year.
When this aspect of Britain's situation is
considered, a great many puzzling questions
become much easier to answer. For example,
most Americans Ihave failed to understand
why the British did not change their policy
towards Peking immediately after the Chi-
nese Communist aggression in Korea, which
finally proved Peking's ill will towards the
West. Again, very few Americans have been
able to explain the almost insane appre-
hension aroused even in the highest circles
in London by the more grandiloquent and
belligerent gestures of Gen. Douglas Mac-
Arthur.
THE REAL CLEW to these puzzles lies, of
course, in the above-set-forth, and in
the resulting desire of the British to gain
time to rebuild their defenses at almost any
cost. Because they do not think the Ameri-
can government has the same reasons for
caution, even British Cabinet ministers and
top military leaders have occasionally suc-
cumbed to the idea that the United States
was courting a world war, might suddenly
begin to scatter atomic bombs like pepper,
etc.
It may be said, and with some justice,
that even partial appeasement never pays,
and that in any case the British ought
to have seen to their own defenses long
ago. But this sphere of defense is one in
which American leadership has long been
acknowledged. President Truman himself
gave the lead in the wrong direction when
he decided to forget about the whole
Western defense problem after the 1948
election. Former Secretary of Defense
Louis Johnson made matters much worse
by carefully dismantling the long estab-
lished machinery of Anglo-American col-
laboration, and thus opening the way for
every sort of misunderstanding. This was
when the rot began.
A stronger government here would have
stopped the rot long ago, as would a strong-
er government in Washington. As it is, a
cure may be in sight at last. Meanwhile,
before they judge our allies, it will be well
for people at home to remember that the
British are actually on the firing line, and
that their dreadful vulnerability in part re-
presents an American failure.
(Copyright, 1951, New York Herald Tribune, Inc.)
It is possible that our race may be an

WASHINGTON-It is supposed to be a top political secret, but GOP,
strategists plan to use General MacArthur in the campaign to
knock veteran Tom Connally of Texas out of the Senate.;
MacArthur has already indicated to top Republicans that he will
make a "nonpolitical" speaking tour of Texas. And the .Republicans
expect to make political capital out of MacArthur's speeches to stam-
pede Texas voters away from Texas Tom.
Inside fact is that the McCarthy wing of the Republican party
has singled out Connally as their No. 1 Senatorial target for 1952. They
propose to hang Connally's political scalp alongside that of veteran
ex-Senator Tydings of Maryland, thus set a record of having de-
feated the Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Tyd-
ings, and the Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, Con-
nally.
The campaign against Connally will follow the same pattern
the McCarthyites used against Tydings. They will try to paint
the gruff, outspoken Texan as a Communist appeaser and dis-
ciple of Secretary of State Acheson. They have already coined
the slogan which is cropping up in Texas: "When Acheson coughs,
Connally sneezes."
The truth is, Connally has always opposed Communism with all
his Texas ire, has led the fight to halt the creeping Communism in
Greece, in Western Europe, in Korea. At the same time, Connally has
supported Acheson on most issues, and even brought Acheson to Texas
and courageously introduced him to a Texas audience. As a result,
the GOP strategy is to use Acheson's unpopularity to undermine a
courageous Senator.
All of this means that Connally is facing a fight for his political
life, his first real opposition since 1928. Though a tough scrapper, the
veteran Texan is still perplexed as how to fight back against a Mc-
carthy campaign.
*S * *
-NEW KOREAN WEAPONS--
THE ARMY is preparing to throw some terrifying new weapons in-
to the Korean war-if we finally decide to shoot the works in
Korea. Here is what the Chinese Communists may soon be facing:
1. It is up to the President to order the use of atomic weapons in
Korea, but the Army is now training atomic artillery crews-just in
case. These crews are learning to operate two field artillery pieces,
capable of firing atomic shells which would wipe out an entire regi-
ment with one shot. One atomic gun is a giant howitzer, the other a
long-range artillery piece. Both are so large that they must be towed
by locomotives.
2. If the Communist Air Force joins the Korean war, the Army
will unleash a spectacular, new antiaircraft gun that is fired by
remote control. In other words, several guns can be planted close
to enemy lines, yet operated by remote control without any gun
crews anywhere near the guns. The first of these 60-mm., air-
cooled, antiaircraft guns are already being tested in Korea.
3. The Army's new, light supertank is already being put through
the paces in Korea. 'he first two tanks off the production line were
rushed overseas immediately and are now being tested under combat
conditions. This aggressive little tank is capable of outfighting any-
thing of its kind in the Russian arsenal.
In addition, it is no military secret to report that the government
is rushing research on a variety of new weapons, including guided
missiles, atomic submarines, supersonic planes, and nerve gas.
-RADIOACTIVE NO-MAN'S LAND-
MOST REVOLUTIONARY of these is radiological warfare, or the
use of radioactive rays. By contaminating military objectives
with radioactive rays, it would be possible to conquer an objective
without killing a single person or destroying a single building. The
radioactive dose could be made as deadly as desired. In other words,
the dose could be made light enough so that it would have to be ab-
sorbed by the civilian population for three or four days before caus-
ing death. This would give enemy civilians plenty of time to clear out,
and the advancing army could move in as soon as the radioactivity
wore off.
Radioactive contamination could also be used to halt a ground
attack down a narrow neck of land, such as Korea. This could
be accomplished by spreading a stronger dose and creating a
radioactive no-man's land into which no soldier could advance
without certain death.
Processes have already been developed to produce these radio-
active rays independent of the atomic bomb. However, the same ef-
fect could also be achieved by exploding an atomic bomb underground.
This would contaminate the ground, and create a radioactive no-man's
land. The effect would be that of an atomic mine which, if exploded
in the face of an advancing army, should be able to halt the advance
cold.
To test this principle, underground atomic explosions are already
scheduled on the barren Aleutian Islands.
(Copyright, 1951, by the Bell Syndicate, Inc.)

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ette ' TO THE EDITOR
The Daily welcomes communications from its readers on matters of
general interest, and will publish all letters which are signed by the writer
and in good taste. Letters exceeding 300 words in length, defamatory or
libelous letters, and letters which for aiiy reason are not in good taste will
be condensed, edited of withheld from publication at the discretion of the
editors

A
4

4

AFTER PERUSING this year's
MICHIGANENSIAN, we wish
to pose a question, "Who messed
up the proofreading on the Ensian
for this year?"
A few mistakes are permissible,
but the prodigious number of er-
rors cannot be explained by chance
alone. We have never seen so many
misspellings, switching of names,
deletions and additions of names
which did not fit the pictures, and
mistakes in degrees conferred. For
the aid of future Ensian staffs we
submit the following pertinent in-
formation: A Bachelor of Science
in Engineering (B.S.E.) is given to
graduates of the Engineering
school and a Bachelor of Business
Administration (B.B.A.) is given
to graduates of the Business Ad-
ministration School not an A.B. or
a B.A.A. or any other figment of
the imagination. Also we would
like to inform them of the list of
graduating seniors which can be
obtained from the various school
offices. These lists have the name
of the graduate spelled correctk
as it will appear on their diploma.
In the past the Michiganensian
has been a very good yearbook, but
it is a shame to spoil the record
by turning out a careless, slovenly
product as this year's Ensian is.
-George Paulus, not Paulas
George Baibak, not Baibar
£i~p14r~it

*:

A

Birth of a Nation . .
To the Editor:
MR. CHAPMAN has given what;
are perhaps the best possible
arguments against showing Birth
of a Nation, and they are not
enough. No one in this controversy
is, so far as I know, concerned pri-
marily with the right to speak or,
as Mr. Chapman would have it,
"to defame."
The immediate freedom at stake
is the freedom to hear, to see and
to learn. In an educational com-
munity especially, one might be
excused for thinking this a free-
dom very much worth defending. It
is interesting to note that Mr.
Chapman himself asserted it-for
himself-when he went to a pri-
vate showing of the film last
spring.
Birth of a Nation has, whether
we like it or not, assumed a place
in the social, political and artistic
history of the United States. It is
the kind of racist film Hollywood
no longer dares produce, it caused
riots when it was first released and
it contributed to the rise of the Ku
Klux Klan in the early Twenties.
As a result, it has become a genuine
sociological andhistorical docu-
ment and is treated as such in
histories of the period.
It is, furthemore, one of the im-
portant landmarks in the technical
development of the motion pic-
ture; some critics (James Agee, for
instance) still consider it one of
the greatest pictures ever made.
Any one of these facts provides
sufficient cause for studying the
film; and certainly all of them to-
gether provide more than enough
cause for insisting upon the right
of the students and teachers in a
democratic, American university to
include it in their development
toward intellectual and moral ma-
turity and in their attempt to bet-
ter understand the world in which
they live.
The present sponsors of the film
became interested in bringing it to
Ann Arbor only after it had been
banned here last spring by a com-
mittee organized expressly for that
purpose. This committee success-
fully demonstrated that they could
tell the rest of us what we can
and what we cannot see.
The showing of the film Friday

4

I

Sixty-First Year
Edited and managed by students of
the University of Michigan under the
authority of the Board in Control of
Student Publications.
Editorial Staff
Jim Brown..........Managing Editor
Paul Brentlinger .....City Editor
Roma Lipsky ..........Editorial Director
Dave Thomas ..........Feature Editor
Janet Watts ...........Associate Editor
Nancy Bylan ..........Associate Editor
James Gregory ....... .Associate Editor.
Bill Connolly .............Sports Editor
Bob Sandell ....Associate Sports Editor
Bill Brenton ....Associate Sports Editor
Barbara Janas......... Women's Editor
Pat Brownson Associate Women's Editor
Business Staff
Bob Daniels........Business Mansager
Walter Shapero Assoc. Business Manager
Paul Schaible .....Advertising Manager
Sally Fish..........Finance Manager
Bob Miller........Circulation Manager
Telephone 23-24-1
Member of The Associated" Press
TheAssociateduPress is exclusively
entitled to the use for republication
of all news dispatches credited to it or
otherwise credited to this newspaper.
All rights of republication of all other
matters herein are also reserved.
Entered at the Post Office at Ann
Arbor, Michigan as second-class mal.
matter.
Subscription during regular school
year: by carrier, $6.00; by mal, $7.00.

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