Fear Itself by Ira Katznelson


Ira Katznelson's Fear Itself: The New Deal and the Origins of Our Time looks at how fear of economic depression, fascist and communist totalitarianism, and the Cold War shaped public governance during presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt's (FDR) New Deal and Harry Truman's Fair Deal administrations. This is a holistic examination of American liberalism in peace and war and the compromises made for economic recovery and reform during the Great Depression, and victory in World War II.

Racist southern Democrats controlled Congress and passed New Deal programs that greatly benefited their region, but often weakened New Deal legislation that would have helped African Americans. Probably the worst example was excluding domestic and farm workers from the Social Security Act of 1935, since many African Americans were butlers, maids and sharecroppers. In World War II, the United States allied with Soviet Union (Russia), temporarily overlooking Joseph Stalin's murderous dictatorship, because it took both countries and Great Britain to defeat Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany. Most of the German army and its best generals were fighting on the Russian front.

The atomic bombs that ended World War II quickly led to the Cold War and the continuing growth of the national security state. Harry Truman's Fair Deal legislation to extend FDR's New Deal was hampered by southern congressional Democrats who correctly feared it would eventually help erode Jim Crow segregation that African Americans increasingly demanded to end after coming home from a war fought to preserve democracy.

Van Lingle Mungo @ Central




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This page contains a single entry by Jacki published on December 21, 2013 10:45 AM.

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