GEORGE T. EGGLESTON, author of Roosevelt, Churchill, and the World War II Opposition (Devin-Adair, 1979, $12.75), is an oldline WASP of impeccable pedigree who edited an anti-interventionist magazine, Scribner’s Commentator, prior to U.S. entry into World War II. Though he eschewed “anti-Semitism,” as did his overly timid backers and associates — Lindbergh, General Wood of Sears, Roebuck and DeWitt Wallace of Reader’s Digest — he was treated as a traitor, a criminal, a “Nazi” and a potential exterminator of Jews for daring to criticize the machinations of the FDR-Churchill axis that eventually delivered Eastern and part of Central Europe to the tender mercies of the Kremlin bully boys.
When Eggleston was editor of Scribner’s Commentator, the magazine received an anonymous gift of $15,000 in cash, which supposedly came from Henry Ford, who approved of Eggleston’s editorial line. The government and the columnists seized on this windfall to persecute Eggleston and the magazine’s publisher, Douglas Stewart, on the grounds that the money came from Hitler.
The vendetta continued after the war when Eggleston was grilled by government attorneys and confronted with two German diplomats who “confessed” they had given his magazine the money in 1941. When defense counsel was able to show that the two Germans had been jailed and tortured for several months and that Eggleston had been thousands of miles from where they claimed to have met him in prewar days, the government’s case collapsed and Stewart, who had been brought to trial, was found innocent. Eggleston was finally permitted to spend his remaining years in peace. After working as an editor of Reader’s Digest, he retired to a life of sailing and escapism on the Negro Caribbean island of St. Lucia.
Eggleston’s book is one more proof that the people in charge of the U.S. in World War II and the people who still run the country are capable of anything — the most underhanded chicanery, the most reprehensible frame-ups, even the use of torture and assassination. Yet somehow most Americans still think their country is a never-never land where such things cannot be. How can the kings of Camelot be the twisters of thumb screws? They were and they will continue to be until the buried fats of modern history are exhumed for all to see and ponder.
Note: In a fascinating aside Eggleston quotes from an article by Ernest Hemingway published in Esquire (Nov. 1935), It is a piece of almost incredible prophecy.
Your correspondent believes that the fate of our country for the next hundred years or so depends on the extent of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s ambition. If he is ambitious only to serve this country as Cleveland was, we and our children will be fortunate. If he is ambitious personally to leave a great name to eclipse the name he bears, which was made famous by another man, we will be out of luck, because the sensational improvements that can be made legally in the country in time of peace are being rapidly exhausted.
The trouble was that Hemingway himself, by his slavish devotion to the Stalinophile “loyalist” of the Spanish Civil War and his warmongering anti-German propagnda, did as much as anyone to feed FDR’s soaring, one-eyed ambition. It was a miserable failure of nerve that set the stage for the latter-day, drink-deadened manic Hemingway whose mind had died long before he put the business end of a shotgun in his mouth and killed his body.
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Source: Instauration magazine, February 1980