Comes wrapped in an American flag.
Comes wrapped in an American flag.

. . . or click on the link here for Audio Player – America’s Town Meeting – March 23, 1939 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection.

As the world was inching closer to all-out war, the debate raged over how much should the U.S. get involved? Much of the question lay over how much influence was being wielded by outside interests on public opinion and how much these interests were winding up on Capitol Hill. There were the Isolationists, the Communists and the Fascists – all with ties to Washington, all gathering public support and all with their own agendas by way of ties to Moscow and Berlin.

In the 1930s the U.S. was still a reasonably open society as far as political parties and ideologies was concerned. As the threat of war drew closer, Capitol Hill responded to the threat of subversion by forming the Dies Committee, to investigate charges of political influence by these groups with ties to Moscow and Berlin.

The question remained; should these groups, with political ties to overseas governments, be allowed to continue as they have been, or be limited (or outlawed) as a threat, or potential threat to National security?

Arguments got heated. And as is evidenced by this episode of the radio series America’s Town Meeting, which was originally broadcast on March 23, 1939, they got loud.

So as a reminder that arguments don’t always change – ideologies are always debated and motives are always questioned, here is that episode of America’s Town Meeting, coming months before the start of War in Europe.

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