Senator Nixon Has A Few Words About Sending Troops To Europe – 1951 – Past Daily Reference Room
Before his days as President and vice-President, Richard Nixon was Senator from California. Coming in right during the Red Scare, and largely winning his Senatorial campaign by concocting allegations that his opponent, former Representative Helen Gahagan Douglas was a Communist sympathizer, Nixon conducted what was considered one of the dirtiest campaigns in American politics, and won the Senate seat by 59%.
In 1951, America was knee-deep in the Korean War and Senator Nixon was a vocal opponent of President Truman‘s handling of it. The question before him, as it was being put to a vote at the time of this broadcast interview, was the decision to send U.S. troops to Western Europe as a means of bolstering a stand against the possible spread of Communism, west of the Danube. Nixon was not only in support, he also was in support of the Draft, where 18 year olds were subject to mandatory military service. Nixon felt the threat of Communism was so great that it was practically an obligation of Americans to prevent it, or the potential of it, from happening. But the concern was how stretched thin our military resources would be, since we were in the midst of fighting in Korea. The whole issue of sending American troops to Western Europe was predicated on Europe’s ability and desire to resist Communist influence; that America didn’t want to be the only one defending against aggression, that it be a joint effort. As for the Draft, Nixon saw it as a preservation of peace and not a preparation for War. The reason why 18 year olds should be drafted, Senator Nixon announced, was that it was the only way the U.S. was going to build up the pool of manpower, but that the system of Drafting should also be considered a fair obligation.
This quick and informal interview was conducted by radio station KMPC, who had a studio on Capitol Hill and sent the interview back via transcription. It was broadcast on March 3, 1951.