March 9, 1940 – Russo-Finnish War: Peace Overtures – 1940 Presidential Election – The Hatch Act
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March 9, 1940 – With peace talks taking place between Finland and the Soviet Union, some hope for a peaceful settlement in the Winter War was proceeding, gingerly at best.
On this day, the peace talks were shifting from Helsinki to Moscow. The Counsel of Ministers met earlier in the day in Paris to discuss support of the Finnish position. Meanwhile, fighting was continuing, with news of advances by Soviet troops with reports confirming Russia had captured the Finnish town of Viipuri on the Russian border. It nonetheless was a positive sign that Peace talks were continuing. Details on the Soviet position on the peace talks were not yet available, but were said to be stiffer than the terms the Finns refused before Russia invaded Finland.
Meanwhile, back in Washington – there was no indication or even hint that the U.S. was going to get involved in the Russo-Finnish situation, as far as Capitol Hill was concerned. However, what was on everyone’s mind was the upcoming Presidential election, which many anticipated to be the noisiest in years. The big news for this day was passage of The Hatch Act caused a big division within the Democratic Party, or what some called The Pure Politics Law, the Hatch Act made it a crime for any government employee to take part in any political campaign. The reason was historic; since the days of Andrew Jackson, party leaders relied on Federal Office holders to be main cogs in Party machines. But since the burst of protest for using Relief Workers in Party Politics, there had a rush of “purity” in the Congress, especially among Republicans. The Law kept Federal Employees out of party organization work. They could vote, they could contribute, but they could not actively participate in the Political Party process.
And that’s just a small slice of what went on, this very busy March 9th, 1940 as presented by two newscasts from NBC Radio; a morning roundup and an evening special program on the Russo-Finnish situation.