CHAPTER 19
Road to War

Landon after the election of 1940, like all American politicians, was preoccupied with the question of war or peace. Remembering World War I and its aftermath, he feared war not only because of the deaths, blood shed, and economic disruption that would occur but because it might mean the end of American democracy. Democracy in the United States, as Landon saw it, had already suffered from the rise of authoritarianism abroad, from the domestic bitternesses of the 1930s, and from the concentration of power in Washington and in a leader who regarded himself as indispensable. If this was followed by a presidential dictatorship, which Wilson's administration had indicated war would bring, democracy might not recover.

These were the major reasons that led the Kansan to resist any move he thought might lead to war, but his anti-war convictions did not resolve all of the questions in his mind. He doubted that Germany could attack the United States, but he believed that Germany posed an economic threat, especially in terms of Latin-American markets. He wrote friends for advice on this and other questions. "How can a nation on a forty-hour [work] week ultimately beat a nation that is on an eighty-hour week?" If Great Britain fell, would Germany be able to attack the western hemisphere? What role would the British fleet play if Britain were defeated by Germany? Must the United States inevitably be drawn into war? If our merchant ships were allowed to enter war zones, would this not be tantamount to

-454-

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Landon of Kansas
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Chapter 1 Beginnings 3
  • Chapter 2 Getting Down to Business 20
  • Chapter 3 State Chairman 47
  • Chapter 4 Oil and Politics Mix 67
  • Chapter 5 from Oil Rebel to Governor 91
  • Chapter 6 the Governor in Action 118
  • Chapter 7 Affairs of State 150
  • Chapter 8 a Second Term 181
  • Chapter 9 a Long Shot 208
  • Chapter 10 a Candidate for Sure 234
  • Chapter 11 the Early Campaign 262
  • Chapter 12 Full-Time Candidate 291
  • Chapter 13 Sunflowers Do Not Bloom in November 313
  • Chapter 14 from Under the Wreckage 340
  • Chapter 15 Titular Head 353
  • Chapter 16 a Practical Liberal? 381
  • Chapter 17 Days of World Crisis 407
  • Chapter 18 Politics in Time of Peril--1940 423
  • Chapter 19 Road to War 454
  • Chapter 20 Political Opponent in Time of War 480
  • Chapter 21 the Postwar World 513
  • Chapter 22 Ten Years Down on the Farm 542
  • Chapter 23 Elder Statesman 560
  • Bibliographical Note 583
  • Achnowledgments 586
  • Index 589
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