BUT ALL this runs ahead of our story. Early in 1946, Pete sensed that he and Davis were in for some rough going. Mayor LaGuardia had warned Ben when he swore him in for the second time late in 1945. " Davis," the Mayor said, "you're going to have tough sledding this time."
His Honor wasn't exaggerating. The "Little Flower" knew what was cooking in Washington and his political seismograph was extremely sensitive to the international tremors which were felt in various degrees in the great metropolis. U.S. monopoly capital had come out of World War II enormously strengthened at the expense of its major capitalist rivals. It had used the atom bomb in a demonstrative effort to cow the socialist world. It possessed a huge gold supply and a lush internal market in the surging demand for housing, cars and other appliances long pent up by wartime shortages. With Harry Truman in the White House, powerful anti-Soviet banking and business circles found it comparatively easy to disengage the nation from the wartime alliance with the Soviet Union. They feared the new stirrings among the peoples throughout the world.
They had good reason for their class fears. Fascism had been smashed and in Eastern Europe a bloc of countries, liberated by the Red Army and the efforts of their own partisan fighters, was building a new life. In France and Italy, the Communists, who had played a heroic part in the Resistance were part of the new emerging governmental structures. In Asia there were vast stirrings for freedom. India was on the eve of its independence. In Indochina a legendary figure named Ho Chi Minh was leading a movement for independence of his nation that was breaking the shackles of the French colonial empire.
Inevitably, the new atmosphere affected New York City politics. With the glow of the wartime unity fading, it became increasingly difficult for Pete and Ben to get a fair hearing for their legislation, most of which was by then being jointly introduced. But they kept on doggedly. One of their resolutions called for providing at least 20,000 new homes for returning