British Minister of Labor Ernest Bevin stated where he stood in a speech before the London Rotary Club:--"After the last war there was a failure to recognize that it was largely, as indeed this one is, a great civil war which must determine whether we are to be ruled from the top or must have government responsible to the people. I want to give you the new motive for industry and for life. I suggest that at the end of this war, and indeed during the war, we accept social security as the main motive of all our national life" ( Time, Dec. 2, 1940).
Two strong men stand face to face, fearful lest any word or act may alienate votes so much needed in the approaching election. Willkie's acceptance matched Roosevelt's weaseling, both endorsing conscription, in principle, but tossing back this political dynamite into the lap of the Senate, which had waited first on one, then the other.
From Willkie to Washington, even after his acceptance speech had gone to press, pressure "sped by wire, phone and messenger . . . to save the draft bill". Urging the opposite course, 30 Republican Congressmen telegraphed, and Willkie's friends, Barton and Halleck, were "importuned privately". ( Paul Mallon, Aug. 16)
The popular protest that broke early in the month increased the second week of August to hurricane violence in the Senate, and gathered intensity before the House Committee. About to report the bill Aug. 9, they were forced to prolong the hearing to call additional witnesses.
On the 14th, Senators were reported "about evenly divided for and against. Ten senators today held the balance of power" ( Boston Transcript). "Whether or not the draft is voted, there seemed slight doubt about the summoning of the National Guard for a year of training", remarked the Transcript, which had been strong for conscription.
On the 15th, when the Senate recessed, PM announced four Senators, Norris, LaFollette, Lundeen, Shipstead, would determine the issue. And Kluckhohn ( N. Y. Times) forecast that they would accept the Maloney amendment postponing conscription till January 1,--after election. August 17 (UP) members of the Senate claimed an 8-vote margin in their drive to modify the Burke-Wadsworth bill.