I should like to be able to offer the hope that the shadow over the world might swiftly pass. I cannot. The facts compel my stating, with candor, that darker periods may lie ahead. The disaster is not of our making; no act of ours engendered the forces which assault the foundations of civilization. Yet we find ourselves affected to the core; our currents of commerce are changing, our minds are filled with new problems, our position in world affairs has already been altered.
(Message to Congress, September 21, 1939)
The Summer of 1939 saw the birth of the Flushing Meadows World of Tomorrow and the Second World War. The hope that the United States could remain neutral led many people into the camp of isolationism, which found its most eloquent spokesman in Anne Morrow Lindbergh. The sense that an overwhelming evil had been let loose in the world led Mrs. Lindbergh to her confused interpretation of the course of future history. Reinhold Niebuhr, on the other hand, was moved by reading his morning mail to confound Utopian liberals by a summons to reality and a call to action. Archibald MacLeish's The Irresponsibles launched the intellectuals on a guilty orgy of self-examination and self-castigation, while a citizen army was growing up that was before long to fight in all parts of the world.
The World of Tomorrow
I WASN'T really prepared for the World's Fair last week, and it certainly wasn't prepared for me. Between the two of us there was considerable of a mixup.
The truth is that my ethmoid sinuses broke down on the eve of Fair Day, and this meant I had to visit the Fair carrying a box of Kleenex concealed in a copy of the Herald Tribune. When you can't breathe through your nose, Tomorrow seems strangely like the day before yes-
Permission the author. From One Man's Meat. Originally published in The New Yorker. Copyright, 1939, by E. B. White. Harper & Brothers.