Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Creel and Lippmann, both cheerleaders for U.S. military intervention in Europe in WWI, avoid the draft

Note for a Planned Article
"Creel, Lippmann, and the Origins of American Public Diplomacy"
(comments welcome; draft, not for citation)

From Ronald Steele, Walter Lippmann and the American Century (1980), pp. 116-120:
Even before the United States entered the war Lippmann had warned Wilson that an all-volunteer army was too risky; it would unleash jingoism, hatred for the "Hun," and stir up a "newspaper campaign of manufactured hatred." Wilson agreed, and his selective service bill, covering all men and eighteen to forty-five, cleared the Congress in May [1917]. ...
Lippmann, only twenty-seven and in fine health, was eminently eligible for the draft, but felt there were better ways to use his talents. "I'll be pretty well occupied in New York for the summer  unless I'm conscripted, and I don't in the least think I ought to be just now," he wrote Felix Frankfurter, himself then thirty-four and recently recruited to serve as troubleshooter for Secretary of War Newton D. Baker. "What I want to do is to devote my time to studying and speculating on the approaches to peace and the reaction from the peace. Do think you can get me an exemption on such high-falutin' grounds?" ...
  Lippmann image from
Frankfurter put in a word with Baker, and then Lippmann followed through [to Baker] ... Although reluctant to ask a favor, he added pointedly that the  matter was "complicated by the fact that my father is dying and my mother is absolutely alone in the world. She does not know what his condition is, and I cannot tell anyone for fear it would become known."
As it turned out his father was not to die for another ten years. ... Baker told Lippmann to come and be his special assistant. ...
This was just where Lippmann wanted to be. ...
[The New Republic, Lippmann's employer, made the following announcement in June 1917:] Mr. Walter Lippmann has temporarily severed his connection with the editorial board of THE NEW REPUBLIC to enter the service of the War Department. ...[Note: Lippmann did briefly serve with U.S. military intelligence in France in 1918. He had the "hardship" assignment of running the Military Intelligence Division Psychological Subsection's office in Paris.]
The outbreak of war had turned the minds of many young men to marriage. In late April 1917, as he was negotiating his draft exemption, [Lippmann] made his decision. Faye [Alberston, the daughter of a socialist parson who "cared no more for politics than he did for the tango"] said yes. ...
Lippmann was euphoric. With the war, his new job and his impending marriage, he was beginning a new life.
Walter and Faye were married on May 24, 1917 . ... Ralph Alberston and Jacob Lippmann [Walter's "dying" father] served as witnesses.
P. 124:
No sooner had he declared war than Wilson moved to smother dissent by appointing journalist George creel to head a new government agency euphemistically called the Committee on Public Information. Congress did its bit to legislate conformity by imposing espionage and sedition acts so sweeping that people were prosecuted for obstructing the sale of government bonds, discouraging recruitment, or uttering abusive words about the government or military uniforms.
I have seen no references in the literature regarding Creel and the draft, but he too did not serve in the trenches, busy as he was, in Washington, justifying American military intervention in Europe as chairman of the Committee on Public Information.

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