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Council for Democracy

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Background

Sometime in the late 1930s or early 1940s, Lew Douglas (a friend of John McCloy’s joined the Council for Democracy, "a lobbying-and-public-relations outfit organized by C. D. Jackson, Henry Luce’s right-hand man at Time magazine. Under Jackson’s direction, the Council became an effective and highly visible counterweight to the isolationist rhetoric of the America First organization, led by Charles Lindbergh and Robert Wood of Sears & Roebuck. With financial support from Douglas and Luce, Jackson, a consummate propagandist, soon had a media operation going which was placing anti-Hitler editorials and article in eleven hundred newspapers a week around the country.” (Bird, The Chairman, 1992: 109)

"C. D. Jackson, although one of the most significant figures in U. S. Cold War history, has remained strangely unknown, his ac¬tivities largely unrecognized. Vice-president of Time, Inc., Jackson organized the Council for Democracy in 1941, "to combat all the nazi, fascist, communist, pacifist" antiwar groups in the United States. The Council was a limited affair that served mostly to high¬light Jackson's talents as a propagandist." (Cook, 1981, p.122)

"Jackson was also one of the early proponents of an "institute for democratic leadership," which he first suggested to Princeton University in 1941. Based on Germany's "Fuehrer Schule" concept, it was conceived "not in slavish imitation of the Nazi idea, but in order to turn out young men with the knowledge and emotional drive to act as 'pro-Consuls of democracy' in the course of their ca¬reers. These young men must be ready to devote two years of their lives to a serious and intensive course in democratic leadership, with the earnest devotion of the zealot rather than the casual inter¬est of the dilettante." Although Princeton University seemed not to pick up the idea, The Johns Hopkins University did-creating the School for Advanced International Studies (SAIS), which absorbed the Foreign Service Educational Foundation, which had been sponsored by Jackson under the direction of Christian Herter. After the Foreign Service Educational Foundation was incorporated by The Johns Hopkins University, on 30 June 1950, SAIS" NEXT PAGE "became one of the leading centers for the training of urbane and erudite "Americans for World Careers."" (Cook, 1981, p.123-4)


"In the fall of 1940, the Council for Democracy, led by the noted radio broadcaster Raymond Gram Swing, began a media saturation campaign.... The Council left no doubt as to its main purpose: 'To crystallize and instill in the minds of Americans the meaning, value, and workability of democracy as a dynamic, vital creed -- just as Nazism, Fascism, and Communism are to their adherents.'"

Source: Morton Sosna, "World War II, Democracy and the South: the Birth of the Southern Regional Council," paper at Conference on the Southern Regional Council and the Civil Rights Movement, University of Florida, 2003.

Footnote cites: Richard O. Boyer, "The Voice," New Yorker, 18 (November 14, 1942), 24; Robert R. Mullen, "Democracy's Salesmen," Christian Science Monitor Magazine (November 30, 1940), 4; Carl J. Friedrich, The Poison in Our System (New York 1941), 3; "The Council for Democracy," Common Ground 1 (Winter 1940), 79; Gleason, "Americans All, 503-04.

Information submitted by Allen Barton Aug 7 2004. allenbarton@mindspring.com

Resources

  • Cedric Larson, "The Council for Democracy", Public Opinion Quarterly, volume 6, 1942.
  • Blanche Wiesen Cook, "The declassified Eisenhower", Doubleday Books, 1981.
  • Kai Bird, "The Chairman", 1992.

Also see: http://www.ibiblio.org/lia/president/EisenhowerLibrary/finding_aids/Jackson,_CD_Papers.html http://www.49thparallel.bham.ac.uk/back/issue7/johnstone.htm