May 20, 2010

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(Burton K. Wheeler - the visage of a Gorilla or Bison suit to his lower right gives one pause)

An all but forgotten figure now but at the time (prior to our involvement in World War 2), Senator Burton K. Wheeler was an outspoken critic of the Lend-Lease Bill and HR 1776, which granted war making powers to the President. Initially an avid supporter of the America First Committee, even to the point of entertaining a vice-Presidential run on a third party ticket alongside Charles Lindbergh's Presidential candidacy. But just prior to Pearl Harbor in 1941, Wheeler was a frequent speaker on behalf of neutrality in our involvement in the European conflict.

Sen. Burton K. Wheeler: “HR 1776, a bill granting the President the right to give billions of American taxpayers dollars to finance foreign wars in any country on any continent in the world and for other purposes is now the law of the land. The bill was debated fully. The majority of both houses voted for it. The President signed it. It must and should be respected by all our people regardless of their previous opposition to it.”

Wheeler did an abrupt about-face after Pearl Harbor, even though it was always argued what his intentions were. There were many allegations that Wheeler, like many figures in the America First Movement were dupes of Berlin or simply naive. Regardless, Burton K. Wheeler was a visible figure in the Neutrality Movement.

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