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Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - August 11, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa Done In by 'dirty tricks' li. Time clears slandered Hoover tlhe lollomnrj ii romfcnsod from an address lost Thursday to (he (owo gineenng Society in West Branch. Or, rhnnccltar of Cot and o trustee of the Hoover Presidential library AssnJ By Joseph E. McCabe TI7IIKN Lincoln was President lie was unbelievably slamiiTi-d. Ilistury lias umlu ati-il the raJI-spliliiT from Illiimis. A similar judgment has been di'i-cliipinii cminTii- Herbert Hoover, [he Quaker President burn 1110 years in lima My father, a lifelong and ardent I'ei.....Tilt, dink me In hear Franklin Dclani) Kimsneli speak at nld Forbes field in Pittsburgh, nn Oel. ID, I9.T> 1' was the height of Ibe Iliiover-Himsevell campaign. AmoiiK nther IhiiiKs saiil was "I propose In analyse the eniinuiius increase in the crimth what you and I call bureaucracy A complete realignment nf the unprecedented bureaucracy that has as- sembled in Washington in the past four years." That snunded good tii me and I under- stood my father's enthusiasm for the candidate. Later, when 1 became interested in studying history. 1 dis- covered that the over-ail number of povernment employes had actually decreased during Hoover's administra- tion. But [acts weren't bothering lioosevell that day, or on many other days of the campaign. Three weeks earlier, in Detroit. Roosevelt had said: "We cannot go back to c-hildren working in factories." I later discovered that Hoover had promoted an amendment to the Constitution prohibit- ing child labor. Many status had already adopted it. However. New York. Roosevelt's home state where he was governor, had not adopted it when he made the above charge which was leveled at Hoover. Falsehood One week earlier, at Indianapolis, Roosevelt had said: "The United States Public Health Service states that over 6 million of our school children have not enough to eat, many are fainting at their desks; they are the prey of disease The head of that agency wrote Hoover a letter saying no such statement had ever been made. Furthermore, the president of the American Public Health Assn... who was not a government of- ficial, wrote within a month of Roosevelt's charge: "By and large, the health of the people as measured in sickness and death has never been belter despite the depression." Facts had become the first casually nf the cam- paign. The slander against the President became even more personal and more vitriolic as the campaign went along. Hoover had helped several men buy a ranch in California and as an expression of thanks they named it "Hoover Ranch." Someone hung a sign under the ranch's name "No White Help implying that only cheap, Oriental laborers, Ihen numerous in California, would be hired. The sign was pho- tographed and sent around the country. Samuel Gompers, head nf the American Federation of Labor, launched an investigalion. Two fads emerged: the ranch had never belonged to Hoover, and it had never hired Orientals. The slander had spread, however, and turned up in anti-Hoover material for 20 years. One of the sneakiest slanders of the campaign was the charge thai Hoover had once been a Brilish citizen, because his name appeared on an English voter list. This was true, his name was Ihere. So was the name of every Mexican. Bel- gian, Frenchman, or who-havc-you was a householder in England al lhal time. Since Hoover had been living in London heading the Belgian relief mis- sion, his name had appeared on the voters list, along wi'.h householders from around the world, temporarily living in Brilain. That fact was conveniently omitted by his detractors. No mossback There has grown up in America the myth that Hoover was an economic reactionary, far to the right of McKinlcy. Thai picture is completely false. No reputable historian now believes it. Homer was a poor speaker, wrote inter- minably long sentences, refused help with his speech writing, and had little of the modern day politician's charisma. These things, together with the accidents of history over which he had no control, helped to defeat him. But an economic right-winger he was not. Consider the following. His opponents called him the friend of Big Business, but in 1SI1X he proposed to President Wilson the first excess profits lax in the history of the country, in order In get more of business profits into the public Ireasury. He was branded the ally of Wall Street, but no President ever struck such fear into the wheeling and dealing securities salesmen of Hie '20s as this fearless Quaker, lie knew the paper fortunes being made in the slock market would some day collapse. He was called the enemy of labor, but in lie was solidly opposed (o federal iiijumiicms against rallwaymen who were striking. Industrialists screamed when in the While Mouse lie signed Ihe bill outlawing "yellow-dog" nintracl.s. Wiii-ii he fir.sl ran for President he. was backed by Ihe American Federation of HERBERT HOOVER Labor, the railway workers, the miners union, and Ihe greater number of unor labor. There was a firm bond of respect between Hoover am! .lohn L. Lewis. How many people know lhal in 1H2S the majority of Republican senators opposed his nomination, and that he was fought in the convention by the solid conservative wing of the party? The New York World, a liberal leaning paper, urged his nomination as the Democratic candidate for President, as did some very prominent Democrats. In Michigan that year he drew the largest vote in the Democratic primary. Yet this is the same Hoover who has been maligned and branded as a right wing reactionary. A little knowledge nf history explodes that myth. His programs to reform banking practices, tn take the water out of Wall Street stocks, and to protect the union rights nf labor, all met anguished cries from Un- vested interests on the right. Hideaway Like all Presidenls before him Hoover fell the misery of a Washington summer. There was no air-conditioning in those days. He wrote: "Washington's summer heat is known to several millions of people from acute experience. Eggs have- been fried on the pavements." Al Ihe head of Ihe Rapidan river, Hoover bought land, erected a series of cabins, and fur- nished them, all oul of his own pockel, quaintly noting: "It was exactly a hundred miles from the White House, and we connected it by direct telephone." The Democratic national committee spread word that the camp had been acquired with public money, a com- pletely false report. At the end of his term of office Homer gave the whole es- tablishment to the Shenandoah national park. How could he have given it away if it had not been his? Perhaps the most scurrilous charge made against Hoover, with Ihe least basis in fact, labeled him as the enemy of war veterans. In fact, the blatant allega- tion was made that he had ordered army troops to shoot down veterans during Joseph E. McCabe their Bonus March of July, 1932. Several thousand true veterans, and several thousand people who had never seen military service, gathered in Washington to demonstrate in favor of a bonus for their war years. Local law enforcement officers could not handle the situation. There was a pitched battle between police and demonstrators. Both the chief of police and the com- missioner of the District of Columbia wrote to Hoover, appealing to him to use troops to restore order. The President responded to their request. What is not well known is that the army troops that day were under the command of General Douglas MacArthur. and the second in command was a young officer named Colonel Dwighl Eisenhower. Hoover had given explicil directions that the bonus marchers were not to be driven from their camps, but MacArthur clearly disobeyed his commander-in-chief and forced the veterans oul of the District of Columbia. The next lime MacArthnr disobeyed a President he was met by HarYy Truman in the Pacific, and sacked. Some figures show who was the friend of Ihe veterans. Annual reports of the Veterans Administration show there were 994.1100 veterans and their depen- dents receiving government aid during Hoover's hist year in office. Two years after he left the White House the number had dropped to Still the utter falsehood about Hoover, the Bonus March, and veterans assistance persisted for years. The strategy of the political opposition in was to claim that Hoover was Ihe cause of Ihe country's economic ills, and In label Ihe situation the Hoover Depres- sion. 11 is a well documented fad lhal the economic situation was in rapid decline in major world centers before it began in tin.1 United Stales, and before Hoover look office. If Hoover had started tin- world depression, why did not someone outside this country say so? If others could have blamed it all on the American President, they surely would have done so. Only in America could such a preposterous charge survive, but it will not survive a little knowledge of the fads. Average unemployment dm ins; the four Hoover vears v.as right ar'nmd million Diirnu' fir-t MP-M years average um-mplov mi-nl was 10 million TlioM- facK were re-.crsi-d in the minds of mam Americans for years. The "big smear' taught till-ill always tu believe the vvorM about Hoover. The myth survives even in this da> HMUT i sum. and that it ceased when lie left of- fice. History and facts however, have been hard on 'that falsehood Roosevelt's amipatlr, toward Iluou-r went far beyond normal political opposi. lion. The depth and power of Ills hatred ol his predecessor continues io his tonans. In all the years lie was in ihe White House, not nncctdid he- unite Hoover to visit. Hoover had served Udoilrow Wilson magmficeiitlv in World war I and could have been .1 tower ol strength in World war II. Hoosevell did not ask him to lake any assignment Shortly after lie look office he had the name Hoover dam changed In Boulder dam. That wasn't slander, but it cer- tainly was small potatoes. By long prac- tice, such dams bore the names of Presidents. Thus there was a Wilson dam and a Coolidgc dam, and the dam on the Colorado river was named Hoover dam in the document by which congress authorised funds for it. Roosevelt's ac- tion, changing it to Boulder dam. went far beyond political considerations. His- tory relieves the American conscience al this point for in 1347, under Democratic President Harry Truman, the nriainal- name Hoover dnm was restored. Fals'1 reports had been issued about Hoover's administration from the presidential platform. Blatant lies had been told about him. The "smear- Hoover" campaign had enlisted able men. They knew the Hoover farm sign "no white help wanted" had been plant- ed. They knew he had never been a Bri- lish citizen. They knew "Hoover caused the depression" was one of the chief slanders of the century. They knew unemployment was greater under Roosevelt than it had been under Hoover. Years later some of these men made public confession of their false accusa- tions. This poignant note appears in Hoover's memoirs: "Ever since I left of- fice my personal correspondence has been studded with touching man-to-man apologies from complete strangers, who said they had been misled, had taken part in these campaigns of lies, and wanted me to know they were sorry. Of- ten they asked for a letter of forgiveness to ease their consciences." V-P praise It is a refreshing fact of American politics that Ihe greatest vindication came during the administration nf a Democratic president, Truman. FDR's vice-president for eight years was John Nance Garner. They were inaugurated together in and 1937. In 1948, Garner wrote: "1 never reflected on the personal character or integrity of Herbert Hoover. In many ways he was superbly equipped for the presidency. If he had become President in 1921 or 1937 he might have ranked with the great Presidents. Today I think Hoover is the wisest statesman on world affairs in America. He may be nn domestic affairs, too." When Truman wanted the best man he could find to head a study of the govern- ment, he turned to Hoover. The ex President was past but he accepted the assignment, often working hours a day and exhausting his staff. The report received hi-partisan acclaim. More of its recommendations were ac- cepted than from any other in-depth analysis of Washington ever made. His- torians rank the Hoover Report as the most significant study of nnr government in the 20th Century. The government study was still being acclaimed when Hoover reached the milestone. By this time he had received X5 honorary degrees. One hundred foreign governments and groups sent felicitations and expressions of gratitude for his help. In this country 2.0110 edi- torials from every state in the union played on the theme "Ihe great American and humanitarian." Only a tiny minority could come up with anything critical. Not one questioned his integrity. On his Slith birthday, the then junior senator from Montana. Mike Mansfield, said: "In the light of history. 1 believe lie was a great President; anil 1 think future historians will bear out that statement." On his S8th birthday there was a mas- sive outpouring of people to welcome him back to his hometown of West Branch. Iowa. Truman, of course, was invited, lie was then 78 and a close relative was seriously ill. To Ihe invitation he replied: "The only thing that could keep me from coming would he my own death." At Hoover's passing Truman said: "Briefly put, he was my friend and I was his." Years before any personal animosity developed between them, or they had lieciime political opponents. Hoover and Franklin Hoosevelt had served together ill the administration of Woodrovv Wilson. During (hose years FDH wrote; "Herbert Hoover is certainly a wonder and I wish we could make him President nf the United Slates. There could not be 11 better one." 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