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The following program is produced under a grant and aid from the educational radio and television centers and is distributed through the National Association of educational broadcasters and. The University of Michigan. Brownlee presents one nation indivisible on. Self-determination independence. Sovereignty. These are the catch words of one of the most powerful forces on march in the world today. Words which symbolize the desire of people everywhere. To be masters of their own political destiny. This is our story. The story of nationalism in the twentieth century. Told in a series of 13 radio
documents created by the broadcasting service of the University of Michigan. And now. One nation indivisible. Today we stand on a bridge a bridge between the past and the future. We can look back over the way we have come and we can see our nations have been born. And what forces have contributed to make each nation indivisible from our bridge. We can look down into the turbulent waters below us is the chaos into which man may precipitate himself. If he does not learn to live with his neighbors what lies ahead in the future. At the end of the bridge today in this final program dealing with nationalism we're going to look at the larger aspects of this vital growth are seen
as the office of a typical professor and a typical American campus in almost any year of our present era. Let's see now your name is Blaine I think John Glenn. Yes sir. And you were in one of my lecture sections last year went to Mr. Blaine. Yes or I'm surprised you remember how I try to remember all of my students if I can mark which classes the signs they are these days of course. But that's not what you came to see me about. Nasr Well it's hard to explain. You seem rather upset. Smoke if you like. Something's troubling you. That's putting it mildly. Professor I'm 20 years old. Where do I go from here. You mean your course of study won't prepare you know where that's that's not what I mean. I mean what I mean is the world's gone to pot. Here we are building more and bigger nuclear weapons guided missiles rockets sputniks every country in the world is snapping at every other country. What future is
there for me for anybody like me. What you're really asking is Where do we go from here. Maybe I'm crazy. Maybe I'm just too sensitive. But other people are worried about these things too. It just doesn't make sense for me to go on sweating over the books every day preparing myself to be a teacher. Sooner or later somebody is going to come along and yank the rug out from under me blow the whole world to kingdom come. And then where will I be. Where will any of us be. What's the good of it all. Age of Anxiety I think is the age of desperation. Did you ever consider that this might be temporary temporary if things continue the way they're going there won't be any future. I believe that everything that has served to draw men together has also been used to drive them apart. That which drives them apart today might bring them together tomorrow if there are any men left to bring together. John in the days of our Neolithic ancestors natural catastrophes served to bring families and tribal units closer together. These grew into
the small kingdoms and city states of historic times. Out of these grew the great empires of the ancient world the Persian the great Roman. But they were based on conquest tyranny and slavery Ah those were the methods used to achieve certain ideals. The larger the area at peace under a single government the greater the increase in trade and prosperity. Large market areas became free from trade restrictions. You can justify any sort of dictatorship and repression on those grounds. I'm not trying to justify anything John I'm merely saying that that's what happened in history. What happens in the future doesn't have to follow the pattern of the past. It can't empires even the Roman Empire. It was probably the most successful of them all. They're based on conquest and the forcible repression of national societies within their borders but least discipline wielded over an unwilling population is an invitation to civil war.
It's hardly an insurance for a permanent peace. But don't tell a Tarion national state even a totalitarian world state is doomed to failure as long as there exists a conqueror of the conquered. Well it seems to me that the reason people join together is because they're afraid of something. I've always been taught fear is unhealthy. After the fear has worn off. What if you've got the same old suspicions and same distrust as before but not entirely. So I'm very permanent institutions of a risen out of the fear of outside forces and have remained after the initial threat has disappeared. It takes what Solent as an example. Now in the 13th century the breakdown of the Holy Roman Empire left the land between Italy and Germany a conglomeration of feudal dependencies semi independent towns church Holdings the growing mite and aggressive tendencies of the Hapsburgs drove the leaders of three cantons glory
and want of alde to seek a way of protecting what freedom they had. The date was August 1st. 12:21 security gentlemen that is the key word. We must maintain the precious right of local self-government and declare ourselves independent of the Hapsburgs. We haven't the military strength to do that. And even if we did we would have to create a government to control it. I am against sacrificing the rights of two already or anyone else. Why secured that be necessary. We can retain all of our local autonomy and still join a confederation. This would give us mutual protection against invasion by a foreign military force. How do you propose to do that. We must agree under solemn oath to defend any member of our Confederation against loss or damage. And who is to pay for that. Each member will provide and pay for his own men and materials. You're asking for trouble. What
about the rights of the Hapsburgs and other overlords. We would continue to recognize those rights as far as the collection of taxes is concerned. That's what our people object to most excessive taxes without proper representation. My people as well. The bailiff sent in to our country have no familiarity with our customs and requirements or our ability to pay. But I think this can be handled properly by insisting that one of our own people be delegated by the overlord to supervise tax collections. Any disagreements would be judged by our own representatives magistrates of our own choice. You're not denying the sovereign power of the Holy Roman Emperor Certainly not. But if we want to maintain our fundamental rights we must unite in some sort of Federal Alliance for hollow for ever. How are common dangers will not lessen in the future. We must be prepared to defend ourselves for all time. And if others wish to join us later they should have the privilege of doing so as a representative of Henri.
I am prepared to swear to such a confederation or to put it in writing and I will pledge my people to it. This we are prepared to take the oath. What other choice is there. And so John you see that was the foundation of the everlasting League the Swiss Confederation. It's endured with numerous changes to be sure down to the present time. What began as a free association of communities developed into a national state with strong patriotic feeling. I'm not convinced nationalism seems to be at the root of all our troubles today. Nationalism have served a very worthwhile purpose. One nation indivisible brings greater good to the people within its borders than a divided country. Sure and two nations in the visible by definition simply can't live peaceably
together. What is a nation anyway. You can't define it. It's rarely limited by strong natural boundaries. It's no longer a group of people with the same cultural background or ethnic origins. They are not joined together by any one religion and the whole thing is arbitrary. And when such an important thing is arbitrary it's faults it leads to all kinds of trouble. Well John nationalism is a myth and whether we like it or not we all live by myths the myth of nationalism is extremely hard to define. H.G. Wells once tried. Here's what he said. A nation isn't in fact any assembly mixture or confusion of people which is either reflected by our wishes to be affected by a Foreign Office of its own in order that it should behave collectively as if it alone constituted humanity. I see that you're smiling. Well that definition may strike you as somewhat cynical but you know it has the ring of truth to it. Moreover it
brings out the point that modern nationalism is essentially democratic The very use of the word today implies a degree of rule by the people. But dictatorships are nationalistic too but as long as mankind has progressed to a point in which rule by the people and governments under popular control are accepted as ideals. Dictatorships can't survive forever. The rise of more and more independent nations in our own era especially in Asia and Africa demonstrates the good that can be achieved by a method no matter how difficult it is to define. It could be argued that a period of nationalism and independence must precede international cooperation. The child must cut itself off from the parent before it can fully appreciate the bonds of family. Put it another way love of country may be the necessary prerequisite for love of humanity. Well that's a myth too. What is love of humanity. You know nationalism. Perhaps the trouble is that it isn't a big enough myth.
What do you mean. Well the myth of nationalism has been so inflated over the years. Few people can find room in their hearts for a larger myth. Think of the Allegiance we pledge to flag and country. Think of the inspiring figures we built up to represent our nations. Uncle Sam. John Bush or manioc Marianne. What's the world at large got to offer to counter these symbols. Yes I think what we need is a political myth comparable to our religious beliefs. Someday somewhere perhaps we can build a myth on the basis of brotherhood that will have greater stature and more appeal than these narrow nationalistic mess. But there's got to be some sort of program. Maybe we've got a goal in view but how are we ever going to reach it. I have been struggling with methods for a long time and the idea of international cooperation for peace on a voluntary basis is almost as old as international rule by force imperialism world domination.
It was 13 6 I believe a French lawyer named Pierre Dubois proposed the formation of a Council of Europe with His Holiness the Pope as its leader disturbers of the peace will be excommunicated and all members of the Council of the United subdue the aggressor by force of arms. This was the idea of collective security peace assured by the willingness of the many to fight the first power to try to upset the status quo. There were lots of later thinkers including William Penn Emanuel Khant advocated a similar system but none of these plans was accepted. The Great Powers of Europe still preferred to think that unity could only be achieved by force of arms. Since the time of Charlemagne there been a number of attempts to conquer Europe the Polian and hit there are only two examples. They were doomed to failure so it's been the whole concept of collective security. But why. Well because it's based on the false hope that independent nations will put world peace about individual national interest. There's a Council of
Europe today. It's a forum like all the other agencies existing today based on treaties pacts and so forth. Such forums provide an opportunity for nations to discuss their mutual problems but a forum alone can't legislate and enforce laws as long as the nations represented in such an alliance remain completely sovereign. The threat of punishment against individual members of fairly hollow one. Statement are really more concerned with maintaining a kind of balance of power which is in their own national interest and the suppression of an aggressive power for the good of all. Well that's what I've been driving at all along. People have become completely cynical about such organizations since collective security doesn't accomplish anything. It's just too easy for people to believe that a Napoleon or a Hitler can save mankind. Wait it's true that some very ancient and erroneous concepts persisted day. But John we have made progress. Every new crisis in
world affairs intensifies the need for cooperation. In 1917 during World War One Woodrow Wilson said Peace must be followed by some definite concert of powers which will make it virtually impossible that any such catastrophe should ever overwhelm us again. But Americans didn't support Wilson's League of Nations. No they didn't. Well maybe it didn't make any difference whether we joined or not. Well it might have made a big difference but it's useless to argue that point now. The league adopted a good many of Wilson's proposals and there were some important ones they didn't adopt. At least Wilson had the courage to put forward a few new ideas and remind people of their obligations in world affairs. Mr. President how can you stop a nation from breaking the covenant of the League of Nations
by sanctions sanctions. The sanctions are measures taken in support of law. Members of the league and sever trade and financial relations with any lawbreaker Mr. President suppose two or more members within the league should form an alliance. But wouldn't that pose a real threat to the rest of the membership. Well naturally there should be no leagues or alliances or special covenants and understanding's within the family of the League of Nations. What about existing agreements they must be subordinated to the general alliance. What then if some nation refuses to abide by these restrictions any member of the league who has violated any covenant of the league can be declared no longer a member of the offending nation can be ostracized but of that nation persists and war is the only answer if the people of the world want peace they will work for it. So you see John the League of Nations began and ended its life on the horns of
the old dilemma. Japan in Manchuria Italy in Ethiopia found that they could commit aggression and defy the league successfully. Hitler took his cue from the successes. That was the start of the series of events that led to World War 2. The whole principle of collective security broke down in practice I would look good and well it still looks good on paper but after World War 2 then the United Nations follow exactly the same principles and seeing an exact repetition of the league's failures. John at least two important counts the UN is an advance over the league. First the Pandurs of the UN provided for the creation of an international army. Secondly they made sure that the United States was a member of the international body the UN established its headquarters in New York. One way of assuring that the Americans wouldn't lose interest in its activities. But do you really believe the U.N. has had any success. Certainly I do. On the one hand the number of international agencies established under U.N. auspices have
been doing fine work. The International Labor Organization. World Health Organization you Nesco many others. Never underestimate the long range effects that these nonmilitary organizations are having particularly in the underdeveloped areas of the world. The UN hasn't stopped war. Now it may have prevented a third world war from breaking out long before this U.N. mediators and peace missions have achieved considerable success in controversies such as those over Indonesia Kashmir the Arab-Israel and the Suez disputes. But we still don't have true international military force. Korea was mostly an American action. The UN gave us support after the United States had Well more or less committed itself. As for the outfit sent to Egypt that had more prestige than it had power. Still John I can't recall an example in history when a prestige army as you call it coupled with diplomacy accomplished quite as much. But you
know there's another interesting angle to what the U.N. is doing. Almost all past leagues and alliances have been based in practice on preserving the status quo Article 19 of the League of Nations was invoked only once and then unsuccessfully. Article 19 provided for a change should the peace of the world be involved. But the UN isn't committed to the old policy of maintaining the status quo. It recognizes the need for change especially the independence of small nations from colonial rule. During the short period of this UN's existence Libya Morocco Tunis Sudan Cambodia Ghana many other countries have become independent chiefly through the efforts of U.N. representation. Yes. And there's a big fly in the ointment as far as I'm concerned if nationalism is at the root of our present troubles. The UN is only creating more stumbling blocks to international cooperation have it's true that the
more fiercely nationalistic a country is the more intolerant it is of any restrictions on its sovereignty. Well instead of putting the jigsaw puzzle together than the UN is simply chopping it up into smaller pieces. Yes but I've already pointed out that freedom and independence may be a necessary prerequisite for international cooperation. Well when we were talking about Wilson a moment ago something occurred to me. He made a very strong point about not permitting alliances within an international alliance. Isn't that what's happening every day among the member nations of the UN. Do you mean alliances like NATO. Yes. According to Wilson's formula they have no place in the international scheme. Well a large number of people believe such alliances promise peace and stability in larger and larger areas. The Organization of American States that's one it's brought a greater degree of understanding to the western hemisphere than existed before its establishment in 1947 I think it was. The North Atlantic Treaty
Organization NATO has certainly helped reduce if not eliminate tension between Germany and France and even the newly independent and strong nationalistic countries of Asia are successfully handling many disputes through such organizations as the Arab League and the Colombo programme for economic development. But in reality all that is happening is the building up of larger and larger blocs of nations and both the United States and Soviet Russia are competing for the sympathies of these blocs. In fact we've reached a point for all practical purposes when there are only two blocs in the world so-called free nations and the Communist nations. Both of them have the power to destroy not only each other but the entire world as well. What good is the United Nations or any international league in a situation like that. It isn't possible for a free enterprise system and a state controlled economy to live permanently on peaceful terms. I don't know how we've succeeded so far with Britain and France. Their economies if
not socialistic at least have a greater degree of governmental regulation than we do. But let's be honest professor. We're right back where we started. In the old days if a group of people didn't like the government of the country they move somewhere else. We don't have a choice any longer. The world has grown too small. There just isn't any place to turn and that may be our salvation John. We are finally forced to recognize that there is no choice between total annihilation and cooperation. You know when we look back over history as you and I have been doing we see that mankind under pressure has always come up with solutions of some kind and almost inevitably the solutions have resulted in a greater degree of unity. Usually in the past the pressures were all exerted from the outside by some foreign military force. The forest fire of conquest and domination. Today the pressure goes even beyond the political and economic conflict of two great power blocs. It's a pressure
for survival is acute and frightening as anything faced by Neolithic man and his hostile environment. But unlike the caveman we have it in our power to control natural forces. We have the knowledge we have the experience to create a world in which peace is not dependent on war. The world might be better off without any government at all no it's impossible anarchy is anarchy in our present society with growing populations food problems disease problems. Mankind can't live without government. But what's happened to the old religious ideals. Everybody pays lip service to brotherhood but I don't believe and I don't think anybody else believes that brotherhood is going to bring nations together John the spiritual force for unity is still very strong within us. It's been with us a long time and I don't think there's any danger of it's dying out. You know way back in three hundred B.C. a man by the name of Manders said I am a man and nothing in man's law can I consider alien to
me. And you remember what John Donne said No man is an island entire of itself every man is a piece of the continent a part of the main. Any man's death diminishes me because I am involved in mankind and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls it tolls for thee. But how are we going to achieve World Order by world government or world state. That's the logical long range answer. But the danger is in thinking that world government can be achieved overnight. John there is no easy answer. Well I've heard of the proposal for a United States of Europe. Have there been any other such ideas as too many to count. They probably divide themselves into two major groups. Those that favor World Federation on a limited basis a federation which would exclude Communist Russia and its satellite nations and the other group which proclaims World Federation without regard to present alignments. Naturally this latter
group has been attacked as subversive more or less in the same fashion that anyone approving of the United Nations has been declared a fellow traveler simply because Russia in both cases is involved as a member. Perhaps we in the United States of resistive as a people the idea of a federation with other countries more violently than anywhere else in the world. Our strong military and economic position permits us this vanity. Traditionally we are isolationist but in a world unity demands some sacrifice. We don't have to pay the price of liberty to achieve it but we must give up something anyway. These various movements for world government to become split and dispirited in many cases because of the attacks made on them. Well there must be some way out. There must be something someone like myself can hold onto John. The best minds of our time of set themselves to answering the dilemma at the moment I would say that a majority believe a successful World State must be based on an international
community and international community comes into existence when people recognize the fact that the problems of one nation are the problems of all nations. When it becomes obvious there is no longer a firm line between domestic problems and international problems when it's accepted that an international agency can solve common problems that no nation can solve successfully by itself. But you can't have an international community thinking in such terms until the threat of international conflict has been minimized. Well that's like saying that what is absolutely necessary is practically impossible and not entirely impossible. The very fact that the world is growing smaller day by day because of the advances being made in communications and transportation makes the job of diplomacy easier accommodation compromise negotiation. All the techniques of diplomacy must be used today and with greater effectiveness than ever
before. Then you have hope. Yes I have hope. I agree with you that the world is in a sorry plight but I believe mankind can pull through. And it's up to young men like you to accomplish the difficult task not by dreaming but by working as an informed citizen to support the diplomats and their efforts to maintain a peaceful world from day to day. In time I sincerely believe permanent peace will come. Not today not tomorrow perhaps but certainly some day. And what if we fail if we fail well then we may have to begin all over again from the beginning. One nation indivisible.
One of a series of 13 radio documents on nationalism in the twentieth century. This program the last in the series was concerned with the problems of the future of internationalism reflecting the theme of the entire series ideas in a changing world. Resource advisor for the program was Professor Marshall nuffin of the Department of Political Science at the University of Michigan. The program was written by E. G Burroughs also played the part of the professor Robert Jones play the part of John Blaine Lou Hamers was the narrator and others in the cast remembers of the WUOM radio Guild the program was directed by Williams. And was produced and transcribed by the broadcasting service of the University of Michigan. One nation indivisible was created under a grant and aid from the educational radio and television center. And is distributed through the National Association of educational
broadcasters. This is the any radio network. And the tired.
One nation indivisible
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University of Michigan
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
Internationalism: Is world government the answer to the present dilemma and the conflict between modern national states?
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A documentary series about nationalism in the 20th century.
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Global Affairs
Politics and Government
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Narrator: Hemmers, Lou
Producing Organization: University of Michigan
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 58-17-13 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:15
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Chicago: “One nation indivisible; Internationalism,” 1958-01-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed March 1, 2024,
MLA: “One nation indivisible; Internationalism.” 1958-01-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. March 1, 2024. <>.
APA: One nation indivisible; Internationalism. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from