Onward Christian Soldiers


A review


Jewish publications of all kinds should contain a prominently placed statement that they are Jewish.  This would automatically brand them as being completely unreliable and people would read them at their own risk, or would know what to expect.  -  Donald Day, 1942


When Pope Francis came to the United States, he chose two American Catholics for public praise, Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton.  Day was a journalist and social activist.  She was a woman of strong views and sturdy character who was not afraid to challenge higher authority.  The trait seems to have run in the family.  Dorothy’s older brother, Donald, was also a journalist, and he ended up sacrificing his career for his principles. 


Judged simply on their work as journalists, Donald was a good deal more influential than was Dorothy.  For more than 20 years, from his post as Eastern European correspondent for Colonel Robert McCormick’s conservative Chicago Tribune in Riga, Latvia, he was the only American reporter to report consistently and honestly on the horrors of the Soviet Union.  His dispatches were syndicated, and it would probably not be an exaggeration to say that he was more responsible than any other person for the fact that the Communist government of Joseph Stalin was treated as a pariah nation in this country throughout the 1920s and into the early 1930s.  Without his lonely voice, it is doubtful that the United States would have ended up as the last major power to extend diplomatic recognition to the Soviet Union, which it did finally in 1933, the first year of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s presidency.  The Communist Bolsheviks had come to power in 1917.


The election of Roosevelt, with his pro-Soviet attitude, was the beginning of the end of Day’s journalistic career for the one major American newspaper that swam against the Roosevelt and New York Times-led pro-Soviet tide.  He might not have started out that way, but Day’s experience as an old-school reporter, calling things as he saw them, had turned him into a fierce anti-Communist opponent of the Soviet Union.


Lonesome Window on the USSR


His education began when, as labor editor of The New York World, he was invited to visit Russia by Ludwig Martens, the unofficial Soviet envoy to this country, who was being expelled.  He went with him as far as Riga where he applied for a visa to enter Russia.  The visa, which Martens had promised to him, was not forthcoming from Moscow and Day stayed in Riga.  From there he got in touch with the Tribune’s foreign service chief, the legendary war correspondent Floyd Gibbons, who helped him get the job for that newspaper covering Eastern Europe and continuing his attempt to get that visa to move to Moscow.  It was never granted.


Day wrote his book detailing his experiences and his observations in 1942.  It was not published until 1982, by Noontide Press.  The full title of the book is Onward Christian Soldiers: 1920-1942: Propaganda, Censorship and One Man’s Struggle to Herald the Truth. The Tribune’s longtime Washington correspondent, Walter Trohan, wrote the book’s introduction in late 1981.  Here we pick up Trohan’s admiring narrative:


From his Riga listening post, Day sent the first stories of the Russian famine.  He was tireless in interviewing those fleeing Russia and got the first reports of life in the boasted Red Eden.  He was the first to interview Americans who were released from Soviet prisons at the instigation of the American government on the recommendation of Herbert Hoover, who headed a relief program which not only saved millions of Russian lives but doubtless saved the Bolshevik regime itself.


In his work Day had some of the glamor of the Richard Harding Davis era of foreign correspondence.  He worked with Lithuanian irregulars in the seizure of the Memel territory in 1923.  He was there when Estonian Communists undertook their bloody attempt to overthrow the Government.  He was the confidant and advisor to many figures in the new governments in the area.  For 21 years he was on hand in Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland and Finland.  He covered both Finnish-Russian wars, that for liberation in 1917 and that which was a prelude to World War II.  He sent many graphic accounts of warfare in sub-zero weather.


Through 21 years Day sought regularly to get the once promised visa.  Almost as regularly he was approached by Red agents, who told him he would get the visa if he would write favorable articles for some months, and if he would agree to report on the activities of governments with which he was familiar.


This Day would not do.  He considered the invitation one to join the Soviet espionage apparatus.  His dispatches were giving readers a picture of life in the new republics, all of which had won independence through bitter and even bloody struggles with Russia. These countries had established themselves, not by grants of aid from the outside but by their own efforts.  These countries allowed Day to write without censorship, where in Russia correspondents were required not only to submit to censorship but to report to the foreign office every three months for consideration of the extension of their visas.  If they displeased the Soviets, their visas were withdrawn.  For this reason, The Tribune elected to withdraw George Seldes, its Soviet ingratiating correspondent from Moscow and leave the coverage to Day from Riga. * 


By the test of time Day’s dispatches stand out as not only more truthful but more informative than those of his Moscow contemporaries.


Reading Day’s relatively short 204-page paperback it is easy to see why the manuscript took 40 years to see the light of day.  The book swims as strongly against the still-prevailing Good War-tide on World War II as did his dispatches about the Soviet Union.  Furthermore, his very blunt and judgmental views on various ethnic and religious groups, particularly Jews, could hardly be more politically incorrect by today’s standards.  This is the voice of a man who had seen a good sample of the absolutely evil monstrosity that Stalin’s Communist Russia was. Then his country allied itself with that monstrosity, and he was ordered to return home.  The order initially came in August 1942 not from his newspaper but from the U.S. government.  By that time he was in Sweden, having escaped the Soviet takeover of the Baltic States.  He did not go home; his passport was lifted, and he became a man without a country.


The first chapter is entitled, “Why I did not go home,” and here are some excerpts:


Herschel Johnson, the American minister in Sweden, had asked the assistance of the Swedish authorities to prevent me from leaving for Finland.  In explaining this unusual action of the American government he said that Washington charged me with being “anti-Bolshevik, anti-British and anti-Roosevelt.”


As for the charges the American minister preferred against me, they also apply to The Chicago Tribune which stationed me in Riga for 20 years reporting developments in Russia and Northern Europe.  I happened to be the only American staff correspondent stationed in this part of Europe.  The Chicago Tribune editorially opposed the Bolshevik regime.  It had always warned our government of the machinations of the British government against the United States; among other acts, London had successfully organized the debtor nations of Europe to default together with Great Britain in paying their war and post-war debts to America.  It had also unsuccessfully warned the American people against the intrigues and propaganda of the British government to involve us in a European war, our involvement converting it into a new world war, more dangerous and horrible than the last.  It had unsuccessfully campaigned against Franklin Roosevelt, and the international forces behind him, who for years maneuvered to bring America into the war and who finally succeeded.


I was even more involved than The Tribune.  For more than 20 years my name had been signed on my dispatches.  I had been under constant attack by Soviet, Jewish, Polish and Lithuanian newspapers in the United States.  On a number of occasions, through denunciations and provocations these forces attempted to have me either recalled or discharged.  In 1939 the Polish government annulled my visa and refused to permit me to make further trips to Poland where I had visited three and sometimes four times a year since 1922.  In 1939 the Lithuanian government, after refusing to censor my cables, ordered me expelled from the country.  The Soviets, Jews, Poles and Lithuanians all maintain powerful agencies in Washington to pressurize the American government.  So unfortunately I found myself in the position of having far more enemies than friends in Washington where the government is now making extraordinary efforts to comply with the demands and requests of the Soviet government.


There are naturally other reasons why Washington wanted to remove me from my post in Northern Europe.  Washington does not want to have any independent American correspondents in Europe.  Formerly a correspondent’s first loyalty was to his newspaper.  Today it must be to the Roosevelt Trust in Washington.  Today instead of reporting news, correspondents are expected to report propaganda.  They are expected to help the government delude newspaper readers.  War is supposed to justify many things incompatible with peacetime standards of honor.  Patriotism is very often a shroud concealing a cadaver wasted with pain and wracked with torture.  Perhaps it is unfortunate for myself that I cannot adapt myself to the Roosevelt Trust’s perversion of patriotism.  If, after thirty years of newspaper work I am suddenly treated as a criminal, then something has radically changed.


With the long list of enemies he had accumulated through his blunt reporting, Day had legitimate reasons to fear not just for his career but for his very life should he return home.  Furthermore, as he recounts in the chapter, he had knowledge of some very dubious dealings by the Soviet ambassador to the United States at the time, Maxim Litvinov, back when Litvinov had been the minister to Estonia, and Litvinov knew that he knew.  “I have occasion to know that Litvinov,” wrote Day, “has long memory and, as I cabled to Colonel McCormick, so long as he is persona grata in Washington I will be non grata.”


Of those who posed a threat to Day, those first two, the Soviets and the Jews, were the most powerful and the most dangerous.  Day earned their enmity through first-hand knowledge and experience.  The following comes from his chapter on Latvia:


Can you picture groups of men and women and children being forced to crawl on their hands and knees through the streets to the railroad station where they were herded like animals, the men into one row of freight cars, the women and children into another?  Then these trains with their human freight leaving during the night on journeys lasting for many days eastwards?  From one distant station to another till the secret destination was reached?  Families separated forever on this earth?  Farewells which turned into moans of utter despair?  This happened in Kaunas (Kovno) the capital of Lithuania.


Can you picture autotrucks night after night rumbling through the streets carrying their loads of arrested men and women to secret prisons?  Of tiny torture cells in which the prisoner was unable to lie  down or even to sit down? Of actual physical torture to obtain confessions of acts never committed, or of information concerning the whereabouts of fugitives from the communist class war?  Of men flayed alive, castrated, with their faces beaten until their noses and jaw-bones were smashed and broken?  All this before the communist executioner with a single shot in the back of their head put them out of their misery?  Of Christian women and girls being violated by Jewish chekists?  All this happened in Riga, the capital of Latvia.


Can you picture men, women and children being placed in freight cars and being kept there two and three days without food, without water, without facilities to perform natural functions?  The men in one line of cars, the women and children in another?  Of agonized screams for help from both lines of cars?  Of indignant crowds of people gathering wishing to rescue them?  Of platoons of GPU troops rounding up these people and marching them off to forced labor on fortifications works?  Of trains finally disappearing into the night, also eastwards to exile and death?  All this happened in Tallin (Reval) the capital of Estonia.


The Red Terror, as it is called by the Communists themselves, was introduced as a matter of course in those countries annexed by the Soviet Government.  Red Terror is the liquidation by execution and exile of all classes except the proletariat.  The GPU in the Baltic States employed the same methods used during the early years of the revolution in Russia.  The sadistic barbarity which the GPU used against the outlawed classes is a practical and effective method of terrorizing into inaction any element of the population which might resist.


Compared with the mental and physical torture methods of the Jewish GPU of Russia, the guillotine of the French revolution was a very pleasant form of death.  Chroniclers tell us how hoi polloi of Paris screamed with sadistic delight when a dripping head with blond hair was held up on the scaffold for their inspection.  This suggests the victims of the French revolution included the Nordic element.  This instinctive racial hatred manifested itself in the Russian revolution where the upper classes were also of the Nordic race.  Racial hatred also played a role in the actions of the Jewish GPU in the Baltic States.


You notice I say Jewish GPU.  This is correct.  From the very beginning of the Russian revolution the terrorists branch of the government was in the hands of the Jews.  Felix Djerjinski, a Pole who first headed the Cheka, had Menshinski and Jagoda as assistants.  He was succeeded by Menshinski, who was followed in succession by Jagoda, Yeshov, Akulov and then Berija who now heads this terror organization.  All of these men are Jews.  All the testimony gathered from survivors of the Red Terror in the Baltic States confirms that the GPU leaders were, almost without exception, Jews.  And so long as the GPU holds supreme control in Russia, the Soviet Government must be regarded as a Jewish controlled regime.  I might mention here that I have reported this phase of the communist revolution many times during the past 22 years to The Chicago Tribune which, together with other American newspapers subscribing to our press service, has published these articles.


Bad “Day” for the Pope


In a previous chapter on the United States, he decries the change in the character of the country caused by heavy Jewish immigration from Eastern Europe, and in doing so reveals his first acquaintance with Jewish journalism:


Unknown to the Americans the Jews in the United States had collected huge funds to assist the Jews of eastern Europe to reach America.  In Riga for the first time I came into contact with Jewish journalists.  They forwarded news to Jewish newspapers in Germany, France, England, the United States and many other countries.  Most of the stories concerned pogroms.  They obtained them from Jews who had succeeded in bribing their way out of Russia and who were attempting to bribe their way into other countries.  I was approached on many occasions and asked to forward pogrom stories.  I investigated and found them untrue.  The Jewish refugees were seeking sympathy and assistance.  With their oriental imagination and disrespect for the truth, they embellished rumors they had heard in the course of their pilgrimage until they became a real slaughter or a pitiless massacre. 


The Jews found means of evading the law.  They migrated to the United States in hundreds of thousands.  And within the short space of 15 years, the United States, like the Jewish controlled Union of Soviet Socialistic Republics, has become an instrument of Jewish imperialistic ambitions.


In light of such observations by Donald Day, we can say without fear of contradiction that Pope Francis, who is so lavishly praised by the largely Jewish controlled mainstream press, will not be singling out Dorothy’s once-famous brother for any sort of special mention anytime soon.  It is all the less likely because brother Donald also was unstinting in his criticism of the Roman Catholic Church, especially for what he regarded as its interference for ill in the politics of Poland and Lithuania.


No evil, though, compared in Donald Day’s mind to that of Soviet Communism:


Just how far the average American is attracted by this strange-tasting medicine of Roosevelt has yet to be revealed, for the average American is inarticulate.  From everything I know about my own country I can at least report that real Americans are not at all pleased to find themselves as allies and supporters of Bolshevism, because these Americans are Christians.


My career as a correspondent ended because I found myself unable to become a soothsayer.  I have remained in Europe because I prefer to fight with all my power against the Bolsheviks rather than to fight for them.


At this point you might ask yourself, dear reader, what you would have done in the same situation.


Defector, but No Traitor


As Trohan reports in his introduction, a year after his refusal to return home, Day’s fight against Bolshevism took the form of working as a commentator for Nazi propaganda radio.  But, according to Trohan, “he confined himself to praising Finnish athletes and lauding the bravery of Finn troops in their war with Russia.” American occupation forces in Germany, “after careful combing of his broadcasts revealed no taint of treason,” allowed him to return to Finland and his Finnish wife.  According to Wikipedia, Trohan has not told the full story:


He was rearrested pending treason charges on January 12, 1949, but the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) dropped the case soon after. As Soviet-American tensions mounted following the end of the war, there was no interest in prosecuting Day for his wartime broadcasts that had principally targeted the Soviets. As a DOJ memorandum of December 6, 1946, had noted: "Donald Day was a broadcaster for the Germans during the last eight or nine months of the war. His broadcasts consisted primarily of extremely anti-Russian statements. He made broadcasts both to the United States and to American troops." A memorandum dated January 22, 1947 said that he "sometimes suggested that the United States should not have entered the war and that Germany's cause against Russia was just."


One might also surmise that the government also made the judgment that it was better not to stir up the sort of issues that might have been raised in any public trial of Donald Day.  It thought it to be better, rather, that this once very influential journalist be permitted to slip quietly off the pages of history.


* Wikipedia reports, in conflict with the conservative Trohan, that the leftist Seldes was expelled by the Soviets for circumventing their censorship, not voluntarily removed by his employer.


David Martin

November 19, 2015


See also my review of Diana West’s American Betrayal.





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