Courtesy Reuters

The Midwest and the War

WHAT is the war doing to Midwestern thinking about our country's rôle in world affairs? It would be a bold Midwesterner who, after reading the analyses written on the Eastern seaboard, persisted in considering the question still unanswered. From them he ought to know that "the people out there" are complacent. "They really don't know that we are at war," he will have heard over and over again; "it's true they are fighting well, but only for the inalienable right of the United States to be isolated." This attitude persists in the East despite proof provided by public opinion polls of the past several years that the Middle West is no more isolationist than the nation as a whole.[i]

A Middle Westerner who demurred at the East's interpretation would be even bolder to try to answer it on the basis of his own personal acquaintanceship. The Midwest can be defined broadly as stretching from Western Pennsylvania to Colorado and from mid-Missouri to Canada. What kind of personal acquaintanceship can one have with a population nearly as large as that of Italy, in an area four times that of Weimar Germany, and possessing the most variously developed of all our regional economies? Moreover, the war is still in an early stage for the United States, and opinions are still in process of formation. And finally if one has lived in the Midwest steadily enough since December 7 to have gotten the "feel" of it, he probably has lived there too long to possess any real basis for offering judgments of it in comparison with adventures in opinion in other parts of the country. The fact remains that the Midwest, for all its motley population, probably has a more nearly uniform Volksgeist than Hitler's blue-eyed Germany. A Midwesterner who has shared the war experience with many persons in many groups and different strata can at least make an attempt at sensing what people throughout the region are thinking.

The most apparent thing is

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