Courtesy Reuters

An American Commonwealth of Nations

THE future historian will note, when he deals with America's participation in the present war, that for most purposes it was in effect a hemispheric undertaking. True, the brunt of the effort has of necessity fallen upon the United States, but given the distribution of effective power and interests in the Western World this is neither surprising nor unexpected. What may seem to call for special comment is that of the 20 republics south of the Rio Grande, only one -- Argentina -- should seemingly have remained indifferent to the issues involved or even in some measure friendly to our enemies. But even in this case, the Argentine Government belatedly broke off relations with the Axis Powers and their satellites; and there is evidence that the majority of the people have from the beginning been on the side of the Allies in this war.

This very remarkable moral, political, and, in a sense, military alignment of the Western World on the same side in a great war has illumined an accepted assumption -- the unity of this hemisphere. The idea is old, as old at least as Bolivar; but it was the visible threat of a German victory in Europe that at last gave it unmistakable expression. In spite of Latin American fear of the United States, so well and so long fostered by agents of Hitler and before him by others (including Latin Americans like Vasconcelos, Ugarte, Fombona and Pereyra), it became evident that the link that tied North and South America together was more than physical -- it was political and spiritual as well. There had been, before the storm clouds gathered, in an age that now seems far off and a little unreal, much discursive and eloquent writing and preaching upon the sharp differences between the peoples and cultures of the United States and Latin America. One was Anglo-Saxon, the other Latin; one was Protestant, the other Catholic; one was material, the other spiritual; the culture of the United

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