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The Destiny of Freedom: Political Cycles in the Twentieth Century

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 September 2012


Buultjens addresses the problem of integration and fragmentation in considering the cyclical patterns of democracy and the question of whether or not his most recent democratic moment will hold. His work builds on a basic question as to how citizens and leaders can “adhere to the middle of the road paved by traditional values when the course of history is moving groups and nations toward narrowly defined, self-serving solutions.” He finds some reasons for optimism in the new political realities that are potential sources for constructive integration. He discusses the future prospects for democracy by asking whether the present “democratic starburst” can be translated into durable systems and working institutions.

Copyright © Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs 1992

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1 Hemingway, Ernest describing World War I in Men at War (New York: Crown Publishers, 1942).Google Scholar

2 President Woodrow Wilson, asking Congress for a Declaration of War, proclaimed a desire “to fight a war to end all wars and to make the world safe for democracy—a war for freedom.” (April 2, 1917). Wilson, in the same speech, declared that the recent deposition of the Czar had made Russia “a fit partner for a league of honor” and that Russia was “democratic at heart [and] in all the vital habits of her thought.” This sentiment was widely echoed in the American media of the day.Google Scholar

3 The Tripartite Pact, signed in Berlin on September 27, 1940. This Pact consolidated earlier cooperation agreements between Germany and Italy (The October Protocols of October 1936; The Pact of Steel of May 22, 1939) and also between Germany and Japan (The German-Japanese Anti-Comintern Pact of November 25, 1936 to which Italy acceded in 1937).Google Scholar

4 The Atlantic Charter, a joint statement of fundamental principles by President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill at the first of their summit meetings at Newfoundland, August 9–12, 1941. This followed on other supportive actions such as the revised Neutrality Act of November 4, 1939 (which permitted Britain and France to obtain American arms on a cash and carry basis) and the Lend-Lease Act of March 11, 1941 (which authorized the immediate American supply of leased or loaned military equipment to nations fighting Germany and its associates). Well before formally entering the war, President Roosevelt proclaimed that America was “the arsenal of democracy.”.Google Scholar

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7 Quoted from letter by President Roosevelt to Prime Minister Churchill, March 10, 1942. See Lowenheim, Francis L. et al. , eds., Roosevelt and Churchill—Their Secret Wartime Correspondence (London: Barrie and Jenkins, 1975), p. 192Google Scholar, doc. 106. Also see Nisbet, Robert, Roosevelt and Stalin: The Failed Courtship (Washington, DC: Regnery Gateway, 1988), pp. 100101, 109.Google Scholar Alger Hiss, then Director of the Office of Special Political Affairs in the State Department and a member of the U.S. delegation to the Yalta Conference, confirms that Roosevelt had hopes for the democratic evolution of the Soviet Union. Stalin's agreeableness and conciliatory attitude at Yalta encouraged this hope. (Interview with Alger Hiss, New York, October 1991. See also Hiss, Alger, Recollections of a Life [New York: Henry Holt, 1988], pp. 118–22.Google Scholar)

8 Quoted in Kristof, Nicholas, “The End of the Golden Road,” The New York Times Magazine, December 1, 1991, p. 53.Google Scholar

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