Thursday, August 30, 2007

Alan Cranston's anti-fascism

An instance of veracious editing as a form of political activism.

The late U.S. Senator Alan Cranston was born in 1914, studied journalism at Stanford and then became a foreign correspondent in order to warn Americans about the rise of fascism. He traveled Europe and North Africa, covering Mussolini and Hitler and Ethiopia for the International News Service, but found himself frustrated with his role as a journalist, as he later recalled in an interview: "I became very concerned about American isolationism, the fact that there were many Americans wanting to have nothing to do with what was happening in the rest of the world," he said. "I didn't want to spend my life writing about such evil people and their terrible deeds; I'd rather be involved in the action."

When he returned to the United States, he saw a translation of Hitler's Mein Kampf for sale and, having read the original, recognized that it had been watered down to make it less worrisome to Americans, he said. So he quickly brought out an unauthorized, fuller translation and sold half a million copies of it for 10 cents apiece until the Third Reich sued him for copyright violation.

A full obiturary of Cranston is available on my Holocaust site.