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John C. Ranney, instructor in Government and a specialist in the field of international relations, is the latest member of the Harvard faculty to join the "repeal-the-Neutrality-Act" bloc.
In an article written for American Defense, Harvard Group, and entitled "The Neutrality Tangle," Ranney says that repeal of the Neutrality Act would be a great "step toward clearing up the fantastic situation in which our neutrality legislation has involved us."
According to Ranney, the Neutrality Act was the result of a period in American history when the country was shocked by the revelations of the Senato's investigation of the munitions industry and by the claims repeatedly printed in books, magazines and newspapers that the first World War "was the work of a little group of why intriguers who hoped to reap the profits of war or who feared for their investments abroad."
This policy, says Ranney, was tolerable up to the fall of France even though it bound us in a legal straight-jacket and asked that we surrender "the rights for which we had already fought two wars."
But after the fall of France situations in the Atlantic and Pacific began to arise, situations which had never been anticipated at the time of the passing of the Neutrality Act. "Even isolationists were forced to recognize the existence of a threat to American safety." Through acts of Congress, presidential proclamations and legal opinions, hitherto forbidden shipping areas were whittled away and aid to Britain became a reality instead of a dream.
"Today the Neutrality Act has fulfilled what purpose it had. We see at last that the peace of our shores is dependent on Hitler's being kept away from them, that our security and welfare are dependent on the winning of the Atlantic battle, and that this battle, despite a temporary full, is far from won," Ranney concluded.
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