According to  EZRA POUND'S  harsh judgment: “The American gangster did not spend his time shooting women and children. He may have been misguided, but in general he spent his time fighting superior forces at considerable risk to himself . . . not in dropping booby traps for unwary infants. I therefore object to the modus in which the American troops obey their high commander. This modus is not in the spirit of Washington or of Stephen Decatur.” Pound hated war and detected a particular undercurrent in the previous wars of history. Wars, he said, were destructive to nation-states, but profitable for the special interests. Pound said international bankers–Jewish bankers, in particular–were those who were the primary beneficiaries of the profits of from war. He pulled no punches when he declared: Sometime the Anglo-Saxon may awaken to the fact that . . . nations are shoved into wars in order to destroy themselves, to break up their structure, to destroy their social order, to destroy their populations. And no more flaming and flagrant case appears in history than our own American Civil War, said to be an occidental record for size of armies employed and only surpassed by the more recent triumphs of [the Warburg banking family:] the wars of 1914 and the present one.

Although World War II itself was much on Pound’s mind, the poet’s primary concern, referenced repeatedly throughout his broadcasts, was the issue of usury and the control of money and economy by private special interests. “There is no freedom without economic freedom,” he said. “Freedom that does not include freedom from debt is plain bunkum. It is fetid and foul logomachy to call such servitude freedom . . .Yes, freedom from all sorts of debt, including debt at usurious interest.” Usury, he said, was a cause of war throughout history. In Pound’s view understanding the issue of usury was central to understanding history: “Until you know who has lent what to whom, you know nothing whatever of politics, you know nothing whatever of history, you know nothing of international wrangles. “The usury system does no nation . . . any good whatsoever. It is an internal peril to him who hath, and it can make no use of nations in the play of international diplomacy save to breed strife between them and use the worst as flails against the best. It is the usurer’s game to hurl the savage against the civilized opponent. The game is not pretty, it is not a very safe game. It does no one any credit.”

Pound thus traced the history of the current war: “This war did not begin in 1939. It is not a unique result of the infamous Versailles Treaty. It is impossible to understand it without knowing at least a few precedent historic events, which mark the cycle of combat. No man can understand it without knowing at least a few facts and their chronological sequence. This war is part of the age-old struggle between the usurer and the rest of mankind: between the usurer and peasant, the usurer and producer, and finally between the usurer and the merchant, between usurocracy and the mercantilist system . . . “The present war dates at least from the founding of the Bank of England at the end of the 17th century, 1694-8. Half a century later, the London usurocracy shut down on the issue of paper money by the Pennsylvania colony, A.D. 1750. This is not usually given prominence in the U.S. school histories. The 13 colonies rebelled, quite successfully, 26 years later, A.D. 1776. According to Pound, it was the money issue (above all) that united the Allies during the second 20th-century war against Germany: “Gold. Nothing else uniting the three governments, England, Russia, United States of America. That is the interest–gold, usury, debt, monopoly, class interest, and possibly gross indifference and contempt for humanity.”

Although “gold” was central to the world’s struggle, Pound still felt gold “is a coward. Gold is not the backbone of nations. It is their ruin. A coward, at the first breath of danger gold flows away, gold flows out of the country.” Pound perceived Germany under Hitler as a nation that stood against the international money lenders and communist Russia under Stalin as a system that stood against humanity itself.

He told his listeners: “Now if you know anything whatsoever of modern Europe and Asia, you know Hitler stands for putting men over machines. If you don’t know that, you know nothing. And beyond that you either know or do not know that Stalin’s regime considers humanity as nothing save raw material. Deliver so many carloads of human material at the consumption point. That is the logical result of materialism. If you assert that men are dirty, that humanity is merely material, that is where you come out. And the old Georgian train robber [Josef Stalin--ed.] is perfectly logical. If all things are merely material, man is material–and the system of anti-man treats man as matter.” The real enemy, said Pound, was international capitalism. All people everywhere were victims: “They’re working day and night, picking your pockets,” he said. “Every day and all day and all night picking your pockets and picking the Russian working man’s pockets.” Capital, however, he said, was “not international, it is not hyper-national. It is sub-national. A quicksand under the nations, destroying all nations, destroying all law and government, destroying the nations, one at a time, Russian empire and Austria, 20 years past, France yesterday, England today.”

According to Pound, Americans had no idea why they were being expected to fight in Britain’s war with Germany: “Even Mr. Churchill hasn’t had the grass to tell the American people why he wants them to die, to save what. He is fighting for the gold standard and monopoly. Namely the power to starve the whole of mankind, and make it pay through the nose before it can eat the fruit of its own labor.” As far as the English were concerned, in Pound’s broadcasts aimed at the British Isles he warned his listeners that although Russian-style communist totalitarianism was a threat to British freedom, it was not the biggest threat Britain faced: You are threatened. You are threatened by the Russian methods of administration. Those methods [are not] your sole danger. It is, in fact, so far from being your sole danger that I have, in over two years of talk over this radio, possibly never referred to it before.

Usury has gnawed into England since the days of Elizabeth. First it was mortgages, mortgages on earls’ estates; usury against the feudal nobility. Then there were attacks on the common land, filchings of village common pasture. Then there developed a usury system, an international usury system, from Cromwell’s time, ever increasing.” In the end, Pound suggested, it would be the big money interests who would really win the war–not any particular nation-state–and the foundation for future wars would be set in place: “The nomadic parasites will shift out of London and into Manhattan. And this will be presented under a camouflage of national slogans. It will be represented as an American victory. It will not be an American victory. The moment is serious. The moment is also confusing. It is confusing because there are two sets of concurrent phenomena, namely, those connected with fighting this war, and those which sow seeds for the next one.” Pound believed one of the major problems of the day–which itself had contributed to war fever–was the manipulation of the press, particularly in the United States: “I naturally mistrust newspaper news from America,” he declared. “I grope in the mass of lies, knowing most of the sources are wholly untrustworthy.” According to Pound: “The United States has been misinformed. The United States has been led down the garden path, and may be down under the daisies. All through shutting out news.

- Michael Collins Piper