MARCH 8, 1941
GOLDEN BEACH, Fla., Friday—Here we are back in the same pleasant house we were in last year. Our trip down was smooth and very enjoyable, only for a short time did we see clouds flying around. In Jacksonville, Florida, we began to feel a real change in temperature. There the Democratic National Committee men and women were kind enough to meet me with a few other people to welcome me back to the State. In Miami, a group of high school girls, who came to Washington last year, were at the airport to meet me in their picturesque costumes.
A southeast wind is blowing, so we have a fairly high surf rolling on our beach and I doubt if we shall get much sun today. I am hoping, however, in the next few days to be able to report a good deal of reading accomplished.
I wish I could have stopped a little longer in Jacksonville yesterday and seen the Metropolitan Museum of Art Exhibition, which is being shown at the WPA art center. They opened on the third and they tell me the crowds in attendance have been very gratifying.
In New Smyrna Beach, they are dedicating a cultural center on March 16th. They tell me this is the first building in the South to be erected entirely for cultural purposes with funds from the Works Progress Administration. The art center will occupy about two-thirds of the building, with three main galleries, a studio, a children's gallery, a photographic darkroom, and a completely equipped museum space. The public library will occupy the remaining part of the building. The State of Florida is doing a splendid thing in making available these art centers to people here on vacation.
On the way down yesterday, I read in the March "Atlantic Monthly" the war diary of William M. Shirer, entitled: "With The German Armies." You have doubtless heard him many a morning reporting by radio from Berlin. What he writes is extremely interesting. Certain paragraphs seem to be particularly significant to us.
As he enters Paris, he remarks: "I have a feeling that what we are seeing here in Paris is the complete breakdown of French society. A collapse of the army, of the government, of the morale of the people. It is almost too tremendous to believe." In those sentences he described what brings about the defeat of a great people.
A little further on we get a picture which reminds us that hate begets hate, and cruelty begets cruelty. In his description of the arrangements made for the discussion of the armistice, he says: "The humiliation of France, of the French, was complete, and yet, in the preamble to the armistice terms, Hitler told the French he had not chosen this spot at Compeigne out of revenge; merely to right an old wrong." What could be more indicative of the way wrongs eat into the human soul.