Hogg first achieved national prominence in January 1933, when he became the leader of the isolationist wing of the People's Coalition during the party's national convention in Michigan City. His rival for the leadership of the P.C., Minority Leader Harley Shaw of the Southern Confederation, supported Governor-General Douglas Watson's expansion of the National Financial Administration. Shaw also agreed with Watson that the C.N.A. needed a stronger foreign policy, and pledged himself "to seek a more reasonable relationship with the United Empire if elected." Hogg responded by attacking the "irresponsibility" of the N.F.A. and accusing Watson of "pandering to the basest elements of our society," while calling his foreign policy proposals "an invitation to disaster." The result was a bitter struggle between supporters of the two men that left the party divided and dispirited. When Shaw won the nomination, Hogg conceded gracefully and pledged himself to work for a Coalition victory.
In the 1933 Grand Council elections, Watson won an overwhelming victory over Shaw that saw the Liberal Party gain a majority of 104 seats to the Coalition's 46. When Watson proposed to increase the C.N.A.'s military spending on 1 August 1933, Hogg led the opposition, accusing Watson of "taking us to the edge of the chasm. Whether he will be able to bring us back, remains to be seen."
Watson was on the brink of victory when Owen Galloway, head of North American Motors and the most popular figure in the C.N.A., spoke out against the appropriations bill on Sunday, 1 July 1934. Public opinion turned against Watson overnight, and demands for his impeachment were made. Hogg introduced an impeachment proposal on 10 January 1935. However, Watson's supporters in the Grand Council were able to convince a majority of the members that "Douglas Watson's insurance policy is worth having."
The global economy was shaken by the announcement in February 1936 that Kramer Associates was moving its headquarters from San Francisco to the Philippines. A month later, all of the confederation branches of the N.F.A. went bankrupt, and the C.N.A. suffered the worst recession in its history. The global depression delayed the coming of war, but cost Watson considerable public support. Hogg won the Coalition's nomination on 17 January 1938, and in his acceptance speech said, "We have sufficient problems at home not to have to worry about the rest of the world. This February, the people will choose between the bankrupt candidate of a bankrupt party who would engage us in a war which we neither want nor need, from which we gain nothing; and the party of peace and recovery, one that is concerned with the Confederation of North America, and not the globe."Hogg also pledged to name Councilman James Billington of the Northern Confederation to the recently-created office of Council President. Billington was one of only ten Negroes in the Council, and Hogg's support for Billington was sufficient to gain the Coalition an overwhelming victory in Southern Vandalia, and a narrow majority in the 1938 Grand Council elections. The slim margin of the Coalitionist victory led to passage the following year of the Reform Bill of 1939, which amended the Second Britannic Design to allow the Confederation Senate to act as a tiebreaker when selecting the governor-general. In his investiture speech on 20 February, Hogg said, "One thing can be promised without a shadow of doubt. Unless attacked, this country will not fight in a foreign war while I am in office."
Hogg devoted most of his efforts during the first eighteen months of his administration to ending the depression, saying, "The world will not respect us if we are weak; a strong economy is the best defense against potential aggressors." He gained approval from the Grand Council for food distribution programs for the poor, grants to municipalities and townships for public works, and the establishment of an insurance affiliate of the N.F.A. which insured all financings up to N.A. £1000. At the same time, Hogg slashed the national budget and raised taxes at the urging of his chief economic advisor, Professor Lawrence French of Burgoyne University. Hogg attempted to reduce military spending and eliminate social spending such as emigrant aid, as well as curtailing the road building program and the subsidy to the merchant marine.
By the summer of 1939, the C.N.A.'s economy was still moribund. Hogg blamed the Liberals in the Grand Council for defeating his attempt to reduce military spending. Minority Leader Hugh Devenny of the Northern Confederation responded by saying, "Mr. Hogg has gone back on every one of his campaign promises, has shown amazing ineptness in handling even the simplest problem, and has managed the extraordinary feat of keeping us in a state of near-bankruptcy while the rest of the world is recovering. And now he blames the Opposition for the failure of Majority programs!"
Hogg realized that the outbreak of the Arab Revolt in August 1939 might lead to a major war, but he was still certain that the C.N.A. could avoid involvement, and he did nothing to prepare for conflict. When the Global War broke out in early October, Hogg ordered the merchant marine to remain in coastal waters, placed the coast artillery on alert, then proclaimed North American neutrality. "We are the enemy of war itself, not of any nation. We shall defend ourselves against attack, but shall take no action either side could consider belligerent. North America is at peace. North America will remain at peace. I give you my word on this."
Both British Prime Minister George Bolingbroke and German Chancellor Karl Bruning attempted to win North American support, the former instructing his ambassador to Burgoyne "to stress the implicatons of a German victory in the Atlantic," the latter offering the C.N.A. "a share in a new world order, a partnership of equals after the aggressors are destroyed." Hogg rebuffed both appeals, stating at a Cabinet meeting on 10 November, "The war is going badly for Britain and France, but this is temporary. Soon we may expect a stalemate in Europe, as both sides will have exhausted themselves in a futile exercise in destruction."
The fall of France on 27 November and the conquest of the Victoria Canal a month later brought about a change in Hogg's policies, and in North American opinion on the war. In January 1940, Hogg and Premier Olaf Henderson of Iceland announced a mutual defense pact, and the following month the C.N.A. began channeling covert military aid to the British through Iceland. When Bruning protested to Hogg, the Governor-General admitted that "there have been serious thefts at North American installations in Iceland," but assured the Chancellor that "we are taking all precautions to assure the safety of our base." However, the "thefts" of supplies continued, and for diplomatic and military as well as legal reasons, the Germans were forced to ignore it. North American arms became instrumental in helping the British stave off defeat, and providing material for anti-German guerrillas in occupied Europe.
By late 1943, British pilots were ferrying North-American built warmobiles to Great Britain. The C.N.A. remained neutral in theory, but none of the country's leaders attempted to hide what was really happening. Arms production increased in the C.N.A. to meet the requirements of the British and their allies, which brought the country out of the depression of the late 1930s, restoring full employment and prosperity to the industrial cities and the farmlands.In July, Hogg met with Liberal leaders, including Watson and Devenny, and invited them to join a "unity government". They agreed, and Watson became Minister for Foreign Affairs, while other Liberals took lesser Cabinet posts. Devenny told reporters after the meeting that "there will be a political moratorium until the 1943 elections." The coalition government was successful enough that neither party wished to politicize the situation. On the other hand, there was no attempt to suspend the elections. At a Cabinet meeting on 18 November 1942, it was agreed that neither party would hold a national convention that year. Instead, candidates for the Grand Council would run unpledged, and whichever party won a majority would choose the next governor-general, while the remaining Cabinet members from both parties would retain their seats. The People's Coalition won eighty-four seats to the Liberals' sixty-six, and Hogg and Billington retained their offices. Five years later, the same arrangement was made for the 1948 Grand Council elections, which the Coalition again won by seventy-seven seats to seventy-three. Watson had chosen not to run in 1948, and his place as leader of the Liberals, and the office of Foreign Minister, were assumed by Devenny.
The Germans had suffered a series of reversals since 1944, including a general insurrection throughout their European conquests, and Bruning had fallen from power in 1946. His successor, Heinrich von Richter, had permitted elections in the occupied countries, and this sufficed to end most of the guerrilla fighting and allow a measure of peace to return. However, neither he nor the British were willing to agree to a peace treaty, or even an armistice, so the two countries remained theoretically in a state of war. In Burgoyne, Hogg's intelligence sources informed him that the various combatants were on the point of exhaustion, and that none could afford another year of fighting. In 1949, Minister of Home Affairs William Williams began converting war based industries to civilian production, and the wartime farm subsidy was gradually ended.
With the end of the war, a debate began in the C.N.A. over the Hogg administrations action prior to the war. Liberal Councilman Chester Lang of the Southern Confederation argued that Hogg had been as responsible for the war as anyone else. He believed that Watson's armaments programs had put the nations of the world on notice that the C.N.A. would intervene on behalf of the British. This had led Germany and the United States of Mexico to move cautiously. Hogg's insistence on neutrality had encouraged the war parties in Mexico City and Berlin, who had then initiated the war. On 1 March 1949, Lang said, "Bruce Hogg kept his promise. The C.N.A. did not go to war. But because of it, over 100 million innocents are dead, and their blood is on our hands. Our selfishness will never be forgotten, nor should it be. For the next century and more, North Americans will be cursed by other peoples. This is Mr. Hogg's legacy to the nation."
Billington responded that the peace crusade of 1937 "was North American in inspiration. Owen Galloway's efforts in the cause of peace, supported at all times by Governor-General Hogg, were only a token of his massive efforts to keep the peace. When the whole story is known, Mr. Hogg will be recognized as the peacemaker he was and is today."
Mason DoctrineEditLang's colleague Richard Mason proposed a massive program of foreign aid, to run "for as long as is necessary" to help "stricken people to reconstruct their lives, which have been so brutally shattered by war." Mason's proposal won instant approval in the C.N.A., although there were several major debates on its implementation and avowed purposes. Mason wanted to make outright gifts to individuals and governments as a show of restitution for the C.N.A.'s war guilt, while Hogg wanted tighter controls over who would be given the funds and how they would be spent, and he would not accept the "guilt clause". Hogg was able to win enough Liberals to his side to ensure that his version of the aid program would pass, but the program was still known as the Mason Doctrine, and when the unity government ended in November 1949, it was Mason who took command of the Liberals in the Grand Council. Mason announced that "the election campaign of 1953 had begun," and he began organizing his campaign staff.
Hogg paid little attention to Mason, instead devoting his time to the reconstruction of the N.F.A. and overseeing the conversion effort. He was also concerned with revolutions in South America and the fact that Mexican President Alvin Silva seemed determined to resume the war. He was also negotiating with Kramer Associates regarding international investment procedures. In early July 1950, Hogg told his recently-appointed Minister of Home Affairs, Perry Jay, that the world "is too complex to worry about Mr. Mason. Besides, I have a hunch things will work out far differently than Mr. Mason expects."
Twelve years as governor-general had taken its toll on Hogg's health. After a Cabinet meeting on 15 September 1950, he told Jay to "get ready for something big." The next day, Hogg and Jay had a long talk on a number of topics, and Jay got the impression that Hogg was planning to resign and name him as his successor. However, after dinner that evening, Hogg suffered a severe stroke that paralyzed the left side of his body as well as his vocal cords. Within an hour the Cabinet was gathered in the Square Room, along with Devenny, Mason, and Billington, who was now Acting Govenor-General. After Hogg's doctors reported that he was near death, Billington, Jay, and Devenny tried to communicate with him through his personal physician, General John Russell. Afterwards, Russell claimed that Hogg had looked at Billington and said "you" on two occasions. Hogg died shortly thereafter, and Billington became the new Governor-General.
Sobel's sources for the life of Bruce Hogg are French's Economic Responsibility: The Early Years of the Hogg Administration (New York, 1948); Charles Simonson's The Year Without Politics: The C.N.A. in 1942 (New York, 1950) and The Oak Has Fallen: Hogg's Last Stand (New York, 1952); James Radamaker's Bruce Hogg: Armed Neutral (Melbourne, 1951) and Secret Files of the Global War: Correspondences With North America, 1939-1941 (Melbourne, 1959); editor Janette Michaelson's North America and the War: A Public Opinion Analysis (New York, 1953); Devenny's War and Men: Politics in North America, 1943-1952 (New York, 1955); Jerome Lass's Richard Mason: The Nation's Conscience (New York, 1955); Benjamin Williamson's Watson Against the World: The Crisis of 1934 (New York, 1955); Jay's The Way It Happened: The Transition of Power in 1950 (New York, 1958); Hans Schuster's The War of the World (New York, 1958); Russell's Beck and Call: My Life as Palace Physician (Burgoyne, 1959); Arthur Heide's The Emergence of James Billington (New York, 1960); and Herbert Losee's The Magnificent Anachronism: Mason of the Southern Confederation (New York, 1969).
This was the Featured Article for the week of 23 June 2013.
|Governors-General of the C.N.A.|
|Winfield Scott • Henry Gilpin • William Johnson • Whitney Hawkins • Kenneth Parkes • Herbert Clemens • John McDowell • Ezra Gallivan • Clifton Burgen • Christopher Hemingway • Albert Merriman • Calvin Wagner • Henderson Dewey • Douglas Watson • Bruce Hogg • James Billington • Richard Mason • Perry Jay • Carter Monaghan|