Commonweal in the 1930s
By its second decade of publication, The Commonweal was establishing its position as an important voice in, as President Franklin D. Roosevelt expressed in a 1939 letter to the editor, "insist[ing] upon the American traditions of freedom from racial and religious prejudices in public and personal life," and becoming, as Walter Lippman phrased it, "an indispensable American Journal, for the deeper problems which confront mankind today are, it seems to me, unintelligible and insoluble except by an understanding of that universal tradition which The Commonweal represents."
As we continue to mark our ninetieth year in publication, we're focusing on a different decade every month through November. Below is a selection of stories, interviews, and editorial notes that appeared in Commonweal in the 1930s; make sure to visit this page in coming days, as we'll be posting more from the 1930s through the end of April.
The editors interview Jacques Maritain, the pseudonymous Heinrich Waellermann writes from Germany on the rise of Naziism and what it means for Catholics, Willa Cather gets in touch with our editors, and Virgil Michel considers the meanings of social justice.
The editors compile a fascinating collection of responses to FDR's 1939 State of the Union Address, while George N. Shuster considers Piux XI. And, some familar names to readers of Commonweal: Dorothy Day, who writes from inside the Mott St. house of the Catholic Worker ("while writing this, we have nothing in the bank and are sending out an appeal for help this month"), while G. K. Chesterton returns with his thoughts on the St. Thomas, poet.