|The Man With the Iron Heart|
POD: May 29, 1942;
Relevant POD: May, 1945
|Type of Appearance:||Direct POV|
|Date of Birth:||1897|
|Children:|| Pat McGraw (son, d. 1945)
Betsy Neft (daughter)
|Relatives:|| Buster Neft (son-in-law)
Stan Neft (grandson)
|Affiliations:||Mothers Against the Madness in Germany|
Diana McGraw (b. 1897) was the primary critic of the Truman Administration's policy of continued occupation of Germany. She began her protests shortly after the death of her son, Pat McGraw, in September, 1945, founding the organization Mothers Against the Madness in Germany in December, 1945. Her crosscountry trips speaking out against the occupation proved critical in changing the politics of the United States and the ultimate withdrawal of American troops.
Diana was the wife of Ed McGraw, a World War I veteran and an employee of the Delco-Remy plant in Anderson, Indiana. They had two children, Pat and Betsy. Pat entered the Army shortly after the war began. Betsy married Buster Neft, a veteran of the Pacific theater. Upon learning that her son had died in September, 1945, Diana's mind quickly turned to how unfair it was that, even though the war was officially over, soldiers like her son were still being killed in combat. She vowed that she would do everything she could to end the occupation and bring the troops home.
Diana began her quest with a little bit of research. She quickly realized that the War Department was not publicizing the number of soldiers killed since May. So she began making phone calls to various friends and contacts she had in groups such as the PTA. Soon her contacts stretched across the country, and Diana was able to determine that close to one thousand troops had been killed since the war officially ended. She scheduled an appointment with her congressman, Republican Jerry Duncan. Duncan was shocked to learn that the War Department had kept quiet on the number of dead soldiers, and agreed to look into the War Department's conduct.
After this meeting, Diana returned to Indiana to stage a protest on the steps of the State Capitol in Indianapolis. She contacted several people in nearby Ohio and Illinois, as well as the local press. Among the reporters who covered the story were E.A. Stuart of the Indianapolis Times and Chuck Christman of the Indianapolis News. Also present was the Anderson Democrat. Once the protest began, a police officer put Diana on notice that should the crowd do anything wrong, she would be responsible. The protest was peaceful. Many motorists pulled over to call the protesters either "communists" or "Nazis". However, one person who disagreed with Diana's group attacked a female protester, punching her in the face. He was quickly arrested.
The national press gave the protest short-shrift. However, the Indiana press had much to say, although not very much of it was supportive. McGraw pressed on, creating a business account and a name for her supporters, Mothers Against the Madness in Germany. The GFF attack on the Palace of Justice in Nuremberg validated her efforts, as did the film featuring kidnapped US private Matthew Cunningham, which McGraw saw the night before she traveled to Washington, DC.
The Washington protest was a march up F Street to the White House. McGraw's group then picketed outside. They were soon joined by legislators, including Jerry Duncan and Ohio Senator Robert Taft, among others. The national press was strongly represented.
While picketing, McGraw was approached by President Truman himself. Truman unsuccessfully argued that the Nazis would simply return to power, or that the Soviet Union would expand its power, if the United States withdrew. Truman, while earnest, used too condescending a tone for McGraw's taste. Moreover, McGraw sincerely believed that neither the Nazis nor the Soviet Union would grow in power, not while the U.S. had the atomic bomb.
The protests Diana led varied in success. After the US Army failed to capture Reinhard Heydrich in 1946, more people turned to her opinion. Her protests continued, unfortunately attracting zealots from both sides of the argument. At at picket of a speech given by Secretary of State James Byrnes in Indiana, a woman rushed from the crowd and smeared him with red paint. A few months later, Diana traveled Minneapolis, where she led a rally in Loring Park. Minneapolis Mayor Hubert Humphrey rushed the platform where the names of those soldiers killed by the GFF was being read. Humphrey attempted to voice support for Truman and the occupation. Diana threatened to have him arrested, and Humphrey retreated.
Diana's efforts paid off, as the Republican Party won the majority of the Congress in November. However, Diana knew her work wasn't done. She continued her travels, visiting Los Angeles in January, 1947, among other places. At the same time, dissatisfaction with her married life began to creep in, as she found Ed to be more boring.
On July 4, 1947, Diana organized a rally in Indianapolis. At this event, Indianapolis city councilman Gus van Slyke was assassinated in mid-speech by an unknown gunman. This brought the rally to a halt. In Washington, DC, Republican Congressman Everett Dirksen made a great deal of political hay out of the assassination within hours.
A few months later, as the Truman Administration began to buckle to the pressure of the Republican Congress, Americans troops were returned home. Diana organized a welcome for returning soldiers in New York. As she explained to a reporter with the New York Times, Diana wanted to show soldiers that they were not "at fault" for the poor decisions of the Administration. She was surprised when one soldier cursed her for causing the withdrawal. Realizing the soldier was a Jew, Diana contented herself with the knowledge that "regular Americans" appreciated her efforts.
On her next stop, Diana traveled to San Francisco. It was here that her increasing detachment from her husband reached its peak, as she had a brief affair with a local politician named Marvin--she never learned his last name, as the encounter was purely a physical relationship. However, the encounter affirmed for the unsatisfactory state of her marriage. When Reinhard Heydrich was finally killed, Diana was pleased, but still determined that the troops be brought home. Moreover, her marriage was now in a difficult place, as Ed noted a change in his wife, although he didn't guess her adultery.
As 1948 began, Diana McGraw faced an uncertain future. The troops were being brought home, and so her organization had outlived its usefulness. She also realized that her marriage and her status as a housewife would not be a fulfilling alternative to her political activism.