Edgar Rice Burroughs And The Accreted Personality Part VIII

May 21, 2013



Edgar Rice Burroughs And The Accreted Personality


R.E. Prindle

Chapter 8

After The Revolution

Eddie’s story in the twenties has proven difficult to write.  There was so much happening in his life that I have finally decided to make the twenties into three sections and two chapters- political and personal.

While I have covered most of the ground in other essays I will try to make this as comprehensive as possible.  The political atmosphere post-Bolshevik Revolution has seldom if ever been interpreted by Ed’s biographers.  In point of fact politics were forced on him will he nil he.  I’m sure he didn’t know what had happened.

His political troubles derived from two sources of about equal importance.  The first was the Bolshevik threat from Communism and the second was the Jewish confrontation forced on him.  It is regrettable to have to bring in the Jews which often has unpleasant consequences but biography and history become impossible if one is required to blot out half of the material as unmentionable; thus I hope I will be forgiven if I record the whole story with all its blemishes.  I will treat of the Reds first and the Jews second.

The quest of Joseph Stalin and the Soviets to control the literature of the West that the discussion of political and social affairs in any other than a pro-Communist context might be prevented seems to have been ignored by all historians.  In fact Stalin did his best to control what was published while discrediting established writers unsympathetic to the Revolution.  On the one hand the Reds either created the P.E.N organization or acted through John Galsworthy the author of the Forsyth Saga or took it over shortly thereafter.

P.E.N. is an acronym for Poets, Essayists, Novelists.  The organization still exists and its current slogan is ‘Promoting Literature, Defending Freedom Of Expression.

In its history on the internet it states:  PEN was one of the world’s first non-governmental organizations and amongst the first international bodies advocating for human rights.

That’s pretty much double speak for Communist writers first and foremost and their version of human rights.  Human rights meant from a pro-Communist point of view.  Today there is a PEN in nearly every country of the world controlling discussion.

But back then by 1930 the President of the organization was the Communist stooge H.G. Wells.  He was a very active hatchet man who did his best to discipline non Communist writers.

H.G. Wells is one of the great names in world literature.  His career began with a bang as his early fantasy sci-fi novels and short stories of the 1890s are among the great classics still avidly read and filmed today especially The War Of The Worlds and The Island Of Dr. Moreau.

He became a little too doctrinaire as the twentieth century’s first decade ended and then became preachy.  While he remained prolific to his death in 1946 his output is pretty much an acquired taste today.  For myself while his novels are often annoying they are redeemed by his talent and quite profound sagacity.

Stalin found him a little too independent, indeed, troublesome.  Their philosophies parted and by Wells’ late thirties’ novel The Holy Terror he was advocating Stalin’s assassination.  Naturally there was a woman involved.

His reasons were personal concerning Stalin’s treatment of him in relation to the State prostitute, Moura Budberg, assigned to him as a minder.

There were a number of State prostitutes assigned to Western writers to guard their orthodoxy.  Stalin was serious.  Strangely he was if not a fan of Edgar Rice Burroughs, he was a great admirer of his creation Tarzan.  I don’t know that he read the books but he had the movies flown in to him, most likely the MGMs of the thirties and later Sol Lessor’s Tarzans of the forties.

It seems clear that Ed knew he was being targeted by both Wells and Stalin.  I have detailed the literary feud between Wells and Burroughs in other essays but by the end of the decade and the publication of Tarzan The Invincible the battle lines were clearly drawn.

In many ways even though the denouement was certainly painful for Ed, the struggle provided him with the story lines for his truly great series of Tarzans from 1930 to 1935 that recorded the progress of the struggle.

Ed had always been anti-Socialist.  He deplored the Hay Market rioters of May 4, 1886 while his father was actually invited to the hanging of the ‘Commie Martyrs.’  Young Ed clenched his fists in rage as the Reds marched Chicago’s streets beneath their red flags.

One can imagine how he sat up in alarm when the news of the Bolshevik Revolution reached his ears.  Nor was the Bolshevik Revolution confined to Russia.  As the Great War ended in Germany’s defeat opening its eastern borders Soviet cadres flowed West into Central and Western Europe where with more or less success they attempted to foment revolution.  At the very least the Communists established themselves in Western capitols  to influence politics in the various nations including the US.

While historians refuse to acknowledge it there was a Communist revolution attempted in the US from 1918 to 1921.  The Communist assault in the US that includes the bombing of Wall Street and dozens of assassination attempts was foiled initially by the Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer and subsequently forced well underground by the much maligned but surely great Warren G. Harding shortly after assuming office in 1921.

Thus the Republican Interregnum of 1921-33 frustrated the revolution forcing it into other channels such as stock market manipulations and the movies.

The revolutionary period coincided with the great turmoil in Ed’s life as he shifted his base of operations from Chicago to Los Angeles.  Still he found time to write an anti-Communist tract called Under The Red Flag that not surprisingly was universally rejected.  However if he had been under the Communist radar screen before the tract made him a marked man.  The Communists put him on their list of reactionaries to be destroyed.  Thus, as the twenties began Ed was under assault.

Ed seems to have been always well informed.  His anti-Stalin Tarzan The Invincible displays a very profound understanding  of the Communist situation with a positive awareness that he was on Stalin’s hit list.  As incredible as that may seem it is true.  Stalin’s literary agent, H.G. Wells fought a running literary battle with Ed all through the twenties and thirties in conjunction with other elements that ended with Ed’s exile from the movie capitol as the forties began.

As mentioned, Wells’ career had fallen on hard times before the War began as he pursued his social and sexual agenda.  He was loved for his earlier work but his later efforts, what were essentially tracts, failed to find a mass audience.  He wrote all through the War.  These volumes while not popular still have a great deal of merit although running counter to my own understanding of things.  His The Soul Of A Bishop is a quite penetrating examination of the subject.

Nevertheless the War destroyed all Wells’ prognostications for the progress of mankind so that he was a broken man intellectually by War’s end.  The horrors of that war, the destruction of a whole male generation is indescribable.  No use to attempt it.  With a broken mind Wells sought refuge in a return to God that was futile.  But, as a man must believe in something H.G. gave himself body and soul to the Revolution.  He became a part of the Soviet sphere.  While he tried to operate independently as a free man and an equal of Lenin and Stalin, that was impossible.  Thus, as he always maintained his façade of independence he was subordinated to Stalin, watched over by his consort, Moura Budberg.

Always a sort of literary maverick his style changed somewhat in the twenties where as the literary hit man he began to satirize and defame the so-called reactionary politicians and writers of the day.

As a slight digression, while Wells was despairing his loss of faith he undertook to write the most successful book of his career, the fantastically best selling Outline Of History.  This socialist view of history not only sold well off the bat but continued to do so at least into the fifties.  The book established his financial independence putting him beyond the control of Stalin  while establishing him as one of the great savants of the world along with Bertrand Russell  and George Bernard Shaw both now eclipsed reputations.  Wells wrote two further compendiums The Science Of Life and The Work, Wealth and Happiness Of Mankind.  These enhanced his reputation but are now disregarded although an historically valuable depiction of the knowledge of the thirties.  So, Ed was up against Stalin’s heavy hitter and faced him down.

As corroboration of Stalin’s interference and control of Western writers an excellent little book by Nina Berberova titled: Moura: The Dangerous Life Of The Baroness Budberg was published in 1988 translated into English in 2005.  Berberova says: p. 241


In the 30s there existed in Parisian literary circles a strange distrust of certain women of Russian origin who had married French celebrities…from the world of letters, music or theatre.  It mattered little whether they were the legitimate wives  of Romain Rolland, Louis Aragon, Paul Eluard, Fernand Leger, or their mistresses.  One always had the feeling on making their acquaintance that they had probably been sent by Moscow to attach themselves to these celebrities, with the principal mission of keeping these men of genius under Stalin’s influence and from preventing them from expressing critical opinions about him or changing their political positions.  Like Moura with Wells there was Elsa Triolet, the wives of Eluard and Leger and many others, including Princess Maria Pavlovna Kudasheva.  These  were energetic, intelligent women who had chose this dangerous profession fully aware of the possible consequences.  Some of them used to go to Moscow and would also entertain Soviet diplomats who happened to be in Paris and were charmed….This is not the place to paint their portraits, but a few words must be said about Maria Kudeshova, who managed to get Rolland to marry her when he was sixty-eight years old (she was a little over thirty) after having gotten rid of his sister who had been living in his house in Switzerland.  She surrounded Rolland with her Soviet friends and finally convinced him to take a trip to Moscow.  According to Georges Duhamel there was no doubt that she was working for Moscow.  Kudasheva admitted to Duhamel’s sons that she had been manipulated by the NKVD….She quickly installed herself in Rolland’s house and threatened suicide several times in order to make him marry her.


And then on pp. 255-56


When Galsworthy died in 1933 Wells had become president of the international PEN club, and…Moura…was receiving guests as the lady of the house….From the early 1930s to the early 1950s Moura played a really important  role within the international PEN club, successfully barring Russian émigré writers from membership.  She was supported by left-wing intellectuals in England and Europe, and also by English publishers…


One can imagine then to what lengths the Soviets went to control what was published and what wasn’t.   After the Revolution when the various Socialists, Reds and Parlor Pinks operated more openly it was quite clear that they were in control of publishing and culture in general.

Ed had always had problems with the critics; he was not a respected writer.  However he was a very successful and influential writer.  Before the War he had been more or less an imitation of the successful writers of the earlier generation such as Wells, Haggard and Kipling.  But with the development of the genres and genre writing of which he was he most successful exemplar all the young would be genre writers turned to him as their role model.  In addition under the leadership of publisher Bernarr Macfadden the pulps evolved from general fiction magazines into genre fiction magazines.  Macfadden’s True Romance titles were spectacularly successful although as one might expect reviled.  Nevertheless there they were in their millions of copies sold and sitting on top of the literary heap of pulp writers was Edgar Rice Burroughs.  He was to be a major influence on all pulp writing of the twenties and thirties.

By that time the damage had been done and it was very difficult to destroy his career although this was successfully done through the agency of his secretary, Ralph Rothmund, by the end of WWII until the sixties revival, which was accidental, when publishers discovered that the titles whose copyrights Rothmund had let lapse were in the public domain.  Grosset and Dunlap post-WWII who knew the copyrights were lapsed had been under no obligation to pay Burroughs royalties but did so out of courtesy.

The literary world had always found Ed unpalatable.  He secured his publisher, McClurg’s nearly by default, who mistreated him and in one way or another cheated him of substantial amounts of royalties thus preventing the prosperity and power due his success.

His editors despised him as a writer denigrating him whenever they could.  His last editor at Munsey, Bob Davis, constantly belittled Ed’s efforts.  I have not yet obtained Davis’ autobiography but as the twenties dawned Davis quit his job at Munsey to try his hand at authorship.  His true idol was O. Henry who he tried to imitate in two volumes of short stories, sketches and reminiscences that I have obtained and read.  He was a relatively dull and trite writer, certainly no Edgar Rice Burroughs.

But Ed’s publishing troubles were just beginning.  Stalin’s agents riddled the publishing business.  McClurg’s and Grossett and Dunlap had been working against his interests from the beginning.  The movies had circumvented the publishers swelling his income as he made his move to Los Angeles to a peak of a hundred thousand dollars.  Unfortunately Hollywood was in the hands  of his political enemies.  That and Ed’s misunderstanding that the rules of the game had changed and the rules of the America he had grown up in no longer applied.  There were topics that could only be discussed in a positive Communist manner while any other discussion was sure of instant rejection; in order to succeed you knew which road to take.

Ed’s anti-Communist tract was a definite false step in the new intellectual environment.  Two major faux pas that cost him his credibility in Hollywood were his titles, The Girl From Hollywood and Marcia Of The Doorstep.  The first attacked the immorality of Hollywood while the second had characters offensive to Jewish sensibilities.

Ed complained that there was an effort to suppress Girl even though sales were good while publication of Marcia was completely denied him.

Between the Communists and the Jews then movies starring Tarzan were suppressed from 1922 to 1927 thus denying Ed that important source of revenues.

On the international level his English publisher Methuen’s refused to efficiently distribute his books thus drying up English revenues.  In Germany a brouhaha was created regarding attitudes toward wartime Germany found in Ed titles of that period.  As the wartime propaganda on both sides was brutal I find it difficult to believe there was a grass roots objection to  any wartime hysteria.

As Stalin was virtually micro managing literary concerns in Europe and America it seems more likely that the great noise was fomented by Communist interests that resulted in the withdrawal of his books along with his royalties from the German market.  This also was a serious blow to Ed’s finances.  His expenses were then exceeding his income forcing the serious retrenchment he depicts in 1924’s Marcia Of The Doorstep.

Curiously while his sales dropped in his major European markets they sky rocketed in the Soviet Union itself.  Of course Ed derived no royalties from Soviet sales.  Perhaps Stalin was having his little joke; the retort to which came in Tarzan The Invincible.

Ed’s American publishing woes  continued to increase until he found it necessary to dump McClurg’s.  Even though the Tarzan books were major sellers, with the Mars series less so but good, and while the onus against pulp writing had all but disappeared with major publishers releasing titles written in the pulp or popular style Ed was refused by every major publisher just as he had been in 1914.

Forced into dealing with questionable publishers he threw that in and in 1930 with his Tarzan The Invincible Ed self-published under his own imprint.

So, by the end of the decade the Communists while not yet destroying his career had interrupted his concentration while putting him into a defensive position outside normal publishing methods.  In that sense Ed had his back against the wall fighting for survival.  Next let’s examine his position vis-à-vis the Jews.


Hollywood Boondoggle

This section concerning Ed’s relations with the Jews will be more difficult as the activities of the Jews run counter to the average citizens prejudices concerning them.  Contrary to what all histories tell us the Jews were active participants in all revolutionary movements of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries while acting in their own interests at all times.

Even if this was misperceived, which it wasn’t, they were still widely perceived and, indeed, at the close of the war accused of having been responsible for the war by many very well informed people.  If Ed didn’t see the situation that way he had his suspicions.

Now, when Ed left Chicago he left ahead of a letter that was forwarded to him in LA from theAmerican Jewish Committee.  This letter was to have a profound effect on the Hollywood phase of his career from 1920 to 1940.  They were to be twenty years of constant harassment.

In order to establish the context of this letter, questionnaire actually, let me summarize the Jewish situation vis-à-vis Europe and America as part of the 1789-2001 Revolutionary period.

As the French Revolution began the Jews everywhere in Europe were under civil disabilities.  The Revolution emancipated them making them equal in citizenship with all Europeans.  Of course the process was effected more rapidly in some areas than others.

At the same time the Scientific Revolution freeing the mind from religious superstitions was well under way.  Science as we all know invalidates and supersedes all religious thought.  This left Christianity and Judaism holding the bag with silly grins on their faces.  In was necessary for them to adjust to Scientific realities in one way or another or go over to Science abandoning religion.  Setting Protestantism and Catholicism aside the Western Jews, England, France and Germany, were devastated while the Eastern Jews of the Pale of Settlement were unaffected until the twentieth century when they arrived in the US.  The Jewish belief system had been invalidated, so much sentimental trash.

They were unable to find a place for themselves in this new environment until  a  hundred years or so after the Revolution the Jews originated the argument of relativism in the attempt to defeat science and regain their status.  While Science was positive that is an attempt to realize the true nature of reality and its results absolute, the Jews attempted to destroy that positiveness by introducing relativity, that is inner wishful thinking.  Thus in 1900 a whole group of Jewish savants in various disciplines introduced relativity.  Freud/Fliess in Psychology, Karl Marx in politics, Einstein in physics, Schoenberg in music, Franz Boas in anthropology, Anatole France in literature, Henri Bergson in evolution, across the whole field of learning.  Einstein’s Theory of Relativity challenged the positiveness of Science making positive results questionable both scientifically and socially.

Politically great organizations were created to advance Jewish interests, The American Jewish Committee, The Fraternal Order of B’nai B’rith’s Anti-Defamation League.  While influencing American politics heavily up to the election of Woodrow Wilson in 1913, under Wilson’s socialist presidency Jews actually entered government administration in large numbers.  They were especially active during the War years.  Their influence would diminish in 1921 when Warren G. Harding took office.

But as the War ended before Wilson’s socialist policies could be effected their influence was diminishing but still in 1918 the Jews devised something they called the Jewish Bill Of Rights that they wished to attach to the Constitution.  That was the communication forwarded to Ed in LA in 1919.

The survey was sent to every prominent man and woman in the United States to determine their degree of ’anti-Semitism.’  If you returned the questionnaire promptly and in full accord you were considered safe, if not you were placed on the rolls as an anti-Semite. Ed did have some questions that, while he probably didn’t realize it having been reared as a free American boy with rights of free speech guaranteed by the US Bill Of Rights, marked him as an anti-Semite for being in violation of the Jewish Bill Of Rights.  Already targeted by the Bolsheviks he now found himself on, or perhaps didn’t realize he was on, the list of dangerous anti-Semites marked for destruction.  And he was destroyed. Generally speaking, I am unaware of any exceptions, all these people so indicated were destroyed by 1940.

Some were very powerful men such as that greatest of Americans Henry Ford.  Add Warren G. Harding, William Randolph Hearst and many others with whom Ed found himself in the same boat.

Henry Ford, of course, engaged the Jews in a full fledged war.  He established the first national newspaper, The Dearborn Independent, to carry the battle to them.  For several years his paper published articles exposing Jewish machinations including three or four concerning his copy of The Jewish Bill Of Rights.

As the Revolution spread to US shores in 1919, 1920 and 1921 it seemed possible to the Revolutionaries that they would overthrow the US government.  If Wilson had not had his stroke and been able to run for the third term he wanted, instead of Warren G. Harding’s election, they may very well have succeeded.  Say, Wilson had done what his protégé FDR did do, that is serve four terms it is certain that the country would have turned Communist.  Instead Harding assumed the presidency and very energetically put a stop to Communist and Jewish shenanigans.  He would pay with his life two years later but he did save the Republic for twelve years.

Ed makes reference to a ship he calls the Harding in The Moon Men that must undoubtedly refer to the President.  Tarzan And The Ant Men is full of political references to the Harding administration so Ed was fully aware of what was happening.  Although the publication of Ed’s 1924 novel Marcia Of The Doorstep was blocked, Ed goes to the assistance of Henry Ford basing his character Marcus Sackett, that is himself, on four articles concerning Jews in show business that appeared in Ford’s Independent.  Ford’s articles were later collected in a four volume set given the unfortunate title of The International Jew.  By that he didn’t mean to include all Jews only those Jews affiliated to the international Jewish government.

In his Marcia novel Ed’s unsavory villain was a wily little Jew and his portrayal of Hollywood was accurately if inadvisably a portrait of the Jews who ran the movie capitol.  Ed balanced the picture with wise upright Jews, one probably based on Louis Brandeis, and generous Jews but that misses the point.  While the novel was never published it was apparently read by the studio heads or whoever landing Ed in hot water.  Thus in his Moon Maid he depicts a lovable, highly respected and honored Jew both by Jew and Gentile but once again, that misses the point and makes up for nothing in Jewish eyes.

But, you know, once you’ve crossed the line you can’t get back over.  Rather than improving his situation versus the Jews the Moon Maid probably worsened it as he had, in effect, apologized and confessed his guilt just as Henry Ford would do in 1927.

The twenties were a time of transition from the pre-war period of small holdings to consolidation in much larger units.  This was no more apparent than in agriculture where the great corporate farms were taking shape along with food processors of comparable size that would form as  such giant corporations as Archer-Daniels-Midlands.  So Ford was right but he lost the suit.  Actually there was no difference between these huge corporate farms and the collectivized farms of the USSR.  It was just done differently.

Ford who initiated perhaps the greatest industrial change or forward movement the world has ever known in the assembly line and then went on to create the first worldwide company was nevertheless conservative otherwise, almost atavistic.  He had hated farm work as a youth so even as he lined up a long row of Ford tractors that plowed the whole field in a matter of minutes, almost seconds, that made large farms possible he objected to the consolidation of small farms. He pointed to a Jewish firm involved in the consolidation which, of course, the Jews denied.  In the ensuing law suit Ford lost and even allowed the Jews to write his apology that he signed.

The law suit came at a time when Ford through neglect in adapting to the evolution of the auto industry and economic pressure from the Jews closed down his entire operation for over a year as he met innovation with the innovation of the V8.  Ed’s son was one of the first to buy one, even though Ed had always detested that poor man’s car, in support of Henry.  But Ford had lost his sales lead slipping into second place behind Chevy where he stayed at least through the fifties.  The entire auto industry was consolidated into the Big Three- G.M., Ford and late arriver Chrysler with a few small survivors.

The same process affected the movie industry which affected Ed’s fortunes greatly when sound was introduced in 1927-28.  The expense new constantly changing equipment and technological expertise or evolution of the industry was too much for the smaller firms to bear.  The consolidation had been going on before as William Fox, previously the most successful of the movie producers, was driven into bankruptcy by the New York money Jews.  Fox’s firm, he himself was Jewish but resisted the consolidation, was joined to Twentieth Century to form Twentieth Century-Fox.

The most successful consolidation that would determine Ed’s fortunes was the Loewe Corporation’s Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.  These three studios as MGM were under the hegemony of Loewe’s in New York City.  Loewe is German or Yiddish for lion so the MGM logo with the words Metro Goldwyn Mayer under the roaring lion represents them as the operating companies of Loewes.  From 1930 to the fifties MGM was the gold standard of the industry.  As children we all cheered at the Saturday movies when the lion roared because then we were guaranteed a good movie.  For the rest of the logos you could never be sure.

So the Jewish machinations against Ed essentially climaxed when Ed surrendered control of his magnificent creation in 1931 as he signed his contract with Loewes, MGM and Louis B. Mayer.

There is one other major issue of the twenties to be considered as it did affect Ed although indirectly.  The issue is the stock market crash of 1929.  The important point here is that the Wilson administration was socialist.  If the Democrats, that if the Wilsonians  Cox and FDR, had won in 1920 the Wilsonian socialist program would have moved forward.  Instead the Republican Warren G. Harding was elected and in his return to ‘normalcy’ he squashed the whole Wilsonian program none of which had had a chance to take effect.  Harding simply suppressed the Revolution.

The Democrats then looking ahead could see no chance of regaining power save through some national disaster through which Republicans could be portrayed as inept.  With the prosperity of the New Era there would be little chance for election for who knew, maybe fifty years or more.  A national disaster, then, had to be created but one which the Democrats thought they could turn around in a snap.

The economist John Maynard Keynes was touting monetary stimulus as the panacea of all economic downturns.  It was true that such a program had never been tried but it sounded logical and a sure fired remedy.  It was only necessary to create an economic downturn such as 1873, 1893 or 1907 by, say, 1930.

The so-called stock market crash was no big thing in itself.  We’ve had bigger since then without any adverse results.  The stock market has always recovered and risen to new heights without a monetary stimulus.

The difference in 1929 was that margin requirements were very low at only 10%.  That means that if you had a hundred dollars you could buy a thousand dollars worth of stock on margin or essentially on credit.  If the stock rose you could sell and pocket the cash.  If he stock dropped there would a margin call to bring your indebtedness back under 10%.  If your stock doubled as stocks did at that time you could use 100.00 of the increase as collateral and buy more stock and so on but with each increase in value your margin call would be greater and as it did exceed your means.  Then, of course, it all came crashing down as it did.

First a buying frenzy had to be created which was done.  The momentum continued forward crazily until the plug was pulled which it was.  Then stocks not only lost value but those who were betting the farm were foreclosed and tens of thousands of people became penniless.  Thus one had the terrible situation of 1929.

Herbert Hoover the Republican president was then called on to solve the problem instantly.  Hoover didn’t have the secret the Democrats thought they had so by the time the country was singing Happy Day Are Here Again FDR was in office.  He reached into his Keynes top hat to pull out the Magic Formula and what to his surprise but that the marvelous Keynesian solution didn’t work.  Well, no matter,  he’d already been elected and that was miracle enough.  Blame the Depression on the Republicans and get on with it.  Thus Wilsonian socialism returned to Washington along with the Jews.

Back in 1928 Ed ever on the lookout for a fast buck business opportunity had invested in an airplane engine called The Apache and what he considered a sure thing, a San Fernando Valley airport.  The Depression stopped both with Ed losing his entire investment.  Oh well, he could still write so he formed his own publishing company and did.  He turned out the best work of his career, but then, that’s for the chapter on the thirties.

In conclusion the twenties had been a political and economic disaster for Ed.  He had been soundly trounced by the Judaeo-Communist forces.  Worse was still to come.

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