possible, he wanted to distance the early AA fellowship from anything that connected it to the Oxford Group or its founder, Frank Buckman. He always acknowledged AA’s debt to the Group, but quickly withdrew from endorsing it. He would also state that AA had no connection to the Group after 1939.
The sound reason for distancing AA from the Group was that an unfortunate interview in 1936 had resulted in a newspaper story that had Buckman expressing praise for Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler. This was a nasty setback for the Group, because even in 1936 the world was beginning to realize that Hitler was not Mister Nice Guy. The article was unfair to Buckman, however, because some of his statements in the interview were misunderstood by the reporter. But the unfortunate interview may have benefited AA, because it demonstrated the risks of making a political statement and thus may have convinced Bill of the need for what has become the AA preamble.
Another reason why Bill wanted to separate from the Group was that Catholic officials were beginning to look upon it with suspicion and disfavor. They were rumored to be considering a directive to ban it for Catholics. As Bill commented, “That would have kept a lot of Irishmen from getting sober!”
Despite there problems, the Four Absolutes are still treasured by some AA members and have a secure place in the Fellowship’s history. We might find it profitable to look at the history of the Absolutes and trace how they contributed to the origin and the development of AA.