The Charlotte News
Saturday, May 11, 1940
Robert's Odd Vision Does Not Seem to Be General
The great economic expert, Senator Thomas of Oklahoma, was defending the Government's gold and silver policy on the floor of the greatest club on earth. That even greater economic expert, the Hon. Robert Rice Reynolds, was opposing it, on the ground that it aided and abetted and dratted aliens, and that the goods which went to other countries to pay for gold and silver ought to be kept at home and handed out to the poor--though how their owners were to get paid for them he did not say. The Congressional Record goes on:
MR. THOMAS. Does the Senator not recognize that if we should become involved in an emergency in the nature of war that all this gold and silver would constitute a fine war chest?
MR. REYNOLDS. Mr. President it would be difficult for me to answer the Senator now because I cannot possibly envision in my mind this country becoming involved in any war across the Atlantic or the Pacific.
MR. THOMAS. Mr. President, does not the Senator suppose that Finland and Norway and Sweden six months ago held the same opinion?
MR. REYNOLDS. Finland and Norway and Sweden do not occupy the enviable geographical location which we occupy.
Senator Thomas was a very polite man and forbore to remind the great foreign expert from North Carolina that he himself had asserted on the day before Norway fell victim to his Nazi friends that it was impossible to envision Norway being involved in war. But the United States Navy was not so polite. Wednesday it announced that it would stay right on somewhere east of Hawaii--as everyone knows, to watch the Dutch East Indies. Which suggested very pointedly that it did not quite share Robert's curious disability of envisioning.
This Hooey Will Not Be Of Any Use to Nazis
The German wild hog emerges from his forest justly called black still grunting of his virtue and claiming that he is merely acting in self-defense, that the little Belgians--presumably including the two little girls killed in Brussels by the first blast from the skies--and the little Dutch were plotting with the British and French to jump him and have him for dinner. But he may as well save his breath. There is nobody in the world above the level of an imbecile who will believe him any more.
Certainly, the Belgians and the Dutch were in communication with Paris and London. They would have been fools, if observing what happened to Austria, to Czechoslovakia, to Poland, to Denmark, and to Norway, they had not looked about for friends in case the Nazi hog rushed upon them also. And there was ample evidence that he had been meditating just that for many months.
Indeed, with the kindliest sentiments toward them, with full understanding of their fears and their desire to avoid war, it is still hard to think that they were not silly in any case. Far better for them it would have been had they let the British and French troops come in first.
But it does make the case crystal clear and beyond all dispute. These nations leaned over backward and more than backward to live up to the common definition of neutrality. And the world does not share the Nazi view that neutrality consists in having the little nations all pitch in and help the Nazis.
Churchill at Length Gets His Chance at History
The resignation of Chamberlain, the elevation of Churchill comes too late, when considered from one viewpoint.
What the gentleman called Winnie (by some curious quirk of English humor) might have done, no one of course can be sure. But he is known to be a man of action and he was responsible for sending the Cossack into Norwegian waters to get the Altmark and for laying mines in Norwegian waters the day before the Nazis invaded Norway--is widely believed to have taken that only because Chamberlain refused to let him land troops in Norway.
Anyway, there is good reason to believe that he is not inclined to stand on ceremony about the rights of neutrals who insist on waiting until Hitler bites them. And so it may well have been that if he had been at the helm a few days ago, the Allied troops would have beaten the Nazis into the lowlands.
But his elevation will certainly be calculated to hearten the English and French, as well as their American friends. The man is under something of a cloud right now because he says that he was responsible for Andalsnes and Namsos, a thing which reminds many people of Gallipoli (not really his fault). Nevertheless, they know also that he has just the qualities which seem to be needed in Holland and Belgium now--a resolute willingness to take chances as long as Hitler himself takes, an apparent awareness of the great importance of time in this war, an untiring energy, and imagination.
The cloud over him, however, means that he must deliver pretty quickly, and that his gambles must generally succeed. Or he is likely to find himself losing popular favor fast, the judgment that he is too erratic confirmed-- forced to give way for somebody else: say, Anthony Eden.
One Too Many
Adolf Probably Prophesies To Good Purpose in This
Adolf Hitler was indulging in dramatics of the "Soldiers, Forty Centuries Look Down Upon You!" variety. Nevertheless, he probably told the truth when he told his army as he began the invasion of Belgium and Holland that, "the fight begun today will decide the fate of Germany for a thousand years to come."
A thousand years may be, almost certainly is, a rhetorical exaggeration. Nonetheless the fate of Germany for a long time is certainly at stake.
There is no returning for her. Once too often she has demonstrated that it is impossible to live in a civilized world as long she has the power to make war. And she will have that power as long as she is not broken up, as old Clemenceau died reiterating, and as Henry Adams--no German-hater--pointed out 50 years ago.
If she wins, then she will have achieved the hegemony of Europe for which he has sought ever since Bismarck--in effect, ever since 113 B.C., when the German host first began to pour out of the German borders. She destroyed the Roman Empire, but being disunited, missed the fruits of her conquest. This time, if she destroys the British and French Empires, she will certainly enjoy the fruits to the full.
On the other hand, if she loses, she may as well make up her mind that she will pay the penalty, completely. Her Uriah Heep humbleness fooled sentimentalists the last time. It is not likely to do it again--not at least to the point of keeping the realists from having their way and putting her out of commission. Twice in 25 years is too much.
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