The Charlotte News
WEDNESDAY, MAY 14, 1941
It Serves To Give Hitler A Color of Excuse
The futility of passing such laws as the so-called Neutrality Act is again demonstrated by the German action in proclaiming the Red Sea a war zone.
The Neutrality Act was framed to prevent incidents between American merchant ships and German submarines and surface raiders, and so save us from again getting into war. But the fact was that we didn't get into the last war because of incidents but because of the considered judgment of Mr. Wilson and Congress that we could not afford to allow Prussian militarism to win.
As a matter of fact, only one ship flying the American flag was sunk by Germans before we entered the war, and its sinking involved no loss of life. Moreover, the sinking of the Lusitania often cited as a prime cause of our entry, took place eighteen months before April, 1917.
Perhaps the Neutrality Act has actually prevented incidents this time, though it does not seem probable in view of Hitler's desire to avoid war with the United States until he has first polished off England and secured command of the Atlantic.
What is certain is that it has crippled and is now increasingly crippling our aid to England.
And what is clear also is that it has given the Germans a sort of pseudolegal basis for arrogantly assuming already to possess the command of the sea and by unilateral action laying out zones which no one can enter save by their permission.
Nobody who is capable of logical analysis will be fooled by these pseudolegal claims, but many Americans are incapable of such analysis. And it is to them that the argument is primarily addressed, to the end of creating further confusion and disunity among us.
Hess Desertion Does Not Justify New Complacency
Nazi "spokesmen" in Berlin pooh-pooh the Hess case, and say that its real effect is to benefit Germany by acting as a narcotic in England and America and directing attention away from more important matters.,
The very fact that they take this attitude and make this claim--which, incidentally, reveals their true purpose with regard to the United States--suggests that they are really much concerned about Hess's desertion.
Nevertheless, there is truth in the suggestion that the case may act as a narcotic to the Anglo-Saxons. The characteristic psychology of this war, in both England and this country, has been one of smug complacency so long as the Germans were relatively inactive, followed by hysterical gloom and panic when they struck and the Allied cause suffered a new disaster.
Gloom and fear were all over the place while the Balkan campaign was in progress, but that has been written off now as not amounting to much. And there were already signs of returning complacency before Hess's flight. And now everybody is cheerful and freely predicting that it heralds the collapse of Germany from inside.
There is no evidence to justify any such hope. And there is no known instance of a nation blowing up from inside when it was enjoying victory after victory.
Hess's desertion looks like a piece of good fortune for the British--and it may in the end be very useful. But the Nazis are tough and stubborn, and it is very dangerous to use this one man's flight as an excuse for wish-thinking about the imminence of their collapse.
Doriot and His Gang Help To Explain U. S. Bolos
Reading his declaration in Paris Wednesday that the French "are not a people who can be crushed and repressed forever," you might easily think that Jacques Doriot is a daring French patriot who has arisen--as they have so often arisen in past times--to warn the Nazi tyrant to go slow.
But you would be wrong! Jacques Doriot is a French traitor who worked for the downfall of France, first as a Communist and then as a Nazi. The party he was addressing is the Nazi party in France. And his reference to the "crushed and repressed" represented an effort to convince the French people that the real oppressors of France are England and the United States--an earnest effort motivated by the knowledge that if the Anglo-American alliance wins his own precious neck will be claimed by the guillotine.
But Doriot matters only as an individual traitor. What is more interesting is that 120 of the 500-odd delegates to this Nazi party meeting in Paris were former French Communists.
It throws a good deal of light on the kind of men who made up the leadership of the French Communist Party--and the French Communist Party was exactly like all other Communist parties in its general make-up. Posing as disinterested champions of humanity, they turned out in the showdown to be cynical opportunists motivated by nothing more noble than their own disgruntled lust for power.
When you understand that, and extend the understanding to this country it is no longer hard to understand how easily the party line of the American Communists changed overnight from bitter anti-Nazism to bitter pro-Nazism after the signing of the Berlin-Moscow pact in 1939.
Anything to keep on the make.
Hitler's Spanish Plans Hold Grave Danger for Us
According to an able correspondent, Hitler will bring Spain into the Axis and occupy the country before July 1.
If that is correct, then it is time we began to think seriously about seizing the Canaries, the Azores, Cape Verdes and Dakar.
The Canaries belong to Spain, and will automatically pass into Hitler's hands the moment he takes over the mother country. The Azores and the Cape Verdes belong to Portugal and Dakar to the French.
Our policy so far has been to attempt to conciliate Spain, Vichy and Portugal and keep them out of active partnership with Hitler. But if the Spanish deal is really in the making, then that policy automatically collapses. Vichy is certain to be hauled into the Axis at the same time Spain is, for Hitler must have the right to insure uninterrupted passage for his troops. And once Hitler is in Spain, Portugal will have no choice but to join the Axis also.
But it would be pure insanity for us to allow the Canaries, the Azores, the Cape Verdes and Dakar to fall into Hitler's hands. Their possession would place his bombers within flying distance of our cities. And what is more important, these bases absolutely dominate the whole length of the Atlantic. Operating from them, he could greatly increase the toll of British shipping and make even convoy so dangerous as to be virtually unfeasible.
If he gets these bases, he will probably win the battle of the Atlantic.
Go Back to News Main Page