The Charlotte News
Monday, June 24, 1940
He Had Right and Center Company in His Work
There is an assertion which is rapidly going the rounds which has it that Leon Blum's Leftist Government is the main explanation of the collapse of France.
Blum did his part all right, in dealing with the Communists whose only aim was to disrupt and destroy, and in cutting hours and raising wages in the arms industry at the time when France needed to turn every ounce of her energy to arms production.
But Blum was not alone.
Who started the long parade of sellouts to the dictators? Pierre Laval, the Centrist, with his constant playing up to Mussolini and his smirking acquiescence in the Ethiopian business.
And who stood quietly by and watched conscription restored in Germany, the Rhineland re-militarized in 1936? Pierre Etienne Flandin, an extreme Rightest and one of the great arms manufacturers of France, a holder of large interests in the German arms cartel.
And who arranged Munich? Daladier, the Centrist, with the backing of Bonet, the Rightest, and Flandin, the Rightest, who had large holdings in the Skoda works which he wanted to save.
And who was responsible for all those bad materials, paid for at the price of the best, which Marshal Petain has openly denounced? Labor or the manufacturer?
The Left did its full share to betray France, as everyone who knows the recent history of that country well understands. But if we are to draw the lesson rightly we had better observe, too, that the Center and the Right also had their fill in the betrayal.
A Short Account of the History of a Waterway
Most people think of the Suez Canal, which may figure prominently in the news in the next few weeks, as having been built by the British, under Disraeli.
But in point of fact it was built by a private French company, headed by Ferdinand de Lesseps, who also made the first ill-fated attempt to build a Canal across Panama. And the British actively opposed it, on the ground it was an attempt on the part of France to interfere with British interests in the East and Mediterranean. De Lesseps got his first concession from the Egyptian Government in 1854. But the British blocked the necessary confirmation by the Turkish Government for twenty years. Nevertheless, actual construction was begun in 1859. And ten years later the Canal, a sea level waterway extending a hundred miles, was formally opened.
Of the 400,000 shares of stock, more than half were subscribed by 21,000 individual French investors. Less than 3,000 were taken by Italian investors, and none by British investors. But in 1875, Disraeli pulled a fast one, and for a payment of about 4,000,000 pounds, bought the 177,642 shares owned by the bankrupt Khedive Ismail of Egypt for the British Government--giving it control of 44 per cent of the stock.
The Canal was subject to international regulation by a convention signed at Constantinople in 1888--under which the Canal was always to be kept open to the ships of all nations in peace or in war. But the British, who had already closed it briefly in 1882, would close it for three days in the World War.
The Anglo-Egyptian Treaty of 1936 gave the British the right to protect the Canal until Egypt should be able to, and to station 10,000 troops and 400 planes there for that purpose.
The Sword May Not Finish All Hitler's Enemies
Der Angriff, a stooge Nazi newspaper at Berlin, informs the world that "we are determined to insure peace for hundreds of years to come." The peace of death, it means. The peace of slavery for the earth and mastery for the Nerrenvolk of old, the Germans.
And yet it may be that, even if the worst transpires and England falls and the United States is undone, Der Angriff speaks a little too certainly. In theory, the Nazi scheme is perfect. We are all to be disarmed. Armed Nazi slaveholders will be stationed at strategic points, ready to stamp out incipient revolution at the slightest move. The Gestapo is supposed to penetrate into our lives to the point that the incipient rebel may be spotted before he is aware of it himself, ruthlessly extinguished. By much the same scheme the Romans succeeded in holding the mastery of the Mediterranean world for 400 years. But the scope of Adolf's dreams is far wider, new ideas have come into the world since the Romans, the hate that Adolf has loosed is incalculable, and the mind of man is infinitely cunning.
But it may be that it will not be a matter of long years of waiting for the "ravanche."
Already medical men are raising their voices to warn.
Behind the horseman whose name is the Sword his fellow aides in the service of their master, Death, are beginning to gallop into view. Famine. The wheat crop in Europe this year is the smallest in many years. And famine will certainly sweep it if the United States does not feed it.
And behind Famine rides his invariable companion, Plague. The European scene is ripe for great epidemics now. Given hunger, they will certainly come. And not least to the Germans. For no man can say them nay at a border, and the bodies of the Germans have been long weakened by half-starvation in preparation for their great crime.
It is an ironic and a terrible thought that at last the pale riders of the Apocalypse may be the saviors of civilization. Or if not civilization, at least something out of which it can rise again. But it is a possibility which Der Angriff cannot exorcise away.
Marshall Petain's Words Are Denied by the Facts
Marshall Petain talks largely of "French honor," but it is all too plain that the term now has little meaning.
France has ignominiously submitted to the most appalling and humiliating terms ever imposed on a nation in modern times.
She is totally disarmed, two-thirds of her territories occupied by Nazis, the Mediterranean area is to be occupied by Italy. From now on, France is utterly at the mercy of the Nazi horde and their jackals from Italy. And there is no mercy in these words. Already Himmler is in Paris, preparing not only the territorial destruction of France but its cultural destruction.
What is worse from the standpoint of honor--what is totally incompatible with the notion of honor--is that France has now become an ally of Adolf Hitler and his war on her late ally, England--upon England which represents France's one remaining hope to rise again. Does Marshall Petain take any stock in Adolf Hitler's "solemn promise" that the French navy won't be used against Britain? If he does, then age and strain have at last destroyed his reason.
Nor is it to be said that France had no choice. She did have the choice of continuing to fight by sea and in the colonies, using guerrilla tactics within her own borders. The worst that could have happened to her is just what is happening anyhow--that she would be completely overrun. Did Adolf Hitler propose the wholesale murder of the civilian population if his terms were not accepted? It is quite possible and even probable. But it is not likely that, with the United States as close to war as it now is, he would have dared it. And in any case whatever, the civilian population is in for wholesale "purges" anyhow. Hitler proposes to murder all liberty-loving Frenchmen or to reduce them to abject servility.
What we have in this is undoubtedly a new Munich--a return of the "appeasers" to power in France. As this is written, the names of Pierre Laval and Pierre Etienne Flandin have not yet appeared in the records, but we may confidently expect to see them enter the Cabinet before long. These are men who, to protect their own interests, have all long been willing to sell France out. And it is to be remembered that Petain and Weygand, like most high-ranking French Generals, are Royalists. And that to them the elevation of a Bourbon moron to the French throne again is worth almost any cost to France.
') } //-->