The Charlotte News
Monday, June 3, 1940
Mr. Browder Makes His Plan for All to See
We do not go so far as some quarters and hold Mr. Earl Browder, the felon Presidential candidate of the Communist Party and Moscow's stooge for Hitler, guilty of treason in his speech yesterday. After all, treason is defined by the Constitution as something that can be committed in these States only in time of war. We are not at war. And it is just as well in these times to try to keep basic American distinctions clearly in mind.
But Browder's bellow for "pacifism" and his demand that we leave "the two imperialistic powers" in Europe to fight it out is a curious illustration of the absolute absence of principle in the two barbaric "ideologies" now threatening the world. Or rather of the absence of principles save the fanatical one that the "party line," however much it may reverse itself, is always right.
Until the Hitler-Stalin pact was signed, Browder was the most militant anti-Nazi in the United States. Day in and day out, he bawled in the "Daily Worker," the "New Masses," and other Red and pinko sheets, for a "united front of the great democracies of the world against the Brown Terror" (that is, the Nazis and Fascists). The Moscow line in those days was to pretend that Russia was the greatest of the democracies, superior to the others in being a little more advanced along the common road.
And the other great democracies to which Mr. Browder referred? The United States, of course. And two nations in Europe which Mr. Browder now lumps with the Nazis as "imperialistic powers": Great Britain and France.
Little Ed Rivers Turns Strong States Rightist
Little Ed Rivers, Governor of Georgia, has developed a sudden burning passion for States Rights. It was not always so. Back in the days when the New Deal was trying to purge Senator George, Little Ed was whooping in the van of the purgers and scoffing at States Rights as merely a phoney cry.
But now he is full of indignation. Reason is that Federal investigators have got to his political henchmen, Doc Hiram Evans, sometime Wizard of the Kuku Klan, and Legislative Clerk John W. Greer, indicted on charges of using the mails to defraud and conspiring with three asphalt companies to "monopolize trade and fix prices in the sale of $456,427.42 worth of asphalt to the State Highway Department." Little Ed says it's all "malicious prosecution," but unfortunately for that, the Federal grand jury didn't agree.
"Federal snoopers... " storms Little Ed. And "Federal surveillance and Federal snoopping at the State Capitol will henceforth stop." The ring of that last reminds us of Little Ed's recent attempt at playing Hitler. It didn't work, partly because the Federal courts stepped into the picture--which seems to have been the point at which Little Ed's zeal for States Rights first began to burn.
However, he does not seem to learn from experience. If he means that about attempting to halt the activities of Federal agents in the State Capitol, he is of course in for a worse bruising than he has already had. Federal law runs in the State Capitol of Georgia as everywhere else in the land. And the last thing the people are likely to approve is somebody using the cry of States Rights to attempt to halt investigation into what is very much the Department of Justice's business.
Caligula Was a Mere Piker at This Game
Suetonius reports that Caligula used to say that what he most admired in himself was his "shameless impudence." Adolf Hitler seems to have studied the model well.
The German newspapers blaze with reports of "French frightfulness." Adolf Hitler invades Belgium and Holland, turns them into charnel houses, sweeps into France and turns Flanders into a smoking desert. His bombers deliberately drop bombs on civilians in remote villages far from any true military objective. They sweep down and machine-gun children at play, unhappy refugee women staggering on the road with babies in their arms. Adolf Hitler's tanks deliberately turn loose their murderous fire on these streams of refugees.
And Adolf Hitler speaks, through his stooge newspapers, of "French frightfulness."
Caligula was a man of jealous heart, and so it is probable that he sleeps badly in his grave these days.
The Announced Scheme Has Its Very Grave Perils
That Mussolini means to join Nazi Germany in the attempt to destroy Western civilization now seems certain. But the announcements that he'll probably move about June 15 and against Egypt and Tunisia may be taken with some skepticism, despite the fact that the new barbarian nations like to announce what they plan and then startle the world by following it out to the letter.
Presumably, Mussolini's assault is to be delivered in conjunction with a new German assault on the French positions along the Somme and the Aisne, with a view to capturing Paris, and at least an intensive air and submarine attack against England at the same time. But to wait ten days is to give the brilliant and energetic Weygand ample time to consolidate his positions, the British more time to organize resistance and to prepare moves against Mussolini.
And as for the attack against Egypt and Tunisia, it would be to challenge the British and French in the very citadel of their strength--naval power. This attack can be made in only two ways, by land operations from Libya against the Egyptian and Tunisian borders, and sea attack from Sicily against the Tunisian coast. Quite probably, parachute troops would be resorted to extensively, especially in the desert country along the Tunisian border.
But all this would inevitably mean that the Italian fleet would have to be brought into the open sea. The attack from Sicily would be partly screened by the guns of Pantellaria, the small island which lies midway between the former island and Tunis. But it would still be subject to terrific flank attack from the nearby French Tunisia base of Bizerta.
And when it came to Libya--the Italians, of course, have already placed large numbers of troops and great quantities of supplies in that desert country. Nevertheless, it would be madness to count positively on these troops being able to deliver a knockout blow within the time limit fixed by their supplies, which must be consumed rapidly in the country which furnishes virtually none of its own--in which the civilian population must be fed by the sea route also. Hence Italian transports would have to pass to Libya from the first.
Mussolini might perhaps be counting on his swarms of torpedo boats, airplanes, and mines to cover that ferry. But that these could long keep the British navy at bay is highly doubtful. And once the British navy got through to his transports, there would be nothing for him to do but risk all in a giant naval battle.
Maybe he believes that the Wop navy would win that battle. No neutral observer does.
Fact is, Mussolini is in a quandary for a good, safe place to strike. If he attempts to come into France by way of the passes of the French Alps, he is sending his troops to wholesale slaughter along the most exposed roads in the world, and with no very good chances of success. The same is true of the route by the Swiss passes. And Italian morale is in no conditions to stand up against the sight of rivers of Italian blood pouring down from these passes toward the Lombard plain.
A direct naval move against Suez would be terribly exposed to the British fleet at Alexandria. A naval move against Gibraltar would have to run the gauntlet of the French navy operating from both sides of the Mediterranean at Toulon and Bizerta; face the British ships at the Strait.
A movement along the Grande Corniche toward Nice would be almost as bloody and dangerous as that through the Alpine passes.
Most promising spot for a blow is perhaps Greece, though even that would be exceedingly dubious if Turkey acted. The Turks are among the greatest mountain fighters on earth, and the Italian navy would have to be exposed to the British in the Aegean. However, there is some doubt that Turkey will now live up to her obligations
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