The Charlotte News
Friday, September 1, 1939
Site Ed. Note: See the darkly prescient "A Fanatic Menaces Civilization", also published in the editorial column of September 1, 1939.
In "On the Fence", Cash perhaps overestimated the shrewdness which one might have expected to accompany Mussolini's status as a PhD. in Machiavellian politics, as Dr. Mussolini did indeed take the course which ultimately resulted in him finding his way to a very public gallows in Milan, after having been first deposed and jailed on July 25, 1943 by King Victor Emmanuel III. The King simultaneously declared himself commander in chief and appointed Marshal Pietro Badoglio premier. Badoglio promptly sued for peace with the Allies. Hitler personally greeted Mussolini after he was "bailed" from jail in September--by German paratroopers. The Housepainter then placed the Doctor in charge of a satrapy in northern Italy, which Hitler chose to call a "republic",--much as that to which Cash predicted Hitler would eventually consign him. Mussolini was executed by Italian partisans in April, 1945 after the fall of Berlin.
Shall We Help Our Allies Now Or Wait Until Too Late?
A grand question which this country has been wishfully putting off rises up today and clamors for its answer. With the war in Europe breaking over Poland the United States looks on in dread. As [misprinted text in original editorial] and gathering force as the day goes on, well it might, for who has forgotten 1914 ... and 1918?
The question concerns this country's policy towards that war. Neutrality, of a certainty, must be the basis of that policy, but what kind of neutrality? Shall we stand on international law as in the World War, selling our best supplies without restriction to whichever nation will come and get and pay for them?
Or shall we take up the drawbridge and retire to the contemplation of the struggle from the tower tops?
That latter would be the decided preference certainly. But a nation doesn't always get its preferences in this our world. And recoil from it as we may, our essential interests in this European war lie entirely on the side of the British and the French. The threat to our ultimate well-being comes directly from Germany and Italy, the realization of which will strike us with alarm as the balance of victory may seem to tip in favor of the aggressors and pose the further question of our stand.
The eventual answer to the second question may be bound up in the first. In any case, the questions must be met in that order. What shall we do about arms and munitions for England and France?
But It Is Not Likely That 'Musso Can Stay Neutral
As this is written news comes that Signor Mussolini and his cabinet have decided to climb up on the neutrality fence and sit this one out. A wise boy, that Musso--one who unlike his fellow dictator, has not lost sight of reality, and he has a pretty good idea of the long chance that the Axis would be taking even with himself going along--does not care for the prospect of eventually adorning a gallows--knows well that, whatever the outcome, Italy would be wrecked.
But it may reasonably be questioned whether the Allies can allow him to be neutral or not. It can be argued, indeed, that the very best service he could render Germany would be to remain neutral. For that would bar the French Army from striking at Germany from the south, which is perhaps its best bet. The French General Staff seems to have no doubt of the capacity of its army to cut rapidly through the Italian forces, and in conjunction with the British and French armies, to take Italy completely out of the war and use it as a base of operations.
Furthermore, even if the Southern campaign were not practical, the fact would still remain that Mussolini would be intolerably dangerous as a neutral. By holding off until a crucial moment had been reached, and then suddenly throwing his weight behind Germany, he might easily decide the war. Hence, it is quite possible that the Allies will refuse to grant him neutrality--that he will have to face the choice of taking sides one way or another in short order.
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