The Charlotte News
Tuesday, November 12, 1940
Site Ed. Note: "Nervous Bear" paints a gloomy picture for Russia. And a little over seven months hence, of course, Hitler's legions would cross the Russian border in opposition to Stalin, to try to make Russia its puppet. But, the Russian people, old and young, of Stalingrad and other outposts would put up a stolid fight and resist the Nazi machine sufficiently, with the aid of an early Russian winter setting in by October, such that the Nazi would be bogged down through the long winter of 41-42. And the siege was on.
Obstructionism, Not Criticism, Is Thing To Be Avoided
Mr. Willkie's speech last night was for the main simply a recapitulation of his campaign platform.
So far as unity goes, he said all that can reasonably have been expected of him. Unity never has meant and, in a democracy, couldn't mean the surrender of the right of criticism and opposition by the minority of measures which it honestly considered unsound-save perhaps in the direct emergency such as that England has just been going through.
What it does mean, however, is that the line between legitimate criticism and opposition and mere obstructionism must be strictly drawn. Mr. Willkie himself recognized as much when he said that the criticism and opposition of his following must be constructive.
Moreover, it would be highly unfortunate if the agitation among the people natural to the campaign were constantly kept up through the coming years. For that sort of thing breeds bitter intransigence and a refusal on both sides to budge an inch. The assertion of the Willkie ideas ought now to be left mainly to the Republicans in Congress. The President was right. "Martin, Barton, and Fish" are his natural opposition in the years between the present and the next election.
Fish at least has sometimes, and pretty often, slipped over into mere obstructionism. But if the Republicans avoid his extremeism in general, sensible men are not likely to deny them the name of "the loyal opposition."
Stalin's Moves Are Directed To Avoiding a Fight
Key to Molotoff's acceptance of the Nazi invitation to Berlin for the drawing closer of the "bonds" between Russia and Germany, is probably Stalin's overpowering dread of the German army and desire to stay out of the war at least until that army is no longer formidable.
Whether that will lead him to use his influence to try to force Turkey into making off with Britain and allow the German armies passage through to Mesopotamia remains to be seen.
It is certain that he cannot possibly be willing to do so. For if there is anything sure in this world, it is that if the Germans ever lay their hands on the Dardanelles, coveted ever since the days of Bismarck, they will never relinquish the strait until and unless they are blasted out with cannon and bombs. At present there is no fleet in the world which would have any chance of doing that, least of all Stalin's. But with the Dardanelles in his hands, Hitler will have made Russia his prisoner.
Nor is it to be supposed that Stalin is actually to be beguiled by the German assignment to him of Persia and Mesopotamia as his "sphere of influence" in the "new (paper) world" of the Nazis. Stalin is a cold realist of the European power-politics sort and knows well the perfect worthlessness of Hitler's promises, the certainty that Hitler's greediness will ultimately brook no rival to Germany.
He knows, indeed, that if Hitler wins, Russia will have no choice but to become Hitler's puppet.
On the other hand, he knows also the gloomy fact that the Russian armies would have little more chance of standing up to the Nazi army than had the Poles. And he undoubtedly fears revolution at home if he goes to war. What he is about, almost certainly, is making the best of the situation by giving up as little as possible.
The Tariffs and the Mad Things in the World
Henry C. Taylor, of Chicago, director of the Farm Foundation, tells the American Country Life Association: that the Fordney-Macumber, and the Smoot-Hawley tariffs "had much to do in sowing the seeds of war." And goes on:
"The self-sufficiency policies of nations like the United States and the British Commonwealth... force other nations like Italy, Germany and Japan, which are not so blessed with natural resources, to adopt the policy of aggression to acquire resources..."
And undoubtedly what Dr. Taylor says (he is no partisan but a world authority on agriculture) has much truth in it.
The United States came out of the last war the world's great creditor nation, whereas before it had been a debtor nation. And with productive equipment geared to supply half the world. Both required a radical change in the tariff policy which had ruled since the Civil War.
Nations must nearly always pay their debts in goods; for if they attempt to pay them in gold they simply wreck their internal economies. And a production plant geared to half the world cannot find markets within the framework of a single nation.
Failure to recognize that is one of the great tragedies of history. Already we had partly driven England from her old free trade stand, and now she was forced to abandon it completely. The result on the weaker nations was appalling. When the Fordney-Macomber tariff and the answering English ones had been two years in effect, Italy was drained of gold, her industries paralyzed for lack of her old markets.
When these tariffs had been eight years in effect, the economy of every nation in Europe was cracking for the same reasons, and depression was everywhere. And the signing of the Smoot-Hawley bill coincided almost precisely with the arrival of the Great Depression in the United States. When it was a year old Japan struck for Manchuria. When it was three years old Adolf Hitler was in power in Germany, and fifteen million unemployed people walked the streets of the United States.
It is no good assessing the blame on a partisan basis. That the Democratic Party, under the leadership of men like James M. Cox or John W. Davis, would have been any wiser than the Republicans is exceedingly doubtful. Nevertheless, there the fact is, and when the blame for the world debacle is totaled the United States is going to come in for its full share.
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