The Charlotte News
Sunday, April 23, 1939
Megalomania In War
Hitler And Mussolini Have Loaded The Dice Against Themselves In Field Of Psychology
One comforting reflection is that if war does come, Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini have probably stacked the cards against themselves in the psychology they have built up in their own people and in their enemies,. That is curious, too. For Adolf, at least, knew better when he wrote "Mein Kampf." Therein he takes the old German leaders of the World War bitterly to task for having led their troops to believe that smashing down England and France would be a soft job, and praises the British, French, and American leaders for having told their armies the truth--that the German was a tough fighter. Apparently, however, he has forgotten.
The psychology of both countries now is pitched to the key of "hail victory!" and "we shall march straightforward!" What the armies and the civilians of these lands have constantly held before their eyes is the vision of triumphant fleets of planes roaring outward, of the towers of London and Paris crumpling into ruins; of German and Italian fleets, equipped with a superiority of aim and fire-power which is probably entirely mythical, gaily and swiftly dispatching the "old British tubs"; of armies moving into France and Poland as resistlessly as they moved into Austria and Czecho-Slovakia and Spain and Ethiopia.
And the men who are charged with leading the van of the attack are precisely the men who have been most thoroughly impregnated with such ideas. Hitler's SS corps, for instance. The training of these heroes for their duty in war consists of having walked about the land with whips in their hands for three or four years, of running concentration camps, beating helpless women and youths to death, dousing helpless Jews in latrines, and so on. Nowhere have they been faced with resistance, nowhere have they been called upon for courage--everywhere all they have needed has been brutality and a confident feeling of resistlessness. And so they are probably going to get the shock of their lives when they find that a Frenchman with a machine gun in his hands is totally unimpressed by those qualities.
And as for the civilians--the discovery that a British, French or Russian bomb can kill babies in Berlin and Rome as certainly as German and Italian bombs can kill babies in Paris and London is probably going to come as exceedingly unnerving news.
On the other hand, the enemies of the dictators are well prepared to face the case. Their first reaction to the prospect of a war such as will be waged against them was hysterical horror. That was the mood which produced Munich. But, according to the dispatches, that is gone now. The British and French people are doggedly decided. They know what they are in for. They know that their cities will be destroyed, their babies and women butchered. But all that they are ready to meet and bear, with the determination of presently making Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini and their peoples pay for it most dearly.
It is a far better attitude of mind to take into war than that of megalomania.
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