The Charlotte News
Saturday, July 6, 1940
Site Ed. Note: Ay, a question--why didn't the Nazi try to take over the Irish? Seemed like a swell enough strategy. But--ever been in a bar brawl with an Irishman in his cups--or out of them, defending his honor or that of his home and family? Cash, being himself part Irish, no doubt understood the problem well enough to bait the German to it in the hope that the rat might be trapped in the mist. Ay, well it sniffed and went the other way. Rats best not mess with the Irish, either of Eire or Ulster. Lots of mist.
If We Feed Europe It Inevitably Aids Hitler
DeWitt McKenzie of the Associated Press renders a service in bringing the question of the consequences of feeding refugees in Europe out into the open. The Red Cross in this country has got on very slowly precisely because that question exists in the minds of the people.
There is not much doubt that not only refugees but Europeans generally are going to be hungry this Winter. Russia has just grabbed the single good crop on the continent, that of Bessarabia. And certainly it is the American impulse and tradition to come to their aid under such circumstances.
But it is also true that feeding any part of the peoples now under Adolf Hitler's sway will be to aid him in winning the war. It is possible, of course, to see to it that he does not lay hands directly on the supplies we send over. Nevertheless, it will enable him to seize such supplies as countries like France now have. And it will relieve him of the responsibility of having these people look to him to see that they don't starve.
It is a hard choice. It is unthinkable that we can calmly stand by while millions of innocent victims of the German brute go hungry and starve. But it is just as unthinkable that we shall do anything to aid the brute's advance. But perhaps we shall be relieved of making the choice. England naturally wants to conciliate opinion in this country. But the blockade remains her chief hope of ultimately winning the war. And so it is possible that she may refuse to allow food ships to pass to the Continent.
The Price Which France Plans To Pay for It
We are hearing a good deal about the need for unity in the United States. And heaven knows we need it, as anybody may see by looking at the obstructionist tactics going on in the Congress.
Nevertheless, it is worth remembering that unity itself can sometimes come too high. The Germans are the most united people on earth. And now the French are about to get unity by the same method.
They are going to get rid of "internal quarrels, political fussing, and interminable discussions in Parliament," by the simple device of having only one party and reducing Parliament to a mere stooge for the dictator, who will probably be Pierre Laval.
They are going to "guard against favoritism and plutocracy and prevent the return of political parasites," by making the leaders of the one party the only people with any privileges--by endowing these with the right to do or take anything they please.
They are going to get unity by being "modern and hard," as the Nazis are "modern and hard." Which is to say, by destroying free speech and free assembly, and murdering and torturing all dissenters from the one party. They are going to get it by destroying all the values which have been French and replacing them with the new "modern and hard" Nazi virtues of brutality, cruelty, and falsehood. And by reducing everybody save the leaders of the one party to the status of slaves to the state, which is to say ultimately to the leaders of the one party.
England Faces Another Fateful Decision
Britain has acted with admirable vigor to settle the question of whether or not Adolf Hitler should get control of the French fleet. But there is another question just as fateful for her--and eventually for us--before which he is still hesitating.
It is that of whether or not Eire shall be left unoccupied, to become a base for Hitler.
The British reluctance to move is understandable. The Irish hate the English for old wrongs ranging from the time of Edward III down to the execution of Padraic Pearse in 1916 and the Black and Tans. An occupation would set off a fearful uproar among them and especially among the professional patriots, which is undoubtedly why De Valera, who is no fool and probably understands that Ireland must be occupied for her own safety, refuses to agree to it.
But an even more important factor in the case is that England is afraid of the effect such an occupation, if undertaken--as it apparently must be undertaken--by force, would have in the United States. This country swarms with Irish who are about ten times as patriotic to Ireland as to the dwellers in the island themselves. And many of them make a cult of hatred of Great Britain, and are quite prepared to see Ireland overrun by the Nazi horde and subjected to horrors which make the worst that Cromwell ever imagined look feeble, rather than abate a jot of their rage against Britain or give up the hope of seeing the English ground under the Nazi heel.
Already they are carrying on a militant anti-British propaganda in this country. And if England went into Ireland, their clamor would be terrific. Naturally, the English are afraid for the effect of that on American public opinion generally.
Yet it is certain that if Ireland is not occupied by the British, the Nazis will occupy it soon. And when they do the jig is going to be about up for England. As the matter stands now, the Nazis have pretty effectually closed London and the other ports of the east and south coasts to ships bringing supplies to England. The ports of the west coast, Glasgow, Liverpool, Cardiff, and Bristol, are now the only doors Britain has opened to the sea.
And if Hitler ever gets established in Ireland, these ports are sure to be closed also. Submarines and airplanes operating from Cork and Dublin can close the Bristol Channel and the Irish Sea to British shipping even more certainly than the narrow portion of the English Channel is now closed to it.
Moreover, air bases in Ireland will enable Hitler to operate far more effectively against the west central portion of England in which the greatest part of her war industries is concentrated. However, this will matter only to speed up the decision. For once the west coast ports are closed, England's fate is sealed.
Under the circumstances, it is manifest that the only rational thing for England to do is to accept the advice of old George Bernard Shaw, himself an Irishman, hand De Valera an ultimatum and go on in by force if necessary.
The cases of Norway, Holland, and Belgium show the futility of trying to combat the enemy after he is already on the ground. And with civilization at stake, this is no time to be squeamish about the rights of somebody to keep on nursing an old grudge.
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