The Charlotte News
Friday, September 13, 1940
Site Ed. Note: "Final Gamble" tells us: "Yet Sunday will see half of September gone, the beginning of October in sight--with the prospects that thereafter the weather will put invasion [of England] out of the question until next Spring. And Hitler well knows that he cannot wait until next Spring. He almost certainly must win now or not at all."
The failure of Hitler to wear the nerves of the stout Brits thin enough to effect surrender, even into the next spring, through bombing raids conducted into mid-May called for the strategy determined in Hitler's mind from the beginning and set forth in Mein Kampf but placed into the actual planning stage on December 18, the invasion of Russia along a massive 2,000-mile front from Archangel on the Baltic to the Ukraine. For by spring his supplies were running too low, his reserve of oil to continue the attack threatened, without the wheat and oil of Russia, without the free route accomplished through Turkey to enable access to the Suez, to enable access to Iraq and Iran, without promised Russian interference. Stalin would continue to play his cards close to his vest, continue cautiously to avoid aggressive moves which might stimulate Hitler to attack.
So, eventually with it made plain that the British would not fall without either invasion or coercion from within to avoid a second onslaught of bombs, Hitler turned toward appeasement of the appeasers in Great Britain by attacking their arch-enemy, the Communists.
And for all of Stalin's purges within his country, he at least did not begin any aggressive moves agsinst other sovereigns until after Hitler invaded Poland, and then only with respect to the Baltic states and a portion of Rumania. He was not Adolf Hitler, trying to rule the world, efforts at propaganda around the world by the Communist Internationale notwithstanding. But it was something that old prejudices fueled by misinformation within both the isolationist movement in the United States and the wealthy and influential appeasers of Great Britain, led by the Cliveden Set, could never seem to understand--perhaps largely because many of them were intrigued by Hitler's anti-Semitism, even if primarily because of the concept of Hitler as a bulwark and buffer to the dratted Communist aggression. But tantalize a nation long enough based on mutual fear, and the worst fears will likely be realized out of the perception by the tantalized of the nedd for self-preservation.
Is it not so with respect to the United States in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks? Have we become little more to others than the aggressive enemies we once feared during the Cold War? Is the attack on Georgia a few weeks ago by Russia to quell an effort at aggressive moves by Georgia toward re-acquiring former provinces which established their independence in the nineties, any more than what the United States has done in Iraq? and indeed far less as Iraq was never part of the United States and is not contiguous with it. Has our foreign policy become one of blind bullyism in the last seven years?
These are questions the next Administration must study closely, but this time with the input of the people, not a headstrong, crazy Congress and a President looking to please a few wealthy and loud-mouthed constituents always eager for the increase of war industry promised by a nice fat war somewhere. That is, if the next President would like to enjoy the respect and confidence of the American people for more than a few months.
And, as to "Statesman at Work" from the Williamston Enterprise on the other part of the page today, we have to say that this particular issue, Robert Rice Reynolds carping at Hollywood and radio for bad Southern accents and manners, appeared as the least of his sins. After all, Cash himself on February 4 had done as much during the thick of the Russo-Finnish War, in "Ca'lina, Indeed!". By the same token, Cash wasn't being paid $10,000 per annum as a United States Senator by the taxpayers, and as a member of the important Military Affairs Committee, to deliver such escapist asides. So, perhaps the Williamston Enterprise had its point: Robert, forever the lightsome clown with yet a dangerously serious side when it came to eliminating aliens and delivering up his voice of isolation in the Senate, his anti-Semitism and pro-Nazism vicariously through his organization, the Vindicators, should have left most of the escapism in such a critical time to the newspapers where it belonged.
And as for the old saw, "as Maine goes, so goes the country", as explored by Raymond Clapper based on the overwhelmingly Republican state election results there, it wasn't to be this time around for the Republicans.
Limiting Helps, but Eliminating Ought to Follow in Time
There's no assurance that the City Council is going to pass on final reading the gasoline tank-truck ordinance it put through two readings at its meeting Wednesday. The vote for passage on first reading was 6 to 5, which was a narrow squeak. On second reading Mr. Sides had to be talked out of a rendition of his by now famous duet, in which he takes both parts.
He didn't want the ordinance passed and made effective until the oil dealers had a chance to be heard, and we reckon that's fair enough provided the Council keeps reminding itself that in this regulation there is a clash between public safety and private interest.
The ordinance in its present form compels through tank trucks to go around the city. Tankers of more than 7,800-gallon capacity cannot deliver to any filling station in the city and are restricted to certain streets which lead to a bulk storage plant.
Some of those streets, however, are lined with old frame residences. A collision, a spill, a spark--and there can be the very devil to pay.
It would be far-seeing on the City Council's part were it to accompany this ordinance regulating the movement of tank trucks with another to forbid the establishment of any more bulk plants within the City except in locations that had the expressed permission of the proper authorities. Perhaps, also, there should be a provision against enlarging the capacity of any existing bulk station without this permission, both designed to bring about in time a condition where tank trucks do not have to use city streets at all.
British Turn to Rule of an Eye for an Eye
The delayed action bomb which fell on Buckingham Palace and exploded Tuesday was probably the straw which broke the camel's back and decided the British to indulge, on their own account, in some "accidents" with the Reichstag, the Brandenburg Gate, etc., in Berlin. And it deprives the Germans of the excuse they are trying to advance for wholesale destruction--that the British struck at non-military objectives first.
Buckingham Palace is far from any military objective in London. So is St. Paul's, about which bombs dropped all day Tuesday. So for that matter is the whole City and Westminster district, on which the Germans have concentrated their latest attacks.
The military areas in London are the docks and warehouses east of the Tower Bridge, the railroad stations, and the factory areas on the southern side of the Thames. And it has been manifest for several days that the Germans have been indulging in indiscriminate attacks with a view to terrorization.
It is as well that the British have concluded to heave out the old school tie and answer fire with fire. The Nazi swine can understand no language save his own. He threatens now to send over 10,000 planes a day to destroy the Houses of Parliament, St. Paul's, Westminster Abbey, etc., to pulverize London. Chances are that he can do much of it. But the British morale will stand up far better if they do not have to take it lying down--if for St. Paul's the cathedral at Cologne is leveled, if the destruction of Buckingham, Windsor, and Hampton Court is atoned for by the Potsdam palaces, if the Houses of Parliament are paid for with the Reichstag and the Chancellory, the British Museum with the German museums and galleries, etc.
Sabotaged or Not, Kenvil Reminds Us of Danger
The management of the Kenvil powder factory denies the suspicion of sabotage. And it is a fact, of course, that the manufacture of high explosives is inevitably attended with danger of disastrous accidents, in the nature of the case and despite the taking of all precautions.
Nevertheless, when three plants engaged in making war materials for the armament program of the nation suffer crippling accidents within a month, it is inevitable that sabotage should pop into minds of many people who are not given to hysteria.
What is certainly indicated is a far more searching and rigid investigation into the background of employees in such places as the Kenvil plant. The management there insists such investigation had been made. But it has to be remembered, of course, that the Nazis have ways of providing their agents with backgrounds which will stand up under all but the most consistent and microscopic scrutiny. And they are far too wise to use men of obvious German--or Italian--extraction and thick accents.
Above all, the penalties for sabotage ought to be made far more severe than they are now. If the Kenvil explosion is the work of saboteurs and they are caught, they will hang, of course, since their crime includes wholesale murder. But as the law stands at present, if they had attempted it and failed, they would come in for nothing worse than a light jail sentence.
Italy, As Well As Hitler, Feels the Squeeze of Time
If Italy has actually begun her long-heralded invasion of Egypt, it is one more indication that the counsel of desperation is taking control of Axis strategy.
Graziano is certainly in no position to undertake the conquest of Egypt and cutting through to Suez. For the reinforced British Navy has now virtually cut him off from communication by sea with the homeland. By air, of course, he can still communicate with it and receive small reinforcements. But he can get neither large numbers of troops nor supplies from Italy, unless the Italian Navy can destroy the British fleet--a feat for which he shows not the slightest yen.
Yet he cannot sit still in Libya, either. For that simply means the consumption of his supplies, including the final one of water--which must be fetched from Italy--and the ultimate surrender of his army because of starvation--the ejection of Italy from Africa altogether. His only chance is a desperate attempt to carry through with a blitzkrieg across the terrible desert.
So with Adolf Hitler. His plans called for the smashing of England's industrial establishment, the disorganization of her transport and port facilities, the breaking of civilian morale, before actual invasion by sea began. He has apparently failed in all these objectives.
Yet Sunday will see half of September gone, the beginning of October in sight--with the prospects that thereafter the weather will put invasion out of the question until next Spring. And Hitler well knows that he cannot wait until next Spring. He almost certainly must win now or not at all. And so he is apparently proceeding with the project for invasion regardless of the fact that the ground has not been prepared according to his own specifications.
Mr. Culbertson Should Talk To His Own Compatriots
William S. Culbertson, former Ambassador to Chile, made a speech before the American Bar Association Tuesday at Philadelphia which is admirable for its logic and candor. He was not opposing the transfer of the 50 destroyers to Britain, he said. And went on:
"I realize that this seems to be justified as a measure of self-defense. It is in line with our policy to strengthen the British buffer between us and the force-politics of Germany... I want to save the British Empire but I want to save law, too... I don't want it (saving Britain) done under the fiction of the tortured law of neutrality... If one law or treaty can be explained away for good cause, another law or treaty can be explained away for a bad cause... Therefore, let us not try to justify our unneutral acts by law. Let us rather say frankly that we are not neutral; that we are not governed by the accepted rules of neutrality; that we are released from doing so by the violence and the illegality of Germany and her associates, and that we feel free to take such steps as are necessary to preserve our territory, our institutions and our way of life."
But Mr. Culbertson should begin his efforts at home. Mr. Culbertson is a Republican. And the bald fact is that the President is driven to all his twisting and turning mainly by the fact that the Republicans in Congress are busily trying to maintain the fiction of legal neutrality for purely political purposes.
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