The Charlotte News

Wednesday, May 22, 1940



Can Weygand Reorganize His Armies in Time?

The situation of the Allies in northern France is apparently about as desperate as it was in the early days of September, 1914, just before the Battle of the Marne was joined.

The territorial situation, indeed, is generally somewhat better. The Nazis are not yet nearly so close to Paris on any sector as they were then. In one point the case may possibly be worse--that the Nazis, if they are telling the truth about Abbeville, are now almost at the Channel.

On the other hand, the advance to Abbeville and other Nazi thrusts do not as yet necessarily mean anything. In terms of old battles, it is simply to say that the cavalry screen (mechanized units) has galloped forward far beyond the French lines, without regard to communications. Jeb Stuart and Nathan Forrest used to do that to the Yankees regularly. All such gains are merely tentative. To hope to hold them, the Nazis have to get their infantry and artillery on the scene in a hurry. If they fail, then the advance units must either dash to safety through an opening somewhere or be cut off and destroyed.

The British and French Armies in Belgium are as yet "surrounded" only as you might surround a buffalo herd by drawing a light rope around it. Moreover, even if you successfully surround such an army on three sides, so long as it is a open to be supplied by sea you have simply caught a bear by the tail.

Further still, the Nazis are enormously exposed to flank attack, both from the west and from the great Maginot bulwark, Verdun, in the east.

As the battle now stands, it resolves itself into a race. The Nazis are naturally attempting to cut through with their heavy forces and consolidate their positions before the bewildered French armies can be re-formed. The question, therefore, is whether Weygand can achieve this in time. The recovery of Arras gives some hope that he can. If not, then the fate of the battle will depend on the British and Belgian forces with their backs to the sea.


This End Can Be Reached Better by the Open Way

Senator Townsend, of Delaware, wants Congress to pass a law forbidding Treasury purchase of gold seized by force. Idea is to make it impossible for the Germans to purchase American goods.

But it seems a somewhat roundabout method of going about it. And it will not by any means shut off our markets from the Nazi brigand.

Large quantities of copper and other American supplies have been passing to Germany by way of Russia. But most of it seems to have been paid for by Germans residing inside the United States. The Nazis will know how to extend that system if they are barred from using the stolen gold.

If we want to stop the Nazis from getting American goods, the rational way to go about it seems to be simply to embargo the sale of such goods to her, as well as the transmission of funds by Germans living here.

It surely does not make good sense to go on helping the new barbarian horde to overwhelm Britain and France, when it is plain that we may expect trouble if it succeeds. And if we allow it merely because it means a little profit for a few people or a few groups of the people, we shall have roundly deserved anything which happens to us.

An open embargo would irritate the Nazi wolf, of course. But it is already plain that we do that in any case, and that it does no good to try to hide the facts with pious words.


What Happened To France Can Happen To Us Also

The debacle of French defense, it now appears, is due not only to lack of air power but also to the lack of almost every sort of weapon. Reynaud told Parliament yesterday that there was a great and fatal shortage of machine guns. Dispatches report that a French division regularly had only 29 tank guns as against 72 for each German division. Many of the divisions which France was supposed to have, turned out to be mere paper divisions, without even the sketchy equipment provided as standard. The mechanized divisions were some of them bare skeletons apparently.

What is appalling about this is that it should be true with Munich twenty months in the past, with the war nearing the end of the ninth month--that it should be true after the long present breathing spell France had from the opening of the war until April.

It is a terrible warning to us of the importance of time in getting ready to deal with Nazis, the danger of relapsing into complacency, of which signs are not lacking.

But what is an even more pointed warning to us is that it seems to be true that the failure to arm was due to disunity at home and activities of the Fifth Column which extended into the army and perhaps into the Government--and that this Fifth Column has played a very active part in the debacle itself.

In view of that it is inevitably time for us to begin to consider that we remain disunited, and that our Fifth Column or potential Fifth Column runs to staggering proportions.

In New York alone there are 237,588 persons of German birth, 440,250 of Italian birth, and 442,431 of Russian birth. The Italians have long been organized under the command of Mussolini's consuls and business agents in this country as a veritable American Fascist Empire. Many of the Russians are of White Russian extraction, but many are not. Moreover the Whites have generally been reduced to poor circumstances that are certainly susceptible to changing their prejudices. As for the Germans, the overwhelming majority of them have been given credit for being loyal to America so far. But the reports on the Yorkville district of the city do not bear that out. And two things are to be remembered: (1) that in every country Hitler invaded the natives were astonished to find that many Germans whom they had trusted fully had long secretly been Fifth Columnists; and (2) that the natural effect of Hitler's great victory may well be to stir the pride of Germans and draw them partially toward Nazism.

Elsewhere in the country the story is much the same. Philadelphia, Boston, Baltimore, Washington, Chicago, St. Louis, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Minneapolis, Cleveland, San Francisco, Los Angeles--all the key cities of the nation outside the South--have large German, Italian, and Russian populations.

That is not to pump up hysteria against these people. Many thousands of them are innocent and immune to Nazism--hate it cordially, hang their heads in shame over the contempt that Adolf Hitler has brought upon his nation. Nevertheless, it is plainly high time that we took measures to lay our hands on the guilty or potentially guilty among them, to separate the goat from the sheep, and made ready to seize them the moment war breaks.

And also to do the same thing to our native Fifth Columnists, who probably outnumber the aliens. Every Klucker is potentially a Nazi. So is every follower of Coughlin, the Rev. Gerald Winrod, and so on. And so, of course, is every Communist and every Communist sympathizer. We need a record of every such person.

Framed Edition
[Go to Links-Page by Subject] [Go to Links-Page by Date] [Go to News Framed Edition]
Links-Date -- Links-Subj.