The Charlotte News

Saturday, September 16, 1939


Ominous News From The East

Russia And Japan Strike Up A Deal Which Could Bode Great Ill For England, France And The U.S.

The news that Russia and Japan have agreed on a truce in Manchuria is ominous. More ominous still is the report that "observers" believe the two are about to sign a non-aggression pact.

The last may not work out, of course. Nevertheless, the thing is possible. Russia seems to be turning her eyes to the West just now, and in that case needs to be free of her worries in the East. And Japan, in her turn, needs to have the Manchurian struggle off her back in order to concentrate on China.

But if it happens, it probably means that Russia is preparing to share in the spoils of Poland, in return for undertaking to serve as a base of supplies for Germany in her war with England and France, and perhaps, even probably, to lend immediate or ultimate military aid.

In that case, would England's blockade of Germany be nullified? That remains to be seen. After the collapse of Russia in 1917, Germany had increasing access to her materials right on until the end of the war, but was still starved out. It is true that internal disorders in Russia played their part in that result. All the same, the Germans took the richest part of the Ukraine, and got out all the supplies that could be had from it.

Also, two other things are to be considered. One is that the Russian exportable surplus of many supplies, such as wheat, is decidedly limited. Often in the past ten years, indeed, there hasn't been enough wheat to feed the Russian population adequately. We need not count too much on that, however, for if what we have constantly been told by the reporters is true, Stalin has not hesitated to starve his Russian peasants in order to carry out his purposes--has actually exported wheat to secure foreign exchange when the Russians were going hungry.

What is more comforting is that much of Russia's oil comes from the southern Caucasus, cannot be transported over the pathless mountains, and must be brought across the Black Sea in tankers. So long as Turkey stands hitched, Britain has a safe entrance into the Black Sea, and should be able to put a spoke in that wheel.

The other factor to be considered is that internal revolution in Russia may again wreck the Stalin-Hitler plans. It is almost certain that there is disaffection in the army. And among the peasants. The latter can do nothing so long as they have no guns, but general mobilization means that they will have them. And attempts to sell food out of the country while Russians went lacking would fan the flame of revolt.

Altogether, however, it is perhaps safest to guess that the entry of Russia would mean that the British blockade would be at least partially deprived of its effectiveness.

Against that, however, there are some other hopeful considerations. Granting the truth of what we are hearing from Italy, the Italians are already bitterly opposed to fighting for Germany. And this should be exactly calculated to increase that opposition, for it is next to impossible to imagine Catholic Italy actually fighting along with a combination of atheistic Russia, pagan Germany, and heathen Japan! Totalitarian ideology, and the hope of gaining great loot by lining up with this formidable aggregation of power may possibly tempt Mussolini into attempting to do it, anyhow. But if so, then the chances for revolt in Italy ought to be good. Or lacking that, the French should have no trouble in overrunning the country.

Then there are the Balkans. Rumania fears Russia as she fears the devil. And the latter's entry into the war, will almost certainly make up her mind to join the Allies and fight. What Rumania does, Yugoslavia will do. And what Yugoslavia and Turkey do, will determine what Greece does. That will leave Bulgaria little choice. At the worst, she will be forced to remain neutral.

The siging of this Japan-Russian non-aggression pact and the entry of Russia into the war, either as a passive or active partner, would also raise certain questions for us. Are we prepared to see England and France kicked out of China, ourselves allowed to remain only with the prospect that we shall eventually share the same fate, to quietly observe the creation of a great Japanese empire over against our Pacific shore? And secondly, are we prepared to look calmly on if a Nazi-Red-Jap combination threatened to overwhelm and destroy the British Empire and France?

The Turk Visits

May Possibly Be Trying To Detach Stalin From Hitler

The news that the Turkish Foreign Minister, Sukru Saracoglu, has gone to Moscow, affords an interesting thing for speculation.

Turkey is the keystone of England's Balkan front. And particularly, it is the key to Rumania's course. Before the war Germany was still Rumania's best customer. But now it is reported that a syndicate has been formed in England to buy up her products and divert them away from Hitler, and that the Rumanian Government has declined to deliver more oil and wheat this year than already contracted for under the trade agreement signed under Hitler's threats last Spring. But there is only one thing that might prevent Hitler from upsetting all this by grabbing Rumania by force once he is finished with Poland--and that is precisely the fear that he would have to deal with the Turkish army, well-equipped and made up of men who are unsurpassed as hard fighters.

What adds more significance to the visit is that all along Turkey has maintained a close friendship with Russia. It may mean that she is flirting with the idea of abandoning Britain and coming under the wing of the Red-Nazi front. But that is not very likely, for she has hitherto regarded the prospect of German domination as the worst of all possible evils. What is more probable is that she may be engaged in attempting to detach Stalin from Hitler--perhaps even in trying to bring about rapprochement between the Allies and Russia.


It Doesn't All Come Out Of England And France

The propaganda against which we are being so earnestly warned these days seems to be wholly the English and French propaganda. But it is as well to recognize the counter-propaganda. It has as its first tenet that to repeal the arms embargo will be to get us into war, and as its second, that the war in Europe is nothing but another chapter in the struggle between rival imperialisms.

The first was invented in the United States itself, but has eagerly been taken up by all the German agents. The second, curiously enough, was invented in Russia, but has also been seized on avidly by the German agents. It makes everybody equally guilty, you see, unworthy of our sympathy.

This propaganda enlists the support of all sorts of persons who certainly have no thought or purpose of lending themselves to a German victory. All the American isolationists, of course. All the bitter-end partisans who are positive that Franklin Roosevelt is going to wreck the country. And all those people who imagine that by burrowing our heads and pulling in the hole after us--by simply arranging the facts so that they are no longer horrifying--we can be quite safe. And that includes many notable names.

Last night it included Colonel Lindbergh's. He didn't mention the neutrality act, but he made it quite plain that he opposes selling planes and guns to the Allies, and he passionately proclaimed that this is a struggle between rival imperialisms, and inferred quite plainly that Germany was no more guilty than the rest.

Such a propaganda is quite as dangerous as any that comes to us from England and France and their most rabid partisans. Its first premise cannot be reconciled with logic, and the second is, by the record, demonstrably untrue. And fuddled thinking is certainly not going to help us now. We shall not solve our problem and act for the best interests of the United States, shall not even stay out of war, by blinking the facts and taking ironclad resolutions on the basis of misconceptions as to what it is that confronts us.

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