The Charlotte News

Monday, January 13, 1941



A Motto

Which Is Not Calculated To Soothe Men of Vichy

Mr. Roosevelt is said to be turning the heat on the Vichy Government to line up against the Axis. But he obviously is not interested in appeasing anybody--including the Vichy Government.

Witness his message to Petain, in which he expressed the hope that France would soon be free again, with "liberté, egalité, fraternité" once more established.

That is about as placating to the Vichy Government as a red rag to a boil.

Pétain, indeed, would like to see France free of the German yoke again. But of liberté, egalité, fraternité, he wants none of it. He hates and always hated the Republic, and the first thing he did when he came to power was to strike down liberté, egalité, fraternité as the motto of France and replace it with one modeled on that of the regime of Butcher Franco in Spain. If he has his way the Republic will never be restored, and France will have a regime not much different from the Fascist regime in Spain.

General Weygand, Pétain's commander in Africa and a man who would have to make any fight on the Axis effective, feels the same way, save that he wants the regime headed by a king of the old Bourbon line. Flandin, Pétain's Foreign Minister, wants a complete Nazi regime for France, though he'd probably like to see France with more independence from Germany. And there are various other shades of opinion to the Vichy Government. But of every member of it, it may be said flatly that if they have their way liberté, egalité, fraternité will never come to life again. These are the men who by their injuries or by their intentions made the fall of the Republic possible in the first place. And nobody should entertain any false hopes of them.


Canceled Out

Wheeler, However, Confesses His Dislike for Britain

In his radio debate with Ralph Ingraham yesterday, Burton Wheeler began by eagerly recalling that the British burned Washington in August, 1814. That by way of emphasizing his belief that Britain is to be regarded as our enemy.

But later on he resorted to the sophism: If the Germans have not been able to invade England which is only 20 miles away by water, how much more is it going to be impossible for them to invade us across 3,000 miles of water!

The two pieces of argument add up to a perfect reductio ad absurdum. By the Senator's own testimony, the British had no trouble in crossing 3,000 miles of water to invade and burn Washington 125 years ago.

It is significant of the weakness of Wheeler's position also that he attempted deliberately to falsify the President's own words. He quoted from the latest fireside talk in which the President said that, even if the British Navy did not exist, it was unlikely that an enemy would attempt directly to invade us across 3,000 miles of water. But he ignored the fact that the President went on to say that the Nazis would first get bases in Latin America and elsewhere and attempt the ultimate invasion only when we were already surrounded.

The debate, however, served one useful purpose. It smoked Wheeler pretty well into the open with regard to his attitude toward Britain. He dislikes her thoroughly and has no objection to seeing her go down. He did say weakly that he favored such aid as could be given by allowing Britain to buy whatever she could pay for here. But the record shows that he opposed changing the Neutrality Act to allow even that.

Secret of his bias is probably less pro-Germanism, though he does not seem to be utterly free of that, than the same sort of thing that produces myopia in men like Socialist Norman Thomas--a long hatred for Britain as the chief imperialist of the world, without observing the contrast between British imperialism, with all its faults, and the kind of imperialism Germany set up when she had the chance.

Wheeler, like Thomas, is in the position of a prohibitionist, who, finding his street beset by bloodthirsty bandits, should nevertheless say: "No, I will not stand shoulder to shoulder with my neighbor, John Smith. The fellow, to my knowledge, drinks, and worse--he has never voted right on the Prohibition question. I should not at all mind if the bandits burn his house over his head. He richly deserves it for his attitude toward the Demon Rum. As for myself, the mantel of my uprightness makes me quite sure that I am safe."


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