The Charlotte News
Monday, October 9, 1939
Dr. Goebbels' Bright Boys Give Their Hand Away
The German propaganda service is a model of its kind. In the last war, the German Government made the most inept business of its attempts in that direction. But this time--we have been amply prepared on this side to expect a cunning Allied deluge which has utterly failed to come off. But the Germans have been getting in their work with great rapidity and precision.
But sometimes Dr. Goebbels' machine slips a cog. An amusing instance is afforded by the case of the publication in Berlin of a purported telephone conversation between Mr. Biddle, American Ambassador to Poland, and Mr. Bullit, American Ambassador to France.
Mr. Bullit is represented as telling Mr. Biddle, then in Cernauti, Rumania, to collect "categorical declarations by all members of the (Polish) Embassy" about the German bombings in Poland and send them to Washington pronto, so the President could put on an anti-German campaign, first to repeal the arms embargo and then get us into the war. A smart touch of verisimilitude was added when their propagandist thought to have Mr. Bullit say: "Think of Charley Ross in your reports. I mean, you should use your imagination and put out something in the style of Charley Ross."
But there, masters, is the dead giveaway. Mr. Biddle as an American from Philadelphia, would not have to be told what a "Charley Ross" is. And moreover, the smart boys at Goebbels' office have been reading a little too much of our racy colloquial literature. Somebody should inform them that while the heroes of Mr. Hemingway or Mr. John Steinbeck or Mr. James Farrell or Mr. Milt Gross regularly use such expressions as "I mean you should use your imagination," smooth American ambassadors from Philadelphia do not. It brings the awkwardness of German straight over into English.
Large Trade Between Reds And Nazis Is Unlikely
The announcement from Moscow that Germany and Russia have agreed to push their trade on a vast scale, is probably just another move in the campaign to force "peace".
All the available evidence seems to indicate that any large-scale trading between the two is out of the question, for a long time at least. What Germany mainly needs from Russia is food and oil. But Russia has no great surplus of foodstuffs or oil even in normal times. With at least two million men mobilized, there are probably no surpluses of either. What Russia lets Germany have is likely to be at the expense of her own people and her own army--a trade which she is naturally not calculated to carry very far.
In addition, there is the problem of transport. Russian railroads are the most inadequate in Europe--scarcely equal to the peace demands of the nation. And with 2,000,000 soldiers to be supplied in Poland, there is little chance that facilities are going to be available for the shipping of any great quantity of stuff to Germany.
On the other hand, Germany's own manufacturing capacity--she is to pay for the Russian materials in manufactured goods of course--has already been considerably crippled by mobilization, will be more and more crippled as war absorbs her every effort. She is attempting to remedy that by training women to fill the jobs of men, but that is only partly effective. The index of production was falling even before the war began, because of the constant excursions and alarms and the necessity of keeping large numbers of soldiers under arms.
Don't the Allied Governments know all this? Of course. But the announcement is not intended to frighten them but to confuse and terrify their peoples--and those of the United States.
That's What Wheeler Wants The President To Play
This "peace campaign" is already beginning to fetch down its game--as witness the demand of Bounding Burt Wheeler, of Montana, and other lesser lights in the Senate, that the President hasten to offer "mediation," as Hitler wants.
This demand, of course, is a move in the arms embargo fight--and one calculated to shift the blame for the war to England and France (a thing which is getting to be a favorite device of the anti-repealists) and place the President himself on a spot.
But there is no reason to doubt that when Bounding Burt calls it "a senseless war," and says that unless England abandons the fight to restore Poland, democracy is doomed, he is reporting his honest conviction.
It is easy to sympathize with him. The prospect of a long war is a dreadful one. Nevertheless, consider what is inevitably contained in the peace notion. It comes simply to saying (1) that there is now good reason to believe that Adolf Hitler has reformed, that his word may at last be trusted, and that a real peace can be expected from an agreement; or (2) that the way to save democracy is to make Adolf master of Europe by surrendering to him in toto.
If one could find any reasonable ground for supporting supposing that the Nazis have changed, then every decent man in the world would be bound to support a cessation of hostilities and a peace conference. Even though it involved considerable concessions on the part of the late Polish nation. There has never been any doubt that it was better for the Poles to make concessions--in a situation so tangled that no one can be sure as to what the exact "right" is--than that millions should die on European battlefields. The question has been whether concessions by the Poles would not shortly be followed by bigger and bigger demands on other nations.
And all the known evidence suggests the latter. If the record means anything at all, it means that Hitler would now use "peace" simply as a means of consolidating his position in getting back on his schedule of aggression. The choice then would be between renewing the war, at a greater disadvantage for the Allies than at present, or proceeding from one surrender to another.
It is this, inevitably, that Bounding Burt is demanding the President lend himself to. To this and to the complete abandonment of our policy in recent years of refusing to recognize title acquired by aggression or of in any way lending countenance to an aggressor.
That England and France would not be inclined to accept such "mediation" is almost certain. On the contrary, they are very apt to resent it as a definitely hostile act.
The President, who may be trusted to avail himself of the first genuine chance for peace, will be justified in refusing to have anything to do with this scheme.
Links-Date -- Links-Subj.
') } //-->