The Charlotte News
Saturday, March 12, 1938
What Price Mussolini?
Mr. Neville Chamberlain promised, when he threw out Anthony Eden and turned to greasing the dictators, that his policy would "preserve the peace of Europe for a generation." As events stand this March day, that statement would be one of the most comical ever made by a so-called statesman, if the policy's results were not already so tragic--and so ominous.
And ominous, precisely, for Britain and her domestic ally, France. Austria's being thrown to the northern dog to quiet him? And that is all? But what about the southern dog?
As we write this a dispatch has just come over the Associated Press wires which runs:
Reichsfuehrer Adolf Hitler informed Premiere Benito Mussolini in advance that Germany was sending troops into Austria., it became apparent today.
An emissary of Der Fuehrer, it was learned, arrived in Rome yesterday by airplane bringing a personal letter to Mussolini before the troops marched.
Il Duce evidently looked on placidly while Nazis engulfed independent Austria, once the foundation stone of Fascist foreign policy.
Once the foundation stone of the Fascist foreign policy. Has anybody forgotten that in 1933 Hitler attempted just such a pledge as he succeeded with yesterday, and that it was Mussolini's army massed on the border which stopped him? That Mussolini has built his greatest fortresses along the Austrian border?
Well, and if he has abandoned the old foundation stone of his foreign policy, is there anything in the record to support the notion that he acted merely out of a heart bleeding with sympathy for the dear German people? That he ever agreed to sitting quiet without a price--and a very stiff price? Everyone who knows anything about Mussolini knows the answer. Mussolini never yet has agreed to anything out of sentiment or without his very steep price.
And what might that price be? It is as certain as anything can be in matters of which we do not know the exact facts that it is a military agreement whereunder the German army is to aid him in seizing the mastery of the Mediterranean from England and France.
Which is to say, gentlemen and ladies, an agreement for a world war. For though the roar of the British lion has in recent weeks become the mere puling mew of a kitten and though France is down with palsy, it is inconceivable that the two will ever surrender that mastery without a fight.
Neville Chamberlain seems to have been played for the biggest--and the most tragic--sucker in the history of England.
Good Old Ocean
The terror and turmoil across the water brings home the realization that an ocean is valuable for other purposes than as a backdrop for bathing beauties.
There is no ocean between Germany and Austria, and look what happened. Just a little week-end invasion. There is no ocean between France and Germany, and France is shaking in her shoes. There is no ocean between England and the continent, merely a channel, and England is uneasy.
Hurrah for oceans, big and wide oceans, deep oceans. They furnish us with fish, shark skins, seashell souvenirs, lobsters. If we had no oceans, we'd have no admirals and funny stories about sailormen. They inspire pacts. The ocean stirred the curiosity of one Christopher Columbus. Clever people get bromine for high-powered gasoline from the ocean. But, best of all, the ocean makes a very comfortable frontier. Good old ocean!
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