The Charlotte News

Wednesday, September 17, 1941


Site Ed. Note: "Urgency" lays out the dire consequences likely from not providing immediate aid to Russia: that it would fall to the Nazis as its military equipment was fast becoming exhausted after three months of fighting; that the fall of Russia would mean the likelihood of Britain quickly following in its wake, leaving the United States alone to fight the Nazi with the British Navy under Nazi command.

The scenario was certainly more likely than not the case. With victory over Russia came the ability to have a well-supplied Nazi juggernaut, with both ample food and oil to enable invasion of Britain. Not only the Ukraine, but Rumania's oilfields would become fully available to Hitler without threat of interference from Stalin, and the Dardanelles would be opened to the Mediterranean. Hitler's machine, flush with victory, would be able to move across Turkey to Iraq, without the fear of Stalin at its back, and there meet the British full force. Success there would mean not only control of the world's richest supply of oil but the severing of Middle East oil supplies to Great Britain. Once the Mediterranean was then cleared of the British, broken from their own supply lines, invasion or even threat of invasion against a severely weakened Britain would probably have brought quick surrender or victory.

Either way, it was a house of cards: supply Russia, and the Nazis might very well be vanquished, spent by the following spring or summer; refuse to supply Russia and the entire jig could be up, leaving it a Nazi world against an island democracy, the United States.

But to supply Stalin meant access by U.S. ships through the Pacific to Vladivostok, requiring on each voyage sailing around Japan. And each supply ship to Russia offering aid against Hitler meant to Japan a violation of neutrality by the U.S. and with it an obligation to come to the assistance of the Nazis under the terms of the mutual assistance pact signed earlier in the year. The Nazi spies in Tokyo were surely not letting the Japanese warlords forget that commitment.

Thus, the tightrope to be walked by the United States, trying to avoid a shooting war on two fronts, but understanding that to recoil into isolation on either front would soon likely mean Nazi dominion over both Russia and Britain with war therefore then necessary anyway and under the worst possible conditions.

The truth of the matter was that by this point in time, U.S. involvement in the war was a practical fait accompli unless Russia completely annihilated the Nazi war machine with Britain finishing the matter with its daily bombing raids into France and Germany, as negotiations sought the cessation by Japan of aggression in China and Indochina. All that had to be done in relatively short order or the die was cast. There was little else the imagination may conjure which could have been done to keep the U.S. out of the war that wasn't tried and tried repeatedly by the Administration and its military advisers.

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