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Editorial – Third Year

6 September 1941

Mexborough & Swinton Times – Saturday 06 September 1941

Third Year

President Roosevelt continues to make declarations of war against Hitler, but until they are endorsed by Congress we can only accept them as powerful expressions of good will. On that plane they have the utmost value.

American intervention has already gone far enough to ensure that Hitler cannot win, but not far enough to enable the Allies to take full advantage of the entanglement of the German armies. With America in the war, if only with the naval arm, we might have been on the Continent again now, re-forming the western front.

While the Battle of the Atlantic remains undecided we can put no further strain on the Navy, as Hitler knew before he struck at Russia. It is equally true that he can put no further strain, at the moment, on his far-flung forces or the morale of his people, and for that reason American intervention now would be decisive and disastrous.

Hitler has a good deal more patience than at times he gives himself credit for; he meekly accepts the thunders of Roosevelt and the enormous help already given to Britain, knowing that to retaliate would bring about what he most dreads. Realising how vulnerable and critical is the situation to which, in spite of all appearances, Germany has been brought by his lungeings and plungings, he is keeping his temper in excellent command—or else it is under the command of others and nothing that Roosevelt can say or do is likely to provoke him to hostilities with the United States, though the time has been when not a dog could bark in the streets of Rotterdam or Oslo without exhausting his august patience.

Hitler has many agents and minions—even friends, wellwishers and admirers—in the United States, and in spite of the disgust which his crimes and hypocrisy arouses in America, the Nazi malignants there are efficient and persistent, and they work in a fruitful field. There are Quislings and fifth columnists everywhere. They go to ground when the Hitler danger looms —as at the fall of France and Greece and the appearance of powerful raiders in the Atlantic and the Pacific—and come out again when the skies seem to be clearing for Britain.

Thus at present it is possible for that extraordinary creature Lindbergh to throw off all pretence and reveal not so much indifference to the fate of Britain as keen anxiety for victory for the Nazi cause. The other day he warned the American people that Great Britain had “already turned against her former allies, France and Finland, and would sooner or later turn against the United States.”

” Haw-Haw ” himself could not better that as an exercise in the preposterous and the malevolent. Such statements only confirm the disgust which Lindbergh has inspired in most thoughtful Americans who cannot understand why this man should work against the race which gave him asylum and work for the race which produced the murderer of his baby son. But the fact that he is able to make such monstrous statements and to flout President Roosevelt’s warnings, shows how strong is the isolationist instinct in America. These isolationists are for the most part governed, like the fifth columnists, by the state of the war in Europe; indeed, it is difficult to distinguish the isolationist from the fifth columnist. Both are doing the work of the paid Nazi agent, for the most part involuntarily and unconsciously. Except for fanatics like Lindbergh, there is no serious opposition to aid to Britain anywhere in the United States, but it must be aid that stops short of war, and it must not exceed the apparent necessities of the moment. America is interested in the survival of Great Britain and is ready to give nicely calculated help that will ensure this; otherwise isolationist feeling in the United States is very much on the moral plane of the Soviet Union’s attitude to this struggle until the Russians themselves were caught up in it.

The Soviet had no sentimental interest in the survival of Britain, but they had a practical interest, and it was because Hitler suspected that Russia would never allow him to finish off Britain that he turned and attempted to finish off Russia first. We believe that, in spite of its faults, follies and weaknesses, the British race represents the highest pitch of civilisation and magnanimity that modern history has yet recorded; its constancy and valour in the face of sudden and overwhelming disaster has been universally admired, but if we imagine that the world is ready to do more than wish us well, we deceive ourselves.

It may be that in the United States there is the proud spirit that Britain showed after Dunkirk; but it may need an American Dunkirk to evoke it. Russia is fighting on our side not by choice, but by chance. Though a healthy civilisation would have risen everywhere against the first manifestation of this monstrous Nazi evil, we know by sad experience that power still wins the respect due to virtue and that right commands allegiance only when allied with might. After two years of war Britain is immensely more powerful than when she started and as her strength grows so does the courage and confidence of her friends. Great Britain was fighting for her life yesterday; Russia is doing so to-day, America may be doing so to-morrow–always nations fight for their own lives and always, alas, “one by one.”

Only in an essentially selfish world could an essentially selfish creed like Hitler’s have threatened universal dominion.