Dorothy Thompson – No crusade (7-2-41)

Reading Eagle (July 2, 1941)


No crusade

Unlike the America First Committee, the Pope, who is wiser, refuses to see in the Nazi battle against Russia even the inkling of a crusade against the heretic and for civilization.

The Pope’s address on Divine Providence is as important politically as was Winston Churchill’s speech uttered immediately upon the Nazi declaration against Russia, and the reaction in Washington. If the Nazis hoped that by attacking the Soviet Union they would put themselves in the role of St. George defending the maiden against the Dragon, they are disappointed on all counts. The Vatican is not likely to overlook the continuing martyrdom of Poland; the brutal and blasphemous persecution of the church in that most deeply religious of all countries.

The Vatican itself published the most damning document on the German occupation of Poland that has yet seen the light – an account of criminal atrocities. The Nazi war against Russia reveals itself to the Vatican for exactly what it is: Another in a series of wanton aggressions that have nothing to do with ideology, that are justified solely by the Nazi will to power.

Nevertheless, the war had ideological consequences, the first being that the Red Army chooses to rally the people around the battle cry of homeland and Russian soil, rather than world communism, and immediately wins odd allies – the exiled White Russians of Harbin, for instance, and the Metropolitan of the Orthodox Church.

The Nazis have been keeping on ice the old hitmen of the Ukraine. Skoropadskyi, no doubt with a view to installing him as the Quisling of a “liberated” Ukraine, should they succeed in occupying that great granary. But Skoropadskyi was their Quisling in the last war; he was driven out by another Ukrainian nationalist, Petliura, and Petliura in turn, fell before the Red Army. Now, by one of those historic ironies, the commander-in-chief of all the Russian forces is a Ukrainian, Timoshenko.

What the “ideology” of the Red Army may be, time will tell. We suspect that it is nationalist and Russian and that its power will increase above that of the party. In fact, we suspect that three “ideologies” will be liquidated by this war – communism, Nazism and Toryism.

American policy toward the Soviet Union will obviously be determined by self-interest. We desire to see the future peace order in the hands of those peoples who still have civilized institutions intact and who alone are capable of bringing some order out of chaos – namely ourselves and the British; we have serious interests in the northern Pacific. We know fully the importance of Alaska, which the late Gen. William Mitchell called “the key point to the whole Pacific Ocean,” and we do not wish to see the Axis in control of the Siberian maritime provinces.

We know, furthermore, that were Hitler in Moscow, and Suez, and in control of the European continent, he would be master of Europe, Africa and Asia.

And the result of that is seen more clearly by Mussolini’s Il Popolo d’Italia than by Mr. Hoover. That mouthpiece of the Duce says:

A defeat of Russia would produce a definite defeat of the United States as well as Great Britain.

It would, indeed. And it is for that reason, and not because of any new tenderness for Mr. Browder and communism, that we do not wish to see Hitler in Moscow. That Hitler is trying to get there is a political defeat for Mr. Browder, the Comintern and Stalin, and a political justification of the view of Churchill and Roosevelt.

Whatever aid we give to the Soviet Union will be predicated on our own interests. But it is to be hoped that it will be accompanied by a vigorous diplomatic offensive. This country is still for the freedom and independence of Finland, Poland and the Baltic States. It will never, we trust, support gains won by Russia in cahoots with the Nazis.

Hitler has no business in Russia and Russia has no business beyond the bounds of her own territory.

Whatever comes out of this war, the nations of Europe must be free; the nations of Europe must, in some way, federate; and there must be some permanent settlement for peace and collaboration between continental Europe, Russia, the British Commonwealth-Empire and the Americas.

Only this way can there be even ten years of peace, and the foundations laid for international prosperity.

Why the United States does not take an offensive in the realm of ideas is beyond me. The coat of one battleship would finance a gargantuan propaganda campaign for the conduct of which this country has more brains, prestige, and facilities than any other. The German-Russian war has created a political vacuum, into which the President of the United States should spring. Such a campaign should not be 'ideological" – it should be addressed to the reason, realism, common sense, and heartbroken yearnings of the people of the whole world. This country should undertake a peace offensive – not for a “negotiated” peace, but for that ordering of affairs that alone can mean peace.

$10 million to present the broad outlines of an American peace to the world – not by secret negotiations, but openly on the air waves of the planet, in all languages and 24 hours a day – could be a more powerful weapon than planes and bombs, and positively should accompany our armament.

Precisely because the “ideologies” have all proven themselves to be unmitigated buncombe, the voice of reason – reason combined with power – has an audience.

If one considers the international political situation apart from the military, there is more reason for optimism today than there has been since the war began.

If we lose this war to chaos or if it drags out for years, it will only be because of refusal to use the God-sent moments of history.

The revolution of the 20th century will be the triumph of realism and civilization and only Britain and America can make it. We should set about the task immediately.

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