Dorothy Thompson – Now is the time (6-27-41)

Reading Eagle (June 27, 1941)


Now is the time

The time to act is now.

Not next month, not next week, but tomorrow morning.

If the President intends that we shall not live in a Nazi-dominated world, then let him see to it that we don’t.

By acting now.

He has been waiting, they say, on American public opinion.

But he is not running a race with American public opinion.

He is running a race with Hitler.

And this is the moment for a powerful sprint.

For the first time, there is a more than equal chance that this war can be concluded and the Hitler regime broken in 18 months.

But not unless we act now.

The alternative to acting now is either the possible defeat of the British Isles before this year is over, and, in that case, the certainty of a terribly disadvantageous war for the United States, or a very long and exhausting war of attrition, with unforeseeable revolutionary consequences arising out of chaos and starvation.

Acting now means putting our navy and air force at the disposal of the British, for the purpose of putting out of commission the ports, airfields, docks and munition factories of the Nazis, while their air force is engaged against Russia, and before they can turn around with their rear protected and hurl their entire strength at the British Isles.

Acting now means clearing the Atlantic airways and seaways.

Acting now means taking advantage of the psychological confusion that must exist in Nazi Germany, by making it clear that the attack on Russia has not had the effect that Hitler counts on it having – the demoralization of the public mind in the democracies.

This is the moment when prudence and audacity converge, and are the same.

Prudence says: Use the moment! The moment may be 30 days; the moment may be 60 days; but one thing is certain – the moment will never come again.

Never again will Hitler be engaged in a two-front war.

Never again will his air force be pitted in the East against a power that however weak is that of a huge nation, and is not tiny Balkan state.

Never again will there be a moment of shock in German public opinion as a whole polciy ios scrapped and reoriented.

Now is the time for the West, the last refuge of civilization – for Great Britain and America – to gather up their forces and finish any possibility for a further attack by Hitler against the West this year.

After that it will be too late.

And he will know that it is too late.

Details are not important and ideologies are not important in this moment.

The ideology that wins the war will rule the world.

If the nations with intact institutions, popular government, free universities, free criticism, private property, social conscience break Hitler’s chance against them now, their way of life will prevail in Europe and America.

The President has said:

We will keep the war from these shores.

Right – and how right.

But now there’s an even better chance.

Namely, to keep the war from the British Isles, the fortress and outpost of the Americans in the Atlantic.

If we miss this opportunity, we will pay for it in sweat, blood and tears.

No declaration of war!

Keep rather a shred of neutrality, for with it we may be able better to act for peace one of these days.

No declaration of war, but intervention – intervention on the pattern of the Germans, Italians and Russians in Spain. But intervention this time for democracy, civilization, security, victory.

Intervention in every way and in every form that will make it impossible ever again for Hitler to turn his Luftwaffe against Westminster Abbey, the British Museum, the House of Commons, the ships of the Atlantic.

Minor details are unimportant. It is of no account, for instance, that at this moment Finland is of aid to Germany. That is inevitable. A victorious West will save Finland and Finland knows it. Neither a Nazi nor a Russian victory is in the interest of a single people of Europe. They all know it.

The West – the people of the West – they alone can save Europe.

If we act now.

Suddenly, daringly, swiftly, without warning, without explanation.

We must live in the times in which we live. The times in which we live preclude formalities.

Does anyone think any longer that treaties are of the slightest value, or that anything ios determinant except force – anywhere on this globe?

But force employed one moment may mean rapid peace. Delayed, disastrous war.

Now is the accepted time.

Now is the day of salvation.