'One truth in Hitler's latest diatribe' (1-31-41)

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (January 31, 1941)


I say: They should not have slept for so long.

Hitler speaking. He is referring to the world’s democracies. And so, for that matter, say we all of us.

While the democracies slept, Hitler worked. And his work was not altogether subterranean and hidden from view. He worked to build a mighty military force, and even boasted then of his success. But the democracies stirred a little, but slept on. He took over the Sudeten and Czechoslovakia, and the democracies sat up and saw what had happened. They should not have slept so long.

Now the democracies are awake to what has happened during their long peaceful repose. But they must make up for lost time – for six long years of lost time, from Hitler’s accession to power in 1933 until the start of the war in 1939. There is much work to be done. Hitler says it is too late, that it is impossible for the combined democracies to catch up with the march of events. But he misjudges the productive powers of an awakened democracy, and the resistance which his policy of mass slavery will encounter among those who have acquired the taste for liberty. Has, for that matter, already encountered from England, though France fell in the dark hour when she was still half between dream and waking, unable to rouse herself to the imperative need for unity and defense.

For the rest, Hitler’s speech contains nothing surprising. That Germany will torpedo any ship carrying supplies to England was a foregone conclusion. That there will be a German victory within a year is at least dubious. But on one point Hitler is incontrovertibly, terribly right. The democracies should not have slept for so long.