Meditations on the War

Westbrook Pegler

Spartanburg Herald/May 2, 1940

New York, May 1.—George Spelvin, American, has been having a hard wrestle with his conscience and principles, his ignorance and superstitions, and a desire to chuck the whole damn business and go fishing.

It is about the war.

He thinks the Germans under Hitler are out to conquer as much of the world as they believe they can police and exploit, and after Poland and Norway he has no doubt that if they feel equal to the job they will start up our street when the British and French are rounded up. Mr. Spelvin has recovered from his early belief that Hitlerism was an antidote for Communism and has now come to regard it as a Communist revolution with racial and nationalistic trimmings. He has noticed, in Czechoslovakia and Norway, and, to a less extent here in the United States, a parallel between the methods of the Stalin Communists and the Nazis.

He has noticed that the Nazis established cells in the guise of patriotic or cultural societies which are devoted to Hitler in the same way that the Bolos acknowledge Stalin, and always pretend to want to save this country from the folly of war. A few years ago the Communists were using the same line, preaching disarmament while Russia maintained the biggest, if the dumbest, army in the world, and exhorting Americans to beware the war mongers who thought it might be a wise idea to white a few arrows of defense.

He wants the British and French to knock the ears off the Nazis, and he would like to help them do it to the extent of selling them some  soldier tools for cash and possibly, later on, on credit. But when he tries to picture the state of the world after the war, even with the Allies victorious, he can’t see anything but more Communism or Hitlerism. With these very countries owing so much on top of what they already owed themselves that they will never be able to pay off in any kind of money which is in existence they will have to go through the wringer and turn Communist or Nazi, which is the same thing, even if they should win.

He sees millions of men suddenly released from the ranks and restraints of the armies and dumped back on a system known by the big-busted name of capitalistic economy, which will be unready to receive them back into peaceful, productive occupations. He sees unrest ad disorders ensuing and eventually the imposition of dictatorial or totalitarian governments with strong patriotic or nationalistic implications. Therefore, he can’t see any reason for fighting Nazism, except that it is a terrible thing.

Mr. Spelvin knows the Germans started this war, and, far from believing that the British of French, or both, started or desired it, is inclined to blame them because they didn’t take the initiative away from Hitler.

He thinks they should have knocked Hitler out of the Rhine that time, and certainly should have spent some money on arms instead of economizing and hoping for the best in order to keep down their taxes. Yet he figures that in order to keep step with Hitler in those rearming days they would have had to abandon their democratic liberties and their system of finance and commerce, constituting, in all, the very things for which they are now fighting.

The baffling part of it all to Mr. Spelvin is his fear, amounting to a gloomy belief, that the Allies will not be able to pay for the soldier tools which they will need from this country and which he wants them to have, and will presently require credit, even if they should win, and he comes then to the realization that the Americans would be paying for a large share of the party. he thinks this would be ruinous to the American economy added onto the present debt, and wonders what would happen then.

As he sees it, the Allies and the United States are like the victim of the hoodlum’s bag trick in which a man is placed in a sack with ropes running from his wrists and ankles to his neck and strangles himself by his own struggles to work himself free. He wants the Allies to win, because he hates Nazi-Communism, but his troubled meditations on the subject always bring him back to a little proposition which he thought for himself, that in winning they would kill the thing they are fighting for, and, in losing would leave this country alone and, in the military sense as well as the economic, terribly flabby in a world of killers.

He is glad he will not be the next president of the United States.

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