Mexborough & Swinton Times – Saturday 28 October 1939
Adolf Strafe England
The war still hangs fire but the German Foreign Minister came in front of the curtain on Wednesday to announce that the show is “just agoing to begin.”
Next week the German Chancellor will be summoning the Reichstag to hear him declare war on the Allies, who declared war on him quite a long time ago. Even war is not war until Herr Hitler says so. He omitted the formality, after the modern fashion of robber States, in the case of Poland, but he cannot blind himself to the unpleasant fact that war with the Western Powers will be war indeed.
Even so, it is thought likely to be a limited war in the sense that his first, if not his main effort, will be directed against this country, whom he will assault by sea and air. He hopes to divide and conquer by leaving France amiably alone, sparing the million lives that he threatened to squander on the Maginot Line, and hoping that his murderous strafe of Great Britain, as distinguished from France, will weaken French determination and disintegrate the Maginot Line in that sense. It is a vain hope, but in the limited field of strategy left to him, he has little choice but to try it. He is thinking of France as she was before the Italian threat revived her, and he believes that she can be detached and separately destroyed. So long as the Siegfried Line stands he can – hold off” on the Western Front, and as he has lost his season for a serious offensive there, he will probably not undertake it until he is forced, knowing that once the attack is launched no terms can be made with France.
The relentless pressure of the British Navy, however, is another matter. He must somehow shake off its grip or succumb, as the Germany of the last generation did. We may expect, therefore, a mighty effort to break the blockade and, if possible, the spirit of the British people, now embattled in camp and factory against him. We are braced for the shock, which must come soon, for the hurry of events presses hard upon him, and in no other quarter is there hope of escape from the terrible dilemma in which he is placed.
Russia is but a cold friend, cynical and self-seeking, and the staunchness of Turkey has ended the Balkan dream. Therefore he must needs face the formidable island people whose prowess he has always respected and whose wealth and power he envies and dreads. There is no other way. He must conquer or die.
Herr von Ribbentrop is put up to declaim the weary old lie that Great Britain planned and willed this war—the very man who fed Hitler with assurances that Great Britain neither would nor could fight, whatever the provocation. Ribbentrop was egregiously wrong and Hitler has been woefully cozened into gambling all his great gains. He comes now to the naked issue. Unless he can break the power and spirit of Great Britain, he is lost. The time of trial is coming and may be near at hand. If this country is to bear the brunt of Hitler’s first offensive, conducted, as it may well be, with all the savagery and recklessness of his nature, he will meet with grim and gruelling resistance, and for the blood of the innocent stern retribution will be exacted. The testing operations last week can have brought small comfort or assurance to the German air arm. If its full strength is exerted against our Fleet and coast defences we have every reason to believe that a disastrous price will be paid for every success, and that the punishment will be relatively as great as from an assault on the Maginot Line. lithe enemy seeks easier game and turns to indiscriminate bombing of our people, then ,he condemns to the same dire treatment the people of his own land, with this difference, that the Allies are far better situated for this terrible task, and their bombing squadrons will be far more powerfully protected by fighters than German bombers over this country can be.
It is a grim prospect, but we face it unafraid.