Mexborough & Swinton Times – Saturday 28 November 1942
Ring of Retribution
To say that Hitler’s world, created at the cost of so much blood and suffering, is crumbling about his ears would be rash and premature. But to discern cracks and creaking in the masonry does not require a supersensitive ear. The German Fuehrer has not yet perhaps developed or exploited all his plans, but he is now faced with a situation which will strain his ingenuity, not to mention his resources, to the maximum.
The initial shock of the African coup is now succeeded by the tame secession of French West Africa, a nasty jolt, and the ugly deterioration on the Eastern Front. French West Africa, in declaring for the United Nations not only brings with it valuable naval reinforcement, but also the great base of Dakar, a choice plum indeed. In the whole great African continent there now remains but one territory where forces inimical to the Allies have a footing, the Tripoli-Tunisia coastline. And even here the hold of the Axis is provisional and precarious, though to say this is not to imply that it will not be fanatically defended.
All this is grim enough for Hitler without the recurring menace in the East. While Britain and America pursue with method and purpose their designs on Tunis, Tripoli and, above all, the German forces there, the Red Army has struck a mighty blow against a foe caught in the anxious act of casting glances to his van and to his rear. Realists above all, the Russians delayed not a minute longer than was needful before striking at the Nazis, whose armies were not only worn out by their constant and fruitless assaults against the steel and atone of Stalingrad, but must also have been suffering from the reaction to disquieting news from the West.
Started under apparently unpromising and unlikely auspices, with the weather unsuitable and apt to become worse sooner than better, the Russian attack was driven home before the startled Germans could develop any serious counter measures. The Red Army thrust savagely into and through the positions of their hated adversaries, and within a few days the progress made revealed the scope of the blow as being far from limited.
If Hitler flattered himself that disadvantages in the West could be substantially redressed by adopting a more static policy in Russia he must by now be doubting the soundness of his intuition. It is evident that Stalin has no intention of allowing the Nazis an easy disengagement. They are to be made to pay dearly for every readjustment which the new situation forces upon them. Thus in the fourth year of the war Hitler is faced with that traditional nightmare of German military enterprise, war on two fronts.
His North African policy cannot lightly be maintained. It is bound to be a dreadful drain on his resources, and in the end the adventure is likely to prove not only costly but unremunerative. Eastwards the cold and the Cossacks will take their inevitable toll this winter, and a great and grisly toll it will be. And behind all this accumulation of present misfortune looms the Anglo- American threat of cross- Channel invasion, frankly promised and assiduously prepared.
Small wonder that neutral faith in the New Order, a tell-tale barometer of impartial sentiment, dwindles apace.