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THE SATURDAY EVENING POST 37 (Continued from Page 34) But this is true only of persistent meet them while still far at sea, and— bombardments for destructive effect this is important—the farther away on normal life and industry—the type the enemy base, the wider the danger of bombardment to which Barcelona circle, the greater the chance our de- was subjected, or Chungking or War- fending planes have of catching t saw. enemy. MIT Sporadic raids whose purpose is to All the same, there is a slight chink hamper our general effort, to slow up in our armor here; the weakness of the industrial processes, bring a strain on defense being the weakness of our transportation by forcing the evacuaground force. Experience in Spain, tion of cities, raise cries for protection China, and as far as it has gone in that will involve the setting up of ex- Europe tends to show that antiaircraft pensive patrols and defense measures— defense is a matter of co-operation be- raids of this typei are another story. tween ground and aerial forces. The A European power might undertake question is rather complex, but it can to slip a few planes—five or six—past be effectively simplified by saying that our guard along the Iceland route, redefending pursuit planes force bombers fueling at a floating tender disguised to huddle into tight formations and to as a fishing vessel. There could be a seek altitudes where ground artillery second refueling ship somewhere off can hit them. Greenland, a second tune-up some- Searchlights are also extremely im- where among the bays of Labrador, and portant. Caught in the beam of a a last stop on one of the lakes of modern high-power searchlight, even Northern Quebec Province. One of at extreme altitudes, the crew of a the planes might be a fuel carrier, bomber goes blind; every metal object loading up the others and turning back in the plane reflects the dazzling illumi- from there. Thanks to the curve of the nation into their eyes. They cannot see earth, such an expedition would find it to bomb; and, more important still, as easy to reach Chicago or Pittsburgh they cannot see the pursuit planes of as New York. the defender, slipping up to slaughter From the attacker's point of view, them. A recent report from the hostili- the plan has the advantage that the ties on the Mongolian frontier declares defense of the operating route is not in that a defense consisting of ground American hands. In fact, defending searchlights co-operating with pursuit planes and guns might find it difficult planes got rid of 50 per cent of the to go to work on the raiders till they bombers in every attack and was found reached their destination, and with so effective that antiaircraft guns were secrecy and a little luck they might get employed by day only. off scot free. The stunt could hardly To sum up, there is no chance of any be repeated, but even the first time foreign power being able to bomb our would force us to set up airplane pacities with destructive effect at pres- trols along our northern border and ent, or for many years to come. naval patrols off Greenland. There might be other one-punch raids from ships in Atlantic or Pacific, or from tenders somewhere among the lagoons of the Bahamas, though the chance of success here is less, thanks to the Navy's flying-boat patrols. Mahan's principle, that the stronger party can never altogether prevent sporadic raiding by the weaker, holds as good for air power as it does for sea power. What about the one-punch raid for local destructive effect? Say a Japanese tender establishing herself in Magdalena Bay, shooting off bombers which were not intended or expected to come back, but were to sacrifice themselves in exchange for the damage they could do to the San Diego naval base. Or a similar ship, with a small group of bombers, establishing herself somewhere in the West Indies and delivering a sacrificial attack on the tremendous concentration of power plants around New York City, the electrical installations of Niagara Falls, or the steel mills of Pittsburgh. The planes could thus use their full range, instead of only their radius, to reach the point where they deliver the attack. The suggestion that a paralyzing blow could be struck in this way is frequently made, but usually by nonmilitary people. The raiders, in actual practice, under war conditions, would have not much more than a 10 per cent chance even of arriving near their objective. In the first place, like all other raiders who wish to reach our vital centers, they must come in a ship. This gives two pawns and a rook to fortune; the ship must avoid our naval patrols. Secondly, it must hoist out and set up the airplanes in its hold— an operation too long and complex to be accomplished during the hours of darkness, while daylight would bring it under the eyes of our naval air patrols. Third, the bombers themselves must avoid being seen by both the Navy airmen and the scouts of the G. H. Q. Air Force, a condition practically impossible of fulfillment, since at least part of the flight would have to be accomplished during daylight hours— distances are too great. But most important of all, there is a psychological factor ruling the whole business of such desperation raids. Men simply will not sacrifice their lives for the doubtful glory of having dose some damage to the enemy. It has been proved time and again. When the German fleet was ordered out to fight England, rule or ruin, in October, 1918, the sailors refused to go. When an effort to send a group of submarines in a last self-sacrificing attack on the British fleet was made a little later, only enough men could be found to half-man one submarine, and these were all officers. When Polish airplanes were ordered to bomb Berlin and die in the attempt, they came back with empty bomb racks, but Berlin felt no bombs. Nor is it likely that there will be any more suicidal spirits in the future than in the past; nor do the men who really would carry such a thing through bear a mark on their foreheads by which they can be recognized. In short, we are safe from serious bombings until the invention of the 3500-mile airplane. But before that date arrives it might be a good idea to train some antiaircraft gunners and to build a few searchlights. WHY ElITLER WONTED PEZCIE (Continued from Page 23) gathering of businessmen and high officials. When Hitler speaks, all Germany stops to listen. As I wandered about, I became increasingly astonished. This was Germany's Fuehrer speaking, telling his people of their great victory in Poland. Over the radio came sounds of applause in the Reichstag, turned on and off at will, like a water faucet. But those German men and women in the parks and streets and the hotel lobby never applauded and rarely even moved. Their faces showed no signs of triumph or excitement or sorrow. They all seemed dazed. They listened intently to the voice of their Leader, as if hoping to find answers to some inner questionings. And the speech, to judge from their manner, failed to satisfy them. Apparently, Hitler, talking of peace, could no longer convince even Germans that he meant peace. And yet, according to those in Berlin who should know, Hitler on this occasion, for the first time in his volcanic career, really did want peace, and wanted it desperately. He had built up a series of events which were supposed to fit into one another like parts in a picture puzzle. And the last part, the one part needed to complete the picture, was an armistice with England and France. That was what he offered, on his own terms, in the Reichstag speech. And that is what he seemed to suspect, even as he spoke, that he would not get. And if he didn't get it, then he might lose everything else. His two brilliant strokes, the Westwall and the pact with Stalin, had achieved their short-range purposes. But if they failed Hitler now, then Germany once again might face danger simultaneously in the west and in the east. To get the full story about the role Germany's Westwall has already played in this war, it is necessary to visit the belligerent countries on both sides. I got one part of the story in Paris, soon after the war started, and I got the rest of it in Berlin. That's the way with most news in Europe nowadays, with censorships and propaganda everywhere. During the first week of the war, in Paris, I heard all kinds of speculation about the Westwall. I heard military experts say that it was too new and had been thrown up too hastily to withstand sustained French attacks. Give the French three weeks to get their troops in position, they said, and something big would be staged. I saw that the French people around me awaited, with mingled dread and hope, this anticipated huge offensive on the western front. During those weeks, out of the rumor factories in Switzerland and Denmark and Holland, came reports of great battles already occurring in the west. But weeks passed and the western front remained as mysterious as ever. The French army refused newspaper correspondents permission to go to the front, and the army's own communiques were notable for what they didn't say. In Paris, during those weeks, I heard Englishmen and Frenchmen expressing doubts about whether their governments ever really intended to fight this war at all. Some of them speculated about whether the great powers hadn't made another deal among themselves like Munich. By this time the governments of all the European powers were totalitarian in one degree or another—and under totalitarian governments people begin to whisper. When I got to Berlin in October, I found some people who had really seen the western front. The three chiefs of the American news agencies in Berlin, together with some other neutral correspondents, had just returned from a complete tour of the Westwall lasting for six days. The Nazi authorities had arranged this tour because they had become annoyed by imaginary accounts of imaginary batties which were being published all over the world. Toward the end of September, Hitler himself signed the order which not only approved the tour but instructed the generals in charge of the Westwall to show the correspondents everything. Not until the Germans escorted these neutral correspondents all along the western front did the outside world know what had really happened there during those first weeks of war. Long after this, Englishmen and Frenchmen were kept in ignorance because their newspapers didn't pick up the American accounts of this tour. I talked with several of the correspondents who had made that trip, and they were agreed on all essential points. They went directly into Saarbriicken, which was alleged at that time to be dominated by French guns. They inspected the outer defenses as well as the main fortifications of the Siegfried Line. They saw enough to convince all of them that there had never been anything like serious fighting of any kind along the western front during September. They saw that the German fortifications had hardly been damaged by French artillery barrages. Two weeks after this the French army authorities confirmed their reports. They announced that their total casualties— killed and wounded—on the whole front during the first six weeks of the war had been less than 3000. During this same period, more people than that had been killed or injured by automobiles in England. Why were the French and British interested in making it appear during September that they had either begun or were preparing vast offensives against Germany's Westwall? This misinformation, very subtly conveyed in Paris and London, probably was considered a tactical maneuver. It wouldn't sound well to say that England and France could do nothing to help Poland. It was better to make it seem that they were trying to do something big. However that may be, it now seems clear, when we put together all the available information, that the French General Staff never intended any real attempt to break through Germany's Westwall. They knew the strength of the German fortifications and they had a good idea of the price which would have to be paid in lives and materials to smash through them. They weren't willing to pay that price. So the French confined their operations to artillery barrages to test the German fortifications, supplemented by small movements of men in the Saar (Continued on Page 39)


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