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STATEMENT OF MISS DOROTHY THOMPSON
Miss THOMPSON. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, I wish to say by way of beginning that my only qualification to testify is that for 7 years I have more than most laymen in this country studied with excruciating care the political, revolutionary, and military tactics of the German Nazi Government; and the only reason why you should hear me perhaps is because I have on numerous occasions predicted exactly what they are going to do, on the basis of information from German sources.
So I should like to tell you that the Germans intend to encircle this country and drive it to a purely defensive position and eliminate it as a world power to be reckoned with. They intend to do this with economic and military and revolutionary means. Those revolutionary means include the fomenting of civil war in the United States, once this country is really isolated, is the last democracy in the world, and can have pressure of a political, economic, and military kind brought against it. That is their program; and if there were time, I could bring a great deal of evidence from German sources to prove that that is their program.
Now, they count on keeping us for that purpose divided from Great Britain.
I would like to say that no feature of Europe's collapse is more common or more striking than the time lag between what the situation really called for at a given movement and what the public and Parliament were ready to sanction.
A relatively good policy may fail if it is applied half-heartedly. The success of a country's foreign policy may depend less on its intrinsic merits than upon the degree of popular support that it can win, so that the government applying the policy can do so with speed, decision, and persistence.
I am for our present policy, because I believe it is the only possible policy in view of the plans that are against us; and therefore I am for this bill.
When the charge is made that Britain wants to get us into the war, it is well to remember that there is one simple act of Britain that will almost certainly get this country into war, or into a catastrophic defeat without war, and that is to surrender to Germany, thus bringing about the establishment of a pro-Nazi government in England, the final surrender of General Weigand and the French Fleet, 'and the fleets of the Netherlands, of Norway, and the handing over of the British Fleet and Britain's factory and war resources to the Germans.
If we let Britain down, and a pro-Nazi government succeeds Churchill in London, we shall be more unpopular than Germany in England; and no promises made about the fleet will necessarily bave validity, because it will not be a Churchill government that will dispose of the fleet.
We have been advised by various people that we try for a negotiated peace now. The two things are not compatible. If we do not greatly increase aid to Britain, there will be a dictated peace wholly on German terms. If we do greatly increase aid to Britain, so that it becomes doubtful whether Germany can win the war, even if it is also doubtful whether England can win it, then you have got a situation as between relative equals; and under those conditions a negotiated peace might be possible.
The most astonishing thing about these hearings is the completely new interpretations that emerge of America's role in the world and what it is that America is prepared to defend. We are the greatest Nation of western civilization up to now, the most powerful single nation; but we have already relinquished rights which we have maintained throughout our entire history.
For instance, by withdrawing our ships from belligerent zones under the terms of the Neutrality Act, we surrendered a position which we have maintained throughout our history and for which we have actually fought 3 wars—the right to freedom of the seas in peace as in war. Throughout our history, from the time we were 13 struggling colonies, we have interpreted our rights to include the defense of our commercial interests overseas, the right of our citizens to travel wherever they chose on this earth, and equality of competition in world markets.
We have never considered the defense of the actual territory of the United States, and part of the Western Hemisphere, as an adequate defense program since the days of George Washington. I see no reason except defeatism for suggesting that we now turn the oceans into moats instead of highways, which they have always been, and voluntarily retire as a first-class power, and voluntarily put ourselves in a position where we can only take a defensive.
If Great Britain falls, we will be encircled in two oceans. We will be subject to blackmail upon our institutions.
We know exactly what the Nazi method is. The Nazis have not invaded Switzerland, but they are continually attempting to control the Swiss press under threat. The same is true of Sweden. Already people in these countries are afraid to speak their minds. The technique of the Nazis is to use a superior military and economic position for purposes of political pressure.
We sell cotton, wheat, oil, tobacco-commodities on which some sections of our country depend for their lives—to countries that if the Nazis win the war will all be Nazi and controlled from Berlin. I am making you a prophecy that I am sure will come true. Germandominated Eurasia will offer to buy our cotton, wheat, oil, and so forth, provided-provided we have a President in the White House who suits them.
If that seems to be exaggerated, let me remind you that the Nazis threatened war on Great Britain months before the war began, if Mr. Churchill became Prime Minister. And very great interests in this country, who advertise in the press, will bring their own pressure on the press to comply with Nazi demands, in order that they may be able to sell their goods. Under cover of this sort of thing the Nazis will penetrate this country quite peaceably. And don't forget, it won't be only the German Nazis; we shall have French Nazis and Irish Nazis, and, above all and most importantly, English Nazis, bringing pressure on us. Every racial group in this country which remembers its origin will be propagandized to stand with the new order in Germany, England, Ireland, France, Italy, and everywhere else.
Gentlemen, we go on talking about whether a unified command is really necessary, whether energetic action is really necessary, whether we are really threatened. Everything that you gentlemen have done indicates that we are terribly threatened. For the first time in our history we are establishing a huge standing army. We are planning for a two-ocean navy. We have appropriated an amount for defense equal to about a seventh of the national income. None of the isolationists are calling this hysteria. They insist that a two-ocean navy, for instauce, is based upon our most vital needs.
Those who insist that the British Navy does not offer any defense to this country had better explain why we must build a two-ocean navy if the British are defeated. For the life of me I can't see why America is taking greater risks in helping the British Navy to continue to exist than she will if we let it be sunk or captured. The actual truth is that resistance to the menace of European combinations through common action of the British and American Fleets has been a feature of American policy for more than a hundred years. James Madison, when he was President of the United States, said:
With the British power and Navy combined with our own, we have nothing to fear from the rest of the world.
In 1823 a victorious boly alliance threatened to conquer the Spanish colonies of this hemisphere which had recently proclaimed their independence. Simultaneously Russia was threatening to extend its power from Alaska down the Pacific coast. Then, as now, this bemisphere was threatened on both sides by a coalition of victorious imperialist states; and it was under those conditions that President Monroe, through the British Minister in London, entered into negotiations with Canning, the British Foreign Secretary, the result of which was the Monroe Doctrine.
Those negotiations were submitted to Jefferson, and Jefferson made this statement:
While America, North and South, have a set of interests distinct from those of Europe, there is one nation which could disturb us in this purpose. She now offers to lead, aid, and accompany us in it. By acceding to her propositions we bring her mighty weight of free government on our side and emancipate a continent at one stroke.
Now, the Monroe Doctrine is turned around; and we by the same coalition of government activities as we have used for the last hundred years, have an opportunity again to emancipate a continent at one stroke, or in a few strokes, namely, the Continent of Europe, in which caso we will then have a situation in which we can create a peace.
I would like to say this: Nazi Germany has no intention of supporting the Monroe Doctrine. Yet we have again proclaimed that an attack on one of the American States is an attack on all, that if you touch one American republic you touch us. So that even the most extreme of our isolationists is prepared to have American boys die on foreign soil if Patagonia is attacked by an overseas power.
If you can tell me on what grounds of strategy or sense we should be prepared to have American boys die in Patagonia, or in the jungles of Brazil, or even in Venezuela, but would not move to prevent a German occupation of Ireland, I should like to hear them. Certainly I have never found a naval man who thinks that this makes sense.
I cannot see that the preservation of the independence of Latin America is more vital to us than the preservation of the freedom and independence of the British Commonwealth. In fact, I think the former depends on the latter.
If you want to put it on cold, materialistic grounds, in the year 1938, 76.7 percent of our total exports were to the British Isles and to the British Empire, and 79.5 percent of our total imports were from the United Kingdom and the British Empire. These are the official figures published by the Department of Commerce.
Prophesy is not a very thankful activity to indulge in, but I am willing to go on the record with a little prophecy. If we don't make an all-out effort to prevent the subjugation of Britain, Britain will be defeated; and if Britain is defeated, the United States will shortly be completely encircled. In other words, we will have lost a war without fighting it.
And I can say this--that there has been no previous Congress in American history who would ever have let that happen.
I would like to point out that in this war the progress of Nazi victory is not arithmetical but geometrical. By this I mean that the Nazis are not knocking out one country after another, but are adding each country to the forces with which to intimidate the next one. Czechoslovakia subjected was not out of the war, but was an arsenal for the attack on Poland. Poland subjected was not out of the war, but furnished an enormous source of labor supply for German fields, thus releasing further men for the armament factories and armies. France defeated is not out of the war. Her factories are all running full blast, and her air and naval bases are being used for the German attack on England. And Great Britain subjected would not be out of the war but would be the base from which the Germans seek the domination of the Atlantic Ocean.
I can tell you, on German authority, reliable, though it cannot be quoted, what the peace aims of Germany at this moment would probably be. If Great Britain should negotiate a peace now, the Germans will put a puppet government in England, and will occupy he west coast of Ireland facing us, and will use the British fleet, the Netherlands, Norwegian, and French fleets, in alliance with the Jap neseand that means all the fleets of the world—to back their own sort of deal with us. And if fleets don't count any more, why are we building a two-ocean navy? We will go absolutely bankrupt competin with an alliance like that. We are a big country only relative to a great many independent States. We would no longer be a big coun ry in that kind of a set-up. We would no longer be a big country at all. There are 130,000,000 Americans. There are 400,000,000 or at least 350,000,000 in western Europe, leaving Russia out of account.
To render a country impotent, an enemy does not have to make the whole of its people favorable to him, or, for that matter, any of its people. He only has to persuade a section of them that his triumph is a lesser evil than the things involved in resisting him. And if he can get that over, he renders a country impotent to resist him, because it becomes divided and afraid.
I am going to cut short what I had to say. I was invited by a member of your committee to come here. Had I had more time, I would have made it shorter.
But I would like to say that we must not forget the political and revolutionary tactics of Hitler. I was in France this spring. France was not defeated. France collapsed. She did not have enough guns and airplanes. That is perfectly true. But the reason she didn't have guns and airplanes was that France had never really made up her mind whether wholeheartedly to resist Hitler or to make a deal with If we follow the same line, we will have dealt a very serious blow to democracy right here on this soil. I doubt whether we would survive it as a democracy, because people cannot live with divided minds. You cannot say that you believe in freedom and democracy and then help to destroy it somewhere else. You have got to justify what you do in your own mind. And the justification makes you an apologist for nazi-ism.
We are listening to an enormous amount of Nazi propaganda spread and swallowed by people many of whom don't know that they are making it, and most of whom don't know that they are swallowing it. The Nazis are not making any propaganda in this country for their way of life. They are concentrating entirely on attacking the British and preaching isolation. At the same time they are establishing contacts in the business world and holding out glowing promises of markets once the war is over. And they are talking about peace. If they are so sure they are going to win the war even if we go all out for support of Great Britain, why are they talking about peace?
Now, to go back to the military situation, which cannot be divorced from the political and revolutionary tactics of the Nazis: In case of a German victory the following things are going to happen:
First, there will be no frontal attack on the United States, and no attempt at invasion at this time. There will be, and immediately, a tremendous penetration of South America and of this country.
If Britain collapses, in all probability the South American countries will say to us, “Gentlemen, we prefer to go along with you; but will you please take our 2,000,000 bales of cotton, our cottonseed oil, our 200,000,000 bushels of corn, our 100,000,000 bushels of wheat, our thousands of tons of beef, our cotton, and our oil?”
What will the farmers and the producers of America say in this event? They will say, "No."
Then we have two choices. We can buy up the products of South America at an annual cost of hundreds of millions and dump them in the ocean.
Or we can string our Navy around South America and refuse to let the South Americans trade with anybody.
The consequence, therefore, would be that South America would have to trade with Hitler, who would control her entire markets apart from us; that is, Great Britain and America. And, inasmuch as it is Hitler's system when he becomes a buyer also to become the dominant partner in the concern, it follows that no navy in the world could prevent him from becoming the master of South America without firing a single shot. Every single wholesale commercial penetration of the Nazis has ended in the long run by their controlling the countries politically as well.
It would be very easy in South America. There are millions of Germans, Italians, and Spaniards in South America already. All the influential commercial and plantation interests would have to be on the side of a Nazi-dominated Europe or starve. They would rapidly come to control the governments of the republics, and they would be supported and armed by German technical commercial and military advisers, who would shortly have control there as they have in Spain at this moment.
And I don't know what we could do about this. If we tried to prevent it, we would be branded as aggressors, as the Colossus of the North picking on little states; and Germany would become their defender. That is what she intends to do.