War Perspective

George Gallup, whose American Institute of Public Opinion habitually and accurately predicts the outcome of our national elections, has been talking to the man on the street again-this time about air power.

Just about 7 in every 10 Americans, he finds, would give airplane construction priority over land and sea arms. (Washington papers please copy.) Because Institute findings reflect the will of we the people, they are seldom startling, and certainly it is no surprise to most of us that the airplane is here to stay — both as a means of transportation, and, if need be, a weapon of destruction. It is worthy of note, however, that the American public, which has been getting most of the blame for our unpreparedness, voted for a larger air force by the same margin back in 1935 — two years after Hitler came to power and six years before Pearl Harbor!

Other moves which the public seems strongly to favor:

  1. The opening of a second front now,
  2. the establishment of a United War Council which would include Russian and Chinese as well as American and British representatives,
  3. mobilization of civilian workers not engaged in defense industry,
  4. conscription of women workers for wartime jobs,
  5. identification cards for all civilians with photos and fingerprints.

Another national attitude (and one which would hardly be apparent from listening to radio comedians, commentators and others whose job it apparently is to work us up into a fighting fervor) is that Germany, not Japan, should be considered our number one enemy. This is one Gallup revelation which may come as something of a surprise. Whether it is because "Jap" rhymes so nicely with "slap" and "scrap," or because so many radio programs emanate from California where the "yellow peril" has long constituted a domestic as well as international problem, the little slant-eyed men have been taking a beating — on the air waves at least.

Recent dispatches from Sweden indicate that the neutral Swedes are becoming angry with the Axis' new world order. The "state of emergency" proclaimed in Norway by the Nazis brought varied but agreed repercussions in the Swedish press:

"Germany lately has complained bitterly that Sweden does not show sympathy and understanding of Germany's cause. The complaints are founded on completely accurate observations. Every rifle shot from firing squads against innocent people shoots to pieces, bit by bit, all bonds of time-honored sympathy toward Germany,"
"The occurrences in Norway are a message to Sweden that is written in blood. It must never happen here. Sweden must not tolerate Quislings," and
"The salvos fired at Trondheim were directed against the Swedes as well as against the Norwegians. Nothing that happens in Scandinavia can be of indifference to us."

Another straw in the wind is the fact that the most severe sentence ever imposed under the Swedish press law was pronounced in October when Gustaf Ericsson was sentenced to ten months' imprisonment for "disseminating false rumors and mendacious statements endangering public order, creating contempt for public authority and trying to inspire disobedience of the law." He had written and published a pamphlet which the authorities said was a Nazi propaganda pamphlet disguised as a novel.

This column was originally published in the May, 1943, issue of Air News magazine, vol 4, no 5, p 46.