Page 2, 28th April 1939

28th April 1939
Page 2
Page 2, 28th April 1939 — WHAT THE COMMON PEOPLE THINK ABOUT THE INTERNATIONAL
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Locations: Tripoli, Rome, Barcelona

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WHAT THE COMMON PEOPLE THINK ABOUT THE INTERNATIONAL

J. L. BENVENISTI TELLS-

SITUATION

Pursuing its efforts to promote mutual understanding and comprehension between the nations, the CATHOLIC HERALD has sent a Special Correspondent to Spain and requested its Correspondent in Rome to undertake a tout through central Italy.

These Correspondents have been told to find out what the ordinary man in these two countries is thinking . . . about war, about us, about themselves.

Our Special Correspondent in Spain reports that, judging by what the ordinary man wants, there will arise in Spain a Catholic authoritarian corporative State under the aristocracy and the military. There is every likelihood that the monarchy will be restored.

Spaniards, he reports, are grateful to Germany for her help, but there are no other ties. Spaniards are more in sympathy with Italy, " their Latin sister," but " Spain has brought back at inestimable price her national pride," and she will allow no foreigners to filch it from her.

After losing more men in her civil war than the whole British Empire did in the Great War, Spain wants peace to build up her strength.

In Italy the ordinary man, called up perhaps to serve in Albania, most definitely does not want war. Yet he is proud of the achievements of his Duce and relieved that they have not brought on a European war. All now hope for a long peace.

In England, too, the " little man " wants peace.

Cannot dictators and premiers get together, settle their differences, and give it to us?

SPAIN

From a $pccial Correspondent

SAN SEBASTIAN.

Spain from within is a world to itself ; Spain from without is only one piece in the game that is being played out between Civilisation and Barbarism.

The new Spain will not be parliamentary ; that is final.

As to whether Franco will be dictator, the answer is an unconditional " yes ''; firstly, because it is a political necessity at present, and secondly because, with the memory of Primo de Rivera, dictatorship in Spain stands for good government.

For the moment, the country will be run by a military or semi-military council with the unqualified support of the people, who rightly see in the Army their saviours from the disintegration and demoralisation of the Liberal system.

After the terrible depredation of the Republicans, Spain cannot afford

to argue over matters of procedure when the country is in urgent need of a central authority to carry out reorganisation.

Tradition of Catholic Kings

With regard to the Monarchy, there is every likelihood of its restoration, because, its mainsprings traditionalist, the regime sees that the great tradition of Spain lies precisely in its Catholic kings. It is not clear how the Monarchy will be reetored, but it is my opinion that Alfonso XIII will return and abdicate in favour of the Prince of the Asturias. Ultimately, under the Crown, there will probably be a Corporative State, and a military-aristocratic Council of Government with a strong Catholic flavour. That Franco is a good Catholic and a professional soldier seems to me to be sufficient guarantee that his regime will not degenerate like the others into a personal adventure. The second aspect of the new Spanish position is, in my opinion, this: To Germany, Spain owes the gratitude of an ally, as England to Japan after the Great War; but to Spain, as a Catholic Succession-state of the Roman Empire, Germanism and in particular the modern German attitude to the Church is alien and even inimical.

Germany, furthermore, blackmailed Spain during the war by forcing her to pay with her sterling credits for German monopoly-goods, such as synthetic nitrate, and to barter her agriculture for Inferior German manufactures.

Although it is strange to see the Hooked Cross side by side with the Cross of Calatrava, how much, to return to the simile, did England suffer from Japanese influence after the War? England and Japan inhabit different worlds : so do Spain and Germany; and whatever present appearances, nothing can alter their fundamental disparity.

Irritating Italians

With regard to Italy there is the same gratitude, but this is counteracted by their irritating display. It does not help their cause to march through the streets of Barcelona carrying Italian flags, shouting: Duce! Duce! Nor does it to plaster the country with Italian notices when the Spanish equivalent must be obvious to the stupidest legionary. Nevertheless, there is a bond of culture and tradition which must inevitably bind Spain in some ways to Italy.

Towards France, there is undoubtedly great animosity, because, not content with supporting actively the enemies of Spain, the French Government, even after the fall of the Popular Front, has behaved in an unequivocally hostile way.

Annoyed With " Elder Sister"

Even apart from actual transport of materials to the enemy, it is to France that the principal villains of the tragedy have fled to safety with their loot. It Is the France of Andre Marty, deputy of the French Chamber and Red Commissar in Albacete that has unfortunately, but understandably. swamped, in the eyes of the Spanish majority, the eldest daughter of the Church, the guardian of Western culture.

Towards England, the attitude is one of profound disappointment, and the fear that, agitated by freemasonry and intense Left propaganda, the English may throw over Chamberlai-n for Eden and, by consenting to a quite artificial division of Europe into " democracies" and " totalitarians," play the game of Litvinoff and Blum, forcing Spain into the awkward predicament of a choice in which. she can. have no option.

Because of her temporising vacillation, there is a distrust of England's intentions.

That the British Embassy in Madrid, alone with the American, refused sanctuary to everyone, knowing full well that murder was rife in the street, will take a certain time to forget.

England's fault, in Spanish eyes, is not its enmity, but its neutrality; that aristocratic England, ruled by a Conservative Government, should fail or refuse to see the truth is inexplicable and sinister.

Not Such a Fool

Spain has bought hack at an inestimable price her national pride, and she is not going to exchange one set of foreigners for another. She is not going to embark on any adventure for two reasons; morally, no Spaniard ever wishes to see a cannon again; physically, the loss of 1,200,000 men (the British Empire lost something over800,000 in the Great War) has left her in no lit state to do so even if she wished. Nor, for the same reason, can she aid or abet another.

The signing of the Anti-Comintern Pact is merely confirmation of the reason for the Crusade, a reason it would be foolish to underrate.

ITALY

Prom Our Own Correspondent ANcoNA.

In the course of a week's tour in central Italy, I had occasion to talk to many Italians on the political situation up to the time of the recent Roosevelt proposal.

I saw trainloads of soldiers along the Adriatic coast..

On the station at Ancona some hundreds of troops recently called up were being shepherded into railway horse trucks. They had been

called for the most part from small villages. They did not know where they were going or for how Icing, and there was no enthusiasm despite the bane's lively marches.

Later on in the week I met many other soldiers who were being allowed twentyfour hours leave preparatory to their departing for an " unknown destination." Some of them began singing.

I noticed that one song had a dig at England's possession of Malta—which the Press usually describes as Italian —and another at Eranee's control of Savoy. The rest of the soldiers were glum despite their wine and their leave.

"I have to leave a wife and four children," said one of them to me. Most of them thought that they would be going to Tripoli.

Tired of Germans

Hotel managers, of course, are very depressed by the lack of stability in Europe. There are plenty of German tourists, but hardly any others, and the tourist and hotel people declare that Germans came to Italy at Easter time. spend. It is calculated that nearly a million Germans came to Italy in Easter time.

Everybody I met—peasants and workers, soldiers and civilians--all are hoping for a long peace.

One can say in general that, despite the Press propaganda to the contrary, the people are afraid of war in the sense that they see as their only ally Germany, which they believe to be too poor to carry on a war and at the same time assist Italy economically.

They think that wealth is a factor in a country which in war may turn the tide of battle favourably.

At the same time one should not make the mistake of thinking that the Italians disapprove of their Duce's aggrandisement of their country.

" All Lords Now"

" Now," said a peasant to me after the Abyssinian War was over, " we are all

There has been little excitement over Albania—the crowd which assembled to cheer Mussolini at the Palazzo Venezia in Rome was ordered to do so, and counted for only a fraction of the population of Rome.

The general reaction is a quiet pleasure at the fact that Italy has covered some more space on Europe's map, coupled with relief that no war was occasioned and a hope that no war will be provoked.

Meanwhile the Press continues to be anti-French and in a lesser degree antiEnglish.




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