Sunday, 28 October 2012

THE NEW YORK TIMES: THE HOUR OF GREECE

THE NEW YORK TIMES

29 OCTOBER 1940

The invasion of Greece is a triple crime. An unprovoked assault on one small nation, launched on an even flimsier excuse than usual, is no surprise; it belongs to the brutal pattern of this war. It is no surprise that Fascist Italy celebrates its eighteenth birthday by using the soil of one weak neighboor, similarly invaded, to deliver an attack upon another. Thus does fascism fulfill itself. The grandeur that was Rome has declined to the mean brevado of a bully, striking at those who are not expected to strike back.

But the Greeks in this hour, outnumbered as they are, poor in the instruments of modern war, remember and defend the glory that was Greece. They recognize at once that this is a fight for independence, for the survival of all small nations. Whatever happens, their instant determination to "prove worthy of our ancestors" and of our freedom" vindicates the heroic tradition of Marathon, Thermopylae and Salamis and establishes once more the title to nationhood of a brave and ancient people.

The attack on Greece is not only a crime against Greece an the law and civilization Rome was once proud to symbolize. It ia direct threat to the sole remaining bloc of "neutral" states. By this move the war-makers have wantonly dragged into danger the very nations they claim to protect and control. The Bulgarian hope to gain an outlet to the Aegean out of this expedition and Yugoslavia is completely encircled. If a major struggle develope over Greece, the Balkans and Turkey will sooner or later be drawn in.

Out of the confusion of rumors and contradictory reports two main questions suggest themselves. First, is the Italian move conceived as a diversion and in this case can the British, heavily engaged in defending England and Egypt, afford to draw large naval and air forces from these vital spots? Second, why does Hitler rush to Florence to confer with Mussolini just as the Italians start the drive on Greece? Can it be that Duce moves ahead of time in order to confront his partner with a fait accompli? These and other questions will soon be answered, but the raid on Greece confirms what Hitler' s diplomatic offensive already emphasizes. The two dictators are in a desperate hurry. From their wiewpont Greece is merely an obstacle to the lock-up of the Balkans, a springboard for an attck on Egypt. But in our wiew, whatever happens, its stand is a bright sign in the darkness. In its long story Hellas has never been a Great Power; It has survived many invations and defeats because it is what its few million people remain in their resistence today -a great nation.

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