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The activities of the few agents and propagandists described in the foregoing chapters do not, as I said in the preface, even scratch the surface of what seem to be widespread efforts to interfere in the internal affairs of the American people and their Government; but a few basic conclusions can reasonably be drawn from what little is known of the Fifth Column’s operations.

Berlin-directed agents in foreign countries sometimes combine propaganda and espionage, frequently using the propaganda organizations as the bases for espionage. In the United States, so far as I have been able to ascertain, agents of the Rome-Berlin-Tokyo axis are just beginning to cooperate. In the Central and South American countries, however, the axis has apparently agreed to a division of labor, each of the fascist powers assuming a specific field of activity.

Germany, Italy and Japan have already shown the extent to which they will go in their drive for raw materials vital to their industries and war machines. In Spain, the German and Italian Fifth Column organized and fomented a bloody civil war in order to establish a wide fascist area to the south of France, for Germany and Italy, of course, consider France a potential enemy in the next war. In France itself, German and Italian agents, aided by their Governments, built an amazing network of steel and concrete fortifications manned by at least 100,000 heavily armed men all this before France awoke to the treason within her own borders.

The strategy pursued by the Fifth Column in different countries falls into like patterns. In Austria, before it was swallowed, Nazi agents first established propaganda organizations as the bases from which to work. When, after the abortive attempt to seize the Austrian Government, the Nazis were made illegal, they went underground but continued to get aid from Germany. Eventually Berlin ordered Standarte II organized as a specific body prepared to provoke disturbances. When the Austrian police quelled them, the provocations enabled Germany to protest that German citizens were being attacked and mistreated. The activities of Standarte II, directed by the Gestapo, continued with increasing intensity until the unfortunate country was absorbed.

In Czechoslovakia the same strategy was followed: first the establishment of propaganda centers to which Nazis and Nazi sympathizers could gravitate under the cloak of bodies seeking to improve relations between the Sudeten Germans and the Czech Government; then the utilization of propaganda headquarters and branches as centers for espionage. Shortly before the Munich Pact, Standarte II again came into being, creating disorders which, when Czech police tried to suppress them, enabled Germany to raise the cry that Czech subjects of German blood were being cruelly mistreated.

Invariably the aggressor nation raises a moral issue to cover up proposed acts of aggression. Italy wanted to “civilize the Ethiopians” by dropping bombs on defenseless women and children. Germany and Italy openly sent aid to Franco “to keep Spain from being Bolshevized.” And so on. The broad “moral issue” on the international field to cover up aggressions by the Rome-Berlin-Tokyo axis is “Communism.” The axis, announced as having been formed “to exchange information about Communism,” is really a military alliance now generally recognized. With the same issue, the axis is now boring into the Western Hemisphere. Actually the reasons seem to be military and not missionary.

Germany, especially, has sent and is sending agents not only to carry on espionage but to organize groups for political pressure upon the American republics. I very much doubt, from all I have been able to learn, if the motive is primarily to win the Americas over to the joys of totalitarian government or to the theory of Aryan supremacy. The money and the effort seem to be expended for more practical reasons. The Bunds can exert not only political pressure, but can develop natives with fascist leanings into the spies and saboteurs so badly needed in war time; for this reason it is worth the enormous effort and money it is costing the aggressor nations.

When the long expected war breaks, neither Europe nor the Far East will be in a condition to supply war materials and foodstuffs to the warring countries. The chief sources of raw materials will be the Western Hemisphere. A strong foothold in the Americas means a tremendous advantage in the coming struggle, since materials are as important to an army as is man power. And, should the fascist powers be unable to get these raw materials for themselves, secret agents can at least sabotage shipments to enemy countries as did German agents in the United States during the first years of the World War, while we were still neutral.

Mexico, because of its enormous oil supplies, plays an important part in fascist military strategy. Consequently, we find intensive efforts by the axis, and especially Germany, to overthrow the Cardenas Government because it is avowedly anti-fascist. A fascist government, helped into power by the Rome-Berlin-Tokyo axis, could be depended upon to supply much needed oil in war time.

The United States, as one of the world’s greatest sources of raw materials and foodstuffs, is an even more important factor. Germany has not forgotten that its armies had the Allies on their knees when American supplies and American man power turned their imminent victory into defeat; should America be on the side of the democracies as against the fascist powers, sabotaging shipments of supplies and men will be as important as crushing an enemy line.

The tactics utilized in the Western Hemisphere by the Fifth Column are similar to those used in Europe. Propaganda machines, masquerading as organizations designed to promote better relationships between a fascist and an American nation, are set up. Fascist movements are organized, usually from across national boundaries. In Mexico, Nazi agents operating out of the United States organized the Gold Shirts; subsequently, as in Austria, a Putsch was attempted (in 1935 and again in 1938). The storing of arms in Sonora by General Yocupicio, who is working with Nazi agents, promises another rebellion when the time seems ripe.

In Central America, the axis is presenting small republics with gifts of arms in efforts to win their friendship. Agents sent from Germany are establishing Nazi centers and the home Government is supplying them with propaganda. In Panama the situation is somewhat more sharp. There Japan has always had an intense interest in the Canal. In the axis, Germany has become a co-worker since she has large colonies in Brazil and Colombia, next door to the Panama Canal. These colonies are now being organized at a feverish pace while the countries themselves are deluged with propaganda over special short-wave beams. In Brazil, a Nazi-directed abortive Putsch took place in 1938.

These activities point to an objective which certainly is not calculated to be in the interest of the United States and our Monroe Doctrine. From all indications the efforts appear directed toward ringing the United States with fascist countries, or at least countries with fascist bodies capable of giving the United States a headache should she ever be involved in a war with one or all of the axis powers.

In the United States itself we find that the strategy is the same as that followed in Austria, Czechoslovakia and in countries of the Western World. The German-American Bund functions “to promote better relations between the United States and Germany,” but the efforts consist of persistent anti-American and anti-democratic propaganda and, within the past year or two, of serving as a base for military and naval spies.

With Germany directing the strategy, her agents in all countries raise the issue of the “menace of the Jew and the Catholic,” with especial emphasis upon the Jew; the Catholics are still too strong for the Nazis to come to grips with at this time.

The Federal Government, of course, has ample legal machinery for prosecuting spies, but espionage is only part of the broad Nazi campaign against this democratic Government. So far as the Western World is concerned, the Federal Government has already taken steps to try to counteract the short-wave broadcasts by German and Italian government-controlled stations. Counter broadcasts are being employed as a defensive measure, and though of value, will probably not completely counteract fascist “news” agencies supplying propaganda in the guise of news, free of charge, to the Central and South American newspapers as well as printed propaganda sent from Germany and distributed by the bunds. Outside of military action, economic pressure seems to be the only language the fascist governments understand, and a little of that pressure by the American Government would probably make them understand our resentment at their invasion far more than broadcasts and general talk about a family of nations in the Western Hemisphere.

Our laws and courts provide a machinery which can be used to prevent any infringement upon the democratically constituted rights of the people. It is of vital importance, however, that preparations for fascist lawlessness be vigilantly uprooted. The Italian and German people made just this fatal mistake of tolerating the activities of Mussolini’s and Hitler’s gangs until they grew strong enough to seize power and crush every sign of democracy.

There is no reason why a great people, attacked by a pernicious ideology, cannot counteract such propaganda with greater and more intelligent propaganda to educate our people to the advantages of democracy to what fascism really means to everyone, including the big industrialists and financiers, some of whom have been flirting with fascism. The Government, however, can and should be instructed by the representatives of the people, to take proper steps to stop the infiltration of Nazi agents and propagandists into this country.

There are various other and perhaps more practical and useful steps which can be taken, but those can be worked out once the people awake to the danger of permitting fascist propaganda to go on, and sentiment becomes strong enough to put an end to foreign-directed activities here.