Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira
As We Celebrate Peace, Let us Not Forget the Lesson behind This War
Legionário, May 13th, 1945
Legionário reviews the main events related to the great hecatomb.
After all the horror and bloodshed humanity has sustained in these six years of war, Legionário invites its readers to take a look back to appreciate, in a panoramic view, the main events related to the great conflict.
It is still too early to make a history of these events. However, listing them along with the summarized comments this journal has made will provide our readers with a starting point to form judgments about this long series of crimes and infamy.
At a time when common sense, logic and coherence seem to be in very short supply, some people will mock our intention to analyze events that are often evasive and incongruous. However, Legionário readers, our main target, are perceptive and lucid enough to realize the advantages of this recapitulation as the drama reaches its climax.
This also enables us to show our entire line of conduct in these tumultuous events. From a distance, God alone knows how much it cost us to resist external pressures and have a sense of realities and their underlying philosophy to analyze seemingly simple and easy to evaluate events.
* * *
We are in the year 1935. The world is beginning to experience an atmosphere of war and smells powder.
A Peace of Mourning
Anticipating the outbreak of war, in its “International Note” section of October 27th, 1935, when Mussolini had already pounced on the almost defenseless Abyssinia, Legionário writes:
“Consistent with his stated intention, Mussolini launches his troops against a weaker prey. England fights and protests only to hear from its Parliament that economic sanctions are futile, military sanctions are impossible, and that rearmament is the only solution to the problem.
Hitler and Mussolini are trying to keep themselves armed to the teeth, showing absolute contempt for the principles discussed at Disarmament Conferences. The latter now receive the coup de grace from England itself, which had fought energetically for them. They are definitively dead.”
The “Note” continues:
“In June last year, our predecessor, observing the Disarmament Conference, wrote: ‘These illustrious statesmen appear rather like comedians; but at this moment, comedy is a tragedy, a joke being told at the wake viewing the corpse of peace...’
Legionário against the Belgian “Quisling”
As early as June 7th, 1936, Legionário denounced the activities of Leon Degrelle, calling the Rexist movement “an incitement for radical, violent attitudes that disturbed the life of the country.”
“For the above reasons, Belgian Catholics’ revulsion against the Rexist movement and their support for the Catholic Party sharply contrast with the criticism leveled at Catholics in Brazil because they stuck with the Electoral League.”
Japanese Aggression against China
Always fighting for the cause of God, which is the cause of Justice, Legionário opposed Japan’s expansionism and aggression against China from the beginning.
In our “International Note” of August 1st, 1937, we wrote about the beginning of the war in the Far East:
“China is on fire. The repeated incidents between Chinese and Japanese forces have become widespread.
Japan is entering an adventure from which it expects promising results.
China is dragged into war to defend its territory and integrity.”
Finally, “China takes the blame for being a weak and poorly armed nation in a century of enlightenment where force comes first.”
For Arming Brazil against the Nazi Danger
When many people ridiculed the mere reference to the possibility of a Nazi invasion of [South] American shores, Legionário came out to emphasize the need to arm ourselves against this danger.
We made one of these appeals in our “International Note” of August 15th, 1937, when our Navy’s leasing of American destroyers created an incident.
As Argentina and Germany issued very strong objections to the leasing, we wrote:
“Germany was irritated, seeing the project as a preparation against its expansionist excesses. In reality, the latter exist, and we must fight them more vigorously, not just with armed forces but by preventing intrusions of unofficial German delegates in the life of the German diaspora here and associations formed mostly by Brazilian children of German [immigrants].”
“We must urgently create our own fleet, which, without pretensions or ambitions, can fittingly represent us as a defensive force, which is our only objective.”
Nazism, Twin Brother of Bolshevism
On August 29th, 1937, Legionário opened its columns to cover a lecture that “had shaken Germany.” Given in Vienna by the well-known man of letters, Bishop [Alois Karl] Hudaldeal, it covered Nietzsche and modern heresies and showed how Nazism was the twin brother of Bolshevism—both born from the same ideological source.
Bishop Hudal predicted that the rise of Nazism would entail the Bolshevization of Germany as had already happened with Russia. Moreover, in Russia, Nietzsche’s anti-Christian philosophy found its first readers, propagators, and admirers. Then, about twenty years ago, it became popular, and they began to teach it in other European nations.
Nazism would remain “only as a sad episode” in the history of the noble German nation.
On September 12th, 1937, in the columns of Legionário, Friar Pedro Sinzig, OFM defended the same idea:
“What will come after Hitler? Communism? No, the latter already exists dressed in brown and bearing as an emblem a crooked cross at war against the Cross of Christ.”
Referring to the fifth anniversary of the handover of the German government to Hitler, the Legionário of January 30th, 1938 wrote:
“Therefore, there is no peace and happiness for Germans under the Nazi regime. In international politics, Nazism, very close and similar to Communism, has been one of the elements that brought the most disturbances to universal peace. Nor is it recommendable for its anticommunism, as one does not fight an error with similar errors.”
On the eve of the nefarious “Anschluss,” Legionário showed the critical situation to which Catholic Austria had been reduced, helpless in its efforts to ward off the menacing Nazi danger.
In our “International Note” of February 27th, 1938, we wrote:
“The abandonment of Austria by democratic nations and the benevolence with which Italy allowed the implementation of Nazi policies in the former empire led by interests that depend on Hitler’s support, has led Chancellor Schuschnigg to enter into a direct understanding with the Reich.”
“It is true that Nazi guarantees are worthless. According to the Nazi Party’s yearbook, it fully applies the Communist axiom that judges as morally legitimate whatever favors the proletariat, so one cannot have the slightest confidence in Hitler’s honesty.”
“But Schuschnigg remains resolute – that’s what he said in the Reichstag – not to consent to the Nazification of the country.”
The “Nazism versus Communism” Game
In the “7 Days in Review” section of March 6th, 1938, just a week before the Nazi coup that imposed the “Anschluss,” we denounced the maneuver of so-called ‘rightist’ coups-d’état to “save the people” from leftist danger:
“Our predictions about the real motive that led Mr. Hitler to demand the release of Austrian Communists have been fully confirmed. Austrian Nazis and their German counterparts are now very hypocritically screaming against Communist propaganda in Austria. They claim that the Communists have managed to create propaganda cells even on the Patriotic Front (the distinctly Catholic party that supports Mr. Schuschnigg). Hence, the Nazis conclude (as we had predicted in our latest issue) that only Nazism will save Austria from Communism.
We draw our readers’ attention to this masquerade for the sole purpose of demonstrating that Nazism uses Communism as a mere pretext to gain the sympathy of anticommunist elements but that, in reality, Nazis have no intention to combat Communism.”
In the “7 Days in Review” section on the very day of the “Anschluss,” before the news about it arrived, we commented:
“It is interesting to note that in Austria, the Nazis are constantly defeated and repelled but claim that Catholics have neither the strength nor the means to fight the Communists.
Now, if the Catholic Patriotic Front, led by Mr. Schuschnigg, lacks the strength to fight Communism, and Nazism lacks even the power to overcome the Patriotic Front, this is proof positive that Nazism could never overcome Communism in Austria. If the Nazis were sincere, they should ally with Mr. Schuschnigg to fight Communism. Instead, after the Berschtesgarden “deal,” Communists are released, and Nazis attack Mr. Schuschnigg.
Judas von Papen, Hitler’s ambassador in Vienna and the damned soul of the coup that culminated in the Anschluss, played a relevant role in this sinister plot.
“The Conspiracy of Caesars and the Sanhedrin”
The dramatic disappearance of Catholic Austria from the European map, crushed by the heel of a Nazi boot on March 13th, 1938, with criminal brutality, led the Legionário to write a timely political review in its March 20th issue of that same year.
More than any argument, that retrospective served to prove the solidarity between the totalitarian Caesars and the liberal Sanhedrins in their quest to crucify Our Savior once again, embodied by the Holy Catholic Church.
Let us highlight just a few topics:
“What is England doing? While German troops prepare to invade Austria, while Schuschnigg appeals to all of Europe against the heavy-handedness victimizing his country, Mr. Von Ribbentrop, the Reich Foreign Minister, throws a great reception in London attended by 600 personalities of the “English elite.”
“Delenda est Britania...”
As one can see, Legionário was already denouncing to the world what would later be known as the spirit of Munich, symbolized by Mr. Chamberlain’s umbrella.
There is even more:
“France, the glorious first-born daughter of the Church, beloved of all and bravest of all, is vitally interested in maintaining Austrian independence but cannot intervene. The reason is that the Communists have caused a ministerial crisis in France at this precise moment to facilitate the action of Mr. Hitler, their pseudo-enemy. He owes his success largely to the French Communists’ cordial collaboration.
“As for Mussolini, who holds the reins of one of the noblest and most Catholic peoples on earth...his attitude dispenses with any comment. He has been rewarded with a benevolent and generous telegram from the Füehrer: ‘Mussolini, I will not forget your gesture.’
“God Will Not Forget either... and His Time Will Come”
In the “7 Days in Review” section of March 27th, 1938:
“We were bitterly disappointed by the telegram published on last Thursday in which General Franco congratulates Mr. Hitler on his crime against Austria.
“Did Spanish Catholics heroically shed their blood in the trenches of St. Ignatius’ homeland for Spain to support the paganization of Austria?
“Is it possible that General Franco will gloss over the victory of Catholics against the Communist hydra to benefit Hitler?”
Legionário dedicated more than one “International Note” to cover the danger of a conflict between the United States and Japan, pointing out the latter’s expansionist policy.
Legionário supported Roosevelt’s policy of breaking Yankee isolationism and wrote:
“The Yankees’ policy of isolation resulted from their pragmatism: they did not need Europe and so became disinterested in her fate, as Wilson’s principles had been returned intact.”
Since the new continent—especially South America—aroused Hitler’s greed, Roosevelt took another position, frankly contrary to his ambitions.
All his attitudes and orders on the exercises of his fleet show an intention to oppose by force any attempt by a potential enemy to establish an operational base in South America.
And since the solution of current European issues may be decisive in this regard, it is not surprising that, thanks to South American republics, European democracies have Yankee support in the conflict threatening the Old Continent.”
Legionário and the Sudetenland Question
On June 19th, 1938, Legionário denounced “the Nazi offensive” being organized under a single command.
After Austria, it aimed at the annexation of Czechoslovakia and Poland.
Referring to Conrado Henlein as “the main figure in an issue (the Sudetenland) that threatens to set the world on fire, the June 19th, 1938 issue of Legionário said:
“They suppose he is looking for solutions, but he seems to be looking for pretexts.
This is Berlin’s same peculiar method. Whether it’s called Seyes Inquart in Austria, Codreanu in Romania or Henlein in Czechoslovakia, the Nazis always use demagogues and agitators, ‘agents provocateurs’ to cause mass unrest to enable Hitler’s ‘pacifying’ and ‘civilizing’ action.”
Henlein . . . ultimately wants to create a totalitarian and dictatorial power within the Czech parliamentary and democratic state!”
A “Christian” Swastika
From “7 Days in Review,” June 26th, 1938:
“In the Fascist press, some people have expressed concern about the discovery in the Church of the Convent of the Franciscan Friar Minors, in Amalfi, of several religious paintings containing the Swastika. These paintings date from the time of Saint Francis.
This fact has served as a pretext to attack the Supreme Pontiff by claiming that, contrary to what His Holiness said during Mr. Hitler’s visit, the Swastika is a Christian symbol.
It seems we are back to the apex of the 19th century’s anti-clerical and Masonic propaganda in which adversaries of Catholicism spoke utter nonsense and untruths to attack the Church.”
From the June 26th, 1938, feature article:
“If a lot of people understood this, they would see Nazism with different eyes. I have many friends who see contemporary politics through the sole prism of the Judeo-Masonic genesis of Communism through Liberalism, and the latter through Protestantism. This genealogy is legitimate. However, it is a serious mistake to consider liberalism the only child of the Pseudo-Reformation, as it excessively abbreviates this genealogy of monsters. Protestantism produced in Germany an evolutionary process of philosophical ideas and socio-political facts, which, parallel to liberalism and seemingly against it, generated Nazism with an iron logic (which would be true if its premises were not wrong).
“Hence one must understand that Nazi anti-religious rage is not a fleeting episode of contemporary life. Nor is it an explosion of stupidity that suddenly emerged in German anticommunist ranks or a delusion that will pass sooner or later without leaving major traces. Nazism results from a profound evolution. Its anti-religious policy is an integral part of its thought, which is so viscerally anti-religious that I would be more surprised at the conversion of Freemasonry into a pious association than at the Nazi Party’s transformation into a bulwark of Catholic ideas in Western Europe.”
Legionário supported Latin America’s cooperation with the United States to Defend against Nazism
In a feature article of May 8th, 1938, facing a still huge wave of isolationists unwilling to see the danger of Nazi aggression in the Americas, Legionário (while recognizing certain drawbacks in American influence), stated the need for broad cooperation between Latin America and the US to preserve the Continent from Nazi infection.
“Religion is above all. For this reason, we believe that Latin America’s cooperation with the USA to preserve the Continent from Nazi infection is of the essence.
From an international point of view, one can ‘almost’ compare Nazism to Communism—and this ‘almost’ is very problematic. It is clear that one can and must establish cooperation of all the continent’s peoples against this international evildoer.
This is the long and short of our cooperation: we have a common enemy and will march against him together.”
Already at that time, Legionário was fighting North American isolationism, of which the aviator Charles Lindberg was a typical representative.
Communist Mexico Helps Nazi Germany
From “7 Days in Review,” July 17th, 1938:
“The Mexican government has sold to Germany 10 million dollars worth oil, with the US firm Davis acting as an intermediary in the transaction. Payment will be made in cleared marks, which will force Mexico to buy German goods as well.
“This sets in motion an intense commercial exchange between Communist Mexico and Hitler’s Germany through democratic America.
“Mr. Hitler, who claims that National Socialism is the only barrier against Communism, thus helps Mexico to get out of the serious impasse it found itself in with the expropriation of oil companies and demonstrates to have such cordial relations with the Mexican government as to support it against Roosevelt’s demands.
“Note that the intermediary company is called ‘Davis.’ Mr. Hitler, who sees ‘Jewishness’ in any name in the Old Testament, does not see it this time or does not want to see it? Why?”
Anonymous Attacks on Legionário
After mentioning the Holy Father Pius XI’s denunciation of the “religion of racism,” which could only “sow hatred, war, and persecution,” the July 31st, 1938 issue of Legionário, in “7 Days in Review,” wrote:
“Since they are talking about nationalism, let us say a word about a fact that has long required a definitive explanation.
We have received numerous anonymous letters with wild and rude reproaches for our attitude in this matter for some time now.
What we have to say is simple:
A. It is vulgar exploitation to claim that we are waging anti-Italian propaganda by criticizing certain errors of Fascism. If that were the case, Italy’s greatest enemy would have been the Holy Father Pius XI, who ordered his Encyclical Non abiamo bisogno to be published worldwide.
B. As Catholics, we are interested in what is happening throughout the world, including Italy. Besides, analyzing events in other countries is a journalistic duty that countless Fascist newspapers use and abuse.
C. An anonymous letter writer deserves neither to be heard nor heeded. We are not interested in harsh criticisms cowardly made under cover of anonymity.”
Putting the dots on the “I’s.”
Legionário always refused to identify Germany with the political party that made her unhappy. This is the reason for this topic of the “7 Days in Review” of August 28th, 1938:
“Chancellor Hitler has invited several ambassadors to attend the Nazi Party Congress to be held in Nuremberg.
We found it strange that the Brazilian ambassador was among those who accepted the invitation, since Brazil, an essentially Catholic country, could not in any way be represented at the Congress of a party that persecutes the Catholic Church.”
Where Chamberlain’s Umbrella Appears
It is September 1938. The crisis created by the Sudetenland question had reached its peak.
An article appears in the Times, which Legionário calls “a trial balloon suggesting that the Sudetenland and its inhabitants be turned over to Germany.”
Our “International Note” of September 11th, 1938 reads:
“If even now in the Czech affair, England and France go along, they will be surrendering together with the Czechs, hands tied to the whims of the German ‘Führer’.”
Dishonorable peace is by no means a source of prosperity or happiness for any nation.
That is history’s lesson, and it is what the ‘glorious’ European powers are being taught in uncivilized China.”
In the lead article of September 25th, 1938, after the famous flight of English Premier Chamberlain:
“As for Mr. Chamberlain’s attitude, it seemed nice as a supreme attempt to safeguard peace. However, today it appears as a revolting gesture of weakness to which Mr. Daladier associated himself. For France, this weakness was much more serious because she had sacred treaties with the Czechs.”
The same issue’s “International Note” reads:
“The demonstrations taking place all over the world give a good idea of the just indignation provoked by this shameful capitulation to the German threat.
English prestige, so shaken after the Italian-Ethiopian war, has suffered a most severe blow. Chamberlain’s pilgrimage to Germany is one of the most shameful episodes in this decadence, not so much of the nation as of its politicians’ ability.
Hitler currently has the greatest glory ever won by a head of state in recent decades and dictates his will to all of Europe.
It is not so much a matter of strength, as no one would absolutely guarantee his victory in the war.”
The Note concludes:
“In both cases (Abyssinia and Czechoslovakia), the allies have been betrayed by England and France, with utter contempt for their pledged word. This makes any international guarantee a paper rag unable to stop the diabolical fury with which National Socialist fanaticism destroys neighboring states.”
The Vatican Deplores the Annexation of the Sudetenland
Nazi troops started occupying the Sudetenland territory on October 1st following the decisions of the Munich agreement. On the ninth of the same month, Legionário published the Osservatore Romano’s commentary deploring the annexation of the Sudetenland and reproaching certain Catholics for placing nationalism above the love of God.
“The Osservatore Romano began by giving an extensive list of the religious ruins the Nazis accumulated in Austria and expressed its serious concern that similar ruins might befall the Sudetenland region, now threatened by a future similar to that of the unfortunate Catholics from the Saarland and Austria.
The Vatican daily then severely condemned Catholics who favored annexation showing they placed nationalism above the love of God, which makes them responsible for all the evil the Church will suffer, and accomplices of all the sacrileges that take place.”
The Lima Conference
On December 8th, 1938, the International Conference of American States opened in Lima, Peru, and closed on the 27th.
On December 23rd, in its “International Note,” Legionário commented:
“If the Lima Conference did not actually fail in its main point, a solidary defense of American nations, as efforts have finally converged around the Argentine project, it is indisputable that US pretensions were reduced to almost nothing.
The worst part is not the result itself but the predominance of Argentina’s foreign policy, which at first seemed to have changed but stuck to the same old point of view that has been the cause of disagreement at Pan-American meetings. It clearly reveals its desire to keep an open door for closer negotiations and understandings with the nations that presently pose the greatest danger to our sister republics in South America.
Perhaps due to the influence of its vast German diaspora, Argentina is suspect as a potential base for Nazi infiltration in our continent. And against this danger, all precautions are few.”
In our January 22nd, 1939 issue:
“The US continues to actively prepare to become the Americas’ mainstay against possible totalitarian incursions.
After noting that the Lima Conference remained silent on the Communist danger already threatening the Americas, and giving Mexico and Chile as examples, the Note said,
“Of course, it would be ideal for us to be able to defend ourselves against dangers posed by extremists clear or disguised. However, at this moment, it is indispensable to join the Yankee alliance against the greatest and closest danger. Let us accept it with joy but not naively, keeping it within the necessary limits.”
The Death of Pius XI
In this confused international panorama, the unforgettable Pope Pius XI died in the early hours of February 10th, 1939.
On the 12th of that month, we wrote:
“Pius XI held a unique position. When all tradition and moral strength have been banished from the world and heads of government are only worth the number of cannons supporting their words; when kingdoms and empires crumble or their leaders are turned into puppets; when the phrase, ‘once a king, always a majesty’ no longer means anything because rulers are like fleeting balloons that vanish without trace; when, humanly speaking, only force is worth anything, he alone, without power or soldiers dared to face all enemies and impose himself by the moral strength of his unique personality, which papal dignity made shine as one of the greatest Popes that Providence bestowed upon the Church in all ages.
The news of his death gave us the impression of a vacuum.”
Legionário Reaffirms the Need to Fight Totalitarianism
On January 19th, 1939, in a note titled “Defining Attitudes,” we commented on a speech in Washington by then Minister Osvaldo Aranha, framing Brazil’s position in the face of currents that dominated the world:
“In the opinion of Minister Osvaldo Aranha, whose interview on his arrival in the United States practically clashed in many points with his speech . . . it is urgent to combat the dangers threatening us. If the Washington government no longer favors the Mexican and Chilean-style popular fronts but fights them with great energy by deeming them almost as dangerous as Nazism and its variants—which constitute the greatest problem of the moment. In practice, here and in the US, both have been dealt with very benignly.”
The Holy Father Pius XII Ascends to the Pontifical Throne
On March 2nd, 1939, Eugenio Cardinal Pacelli, the “alter ego” of Pius XI, was elected Sovereign Pontiff with universal jubilation to continue the latter’s wonderful and most fruitful action.
“The choice of Cardinal Pacelli—Pius XII—will encourage Catholics capable of ‘having the mind of the Church’ in their struggles, comfort them in their sorrows, and reward them in their obedience, strengthening their Faith. The conclave’s choice beckons the greatest glory of Pius XI’s pontificate, as it is a ratification by the Holy Spirit of the entire orientation of his governance, choosing his primary collaborator to continue his struggle to avoid obstacles to the Bark of St. Peter in its glorious journey.”
German Troops Occupy Bohemia and Moravia
A new and spectacular Nazi coup surprises the world on March 15th, 1939, as Nazi troops occupy Bohemia and Moravia incorporate them into the Reich.
On March 19th, Legionário wrote:
“In France and England, the perplexity is immense. Daladier, whose meeting with Ribbentrop was hailed with great fanfare as the beginning of an era of concord, now dared not say anything. Only Chamberlain dared to admit that Hitler utterly deceived him. Yet, he has not given up his policy, which he will continue to pursue certain of its ultimate success. By then, likely there will be nothing left in the world for the Reich to devour...”
Legionário Anticipates the Reasons for Poland’s Resistance and the French Downfall
On April 2nd, 1939, Legionário explained the reasons for the heroic Polish resistance, which took place months later, and the destruction of the French troops because the Polish were psychologically prepared, and the French were not:
“In the general picture of democratic weakness, cowed by the totalitarian advance in Europe, Poland has risen to halt the march of the Reich.
Poland joins material to spiritual preparation and courageously faces the possibility of war.
At the same time, following the backlash of public opinion in England and France, Chamberlain has delivered a solid but evasive speech. Daladier, in his Wednesday speech, asserted that France would not give an inch of its territory.
Daladier’s speech was categorical and guaranteed that France is ready for all eventualities. Materially, that is possible, but not spiritually, at least not by the government.
As categorical and positive as Daladier’s speech was, it lacked the essential: soul.
Everything he said will be worthless if the prospect of war frightens the French. The people themselves would force him to yield.
To defend against this, Poland appeals to the courage of its people. Their acclamations are enthusiastic, heroic. There is already talk [they will not spare] the last drop of Polish blood.
Is there anything similar in Daladier’s speech? Where in it do you find a word about French heroism, recalling the great figures of French epics or calling on the people to have courage?
The speech has nothing in this regard, and this is one of its weakest points, which can render all his statements useless.”
The Invasion of Albania
On Passion Friday, 1939, Mussolini carried out what Legionário deemed a horrendous desecration: terrified, the world watched the invasion of Albania by Fascist troops.
How to explain it? Why did the “Duce” thus violate the religious sentiments of the Italian people? Legionário answered this question on April 9th, 1939:
“It is just that, in his satanic hatred, after affronting the Pope by planting the Swastika in Rome, Hitler conjured up this additional insult to God.
He found in Mussolini the obedience he expected. After the conquests of Germany with the diminution of Italy, the “Duce” felt the growing discredit of Fascism. For that reason, not daring to march on Corsica, as he threatened, he preferred to stir popular enthusiasm to conquest Albania.
Mussolini, having received Chamberlain’s green light as English newspapers wrote that England would not go to war over it, was ordered by Hitler to attack on Good Friday.
Like a new Judas, on the day that Christ shed His Blood, a day respected by all Christian peoples, the “Duce” betrays a friendly people and sheds their blood to earn the thirty pieces of political prestige he has been unable to preserve by other means.”
On April 16th, we wrote:
“Let Poland, Romania and Greece strive to get rid of their enemies and ask God to free them from friends like Chamberlain lest they have the same fate as Czechoslovakia and Albania.”
The Legendary Umbrella Again on Stage
At this point, having denounced the German-British naval agreement on April 27th, Hitler was preparing an attack on Poland.
On May 14th, 1939, we commented:
“England continues to pursue its policy of appeasement and [misguided] trust.
Like a bat, Chamberlain stings and blows at the same time. When he stings—as in his last speech—it is to soothe British anger at Hitler. To prevent British irritation, he immediately reaffirms his confidence in Hitler’s word, the high moral value of which the Munich pact has proved abundantly. . . After the Reich denounced its naval treaty, Chamberlain hopes to sign another, everything remaining in a bed of roses.
Chamberlain has given such a great example that he seems to have imitators. According to all indications, his great disciple is Russia.
At the same time, Maxim Litvinov is removed from the Commissariat of Foreign Affairs, and England rejects the military alliance proposed by the Soviets.
Nothing binds Russia against totalitarian states, of which only Japan is really anti-Soviet. Now since Japan does not want to join military alliances solely in the interest of Western policy and thus becomes an uninteresting ally for the Reich, Japan is likely to prefer Russia.
Thus, after Spain, Austria, Sudetenland, Moravia, Bohemia, Slovakia, Hungary, Albania, and perhaps soon Yugoslavia, the ‘democracies’ will also have Russia against them. That will crown the mysterious designs of Chamberlain’s policy ‘against’ totalitarian states...”
The Nazi-Soviet Pact
The Nazi plan to invade Poland became clear with the Danzig affair. Legionário predicted that to carry out this plan, Hitler would not shrink from allying with Stalin.
Legionário had already cited several favors Nazi Germany had done Russia, including a credit of 300 million marks payable in five years.
In fact, as we said on August 27th, 1939 in our commentary on the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, the entire political orientation of this journal has always revolved around the central and fundamental conviction that the seeming opposition between Nazism and Communism ultimately turned into barely disguised solidarity.”
“Currents usually called ‘right-wing’ ultimately were nothing but pseudo-right-wing and concealed a profoundly left-wing doctrinal content.”
War Breaks Out with the Invasion of Poland
This whole series of crimes and weaknesses culminated in the invasion of Poland on September 1st, 1939.
In its “International Note” of September 3rd, Legionário comments:
“In vain did they hope that the negotiations engaged between England and the Reich, the mediation of neutral countries, and Italy’s reluctance would succeed in avoiding war.
The Führer has launched into this adventure egged on by Moscow’s support with the signing of the German-Russian pact and its ratification Thursday.
France and England confirmed the guarantees they gave Poland despite news that the hostilities had started.
On the other hand, Hitler dispensed with Italy’s military support.
The Division of Poland
In the same Note, we continued:
“Everything suggests that the war was not decided by a simple non-aggression pact but by a secret agreement between Russia and the Reich, which should probably result in the dividing up of Poland.
Thus, positions seem to emerge as clear-sighted analysts have always presented them: the close ideological proximity between Nazism and Communism has translated into a real military alliance against civilization and peace.
They are now beginning to wage war with all its hideous procession of death, misery and suffering, trying to impose on Europe, a master who is the antithesis of Catholic civilization and the product of a centuries-old series of errors, imposing error against Truth.”
France and England Declare War on Germany
On that same September 3rd, France and England announced the state of war with Germany.
On September 10th, we wrote:
“After betraying the democracies, Soviet Russia showed obvious signs of very close agreement with the Reich but finally declared itself neutral. What is it aiming at? Some observers believe that Stalin was certain that, with Russia’s defection, France and England would not dare to declare war. If Russia were willing to betray, simply gaining part of the Polish territory would not move it to wage war. Others more convinced of the German-Russian alliance think that Hitler reserves Russian and Italian support for the moment of putting pressure on France and England to accept a dishonorable peace.”
Russia Invades Poland
On September 17th, after waiting for Polish forces to violently engage the fight against German invaders, the Soviets rushed at full speed through southern Poland, closing off the Romanian border and the road to Ukraine to the Nazis. It was certain that having engaged the Reich in the Western war the latter would have to agree with the limits imposed on its advance.
The Holy Father and “The Poland that Does Not Want to Die”
The Holy Father Pius XII addresses moving words to Polish Catholics in their misfortune. In a subtitle, Legionário stressed this excerpt:
“We do not ask you to dry your tears. Jesus Christ, who wept for the death of Lazarus, will someday repay you for the tears you are shedding for your dead and for Poland, which does not want to die.”
On September 27th, attacked frontally by Nazi hordes and stabbed in the back by Stalin’s hit men, martyred Poland surrenders unconditionally.
In December 1939, Legionário stressed “the revulsion that the Russian attack on Finland aroused by its brutality and cowardice given the two nations’ different potentials.”
The Enigma of the Maginot Line
On December 31st, 1939, Legionário devoted a long analysis to a strange war episode on the Western Front. It would seem that the Allies, England and France, did not want to attack the Nazis, hoping instead that Germany would take the initiative to attack after having liquidated the eastern front in Poland. What a strange case: two countries declaring war on an aggressor and place themselves on the defensive!
The English Reaction
Tired of the ‘spirit of Munich,’ the English decide to shelve Mr. Chamberlain’s umbrella. Hitler feels the sting, as one can see in this March 3rd, 1940 Legionário excerpt:
“Hitler’s latest speech is another strange development: In it, the name of Chamberlain accidentally appears but there is not a single reference to Daladier and French politicians. Yet the Fuehrer furiously attacks Churchill, Duff Cooper, Eden, ‘above all of whom hovers the spirit of the Jew Hore Belisha.’ Hitler says he is happy to have Churchill’s hatred and would feel like a scoundrel if those men were to praise him.
He did so because these men, only one of whom occupies a prominent position, were braver or more honest than others and clearly denounced his crimes and raised English public opinion [against him] before it was too late to save the country from the abyss into which they were leading.”
On April 9th, the Nazis invade Denmark and Norway.
On May 10th, the Chamberlain Cabinet falls, and Churchill becomes Prime Minister.
The Holy Father Pius XII Condemns the Invasion of Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg
On that same occasion, with his typical brutality and disrespect for the populations, Hitler invaded Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg.
In our May 19th issue, we showed how the Holy Father Pius XII condemned these Nazi aggressions through telegrams sent to the respective sovereigns [of the invaded countries].
His Majesty King Leopold III of Belgium had telegraphed the Holy Father asking for moral support “for the cause for which we fight with invincible resolution.”
His Holiness thus responded to this request for support:
“At the moment when the Belgian people see their territory exposed to the cruelty of war for the second time against their will and legitimate right, We send Your Majesty and your beloved nation the certainty of Our paternal affection, beseeching Almighty God that this ordeal may end with the full restoration of Belgium’s freedom and independence. We wholeheartedly impart Our apostolic blessing on Your Majesty and your people.”
The Holy Father also addressed Her Majesty, Queen Wilhelmina:
“I received with great emotion the news that Your Majesty’s efforts to maintain peace had not managed to preserve your noble country and that, contrary to its will and legitimate right, Holland has been transformed into a war theater. I beseech God – the supreme Judge of the destiny of nations – to help anticipate the restoration of justice and freedom with His almighty help.”
And to Her Highness, Princess Charlotte of Luxembourg:
“At the painful moment when the people of Luxembourg are involved in the war despite their yearnings for peace, We feel even closer to their hearts and implore Our heavenly patroness for the necessary help and protection so they can live in freedom and healthy independence. We bestow Our apostolic blessing on Your Royal Highness and your faithful subjects.”
His condemnation [of the war] could not be more explicit, clearly showing how Hitler violated the principles of law and justice by massacring these countries without warning.
Quislings in Europe and the Americas
In this same issue, referring to American neutrality, we said:
“There is a single betrayal by Nazis in Norway, Holland and Belgium, to the point that, alarmed, England decided to gather Germans and Austrians in concentration camps.
That same fifth column exists widely and is deeply spread throughout the Americas. By feeling the false ground they are treading on, Americans are finally deciding to open their eyes and see the abyss toward which they walked, blindfolded by subtle propaganda and mindless pragmatism.”
Dunkirk and the Invasion of France
France’s downfall begins after the invasion of the Netherlands. Legionário referred to France’s betrayal by her own children even before the withdrawal from Dunkirk. Here is the comment we posted on May 26th:
“Only the naive could believe that failure to resist the invasion, with generals and their staffs imprisoned, no bridges destroyed, fortresses occupied without a fight and numerous such setbacks that took place in Holland, Belgium and France happened by chance.
“A fifth or sixth column is acting at all points, not with paratroopers and armed tourists but by treason, timely killing officers in charge of certain missions and striking other blows.”
Petain and the Capitulation of France
At the grave hour when France was invaded, Legionário resolutely condemned Petain’s “unconditional surrender of St. Joan of Arc’s brave homeland.” We disagreed with him from the start even as others said, pathetically, ‘What else could he do?’ On June 23rd, 1940, we wrote:
“We must say that we frankly do not appreciate Marshal Petain’s conduct.”
We stood with the French Resistance:
“Did Petain not foresee this? Did Petain not know that as long as France kept only a few tracts of land along the English coast, it would be giving invaluable support to the common cause?”
We were not alone in this assessment:
“At least this time, let no one call us enemies of France. We are not against France. This series of reflections also apply to the French elite and especially the brave General De Gaulle, who broadcast from London to the world his heroic world cry of discontent with the Petain Government.”
At that moment of Nazi predominance, we trusted the French would react against the defeatism of those who confused the brave Gallic people with the traitors who ruled them:
“France having been defeated in the material fight by her government’s defection, we can only ardently hope that she will have enough faith to withstand the spiritual combat and win. Despite all Nazi heels seeking to trample on her, she will arise sooner or later in all glory from the sufferings and martyrdom to which she has been subjected” (Legionário, June 30th, 1940).
The Nazification of the Balkans and the “Pseudo-Right-Wing International”
Hungary, Romania, and Czechoslovakia move into Axis orbit. Italy begins sending troops to Albania to attack Greece. In its October 20th, 1940 “7 Days in Review” section, Legionário comments:
“Legionário has repeatedly insisted on the existence of an International [coalition] of pseudo-right-wing movements which is as alive, effective, and rigidly coordinated in all continents as the Third [Communist] International, which today is almost defunct.
Seyss-Inquart, Degrelle, Serrano Suner, Quisling, Mussert are living proofs of this truth.
On the list of these sad characters is the Romanian pseudo-rightist leader, Mr. Hória Sima. Despite being furiously nationalist, he went to his country’s border to pay homage to Nazi military “technicians” about whose real objectives Mr. Hória Sima has not the slightest illusion.”
In its November 10th, 1940 issue, Legionário shows how Roosevelt’s reelection was “a setback in the United States for the hopes of Nazi diplomacy” sympathetic to isolationist Republican policies, since at this point Roosevelt has clearly “supported the English democratic regime against the totalitarian dictatorships fighting against it.”
Nazi “Crusade” against Communism
Despite the Nazi-Soviet pact, which facilitated Hitler’s invasion of Poland and France, Legionário had never ruled out that Hitler, seeking to strengthen his internal and external fronts, could further propagandize his “struggle against Communism” slogan. On December 29th, 1940, months before the Nazi attack on Russia, we wrote:
“In several issues, Legionário has insistently said that the fictitious hostility between Nazism and Communism—which has abated only ‘officially’ and for political interests (in the real world there never was a struggle and thus nothing to abate)—can flare up again even stronger from a moment to the next. It is very much in the Nazi dictator’s style to strike a hard blow on Communism to present himself to humanity as a new Constantine and—honored by the laurels of such “Christian” victory—to wage war against Catholicism more resolutely than ever.”
US Aid to Allies
Always defending allied resistance against the Axis, Legionário applauded the American Congress’ final approval of the law to aid democracies, countering the opinion that it would drag the American continent into the conflict.
On March 16th, 1941, we said:
“Despite the isolationist current, this approval by a large majority means [they have] a vision of the future and the consequences of the current conflict.”
We saw no immediate danger of a totalitarian attack on America, “but in time, the conflict will inevitably arise between a Europe dominated by totalitarianism and American democracy if the latter wants to keep its neutrality and ideals.”
“For all these reasons, one can be sure that barring provocation or direct attack the United States will not go to war of its own free will. The isolationist campaign’s insinuations that this is the Washington government’s intention are utterly groundless.”
The Pope Is Not Neutral
On March 23rd, Legionário transcribed this Vatican City telegram against the concept of neutrality at all costs at the expense of the principles of justice and the rule of law:
“The Pope is not neutral,” the editorial states. The Holy Father cannot help but take sides. In this struggle, he also plays the role of guardian of the legacy of Revelation and Redemption entrusted to him, of which we are all part. The more justice, charity, fraternity and value of acquired or created life are intertwined, the more the light and guidance of consciences and ultimately the existence or non-existence of human conscience will be compromised, and the Pope will be in the fight. The more evident the offenses committed, the more courageously he fights for good, justice, and truth. He utters this sentence [‘the Pope is not neutral’] as a condemnation.”
The Bombing of London
The bombing of the English civilian population could not go without a protest, and we referred to this savagery on May 25th, 1941:
“In their destructive rage against the civilian population of London, hoping to defeat the indomitable courage with which the English people force their government to keep fighting the totalitarian threat, Nazi planes continue systematically bombing London residential districts without any military objective.”
The Nazi Assault on Russia
More than once, we predicted Nazi aggression against Russia despite Hitler’s close collaboration with Stalin after the Ribbentrop-Molotov pact.
Here is how we referred to the matter on the eve of the “unexpected” Nazi violation of the Soviet border:
“Notwithstanding what this journal has already said on the plausibility of a brief Nazi-Communist clash, it is interesting to show that the relations between those two totalitarian regimes remain perfectly cordial” (“7 Days in Review,” June 22nd, 1941).
By this time, [Rudolf] Hess was failing in his attempt to undermine British resistance. His plane crashed into the ‘fight against communism’ refrain. On June 29th, Legionário dedicated an extensive editorial ‘On the Margins of the German-Russian ‘Conflict,’’ stressing the need to exterminate both ‘brown’ and ‘red’ totalitarianism from the face of the earth. In our July 6th, 1941 issue, we again made an exhaustive analysis of ‘the relationship between Nazism and Communism.’”
“V” for Victory and Broken Umbrella
Always consistent in its firm determination to fight totalitarianism, on July 27th, Legionário came out against those seeking to impede British resistance to the Nazi air, land and sea offensive:
“We can fear all errors and failures for as long as the umbrella party in England is not destroyed. The letter ‘V’ is becoming the symbol of the English victory, but how much more graphic would that symbol be if it were a broken umbrella!”
Vichy and French Indochina
Petain, with his Vichy government, sat on his hands in the face of the Japanese occupation of Indochina, which had so vigorously opposed De Gaulle’s retreat from Dakar.
On July 27th, 1941, we wrote
“The occupation of this country (Indochina) by the Japanese, announced this week, would constitute a terrible blow to the security of Allies in the Far East, directly affecting Singapore and the Dutch Indies. The latter is capable of supplying all the oil that Japan needs in case of war.
With these facts, during this week, the ‘Axis’ has gained enormous advantages.
It is unnecessary to emphasize the attitude of Vichy, ready to resist all the allies of France and to make every concession to the Axis countries.”
After Pearl Harbor, the fall of Singapore and the conquest of the Dutch Indies by the Japanese confirmed our predictions.
The Japanese Attack Pearl Harbor
With the treacherous Japanese attack on American and British bases on December 7th, 1941, the conflict became a world war. On December 14th, 1941, Legionário stated:
“All the Americas follow the United States, while Axis nations support the Japanese; declarations of war are quickly following.”
On February 1st, 1942:
“We recommend that our readers carefully examine the official report on the US government’s inquiry into the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. More than any comment, the conclusions of this inquiry expose the whole mystery of iniquity found in the fifth column, which the Legionário has always denounced.
Indeed, how can anyone deny there has been betrayal and, on the other hand, how much money will suffice to indemnify the traitors for all damages that will necessarily result from their betrayal?”
Brazil Breaks Relations with the Axis
On January 28th, 1942, Brazil severed diplomatic relations with the Axis countries. The Brazilian Minister of Foreign Affairs broke the news at the Plenary Session closing the Inter-American Conference of Foreign Ministers.
There followed a series of events that everyone knows and culminated with Brazil’s entry into the war. At that point, we wrote against those criticizing our opposition to the totalitarian danger:
“Today, when this danger knocks on our doors, threatening to become even more serious than all of our country’s religious problems because of the imminent risk it poses to the Faith, it is the case to ask many short-sighted people who called us visionaries simply because we saw more than they did, if we were not right.”
Brazil Declares War on Italy and Germany
On August 22nd, 1942, Brazil declares war on Italy and Germany. We refrain from recalling the events that have taken place since then, as they are in everyone’s memory.
We must only emphasize how, in this campaign against the Nazi danger, we never failed to speak out against the Communist danger with all our energies. On August 23rd, 1942, the day after Brazil’s declaration of war on the Axis powers, our “7 Days in Review” commented:
“We, who fight Nazism with all our souls, must also fight Communism energetically, uncompromisingly, relentlessly, violently. There is no question for us Catholics of choosing between Communism and Nazism.”
In the same sense, we have since dedicated more than one study to scrutinize certain trends in allied countries to distort the victory in order to favor Communism or socialism. This would torpedo the entire effort made to ensure the success of the combat against Nazism and Fascism, which, according to the classic thesis of Legionário, are ultimately mere disguises of Communism and socialism.
Therefore, with the totalitarian monster on the right now finished, here we are, ready to take up arms to exterminate the totalitarian hydra on the left.
For this, we trust in the help of the Redeemer of the World and His Most Pure Mother, the One who, alone, crushed the head of the infernal serpent.