Argentina, the Recalcitrant American State

Courtesy Reuters

IT WILL long remain a perplexing question why Argentina chose to alienate all of the American Governments and set herself against a united opposition to the Axis Powers. It is more puzzling still to account for her persistence in a design so seemingly perverse, when it must have become clear to the Argentinians that the Allies were going to win the war, that the course they were pursuing was fraught with danger to themselves and might well engulf Argentina in strife with her neighbors and pave the way for national disaster. To cite the effectiveness of German propaganda does not answer the question. That same propaganda had opposite results in the other American nations. If the people of Argentina proved themselves more gullible, more easily persuaded, if the siren's voice sounded sweeter and more enticing than it did to other peoples in this hemisphere, then there must have been a special receptivity in this nation for the newly elaborated German doctrines of force, glory, gore and racial superiority.

The voluntary offer of so profound a challenge to the American system of free and democratic government cannot be explained as merely accidental or purely personal with this or that leader. National policy has a certain inner logic and historical consistency. If Argentina was responsive to the call that issued from Germany, it must have been because the call sounded true and right; and it could sound so only if in some manner it fitted in with an age-old and persistent urge now come to the surface and containing the hope of present fulfillment.

Argentine statesmen, scholars and soldiers must have become obsessed with the idea that their country was being submerged by forces over which they had no control, that their nation was declining in power and prestige, and that it was, in fact, in real danger of entering a declining and decrepit old age before it had achieved the promise latent in a very vigorous adolescence. All about them the nations

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