Courtesy Reuters

Spain and the Axis

LIKE Napoleon, Hitler found that domination of the Continent was not enough, that he must seize the gateways to other more remote zones of power. Like Napoleon, he set upon Egypt and Russia. Will he, like Napoleon, turn his armies also towards Spain, the gateway of the West? Or is he already in a situation there which makes military action superfluous?

There are elements in Spanish policy which seem inevitably to range the country on the side of Britain's enemies. I suggest that the strength of these elements has generally been underrated. We have realized that the ruling elements in Spain are thoroughly anti-democratic. We know that all through the war the Spanish press has been a megaphone for Berlin, proclaiming Axis victories and hailing the extrusion of Britain from the Continent. What we are apt to forget is that, at any rate in the short view, the national interests of Spain do seem to stand to profit from a German victory. "Treaty revision," the bait that hooked Hungary and Bulgaria, is attractive to Spain also. As Señor Suñer said to the San Sebastian correspondent of the Völkischer Beobachter when he was on his way to Berlin in September 1940: "In the hour when Spain seeks associates she turns to countries which are victims of the same injustices that she herself has suffered. . . . The natural aspirations of Spain are derived from tradition and from her geographical position between two continents."

The existence of such sentiments gives German propagandists a lien on Spain which, incidentally, they do not possess in the case of Portugal, whose geographical position is so similar. That Señor Salazar is fully conscious of Portugal's rôle as "not merely a European but a World Power" [i] is patent. The Portuguese press gave the greatest prominence to President Roosevelt's premonitory statement at the end of July 1940 on the importance of Portuguese and Spanish ports being kept open to maintain communication between Europe and America. Portugal's function, it

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