February 25, 1940 – Coming up on day 176, a little less than six months of war. Attempts at achieving diplomatic peace have been fruitless, introducing the phrase Ashcan Diplomacy, since every proposed treaty and international rule had been tossed in the trash. Germany was poised to widen the war dramatically. Commentator William Hillman makes no predictions, no timetable of future events but the specter of doom was everywhere. For the moment, it was a waiting game – troops were on alert, cities were readying for the worst. Hillman is pessimistic, saying the situation was grimmer than it seemed on the surface. The German strategy so far had been to sit quietly on the Western Front and concentrate attacks on British shipping and commerce. The British in turn formed a formidable blockade against Germany. But neither the German attack on British shipping nor the British blockade could bring about any immediate decision. And so it was the neutral nations which were once again eyed as the place of battle (echoes of Word War 1). The situation between Finland an Russia was prompting speculation over what this new war might look like. Observers were noting the cost of this war with the heavy loss of Russians and estimates at five or six to one Finnish soldier. It was felt the Russians could afford that level of loss, but not so sure the allies could. And so it was predicted that Neutral nations would for forced into a war they were desperately trying to avoid. The Scandinavian neutrals were worried, and meeting in Copenhagen voiced the position they did not want to be dragged into a war over Finland. Sweden was being pressured to aid Finland – Norway was the subject of diplomatic crossfire between Britain and Germany. Denmark, on Germany’s doorstep was worried. But what did they suggest? Proposals delivered earlier this day suggested the Finnish-Russian dispute be settled by negotiations as well as advocating peace negotiations between the Allies and Germany. Russia agreed to peaceful negotiations but only if Finland surrendered completely. Britain said they were ready to discuss peaceful negotiations, but only on the condition Germany got rid of Hitler. But that wouldn’t happen unless Germany was defeated, either by military confrontation or by successful blockade.
Needless to say – the outlook was grim. But that’s the way it looked on February 25, 1940 as described by William Hillman and his Commentary for the NBC Blue Network.