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Evening star. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1854-1972, April 02, 1948, Image 9

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Greed, Terror and Hatred Seen
Behind Communist Successes
Third of six articles by the
editor of This Weelc tr -line
after a tour of Europe Ic year
under the auspices of the State
By William I. Nichols
North American Newspaper Alliance
NEW YORK, April 2.—Don’t ever
be lulled into a sense of security:
by headlines about Communist set- ■
backs. Under the surface they are
steadily building their strength
against “the day.” Wherever you
go in Europe today, you find a hard
core of Communist influence. Yet
why Is it that a regime which pro
duces nothing but disillusionment
and starvation and misery and op
pression and death *for the people
Is threatening the world?
Just from talking with the little
people, I think you can add up four
reasons, and they have nothing very
much to do with Karl Marx or
Lenin. Communism appeals to four
very strong, very basic, very human
The first of them is greed. There
are a lot of people taking the lead
for communism because there defi
nitely is something in it for them.
Co-operatives Help Reds.
In Italy, for instance, you will find
In every town there is a co-operative
and in this co-operative, if you are
an enrolled member of the Com
munist Party, you get food and wine
and everything at a 30 to 50 per cent
discount. In short, it pays to be a
At the very top of the heap, too,
are a lot of people who are in the
party because there is something in
it for them. Wherever you go you
find the key Communists with plenty
of cash, living like kings.
That is one emotion, greed. The
second is terror
Outside Trieste, we went to a
little village called Obeine to see a
woman to whom we had letters of
introduction. She came to the door,
peeked through, and pulled us in
side. She said she was glad to see
us, but at the same time she told
us that in the three months since
she had come to that town she had
not talked to any one.
' Yugoslavs Keep List.
"Any stray word can get you in
trouble,” she said. “The OSNA (the
Yugoslav secret police; come over
the border every night and go from
door to door, signing up people on
the roster as pro-Communist, pro
Yugoslav, pro-Tito. Even if you do
sign, but continue to go to the
Catholic church, for example, the
OSNA agents stand outside, and
word comes back, ‘You were seen
going to mass. You go off the list.’ ”
Outside, on the hilltops overlook
ing the village, is something to really
send the chills down your spine.
Those are the “foibas.” A foiba is
a vertical cave in the limestone hltls.
They look almost like mine shafts,
and some of them go down 600 feet.
In justice to the Communists, the
custom was not invented by them:
For a long time, if you had an
enemy, you pushed him into a foiba.
But since the Communist troubles
have begun, the pushing of people
into them has become an organized
affair. When Marshal Tito came
It was said that between 4,000 and
5.000 people went into the foibas.
I talked to an Italian newspaper
editor who had a paperweight on
his desk made from a set of brass
knuckles that had been used to
attack him during a political meet
ing. He told of a can of dynamite
found outside his office a few weeks
before. One American official told
me he had verified over 100 cases
of intimidation of journalists
throughout Italy.
Check-off at Demonstrations.
And terror, like bribery, works
with the little people too. Among
industrial workers, for instance,
when a demonstration is to be held,
the Communist leaders use the
"postcard” system. Each worker re
ceives a card telling him where to
"mass” for the “demonstration.”
There he turns his card in to a
party leader. And he'knows it is
unhealthy if he doesn’t turn up.
The third emotion is hatred—
based on envy and jealousy. And I
think you can understand that, too.
Europe is sick and poor. People are
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miserable; they are cold and hungry.'
When that happens, people get
irritable and cranky and that is
fertile ground for communism.
Here’s a pitiful and revealing bit
from a letter I have just receive^
from one of the friends we made in
Slovakia. He is a school teacher,
and he has to travel 25 miles by
train to his school. Here is what
he says:
“When there is a throng in the
train I listen to the different ideas
of the people. It is a very interest
ing thing to see and hear how peo
ple are impatient and intolerable in
their action and speech. It seems
to me that they have lost the
equipoise of life, and everybody feels
in his negihbor his mortal enemy.
I am very sorry for this last state
ment, but I cannot help saying it.”
In Venice we talked with an anti
communist who had twice been at
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tacked and pushed into the canal—
once he was rescued by a British
MP, the second time by an Ameri
can GI. I said, “Why are there
Communists in Venice of all places,
where the only reason for its being
is the luxury trade—the hotels, fac
tories, the glass, the embroideries
and all those things? What would
happen- to Venice in a Communist
He said, “People don’t think that
| far ahead. Some people hate other
'people, and that is the thing that is
giving them their impulse.”
The Italian editor who had the
brass knuckles on his desk estimated
that the Communists could take
Italy in a week, and that in the first
three days 1.000,000 people would be
killed—just an overflowing, an ex
plosion of hatred and envy and
Those are the first three emotions:
Greed, and terror and hatred. There
is a fourth and this is the most Im
portant—propaga nda. There is a
kind of ecstacy that goes with the
idea of communism, a kind of vital
ity. a sense of hope and sense of ad
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venture and the Communists are
past masters at exploiting these
emotions through their propaganda.
During our trip, we saw the force of
Soviet propaganda in perhaps the
most dramatic way that it is possible
to experience it, and I should like to
discuss that next.
(Another article in this series will
appear tomorrow, j
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