By DIAL PRESS
THIS book purports to describe the underground activities of guerrillas, organized or unorganized, citizens, ex-soldiers, men and women in European countries occupied by their German conquerors, who fight back with such weapons and methods as they can obtain. These activities may range from propaganda to dynamiting trains and bridges, from individual assassination or arson, to such highly organized guerrilla warfare as is found in Poland, Russia, and Yugoslavia.
Mr. Riess gives the impression that there is a vast amount of this subterranean activity in subjugated Europe. No doubt the total amount is impressive and a cause of considerable anxiety to the forces of occupation. Only by merciless reprisals, by mass executions of innocent “hostages,”by ceaseless search for weapons and propaganda, can these seething populations be kept under a semblance of control. And each reprisal or punishment creates new enemies and new hates. “Collaboration” with Germany is not popular in conquered Europe. Yet I find this book unbalanced and unsatisfactory. It would not be difficult, for example, to collect enough instances of labor unrest and violence in various parts of the United States, in any chosen year, to give the impression that revolution was imminent in this country and only checked by oppression. Mr. Riess proves too much. There are sabotage and propaganda and assassination in Europe, and those things are symptoms of a state of mind. They are not in themselves very important. Even organized guerrilla warfare, by itself, is almost valueless, except as a nuisance, when opposed by efficient troops; it is of immense value when coördinated with the effort of regular armies. Lawrence in Arabia, the Spanish guerrillas in the Peninsular campaigns, the Russian guerrillas in this war, and many other instances could be cited. But the uncoördinated “wild justice” of which Mr. Riess writes should raise no false hopes from a military standpoint. He proves only that Europeans hate slavery and oppression and would welcome a liberator. R. E. D.