WASHINGTON (Jan. 14)
Hitler’s defensive operations in Russia and Africa will probably not interfere with his long-planned, often delayed, drive through Turkey to Palestine into the Near East, well-informed circles predicted here today. The German military movement, it was explained, may simply be the frontal attack of the Nazi campaign. An attack behind the lines may also develop in the form of Arab “nationalist” uprisings.
That the British expect such a Nazi drive is evidenced by the fact that, according to information received in Washington, they are now concentrating considerable air power in the Near East in preparation for concerted bombings of Germany’s new bases in Greece, which are in a position to supply an offensive against Palestine and Turkey. The British, it was pointed out here today, would hardly be diverting valuable air power from what has heretofore been the main objective, if they did not believe it necessary to disrupt, or at least delay, Germany’s offensive preparations.
Should an Arab “nationalist” uprising be timed with a Nazi military drive, the number of German troops required to do far-reaching damage in the Near and Middle East would be correspondingly reduced; it is believed here. The opinion is expressed that despite the defenses which the British are now rushing into this area, they will have to rely extensively on the Arabs for man power. If the Germans have any kind of an organization at all among the Arabs, they will know the location and strength of the British air fields and defense positions, it is assumed here.
WHY HITLER IS ANXIOUS TO REACH PALESTINE; MOTIVES EXPLAINED IN WASHINGTON
Those in Washington who are convinced that a Nazi lunge through Turkey is imminent, declare that such a move offers to Hitler the following attractions:
1. One column might strike down through Syria into Palestine – areas which command the terminus of the Middle Eastern oil fields.
2. In Turkey, Palestine and Syria there is an abundance of strategic materials which the German military command desires and needs.
3. If Hitler could establish himself in Palestine, he would have entrenched himself behind the British Army which is in pursuit of General Rommel.
4. By reaching Palestine, Hitler could renew his campaign of prejudice more violently than ever, appealing to the Arabs.
All these are given in Washington as solid reasons why Hitler should be anxious to push down through Turkey to Palestine with one column, while another column might be aimed across Turkey in the direction of Iran and Iraq. The northeastern border of Turkey borders on the Russian Caucasus which Hitler hoped to reach in 1941 but failed to achieve when his armies were beaten by the Soviets at Rostov and forced into an as yet unchecked retreat.