The Charlotte News
Friday, May 24, 1940
Site Ed. Note: "Peril" provides the reader great anecdotal insight into just how complaisant the American people were prior to Pearl Harbor, just how divided the country was over entry into the war, most polls showing the majority of the people against full-scale entry into the war by sending troops overseas. But Cash's foreboding proved sadly prophetic of what yet was to come--and what might have darkly been had not the attack on Pearl Harbor shocked the country into awareness of the danger at hand, the danger of megalomaniacs bent on establishing empire. "Jitters" also carries prophecy which would become true in 13 months; would have ended with Germany conquering Russia without the aid of the Allies had it not been for the brave civilians who manned the barricades to stall the Nazi advance outside Stalingrad and Leningrad in time for the shoring up of fortitude and supplies fortuitously gained from the early and unusually long Russian winter which began in October, 1941.
Russia Begins To See What Is Coming; Italy Is Blind
Rumanian sources represent Russia as being terrified at the prospect that Adolf Hitler will sweep the Western empires into his clutches, then treat his word as he has always treated it and turn to grabbing the Ukraine--upon which Russia's life as a strong and independent nation depends.
What suggests that it is true is that Pravda, the official Communist organ in Moscow, has changed its stand a little and now foresees that if the Allies can stalemate the war for the present they will win in the end because of the industrial backing of the United States. Strange as it seems, that hath the ring of wish-thinking.
But no one will sympathize with Russia. Stalin had a chance to set himself down as a champion of civilization, deliberately betrayed it to prove himself clever. If presently he is eaten up by the treacherous scoundrel with whom he entered into partnership, the world will not mind.
Another man who seems determined to rush on the spears is Benito Mussolini. He has had, still has, it in his power to decisively save Western civilization of which his country was the cradle. His people, remaining a relatively decent one despite the ferocity of official Fascism, want no war for the most part--probably would prefer, if let alone, to fight on the side of the Allies if they had to fight. But he is bent on playing the vulture and the tinpot Caesar--for a little while.
That is, until Adolf Hitler decides that he is no longer useful and eats him and his country up also. When that hour strikes, there will be no tears in the Western world.
New Facts Return It To Status of Mystery
Back in our college days, psychology students knew that the brain was a neatly pigeonholed thing of special areas. All that mattered much ultimately was the cortex. The rest of the brain was mere connective tissue through which the tiny threads which carry instructions to the body passed. One group of cells at the back of the cortex was the seat of sight, another higher up controls speech, another the hand, another the big toe. If they were injured or destroyed you couldn't see or talk or use your hand or wiggle your big toe.
But now Dr. Leland B. Alford of St. Louis tells the American Psychiatric Association of experiments and operations which seem to knock that into a cocked hat. Men with the speech area cut out go right on talking. A woman with a nail in the frontal lobe, which is supposed to be the seat of intelligence, goes right on rendering efficient service as a schoolteacher. The corpus callosum, a part of the brain lying between the two hemispheres and long believed to be essential to thinking and bodily activity, is removed in ten epileptics without affecting their mental or physical qualities. Considerable areas of other brain tissue are removed in other patients with the same result.
If this is confirmed, the whole brain seems to think, and complex functions are by no means dependent on localized areas.
Long ago old Goethe said it to the dutiful Eckermann: Man and the universe ultimately remain mysteries, and we shall probably never get at the secret of either.
We Face the Gravest Decision of Our History
If the Allies should yet succeed in closing the gap between Amiens and Arras there is a chance that our decision can be deferred a while yet. If not, then, as Walter Lippman points out, it is almost at hand.
Perhaps a majority of the American people are by now vaguely aware that we are in some peril. Yet even that is far from sure. There was a man on a bus we rode. He was a tall middle-aged citizen evidently in comfortable circumstances. He got off in one of the better sections of the city. "Never read about the war!" he boomed when somebody asked him a question.
There was a woman who came into a restaurant last night while the radio was reporting from the foreign capitals. She was fat and middle-aged and comfortable, the housewife and mother. "More war!" she snapped with sudden bitter energy and marched away contemptuously. It was easy to see that she believed that wicked, scheming men are planning to have her sons, other mothers' sons, sent out to die for some mad and incomprehensible reason.
And the behavior of the Republican politicians generally, of many Democrats such as Robert Rice Reynolds and Bennett Champ Clark, shows all too clearly that they are still unconvinced that it is time to park their personal ambitions, their party ambitions, and remember only the nation.
The fact is that we are in the same boat with England and France--that we face the gravest danger which has faced this Republic since the Civil War. Nay, in its history. For there never was a time when the loss of a war meant the horrible thing that this one threatens to mean: the total extinction of Western civilization and the rise of a slave empire. We also will have to pay tribute to the Nazi Master Race.
There is imminent danger that Adolf Hitler will conquer England and France and secure the surrender of their fleets, or at least a great part of them. If so, Adolf Hitler will have a fleet at least as large as, probably larger than, the American fleet. He will have behind him the fleet of Mussolini, now rapidly growing into a great one.
And--in the Pacific he will have Japan, with a fleet about equal to ours. Yesterday that nation reaffirmed its alliance with Italy, pledged itself to continue in the "noble" struggle for "justice."
Caught between these two fleets we should be helpless. The conqueror could dictate terms to us as certainly as to the Allies. And anybody who believes that Adolf Hitler would pass up that opportunity has no comprehension of the man and his purposes. The least we can expect will be to give up Canada, the British, French, and Dutch island possessions in this hemisphere, to yield Nazism a free hand in South America, to desist from further arming, and to hand over to Japan the Dutch East Indies, the Philippines, quite possibly Hawaii, and special privileges for the Japanese living on our West Coast.
We might well come in for far worse. Adolf Hitler has in this country his most numerous Fifth Column, panting to take the nation over and organize it on totalitarian lines. At this moment they are busily whipping the college students of the land into hysteria with the claim that this is only Europe's war, that there is a capitalistic plot in Washington to murder them--and succeeding all too well.
Fantastic? Certainly. So is everything now transpiring in the world. So is Adolf Hitler. A man or woman who cannot contemplate the fantastic as the most probable of all things now is utterly disqualified to deal with reality.
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