The Charlotte News
Tuesday, September 19, 1939
It is improbable that Cash wrote "Steel Master", but it's an interesting footnote to history and so we include it.
Nowadays the biggest steel men are trained principally in finance. One of the last of the breed who came straight through the mills, a process which tempers men as it does steel, was Charles M. Schwab, who died yesterday at the age of 77.
In his sketch in Who's Who he sets down proudly amid all tokens of wealth and honor that came to him in later life the information that--"as a boy drove stage from Loretto to Cresson, Pa., five miles." The big town in that neighborhood was Pittsburgh. The big steel company was Carnegie's.
At 35 the boy stage-driver had become president of Carnegie Steel Co. Ltd. There probably never was any doubt in his mind, once he got inside the gate as an engineering helper, that he would someday become the boss of the works, any more than there was indecision a few years later as to how the strikers at the Homestead plant ought to be handled.
He knew steel and he knew men, and he could bend both to his design. And so in the end he was a famous industrialist, one of the architects of the American colossus. But chief among his recollections was that stage coach run from Loretto to Cresson--five miles.
There seems to be, if one is to believe everything he hears, much fraternal exchanging of cigarettes in this war. There was the story, out of Luxembourg or Switzerland or somewhere hard by the Western Front, that German troops had posted signs reading, "We won't shoot if you won't," and that the two armies were bumming cigarettes from each other.
And yesterday Major Colbern, U.S. military attaché in Rumania, told of the Russian tank corps officer who engaged him in a conversation somewhere in Poland, volunteering the information that the Russians were really "against the Germans" and that the Polish troops were most hospitable to the invading Reds. Being hosts, they politely furnished the cigarettes.
Well, it's good human interest stuff, and there is no reason at all to question the veracity of the American officer. For that matter, the Russians probably are against the Germans in personal feeling. But the daring hope that this conversation raises, the hope that Russia, having debouched her armies onto Poland, will suddenly turn on her German ally and begin to hammer her unfortified rear, is too fantastic to entertain even after the incredible things that have happened.
The real attitude of Russia, which is to say of J. Stalin, probably was expressed at Brest-Litovsk yesterday, when German and Soviet officers met to divvy up Poland. They too, we read, exchanged cigarettes.
General Johnson's column today is a pretty good example of the kind of propaganda which is rapidly growing up in the more rabid isolationist quarters.
First, he sets out to implant the belief in his readers' minds that the State Department has deliberately doctored the report of Ambassador Battle as to the German bombings. Then he drags up the case of the Sepoy Rebellion to suggest that Britain is at least as brutal as the Nazis. And finally, he prepares to weep copiously over any poor German who may be killed if the British and French retaliate to the Nazis in kind.
The fact of the Nazi bombings seems to be incontrovertible. It rests not only on the Ambassador's explicit report, but on the eyewitness stories of Associated Press newsmen. And it is perfectly borne out by what we knew of Nazi philosophy and methods before this war began.
As for the Sepoy case, it occurred in 1858. And General Johnson, who, as a military man, is very careful to excuse the Nazis for executing poor Polish peasants for trying to defend their homes with guns, neglects to tell us that the Sepoys were British soldiers who had revolted, and that under the military rules of all nations, their lives were forfeit. He neglects to tell us also that the harsh method of their execution represented retaliation for their wholesale massacre of helpless British civilians at Delhi and Cawnpore.
William Edgar Borah in his speech last week declared that "in the President's appeal for the repeal of the arms embargo, the United States was being called upon to confirm the 'loot' divided up by the victorious European nations at the close of the last war..."
That suggests clearly that William Edgar thinks Germany is justified in principle at least and that the whole trouble in Europe now is the "wrongs" of the Versailles Treaty.
In point of fact the Versailles Treaty contained some harsh terms. But it was by no means so harsh as most people imagine. And it was not one-half so harsh as the terms Germany would have imposed had she won--not one half so harsh as the terms she actually did impose on Russia and Rumania in the treaties of Brest-Litovsk and Bucharest.
Under the first, signed March 3, 1918, she took over nearly a fourth of Russia's territory and people, including Finland and the Ukraine. Under the second, Rumania was made a mere puppet state. As for what she proposed to do in the West, France, Belgium and the Flemish provinces, together with all the northern Channel ports, were to be taken. As late as August, 1918, the German leaders were still demanding Belgium. In addition, France was to lose North Africa. England was to hand over her navy, and lose South Africa, her other African possessions, and all her bases in the Orient. The Allies were to pay the cost of the war.
Against that, let us look at the terms imposed at Versailles.
Germany lost her navy, had her army cut to 100,000 men.
She agreed to pay reparations finally fixed at about $9,000,000,000--and representing the injury she had actually inflicted in her sword-and-fire march in northern France and elsewhere. As early as 1923, she had almost ceased to make payments, which led to the temporary occupation of the Ruhr by France. By June 15, 1930, she had paid altogether $1,896,860,000, of which a considerable part was accounted for by British and French loans which have since gone begging. Thereafter she paid almost nothing. At Lausanne in 1932, the Allies agreed to settle all accounts for a lump sum of $714,000,000--in bonds. Those bonds have not been paid, will not be.
The west bank of the Rhine demilitarized, and the right bank for a distance 150 kilometers. Adolf Hitler re-militarized that territory in 1934.
Germany was stripped of her colonies.
Under this and subsidiary treaties, the Czechs and the Slovaks were released from the rule of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, given the territories which had been theirs for 1,500 years and which had never been Germany's.
Germany was deprived of about 13 per cent of the European territory she had held in 1914, as follows:
France was given back the provinces of Alsace and Lorraine, raped away from her by Bismarck in 1870-71.
Belgium got the tiny districts (historically Belgium) of Eupen, Malmedy, and Moresnet.
A plebiscite was provided, under which, when it was held in 1920, northern and central Schleswig, comprising an area of about 1,537 square miles and taken from Denmark in 1864, chose to return to Denmark.
The Saar was placed under a mandate of the League of Nations, with a plebiscite provided for 1935. That year it chose to go back to Germany.
A total of 110 square miles of Upper Selesia (once all Bohemian) was given to Czechoslovakia.
It was decided that Germans had no mandate to rule Poles, and that the partitions of that old country in the eighteenth century were invalid. Accordingly portions of West Prussia and Poznan (the Corridor territories) seized under those partitions were given back to re-established Poland. And Danzig was made a free city, under mandate of the League of Nations, so that Germany could not choke Poland to death economically.
It is this Polish "loot" to which William Edgar seems specifically to refer. Apparently, he agrees with the Germans that, while it is all wrong for other peoples to rule Germans, it is the rightful privilege of Germans to rule others.
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