The Charlotte News
Sunday, September 3, 1939
It is characteristic of Lord Hitler that in his speech to the Reichstag Thursday night, he solemnly promised that he would not bomb women and children so long as the other side didn't--and that his planes are already raining bombs on Polish cities, where women and children are inevitably exposed to destruction by them.
Undoubtedly, he had no notion of living up to any such promise--in view of his preponderant power in the air. Simply, the promise was put forth entirely for home consumption. In all probability the German propaganda sheets are already telling the German people that the Poles, with one-tenth as many planes as Germany, themselves inaugurated such warfare! Unless, that is, he prefers to wait to charge that the English and the French began it by way of justifying the wholesale murder (100,000 in a single week in London, the English coolly estimate) in their great cities.
In any case, the German people will believe it.
The news of the arrival of a Russian military mission in Berlin is ominous. For it suggests that the Soviet may actually be about to form a military alliance with Nazi Germany and come to Hitler's aid in Poland, with a view to partitioning that country. If so Poland is in a vice and will certainly be completely overrun.
However, it would be too precipitate to jump to the conclusion that merely because the Russians are talking a military pact with Germany it is bound to go through. There are good reasons why Russia should hesitate to enter into such a bargain. And though Stalin seems to be tempted by the prospect of annexing more territory, he doesn't need it.
Russian military aid for Germany would certainly mean that the war would be carried to Russia. The British Navy in its pact with Turkey, has free passage through the Dardanelles into the Black Sea. If Italy comes in on the side of Germany, she would of course have to be eliminated before that passage could be used.
But once that were done, the Russian coast would be sure to come in for heavy bombardment, and an expeditionary force would perhaps be landed on Russian soil. Moreover an attack might very well be launched against the land through the Baltic.
Again, Russia's gravest concern is Japan. And if she got embroiled in the west, she probably could count on Japan taking advantage of the opportunities to strike her in the east. Indeed, her aid for Germany would be quite likely to move the British to revive the old alliance with Nippon and sic her on Russia with their active backing and aid.
England is an excellent horse trader, perfectly up to giving away other people's property if it benefits her. And if she needed Japan's aid against Russia, she probably would sell out China in short order.
Finally, it does not seem very reasonable to suppose that Stalin can want a victorious Germany to become his neighbor. For in that case, Hitler might proceed with his Ukraine ambitions. And if he did, the Russian Army would have a job on its hands.
What are we going to call this war? The title ought to be descriptive and at the same time reasonably short, so as to accommodate itself to the exigencies of type and the headline writers. But it's hard to think up one that covers the ground.
It might be called the War Against the Axis. But that is pretty long, and moreover it is not yet clear that Mussolini is going along. It could be called the Baltic-Mediterranean War, for these two seats and the lands around them are certainly going to be the main theaters of the struggle.
It could be World War No. 2, since it is simply a second installment of that struggle in many respects. But that title is pretty dull. It could be the War for Civilization--which it is, though civilization may go down in it regardless of outcome. But, in view of the slogans of the last war, that sounds unpleasantly mawkish.
Again, we might call it the War against the Dictators, but that collapses on the fact that Poland, too, has a dictator. And the same thing holds for titles like The Second War for Democracy. Poland is no democracy, and democracy is going to have tough sledding everywhere to survive.
The War Against Nazism might do, unless Italy comes in. But on the whole the best title we can think of is the War to Stop Hitler. For, of course, Mussolini is merely the tail to the Hitler kite. Unfortunately, it is pretty lony [sic, tony(?)] (that title, not the tail). Have any of our little readers any suggestions?
As this is written, what is actually going to happen in Europe is anybody's guess. The world had confidently expected that England and France would either declare war or begin an undeclared war yesterday--with chances favoring the former course, because England needs full belligerent rights under international law to use her sea power to the best advantage.
But as we write this, all sorts of doubts are current. Chamberlain, it appears, is still talking about a peaceful settlement. And so is M. Daladier. The latter indeed specifies that France will back an effort for such an arrangement only if Hitler stops his aggression and gets his armies out of Poland.
On the face of it, that looks like nonsense. Can anybody believe that Hitler is the sort of man to retreat after going this far? Indeed, about the only conceivable hypothesis on which the proposition could be made is that Hitler is about to fall and power in Germany to pass into other hands--perhaps those of Goering and the War Council. But, so far as we are aware, there is no prospect of any such thing. It seems a good bit less than plausible.
But if Germany is not to withdraw, then the only other prospect for "peaceful settlement" seems to be a deliberate sellout of Poland by England. Hitler's army has apparently already pretty well occupied Danzig and the Corridor, and the Poles are falling back to the lines of defenses where they have planned to make their real stand. In a few more days, the Führer probably will be in position to confront England and France with the claim of a fait accompli. Is Chamberlain's government deliberately waiting for that to happen? Does it plan to take that way out, tell Poland that it is impossible to aid her and that she'll have perforce to submit to giving up her territories and becoming Hitler's economic and political prisoner?
If so, it would be the most appalling betrayal of modern times. It would involve a breaking of a treaty signed only ten days ago. More, the English Government would be placed in a downright criminal light, since Poland would have been led into shedding her own and German blood as the result of the English promises.
Down in Opelika, Alabama, Col. T. D. Samford has been chairman of the Lee County Democratic Executive Committee for 40 years. As becomes a deserving Democrat he has come also to other honors--including the fat job of U.S. District Attorney for the Middle Alabama District.
But alas, the Colonel has just had to bow to the Hatch Bill and resign as chairman of the committee. There were, however, many things to soothe his pain in that necessity. For one, Jim Farley publicly congratulated him for having been a county chairman longer than any other man in the party.
But what must have served best to soothe him was this: that he was immediately succeeded in the chairmanship of the committee by his son, T. D. Samford Jr.
All this we set down, not by way of being hard on the Colonel. For all we know, he may be the monument of pious virtue, the politicoes down that way have been making him out to be. But it does serve amusingly to illustrate something. The Hatch Bill is certainly a step in the right direction. But it is nevertheless plainly true that passing a bill to forbid a Federal jobholder from playing politics is a very different thing from actually succeeding in stopping him.
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