The Charlotte News

Tuesday, October 1, 1940



Details Wanted

Willkie Should Explain How He Will Guarantee Peace

It was singularly bad luck which made Wendell Willkie have to seek the Presidency at a time when foreign affairs overshadow and eclipse domestic concerns. But it must be sheer bad advice which has made him place a primary emphasis of his campaign in attacks on the President's foreign policy.

It may be true enough, as he charged last night, that we are moving rapidly toward war. But it is also true that it is the logical circumstances, not preference, which is moving us in that direction.

And one inevitably is left wondering just precisely what it is that Mr. Willkie himself would do if he were in Mr. Roosevelt's shoes. He says he favors aid for the British. But let us understand that--aid for the British, aid in any measure at all, is a violation of international law, an unneutral act, looks inevitably toward the possibility of war.

He says again that he is dead against appeasement. Yet the clear fact is that we have no choice but to pursue a course essentially like that Roosevelt is pursuing or to turn to appeasement.

Or does Mr. Willkie propose, like his adviser, Hugh Johnson, to retire behind the "Maginot Line" of the Atlantic, sit tight, and wait for attack? If so, he ignores the lesson of France. And moreover, if that is what he proposes, then it is madness to give the Nazis an excuse for attacking us by aiding England at all.

Mr. Willkie says he thinks he can "guarantee" the country peace if he is a elected. But the country is certainly entitled to know in these times, when nobody else is sure of that, precisely how he proposes to improve on Mr. Roosevelt and achieve its purpose.


Tight Rope

Local Draft Boards Will Need To Walk Carefully

The announced policy of the draft authorities has its justification in the circumstances. In brief, local selective service boards are not to exercise any political determination to draft all available men for the army and navy, and indeed are to allow exemptions for occupations, etc. very liberally.

The candid fact, of course, is that the army and navy couldn't use millions of men if they were drafted now, and it will be at least a year before half as many of a million men can be properly equipped and trained.

On the other hand, Britain's experience with indiscriminate draft-dodging are how essential industries can wind up crippled by that method. So dire did her shortage of trained men for key war industries become that she had actually to withdraw men from the front in France and send them back home to work in factories.

Nevertheless, it is reasonable also to observe that the ruling for great liberality in exemptions throws the door wide open to favoritism on account of money, social position, personal and political connections, etc.

A very grave responsibility will rest upon the local draft boards--the responsibility not only to insure fair play but to maintain national unity. For nothing would be more certain to bring bitterness and disloyalty than the conviction among the people generally that favoritism was being shown.


Mixed Rules

Defendants Have a Hard Time Knowing What's What

It was a little hard on all those defendants: Judge Clement's order yesterday to round them all up and throw them in jail unless they appeared for trial. You couldn't blame the judge either. It must be trying to go into court with 200 cases docketed and find not enough defendants on hand to keep the wheels rolling.

We have often wondered how judges in Mecklenburg manage to hold their tempers as well as they do.

Still, all in all, and without any inclination to waste any undue sympathy upon them, it was a little hard on the absent defendants. In a manner of speaking, they were almost innocent parties in the matter. You see, they probably thought that was the way it was supposed to be.

For the simple fact is that to be turned loose on bond by Mecklenburg Superior Court is frequently tantamount to having the charges dismissed. The News has gone into that before--into all phases of it. Into the mustiness of cases on the docket, so that finally there has to be a house-cleaning and alleged violators of the law turned loose without trial, sometimes by the scores. Into the worthlessness of bonds and the court's unconcern about collecting them anyhow. Into the "Why Go To Jail?" angle.

So, as we say, it was probably a little startling to most of these defendants to find that the judge was put out with them. The judge forgets where he is. This is Mecklenburg County, in Solicitor John Carpenter's district.


Sea Prophet

The Theories of Mahan Are Now Recovering Credit

Last week a name that hasn't been heard of much in recent months began to appear again, especially in naval quarters. And President Roosevelt took occasion to praise its owner as "a great strategist and statesman."

The name is Mahan--Alfred Thayer Mahan, in full. But not many people know much about him or even recognize the name save in the vaguest terms.

He was an American naval officer, who was born in 1840 and died in 1914. Graduating from Annapolis before the Civil War he served in the Union navy during the conflict and rose to the rank of lieutenant-commander. Later he became a captain, and in 1906, after his retirement was given the rank of rear admiral.

All that, however, is incidental information. Main thing about him is that in 1890 he published a book called "The Influence of Sea Power Upon History," which has been the Bible of the world's navies since. Ostensibly the book was concerned only with the history of England from the time of the Restoration to the end of the American Revolution. Actually, it covered the whole range of naval history, and set up to prove that sea power has been the decisive factor in the commercial and military conflicts of nations from the earliest time periods

Afterwards he published several other volumes continuing the same theme, and made such a good job of proving his thesis that nobody seriously challenged it until Germany's great air triumphs of last Summer.

Now, however, Britain's resistance to a Nazi invasion and the obvious hesitance of Japan before the American Navy in the Pacific are again refurbishing Captain Mahan's reputation. Sea power, it begins to appear, may yet be the finally decisive factor, now as in the past.

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