The Charlotte News

Tuesday, October 22, 1940



Site Ed. Note: The references in "In a Box" to the reluctance of Federal courts to interfere with voting practices because of the doctrine of States' Rights and the further reference to the doctrine losing ground in times recent to 1940 because of the necessity of righting wrongs are especially interesting by the early 1960's. Cases such as Baker v. Carr, (1962) 369 US 186, the so-called "one man-one vote" case which permitted justiciability of "political questions" when constitutional rights are implicated, historically a hands-off issue for the Federal courts vis a vis the States--there involving a claim of denial of Equal Protection of the laws resulting from gerrymandering in re-apportionment or failure to re-apportion state voting districts in Tennessee--ushered in a new era of Federal interventionism to protect individuals from abuses, historically prevalent in the South, which had worked since the Civil War to deny or severely limit the right to vote.

The stress on eliminating such voting restraints and unfairness during this period led to the Twenty-Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, finally ratified by the States in 1962, eliminating poll taxes as a prerequisite for voting in Federal elections, the ultimate product of Congressional action which began in 1939.

Bear in mind, of course, that the Republican Party in South Carolina in 1940 was a very different one from the Republican Party of the fifties and later in the South generally. Many old-line Democrats bolted the Party behind the Dixiecrat walkout of Strom Thurmond and his faithful at the 1948 Democratic Convention over the first civil rights plank in a major party platform as sought by the Truman Administration and introduced by Senator Hubert Humphrey. Eventually, these "turncoat Democrats" found a new home in a restructured Republican Party in the South. All of that history stems from the Civil War and Reconstruction, of course, the Republican Party as a whole once having been more associated, at least in the South, with its moniker as the "party of Lincoln" than later. Later it became in the South more the party of Thurmond, and still later, Helms. That said, it is not to say that old-line Democrats, descendants of the bitter unreconstructed post-bellum Southerners, all fled to the Republican slate. They plainly did not, at least not until the latter seventies. George Wallace, Lester Maddox, and company, the most prominent race-baiters of the early sixties, were more usually than not Democrats of the old order. And of course, until the early 1970's, most of the South was at the state level still of the Democratic Party. And the only true ideological differences among candidates--usually centering on segregation versus integration under the Constitution and Federal laws, then busing versus anti-busing after Federal court intervention to enforce the 1954 school desegregation ruling, Brown v. Board of Education, forced that issue to the fore in the late sixties--were fought out in the primaries, with the general election in November by and large a foregone conclusion.

In short, for nearly a century after the Civil War, if one aspired to political office at the state level in the South, there was only one party with the organization and base among the electorate suitable realistically to assure election to the seat. That state of affairs, of course, has for the most part changed.

Dorothy Thompson's syndicated editorial appearing in The News of this date, of which Cash makes mention and upon which he expands in "Domestic Only" is worth quoting here. Ms. Thompson, whose columns Cash greatly admired, had lived in Germany for a decade as a correspondent and saw Hitler seize power as Chancellor in 1933 after his one-third popular vote plurality resulted in a compromise arranged by the Kaiser to prevent the Social Democrats from achieving power, with the intent at the time of the old-guard being to manipulate Hitler as their puppet. The burning of the Reichstag and the consolidation of power which followed, however, quickly still-birthed those expectations--and it was already too late after a month into the regime to prevent the entrenched hoodlumism which followed in constant increase. Ms. Thompson was finally expelled from Germany by Hitler in 1934 because of her editorialization in U.S. newspapers against him.

Commenting in part on the difference between the Nazi mind and that of the German people at large, as well as the difference between British and German morale, and the necessity for American support of the British, entitled "On Two Morales", her editorial read as follows:

"People from France, who have had first-hand contact with German troops, and such sparse reliable information as this column has received from Norway from others who have had the chance to talk with German soldiers there, indicate that the war is not at all popular even with German soldiers, however the inflamed and agitated youth may feel.

"It must always be remembered that whereas Churchill has warned the British people to expect the worst, there was until Dunkerque, a blind belief in Germany that Hitler was the miracle-man who was going to win the war without spilling any considerable amount of blood, and that Britain was never really going to fight.

"The war-loving propensities of the German people have been greatly exaggerated by those who are anti-German instead of anti-Nazi. Certainly there will be no crack in German morale as long as they are having victories and can be persuaded that the war will soon be over. But the Germans are not stupid sheep. They are an anguished people, in the grip of a regime that cannot be loosened at any point. The German mind is somber and speculative and the German population pessimistic and fatalistic. Only a few weeks ago they were wildly celebrating the collapse of France. And that orgy of joy was not only because of victory, but because, with the collapse of France, it looked as though the war were over.

"It must be queer to be celebrating victory in air shelters, rejoicing on short rations and glorifying German splendor with chattering teeth in unheated rooms. All the peoples of the world today hate war, and the German people have a bad conscience about this war. Nor do they think, even if Hitler does, that they can conquer the world. They had that idea once before, and too many remember the outcome.

"The German character is grossly misunderstood; and the Nazis have done the most to cause it to be misunderstood. There is a natural German aggressiveness that can reach the most horrifying brutality, but the other side of the picture is there, too. Extreme aggressiveness and extreme sensitivity are not incompatible characteristics either in persons or in nations. Indeed, one is usually the over-compensation for the other. Germans, more than any people whom I have ever lived among, want to be liked and suffer from disapprobation. The hatred and disgust which Hitler has brought upon Germany from all the peoples whom the German people like and admire; the British, the Dutch, the Scandinavians, the French, the Hungarians, the Americans--combined with the approbation of the one nation that they do not particularly like, admire, or trust, the Italian--are eating into the German soul. The soul of a people cannot be changed by five or ten or twenty years of a terroristic regime. At least a generation is necessary. To be masters of a world in which one is feared and hated is not an attractive prospect to Germans. Of that this column is sure, without any more evidence than a decade of life in Germany, a knowledge of German people, literature, and history and unquenchable love of deeply moving German qualities."

In A Box

S. C. Republicans Will Just Have To Grin and Bear It

The Republican candidate in South Carolina who appealed to the Federal Circuit Court to issue a declaratory judgment requiring their state use a single ballot, provide for secret voting, etc., are apparently in the position of having a good case but no hope of relief. Judge Parker pointed out that there is nothing in Federal law which would allow the court to intervene.

The petitioners complain that South Carolina's use of separate party ballots, the absence of voting booths, and the practice of stacking the voted ballots on a table face up where they could be read, deprive them of the right to secrecy and expose them to penalties. Undoubtedly that is the truth.

Being a Republican in South Carolina is still a great offense in the eyes of the body of the people of that state. That was conclusively demonstrated in Greenville the other day when disapproval forced a theater owner to cancel a private showing of a film based on the life of Wendell Willkie.

But the candid fact is that it would probably be useless to resort to the State courts in the hope of relief. And the Federal courts are estopped from interference by the doctrine of State's Rights as embalmed in the Constitution, a doctrine about which South Carolina has always been very touchy. Elsewhere, however, that doctrine is rapidly losing ground. And the quite simple reason is that nine times out of ten when it has been invoked it has been for the protection of a wrong.


Domestic Only

Nazi Claims Are Intended To Gloss Over Invasion Failure

Collateral evidence for Ms. Thompson's remarks about German morale in her column today may possibly be found in the Nazi reports about sinking two whole British convoys with two submarines and the continued roars of Nazi authorities about "terroristic raids" on Berlin by the British.

In the absence of positive evidence to the contrary, it may be assumed with a good deal of confidence that the convoy story is not true, for it dwarfs all precedents and flies in the face of all the probabilities.

The story may have several purposes. One of them, for instance, may be to convince the United States the jig is up with Britain and that we had better get out from under as rapidly as possible. But probably the main purpose is to feed the German people's demand for new announcements of new and crushing victories, to gloss over the failure of the explicitly promised invasion of England to come off, and to sooth the doubts and fears that must inevitably be growing up in the minds of the bombed Germans.

Similarly with the brazen "terroristic raids" cries. It is inconceivable that the Germans can expect to whip up any sympathy in America or elsewhere with them. The blunt fact is that, after what they have seen happening to London, most Americans are delighted to see Berlin fed from the same spoon, and the only complaint heard is that they don't get enough of it. Obviously, the Britishers feel the same way. The cries are manifestly intended only for home consumption, to stir up anger in the breasts of the Nazi dupes to counteract doubt and fear.


Libel Laid

Daladier Letter Is Proof Nazi Claims Was Falsehood

Ambassador Bullit's production of the Daladier letter ought, it seems to us, pretty well to settle that question of whether or not he promised European leaders that the United States could be counted on to enter the war.

The claim that he did so promise has been made the basis for the astounding assertion that Mr. Roosevelt is responsible for the war in the first place. The people who say that are in a somewhat curious position.

They all claim to be dead against appeasement. Yet the plain fact is that when Hitler invaded Poland last Sept. 1, the only possible choice was one between war and another and more fatal Munich.

Or, if it is supposed that Poland would have yielded if it had not been for these hypothetical promises of Mr. Roosevelt and his Ambassador, does anybody now suppose that it would have been any less a disaster for the world than the surrender of Czechoslovakia?

The astonishing thing about these charges all along has been that they had no other basis than a white paper turned loose by Dr. Goebbels and his Nazi propaganda department. And the record is overwhelmingly conclusive that Goebbels has never hesitated to forge documents when it suited his purpose.

The rational conclusion from the first was that this charge was turned loose to confuse and paralyze the American people. Yet the isolationists and Roosevelt-haters have professed loudly to think it the sober truth. At the kindest, it is a fair indication of the confusion of their own minds.


Poor Approach

South and West, Farmers Suffer From Sane Causes

Mr. Willkie is entitled to his little distortions and misrepresentations for political purposes. At least everybody else does it, and his opponent is certainly not innocent of it. Still, that was pretty much of a whopper he pulled at Minnesota last night when he told Western farmers that farm acreage in the Middle West has been greatly reduced by crop control whereas crop control had increased Southern farm acreage.

The Southern cotton farmers will rub their eyes a bit at that one. Actually cotton acreage has come down from a peak of 45,000,000 acres in 1927 to about 26,000,000 at present. It is true, of course, that a little eroded land here and there has been brought back to use by the policy of the Administration, but that is scarcely ground for kick on the part of anybody; the South has over two-thirds of all the eroded lands in the nation. And the total under cultivation has not increased but decreased.

Apparently, what Mr. Willkie was really trying to stir up the Western farmers about was the fact that a good part of the lands of the South which have been taken out of cotton production in the South have been turned to the production of the farmer's own foodstuffs, which formally came from the West. He will not improve his popularity in the South by that approach, and it is certainly not one on which he can afford to base a policy.

The plain fact about the farm problem is that no politician or set of politicians is primarily to blame for it, and it is more than doubtful that any of them can solve it. Wheat and cotton are sold in world markets, and both are priced as they are, their markets have dwindled, ultimately because of the great increase in the production of both in the world since 1914, especially since the last war.

In 1924, for instance, the total production of cotton in all the world outside United States was less than 7,000,000 bales. But in 1930, it was over 13,000,000, and by 1938 over 18,000,000. And the really decisive element of this was neither Republican nor Democratic politicians but the insistent demand of cotton mills in new industrial countries like Japan for cotton cheap beyond the American possibilities, the rapid dwindling of spindles after 1930 in countries like England which use the higher American grades of the staple.

Much the same case holds for wheat. And we shall get nowhere until the politicoes candidly admit it all around.

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