The Charlotte News

Tuesday, October 29, 1940



Site Ed. Note: Perhaps the statistics in "South Leads" suggest that regardless of Ku Klux Klan affiliation with the Nazis via the Bund, founded in the Northeast in and around New York and New Jersey, the South in the greatest numbers of any region would have no part of it by 1940. Perhaps, this can be ultimately traced to the South's high degree of religiosity and concomitant compassion to others less fortunate at any given time and the other concomitant of being for the underdog, at least as long as they are not too far under.

And such a notion brings to mind something which we happened to read this date in July, 2002, a letter to the editor of a medium-sized Southern newspaper which made some sort of strange sounding argument regarding the current controversy over whether the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance should be stricken as violative of the Free Exercise and Establishment clauses of the First Amendment to the Constitution. The writer, a lady of the "ladies' Sunday school class" of some church, which we feel sure is perfectly alright, justified use of the words as being perfectly Constitutional because, as she believed, the Founders actually had it that freedom of religion really only means freedom to believe in the "one true God", as opposed to, as she further stated, agnosticism. Huh. We had never heard that one.

So it causes us to be, shall we say, a little speculative, at least about this notion of the "one true God". For we know that an early passage of Genesis actually speaks of "gods" and that the Old Testament speaks of the coming of a prophet named Emmanuel and the New one, of course, of Jesus. (That same Book also, incidentally speaks, to paraphrase faithfully, of those who wear their religion in the marketplace as being ungodly, but that's for another day. We make no judgments and we do forgive.) And then the Koran speaks of Allah speaking through the prophet Mohammed. And, of course, there are many others, too numerous to name here, including Jupiter, Mars, Demeter, Pluto, and Apollo.

But we have to admit, after thinking about it for a nanosecond or one and a half of one, that we had to insinuate our thinking into the notion--in part because the writer also stated that it was the "one true God" who enabled America to win World War II--whether or not there isn't a fairly clear argument to be made that Adolf Hitler, the primary enemy in that War to which the lady referred, and in which many fought and died of many different and varying beliefs against the same Adolf Hitler, had it in mind for Germany to worship the "one true God", that being himself, the pluperfect Aryan Übermensch, or at least with himself posited as the conduited High Prophet to the Nordic and Viking gods of old, with perhaps Wagner playing bass to his high shrill soprano to call upon those gods for help and inspiration in their attempt to Aryanize the world with one true Godliness.

Well, we don't know, of course, because we weren't there in Mr. Jefferson's or Mr. Madison's or Mr. Hamilton's studies as they wrote up the Federalist Papers, but we tend to think from our study of the results of it all during the past couple of centuries that in fact the Founders had something else in mind than what the lady suggests, that is to say the appreciation of the Other's perception of religion or the Other's perception and right not to believe in or practice anything or to believe in everything. And so be it.

We did pretty well, after all, to remain a Union, for 163 years before those words "under God" were added by Congress to the Pledge in 1952, the heart, incidentally, and maybe not coincidentally, of the McCarthy era, when as we recall freedoms in this country were being daily restricted on the premise that otherwise godless Communists might, through their alleged infiltration into even the State Department and the Army in great nameless numbers, eventually take us over lock, stock, and barrel. But if anybody might conjure that, well, such must then be happening just now, as, after all, that old Joe was quite a prophet after all, well, we might suggest that at present it would appear our largest enemy is rather from within, the participation in the Deadly Sin of unmitigated gluttony of some rank capitalists. And they have a god or so it would appear. Whether it is the one true one or not we can't really say, but whoever it is, they seem to worship daily at its altar, ma'am, and it sure does seem to motivate a whole lot of people, including many of the regularly pious and church-going. And the name of it is even on our daily means of current barter. That, despite the fact that, as we recall, we are told that there was someone who once angrily chased the money-changers from the temple, not to mention the proscription against the worship of false idols.

We might also note that, though it has been a tension throughout the history of the democratic republic, respect for democratic republican institutions includes respect for our courts, though too often in the past the South especially seems to have at times a great problem with that, at least vis a vis the courts constituted from outside its individual respective states. And that lack of respect has often gotten the South into a wee bit of trouble--here and there, anyway--in its collective or at least very verbal thinking. Perhaps, it's a thought worth keeping that the flag to which this now controversial Pledge is supposed to be made is one standing for a Union, a Union with a strong Federal government organized under a Constitution which has a primary precept contained in a small portion of it, in Article III, known as the "Supremacy Clause". If, perchance, you are unacquainted with the Clause or know someone who is, or even if they don't believe in the Clause, or for that matter any sanity clause, (remembering that every contract or compact is not one unless there is one), read it or read it to them. You can even start with the words, "Dear Virginia".

That Federal government, we hasten to add, is comprised of many citizens of the United States, not ones of foreign countries, and not just edifices such as federal courthouses in the various districts spread through the land and the edifices in Washington. Nor is it Fort Sumter. This great complexity, one would glean, has long been a problem in perception, at least for some very verbal minority, in all regions, but most notably in the South. It really isn't that hard to conceptualize though if one thinks about it.

It's kind of like this: Draw fifty little circles on a sheet of paper. Doesn't matter if they're the same size or not. Place a couple of dots in each one below which is a little upward turned quarter-arc of varying sizes within the respective little circles, and each little circle with a part of its arc intersecting each of the others. Then draw a big, big Circle around the little circles. You can even place the labels "Pledge" and "Big Constitution" by the whole of it with a little arrow to the big, big Circle. You may even draw some other large circles outside of, but close to, the big, big Circle and place the label "Treaty" or, as the case be, "Monroe Doctrine" or "NATO" or "United Nations", beside those other large circles as well. That might give the stubbornly misperceptive a better picture.

As to "Greek Isle", subsequent history included the evacuation of British and Greek troops from Greece to Crete in 1941 when Greece was overrun by the Axis. A Nazi air invasion a short time later, however, the first of its type, caused the fall of the island to the Axis. Late in 1944, however, the island was re-taken by the Allies after British ships isolated the Nazi occupation force.

Prior history included the establishment of city-states by the Dorians who settled there in great numbers sometime after 1600 B. C. But by around 300 B. C. it was a hangout for pirates.

South Leads

Four-Fifths of Its People Seem in Fighting in Mood

One of the most interesting things turned up by the Fortune poll of public opinion in the United States in October is that there is an enormous sectional spread in the attitude of the people toward Britain and the war.

In the East South Central states--Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee--36.3 per cent of the population was in favor of joining the war all out, of becoming allies of Britain and sending her armies if they are needed to stop Hitler. But in the New England states only 5.6 of the population felt that way, and in the West North Central group--Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota--only 7.1 percent. So far as it is represented by the four states mentioned, that is, the South and border region seems to be nearly seven times as ready to fight as New England and over five times as ready as the West North Central country.

Yet New England was not lacking in sympathy for Britain and a willingness for openly joining her as an ally and going all out to send her supplies including warships. As many as 47.5 of the people in the East South Central group wanted to take that road, too--which made 83.8 per cent in favor of far more drastic action to aid Britain than we are now taking, as against 60 percent in New England.

The West North Central group, however, was apparently satisfied that we are doing enough. Only 31.5 per cent believe that we should send more supplies and openly ally ourselves with Britain, without sending her armies. That is only 43.2 per cent believe that we should do more than we are now doing. A total of 43.2 per cent explicitly thought we were already doing enough, as compared with 28.3 per cent in New England and only 11.1 per cent in the East South Central group. And there were 10.8 of the Middle Westerners who wanted to shut off all aid to Britain as against 5.9 percent of the New England and a minuscule .9 among the Southerners.


A Speech

McAuley at Least Does Not Hide Behind Somebody Else

About County Solicitor Hugh McAuley in general we reserve our judgment. He is entitled to be presumed innocent of the charges against him unless and until they are proved. On the other hand, the evidence is such as plainly to require that the matter should be gone into thoroughly. The astonishing restrictions in fines against bootleggers may be nothing more than errors in judgment, but if so the fact ought to be clearly established.

One thing, however, was brought out about the man at the hearing yesterday that we liked. The question of his confessed heavy drinking was up. And some of his more serious friends were on their feet in his defense. Trouble with McAuley, they said, was his friends. They led him into drinking. Then McAuley arose.

"I think," he said, "some of my friends are mistaken about this. No one gave me liquor, no one held me and poured a drink in me. I went to Fort Mill [South Carolina] and bought the liquor, bought it legally, and with my own money."

You can say, of course, that the man is merely shrewd and was playing to the gallery, well aware of the effect of such words. But there again he is entitled to the benefit of the doubt. As the words stand, they are the manful words of a manful man. Let him have credit for them.



This Is What History Will Be if the Nazis Win

Italian authorities and newspapers turn up with the same sort of regular rigamarole that Axis powers always use to justify any new assault on an unoffending country. Italy attacked Greece, they explain with straight faces, because Greece first attacked Italy and was engaged in wickedly plotting with Britain to gobble Italy up whole.

That is nonsense, on the face of it, and it gets no credence in the world outside of the Axis powers, probably gets none too much among the more sensible portion of the population in the Axis countries. Why, then, do the Axis governments still take so much trouble to advance such claims?

In part, of course, for domestic consumption. In part also because of the guilt-complex and terror before the thought of the terrible weight of crime they will have to pay for if they lose--a desire to build up some sort of "moral" case to use as a basis for claiming some degree of "moral" case if worst comes to worst for them. But also in preparation for the victory.

If the Axis wins, then this account of the matter will become the official account, and no other will be allowed. All records, proving it to be false will be destroyed, no scholar will be allowed to carry on any investigation which might prove it false. In the end, the truth will be utterly blotted out and in a generation or so the whole world will actually believe that Poland did attack Germany, that Greece did attack Italy. At least that is what the Nazis confidently count on.


Cunning Move

Nazi Scheme Is One To Put FDR on a Spot

If the rumored plan of the Nazis to ask President Roosevelt to take the lead in a "peace move" before the election on November 5 is true it comes to nothing but the most flagrant intervention in our domestic elections.

The ideas obviously to put the President on the spot, to force him into the position of bringing pressure on Britain to resort to "appeasement" or of having the country swept with new charges that he is a bloody warmonger. In the end either to force him to play the Nazi cat's paw or perhaps to defeat him and turn the country against England as brutally bent on continuing an unnecessary war.

The evidence is overwhelming that there is no possibility of a decent peace with Adolf Hitler. Either he is going to be destroyed in the end or democracy is going to be destroyed in the end. That is as nearly certain as anything which is still in the womb of time can be. And the British seem thoroughly to understand it at last.

But there is plenty of evidence that the people of the United States as a whole do not understand it, and the Middle West in particular seems to be still full of people who think this is merely another imperialistic war and it can all be arranged to everybody's satisfaction if only Britain can be persuaded to be "reasonable." And an increasing number of them are beginning to say that we ought to make Britain "reasonable" by making it clear that she can get no more aid from us. That is precisely the line General R. E. Wood and his Save America First committee is now taking. And it would be this sort of sentiment to which the Nazi "peace move" would be addressed--in hope of stampeding the country.


Greek Isle

Crete Has Figured in the World's Story Before

The British occupation of Crete is of the greatest strategic importance and rightly rates as a naval victory of the first order. For it commands the entrance to the Aegean Sea and stands straight across the path of the Italians to their possessions, the Dodecanese Islands, upon which they have counted heavily in the attempt to seize the Dardanelles.

The island is one of the largest in the Mediterranean, being 160 miles long and from seven to 35 miles wide. A high, forest-covered chain of mountains runs through the whole length. On the northern side (the side toward the Greek mainland, that is) there is a fertile coast with good harbors. On the Southern side, the shore is deep and rocky and furnished with few and poor roads. Here stands the Mt. Ida of the ancients, a peak over 80,000 feet in height.

Toward the end of the last century excavations undertaken by Sir John Evans developed the fact that the island had been the seat of one of the earliest and most highly developed cultures of the world. After 3315 to about 1450 B.C. the so-called Minoan civilization flourished here, its beginnings dating as far back as the first dynasty in Egypt. In engineering and architecture, no early people surpassed the Minoans. They even had central heating and plumbing.

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