The Charlotte News

Saturday, November 30, 1940



Site Ed. Note: We originally inadvertently posted two editorials properly of November 23, 1940 as this date's editorials, and this day's editorials, sans "Full Apology", as December 1; we have now corrected the error, with full apology.

Because we have this date's editorials in image form, we will post that also, including "Full Apology". Now, you know what The News editorial page looked like.

(The remainder of this note was originally posted December, 2003.)

"Apt Pupil" tells us again the precise formula both the Nazis and the Japanese followed in taking over their prey. And, of course, a year later, they would both be so stretched for oil to continue their predation that they would attempt a decisive strike, together, essentially, in concert--one on the eastern frontiers of Russia on June 22, the other in the Pacific on December 7.

It is interesting to note that a young John F. Kennedy began his senior honor's thesis at Harvard, published in October, 1940 as Why England Slept, (a play on and not to be confused with Churchill's 1939 While England Slept), by asking the question: Will the United States risk a war to save the Dutch East Indies?

"Therefore, if Hitler succeeds in winning the present war, the position of America will be remarkably similar to that of England during the last decade.

"There are, of course, great differences. There are no longer either a League of Nations or Disarmament Conferences to keep armaments down. We are far better suited industrially to match Germany's mass production methods. But, like England, we will be a democracy competing with a dictatorship. Like England, our capitalist economy will be competing with the rigid totalitarianism of the dictatorships. Like England, our armaments will have to be paid for out of our national budget. Like England, a towering national debt may appear to us more dangerous than any external menace. Like England, we have general commitments that we may not he able to fill. For example, we have warned the Japanese to stay out of the Dutch East Netherlands, yet, if they seized it, would the cry, 'Are the Dutch East Indies worth a war,' go up, strangely similar to the old cry in England at the time of Munich, 'Are the Sudeten Germans worth a war?' And, like England, we have always considered ourselves invulnerable from invasion. But the airplane changed this position for England and may change it for us."

Kennedy went on to criticize the national trend in the Thirties both in Britain and the United States against post World War armament, while recognizing the paradoxical notion that increasing armament also increases the prospect of war, as Lord Grey, Foreign Minister to Great Britain, had maintained just after the guns of August began firing in 1914.

The answer to Kennedy's question on the Dutch East Indies of course never was properly provided as the war found the United States before the United States fully, at least, engaged the war, (thanks, of course, to the stubborn isolationists in Congress like North Carolina's Senator Robert Rice Reynolds (D), Montana's Burton Wheeler (D), California's Hiram Johnson (R), Idaho's William Borah (R), and others of the stamp against whom Cash regularly inveighed in his editorial spaces).

As to "Bomb's Rival", we have to wonder what Cash would have thought of the advent of the United States interstate highway system, (including the rather bizarre configuration, pointing west, of the LBJ Freeway which surrounds Dallas-Fort Worth), initiated during the 1950's and continuing through the 1980's and beyond, had he lived to see its construction. The idea, of course, came as a result of General Eisenhower's viewing of the German Autobahn after the Allies broke through the Siegfried Line finally in 1944 and began approaching Berlin. Hitler's original concept of it, beyond its civilian implications of high speed travel unencumbered by controlled intersections, was that it would also afford, as it did during the war, unencumbered movement of troops and supplies quickly between fronts. And, of course, the planners of our own superhighway system had the same alternative goal in mind as well.

All in all, despite the idea put forth below that long, level, straight stretches of highway are where most accidents occur because of the enticement thereby afforded to increase speed, the interstate highway system obviously is a great deal safer for its limited access than secondary roads and city streets with far slower speed limits. In 2001, for instance, despite a doubling in United States population since 1940, and the obvious enormous increase of vehicles on the roadways, traffic fatalities nationwide for adults over 20 years of age were 25,861, 1,500 fewer than in the first ten months of 1940. Obviously, too, since the mid-1960's, Ralph Nader contributed significantly to this relatively remarkably reduced statistic.

By state, 2001 adult fatalities ranking in the top ten were: 1) Texas, 2,264, 2) California, 2,203, 3) Florida, 1,728, (all expected of course based on density of population), 4) Georgia, 1,045, 5) North Carolina, 988, 6) Ohio, 908, 7) Pennsylvania, 886, 8) Tennessee, 873, 9) Michigan 828, and 10) Illinois, 811. New York comes in a remarkable eleventh, given its rank of third in population, with 790 adult fatalities. (So believe it or not, we could all learn a lesson by the way New Yorkers drive, (perhaps excepting out the cab drivers), not to mention New Jerseyites.) New Jersey, ranking 9th in population and 25th in fatalities, takes the prize for best spread between rank in fatalities and rank in population among populous states while Illinois, ranking fifth in population, and New York, take the prize for most populous states with fewest relative fatalities. The New England states, (save Connecticut and Massachusetts), the Dakotas, Alaska and Hawaii all have the fewest fatalities in the nation, each with fewer than 100 in 2001. (Want to be safest on the roads, move to Alaska...) Inordinate deaths compared to population obviously occur in Georgia, 10th in population among the states, North Carolina, 11th, and Tennessee, 16th. The popular axiom that Southerners tend to be the most reckless on the highways, as Cash regularly sought to convey the notion of drivers in and around Charlotte anyway, thus appears borne out to this day; indeed, examining the other Southern states, we find Alabama with 672 fatalities, ranking 14th, while ranking 23rd in population, Arkansas, 27th in fatalities, 386, 33rd in population, Kentucky, 19th, 585, 26th, Louisiana, 18th, 594, 24th, Mississippi, 20th, 544, 31st, Missouri, 12th, 734, 17th, (included perhaps unfairly in the "South" only because it was part of the old Confederacy), Oklahoma, 23rd, 434, 28th, South Carolina, 13th, 685, 25th, Virginia, 15th, 616, 27th, West Virginia, 34th, 245, 37th. Thus, the most reckless of the Southern states for their population density appear to be Virginia, (perhaps excused by the northern Virginia corridor around DC), and South Carolina, followed by Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, a four-way tie between Georgia, North Carolina, Louisiana and Arkansas, followed by Missouri and Oklahoma, then West Virginia, based on the disparity of rank between population size and adult fatality rank. So of all the states here, North Carolina, Tennessee, South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and Virginia, isolating out states with fewer metropolitan areas, are the most problematic in terms of accident fatalities.

Whether it is just coincidence that NASCAR fans tend to thrive in each of these states leading in per capita fatalities probably more so than any others, and that NASCAR derived from the Thunder Road mountain moonshiners of Tennessee, North Carolina and Georgia, we will leave it to your higher sense to discern.

Apt Pupil

Japanese Follow Hitler Technique Very Closely

The Japanese, in dealing with the Dutch East Indies, are following to the letter Adolf Hitler's build-up technique for the taking over of a desired territory.

That technique consists of (1) the establishment of a strong Fifth Column in the territory to be seized, and (2) a constantly rising hysteria of charges of "persecution" of your nationals, or adherents, resident in the territory to be seized. It was so that Hitler went after Poland, Austria, Czechoslovakia, etc.

And now Tokyo is taking "a very serious view" of alleged "atrocities" committed against Japanese in the Dutch East Indies, is preparing stern demands. Whether the Dutch East Indies may have shown some resentment against the Japanese among them, we don't know. For years, and increasingly of late, Japan has been crowding as many as possible of her "business agents," laborers, etc. into the Dutch East Indies, as she has been crowding them into the Philippines and the British possessions. Most of these are conscious fifth Columnists. And if under the circumstances, the Dutch rose up and butchered them to a man, it would at least be understandable.

But whether there have actually been incidents or not does not matter. The Japanese propaganda agents can invent them quite as easily as the Nazis when it suits their purpose. And what Japan is really up to is preparing the way to grabbing the control of the East Indies.

All of which is of the gravest concern to us. If she attempts to follow up her demands with force, we shall have a decision to make in short order. But perhaps a greater danger is that she'll succeed in getting control of the islands economically and gaining a military foothold without the use of force--as she did in the case of French Indo-China. In that case, we may not realize the necessity for decision until it is too late.


Bomb's Rival

Automobile in America Beats Nazis in England

It is an old and trite comparison, but it is worth repeating this year. The Nazi bombers, doing their worst, have taken a smaller toll of human life this year in England than the automobile has taken on American streets and highways in the first ten months of 1940, 27,350 Americans died in traffic accidents, as compared with 25,750 in the same period last year.

And the score for the whole year is expected to exceed that for 1939 by at least 2,000. For experience has shown that the accident rate always goes up, not down, in the closing months of a year, because of the holiday season.

Strictly speaking, the gain is not so great as it appears, for increase in travel has almost kept up with the increase in the death rate. When this increase in travel is allowed for the gain for death is reduced to one per cent. The fact remains however that the dreadful toll is not decreasing but increasing.

And it is manifest that, as the National Safety Council, which releases these figures, has often insisted, the bad actor which is mainly responsible for it all is the mania for speed. For in country districts the toll is greatly increased, whereas in cities of over 10,000 people it has dropped by six per cent. (That last, of course, does not apply to cities, like Charlotte, where the speed laws are only museum pieces.) The most dangerous spots on the roads and highways, as repeated studies have shown, are long straight level stretches--precisely the spots where speeding is most frequent.


The Heralds

Other Messengers Had Beat the Lothian To This One

How hard up England may be for funds to use in America, we don't know. At the outbreak of the war she was supposed to have about $4 billion available here in cash and sequestered securities. Of that she spent two and a half billions for war orders, and much of the rest is bound to have gone for other things besides war supplies in the strict sense.

But the case does not appear to be immediately imperative, as witness the fact that the President and Lord Lothian are said to have agreed that the question of repealing the Johnson Act, which forbids loans to nations in default on the World War debts, can wait until the next Congress convenes in January.

However, we have no doubt that the Churchill Government is greatly concerned about funds for purchases in America. For months our mail has been flooded with catalogues from English and Scottish book dealers who never had taken the trouble to solicit us before. At this moment there are on our desk such catalogues from William Dawson & Sons, Ltd, Cannon House, 27, Pilgrim Street, London, E.C. 4; W. T. Spencer, 27, New Oxford Street, W. C. 1; J. A. Neuhuys, "Sunnyside," Potter Street, Pinner, Middlesex; and John Smith & Son, Ltd., 57-61 St. Vincent Street, Glasgow, C. 2.

And lest there be any doubt about the matter, these catalogues are obviously prepared especially for the American trade. Some of them, indeed, confess candidly that their Government has instructed them to go after American exchange. And all of them inform us that remittances must be in American dollars. And add that we needn't be afraid of the Jerries sinking our books, seeing that we can buy insurance on a hundred American smackers worth of them for fifteen shillings.


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