The Charlotte News

Wednesday, December 11, 1940



No Hope

Pedestrians, It Seems, Will Have To Remain Open Game

If the Harrisburg rule holds good, pedestrians are going to have to content themselves with swearing at the motorist who has just made a forbidden left turn, rushed a light, or whipped around on the green light at reckless speed, in an earnest endeavor to murder them.

At Harrisburg a motorist made a left turn in blithe disregard of the traffic laws, nearly bagged a pedestrian. But this particular pedestrian was apparently tired of swearing uselessly, and felt that sterner and more effective measures were called for.

So he climbed aboard the offending car, turned off the ignition, and let the driver have a sample or two of his power with his fists. But the cops as usual showed no sympathy for pedestrians. Instead of congratulating the fellow for having finally got tired of being open game, they actually arrested him and carried him off to jail to face charges of assault and battery.

There is a funny thing about this: here in North Carolina, at least, the Supreme Court has held that an automobile is a deadly weapon in the same class with a loaded gun or a knife. But the cops never touch a man who has just missed killing you by driving an automobile in contemptuous disregard for the traffic laws, though it is obviously much the same thing as though he had fired off a gun at you--is certainly assault and battery on your nerves.

Anyhow, it looks as though complaining about it is wasted breath--in Harrisburg or in Charlotte--and as though you had better not resort to force and self-defense. In time pedestrians are going to become kangaroos with the fanciest vocabulary ever heard of in the world.


A Silence

Hitler May Decide Italy Isn't Worth the Price

Adolf Hitler ignored Italy in his speech to the German workers yesterday--for the first time in any speech since the war began. That might mean merely that the grapevine has been at work in Germany also and that the German workers have been growing uneasy over the rumored disaster in Albania. Indeed, it is almost certain.

Hitler clearly found it necessary to reassure his workers. The destructive effect of British bombers over Germany probably explain a part of that, but it is more than likely that the Italian reverses entered into it also.

However, it may be that the failure to mention Italy was also a hedge by Adolf against the possibility of abandoning his ally altogether and proceeding entirely on his own.

There would be reason for such a course. It is already manifest that the Italians are worthless to Germany in the field, constitute a definite liability. They still have a nuisance value for keeping the British fleet in the Mediterranean and the British armies in Africa and Asia. But the day of complete Italian collapse and surrender, unless she gets heavy aid from the Nazis, may not be far off. And Hitler might well decide that Italy's nuisance value would be worth such aid.

There are only three things he can do. First he can strike through Spain and Gibraltar and so attempt to take the heat off Italy. But that is a desperate enterprise which means a long siege and supply lines strung out over 2,000 miles of potentially hostile territory.

Secondly, he can strike Greece through Bulgaria, attempt to seize the Dardanelles and move on through Turkey to grasp the oilfields of Mesopotamia and to attack Suez trough Syria and Palestine--a move which would set up Greece for Italy as France was set up. But that involves extending his lines over 3,000 miles of territory, mainly mountain and desert, with wholly inadequate transportation facilities. In the Winter particularly, such an undertaking would be as dangerous as Napoleon's march to Moscow.

Finally, he can take the shorter route across Yugoslavia and go directly to Mussolini's aid in Albania--perhaps attempt at the same time to throw German troops across the Mediterranean to reinforce the Italian army in Egypt. But the route across Yugoslavia is the same kind of mountain country as that in Greece and Albania, Rumania and Bulgaria, has the same poor railroad facilities and the same desperately bad roads.

Moreover, there is a possibility that Yugoslavia, hardened by the Greek success, may choose to fight. Nor is it at all certain that the German troops, necessarily deprived of the use of mechanical equipment, would be able to stage any blitzkrieg when they got to Albania.

And as for putting troops into Egypt--with all Hitler's air power, that is still a risky business, with the British navy in command of the Mediterranean. Many thousands of Nazi troops would drown before Egypt was reached.

It would still be rash to assume, even in view of all this, that Hitler is certain to abandon Mussolini to his fate. But it is not impossible that he may conclude that the best bet is to extend his lines no farther, and to concentrate on multiplying airplanes and submarines to the end of softening England to the point of making the invasion of that country ultimately feasible.

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