The Charlotte News

Monday, December 16, 1940



An Appeaser

Who Arranges His Reasons To Suit His Own Desires

Inveighing against aid for Britain as bound to get us into war and to bring on a permanent dictatorship here. General Robert E. Wood, chairman of Sears, Roebuck & Co., and an associate of Lindbergh's in the America First Committee, tells the National Manufacturers' Association that he thinks a "negotiated peace" can be arranged by Spring if we don't raise Britain's hopes too high.

The General is within his right of free speech. But he has no moral right to distort the facts. And he distorts them grossly when he suggests that such a "negotiated peace" will save us from eventually facing the Nazis.

He speaks of "misguided Americans" who want to aid Britain as our first line of defense, whereas there is no more insanely "misguided" notion than that Adolf Hitler can be dealt with by the standards of civilized men. The whole record and his own words show that his ambition is insatiable and that his pledged word is the surest to guarantee that he will eventually do what he has promised not to do.

A "negotiated peace" cannot be anything but a breathing spell in which Hitler will have the opportunity to get himself fully into position to carry out his purpose. And if he does destroy Britain in the end, as he plans, we shall escape neither war nor dictatorship.

The General is dishonest, too, when he declares that we are in no danger of attack--and points at the failure of German planes to destroy Britain as proof. Nobody with the slightest sense ever has envisioned bombers flying from Germany and subduing this country. All the Aid-for-Britain opinion understands that the attack on this country will be indirect to begin with. It will come by way of economic pressure, by threat of simultaneous naval attack from both oceans, and by propaganda carried on among ourselves, and above all by penetration into Latin America--a penetration that will eventually give the Nazis air bases from which attack certainly will be made against us.

The General is right; air attacks on England have not subdued that country, but they have nonetheless made a shambles of it.


Nazi Triumph

Elevation of Flandin Is Gain for Hitler's Purpose

What is going on in France becomes clearer. Benedict Arnold has been swapped for Judas Iscariot. And France is being more Nazified, not less.

Flandin, Laval's successor as Vice-Premiere, is the man who was Premiere of France when Adolf Hitler reoccupied the Rhineland--the success of which tentative challenge set off all that has happened since. But Flandin winked at it. He winked at it, they say, because he had huge holdings in the German arms cartel and wanted to protect them regardless of France. But undoubtedly he also winked at it because he greatly admired Nazism and wanted to see it brought to France.

The man who is supposed to be engineering these changes is Weygand, who commanded the armies of France when she surrendered and who is now in charge of the colonial armies in Africa. And Weygand and Petain have a good reputation in the United States because of the last war. But Americans should not be misled by sentiment.

Weygand and Petain are both authoritarians, hate democracy. It is not unthinkable that both would prefer to see the Nazis win the war rather than see the republic restored.

What is going on is designed among other things to get France better terms from the Germans, though it is probably futile in that regard. But behind it is also the will to set up a regime which will make the return of democracy impossible. Marshal Petain is saying now that it is time to submit the "reforms" to the people. But it is a safe bet that the election in France will be the same sort of election as Hitler holds in Germany.


Proper Flower

This Psychology Prepares Ground for Ritter Cases

Some people didn't like our remarks Friday about Killer Belk and his luck in getting off with thirty years in prison, which may be greatly reduced by parole, instead of paying the full penalty of first-degree murder in the gas chamber at Raleigh. We know, because some of them told us they didn't like the remarks. Like the jury, they felt that white men should not be executed for the murder of Negroes.

All of which is interesting in the light of the murder of the barber, Clarence Ritter, Friday night.

According to police theory at present, the murder was coolly planned and executed for the motive of robbery.

And what has that to do with Killer Belk, who had words with a Negro, went off and got his gun and came back and shot him down in cold blood? Nothing much, except the case of Belk was simply a part of the general murder picture here. In point of fact, Belk's sentence was a good deal more vigorous and just than has been usual in such cases, but if those who didn't like our remarks had had their way, it wouldn't have been.

It just will not do, that psychology that the murder of some people by some other people is a lesser offense and ought not to be punished to the full extent of the law. For once a taboo is partly broken down, the whole is likely to vanish quickly. And once people get the idea that one kind of murder can be got away with or partly got away with, it is not long until they slip into thinking the same about all kinds of murder.

Whether the killer of Ritter was white or black we haven't the slightest idea, and it doesn't matter. What is almost certain is that the ease with which murder is regularly committed in Charlotte, the ease with which the killers avoid due punishment, had its part in preparing the ground for its destruction. The same threat menaces every man and woman who lives in the city.

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