The Charlotte News
Friday, December 20, 1940
Site Ed. Note: "Despite all the phoney 'experts' (they are the same ones who knew that Hitler could never overrun France or attack Norway), immediate attack by sea might well be forthcoming--in both the Atlantic and Pacific. For it will be 1945 at the earliest before our navy is equal to such an attack. And Hitler would have perfect legal justification in what we have already done." "Grim Choice" presents these grim, but prophetic, words, which, along with "Last Light" indicate with grim accuracy what would occur less than a year later, that which Cash had warned about since September, 1939. As Cash himself would predict in early 1941, however, an attack on the United States would accelerate the military building program into high gear and, while it would take until latter 1942 for the naval shipbuilding program to fully begin to meet military demand, it would, and decisively prior to 1945--and fortunately so, for had it not been for the many riveters and welders in our shipbuilding yards, sloth might have cost the United States its freedom ultimately by the late 1940's. Such a delay, in the throes of tragic appeasement with Hitler, almost certainly would have given Hitler time to build up his nuclear program, gestating at war's end. Whether of course an atomic bomb would have thus been dropped by the United States first in Berlin, history will fortunately never know. But, if we are candid with ourselves, it would have been a far harder choice for President Truman, knowing full well that there would be immediate slaughter of the remaining lives in the concentration camps as well as wholesale slaughter of others throughout Hitler's remaining conquered Europe to the west of the French border, to drop the bomb on a German city. There is also the racial component involved that the prevailing view at the time was, that for all the demonstrated brutishness of the Hun warrior class, the Japanese warrior class was more inhuman in their determination. Whether one can qualify murder and torture in this manner when in fact beheading someone is probably a far less cruel death than slowly starving millions or marching them into the showers to a known fate is improbable of course, in hindsight. But at the time, given the pervasiveness of unchecked racial prejudice generally, such was nevertheless the thought by many. And, obviously, that thinking would have had a profound effect therefore on the political and military leaders ultimately charged with the decision to use the bomb or not in Berlin or Hamburg.
"For ourselves, we know that we want to live in no such world as the Nazis will make." This language of Cash perhaps suggests the determination he had to not only not live in such a world but to do everything within his power to prevent it, including if necessary, laying down his life.
Admiral Kichisaburo Nomura, mentioned as the new Ambassador, in "Last Light", would be, along with special envoy Saburo Kurusu, the negotiators with Secretary of State Cordell Hull in the latter days leading up to Pearl Harbor. Nomura, having been told by Kurusu that November 25 was the absolute deadline beyond which further negotiation would be useless to avoid a fait accompli of war, ultimately extended one last time to the 29th, had vainly sought some preliminary agreement with Hull to enable Japan to withdraw its forces from Indochina in exchange for the economic quarantine placed on Japan by Roosevelt being lifted. The hardline government in Tokyo, however, was not of a mind to go along with such a plan, and nothing ever came of the late proposal offered on November 17, the last olive branch which had any chance in retrospect of avoiding the attack at Pearl.
S. C. Drys May Get Lost System They Wanted
The South Carolina drys appear to have pretty well checkmated their own purpose, according to the story of Harry Ashmore in his "South Carolina Sidelights" in The News of Wednesday.
These drys went to a great deal of trouble last Summer to get a purely advisory vote on a proposal to outlaw altogether the sale of alcohol in the state. They got it, and won by a substantial margin.
They got it, we suspect--at least they deserved it--because the system of legalized sale in South Carolina is not the best in the world. The profits motive has been allowed to dominate in the sale of the stuff, too many licenses have been issued, and apparently the local officers in some areas at least have been inclined to wink at bootlegging provided only that the bootleggers bought state-tax-paid liquor from the stores--at anything that helped to increase consumption and so revenue.
But South Carolina has its revenue troubles--acute enough for a great argument to be in progress over diversion of State Highway funds to other purposes. Liquor taxes yield South Carolina $3,500,000 annually. And it is not likely, says Mr. Ashmore, that the South Carolina Legislature will suppress the sale of alcohol. Instead it is likely to compromise by abolishing the private stores and setting up state-owned stores, like, Virginia, or county option, like North Carolina.
That will be a great gain for control, for both the systems have proved efficient. But it will please the drys who yearn, not for a workable system, but to see all control discredited.
A Real Gift*
Kindness of County Police Earns Our Warm Gratitude
Nothing is more appealing than the tenderness of a strong man for a child. There is about the tableau the contrast which somehow expresses all that is finest about the sometimes unadmirable human race. May the quality survive!
And so, when the men of the County Police Department pause to give thought to the poor children of this community at Christmas time, and utter that thoughtfulness in the form of a truly substantial gift of money, a gift that represents a sacrifice on their parts, it just naturally appeals to us as few things could.
God rest ye merry gentlemen. And to Chief Lineberry and his men, and to all the kind people who have contributed and who have only delayed to contribute to our Empty Stocking Fund, our warmest thanks. In not forgetting the helpless among us, they have earned the right to a greater enjoyment, the true enjoyment, of this oncoming day of good will.
However, Its Smokes and Screams Come Out of It
Ambassador Grew was pretty sarcastic in his remarks at Tokyo before the American-Japanese Society, regarding speeches which had just been made by Foreign Minister Matsuoka and the new Japanese Ambassador to Washington, Admiral Nomura. And with reason.
Both gentlemen were palpitant with zeal for humanity in the desire that America not plunge the world into Armageddon by entering the European war. But they jointly overlook the fact that the man who has actually plunged the world into Armageddon is their ally, Adolf Hitler.
And listen to Nomura saying:
"The light has gone out in Europe where nations have been thrown into the fearful vortex of a great war. Let us in Japan and America guard the peace of the Pacific, the only bright light of hope now left to mankind."
A more complete reductio ad absurdum of their claim to concern for decency and humanity and of their pretense to candor could not have been thought up.
The light in Europe has gone out because their ally, Hitler, has extinguished it. And there is no fearful vortex of war in the Pacific. Merely, the last "bright light of hope now left for mankind." A light, you will observe, created by the glare of burning Chinese cities, in which Chinese babies and women die under Japanese bombs.
Isolationists Misrepresent Alternatives to War Risks
The isolationists, as was to be expected, are raising the cry that the President's plan is one for getting us into war if enough "war hysteria" can be stirred up among the people.
But to begin with, these people ought to look into the definition of hysteria. Hysteria ultimately is an obsessing excitement, manifesting itself in frenetic ways, and proceeding from the incapacity to face unpleasant facts. And by the definition it is the isolationists who are guilty of hysteria and of trying to whip it up.
What they want to have the country do is to stick its head in the sand and exorcise war by repeating the somehow magic incantation, "we don't believe in war, we don't believe in war."
Let us understand the fact. This is no time for sophistry, and the William Allen White Committee and the Administration are doing the nation a very dubious service in trying too much to candycoat the things they propose. It may well result in our being brought up before the final fatal decision without psychological preparation, and so in disaster.
The cold fact is that the President's plan does mean that the risk of war is increased. Increased, we say, because it ought to be clear enough to anybody with horse sense that from the day we began to aid Britain, at the overwhelming demand of the people of the nation, we ceased to be a "neutral" in any legal sense--we never had been in any other sense--and became the non-belligerent ally of Britain. And a non-belligerent ally is already a party to a war, as Mussolini explicitly recognized when he set up that status for Italy.
The President's present plan is not any departure but simply more of the same thing. What is proposed is that as early as possible the nation shall be got on a war basis for production in order to send great quantities of machines to Britain. That naturally means that the risk of Adolf Hitler's losing the war is made greater, and it may well drive him to make war upon us. Or we may find ourselves in the position of having to go all out to save our ally, Britain.
That is a grim prospect: granted. But what the isolationists refuse to see is that our choice is not between this course and sitting quietly at home minding our own business. The actual choice is between this course and letting Britain fall (she can't win by herself) and finding ourselves alone in a world dominated by the Hitler-Italian-Japanese combination. Despite all the phoney "experts" (they are the same ones who knew that Hitler could never overrun France or attack Norway), immediate attack by sea might well be forthcoming--in both the Atlantic and Pacific. For it will be 1945 at the earliest before our navy is equal to such an attack. And Hitler would have perfect legal justification in what we have already done.
Another course would be full appeasement, under which we could give up arming, become an economic satellite of Berlin, submit to being surrounded by Nazism in the Americas and to being slowly Nazified from within on our own account.
Perhaps the most likely course would be one of half measures, in which with one hand we tried desperately to turn ourselves into a permanent armed camp overnight and at the same time appease Hitler with offers for trade agreements in the other. Our capacity to do that would depend entirely on his tolerance and the time factor. In any case we would probably be pretty well Nazified before it was over.
These are the only possible alternatives to taking the course the President is taking and to risking war. And you can't conjure them away simply by denying it. For ourselves, we know that we want to live in no such world as the Nazis will make.
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