The Charlotte News
Saturday, December 21, 1940
Site Ed. Note: This first bit of poetic muse on the coming of winter, Cash's last, would provide prophetic food for thought, then and now: "The days that lie ahead before the coming of the longest day contain dangers more terrible and pressing than the weather... Hitlers have walked the earth oppressing men many times before, but have always vanished before the returning light. Merely, sometimes the wait has seemed very dreary and long, and many men have not lived to see it."
Combine it with the pieces of two day's later, and one learns much of our world, its past and its future--as we continue to whirl away and away, and back again, as it so happens every spring.
Note Concerning The Sun's Turning Back From North
Once again the earth has reached the end of its tether in its flight from the sun and has begun to wheel back--and it is the shortest day of the year. Tomorrow will be longer by a hair, and tomorrow and tomorrow, and presently before we know it, it will be June 21 and the longest day of the year will be here again.
Well, not precisely before we know it, either. It is clear that the dreariest days of the Winter should still lie ahead of us, with our little ball plowing its way through space back toward the sun. But so it is, because of the odd habits of light with respect to the angle at which it strikes--because, in short, of the constitution of the curious universe through which, without being asked, we are carried as passengers on a swift but somewhat precarious craft.
But this fair, fresh-washed day reminds us that after all April will surely come again, and after April the flower and the fruit and the harvest. And of something else.
In older times men used to fear each year the sun fleeing away to the murky North would perhaps decide to keep on going and vanish there altogether and forever, to leave them to darkness and death. They exerted themselves mightily to prevent it by doing everything they could to attract the attention of the sun and persuade him back, to drive off the monsters of the North which were tolling him forward to doom. Which is one of the sources, at least, of our celebration at this season of this year.
But the sun never did really go wholly away, of course. And in that we can take a sort of comfort. The days that lie ahead before the coming of the longest day contain dangers more terrible and pressing than the weather. And there never has been a time when men were more afraid that the sun of things by which they live was about to vanish forever--in the north--than the present. But by the record, it has always come back.
Hitlers have walked the earth oppressing men many times before, but have always vanished before the returning light. Merely, sometimes the wait has seemed very dreary and long, and many men have not lived to see it.
Fascist, Unwilling To Admit Facts, Resort to Noise
The Roman radio bleats that Churchill lied when he said British troops in Egypt and Libya were outnumbered three to one, goes on:
"We have taken due notice that Mr. Churchill's remarks... on the subject of the Italian soldier. It follows the customary lines to which we have become immune... We are not so petty as to indulge in similar remarks... though we have always beaten them (British soldiers) when we have come against them."
Then a semi-official Italian bulletin announces that the British actually have 425,000 troops in the Libyan campaign, as compared with about half as many Italians.
Such claims are not rational, though the emotions which produce them are understandable. They are not rational because (1) they utterly conflict with the claim that Britain lies when she says she controls the Mediterranean, for without such control it would have been humanly impossible to get so many troops into Egypt, and (2) not only food, ammunition, and equipment, but water must be transported over hundreds of miles of desert, in which the water holes have been mainly destroyed, to the British army. The Italians themselves never put but about 60,000 men in Egypt.
Sneering at the Italian soldier's courage is a pretty futile business. Nor did Mr. Churchill do it. He said merely that the Italians had made a poor showing but that lack of heart for their cause and not failure of valor was the obvious reason. The Italian ran at Caporetto, but only after he had been fighting bravely for many months. And other armies, including the German, have run under similar circumstances. He ran at Guadalajara, too, as he has been running in Albania and Libya. But in all three cases he was obviously engaged in furthering a loathsome cause. And being basically shrewd and civilized, he undoubtedly recognized and recognizes it. It is the Roman radio, and the Fascist Government, not Churchill, which raise the presumption of cowardice against the Italian soldier for they refuse to admit that he actually is disgusted with Fascism and with the idea of fighting a holy crusade for his own ultimate enslavement by the Mad Dog of the North. That leaves no other possible explanation but cowardice.
Halifax Will Have To Live Down Appeasement Past
Why Lord Halifax should be the choice of the Churchill Government to replace Lothian as Ambassador at Washington is something of a puzzle for anybody who was not born into the intricacies of the curious British psychology. Yet the British Press Association says it is so, and it ought to know.
Maybe they wanted to make room for Eden to be elevated to the post of Foreign Minister without wounding the feelings of Halifax and his powerful Conservative supporters. Maybe they wanted to get old Lloyd George into the Cabinet as production minister. Just possibly--they even wanted to get Halifax out of London.
The selection of Eden as Foreign Minister would serve powerfully to emphasize that there is no thought of any form of appeasement. Bringing Lloyd George into the Cabinet would placate the Liberals and shut up his bawling against practically everything which is done--a bawling which is quite as loud as Hugh Johnson's in this country. And removing Halifax from London would be to ease suspicion by getting rid of the last of the great appeasers save Sir John Simon.
Baldwin is in his dotage. Chamberlain is dead. Hoare is away in Spain as Ambassador.
But what about sending an appeaser to Washington as Ambassador? True, Lothian himself had once been an appeaser but not as a member of the Government, and he had reformed early. True also, Halifax himself has reformed and apparently means it completely. But, however unjustly, suspicion of him certainly still survived in some circles in England. And he would come to the United States known to many Americans only as the man who, after Hoare, was perhaps most active in promoting the appeasement policy with regard to Ethiopia, Spain, Czechoslovakia--however unjustly, would be viewed by them with suspicion, and so perhaps give rise in them to renewed suspicions of the intentions of the British Government.
From Now On There Will Be No Delaying About Defense
The agenda of the Defense Commission, as first created by the President, was merely advisory. This did not mean that the commission was helpless at getting things done as and when it wanted them done.
To the contrary, the commission in most cases had only to suggest, and it obtained an immediate response. In any event it always had recourse to the President and the executive authority he holds.
But somehow the defense program continued to lag behind schedule. Manufacturers were co-operative. Everybody wanted to help as much as possible. Yet even such vital necessities as airplanes were coming off the line at only about two-thirds of the planned rate.
The new office for Production Management for Defense will have full power to make decisions and to enforce them with the direct authority of the United States Government, and in that respect represents a new set-up. But the probabilities are that it represents a great deal more.
The probabilities are, forsooth, that this is the beginning of all-out production for the defense of Britain and ourselves. That from now on plants will operate not on any schedule of their own selection but as they are ordered to operate, even up to 24 hours a day. And that machinery which turns out the material of defense will be kept running with only such stops as are necessary for maintenance.
The President's decision came late. It should have been made months ago. But it is made at last, and from now on industry will take its orders from Washington.
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