The Charlotte News

Monday, February 27, 1939



Headaches for Franco

 If Franco has now about won th Spanish war, he is far from being through with his troubles. The overwhelming body of the Spanish people, of course, hate him for a traitor. And any efforts to conciliate them are going to be sadly hampered. For he has to pay off his Italian and German masters, and the payment promises to be such as will offend the proud Spanish people. He has promised, indeed, that he will not give up any Spanish territory. And it is quite possible that he will keep that promise. Italy and Germany won't need to own Spanish territory. They will simply build naval bases at Majorca, plant guns to cover the fortress of Gibraltar, and so on, all in Franco's name--and use them when they are ready. But Italian troops will certainly have to remain in Spain until the process of turning the land into a Fascist tread-mill is complete--which is to say for a very long time. Moreover, it will be German and Italian officers, technicians, etc. who inevitably will direct that process. And Italian and German businessmen are already enormously busy at turning Spain into a mere economic annex of their countries. Italians and Germans, in short, promise to be all over the place, giving orders and generally running the show. And under such circumstances, the Spaniards are going to get madder and madder.

But it is not only the question of satisfying his masters which is going to give him a headache. Such Spanish backing as he has had came from the most reactionary classes, from the nobility, the clergy, and the army officers. Yet to carry out the plan of his masters for turning the country into a Fascist state, and to attempt to conciliate the people, he is already having to flirt with notions of carrying out and even extending the land reforms which the Loyalist Government was attempting in 1936. And, of course, the 10,000 nobles who own a fourth of the land of the country, aren't going to like his doing that one whit better than they like the Loyalists doing it. And neither is the Church going to like his scheme for the nationalization of banks, etc. For it owns a great deal of that kind of property. Further still, he has already placed the Church on notice that it will have to stay completely out of politics and that under no circumstances will it be allowed to criticize the new regime.

And there is still further trouble in prospect for him from the Carlists. These people dislike the whole idea of Fascism, want the monarchy restored, and with it all the old conditions. Bands of them have repeatedly revolted even during the war. And as they see all their hopes defeated they are likely to make serious trouble.

About the only people whose loyalty he can count on, indeed, are the army officers who will be the chief beneficiaries of Fascism. And not even these can be wholly counted on. For they are steeped in the tradition of discontent and plot and counterplot. And they may very quickly begin to chafe under the viciousness of the Italians and Germans.

A Politician Gets His

The country's richest and most prevalent racket, corrupt politics, received a severe blow with the conviction of Tammany's James J. Hines as a felon. On each of thirteen counts the jury found him guilty, and when they had so reported, the judge complimented their verdict as being "just, fair and in accord with the facts."

Those facts were that Hines had taken a retainer of $500 weekly to protect the late Dutch Schultz's policy game from the law, that, with the connivance of crooked magistrates and police officials, he had engineered that protection. Holding no public office himself, Hines nevertheless was the dispenser of offices who paid off his accomplices with reappointments, promotions and the support of Tammany's disciplined voting strength.

Let no one think, however, that the corruption which has been disclosed in the country's biggest city is peculiar to the metropolis alone. In extravagance and brazenness, perhaps Tammany has no peers. But petty crime and politics are natural allies. The sharp contrast between morality as codified in the law books and as expressed in its people's behavior puts an uncongenial responsibility on public officials and police forces, and throws temptation in their way. That frequently they are not proof against it is no defense and no mitigation, but it goes a long way toward explaining why there are so many counterparts of Hines and so few of Dewey.


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