The Charlotte News
Sunday, April 16, 1939
'Ware New Words
Try Schneidemuehl On Your Own Typewriter
Writing editorials about the prospect for war, we are moved to reflect, with some horror, that if the thing does come, American editors, linotypers, and proof readers are going to be in for fearful times. Such names as Lauenburg can be handled easily enough. But Schneidemuehl is a bit terrifying. And when we cross over among the Poles--think of trying to remember the spelling of Czestochowa. Or more horrid yet, Bydgoszcz! The only way you can manage that last one is to get down over it with a magnifying glass, track down each letter, check and double check, pray, then blot it all out, and hit the typewriter keys all at once.
Indeed, the prospect is so dreadful that we here and now propose that all such editors, linotypers, proof readers and so on proceed to dispose of it by an agreement to take over and consciously apply a celebrated law of language. We mean that law which led American soldiers to turn Alencon into Allen-Con and Aix-les-Bains into Ax Less Beans and Non-Cle into plain old Nancy--the law which led the British to turn Ypres simply and beautifully into Wipers.
That is, when Schneidemuehl comes over, let it be understood that it is to be written as Snyder's Mill or Snyder's Mule--as the editors et al. may judge most aesthetic. Let Czestochowa be Chesty Cow. And as for Bydgoszcz-- well, we thought at first that it might be made into Bygdogsky, but that seems a little awkward and falsely early American. Moreover, it does not really follow the law we have in mind, which has it that change is always made to the combination of sounds which its native sound most easily suggests to the changer. And so we guess it'll simply have to be Bygodsky.
Ominous Moves Here And Abroad
The Rising Roars About Atrocities and Fleet Movements Indicate A New Crisis In The Cards
All the news shapes up to suggest that this week is probably going to see another great crisis issuing and another victory for Hitler or the beginning of Apocalypse.
In Berlin the rumor that Hitler plans to enter triumphantly into Danzig on his 50th birthday, which falls on Thursday, has become more than rumor--almost an established fact. For DNB, the official German news agency, is pumping up the old cry of "atrocities" which invariably announces a new sortie by the Nazis and Fascists--the same cry that went before Munich, before the swallowing of Czechland, and before the seizure of Albania. And the evidence afforded by that is borne out by the German troop concentrations.
These concentrations are taking place not only in East Russia on the border next to Danzig, but also in Germany proper, at Lauenburg, Schenidelmuehl [sic], and in Silesia, opposite the Polish town of Czestochowa. The first of these places lies just over from Gdynia, the great new Polish port on the Corridor--the port the loss of which would make the Corridor useless. The second lies opposite the base of the Corridor and the chief railhead in the Corridor, the town of Bydgoszcz. And the Silesian position lies along the shortest rail route to Lodz, the heart of industrial Poland, and Warsaw.
All this may possibly mean that Hitler plans more than seizure of Danzig--that he contemplates the taking of the whole Corridor at least and the paralyzing of the Polish resistance by the seizure of the nation's chief industrial area. Such a possibility borrows some plausibility, too, from the fact that DNB's cackle about atrocities is directed not only toward Danzig but toward all Poland as well.
On the other hand, the concentrations in Germany proper may merely be precautionary, and Adolf may intend nothing more for the moment than the seizure of Danzig alone. That would fit with his past policy of devouring his victims piecemeal. And it would serve the purpose of defying the forming British-French-Balkan alliance, and again striking a blow at British and French prestige--while still not confronting Chamberlain, Daladier & Co. with a provocation which meant war. For Danzig is largely inhabited by Germans; so long as Gdynia was untouched Poland would still have port facilities, though inadequate ones; and under those circumstances she might be persuaded to say that she didn't consider the case worth fighting for.
However, Hitler himself does not seem sure that whatever he plans may not bring war. For it is probable that the "maneuvers" a German fleet will begin in the Atlantic waters off Spain Tuesday have been planned with a view to the possible outcome of the adventure which seems to be [in the] making. If war does come, the move will be extremely useful to Germany. Instead of being bottled up in the Baltic and rendered useless as was the Imperial German fleet in the last war, a good part of Hitler's naval power will be free to operate where he pleases--particularly to use the Spanish harbors as a basis for operations against English commerce and its chief lanes.
Just as ominous as all this is the news at home. Mr. Roosevelt's appeal to Hitler and Mussolini recalls the Munich days, and suggests very pointedly that he believes that explosion is very near. That he has much hope that he will succeed, that Hitler and Mussolini will honestly give any such guarantees as he asks, is improbable. Nor is it likely that he would put any faith in it if they did. But the move admirably serves two purposes: (1) it places responsibility for the choice between war and peace squarely and openly on the shoulders of the dictators; and (2) it renews the warning as to where the sympathies of the United States lie.
But even more important than that is the sudden order to the American fleet to fuel and return to the West Coast. The fleet had been expected to stay on this side indefinitely. A naval review was on the program for the 27th. The sadness of the decision taken is testified to by the change in plans. And this, too, testifies to Washington's belief in the nearness of war. For what explains it is undoubtedly Japan's all but openly admitted will to seize the Dutch East Indies and Indo-China, and so to get herself in position to make Singapore valueless to the British, and perhaps eventually to grab the Philippines. So long as the British and French Navies are at liberty to deal with her, she does not dare these things. But war in Europe would mean that the British and French Navies would be needed at home, and most observers have agreed that in that case she would immediately come to the aid of her Axis friends--by grabbing off these jewels for herself. The return of the fleet to the West Coast appears to be, therefore, a warning to her to lay off--taken on the premise that she may be very near to having the circumstances for which he has waited.
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