The Charlotte News

Sunday, August 18, 1940


Site Ed. Note: The Battle of Britain had begun in early August with the first aerial bombardment of southern England. By mid-August, estimates had the Luftwaffe numbering as many as two thousand planes per day flying sorties. Estimates after the war had toned that number down to around 200 to 300. Regardless of the number, the devastation was steady and horrific. Between August, 1940 and May 10, 1941, when the bombing suddenly ceased to enable transfer of German armament to the eastern frontier, 57,000 tons of bombs were dropped, half on London, killing 42,000.

Nevertheless, demonstrating the strong resolve of the British under the determined voice and optimistic bulldog grin of Winston Churchill, Britain's war materiel production increased by 40% in the period. Air raids provoked 57 straight retreats to the subways, converted to shelters for the residents of London, between September 7 and November 2; each morning, the indomitable residents would go about their business as usual, while rescue workers and displaced residents picked through the rubble amassing in the streets.

A week into the raids, Göring tabulated his losses to the RAF as unacceptably high and so switched to night raids. Raids were sporadic after early November, but the worst night of incendiary bombing was still yet to come, on December 29.

Cash's editorials were strangely complacent and sporadic about the bombing itself during this period, though he had doggedly editorialized in June, July and August regarding the isolationists and obstructionists in Congress blocking both aid to England and the institution of the draft. His few editorials on the relentless bombing appear to assume the outcome as victorious, though his other editorials critical of isolationism consistently warned of the tenuous plight of Britain without our aid and direct military support. How long could they hold the last bulwark of civilization in Europe? That was the recurring question.

Yet, Cash believed that without an actual invasion by Channel crossing, something he deemed unlikely, Hitler's efforts would ultimately go for naught but useless destruction and death. And of course he was right.

The human spirit, dogged for its ages by nothing more daunting than death, may become accustomed to anything, even nightly bombing of the secure sanctum of home and hearth, the smell of smoke pervading the air of morning, the torn possessions of life strewn about the streets like toys left by a careless, spiteful child in the night. Such tenacity and quiet determination to resist the devil's chords and sinews was something which a cowardly individual such as Hitler, hunkered in his bunker, could never seem to fathom. After his stomp through central Europe with little resistance during the previous year, and his Anschluss-style taking over of countries through rigged plebiscites for another two years before that, Hitler expected the British to crumble beneath the bombs. Fortunately for the United States, which, had it occurred, would doubtless have been his next target, the British people held their ground and held it well, just as it was on St. Crispin's Day, when only death's instruments of sword, mace, and arrow fell.

A Showdown

The State of England Will Probably Be Decided Soon

The hour of decision is undoubtedly rapidly approaching in England. The Nazis must be very close to using the maximum numbers of bombers at their disposal. And once the maximum is reached the crest of the attack will recede almost as swiftly as it sprang up, for the German losses are certainly terrific.

How much London suffered yesterday is not clear. Probably a great deal. But the evidence so far suggests that the Nazis have generally been unable effectively to reach key military objectives in England. For example they have constantly reiterated that Portland, the naval base on the Channel coast, had been destroyed and made untenable for the British fleet. But American reporters who visited the site and went over it carefully reported that the damage was amazingly slight, most of the bombs having had to be dropped in open fields.

There is evidence, too, from the Nazis--in their insistent propaganda designed to make England and the world believe that they are irresistible and that the best thing to do is surrender at once.

The Nazis are certainly going to move heaven and earth to make good on their claims, for they well understand if Germany should lose the war she is outside mercy.

It is much too early to conclude that Britain will not go down. Nevertheless, with the ultimate decision plainly in the offing, the available information suggests that while there is life there is hope.

No Division

Willkie Hews to the Line Of Roosevelt's World Policy

The Ivory Tower, 10:45 Saturday Morning

The text of Wendell Willkie's acceptance speech, to be held for release until delivered, has just been carted in for editorial study. In length it runs about 22 feet of copy paper, some 6,000 words. As to its content, we have a keen curiosity which is now about to be gratified.

Boy, close the door and inform all visitors to the tower that we are in conference. Run up the air-conditioning: the day is humid. As for yourself, scat!

All right, Mr. Willkie. You were saying......?


The Tower, 35 minutes later

If anyone had feared that an issue on foreign policy would be drawn between Willkie and Roosevelt, thus dividing the country at a time when of all times it needs to be compactly united, he may lay aside his apprehension. Indeed, the Republican candidate has an obviously hard job to find enough in Mr. Roosevelt's management on which to base specific criticism.

Mr. Roosevelt "has dabbled in inflammatory statements and manufactured panics." He has "courted a war for which the country is hopelessly unprepared"--and for that lack of preparation it may be that the President is partly responsible.

But Mr. Willkie himself is a good bit less than cautious. Only a few paragraphs after his complaints of the President (and his regrettable use of the word "unscrupulous") one hears him brashly declaring, for all Nazi Germany to hear, that "our way of life is in competition with Hitler's way of life," and promising to outdistance that aggressive employer of force "in any contest he chooses in 1940 (?) or after."

The man--and his answering of these great questions deserves approval--would do hardly more or less than Roosevelt has done or would do in the face of world conditions. He would simply do it better.

He'll fight, if it comes to that. He'd prepare now by raising an army through the means of conscription. He recognizes this nation's dependence on the British fleet, and by intimation he would do all in his power to save that fleet.

He carries a big stick, all right, but walking softly is not in his character.

As we derive the significance of Wendell Willkie's words, his views and Roosevelt's views on foreign affairs and the policy this nation should pursue are, in all good fortune, identical. We must be strong. We must be audacious. We must assert our sovereignty over the Western Hemisphere at all costs.

Two peas in a pod, each wanting to be the King Pea.


As to the domestic policies, again there is outspoken criticism of the Roosevelt Administration--together with an acceptance, at least in principle, of the bulk of it.

Mr. Willkie, like his opponent, is opposed to monopoly and the concentration of power. He believes in collective bargaining and the protection of that right. He believes in minimum wages and maximum hours, the regulation of interstate utilities, securities markets and banking.

He endorses Social Security, farm relief, unemployment relief. But to minimize their demands on the Federal Treasury, he would endeavor to stimulate industrial activity to the point where these would be incidental rather than primary governmental services.

He would--and this emphasizes a real divergence between the two nominees--make a radical change in fiscal policies. "The New Deal stands for doing what has to be done by spending as much money as possible (the Eccles theory), I propose to do it by spending as little money as possible.

There is no gainsaying that in his description of the unlimited potential productivity of this country, he paints a rosy picture which is enticing. No man in his senses would cling to the New Deal's philosophy of the "distributed scarcity" when, simply by renouncing such a doctrine, he can assure himself of plenty for all.

But it may not be so easy. The candidate has yet to disclose more than a bare outline of his proposed method.


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