The Charlotte News

Wednesday, August 7, 1940



Site Ed. Note: Does "Rebel Strain" still apply in the time since World War II? Judging by the only available data for regional enlistment, that of the death toll in Vietnam, the old axiom appeared overwhelmingly viable still through at least the early 1970's.

Of the 58,193 official deaths of United States military personnel recorded from Vietnam, 18,138 came from the Southern states, (Ala., Ark., Fla., Ga., Ky., La., Miss., N.C., Okla., S.C., Tenn., Tex., Va., W.Va.); 12,938 came from the Northeast, (Conn., D.C., Del., Mass., Md., Me., N.H., N.J., N.Y., Pa., R.I., Vt.); 12,449 came from the Midwestern industrial states, (Ill., Ind., Mich., Minn., Oh., WI); 10,820 from the West, (Al., Ariz., Cal., Col., HI., Id., Mt., N.D., N.M., Nev., Ore., S.D., UT., Wash., Wyo.); and 3,288 from the central Midwest, (Ia., Kan., Mo., Neb.). (The remainder came from the territorial possessions.)

While about military statistics, it is interesting to note that the Department of Defense tells us that active duty military personnel in 1950 were at about 1.5 million, rose dramatically with the call-up for Korea in 1951 to 3.25 million, where it more or less remained in slowly declining numbers through 1961, rose again in 1962 from 2.4 to 2.8 million with the Cuban missile crisis, and then began rising dramatically in 1966-67 to 3 million with the draft for Vietnam beginning, until it reached a peak level of 3.5 million in 1968; the number of enlistments then slowly declined from 1969 to the end of U.S. involvement in Vietnam in 1973, when there were 2.2 million serving. The numbers remained fairly constant at that level during the beginning stages of the all-volunteer armed forces in the latter half of the seventies through the end of the Cold War in 1989-91, slowly declining to about two million, and then to 1.8 million in 1992, then to 1.4 million by 2001, rising just slightly, as might be expected, by another 25,000 in 2002, to the present total in March, 2004 of 1,425,887.

At the beginning, in 1789, incidentally, there were 718 men in the military. By 1801, there were 7,000. By 1812, 12,000; by 1813, as the War of 1812 continued, 25,000; by 1814, the last year of the War, 46,000; back to 14,000 by 1817; 22,000 in 1837; about 20,000 during the 1840's until swelling during the Mexican War to 40,000 in 1846; then 60,000 in 1848; back to 20,000 through 1854; edging up to 29,000 by 1858; bloating to 217,000 with First Bull Run in April, 1861; then to 673,000 in 1862; 960,000 in 1863; topping out at over a million in 1864-65. Enlistments reduced again to 75,000 in 1866-67, to 50,000 by 1870, to 40,000 in 1876, when Custer fought the Indians, to 34,000 in 1877, up to 43,000 in 1897, swelling to 235,000 during the Spanish-American War in 1898, to 100,000 in 1899, to 125,000 in 1900, to 140,000 in 1910, 165,000 in 1914, as World War I began in Europe, to 644,000 in 1917 at the outset of our involvement beginning in April, to 2.9 million in 1918 at the Armistice on November 11, reducing to 1.2 million in 1919. Enlistments dramatically fell again to 343,000 in 1920, to 250,000 by 1925, beginning to rise again to 311,000 in 1937 as the Spanish Civil War, Hitler's offensive movements to take back the Rhineland, Mussolini's attack on Ethiopia, and Japan's offensive in China began to bode trouble abroad; to 334,000 in 1939 as Hitler invaded Poland and World War II began; to 458,000 in 1940. The draft being in full force in 1941 and of course Pearl Harbor swelled the ranks to 1.8 million; 3.8 million in 1942; 9 million in 1943; 11.5 million in 1944; and a record all-time enlistment of 12 million by war's end in 1945. There were 3 million in 1946 and then 1.5 million average from 1947 for the rest of the decade.

Thus presently, and for the last decade, our military stands at a personnel strength as it was in the late forties, before Korea.

"Road to Robe" regards the brother of longtime Georgia Democratic Senator Richard B. Russell, from the little town of Winder, who served from 1932 until his death in 1971. He chaired the powerful Armed Services Committee through the height of the Cold War, from 1951-53, and again from 1955-69. Much to his own consternation, he was cajoled by President Johnson into serving on the Warren Commission, though he personally detested Earl Warren, as he made no bones of telling Johnson, an old former Senate colleague and friend. But Johnson, having already announced it to the press before Russell had consented to the appointment, told him that he was "goddamned" going to serve and eventually Russell did. The conversation, on November 29, 1963 at 8:55 p.m., is instructive of Johnson's well-recognized, and somewhat notorious, ability to persuade recalcitrant former colleagues. Russell eventually expressed displeasure with the outcome of the Report and felt the Commission had been unduly constrained and rushed in its ability to call witnesses and independently investigate aspects of the assassination. Russell was an active opponent of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, signed into law July 2. The law passed largely through Johnson's art of deft persuasion, in combination with the conscience of the nation jarred in the wake of the death of President Kennedy who had sent it to Congress in June, 1963; the bill had largely languished through November. The Act made it illegal to discriminate on the basis of race in admission to any public accommodation, whether privately owned or publicly owned, engaged in interstate commerce, thus embracing motels, restaurants, public conveyances, and other such businesses previously segregated in the South.

Rebel Strain

Volunteers for the Army Come Mainly From South

It looks as if Congress will have to adopt conscription merely by way of being fair to the South.

The Fourth Corps area, including all the former Confederate states save Virginia, Texas, and Arkansas furnished 2,033 volunteer recruits to the Army in a single week last month--a record for the nation in peacetime and one-third of the total quota for the whole country.

The same week the First Corps area, which is to say the South's old opponent, New England, enlisted 175 men. And the Second Corps area, which includes New York and New Jersey, had only 275 volunteers.

There is nothing new in this. The South furnished a disproportionately large part of the men who fought the Spanish-American War, despite the fact that the old wounds of the Civil War were not yet healed at the time. And so long as volunteering lasted after April, 1917, it turned in the same sort of record that it is now hanging up.

One obvious reason for this is that the South has the highest birth rate in the country, and so the largest number of unemployed young men of military age. But over and behind that lies another explanation. Southerners are still an outdoor people in their fundamental heritage, and outdoor peoples have always been readier for battle than the people of old cities. Moreover, ever since the Civil War the South has had a real if somewhat vague military tradition.

But perhaps ultimately and finally the matter comes down to the fact that Southerners generally have always dearly loved a fight, just in and for itself. It was that, as much as anything else, which sent the charge sweeping up the slope at Gettysburg on that famous July afternoon. And it is that, of course, which goes far to explain Southern politics. Its theme song is the rebel yell.


Strange Word

Nazis Want Fairness Only When They're Down

In the St. Lawrence River a Nazi prisoner escaped from a British ship, swam ashore, wandered into the United States 25 miles before he was picked up by American immigration officials.

As for the treatment of him he is full of praise. Oh, they were fine people, those immigration authorities. And the Federal Court before which he was taken. Kind. And fair. "I asked to communicate with my consul and at once they permitted it."

A strange word in the mouth of a Nazi, that one fair. And the fellow may thank his stars that the country whose hospitality he invaded without being asked has not taken his own infamous country as a model.

No wonder he was amazed that they let him see his counsel at once. It is not the usual course for Americans or anybody else who fall into the clutches of officials in Nazi Germany. Remember that American seaman who was taken off an American ship in Hamburg because he was found with some literature (in English) which smacked of Russian influence, and held for months without being allowed to see the American consul, and who was ultimately sent to jail without benefit of counsel save a Nazi stooge? Of the American student at Heidelberg who made a little humorous verse about the Nazi economy and found himself unable to see the consul, either?

Will the contrast have any effect on the fellow? Perhaps. But down to date the evidence shows conclusively that fair means a very different thing to a German when he is on the bottom than when he is on top.



Ham Fish and His Gang Make Sure It Stays Put

One of the most ignoble spectacles on view in a Congress which specializes in them is the action of a band of Republicans, led by the Hon. Ham Fish, and holding up in the House a measure to build a new TVA dam to supply the plant of the American Aluminum Company at Alcoa, Tennessee, with absolutely necessary power.

Power absolutely necessary for the national defense that is. Alcoa produces 43 per cent of all the aluminum produced in the United States. In the past the United States has imported considerable aluminum. That is no longer possible, since Hitler now has control of the countries from which it came. By 1940 the Alcoa plant will be producing 60,000,000 pounds less aluminum than will be required to carry out the airplane program now on the fire. It takes five tons of aluminum on the average to build a plane. Unless the production is brought up we shall be able to build only about 10,000 planes in 1942.

But the Hon. Ham Fish says it doesn't matter. We are in no danger from Hitler. That is what he says, believe it or not. The Hon. Ham Fish is the man who denounced the notion that there was going to be any war as a plot of Mr. Roosevelt's until two weeks before it broke.

As for the Hon. Rich of Ohio, he says that aluminum ought not to be made in Tennessee, anyhow, but in his district in southern Ohio.

And as for the Hon. Jenkins of Ohio, he says the dam as a plot of "Lillienthal and his gang." Meaning David Lillienthal, chief of the TVA.

As to that, these are the people who have urged the dam and furnished figures quoted above: The Engineering Board of the Army; William Hudson, production boss of General Motors and chief of the Defense Board; Edward Stettinius, U.S. Steel Chairman and a member of the Defense Board; and Gano Dunn, president of the J. G. White Engineering Company of New York, and one of the leading electrical engineers of the nation.

Mr. Lillienthal's "gang", eh?


Road to Robe

How One Man Rose To Be a Federal Judge

Georgia has a new Federal district judge, if the Senate confirms him, which you may lay to as a certainty.

He is Mr. Robert Lee Russell, whose rise to the ermine is interesting.

It all began some forty years ago when he had the thoughtfulness to be born to the same parents as his brother, Senator Richard B. Russell.

It took another step forward to the inevitable goal when he decided to become a lawyer. To be sure, he does not seem to have attained any single eminence in that field. He practices in a small town named Winder, and has not until now achieved even the mild distinction necessary to inclusion in "Who's Who in America."

Still he has been coming along silently but effectively. As the Associated Press succinctly phrases it:

"Although he has never held any major public office, he has actively aided the campaign of his brother."

It is a pity that Gilbert and Sullivan are dead. They could have made a song of that. "He has act-ive-ly aided the campaign of his brother, his bro-ther the Sen-a-tor!"

And if that were not enough, then the AP goes on:

"In 1938 he supported Senator Walter George in his renomination campaign against Lawrence Camp."

That, you see, was the final stroke, and made it virtually unanimous.

Yet the nominee has not come up without overcoming obstacles, as is meet and proper. He has had his villain as well as his good fairies. Down in the House, a man named Representative Ramspeck did his best to block his destined glory by insisting that, while Georgia needed a new Federal judicial district, it needed it in Atlanta and not in the country around Winder. But Brother Richard and the fates put that down. And so a judge was made.


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