The Charlotte News

Monday, September 9, 1940



Site Ed. Note: By the way, as the link has changed--(as it may again--will they ever make up their minds and stop daily reinventing the Wheel Barrow?)--since we uploaded the September 11, 1940 editorials and accompanying note last September 12, Pearl Harbor Day is September 7, at least 'twas so by 1988.

But you knew that.


Dicey Deal.


Farmer Wallace Rattles Off Words Eccles Has Taught Him

There is that nutsy argument again--the one about the Federal debt's being all right because it is easier to carry than it used to be and because the total outstanding debt in the country, public and private, is less than it was in 1929, even though the Federal portion of it has increased, by some 25 billions.

This time it is Henry Wallace, candidate for the Vice-Presidency, who echoes the presto-change invented by the fiscal magicians of the New Deal to excuse their inability to stop spending more money than they have been able to lay hands on.

What if the debt is easier to carry? It's going to be just as hard to pay back, isn't it? Provided, that is, the New Deal intends that it should be paid back.

And as for the lesser total of debts, public and private, outstanding now than in 1929, Farmer Henry knows what happened to a lot of 1929 notes and mortgages, doesn't he? Any farmer ought to. Foreclosures, bankruptcies and just plain inability to pay wiped out a great portion of 1929's debt.

Besides, Howard Brubaker of The New Yorker, in one witty, pungent paragraph, exposed the fallacy of the New Deal's premise about the 1929 and 1940 debt. For whereas, said Mr. Brubaker, 1929's debt was owed by a lot of total strangers, 1940's debt is owed by us, ourselves. And by our great-great-grandchildren, he might have added.


Shooting Irons

South Clings to Them In Spite of Evidence

A uniform pistol act has been adopted by the Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws, for submission to all the state legislatures.

It provides for the licensing of all persons carrying pistols, and a penalty of two and half years in prison for second offenders, with parole forbidden. That does not seem an unjust punishment for an act which menaces society with violence and sudden death.

Chances are, however, that it will get little consideration in the legislatures of the states of the South, in which pistol-toting is most common. They have refused to act on far milder laws framed by their own members.

Yet it is precisely in the South that control is most imperatively needed. According to the figures of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, in the first six months of 1940 the South Atlantic states (to which group North Carolina belongs) had a murder rate, in towns with ten thousand population up, eighteen times greater than that of New England; nearly five times as great as in the Middle Atlantic states; and over four times as great as all the rest of the country outside the Southern area and its border fringes.

And the rate for the East South Central states (the Alabama-Mississippi-Louisiana area) is even higher, being twenty-five times that of New England!

We do not suggest of course, that Southern freedom to tote pistols and Southern murder are simple cause and effect. But there is no doubt that there is a close correlation between them.


Soft Hamlet

Carol Hoped to Duck in Face of Plain Facts

The trouble with Carol of Rumania seems to have been the prevailing Hamlet disease of our time--the inability to make up his mind really to take decisive action of any sort.

In the case of the English-French guarantee to defend the integrity of his country, he sat on the fence instead of going all-out in an alliance with them. If he had done that, it is more than probable that all the other Balkan countries, with the exception of Hungary, would have lined up behind him and also Turkey. And if he had opened his doors to the large French-British army in Syria when the Nazis moved into Poland, the war might readily have taken another term. The French probably would have struck simultaneously from the West and Germany might now be on the ropes. Certainly, the ultimate chance of Rumania surviving as a nation would be far better.

Similarly when the traitorous Iron Guard attempted to stage revolution and killed his premier, he resorted to half measures-indulged his anger to the point of executing some thousands of them but not to the point of stamping the body of them out. He should have read Machiavelli, who pointed out that half-violence is the most dangerous policy of all, since it simply steels the will of the remaining portion of the enemy to have revenge.

We call it the Hamlet disease. But that is in fact not quite fair to Shakespeare's Prince of Denmark. Hamlet's mind was the philosophical mind, eternally poised between doubts. Such men are valuable: they are the thinkers of the race: but they have no place in government. Carol, of course, was not that sort. He simply represented the mind which is so soft that it cannot face painful facts and prospects, which clings insanely to the hope that if nothing is done something will turn out to save it. It seems to be common to most of the leaders of the time.



Hitler Pressed for Time, Begins Final Great Gamble

The rising tempo of the air assault on London indicates that Adolf Hitler means to try to go through with his promises of victory over England this year, regardless of the costs and risks. He has to. Either he wins now, or not at all.

The peak has not yet been reached, in all probability. When it is reached, Adolf will have to have accomplished his purpose of softening England sufficiently to allow invasion by sea, or the jig will be up. For the peak intensity cannot long be maintained, but must rapidly begin to recede because of losses.

The losses are terrific. Britain reports 133 German planes, out of a thousand attackers, brought down in Saturday's onslaught, a fifth of the 500 Sunday and attackers. And it is to be remembered that these planes in general represented Germany's very finest. Cheap Stuka dive bombers can be used against the outskirts of London, but they are not feasible for attack within the inner defense ring. For that job the latest Heinkel bombers and Messerschmitt fighters (equipped with cannon) must be used. And when these are gone the Nazis must fall back to their second line planes. With those, the force of the attack must inevitably slacken swiftly. Meanwhile the best British bombers will be intact. It may well be that the latter are deliberately waiting until the better Nazi fighters are gone before launching a full dress counter-attack on Berlin.

What the British losses in military objectives are, we don't know. Apparently the docks of London were considerably damaged, but the Government announces that the main part of the equipment is intact and the report will be kept permanently open. However, the total destruction of these docks and the closing of the port of London, as well as the total destruction of London factories, would not necessarily be fatal. The British counted on that possibility from the beginning. The main part of England's productive capacity is in the Midlands, and the ports which must be kept open are all on the west coast. The Germans have demonstrated no capacity to get through to these areas in any numbers.

Property losses and human losses are heavy from one viewpoint, but they are negligible as against the background of the war. Barcelona, without protection of any sort, endured losses as great or almost as great day after day for many months. So did Madrid.

And we have to remember that these losses are astonishingly low as against what was once expected. When Britain went into war, she did it in the calm expectation of a hundred thousand casualties in London alone during the first six weeks of the conflict.

Moreover, these property and life losses are paid for at a staggering rate. In view of the cost of planes, it is probable that each life taken so far has cost the Nazis in the vicinity of a hundred thousand dollars. As well as the lives of pilots, observers, and gunners.

Finally, British morale shows no signs of flinching. That is probably going to be the decisive test.


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