The Charlotte News

Sunday, May 12, 1940



All Men Say and Feel This Word Alike

In all the Indo-European languages, it is essentially the same word. In the Sanskrit, the ancient Aryan language of the Hindus, it was mati. The Greeks made it meter, the Latins mater. In old High German it was muotar, in Old Slav mati, in the Old Irish mathir, in Old Norse mothir. The French make it mere, the Germans mutter, the Spaniards madre, and all the four hundred million people who speak the tongue that grew in England, mother.

Nor, indeed, does it end there. Even in China and Africa, everywhere on earth, the sound is generally much the same. Perhaps it is only the rationalized echo of the first spontaneous organized sounds the child makes.

But in any case, it is the oldest word in the consciousness of every one of us, and its associations are older than all words, make up the cornerstone of the psychic experience by which we have passed from mere sentient lumps of protoplasm, to creatures aware of ourselves and the world.

Mother is the most fundamental fact of human existence, and out of her love for the child is woven the pattern of all the love on earth. Through her, even more primarily than the father, we become the heirs of this whole human tradition. And whether she lives or lies in the grave she is immortal in the memory and the songs and the stories and the love of her sons and daughters so long as they live, and so long as the world shall last.

Trail's End

A Man Gives Up Hope With Calm Dignity

Herblock's cartoon, "The End of the Trail," published on this page yesterday, and depicting old Mr. Chamberlain as a pathetic drooping figure on the Appeasement horse, was no new release. We have been saying it in our files for at least eight months--confident that the right time for its use would appear before this war was very old.

It admirably summed up the man's passing. Undoubtedly, he goes into history as a failure--a man who failed completely and utterly to take the measure of the men and forces with which he had to contend; his policy landed his country into war under cruelly disadvantageous circumstances and without proper arms.

It is a gloomy thing, failure, to have to bear at 72, when you know that there is no road back.

Some things, however, are to be said for him. He has been accused of all sorts of ignoble motives for his acts, especially for the Munich catastrophe. But there is every reason to believe that he was stubbornly and honestly convinced that what he was doing was best for England, and many millions agreed with him then. His policy he inherited from his family--and from his predecessor in office, Stanley Baldwin, who in the last analysis was more responsible for England's fatal failure to arm to meet Hitler and for Munich.

And it is impossible not to respect and admire the manner of his passing. In one particular, indeed, the cartoon was wrong. He did not droop. Whatever went on in his heart as he saw his chance to redeem himself by winning the war fade, he made his departure not with any flourish of plumes but in his own fashion, without apology or recriminations and with quiet dignity--the great English gentleman to the end.


A Brief Note to Go With Tim Pridgen's Article

To Mr. Tim Pridgen, whose masterly reporting and the Red Menace articles about Chapel Hill has been a feather in his own and The News' caps, we are going to reserve the privilege of summing up in tomorrow's paper. He is more competent than we to do so, since he went into this investigation without prejudice or preconception one way or the other, and came out with the evidence as it developed. Besides, he's as honest and judicial a fellow as you'll meet in a journey around the whole earth.

But what seems to come out of Tim's stories so far is his tacit understanding of the University as a place where, however some of its servants may fancy passing radicalism, the essential integrity of the institution is unchanged from the days of Joseph Caldwell, Kemp Battle, Francis P. Venable, the first Graham (Edward Kidder) and Harry W. Chase.

And where you have men whose integrity and purpose are sound, you are bound to have in the main an atmosphere that is dominantly wholesome, no matter how their expression of this integrity and purpose may sometimes deviate from the accepted standards.

But it is Tim Pridgen's job, not ours, to do the summing up of Chapel Hill's case. Only we couldn't resist the temptation to accompany the climactic article of his series with an anticipatory comment of our own.

Facing Facts

President Parks Politics To Warn the People

The President, it appears, has at length taken his courage in hand and set out to arouse the American people to the international perils which face us. At least he took the initial plunge in his address to the American Scientific Congress Friday night.

The isolationist uproar will be tremendous. All the Lundeens, Robert Reynoldses, Champ Clarks, La Follettes, Ham Fishes and Ironpantses will bellow that he is trying to get us into war. But if the President allows himself to be frightened off by this, he will not deserve the confidence most Americans feel in him when it comes to foreign affairs.

We have, as he said, undoubtedly been living in a state of delusion. By all the records, dictators and conquerors never stop until they are stopped by force. And the notion that the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans give us immunity from invasion is a relic of the past which will not stand examination.

We are the worst armed people on earth. Contrary to the calm assumption of the public, it is far from certain that the American Navy could whip the Japanese Navy alone. We have more ships, but they are older and slower; and just how good or bad Japanese gunnery may be we don't know.

Certainly, our navy is not equal to the task of defending both shores of the United States at once, to say nothing of Canada and South America and all "this hemisphere" about which the isolationists like to talk so grandly. As for our army, it is admirably calculated to put down Indian uprisings.

And the claim that great forces are necessary for conquest has been exploded. The modern way is different. First the ground is prepared by the "Fifth Column"--made up of Nazis, Fascists, Reds, and all varieties of traitors, imported and native. Then a small, highly mechanized force strikes for the nerve centers of the victim nation, with the Fifth Column busily cooperating. We have our Fifth Column already highly developed; so does every nation of Latin-America; so does Canada.

Against a quite possible combination of Nazi Germany, armed with the British and French navies; Fascist Italy; Japan; perhaps Russia, we would have less chance than Norway had--so far as keeping these harpies out of this hemisphere is concerned. And if they ever get into this hemisphere it is only a matter time until our turn comes. Indeed, against a combination of any one of the European dictators with Japan, or even merely Nazi Germany (if it wins the European war), our chances would be poor.

Does this mean, then, that we ought to go to war at once? That does not follow. What it does mean is that it is time to quit playing politics and talking sentimentally about the sons of the mothers of the country. Will we be safer if we decide to stand on our own, let England and France fall if they cannot save themselves, and hope to arm sufficiently to repel Hitler before he is in position to begin to try to grab the British and English possessions on this side, to sneak his agents in and take control of Latin-America from the inside? Or is it wisest to join a united front and deal with the enemy while he is still at a distance?

If the Nazi ideology is established throughout Europe and half the world outside this hemisphere, can we hope to keep it from spreading with the rapidity of the Black Death, through Latin-America, which looks to Spain and Italy for its ideas and which is already half inclined to admire the Nazis and Fascists? Can we indeed keep it from spreading to this country, with its Kluckers, Coughlinites, etc. already ripe for it? Can we keep it from creating a sinister peril which cannot be dealt with by arms?


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