The Charlotte News

Saturday, June 1, 1940


Wasted Arms

This Rule Now Flies in Face of Our Interest

Common sense now calls for the President to reverse his ruling that surplus and outmoded war materials now owned by the Army shall be sold only to "friendly neutrals".

Britain is scouring the markets of this country to pick up almost any kind of weapon to arm her home forces against the coming attack of the new barbarian horde against her shores. If England is overrun we stand to be in grave danger--if Hitler gets the British navy, perhaps an immediate and terrible danger.

But the Army has on hand 1,800,000 surplus Lee-Enfield rifles of a modified British design left over from the World War. And in addition it has hundreds of outdated Vickers, Lewis and other machine-guns. These weapons are of no account for an American army. Even in an emergency we cannot use most of them, for the reason that we are not prepared to make ammunition to fit them. The British are prepared to make it, since most of them were British guns to begin with.

In the hands of the home forces of England, these guns might well spell the difference between the survival of civilization in Europe and its extinction. They ought to be sold to Britain without delay.


United States Should Clear This Up Quickly

The United States has a duty to the world which it ought to carry out with thoroughness and dispatch.

Tuesday Hermann Wilhelm (Das Schwein) Goering announced that he had taken to throwing captured French airmen into chains and executing French prisoners on a wholesale scale, in violation of the Hague convention and the ancient though unwritten code of war. Excuse given was that a Lt.-Col. Lackner (whose initials and first name are for some curious reason not noted), had reported that French soldiers had shot him after he bailed out of his burning plane and floated down by parachute, that Moorish soldiers had roughed him up when he landed. And that French gendarmes had chained captured Nazi airmen. And that Nazi parachute troops, in regular uniform, had been executed when caught by the French.

This sounds like another phoney invented to justify a new form of Nazi terrorism. The Nazis at present hold far more prisoners than the British and French, and would not at all hesitate to butcher them by way of increasing terror. Nevertheless, it is also to be remembered that the French are blazing mad. For that no one can blame them, and if it were only a matter of chivalry, they can hardly be censured if they shot every Nazi on whom they laid hands. Men who make war on women and babies by preference are scarcely entitled to chivalry. But of course it is no mere matter of chivalry, but of the danger of invoking the law of retaliation until the war becomes one without quarter.

And it happens that the United States represents Germany and France, so far as taking care that our prisoners are treated decently goes. Hence, the authorities should investigate this case fully--and waste no time in advising the world whether or not Goering is lying.

One Battle

Allies Are Far From Defeat if Morale Holds

To understand this war it has constantly to be kept in mind that it is one of systematic assault on morale even more than one of tremendous armed conflict.

The Nazis are boasting in Berlin that they have delivered a knockout blow, not to the British and French Armed Forces but to the British and French morale.

And apparently Hitler is preparing to attempt either to split off France from England or negotiate a peace under which he will pretend to be "generous" and at the same time get the two nations helplessly in his power--by calmly assuming to be already the conqueror. The play with Mussolini, threats about destroying Paris if France does not yield, of invading England and putting the whole population to death if the Government does not yield and hand over the navy, are all devices to heighten terror and defeatism among the French and British people.

But in point of fact he is very far as yet from being the conqueror. He has won the first battle, but the great British rear guard action has cheated him of his hope of destroying the British Army. Moreover, if the information we get is accurate, the price paid was so staggering as to make the victory almost Pyrrhic.

A large hole has certainly been made in the ranks of the best Nazi troops. And our own Chief of Staff, General Marshall, is quoted to the effect that reports indicate the Allies have destroyed about 40 per cent of the Nazi mechanized equipment.

The Belgian Army is lost--but by treachery and not by arms. The French Army is intact, the British Army is relatively intact. And the French have had time to take up and consolidate their positions on the Somme and the Aisne, where they are now being reinforced by new British contingents. In some respects the Allied position along the extreme west of the Somme Line is worse than it was in the last war. Elsewhere it is better.

And the line which is actively to be defended is a great deal shorter than in the last war, when it stretched from Switzerland to the Channel. Despite Nazi boasts, there is no evidence that they can break through the main Maginot Line or that they are likely even to attack it. What they may attempt is a flanking movement along the Meuse.

The Nazis still have the mechanical and air superiority, but if the Marshall figure is correct, the mechanical superiority is no longer so staggering. And the British have demonstrated a thrilling superiority when it comes to matching plane against plane. Above all, the element of surprise is now fairly well played out. The Nazis undoubtedly have further tricks in their bag, but they are running out.

In addition, the Fifth Column method of attack is now better understood than it was, and is being dealt with. And it is not likely that the Nazis will be able to use refugees as a screen again.

Mussolini must be reckoned with, of course. But until he enters the war, it remains to be seen what part he will play in the main theater of operations.

Further breaks in the Allied lines are probably to be expected, Paris may fall. But if such losses can be made to cost enough in Nazi blood and equipment, they need not be fatal. The problem of the Allies for the present is to maintain the morale of their peoples and avoid disaster until they can achieve mechanical and air superiority, or until the Nazi war machine runs out of gas.

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