The Charlotte News

Saturday, October 7, 1939


The Guns Rule

Mr. Hitler's Decisions No Longer Control This Issue

Said Mr. A. Hitler at Berlin Friday:

Why should this war in the West be fought? For the restoration of Poland? The Poland of the Versailles Treaty will never rise again. This is guaranteed by two the largest states in the world (Russia and Germany).

As a matter-of-fact, of course, the war is not being fought over the restoration of Poland. It would, indeed, be a crime to condemn any people to the tyranny of the Nazi gang for any purpose at all. But if it were only Poland, there would be much searching of consciences before anybody decided that her fate was worth the lives of perhaps millions of men. And if Germany had a decent government, it is quite likely that the decision would be to let her have the Poles, on the theory that in the end, they would do again what they have done before--and make her pay and pay and pay for the criminal deed accomplished by brutal force.

But Poland is only a symbol here--of the necessity of destroying Nazism root and branch.

As such, however, she is greatly important. When she is restored, Nazism will have been given its death blow. And as to Mr. Hitler's statement that that cannot be done--that decision lies neither with Adolf nor with his Russian pal. It lies now with the guns, and the economic power of the nations behind those guns. And it is worth noting that once before these two nations (Germany and Russia) had agreed that Poland should never rise again, but that nonetheless, when the guns had finished, she did rise again.


It Is A Good Time To Do Honor To Pulaski

The President's action in calling on the nation to observe the 160th anniversary of the death of Count Casimir Pulaski is particularly fitting just now. It serves at once to emphasize the general national reaction toward Germany's latest "heroic deed," and to remind the people who are trying to have it that Europeans are a different breed from ourselves and that we have nothing to do with them that history does not very well bear them out.

Pulaski first came to fame fighting for the freedom of Poland from exactly the same two tyrants who have just overrun her again. That tradition he inherited from his father. In 1748 he took a prominent part in the formation of the Confederation of Bar, and ultimately became commander-in-chief of the Polish forces in the struggle which followed. Beaten and driven into exile in 1773, he came to America, in 1777 joined the army of General Washington. At Brandywine, he greatly distinguished himself, and for his services was rewarded with the rank a brigadier-general by the Congress. At Germantown he fought as commander of the cavalry. Next year he formed the Puaski Legion, made up in part of Poles and of Germans who hated the Prussian regime, and at the head of this force came south to fight in these parts. In May, 1779, he successfully defended Charleston against the British attack. But his end was at hand. In October he was mortally wounded in the attack on Savannah, died October 9 (old style) on board ship in the harbor.

A gallant gentleman, he deserves to be remembered forever by all Americans, in his own right.

The Great Hunt

Three British Cruisers Go Seeking A Ship And A Fight

In the South Atlantic the most exciting business this dull war has so far turned up is underway. For down there has begun the greatest sea chase since the Emden cashed in her chips.

The appointed prey is the Admiral Scheer, German pocket battleship turned sea-raider. And on detail to hunt her down and destroy her are three British heavy cruisers, the York, the Berwick, and the Exeter. But the odds are not so great as that sounds.

The British have all the best of it when it comes to bases. Two hundred and fifty miles east of the tip of South America, they have the Falklands, and.all through the waters stretching away to Africa are other British island possessions: Tristan da Cunha, St. Helena, the Nightingales, Ascencion, etc.

The Germans have no base closer than Wilhelmshaven, unless somebody is violating neutrality. There have been suggestions that Spain or Portugal may be doing that, and that the ship is operating from the Canaries or the Cape Verdes. But it is not probable, for the British would be sure to find it out in short order and wreak summary vengeance on the offender. What is more possible is that the Germans are making unauthorized use of some of the many shallow bays scattered along the coast of Angola, at least as a hiding place.

But in any case, the Admiral Scheer has a cruising radius of about 10,000 miles (equivalent to a range of 20,000), which means that she can stay out of Wilhelmshaven for some time. Moreover it is quite likely that she has arranged with daring and unscrupulous captains of merchant ships to fuel and supply her. It is a dangerous game in the extreme for these latter. If they are caught by their own governments, they will come in for long prison terms. And if the British catch them, they will be sunk out of hand. But there always have been men sufficiently hard-bitten to undertake such risks--for a price. And they are very numerous now, for the rum-running of Prohibition days trained hundreds of them in just such business.

In addition to her range, the Admiral Scheer is nearly as fast as her pursuers--29 knots as against 32. Hence the cruisers promise to have a hard time coming up with her.

And when and if they do finally track her down, ah, masters, then Greek will have met Greek. There are three cruisers, yes. But the Admiral carries much the heavier armor, and withal quite as maneuverable as the Britishers, her gross tonnage being the same as theirs, 10,000 tons. The British ships carry six eight-inch guns each, four four-inch high angle guns, and two torpedo tubes. But the Admiral has six eleven-inch guns, in addition to smaller ones, anti-aircraft equipment and eight torpedo tubes. And besides that, she has what the cruisers haven't got, two planes which she can catapult into the air from her decks.

All that means that she can stand off and hammer the Britishers before they can come into firing range of her. If there were not three of them, she might indeed hope to keep out of their firing range altogether, while herself systematically smashing them up. Nevertheless, if the three finally succeed in hemming her in and bringing her under their guns, they will still have to advance to fairly close quarters. The eight-inch guns are probably capable of crippling and perhaps even sinking her, but to do that they will be needed to be fired a short range.

So it is not going to be any walkover, that battle, if it ever comes off, but a first-class fight, with the odds far from being overwhelmingly against the Admiral.

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