The Charlotte News

Friday, December 27, 1940



Site Ed. Note: In "Right Word", the editorial to which Cash refers us by the always sagacious General Johnson was entitled "Hunting Witches". Worth a read to demonstrate just what kind of foolish talk appeared in newspapers every morning and afternoon across the country and with which commentators like Cash--and the President--had to compete in trying to wrench from the Congress even monetary aid to Britain, let alone the sending of troops or armaments, the latter thought by the isolationists to be too provocative as an act of war, the editorial, replete with its over-laudits to Mr. and Mrs. Lindbergh (did Ironpants forget the accomplishments of the Wrights?), his chauvinistic dig at Dorothy Thompson (Boadicea was the "Killer Queen" of the Britons who despite her fierceness, led her 100,000-man force to defeat before the Romans, was captured and died in captivity--whose side was the General on?), his out of context and hence unfathomable quotes, his "Sioux Sun Dancers" metaphor, and his enigmatic and insensitive concluding phrase, "until the concentration camps begin to work", read this way:

Washington-- Has the witch hunt actually begun? I haven't heard it, but several letters and telegrams inform me that a capacious radio news commentator is warning the public to "watch carefully" members of the keep-out-of-the war committees because they are "appeasers" and "are trying to make us afraid."

General Bob Wood, who was honored by Congress for his work in helping to build the Panama Canal and brought back from an important post in France in the AEP to spark the American war production effort as Quartermaster General is being put on the pan. Colonel Charles Lindbergh, who brought home the greatest honors American aviation ever knew, and who first jolted American and British complacency by revealing the tremendous hidden powers of German air armament, is now under the wand of the professional witch finders. Even his lovely, fearless, quietly philosophical wife has taken a dirty dig or two from such professional breast-beating Boadicea's as Dorothy Thompson.


What goes on here? Most of the people who want to dress up Uncle Sam as something more canny than his old role as the world's prize fat boy with a bag of candy in a world of Dead End urchins, were awake long before these tardy tom-tom beaters, witch doctors and Sioux Sun Dancers were even aware that there was a vast, sinister and growing danger in the world.

Some of them had been hammering at the inexcusable indolence of England, the equivocal horse-trading of France and, above all, the spineless inactivity of America long before the "cloud no bigger than a man's hand" became a thunderhead and began to belch lightning. All of them are and have long been, for all-out defense of this country. All are against hysterical dissipation of it. Who speaks for America--they or their half-crazed critics?

If they were so much more nearly right before, maybe they are more nearly right now, when they question whether we should rush headlong into a gunfight with our gun not even loaded and, as a first act, give away our guns.


Our greatest lack right now is Will Rogers, who said: "America never lost a war or won a conference." We wonder what he would say about "let's take the silly fool dollar mark from aid to Britain."

From how many billions have we taken the "silly fool dollar mark" for foreigners it would be hard to say. We took them off from the bill we footed for the last World War to a present total, with interest, of about fourteen billions.

God alone knows to what extent we took it off in defaulted private loans to "backward and crippled countries," including Germany, after the war. He also alone knows to what extent we chucked the "silly fool" dollar mark by buying the world's gold and silver at fictitious prices, fixed buyouts, at from almost double to more than double their true value, production cost plus reasonable profit. The total cost of all these incredible follies, no man can compute, but it runs into the fiscal stratosphere.


If we get hypnotized into financing this war, it would be doubled. If, in addition, we get into it, the sky is the limit--but there is a limit, according to Mr. Einstein, even to the universe.

Yes, we can take the "silly fool" dollar mark off the wasting of our "sweetness on the desert air," but there is one place from which we can't take it away. We can't take it away from the taxes on the grocery basket of every housewife or the drain on the "sweat of every man who labors."

For American defense nobody even mentions the cost. For "silly fool" dissipation of American defense to defend the British Empire all the way from the Straits of Malacca to the Straits of Dover, some of us will continue to mention the cost and the folly from now on, at least until the concentration camps begin to work.

Whoever the radio commentator was, he either read Cash or Cash listened to him or they were on a psychic or intuitive connection, for they were saying virtually the identical things using the same phraseology; so it is no wonder that Cash took on the General and his columns regularly as nearly being a personal affront that they appeared almost everyday right beside Cash's editorials. (See, e.g., "Hell-Bent For War", Cash's penultimate book review of April 16, 1941)

And the General should have read Einstein a little more carefully and selected a better metaphor.

In any event, we have the voices of the General, the Lindberghs, and many others like them to hold responsible for leading nearly half the country down this primrose path of isolationism for over two critical years until the final climax of Pearl Harbor. The General is right when he questioned whether the United States would have been wise to get involved without its gun, but the reason it didn't have its gun was in large part due to the continuing criticism of the Roosevelt spending program as it related to defense throughout the previous two to three years by the likes of the General. Thus, he speaks from both sides of his mouth and with a forked tongue when he suggests he and his pals had led the parade for more preparedness early on in some manner. We will one day endeavor to provide what General Johnson said in Pearl Harbor's aftermath; Mr. Cash, of course, was not around by then to provide his own side of the matter.


Italian Naval Feats Usually Disappear Before the Facts

The Italian High Command announced yesterday that on Dec. 21 its submarines had sunk a British light cruiser in the Mediterranean, two steamers in the Atlantic, and yet another commercial vessel with a torpedo, and that Italian war planes had bombed a British warship in a North African harbor, with what result it was not disclosed.

It is possible that these events took place exactly, and only exactly, as the High Command set them forth. Where there is so much shooting, somebody is likely to get hit. But until confirmation has been made in some more credible form than the claims of the Italian High Command, the world may be pardoned jeering skepticism.

For it has happened before that the Italian High Command has prematurely claimed naval feats for its forces, enjoying of the false triumph for a day or so, only to have the British follow up with apparently authentic disclosures of another Italian naval fiasco. Not once has the sequence varied, and the wonder of it is that the Italian High Command still has the nerve to expect that any credence at all will be placed in its announcements.

Which is not to say, of course, that the British are wholly reliable. As for the particulars of the Italian losses, yes, but for British losses, perhaps no. Military reasons might make it unwise.

But which is to say that the Italian versions are wholly unreliable. Not only that, in the past they have been ludicrous for their efforts to turn routs at sea into victories on paper.


Cocky Man

Mr. Marshall Thinks He Knows How To Fix Things

Mr. Verne Marshall, the Iowa editor who has set up as savior of the nation with his "No Foreign War Committee," is not precisely what you would call a modest man.

If only the President will take him and his committee into full confidence, he says, "we will know exactly how to end this war. And within weeks, if not days."

If so, the great man knows something that nobody else knows.

True enough, it is easy to put an end to the war. All England has to do is to submit to Adolf Hitler. And all we have to do is to trail along and give Adolf whatever he wants. That way we may be fairly sure of peace for a great many years to come. At least there will be no war. Adolf won't allow it.

But the price paid will be slavery for all Western men who have not got the blood of the Brute of the North in their veins. It will mean the total destruction of free thought and free speech. It will mean that all men who insist on calling their souls their own will be rounded up to be tortured to death in concentration camps. It will mean the systematic sterilization and extermination of all peoples Hitler doesn't like, such as the Jews and the Poles and, in all probability, the French.

Yes, peace like that can be had at any time we ask for it, and within hours, not days. But some Americans don't think it worth the price.

A Little Hasty

Hitler Should Have Won War Before Doing This

From Berlin the Associated Press reports:

The Civil Administration of Alsace, in German-occupied France, announced completion today of persons regarded as unsuited for incorporation in the region's new order. Removal of the non-German element, the administration said, has "banished the last doubt that Alsace is and will remain German."

But this is one of those cases in which man proposes and God will dispose. And Adolf Hitler moves with a certain reckless precipitancy in acting after this fashion before he has won the war.

The people "regarded as unsuited" are, of course, the French. They are picked up and bodily removed, allowed to carry one suitcase and 2,000 (almost worthless) paper francs. Their farms and businesses are given to German hogs imported for the purpose.

But if Hitler loses the war, the process can be reversed. Alsace has belonged to France since 1648, with the exception of the period 1871-1918. And the proper Germans who were in it at the beginning of this war mainly represented the descendants of those brought in after the Franco-Prussian War, with the same purpose Hitler now nurses, of Germanizing the province.

In 1919 the French very seriously considered deporting all these persons, though they were to be paid in full for their property, but were dissuaded by British and American sentimentalists.

It Hitler loses the war, it is not likely that the sentimentalists are going to be allowed to wreck the victory again. And Hitler has furnished the most perfect precedent for expelling the Germans once and for all from Alsace, without compensation or consideration.

Two A Month

This Community Is Careless Of the Lives of Its People

By now, of course, everybody knows that murder accounts for the death of 40 or 50 persons in Charlotte each and every year. Most people do not realize that there is another cause of wholesale sudden death with which the authorities of the city have to contend. The automobile is neither quite so baleful nor lethal an instrument of extinction as a pistol or knife or ice pick, but it accounts for a full bag.

The deadliness of the automobile on the highways is well understood, so well understood that people are beginning to make allowances for it. As for the automobile in city traffic, it is reckoned a constant menace to children, to be sure, and a threat to fenders. But it is more than that.

This year in the city of Charlotte alone 22 persons have been killed by automobiles. That is an average of two a month, or likely will be before the year ends, and the consistent feature of the average is that two fatalities a month is about how the figures run. In only one month of the year were there no deaths from automobile. In another, there were four.

Verily, for a Friendly and Queenly City we are exceedingly careless of human life. And although the deadliness of the automobile is inherent in the speed and power of the machine and although the City Government has neglected to provide competent direction of her traffic and hazardous conditions, we are struck with the notion that the indifference of the Police Department is in the matter of traffic deaths, as in murders, a contributing factor.

What is plain to see is that nobody pays much attention anymore to the regulations and the lights and the ordinary rules of safe and considerate driving, and that the police pay virtually no attention to traffic violations.

Right Word

Appeaser's Good Qualities Don't Change the Fact

In his column today General Hugh Johnson is greatly exercised about the infamy of calling General Wood, Mr. and Mrs. Lindbergh and other members of the American First Committee "appeasers." The General would be more candid if he started out by telling us that he himself is a member of the said committee. In any case, he is attacking a man of straw.

Anne Lindbergh may have all the fine qualities he ascribes to her. But the fact remains that she is clearly on record as believing that the Nazi and Fascist philosophy represents the "wave of the future," that it cannot successfully be resisted, and the thing for us to do is to come to terms with it.

She doesn't like the wholesale murder of Jews and Poles. But that, she says, is only the scum on the wave of the future. Her husband holds exactly the same view.

They are both within their rights in holding these views. And both are entitled to express them.

But the fact remains that they are clearly appeasers, if that word means anything. And their various qualities and achievements do not at all change it. It is true that Colonel Lindbergh once performed a notable feat of flying. It is true that his wife seems to be a pleasant sort of person. It is true that General Wood has a good military record. But Chamberlain was apparently one of the best-meaning men in England. That did not change the fact that he was an appeaser and that his appeasing brought his country to the verge of ruin.

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