The Charlotte News

Thursday, September 28, 1939



Site Ed. Note: Once again, in both "Pearl Harbor" and "Quandary", Cash earns his affectionate moniker, "Zarathustra"--and two years before the probabilities of which he writes became reality--not to mention a pretty fancy indication of what part of the post-war Europe would look like until fifty years after the article. Also on Pearl Harbor, see a rather expository piece, "Squirrel Cage", July 21, 1940.

And, dear reader, as with all except the few editorials by Cash from Southern Prophet and the three or four mentioned directly in the article, we had never seen this day's editorials when the article on Cash's death was penned in November, 1998 and had read exactly none when we associated the facts therein--save the stuff on the death certificate which we didn't discover, (though we had looked for it in October, 1992), or add to the 1998 article until May, 2001--several years prior to that, more or less in the period mid-1991 to late 1992. Nor was the site named with the latter editorial in our store of knowledge. But, we admit, it's all very interesting and, at times, not just a little goose bumply.

Incidentally, for further edification, for those thinking what we are thinking, the only other editorial, probably not by Cash, in the column of this date was titled "Fair Time", about the pleasant county fairs aplenty about the state at that time, "a welcome relief from the tragedy of the times", though noting the one about to start in Mecklenburg was a "pretentious affair in the offing". "Best of all, they have a whale of a good time, which by the law of just deserts is coming to them."

Three Little Ships

Today Wood Pulp Was Permitted

Though they are lying at the bottom of the sea--indeed, all the more for that reason--the Gertrud Blatt, the Walma and the Martti-Ragnar serve as excellent illustrations of an important difference between the law and newly-proposed U.S. neutrality policy.

The three were neutral freighters, the first Swedish and the last two Finnish. Over this last weekend they were plowing their way across the North Sea or the Norwegian Sea headed for England with cargoes of--iron? Nope. Cloth for uniforms? Nope. Then at least dairy products?

No such. They were carrying wood pulp, and though Finland and Sweden protest that wood pulp does not appear on Germany's contraband list, there is no denying that from it is derived cellulose, which goes smack into explosives. Whether or not wood pulp was published as contraband, it will be hereafter, in all probability.

But the Gertrud Blatt, the Walma and the Martti-Ragnar, inoffensive ships though they were, will not at that float up from the ocean's bottom, nor will the indignation of the Finnish and Swedish people be much abated. As a Finnish newspaper puts it,

"It is an intolerable situation when neutral shipping, exporters and seamen must receive information of what is contraband from submarine captains."

From our standpoint it would be intolerable too. Yet our present Neutrality Act only authorizes the President to keep a jump ahead of submarine captains by proclaiming contraband items which American ships cannot carry to belligerents. The proposed revision of neutrality would prevent them from carrying any goods at all, hence would avoid all the more certainly such unpleasant contacts as these between U-boats and the Gertrud Blatt, the Walma and the Martti-Ragnar.


Pearl Harbor

It Is 2,000 Miles Nearer The Orient Than San Pedro

The sending of "a pretty fair-sized detachment" of U.S. warships from the fleet's base at San Pedro, Calif., to Pearl Harbor, H. I., is only for training purposes, the Navy Department announces. The transfer has been contemplated for years and has no connection at all with defense in Europe and Asia.

We are prepared to believe as much and to absolve the Navy of any intent to move out into the Pacific for reasons other than those expressed. But the Japs and the Russians may not be so credulous. After all, the Navy's moves, unrelated as they may be to world events, have happened to counter moves elsewhere as though in a checker game.

After basing in the Pacific these last years, the fleet early in 1939 was ordered to try the Atlantic for awhile. Then the Japs began to take a high hand in Shanghai and Tientsin, which Britain, being otherwise very much engaged, could only endure.

Promptly the American fleet called off its Atlantic visit and hastened back through the Canal.

This present shifting of the fleet may or may not be as a result of any Russo-Japanese understanding in the Orient, an understanding which could very seriously jeopardize British influence and possessions. But it is indisputable that the Hawaiian Islands are 2,000 miles closer than San Pedro to the theater of operations in the Pacific, a geographical fact which interested nations know better than we.



Allies, It Appears, Can Be As Bothersome As Enemies

Mr. A. Hitler is apparently continuing his efforts to achieve peace by threats. Russia, Turkey, Italy, the Balkans--these are to be lined up into some sort of a front to hold over the head of England and France the bogey of war against all of them at once, unless Germany's terms are accepted. And Mr. A. Hitler's troops are "concentrating" on the Western Front, apparently in the hope of setting up terror in the French population of being overrun as Poland has been overrun.

That Hitler really and desperately wants peace is more than probable. The evidence increasingly indicates that he jumped into this war headlong and not out of considered judgment, and that in doing so he has got more than he looked for.

On the east, he has his "ally," Russia. Her hand is still masked, but it is more than doubtful that she really means to help him at all: at least, a good guess is that if she does she will help him only to get the chestnuts out of the fire--for herself. Best bet probably is that her game is simply to take advantage of his war and her "alliance" with him to bring the Balkans (old Pan-Slavic territory and essentially akin to her in culture and language) back under the influence she enjoyed in the days of the Czars, and so get herself into position once for all to end Mr. Hitler's ultimate dream of the Drang nach Osten.

On the West, he has the two greatest powers of Europe against him.

One side or the other--open enemy or "ally"--he needs imperatively to get off his neck. If he goes West, his eastern bridges are burned behind him, and his only hope of realizing the dream of creating a German colossus is somehow to overrun England and France and take over their empires. From Poland comes a story that Herr Goebbels is handing the German soldiers there leaflets promising to address them from London by Christmas. But it is likely that Lord Hitler knows the enterprise is a far more desperate one than that. The relative strength of the two nations, as against Germany, is far greater than it was at the beginning of the last war. The Blitzkrieg tactics used against Poland won't work in the West, and efforts to do the British navy serious damage have brought no important results. And Russia holds the whip-hand over Rumanian oil.

And so he plainly does have reason to want to get the Western powers out of the war, and at the same time hold to his conquests and his face. To that end he makes coyly up to Russia. But it is not improbable that the last thing Russia herself wants is the end of the war in the West, for that would give him his opportunity to turn back and renew his march eastward before it is forever too late.

A strange Machiavellian game, this one which we witness, in which Russia seems to be pretending all the time to give him loving backing to the hilt, at the same time not taking on his enemies. The game, that is, of let's you and them fight.


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