The Charlotte News

Tuesday, October 18, 1938


Unfond Recollection

It somehow ill becomes Herbert Hoover to say what he said in Hartford, Conn., last night: that the New Deal has experimented "with the American way of life for six years at dreadful cost in human misery and despair."

And there may be, we think there is, some truth in the charge. The New Deal has fallen a good deal short of bringing the recovery it promised, and it seems likely that it might have brought recovery if it had not insisted on experimenting with dubious courses. All the same-- What Mr. Hoover insinuates in this attack is that he himself or some other Republican like him would have done much better in the circumstances. And the plain fact is that for four years Mr. Hoover sat in the White House and did nothing at all about the great depression, and that those four years were exactly the years of the most "dreadful cost in human misery and despair" in the history of the nation.

And Mr. Hoover descends to pretty low depths even for a politician when he says rhetorically, "Mr. Stalin was the founder of the political purge. Or was it Mr. Hitler?" The "purges" of Mr. Stalin and Mr. Hitler are blood purges, and the victims have no way of defending themselves. Mr. Roosevelt's "purge" merely followed the example of many Presidents before him, including some of Mr. Hoover's Republican predecessors. It consisted simply of asking the American people to do something. They were in no way forced to do it--in fact did refuse to do it at the ballot box. It may have been inadvisable, but it bore no whit of resemblance to the "purges" of Mr. Stalin and Mr. Hitler. And anybody who says that it did is unworthy of any confidence on the part of the American voter.

More for the Bill

Add to the price paid at Munich the most serious trouble in her empire Britain has had to face in a generation--the uprising of the Arabs which has already forced the sending of 20,000 British soldiers to Palestine and which has even Neville Chamberlain talking of surrendering the mandate over the territory. And the surrender of the mandate over Palestine would certainly be the signal for the final elimination of Britain from the Mediterranean. For the Near East, like the Far East, values face above everything. And once Palestine is surrendered, Egypt, which has powerful Fascist elements already, would be almost certain to swing out of the British orbit and into that of Italy.

It is an open secret that Italy and Germany are responsible for the whole trouble. Nazi agents have been active among the Arabs for the last four years. The Italians have maintained and still maintain a radio station at Bari, devoted exclusively to the peddling of hate against Britain to the Arabs. And at Nurnberg a month ago Adolf Hitler wept great gobs of tears over the dreadful fate of these same Arabs.

After that speech an Arab spokesman asserted:

"Now we are not without friends in Europe; our ultimate success as a nation lies in the hands of Hitler and Mussolini, not Britain and France."

Munich obviously confirmed that conviction.

Captain Pitts*

A handsome man was Captain William H. Pitts, long-time Charlotte police officer who died Sunday afternoon. He looked the distinguished official, born to the uniform. For that matter, he had spent almost his entire life so garbed, for it was 42 years ago that he went with the department.

He had the qualities that it takes to make a good officer. Instinctively brave, kind, deliberate, he was master of almost any situation, and during his long service experienced a great variety of them. Privately, he was a family man and a substantial citizen who had the respect of all who knew him.

A Dubious Move

That Mr. John Strachey is a Communist in essentials will be plain to everybody who has ever read "The Coming Struggle for Power," however much Mr. Strachey may choose to quibble and call himself a socialist instead, and however true it may be that he does not belong to the Communist Party itself.

For all that, however, the wisdom of the State Department in barring him from these shores is more than questionable. Strachey is no villainous, unwashed fellow coming over to hatch plots, but a member of one of England's most celebrated families, and a man of great education, who thoroughly believes in his doctrine, and who thinks it so reasonable that it needs no violence to secure its adoption. His approach is that of calm argument and not at all that of rabble-rousing. Indeed, every argument that can be made against his admittance to the country can also be made against admitting George Bernard Shaw! And when we refuse to hear such fellows, it inevitably puts us in the position of being afraid of the argument.

What is more, the action is almost perfectly calculated to defeat its purpose. Strachey's books are published over here as well as in London, and cannot be suppressed without destroying the whole fabric of free speech. And this action is wonderful publicity for them. There'll probably be a big run on "The Coming Struggle for Power" now--with the result that his doctrine will reach ten people for every one it would have reached had he been allowed to come on in and lecture.

The Grey Wolf

In many respects the man who lies sick at Ankara is the most remarkable of the modern dictators.

Born in the Ottoman empire in 1880, he was named Mustafa. Sent to school at Monastir as a boy, he ran away to the military school at Constantinople, where his great excellence in mathematics earned him the name by which he is most commonly known--Kemal, which is to say The Perfect One. He early displayed radical tendencies, however, and for them was exiled by the Sultan, Abdu-L-Hamid II, to Damascus, where he organized a nationalist society, "The Fatherland." In 1908 he was chief of staff in the army which forced the Sultan to restore the constitution of 1876. In 1912 he was decorated for bravery at Tripoli in the Italo-Turkish war. In 1913, he was a brigadier-general in the army which relieved Adrianople during the Balkan War. Foreseeing the inevitable defeat of the Central Powers, he bitterly opposed the entry of Turkey into the World War on the side of Germany. But he distinguished himself greatly in that war, contributing a great deal to the British defeat in the Dardanelles and to the defeat and ultimate collapse of Russia.

The terms imposed on his country under the armistice of Mudros in 1918 aroused implacable anger in him. And for his opposition, the Sultan, Mohammed VI, virtually exiled him to Anatolia. But there he immediately called two nationalist congresses, and when the Sultan, who was in the hands of the Allied command, outlawed him for that, he set up a rival government at Angora (Ankara) under the name of the Grand National Assembly.

With the tacit backing of Russia, he suppressed the new Armenian Republic and reunited it to Turkey (the "starving Armenians" of that period everybody in the United States will remember). Next he proceeded to spank the Greeks who had let success in the war go to their heads to the point of sacking Smyrna, heaved them out of Asia, and he would have taken over the Eastern Thrace in 1922 if the British had not stepped in and stopped him. However, his activities had by now alarmed the Allies, so they hastily called a conference, abolished the Treaty of Sevres to which he objected, and substituted the Treaty of Lausanne, which gave him practically what he asked.

In the Fall of 1922, he finally deposed the Sultan, and next year was elected President of the Turkish Republic, the post he has held ever since. Determined to make Turkey an outpost of Europe, he abolished in rapid succession the caliphate (caliph, meaning "successor" to Mohammed, was a sort of papal title held by the Sultans), removed Islam from the Turkish Constitution, abolished monasteries, substituted the Latin script for the Arabic alphabet, and outlawed the ancient mode of dress. For women, he not only abolished the veil but also seclusion and gave them the right to select their own husbands. In addition, he nationalized and westernized the schools, established a program of adult education, adopted a legal code based on Swiss and Italian models, the 24-hour day and the Gregorian calendar. The result was one of the most complete overturns in history. Turkey today is nearly indistinguishable from a Western nation.

In 1934 he was given the name Ataturk, which is to say The Chief Turk.

In foreign affairs his great dream has been to build up a Balkan confederation, which should keep any foreign power from interfering in that territory. But Adolf Hitler seems now to have completely wrecked that scheme.


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