The Charlotte News
Saturday, November 19, 1938
Site Ed. Note: And this was the 75th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address, which had been delivered a week before the first official Thanksgiving proclaimed by the President. There were still some alive in 1938 who as children had heard Lincoln speak that day, speaking to them, to their ears, unimpressively, as Cash would remark upon the following day. And it has been 67 years since 1938. No doubt, there are still some alive who heard President Roosevelt speak in July, 1938 at the dedication of the monument on the field at Gettysburg. No doubt, there were some few alive in 1863 who had been around that day in July of which Lincoln spoke, when they defied John Bull and consigned their lives either to independence of the Crown or the hangman's noose as traitors. Time passes from the children to the children; some learn, some find it difficult.
Also from the editorial page of this date the following piece by Heywood Broun.
Time to Stand Up
By Heywood Broun
Kidnapers have established the practice of forcing agonized parents to make no appeal to the law because they hold a missing child as a hostage. It is not a far-fetched analogy to say that Adolf Hitler is trying to put over the same sort of threat in regard to the press of all the world.
Entirely aside from any bristling against official utterances, the Fuehrer has had the audacity to say very plainly, not only to the press of England but of America as well, that it would be wise for newspapers to speak softly, lest he increase his pressure upon groups which are suffering from oppression.
This is a challenge which cannot be denied. It must be met. In a sense the threats of Nazi leaders have a diminishing force, because it is difficult to think of new forms of frightfulness which have not already been set in motion. But if it were true that an expression of moral horror in America would have to be paid for by some new outrage in Germany, I still think that even that price would not be too high.
THE PRESS HERE MUST REMAIN WHOLLY FREE
By threats Hitler won the diplomatic submission from democratic countries in Europe. That was and continues to be a tragic blow to the forces of civilization. But if Hitler can sit within his spider web and command newspapers of all the world to stand still until they hear his bidding, then the world of progress and of decency would be gone beyond repair within the sight of any living person.
On this issue I feel strongly that Americans of diverse views can close ranks and say, "We will not accept dictation." Always we have bristled against any suggestion of control or pressure by our own leaders. I have quarreled with commentators who, in my opinion, have conjured up goblins and bogey men as to the possibility of semi-censorship upon the part of Government officials. Some of that I will take back.
It is better to be overscrupulous and suspicious than to consent to any compromise which would impair free expression. And now I hope, and have the right to believe, that there will be vast, articulate and eloquent indignation against the Hitler effort to stifle comment in countries which are still beyond the range of his much-advertised air forces.
BETTER RISK HIS BOMBS THAN HIS MIND-GAGGING
And if it were true that Adolf could attempt to copper expression by dumping high explosives, we should still say, "You may fire when you are ready," and, having said that, stick to the fundamental right of speaking from the heart and soul. And in this expression I think that all should join in.
If there ever was any sound strategy in the argument that the answer to anti-Semitism must come only from gentile groups, that time has passed. Americans of all creeds and nationalities man the same boat together. It is literally true that the role of the persecutor in the long run is even more punishing than that of the oppressed. A lash may cut the skin. The one who wields that whip aims at his own soul. Take that in a spiritual sense if you please.
AND THESE ARE THINGS WORTH DYING FOR
It is not my notion to avoid the charge of having a partially suppressed evangelistic complex. But I mean, also, that those who live and profit for the moment by the fomenting of prejudice will languish and die through the same psychology.
Prejudice rots the mind, which is our most precious heritage. Now is the time for reasonable human beings to make common cause. We will be heard. We will now be frank and no flaming tin man is good enough to make us pull our punches. There has never been a better time in the life of any man or woman now alive for the full declaration of adherence to those things by which men live. They are worth living for. They are worth fighting for. And they are worth dying for.
Site Ed. Note: Ironically, below this column, the following little filler. All we can say to that is, God help them 5,000 years from now on understanding us at all if all they have by which to go is Peggy's novel of 1936, even if a copy of the film was added somewhere along the line post 1939. We suspect, based on her own words about it, that Peggy would be out there at the forefront in saying that the novel and most especially the movie somewhat overly romanticized the subject for the sake of making an entertaining, continuous story for presentation in this Depression-era, vastly changing time. It wasn't much that way in 1864, we suspect, judging by the common sense of history, a viewing of the scenery as it still exists, a reading of the most objective contemporary accounts, an understanding of the hardship accompanying that day sans latter engrafting of electrical convenience, gasoline engines, refrigeration, air conditioning, indoor plumbing, telephone, radio, paved roads, etc., but we won't get started too much on Peggy's novel again right now, for fear it might take up our whole day, which, being another day, we have some other ghosts, frankly, with whom to joust.
A copy of "Gone With the Wind" was put in that Time Capsule which is to be opened 5,000 years from now and some think that if they had waited another generation or so to close the thing they might have put in the name of Hollywood's selection of Scarlett O'Hara.
A Woman Murmurs
A woman murmured in the streets of Dusseldorf against the thing she saw being done to the Jews. A German woman. Murmured an instinct-ice [as printed] sympathy at the spectacle of wanton brutality and cruelty. For that they dragged her away to the police station and hushed her mouth.
But for all that, it is ominous enough for the Nazis. A woman spoke up in the streets of Dusseldorf, and out of her spoke two thousand years of remembrance, of the faith that force is not its own justification, of the chivalry that denies the right to cruelty, of the high decency from which is born the courage which not even terror can hold always silent.
Well, they shut her up--no doubt with blows, for there is no part of chivalry left in the spirit of Nazism. They shut up Niemoeller before her and Innitzer. But in Germany, which was for many centuries a civilized nation, there must be millions like them, in whom the fire is slowly rising, in whose eyes a gathering light must be flickering. And all over the earth there is anger.
A Cinch for Success
The outlook for the success of Mr. Hull's new trade treaty with the British Empire looks, to put it mildly, swell. There will be some growling among some textile manufacturers, etc., on this side in all likelihood--especially up in New England. And that, in turn, may result in some sniping from labor quarters. And no doubt England will have some fat old grumps of John Bulls who will hereafter be spending all their time between intervals of the gout in denouncing it.
All the same--the English women are all for it. Millions of them, who haven't been able to afford them before are going to be able to buy things like pretty American shoes, electric refrigerators, etc. And all those gals have votes in England, and it is the simplest of axioms among our advertising experts that the femme vote is the vote to go after if you really want to put something over.
But what really cinches the case is that now the gals over there are going to be able to afford silk stockings. And that ought to fetch the whole male vote into camp at a blow. It has been a sad sight--that one in the streets of London, with the gals clomping around in heavy British boots and cotton stockings. Ourselves, we always suspected that it was one of the main causes for the generally dour and misanthropic air of the average male Britisher. England is going to be a happier country after this, and we bet the trade treaty gets the credit. Pretty smart, that old man Cordell Hull!
Facts Are Facts
To a periodical called the Commentator, about which we can discover nothing, Josiah William Bailey, senior Senator in Congress from North Carolina, contributes a deliverance this week of the sort which of late seems to have got to be his favorite. Its general tenor is this: The designation of the South as the Nation's Economic Problem No. 1 is at base a libel cooked up by South-haters and unbacked by facts; the South really has no problems which it is not already solving in quite a satisfactory manner; and all it needs is to be let strictly alone both by "meddlesome outsiders" and "professional saviors" at home.
We have pointed it out before. It is worth pointing out again: the designation of the South as Economic Problem No. 1 is not based on any findings of any special group named by the President. It happens to be based squarely and explicitly on the findings of the last United States census and on the findings of Dr. Howard Odum's book, "Southern Regions in the United States." This Dr. Odum is a Southerner, he is as little a "professional savior" as can be found in America, and we do not hesitate to say confidently that he knows a great deal more about the facts than Senator Bailey knows or ever will know, for he has spent 30 years in gathering them with the aid of a large staff of workers.
And the findings of the census and Dr. Odum do show that the South has problems which it is not solving satisfactorily. Thus, every one of the Southern states save Florida and Texas, ranks lower in wealth than any other American state. And to put it another way, the South has 28 per cent of the national population but only 16 per cent of the national income. And that income has gone up greatly in the last 30 years, yes, but it has not gone up in proportion to the national income. On the contrary there is an always growing lag.
Again--In 1880 there were 180 counties in the United States wherein over half of the farms were operated by tenants or sharecroppers, there were 890 in 1935--and all but 200 of these were Southern counties. And if you think the Negro explains all that--36 per cent of all tenants and croppers in the cotton belt were white in 1900, in 1935 the proportion had grown to 46 per cent of them
And so we might go on for many columns. But the facts are there, plainly set down for anybody who desires to read them--including Senator Bailey.
"A prominent Nazi editor" is quoted by the Associated Press as reasserting yesterday that the "German policy in regard to the Jews is irrevocable," and that that policy is that all Jews must get out of Germany.
Maybe so. Maybe that is what the recalling of the German ambassador yesterday is meant to emphasize--that the Nazis are determined to go their way and that no action on the part of the United States or anybody else is going to make them halt.
But it is also possible that the swaggering talk about irrevocability hides a growing concern for the consequences to themselves. Hitherto the Nazis have had things all their own way. In all the world nobody has dared to challenge them in their teeth. But that is exactly what Messrs. Roosevelt and Hull have done. It is idle to claim that we are interfering in their internal affairs. We are doing no such thing. The creating of a great horde of refugees makes a pressing problem for an already embarrassed world. We have no place for many such refugees, considering the depressed condition of our economy, and yet our conception of humanity and honor binds us to try to make some arrangement for taking care of them. And so what Mr. Roosevelt and Mr. Hull have told this gangster crew, very quietly and very cunningly, in a way that leaves the road wide open to rapprochement, but still firmly, is that if they insist on making such trouble for us, they may as well know that we mean to make all the trouble we can for them in return.
And that we can make trouble begins already to appear. We can, in the first place, cut off all German imports to this country either by boycott or embargo. That means the loss of our export trade to Germany, certainly. But it is only 7.8 of our total volume of exports, whereas the German imports to us, though no larger in volume, make up a much greater portion of the German exports--and a very important portion, since it enables them to lay hands on some of the foreign exchange they so sorely lack. But we can make trouble in far more important ways than that. Yesterday the Associated Press reported that the Germans admit that their foreign trade is falling off sharply everywhere since the pogrom began, "and particularly in five countries near Germany." Which those five countries are we don't know, but it is obvious that they are countries whose markets are immensely more important to Germany than our own--the markets on which she has her eyes directly set. And it is more than probable that the action of these countries is in part due to the inspiriting effect of discovering that there is at least one government left in the world which is not terrorized by the Nazi bogeyman. Moreover, if the United States decided to go through with a systematic boycott, the thing might very easily grow and spread until Germany would find herself virtually shut up within her own borders.
It is not a prospect that Germany can face with equanimity. For it now appears fairly certain that the main reason for the pogrom itself is that the Nazis want to rob the Jews in order to bolster up an economy that is already staggering under the load of recent wild expenditures, such as those for the Siegfried Line.
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