The Charlotte News

Tuesday, April 25, 1939


Site Ed. Note: "Graybeards Win" suggests some long-term evidence of global warming, and not just anecdotally--that all of that data presently being marshaled from the tree cores, the ice cores, and the sediments which show exorbitantly heavier concentrations of carbon in the past 150 years, equaling that of the previous 10,000 years or so, exposing the gradual mean increase in the planet's temperature, has been in fact known since at least 1939 when the head of the U.S. Weather Bureau gave the trend of warming since the turn of the century, albeit coupled with a prediction of a cyclical turning back to colder climes in years to come.

Unfortunately, the graybeards may turn out to be righter than they or anyone else not only imagined but would have ever desired. The prospect is not so appealing as the editorial ends winsomely by indicating; it is rather the recipe, given its source and arithmetic acceleration as the years have passed and the hydro-fluorocarbons have piled up in the atmosphere, which is the stuff of incumbent cataclysmic nightmare.

And, on this day, Secretary of State Hull gave the following address, as abridged:

Nations have most frequently resorted to war on the plea that it is the only method open to them for redressing wrongs or the only means left to them of settling international differences. For neither of these purposes is war the best of the remedies available to man, or, in fact, a remedy at all. There is no controversy, no difference that can arise between nations, which could not be settled with far greater benefit to all concerned by the peaceful processes of friendly adjustment than by resort to armed force.

When a nation makes a deliberate resort to armed force, on any plea whatever, it pursues in reality a wholly different objective; it uses war or threat of war as an instrument of a policy of territorial expansion or domination of others. Such nations are the authors of war, the awful cost of which is paid by their own people and by the rest of mankind.

Whenever there are nations in the world which adopt this type of policy, their intentions and actions inevitably set into motion forces of resistance. Terrible as are the realities and consequences of war, sooner or later conditions arise in which peaceful and peace-loving nations prefer armed defense to subjection and slavery.

There is ample room on this earth for the two billion human beings who inhabit it. There are ample known resources of materials and skill to enable all nations to enjoy a high level of economic prosperity and to face a future of continued plenty. There are ample proven resources of mind and soul to enable the whole of mankind to enjoy the blessings of spiritual advancement. But there as never been, and there is not today, room on this earth for a political organization of mankind under which a single nation or a group of nations will enslave and dominate all the others.

No single nation holds a monopoly of material resources needed by all to maintain the modern level of civilized existence. While some nations are more generously endowed than others, none is or can be self sufficing within its frontiers except at the price of a disastrous decline in the level of satisfaction of its people's wants. In the present stage of civilization and technical progress, the material and spiritual resources of the entire world are available to all nations through mutually beneficial trade and through all those innumerable peaceful and friendly international relationships in very phase of human activity whose capacity to enrich the lives of individuals and of nations has already been convincingly demonstrated. No nation can prosper without adequate access to the resources of the entire world rather than only to those contained within its own frontiers. And such access is possible only on the basis of peaceful international cooperation.

No nation is excluded from participation in the benefits of these precious means of betterment and advancement of mankind, except as it deliberately excludes itself either by short-sighted attempts at national isolation or the even more short-sighted policy of armed aggrandizement. Isolation dooms a people to inescapable impoverishment; armed aggrandizement, under modern conditions of warfare, entails destruction for which no conceivable advantages secured by the conqueror can possibly provide compensation. A nation entering upon either of these ruinous courses inflicts an incalculable injury upon its own people and upon the world as a whole.

The maintenance and improvement of the structure of peaceful international relationships, upon which the entire fabric of our present-day civilization rests, require a willing contribution from every nation. They are impossible unless each nation respects the independence and sovereignty of every other nation; unless each nation scrupulously observes its international obligations and the rules of conduct embodied in the voluntarily accepted provisions of international law; unless each nation is prepared to abstain from resort to armed force as an instrument for the settlement of international differences and controversies and to adjust all such disputes solely by pacific means; unless each nation is willing to place its economic relations with all other nations upon a basis of the greatest practicable, mutually advantageous interchange of goods and services, flowing through the channels of equal economic opportunity and nondiscriminatory commercial treatment.

Every thoughtful man today, in every country of the world, is confronted with the inescapable duty of weighing-in the scales of reason, common sense, his own advantage, and the good of his nation--the benefits of living in a world functioning on the basis of the principles I have just enumerated against the prospect of living in a world caught in the stifling net of anguish and suffering engendered by the constant recurrence of war, of preparation for armed hostilities, and of the aftermath of armed conflict.

I, for one, cannot believe that any nation today has irrevocably entered upon a road from which there is no turning save in the direction of a new widespread war. The road to peaceful adjustment of whatever reasonable and legitimate grievances there may exist has always been open and is still open. But upon this road one must travel with a sincere desire for peace, with a firm determination to observe the pledged word once given, with a sense of respect for the dignity of the human soul. I hope with all my heart that at the present fateful juncture of history, all nations will decide to enter upon this road.
Yet so long as some nations continue to arm for conquest, all other nations are confronted with the tragic alternatives of surrender or armed defense. So far as our nation is concerned, the mere posing of the alternatives supplies the answer. We hope devoutly that a negotiated peace before rather than after the senseless arbitrament of war, a peace based on a mutually-fair adjustment of outstanding problems, will be the happy lot of mankind in the future which lies immediately ahead. We are prepared to make our appropriate contribution to such a peace. But if our hopes are doomed to disappointment, if, after all, the red flames of war rather than the noonday sun of peace are to illumine our horizon, we are equally prepared to defend successfully our national interests and our cherished institutions.

And here is the rest of the editorial page for this date, including a letter to the editor from N.C. Senator Josiah William Bailey regarding an editorial of March 31, "Facts and a Senator", on his Chapel Hill speech on UNC sociology professor Howard Odum's declaration that the South was the number one economic problem of the nation, a statement taken up and echoed by FDR. To the same effect, so far back as October 2, 1938 was the Cash editorial from the book-page, "The South Hides Its Eyes".

In sum, this old earth may be getting a little tired of our collective pettiness, vanity, greed, and blindness to the realities of Nature which set us all not in high relief from one another, but ultimately in dusty final equanimity, back to the origins from whence we come--carbon. In the end, it would appear that we are being slowly told over the last 150 years that all must cooperate for the collective good or all will ultimately perish, back to the collective ooze, that black Demon from Hell of which so much has been writ.

The 'Phones Ring

Reorganization Scheme Puts Congressmen On A Spot

The President's proposal for consolidating relief and other agencies is probably going to be a pretty revealing test of just how far Congress is really willing to support reorganization.

As far as we can tell now, there is nothing in the scheme which is not desirable. The anti-Administration boys won't relish the fact that the President has seized their eye and beaten them to the stage. But they can hardly object to the consolidation of public agencies, which is precisely what they have been proposing--and which Senator Byrnes estimates will save $25,000,000 annually in administration expenses. Nor is it possible to see why the various spending agencies should have separate administrations or why the police work of the Government should be divided up among T-men and G-men and what-have-you.

Nevertheless, it is altogether likely that many Congressmen are going to be privately anxious to do the scheme to death. For the reason that Senator Byrnes himself has so candidly revealed--that telephones are already busily ringing. Sometime ago the Senator pointed out in an extensive speech, which we picked up and printed, that once a deserving Democrat or Republican gets a job under the patronage system, he immediately acquires a feeling that he owns it by right. Hence, whenever a proposal is made to abolish duplication of function, he goes into a fit of rage and fear; calls up his Congressmen and Senators, storms, pleads, cajoles; writes back home and has all the boys back there to write, telegraph, or telephone. And faced with that on an extensive scale, in addition to the loss of patronage involved--well, you see how a Congressman, nearly always a timorous soul whose main concern in life is to stay on the payroll, must naturally feel.

So it is quite probable that before long we'll be hearing the same charge that was launched at the original reorganization bill last year--that the scheme is one aiming at "dictatorship."

Old Battle Ground

French Alarm Over Hitler Activities In Alsace-Lorraine Recalls Long Struggle

France's action in suppressing Nazi organizations in Alsace-Lorraine brings an old trouble zone back prominently into the news.

These territories, which together have an area of about 5,000 square miles, first came into history in Caesar's Commentaries. And in those days they were inhabited by various German tribes. For a little while they were more or less Romanized and ruled from Treves (Trier) on the Moselle. Then before long they stood at the very center of the flow and counterflow of all the wild tribesmen of the European hinterland. At the opening of the ninth century, Charlemagne gobbled them up into his empire, and at his death passed them on to his son, Lothair--whence came the name Lothairingis (i.e. Lothair's realm) which has been corrupted into the modern Lorraine. From Charlemagne descends the first political title of the French to sovereignty over them. But from Charlemagne also descends the German claim--since this territory belonged to that Holy Roman Empire he created, and which became entirely German after his passing.

In the Middle Ages, the territories were passed around through a bewildering maze of feudal lordships. But in reality, they were relatively independent and were actually ruled mainly by the Bishops of Metz and Strausbourg. Later on, powerful French lords, including the Guises, succeeded in establishing suzerainty over them. And in 1848, under the in the Treaty of Westphalia, Massaria succeeded in doing what Richelieu had planned and incorporated them into the French kingdom. There they were to remain until Germany annexed them after the war of 1870. And Germany, of course, held them until 1919, when France got them back again.

Racially, the Alsatians and Lorrainers, like all the rest of the Europeans, are a mixture of almost everything. But the German language has always been in wide use in the territory. And after 1870, the German Government addressed itself assiduously to making it the only language, so that by 1914 about 85 per cent of the people used it. Since the war, France has made a little headway at undoing that but the great majority of the people still speak German. And in Alsace at least, customs and ideas are more Germanic than French. France had to suppress various actively pro-German organizations so long ago as the middle Twenties. And religious disputes have given her trouble in the provinces, too. Attempts of the Herriot Government fifteen years ago to apply the secularization laws of 1905 and 1907 to the Catholic establishment in the area, created such a storm that they had to be abandoned.

But race, language, and religion are not the chief issues really at stake in the struggle for possession of this territory. The Vosges mountains in Lorraine contain the finest coal and iron beds in Europe. And it is these that Hitler wants. And it is these which France feels she must keep if she is not to become a mere vassal of Germany.


Citizens Are Obviously Satisfied With Rule At City Hall

The only striking thing about the election yesterday is the fact that both met Mayor Douglas and every present Councilman seeking renomination won. It is not often that eleven officeholders can all count on success. However not even that is really very striking. For the campaign was a notably slow one. The only excitement of the whole was that furnished by Marvin Ritch's attack on Mayor Douglas before the Public Weal. And nobody really took that very seriously, including, we suspect, Philly himself.

There were no real issues. And the vote primarily testifies simply to the personal popularity of Mr. Douglas, City Manager Marshall, and the various Councilmen. Mr. Marshall, indeed, was probably slated to stay in his job whoever one. But the vote for the Administration under which he was appointed and has worked constitutes a quite positive tribute to his general popularity.

Also, of course, and by the same token, the vote was an expression of general satisfaction with the way the whole Administration has functioned and the kind of government it has given the City. There are some things which many people would like to see changed. But the majority plainly approve of the prevailing policies as a whole. And what testifies to that even more strongly than the actual vote is the fact that less than half of those registered voted at all. For in general it is a sound political axiom that a heavy vote turns out only when dissatisfaction is rife.

Graybeards Win

Those Tales About The Cold Winters Turn Out To Be True

The old boys on the cracker boxes turn out to have been right after all. For years and years--all the years we have lived--we've been hearing those stories. About the Winter of '81 or '79 or '93 or '03 or what-have-you, when the snow piled up nineteen feet deep and great winds howled as they never howl anymore, and everybody went about in high rubber boots and it was common for a man who had stopped too long at the stillhouse to freeze to death on the road. Yessiree, the horse went right on into the barn and there they found him, a-settin cold and stiff in the body. About how the rivers always froze over in those days and ice skating was as common in North Carolina as at Lake Placid. And about how old Mr. Wheeler kept an ice house in Summer and peddled out ice he had cut out of the streams the Winter before.

Well, we loved those tales when we heard them as a boy, though we smiled at them when we grew up with the all-too-knowing wisdom of our generation--and said that maybe the old men weren't really liars, but at least age seemed to distort the memory and to make everything that had happened long ago seem much bigger than life-size. And so, we are not unpleased to observe that so great an authority as J. B. Kincer, chief of the United States Weather Bureau's division of climate and crop weather, says they're right, after all. The weather has gone sissy, he told the American Meteorological Society at Atlanta the other day. And an examination of the record shows that a climactic cycle has brought about a world-wide change to warmer temperatures since the turn-of-the-century.

What is just as interesting is that he says it isn't permanent, and that it will be followed by a period of returning cold. So maybe, we ourselves may yet see the stories of the old men acted out again before our own eyes--see the deep snows and the frozen rivers and hear the great winds and go about in high boots. A somehow appealing prospect. This very night we shall write away to a skate company for a catalogue.


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