The Charlotte News

Saturday, April 29, 1939


Site Ed. Note: So completes our doubleday postings for April, 1939 and April, 1938, as we have issued forth simultaneously on a daily basis through April, 2006.

That was, shall we say, a wee tiring.

So completes also our circuitous journey through the past during the past year, beginning with our port steerage in May through August, 1939, then circling back around the Horn to September, 1938 through April, 1939, contemporaneous with the corresponding months of 2005-06--months in which not too much happened in the world.

A war continued, death and internal collapse continued despite an election there in December. Hurricanoes at a record rate out of the Gulf and Caribbean came in August and September to remind us that we are but transitory passengers and stewards of this bit of crust in which we have a collective stake. The earth slipped along one of its cracks in October and killed 50,000 in Pakistan. Gas prices rose; gas prices fell; gas prices rose again. Iran received an ultimatum. Not too much.

Just enough though to remind us that whatever it is we are doing, we best stop and ponder a bit before doing any more of it to excess. For we may not have that luxury any longer, that of limitless time to work in amity with nature, as did our parents and grandparents and theirs before them, or at least so they thought--until one day they saw that curious smoking thing trundle alongside and fast by the wagon on their way to market.

During that year, we have doubled the number of Cash editorials which were at the site, doubled that which we had placed here in the six and a half years preceding last spring. Whether we shall be able to continue at the last year's pace immediately or even later remains to be seen. Whatever the case, we shall persevere to the end. Even it be a wee tiring in the process at times.

Always remember though, if you take nothing else from these editorials: Vote for Cleveland.

...And really bad eggs.

And the war to stop the erosion of that which we have remaining on which to cling amid the melting ice, the warming ocean, and swelling, swirling tides, in a world burning on far too much carbon.

The day before, Hitler gave a speech to the Reichstag, the following being an excerpt:

There is little to be said as regards German-Polish relations. Here, too, the Peace Treaty of Versailles--of course intentionally-inflicted a most severe wound on Germany. The strange way in which the Corridor giving Poland access to the sea was marked out was meant, above all, to prevent for all time the establishment of an understanding between Poland and Germany. This problem is--as I have already stressed--perhaps the most painful of all problems for Germany. Nevertheless, I have never ceased to uphold the view that the necessity of a free access to the sea for the Polish State cannot be ignored, and that as a general principle, valid for this case, too, nations which Providence has destined or, if you like, condemned to live side by side would be well advised not to make life still harder for each other artificially and unnecessarily. The late Marshal Pilsudski, who was of the same opinion, was therefore prepared to go into the question of clarifying the atmosphere of German-Polish relations, and, finally, to conclude an agreement whereby Germany and Poland expressed their intention of renouncing war altogether as a means of settling the questions which concerned them both. This agreement contained one single exception which was in practice conceded to Poland. It was laid down that the pacts of mutual assistance already entered into by Poland--this applied to the pact with France--should not be affected by the agreement. But it was obvious that this could apply only to the pact of mutual assistance already concluded beforehand, and not to whatever new pacts might be concluded in the future. It is a fact that the German-Polish Agreement resulted in a remarkable lessening of the European tension. Nevertheless, there remained one open question between Germany and Poland, which sooner or later quite naturally had to be solved--the question of the German city of Danzig. Danzig is a German city and wishes to belong to Germany. On the other hand, this city has contracts with Poland, which were admittedly forced upon it by the dictators of the Peace of Versailles. But since, moreover, the League of Nations, formerly the greatest stirrer-up of trouble, is now represented by a High Commissioner--incidentally a man of extraordinary tact--the problem of Danzig must in any case come up for discussion, at the latest with the gradual extinction of this calamitous institution. I regarded the peaceful settlement of this problem as a further contribution to a final loosening of the European tension. For this loosening of the tension is assuredly not to be achieved through the agitations of insane warmongers, but through the removal of the real elements of danger. After the problem of Danzig had already been discussed several times some months ago, I made a concrete offer to the Polish Government. I now make this offer known to you, Gentlemen, and you yourselves will judge whether this offer did not represent the greatest imaginable concession in the interests of European peace. As I have already pointed out, I have always seen the necessity of an access to the sea for this country, and have consequently taken this necessity into consideration. I am no democratic statesman, but a National Socialist and a realist.

I considered it, however, necessary to make it clear to the Government in Warsaw that just as they desire access to the sea, so Germany needs access to her province in the east. Now these are all difficult problems. It is not Germany who is responsible for them, however, but rather the jugglers of Versailles, who either in their maliciousness or their thoughtlessness placed 100 powder barrels round about in Europe, all equipped with hardly extinguishable lighted fuses. These problems cannot be solved according to old-fashioned ideas; I think, rather, that we should adopt new methods. Poland's access to the sea by way of the Corridor, and, on the other hand, a German route through the Corridor have, for example, no kind of military importance whatsoever. Their importance is exclusively psychological and economic. To accord military importance to a traffic route of this kind, would be to show oneself completely ignorant of military affairs. Consequently, I have had the following proposal submitted to the Polish Government:--

(1) Danzig returns as a Free State into the framework of the German Reich.

(2) Germany receives a route through the Corridor and a railway line at her own disposal possessing the same extraterritorial status for Germany as the Corridor itself has for Poland.

In return, Germany is prepared:--

(1) To recognise all Polish economic rights in Danzig.

(2) To ensure for Poland a free harbour in Danzig of any size desired which would have completely free access to the sea.

(3) To accept at the same time the present boundaries between Germany and Poland and to regard them as ultimate.

(4) To conclude a twenty-five-year non-aggression treaty with Poland, a treaty therefore which would extend far beyond the duration of my own life.

(5) To guarantee the independence of the Slovak State by Germany, Poland and Hungary jointly--which means in practice the renunciation of any unilateral German hegemony in this territory.

The Polish Government have rejected my offer and have only declared that they are prepared (1) to negotiate concerning the question of a substitute for the Commissioner of the League of Nations and (2) to consider facilities for the transit traffic through the Corridor.

I have regretted greatly this incomprehensible attitude of the Polish Government, but that alone is not the decisive fact, the worst is that now Poland, like Czecho-Slovakia a year ago, believes, under the pressure of a lying international campaign, that it must call up troops, although Germany on her part has not called up a single man and had not thought of proceeding in any way against Poland. As I have said, this is in itself very regrettable and posterity will one day decide whether it was really right to refuse this suggestion made this once by me. This--as I have said--was an endeavour on my part to solve a question which intimately affects the German people by a truly unique compromise, and to solve it to the advantage of both countries. According to my conviction Poland was not a giving party in this solution at all but only a receiving party, because it should be beyond all doubt that Danzig will never become Polish. The intention to attack on the part of Germany, which was merely invented by the international press, led as you know to the so-called guarantee offer and to an obligation on the part of the Polish Government for mutual assistance, which would also, under certain circumstances, compel Poland to take military action against Germany in the event of a conflict between Germany and any other Power and in which England, in her turn, would be involved. This obligation is contradictory to the agreement which I made with Marshal Pilsudski some time ago, seeing that in this agreement reference is made exclusively to existing obligations, that is at that time, namely, to the obligations of Poland towards France of which we were aware. To extend these obligations subsequently is contrary to the terms of the German-Polish non-aggression pact. Under these circumstances I should not have entered into this pact at that time, because what sense can non-aggression pacts have if in practice leaves open an enormous number of one partner exceptions.

There is either collective security, that is collective insecurity and continuous danger of war, or clear agreements which, however, exclude fundamentally any use of arms between the contracting parties. I therefore look upon the agreement which Marshal Pilsudski and I at one time concluded as having been unilaterally infringed by Poland and thereby no longer in existence!

I have sent a communication to this effect to the Polish Government. However, I can only repeat at this point that my decision does not constitute a modification of my attitude in principle with regard to the problems mentioned above. Should the Polish Government wish to come to fresh contractual arrangements governing its relations with Germany, I can but welcome such an idea, provided, of course, that these arrangements are based on an absolutely clear obligation binding both parties in equal measure. Germany is perfectly willing at any time to undertake such obligations and also to fulfill them.

Be Sure To Vote*

If, That Is, You Vote For The Right Man

There really isn't very much that can be done at this stage of the game about the composition of the next City Council. Except for one or perhaps two places, occupants of the eleven seats about the table could be named now without going through the formality of an election. Barring unforeseen events, that is.

And any unforeseen event which may result in elimination of certain of the present Councilmen who are on record as men motivated only by a desire to serve the whole city and not factions with an ominous axe to grind, could be calamitous. We should like to name names straight down the list, but refrain because the sort of campaign that is being waged with Detective Chief Littlejohn as its marked victim (they propose to get him by first ousting Chief Pittman) is not the sort of campaign for which men will openly stand sponsor. As a result, identification is difficult and proof impossible.

In any case, it is all the more important that people of the city turn out in profusion next Tuesday to make sure that known good men on the present Council not be displaced because of the apathy of their supporters. The candidates of special interests, we may be sure, will suffer no such handicap.

Cleveland Man

It's Just As Well That Old Gold-Bug Parrot Up And Died

Birdy, the old parrot who died up in Delaware yesterday, had spent 50 years of his life advising all the public which came within the range of his voice to "Hurrah for Cleveland!" Birdy got converted to the Cleveland cause back in the days when the Sheriff of Buffalo was running for President the second time.

It was a progressively lost cause he was supporting, and it's just as well he passed on when he did. Indeed, his last days must have been full of bitterness and grief. And if he had lived longer--, Grover, as you know if you know your history or can remember back that far, was a "sound money" man in those days. But Mr. Bryan and Free Silver were coming up over the skyline, and there were many people who blasted the former Sheriff for a "blankety-blank such-and-such of a Wall Street-toadying Gold-Bug." Still, as they showed by the vote, most men in those innocent days believed thoroughly in gold. They thought it was the only money worth a hoot, that it always would be the only money worth a hoot, and that if you monkeyed with it you would simply ruin the world's commerce. And they kept right on thinking that way until after 1936.

But look at it now. Of all the nations of the West, about the only one left which can be said to be really on a gold standard is that of the Dutch. And even it begins to waver. For England, for France, for all the rest of Europe, gold is simply something you ship to the United States. And in the United States gold is simply something which Uncle Sam buries in a hole out in Kentucky, and wishes wistfully he could get rid of. There is talk in the world even that the stuff may presently be no more good for anything but the making of baubles and cheap as dirt. And yes, sure enough, the world's commerce is in a mess, though whether propter hoc we would not dare to say. All we have to say confidently is that it is a good thing Birdy died when he did. A man who had been yelling for Cleveland all his life couldn't have a care for the prospect before gold anymore than would the Sheriff of Buffalo himself.

More Of The Same

The President Caught Between Obstinacy And Caution

A lump sum of 1,750 millions is what the President asks Congress for relief in the coming fiscal year, with WPA to get a lion's share and Farm Security and National Youth Administration being cut in for 123 millions apiece. If history repeats itself, however, the initial appropriations will be merely a starting point. At some time during the course of the year, WPA will have spent its money, and Congress will be compelled to come through with a deficiency appropriation, such as the 125 millions it finally decided to allot only a week or so ago.

But apart from the money side of it, which is more or less an academic subject anyhow, since the chances of paying off the national debt are diminishing with each year of huge borrowings on top of huge borrowing--apart from the money side of it, the realization cannot be escaped that Mr. Roosevelt has made his bed and is at present very much engaged in lying in it. He knows it, perhaps better than anybody. And while he puts up a convincing appearance of a man following out a chosen policy, it is becoming plainer and plainer that he is hemmed in by the combination of his own impulsiveness and obstinacy. Admire him for his virtues, dislike him for his faults; give him credit for his successes or discredit for his failures; the fact remains that he hasn't the slightest idea of how to stop what he has started or how to begin anything else anew. He is caught.

There are only two courses he can take. He can go back, which would mean capitulation to the business interests that have fought him, or he could go forward into a form of state socialism or something else. But his pride prevents the one as his instinct forbids the other. Whither America, then? Why,

"Until our economic machinery can be realigned to meet present-day conditions, the problem of unemployment will persist, and the measures adopted to meet with it must, therefore, be carefully thought out and their operation planned to extend well into the future."

By Merit Only

The President's Method Of Selecting A General A Wise One

The President has performed one piece of precedent-breaking which the country in general is likely to approve thoroughly--the elevation of a man who is not a graduate of West Point, General Marshall, to the command of the army. That is not to say, of course, that the country doesn't roundly approve of West Point. That school has produced some of the ablest generals of the world, and it is right and proper that the army should be mainly led by men trained there.

Nevertheless, merit plainly ought to be the sole basis for promotion to the high command. And in our army, as in all armies, there is some tendency to set up a hierarchy of succession which is primarily concerned with other things than merit. The result of that, when it is carried to the point to which it was carried in the French Army before the last war, is sometimes disastrous. It made Joffre, one of the most incompetent generals whoever wore a uniform, supreme commander for two years, cost many hundreds of thousands of lives uselessly, and would have lost the war if Gallieni had not forced his hand for the defense of Paris.

Moreover, the military mind tends to grow rigid and to abide by traditions and dictums long after they have ceased to fit changed circumstances. For example, the absolute adherence of Joffre, French, Haig, and, until the last year of the war, Foch, to the doctrine of "always attack and at the enemy's strongest point." It needs constant criticism and minds which are capable of independent judgment. And the occasional elevation of one who is an "outsider" in the sense that he has not come up by the regular channels, is admirably calculated to serve that purpose.

This Our Law

It Moves In Roundabout Ways To Put Down Crime

Cleveland, Ohio, like every progressive city in the land, has its numbers lottery. It is reported to do a flourishing trade, too, with a take running up to $5,000,000 a year.

But the business, for all its lucrativeness, has its hazards, the principal one of which is the law. The law has gone into action against the butter 'n' eggs racket in Cleveland. The district attorney worked up his cases and the grand jury moved on the strength of his evidence to indict 23 persons connected in one way or another with the game. A queer thing about it, however, is that the indictments charge--running a lottery in violation of the statutes? Nope. They charge extortion and attempted extortion.

Which means that another crowd, noting the rich pickings, tried to muscle in on the proprietors of Cleveland's butter 'n' eggs. The law simply couldn't have anything like that going on, so it rounded up the interlopers and doubtless they will be thrust into jail for some time.

It is an astonishing world, mates, and not the least astonishing feature of it is this same law. It is getting so that it overlooks the primary crime, like stealing or running a lottery, and prosecutes only for secondary offenses, like failing to pay income tax or butting in on some other fellows' little racket.


Framed Edition
[Return to Links-Page by Subject] [Return to Links-Page by Date] [Return to News--Framed Edition]
Links-Date -- Links-Subj.