The Charlotte News

Tuesday, July 4, 1939


Site Ed. Note: "Less Than Southern" perhaps points up an underlying problem throughout time, for any place, any country, any state, any town, which has ever existed--the notion that it's somehow not us but them who are ultimately to blame, the outsider, the Other. It wasn't good Tennesseans who contributed to lynchings--never mind that in the little town of Pulaski, the Klan was created; it was instead those others, that exogenous thing from elsewhere--those who we've never seen before. That of course, applied to both the lynchers and the less than human "troublemakers" they lynched. It always goes that way and, as often as not, when the mentality raises its head yet again, still does.

Truth is, of course, it's always just us.

Less Than Southern

There Is No Reason The Whole Section Should Accept This Blame

Last year the South lynched six Negroes. Of those, only one was lynched in the first six months of the period, five in the second six months. But this year, the number lynched up until July 1 was four. It is disheartening to observe that lynchings in the first half-year has quadrupled and that in all probability for the whole year they are going to be larger than for 1938.

To speak of the South here, however, is beginning to be a little unfair. Actually, most of the lynching for the last decade and more has been confined to four states: Florida, which accounts for two this year; Georgia, with one this year; Mississippi, with one; and Alabama, which has a clean record for the first half of 1939. Both North Carolina and Virginia (we have our fingers crossed) have demonstrated that it is possible for a Southern state to get rid of the thing as a habitual performance. Tennessee, too, for that matter, says most of the lynchings that take place there are staged by mobs from just over the border in Alabama, Mississippi or Arkansas. And South Carolina has been doing a great deal better in recent years--a fact that disposes of the claim that lynching is the necessary concomitant of a very large Negro population.

The sole reason the thing keeps up in these states is simply that the communities in which they happen approve of or condone them. And it grows pretty tiresome. We have always doubted the wisdom of a Federal lynching law. But if these communities can or won't clean up their own premises, then we suspect ultimately states like North Carolina and Virginia are going to grow weary of disgracing themselves by appearing as their allies, and decide to let the Federals have 'em.

Setting the Stage

Mr. Hitler Prepares To Play Exactly The Same Game He Played Before The Munich Surrender

Yesterday the Nazi "spokesmen" turned mealy-mouthed--on schedule. Saturday they were saying that Mr. Hitler's terms for Poland were going up hourly. But yesterday they announced that that was all a mistake. And so was the idea that gentle Adolf was even thinking about using force. Said one:

"We have no desire to go against the territorial integrity of Poland. If we had wanted to let the matter come to military action, we could have done so any day."

In view of the record, nobody with a grain of sense should be expected to pay attention to that. For it is merely the standard Nazi tactics--is exactly the same tactics used against Czechoslovakia. There is one piece of truth in it: that the Nazis did not want the matter to come to military action, do not mean for it to do so if they can possibly avoid it. The essence of their method is not military action at all, but the setting up of claims the bolstering of those claims with phoney arguments about "self-determination" and "historical necessity," the framing of phoney "internal revolutions" in favor of the Reich, and--frightening the world into acquiescence under the threat of making a world war.

As certainly as ever he meant to choke Czechoslovakia to death, Adolf Hitler means to choke Poland to death. He wants Danzig, not because it contains Germans but because it commands the Vistula River ("Whoever," said Frederick the Great, who carved up Poland long ago, -- -- "whoever controls the mouth of the Vistula controls Poland much more powerfully than its own government") and because, it is the port for two-thirds of Poland's commerce--because, with it in hand, he can proceed to take the Corridor probably without a blow, and, with Danzig and the Corridor in hand, can proceed to the complete economic and political enslavement of Poland, certainly without a blow.

But first he must set the stage so that he can take Danzig without a blow. First he must divide opinion in the nations which confront him, persuade them that Danzig is not worth fighting for. That was what he began yesterday. The disavowal of any intent to force the issue or to employ force was cunningly directed to the declarations of Mr. Chamberlain that "force" is what England will not tolerate--is cunningly calculated to make the British people and the British Government feel that the great danger has been removed. The next step, according to dispatches from Berlin, will be a trip to Danzig itself, and a speech--in which he will "appeal to the world for justice," on the claim of "self-determination": on the claim that Danzig is predominantly inhabited by people of German descent (it is), and that they want to "come home to the Reich." He will almost certainly tell us for the sixth time that this is "the last territorial demand I shall make in Europe."

The claim is one of the funniest and most preposterous ever put forward in seriousness. Considering the position of Danzig, if Hitler is entitled to it simply because it is predominantly inhabited by people of German blood, is also entitled to Milwaukee and St. Louis. And as for the claim of "self-determination," at the same time he demands Danzig, he is also demanding a fifteen-mile wide strip across the Polish Corridor, inhabited entirely by Poles. And how about the rights of self-determination of Czechs and Slovaks? Is the right of self-determination one that belongs only to Germans? If Mr. Hitler wants Danzig so badly is he prepared to restore Czechoslovakia, and to post a billion in gold, say, to guarantee that he will keep his promises to respect Poland's rights to a free port at the mouth of the Vistula?

But there the claim will be. And the clamor will go up and up, once it is made in that speech. We will be told that, resistlessly, Mr. Hitler means to have the town. And the British and the French will be asked plaintively over and over if they really think the denial of "justice" to Danzig is worth the sacrifice of millions of lives.

Such, as certainly as anything in the future, can be certain, is the program before us--a long ordeal of nerves. Mr. Hitler himself clearly believes that it will lead him to another Munich. And in spite of the record, it may do so. For while Lincoln's dictum--or was it Barnum's?--that you can fool all the people all the time, may be true, it is still plainly possible to fool a great many of them most of the time.


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