The Charlotte News

Thursday, August 31, 1939



Site Ed. Note: On this, the last day of relative normalcy for the world for the ensuing six years, and beyond that for another 44 years especially in eastern Europe, the state of matters appeared eerily pedestrian, the fait accompli of war having now pretty well become a foregone conclusion, the only remaining question being precisely when.

Rule No. 1

Traffic Code Ought To Begin With A Law To Catch These

There's a whale of a lot of difference between passing a law (or an ordinance) and enforcing it, as the fellow said when he had to back into a place in a no-parking block. But there ought to be a law against impeding traffic, and it ought to be enforced.

Impeding traffic in any way, that is. In the morning rush, for instance, by pulling up just beyond an uptown street intersection to let out a passenger, thus inconsiderately causing all the cars behind you to await your pleasure and frequently to block cross traffic while you finish the conversation or make arrangements for meeting her at lunch.

Or by double-parking on a narrow street (and express trucks should have no immunity), compelling cars in your lane of traffic either to wait or to take a chance and swoop around, at grave peril to their fenders.

Or by signaling your intention to turn right or left into one of these uptown alleys that serve as cross streets, and waiting, hail, horns or high water, until the bird egressing from the alley has found an opening in the precise direction he wants to go.

It's pretty hard to codify inconsideration, but Rule No. 1 for traffic ought to be that under no circumstances may anyone hold up a string of cars behind. It won't kill you, after all, to drive around the block.


Site Ed. Note: The transitional map below, (formed from images of two maps contained in Global Atlas of the World at War, 1944, World Publishing, NY), shows initially the territorial lines existing at the outbreak of World War I in 1914, then the post-Versailles Treaty boundaries of 1919 through 1938, the moving red circle indicating the approximate area of the disputed Danzig and the Corridor between Germany and the German territory of East Prussia.

Note that the greater part of Poland was carved from Germany east of the Vistula River, flowing through the central part of post-Versailles Poland, and from Russia west of it.

This 1914 version of Poland was roughly the result of three partitions in 1772, 1793, and 1795 which drove Poland as such off the map, primarily into the hands of Russia, though western parts were reserved to Prussia and Austria, the latter's share usually limited to Galicia.

After the defeat of Napoleon, a nominally independent Polish state was created in 1815, however with heavy Russian control of the government and still Prussian and Austrian influence in the west.

The "November Revolution" in the Russian sector in 1830 and further revolts in 1848 and 1863 against Russification were unsuccessful and led to further Russification in the east and Kulturkampf Germanization under Bismarck in the western Prussian portion. Only in Galicia, the Austrian portion, did the Poles maintain considerable independence.

In World War I, Poland, led by Joseph Pisudski, fought initially with Germany and Austria, in a revolt against Russian control. In 1916, Germany granted Poland independence but maintained control of the government and in 1917 imprisoned Pisudski. From that point until the end of the war in 1918, the Polish independence movement operated from Paris. Thus, the 1919 state of Poland was created at Versailles with Danzig as an independent city, the remainder of Poland restored roughly to its boundaries of the late 1700's, though not fully to the 1772 boundaries sought; passage to the Baltic was granted via the 20 to 70 mile-wide Corridor, and, after plebiscites, parts of Silesia also went to Poland. Germany was granted free passage across the Corridor to its terrirtory in East Prussia, (the source of much of Hitler's hollow hollers, devoid of meaningful substance given the access). Article 27, paragraph "7" of the Treaty set forth the specific boundaries for the new Poland--147 years overdue at the time. (Note that the victors in the Wars, either I or II, did not erase Germany from the map, as had been Poland in the 18th-19th centuries, though obviously divided Germany inevitably--and tragically--became for 44 years following World War II.)

Parts of eastern Poland inhabited mainly by Belarussians and Ukrainians were to be awarded to Russia at the Paris Peace Conference but Poland objected, leading ultimately to a war between Poland and Russia in 1920-21 in which Poland pushed the Russians back from Warsaw. As a consequence, under the Treaty of Riga, Poland obtained portions of its claims to the 1772 boundaries.

On the "1919-1938" map below, the small fingertip in northernmost Poland, leading to the Baltic, is the all-important Corridor, without which obviously Poland was landlocked and, as Cash consistently pointed out, would have thus been at the mercy of Hitler had the concession been made to avoid war for a time.

(Click on the Map to Enlarge)

He who in debate of Truth hath won, Should win in Arms, in both disputes alike Victor. --Paradise Lost.

A Reversal

What Treaty Musso Proposes In Place Of Versailles

In an editorial which he is suspected of having written with his own hand, Signor Mussolini yesterday leaped into action in his stooge newspaper, Il Popolo D'Italia, and demanded that the first condition of peace in Europe be the final scrapping of the Treaty of Versailles.

That is exceedingly interesting. The Treaty of Versailles admittedly had some unjust features about it, from the standpoint of absolute justice among peoples. But it was a treaty dictated to two beaten nations, Germany and Austria, and it was mild compared with what the Germans had openly planned to do to France and England, and what for a moment they had actually done in the East under the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. In any case whatever, the last real injustice in the treaty disappeared with the Anschluss of Austria. There were still the colonies, to be sure, but it is not customary for the defeated in a war to get off without some losses.

But now what Signor Benito Mussolini seems to demand is that this treaty made by the victors in the World War be done away with so that the whole question of settlement can be opened up again. Moreover, what ground he proposes for a new settlement is inherent in his backing of Hitler's demands for Poland. The Polish territory happens to be the main part of the territory taken from Russia in 1917. That is, the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk is to be substituted for the Treaty of Versailles! And in addition, Signor Mussolini is certainly supposed to get his large chunks of French territory. In sum, the verdict of the World War is to be reversed, the victors to become the defeated, the vanquished the victor--all without a blow!

In "Mein Kampf" Hitler soberly argues that Germany really won the war, but was cheated out of it by the treason of the Jews at home. Apparently, Lord Mussolini subscribes to the same view. If so, there were a lot of dupes in the world in 1918, but the biggest dupes of all were the German emissaries who stood so long outside a French railway car on November 11, 1918, and then, hat in hand, went in and signed where they were told to sign.


The Man's Man

Old Miss's. Next Governor Probably Suits That State

That's all we want to know about Paul Johnson, Mississippi's next Governor--that he's a protege of Senator Theodore (The Man) Bilbo. Of course, politics makes strange bedfellows, as the quaint saying goes, and it may be that between Bilbo's man Johnson and Pat Harrison's man Conner, Mississippi voters exercised unusual discernment and took the better.

But it is hardly likely. As a rule sovereign states get about the sort of Government they are entitled to, arch-types of the run of voters. And Mississippi, statistically, at any rate has no very close competition for the rank of 48th American state.

Though, to be sure, if you weigh the figures and take off so many points for non-statistical factors such as the toleration of corruption, the State of Louisiana presently might rank as a contender. But there again the theory is borne out, for if ever a state was cursed with discreditable Governors and putrid politics, Louisiana is it.

There may be some argument, as to whether a state is sorry because it gets sorry government or gets sorry government because it is a sorry state. But that is merely a question of order. Our hypothesis is that the majority of voters seek candidates of their own level and that under democracy as we know the system it is virtually impossible for the better elements in a state to break up this affinity.


In Slow Motion

Bremen Case Smacks Of A Gratuitous Bid For Trouble

Yesterday, while the Hamburg-American liner Bremen was being held in New York and searched over with a fine-toothed comb by customs officers and FBI agents, a French liner pulled out of her slip and steamed homeward with no more than a perfunctory search which is the custom.

It may be that this is justified by some secret tip-off. Certainly, we have good reason to suspect the Germans of skullduggery: and to arm in our ports and go out to prey on British and French shipping, in flat violation of international law, would be strictly in the Nazi vein.

And we are within our rights in delaying the ship indefinitely, so long as it is necessary to see that she doesn't get away with that.

Nevertheless, a suspicion persists. If the French and British liners, the Normandie and the Aquitania, have also been held, doesn't mean much to them. For it is likely that, with the British Navy mastery in the Western ocean, they can steam home in comparative safety even if war starts. But a day or two delay may mean disaster for the Bremen, which must be within the shelter of the Baltic when and if war starts, if she is to have much chance of avoiding capture by the British.

To say that the Government deliberately sought to delay her would be to say much too much. But it seems doubtful that the case was handled with the dispatch to which, in the circumstances, the ship was probably entitled.

Candidly, most of us would not at all mind seeing the British grab the ship in case of war. But that is no license to be a party to it. For even the Germans are entitled to their rights under international law.

And moreover, it is to give provocation to the immensely testy Nazi Government, and to make our entry into the war far more likely. It may be that we shall have to enter it eventually, but surely every sensible American wants the Government to do everything in its power to see that we stay out if we can.



Maybe President Had Best Back Up This Year

The President has always consoled himself and comforted his subjects with the claim that he was the sort of man who confesses mistakes cheerfully and to set about rectifying them. It's pretty obvious then in this business of putting Thanksgiving up a Thursday, he has blundered into a hot argument.

He meant only to be accommodating and to do something which Business had asked him to do. But he reckoned without the lush business that college football has become. What's more, he failed to take into consideration the religious nature of the holiday.

Next year, after full notice (which he has already given), it may be that Thanksgiving could be advanced to the third Thursday without upsetting any interests or causing Publisher Frank Gannett to declaim, pregnantly, "On what meat does this our Caesar feed...?" But this year we believe that the President had better back up. Otherwise there is really to be a divided occasion, with Thanks- on November 23 and -Giving on November 30.


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