The Charlotte News

Saturday, August 5, 1939


Site Ed. Note: The last paragraph of "Murder By Hitler", regarding the ultimate fate of the Nazis should they lose the war, presages not only his "A Fanatic Menaces Civilization" written the day war began on September 1, but also presages with astute accuracy what did in fact occur both in Berlin on April 30, 1945, as well as in Nuremberg the following year. Thus spake...

And "Wary Game" calls to mind that, as with families, when too bitter an intra-party rivalry gets going over this or that issue, usually domestic issues, disastrous consequences may occur, even tragedy. Though not so directly in this instance, though it may be argued that domestic strife over the Depression and what to do about it led also to intra-party fighting over neutrality and aid to Britain and France at the most crucial time, and thus enabled Hitler to wage his war, obtain his momentum through easy conquest of largely defenseless states, and thus continue to build the Reich's power through acquisition of much needed natural and human resources, inevitably leading to the entire globe being at war. Bitter intra-party fighting.

Such tragedy it would bring directly to the country by drawing President Kennedy to electoral-necessary Texas in November, 1963 to try to heal intra-party differences between the liberal Senator Ralph Yarborough and the more conservative, later Republican, Governor John Connally, in advance of the 1964 election year.

It is of course impossible to say what would have occurred in 1964 had not the trip ended as it did, had Lyndon Johnson not succeeded to the presidency, had the natural sympathy and revolted horror of the country not swayed millions to turn away from the bitterest of bickering, ongoing in varying degrees since the divided election of 1960, to a greater unity than the country had seen since World War II, albeit too short-lived. But the irony, and bitter irony for its cost, resulting from President Kennedy's fatal Texas trip was, of course, that the Democrats carried the country in 1964 by the largest margin since Roosevelt's resounding defeat of Alf Landon in 1936. The vote was 61.1% for Johnson to 38% for Barry Goldwater. Of eligible voters, 61.7% voted.

By contrast, in 1936, Roosevelt's most lop-sided victory of his four, he garnered, also with a Texas Vice-President, 60.8%, to Landon's 36.5%, also with 61% of eligible voters casting their ballots.

These two great landslides in popular and electoral votes would only be matched by Richard Nixon's ironic landslide in 1972 with 60.7% of the vote to 37.5% for Senator George McGovern, with 55.7% of the eligibles, including newly enfranchised eighteen to twenty year olds, voting. That one, too, would come at a high cost in 1974 to the victor in 1972.

Other relatively recent huge landslides came in 1984 with Ronald Reagan defeating Walter Mondale by 58-40% and Dwight Eisenhower defeating Adlai Stevenson in 1956 by 57.4% to 42%, a re-run of the somewhat closer 1952 election where the result was 55.1% to 44.4%, lopsided electoral margins also having occurred in all three.

But such is the roller coaster ride accompanying politics, a trend of bitter opposition on a variety of issues, always true in this country's history, from landslide years to squeakers, a trend probably to be expected in any democracy, especially one such as in the United States where all manner of hotspur blood mixes in the pool.

Farmers Win

An Economy Congress Doesn't Dare Nick 'Em

The Senate action yesterday in restoring the $119,000,000 farm loan provision in the deficiency bill, was characteristic of this Congress--probably of any Congress.

It came into office roaring for economy. And, indeed, in some respects it has gone in for economy. It nicked $50,000,000 off the President's emergency relief estimate. And it slew the proposal to dish out three billions on spending-lending and $800,000,000 on housing.

But if it did these things, it never anywhere touched the farmers. On the contrary, at the same time it was sailing into the reliefers, it voted $250,000,000 more to farm appropriations than even the President and Mr. Wallace had asked for. And now, while it has been plainly bent on slapping That Fellow Roosevelt in the face every opportunity, it steps up like a little man and grants his request for this $119,000,000 to be used for loans on surplus crops.

The explanation, of course, is simple. Reliefers are after all a minority. If they and their dependents run into millions, they cannot register all that strength at the polls. But farmers--ah, masters, farmers are one of the great majorities of this land--probably the greatest majority of all. More than that, they are quite aware of themselves in their demands, are certain to head back to the ballot box if they are denied. And so this Congress, and probably every other Congress, is going to let economy start somewhere else than with the farmers.

Literary Note

The White Man's Burden Grows Heavy In Bombay

It is a good thing Rudyard Kipling passed on to a presumably happier clime when he did. And if, in the particular quarter of infinity he now occupies, things are arranged with a due regard for his peace of mind, he won't be allowed to look at Bombay. Still and for all that, a lot of lesser literary lights are going to suffer.

Bombay has gone dry. Wholly dry for the natives. But that's no hardship for them. The Mohammedans are forbidden by the words of their Prophet to indulge in alcohol, generally observe the prohibition; and the Hindus are mainly too poor to buy much of the stuff. What it all plainly adds up to is a cleverly devised form of torture for the Britishers who dwell in the town, and especially for the British Army. They aren't to be deprived wholly, it is true. A Britisher can buy seven quarts of whiskey a month, or 21 bottles of wine, or 63 bottles of beer.

But seven quarts of whiskey a month for a British Colonel to India, not to say for enlisted men and mere civilians, is comparable to feeding a horse on salt and giving him a teaspoonful of water every other day.

But it will not be the Colonels who suffer most. For this thing strikes straight at the heart of that vast school of literary men who write tales about India like this: "Marlowe poured himself a long drink... blah, blah, blah... Marlowe poured himself another drink... and blah, blah, blah... Marlowe poured himself another drink... Marlowe poured himself another drink... Marlowe poured himself another drink."

They are simply going to be out of employment so far as Bombay goes, so far as Bombay goes if this thing spreads. Seven quarts wouldn't get Marlowe through more than seven pages. And the unity of time must be considered. After all, we don't recess the reader for thirty days every seven pages.

Two Inquiries

One Of Them Offers A Nice Chance For A Trip

Thursday the Senate Audit Committee turned out a large crop of recommendations for appropriations for this and for that. Perhaps none of them will get enacted because the boys, having enjoyed a Roman holiday of smacking down That Fellow Roosevelt, are now plainly in a swivet to go home and dang the job.

But if so they are going to do it over the determined protest of Senators Swellenbach of Washington, Downey of California. And more than that they are going to pass up a swell little trip for somebody. What the Messrs. Swellenbach and Downey want is $50,000 for an investigation into civil liberties out in their country on the Coast. It would, you see, give both of them a chance to sound off constantly and splendidly in the off-season and so keep them in the headlines.

And as for that little trip: down in the list is an inconspicuous little recommendation for the appropriation of $5,000 for a general investigation of Puerto Rico. And that in itself would offer a nice chance for somebody to make the headlines, what with charges of peonage and Fascism rife in the island. But, above all, it is a chance for a junket by, say, a dozen of the boys in the nice cool Fall months, with all expenses paid. Maybe, though, it is all for the best to pass it up. The heartburning engendered by quarrels over who should get the lucky break might not too good for the Congressional health these hot days.

[Note: The Senate late yesterday passed a bill appropriating money for the Pacific Coast inquiry.]

Wary Game

Kentucky Contest Involves A 1940 Delegation

Out in Kentucky one John Young Brown is running for Governor with the backing of John Lewis and the CIO. His opponent is Lieut.-Governor Keen Johnson. The latter is, of course, identified with the present Governor, Happy Chandler, and so comes in for the bitter opposition of the coal miners, who charge, perhaps not without considerable justice, that Chandler has used his unofficial powers to aid the Harlan coal operators in their effort to destroy the union.

But there is more to this case than a mere effort of the CIO to hit back at its enemies. The Chandler crowd is suspected by the Roosevelt forces of being anti-New Deal at heart: if it is still in power in 1940, it is quite likely to send an anti-New Deal, anti-Roosevelt delegation to the Democratic convention. So it is more than probable that Brown is telling the truth when he claims that he has Roosevelt backing--a claim which is further borne out by the fact that Senator Barkley is openly supporting him.

It is interesting to observe, however, (1) that Mr. Roosevelt himself says nothing: and (2) that Johnson and his supporters angrily deny that Brown has Roosevelt backing or that they are anti-New Dealers. Both sides, that is, are clearly playing a very cautious game as yet. Mr. Roosevelt doesn't care to risk an open break. And on the other hand, his opponents are so little sure of their power to beat him that they want to keep the way open to go along with him if they must.

Murder By Hitler

If He Makes A War, He Had Better Win It

It was only another murder by Hitler--that one chalked up yesterday when Mrs. Karl Langer and her two small sons leaped to death from the thirteenth floor of a Chicago hotel. And murder is the commonest thing Hitler does. What his score of innocent Spanish women and babies, to leave the males wholly out of account--what his Spanish score may be is not definitely established. But it clearly runs into the tens of thousands. For at Guernica, in a single day he slew 700. And this was murder in the strictest and the most exact sense. Hitler was not at war with Spain. Nor did Franco at the time have any legal status under the law of nations. It was precisely as though a private person had launched planes into the country to kill its citizens.

At the moment, there is nothing that can be done about it, save to visit contempt upon the fellow as a swinish butcher. For to propose to go to war and condemn millions to death even to avenge the most brutal and wanton murders is a prospect at which the stoutest must revolt. Nevertheless, the chances seem to be growing that Mr. Hitler will himself elect to force that war. And if he does--he and all his gang had better make sure they win--or beat their enemies to the draw by blasting out their own brains before they are taken. For nothing is more certain than that, if they lose, they will be brought to trial and condemned as the common criminals they are. And in the mood the world will be in, it is more than unlikely that they can hope to get off with anything as mild as hanging.


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