The Charlotte News

Friday, August 5, 1938


Site Ed. Note: The beginning of "Hitler Juggles Dynamite" is self-congratulatory for "Runciman's Job", July 31, and "Lord Halifax to Paris", July 22. "And so," Cash opines, "it is far from fantastic to suppose a putsch into Czechoslovakia may blow the Chamberlain and Daladier governments into oblivion, replace them by men of the Lloyd George and Churchill stamp, and bring England and France roaring into war against Germany, side by side with Russia." It would take awhile longer yet for all of that to coalesce as a bulwark to the neighborhood bully, but it would, yet it would, and even before, shortly before, Cash himself would be dead, July 1, 1941.

Can't have these boys runnin' around heya predictin' all this stuff accurately like that; bad for business.

And to supplement the crypticness of the editors in reply to the letter writer who posed the puzzler as to why at the time Charlotte was known as "The Friendly City", we offer you some further insight.

Straw in the Wind

In New York the other night, police raided a gambling establishment and arrested several hundred people in evening dress, some of whom were playing with $1,000 chips. It may mean nothing. And yet believe it or not, it might possibly be a straw in the wind indicating recovery. Experience has proved many times that gambling among the poor for relatively small sums increases with depression, but gambling by the well-heeled for big stakes is usually confined to times when these well-heeled begin to feel that, after all, the wolf won't get them.

In Fort Pitt's Forest

There was joy in Pittsburgh today, we bet you. There was fear, too, for that matter. This morning a 350-lb. grizzly bear from the Yellowstone country decided that dog days were getting on his nerves and that he was going to do something about it. And, masters, what he did! With his own tough little paws he ripped the iron bars out of the ceiling of his cage at Highland Park and proceeded on his way to see the town. He was described as being in quite as bad a humor, too, as, say, Mr. Tom Girdler when he thinks of the Wagner Act. So the grown-ups in town were fearful, as the cops were fearful as, armed with powerful rifles, they cautiously went about trying to find him--found him after five hours and shot him dead.

But what a gorgeous time the little boys at least must have had as, in a sort of glad ecstasy of fear, they sat within doors imagining the terrifying brute to come looking in their window, or their encountering him en route to the corner grocery--and their heroic deeds in putting him down. Now at last the little city-bred knew the thrill of the old frontier as reported in their story-books.

True to Form

Up in Washington, officials of the Internal Revenue Bureau have decreed that doorbell ringing in behalf of political candidates is not labor in any sense that would bring the ringers under the provisions of the social security act. That may startle you a little, seeing that the social security set covers almost every other known kind of employment which lasts even a few days, and seeing that door ringers for politicoes often stay on their jobs for months at a time. Still, after all, it might be argued that labor, under the definitions which have prevailed since Adam Smith, is commonly held to be something which confers some sort of benefit upon society, or which at least has that for its objective. And that doorbell ringing for politicoes does that or even aims to do that is admittedly a vastly dubious proposition.

But, ah, now we shall be ascribing candor as the motive for the ruling of the bureau. And of course it was nothing so improbable. What explains it is simply that the bureau is itself filled with politicoes. And that it is at least the theory of current American politics that the tenure of all subscribing politicians hangs upon the number of bell-ringers they can put in the field to pass out the hooey or the jack to all and sundry willing or unwilling to listen. And that--if the bell-ringers were placed under social security, it would mean no inconsiderable cost to the politicoes who employ them.

The guild, in sum, was simply voting for the guild.

Hitler Juggles Dynamite

To be candid about it, we have to inform our little readers that we grinned like the Cheshire Cat when we read the Washington Merry-Go-Round yesterday. For it perfectly bore out two editorials which we published last week, arguing (1) that the probable purpose of the sudden visit of Captain Wiedemann, Hitler's personal emissary, to Lord Halifax, on the eve of the latter's departure for Paris, was to offer the German-English agreement which Mr. Chamberlain has so long dreamed of and pleaded for, on condition of England's acquiescence in Hitler's designs to take over Czechoslovakia, and after it, the whole of Central Europe; and (2) that the real purpose of Lord Runciman's visit to Czechoslovakia was to coerce and frighten the little country into consenting to the extinction of its sovereignty without a fight.

But what interested us even more than the inflation of our ego was the story that Hitler means to act immediately, has already begun heavy concentration of his armies on the Czechoslovak border, and has even astonishingly picked out August 13 as the exact date for the putsch.

Will the fellow actually attempt to go through with it? Sanity says that he won't. For the game he is playing is a more dangerous one than ever even Napoleon dared. There is not much doubt, indeed, that if he has promised Chamberlain an agreement whereunder he will lay off his demand for the return of the old German colonies now held mainly by England and secondarily by France, he will have the consent of the present government of England. Mr. Chamberlain long ago demonstrated that he'd consent to any payment in other people's property in return for the realization of his own curious ends. And if Hitler has the consent of the present English government, he'll probably have the bitterly reluctant consent of the present French government also, for that government plainly doesn't want to risk a fight without Britain at its back.


And--if he has the consent of England and France, chances are he'll have the snarling acquiescence of Russia as well. For the bear will hardly care to risk a single-handed war with Japan already on her hands in the East. In fact, in these days of moonpleter melodramatics in international affairs, it is actually possible to suspect that the whole Manchukuo-Siberian border in which Japan advances and retreats bewilderingly and continually flirts with forthright war without ever barging wholly into it, may be a piece of funny business cooked up with Hitler to keep Russia too frightened and worried to chance going to the rescue of the Czechs.

But in all this, which seems to give Mr. Hitler a free hand, there is hidden a joker. Can the present governments of England and France be trusted to bind the people of England and France? The existence of both already hang by a thread, in point of fact. According to various polls which have been made, Chamberlain commands the active support of no more than a fourth of the English people, and even his Conservative cohorts in Commons have been growing increasingly restless and resentful of his policy. And as for Daladier, he has the active support of nothing but his own small party and the French Senate, representing mainly the town councils of France, the majority merely tolerating him. In both countries, the great body of the people share the view that the Chamberlain horse-trading policy is short-sighted, that Hitler's word is manifestly worthless, and that all the thing is calculated to do is to enable Hitler to get control of the wheatfields of Europe and thereafter play the bully at will. Moreover, the pride of two great peoples is almost intolerably affronted by this continual business of eating humble pie. And so it is far from fantastic to suppose a putsch into Czechoslovakia may blow the Chamberlain and Daladier governments into oblivion, replace them by men of the Lloyd George and Churchill stamp, and bring England and France roaring into war against Germany, side by side with Russia.


More still, such a coalition might very possibly have another ally--Italy. For all his megalomania, Mussolini has a streak of realism in him. So far he is playing along with Hitler because of the obvious advantages of maintaining a united ideological front and because of Spain. But in that country he plainly has a bear by the tail. And Hitler's advance into Central Europe is poisonously hateful in him, for he has been creating that very area as his own sphere of influence for ten years--has long counted on it as his own wheat reservoir in case of war. Furthermore, the erection of the great Pan-Germany of which Hitler dreams would be a far greater menace to his safety than any possible aggrandizement of England and France. Strange bedfellows, these would be, imperial England and France, Red Russia and Fascist Italy. But there have been stranger.

And if ever that coalition rolled upon Mr. Hitler, the 13th (granting that to be the day) would become as black for himself and the German people as ever superstition has made the number to be--the blackest day that ever dawned for Germany. For she simply wouldn't have a chance, and her enemies would be apt this time to want to make a thorough job of finishing her off.

Sanity, therefore, would seem to say that Mr. Hitler had better not go forward. But he is not sane. He believes in his destiny with a naive credulity which Napoleon could never really muster, and takes his hunches for the revelations of heaven. More than that he is a dictator, with a starvling people growling at his back. And so no one can be sure that he won't in fact undertake his putsch sometime this month.

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