The Charlotte News

Monday, October 13, 1941


Site Ed. Note: "Time to Fight", once again, as with two days earlier, stresses that America should, with Allied support, strike Japan--similar to what Senator Claude Pepper of Florida had counseled way back in April.

But the piece suggests, as an earlier column in August had, that the time for conquering Japan would be weeks or months, that according to all of the military experts.

The military experts, were, of course, quite wrong in that optimism--much as the military experts were in 2003 with regard to Iraq. The factor not taken into account was the home field advantage, so to speak. A people will naturally fight harder and more effectively, and with closer supplies lines to their advantage, underground or not, to defend their homeland against an invader.

It is also, as Hitler had learned out of his own self-deception during the previous year, a lot harder than it might appear to military experts on paper to bomb a determined island nation into submission. Of course, unlike Britain, Japan was now effectively cut off from crucial supplies of oil, rubber, and tin, among other things, its silk trade with the United States having been terminated during the summer, its assets in the United States frozen, and now its oil supply stanched.

Would it have made a decisive difference had the United States struck first, giving an ultimatum to Japan either to end all aggression in China and recoil from its occupation of Indochina or face imminent attack, with our ships and carriers full of bombers already sailing for Tokyo? Arguably, without the Pacific Fleet bombed into some degree of disrepair, arguably without the consequent taking quickly by Japan of the numerous islands they were able to seize in the Pacific in the days following the attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States would have been in much better position to effect just such a quick victory?

But, would the sympathy of nations have been with the United States if a pre-emptive attack had taken place on Japan without an immediate casus belli by way of attack on American interests? Certainly, there had been attacks before on the Yangtze on American ships, the Panay in December, 1937, a more recent attack during the summer of 1941, both incidents having brought profuse apologies from the Japanese who claimed overly aggressive commanders as the cause. But, compared to the Nazi attacks on American shipping or ships with American passengers, the Athenia in September 1939, the Zamzam and Robin Moor, both in spring, 1941, other ships since convoying war material, food, and clothing in the Atlantic to Great Britain, these incidents paled. Would it not have appeared as a racial matter? Would it not have appeared as a larger and stronger nation attacking a weaker one? Would anyone besides the most au courant, in a nation where many people had scarcely developed reading skills, have understood the strategic layout of the war then, the big picture, that in eliminating Japan, the entire Axis was thereby weakened? Would it instead have taken the steam out of the American spirit and encouraged all the more the isolationist rhetoric, the corrosive element from within threatening to enable a Nazi takeover without firing a shot via the propaganda and slow coiling copperhead track of the America Firsters and Bundists, the Klan in the South?

We shall never be able to answer these questions, of course, with any precision, for what occurred was what occurred, and it cannot be changed. We may only learn from it, taking into account the idea that every situation faced has different exigencies and circumstances surrounding it.

But it did take finally the atom bomb to end the War in the Pacific and with it the unleashing of the worst weapon ever known to man. Yet, with Hitler's scientists compelled to work toward the same end, seeking their uranium reserves from the Belgian Congo, already in possession by 1944 of their rocket bombs, only Hitler may be blamed for the production of that weapon in competition, to prevent use of a like weapon against Britain, against Moscow, finally, perhaps, even against New York?

No one, fortunately, may say.

We can only say that the most effective route to stopping the Hitlers before they ever gain a foothold in a culture is via the time-honored route of encouraging the arts, poetry, music, painting, and an appreciation from it of life and humanity from an early age, and the reduction, elimination to the extent humanly possible, of war.

For Hitler ultimately grew out of the First World War; his insanity, his compulsion, came from the sensitive soul of an artist compelled by his country to fight in an ugly war which was lost by his country. Whether the seeds of his insanity and compulsion were present before 1914, before Ypres, before the aftermath of the War and Versailles that led to his attempted coup in 1923 and jailing, consequently giving him time and encouragement to write Mein Kampf and establish from it the seeds of his movement, whether some other soldier, feeling such internal disgrace and looking for a scapegoat from which to feed his desperation, would have, absent Hitler, taken up that bloody corpse of war and hurled it into the holds of barbarism, no one either can really say.

We may only learn from it all, always learn from it all.

Well, Senator Soaper has a few good things, we think, to say again today. We'll leave them to you to consider, by the aquarium, down at the zoo, along with Saturday's child.

They were riveting, if not riveted, to the Hut-Sut Song, says Herblock. (You couldn't have proved it to Cash in May in New Orleans.)

All the rhythm had to get going though, clickety-clack, clickety-clack. Rosie would soon take over as the men sailed off to war. Outputmindedness, as Commons had debated, would fully take over the land after December 7. No longer would rifts in labor stultify vital industries. Fill that glass; it ain't half empty.

Old friends sat on the park bench like bookends.

Do you see something happening here, Mr. Jones?

Do you know what it's like on the other side?

To fight for a cause, laid long ago forgotten.

Today, incidentally, in history was the birth date of another singer-songwriter. We'll let you figure out who 'twas.

Happy birthday, even if we aren't posting this until Tuesday morning, about 3 A.M.--and thanks for the songs and the memories.

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