The Charlotte News

Wednesday, February 28, 1940


Site Ed. Note: In "Road to Verdun", Cash tells us accurately, "[I]t is pretty certain that quantities of war material are passing from the United States to Germany by way of Vladivostok." This "material" included most notably supplies of oil from both California and Mexico, circumventing the effective British blockade along the eastern route through the Mediterranean or the North Sea.

There would be no offensive on Verdun. Part of it would come through Luxembourg, but a little to the north. On May 10, the German army swept into France from the Ardennes, and from the north through Belgium and the Netherlands, flanking the Maginot Line.

Within four months, by June 22, the proud World War Monument at Verdun would be adorned with swastikas, goosesteppers marching astride its tower, feigning their respect; that after Marshal Petain and the rest had politely surrendered, after 43 days, to the Nazi jigger at Compiègne.

Why Go To Jail?*

Just Lie Low, Say Nothing, And Dodge Those Capiases

Back in December, Judge W. H. S. Burgwyn, in Mecklenburg for a term of criminal court, ran his eye down a ledger sheet and saw that the court wasn't doing very well on its collections. Convicted persons who had been fined and turned loose upon their agreement to pay fines and costs in installments, just weren't paying; and nobody was doing anything about it.

Judge Burgwyn ordered some 45 capiases issued. And what happened? Nothing much. The Sheriff's office served three of them.

In early January The News began a daily series of articles, taken from the record, called, "Why Go To Jail?" With publication of No. 5 in this series, a term of criminal court opened under Judge Hoyle Sink, who promptly took notice of the articles, denounced the slackness in court procedure, ordered capiases issued.

One or two of the delinquents, lacking the cash, went to jail, and a few others paid up.

Yesterday Judge Sink came back to town. He went to the records again to learn what had taken place in his absence, and he must have been astonished to find that two-thirds of the accounts were still unsettled, the convicted persons still at liberty. And so he issued some more capiases.

What will happen now remains to be seen. But we can promise you this much: that if Judge Sink departs and leaves the matter up to Solicitor John Carpenter, nothing will happen.

Two Views

Couple Of Insiders Arrive At Opposite Conclusions

The confusion of the times is well illustrated by the reports of two successive Governors of the Philippines.

The Hon. Paul McNutt came back with the loud conviction that the act of Congress which provides for the complete liberation of the islands in 1946 is a piece of folly.

To liberate the islands would mean their economic ruin, he said. And would dislocate the economy of the United States itself. And what was a great deal worse, he insinuated, if the United States withdrew, Japan was certain to seize the islands in short order.

Moreover, he said, the natives were well aware of all this. And, despite their long and insistent demand for independence, they had thought it over and were no longer in favor of it. And--the United States needed the islands for military reasons.

The facts, to a layman's eye, seemed to bear him out. Japan was certainly penetrating the islands by commercial means with great rapidity. And an unofficial plebiscite seemed to indicate that the Filipinos did not, now that they had almost got it, want independence.

But now comes the Hon. Francis P. Sayre, present Governor of the islands, to say that it is all hooey. The Filipinos want their independence as hotly as ever. Japan may seize the archipelago. Independence will upset the economy sadly. But still they want it. And as for the United States--the islands will be a military liability. Millions on millions will have to be poured into them to provide defenses. And even so, they will be extremely vulnerable.

With such diametrical disagreement in evidence among men with the best opportunity to observe the facts, it is small wonder that the man in the streets is bewildered these days.


An American Action Puts Britain On A Tough Spot

The decision to have American mail-carrying planes fly direct to the Azores instead of stopping at Bermuda sounds innocent. But it is charged with dynamite.

Of the general British right to search mails for contraband and information to the enemy there is no reasonable doubt. And that the air mails are being used for the purpose of conveying such information at least there is no doubt at all. And what we have done, therefore, is to face Britain with the choice between allowing this information to pass freely or to exercise her right to halt the ship on the high seas. But hailing a plane on the high seas means imminent peril to her crew and passengers, would undoubtedly set off a terrific uproar.

To see the case in perspective we have to remember that we began the war by acknowledging, in effect, Germany's right to defy international law as she pleases. Because we knew that she would sink our ships without warning, in flat defiance of our rights under international law, we passed a law making it a crime for any American ship to enter the zones in which they had mainly carried on their business. We accepted the loss of millions of dollars each day and we immobilized our merchant fleet, denied Britain and France the normal use of them.

Road To Verdun

Some Reasons Why Nazis Might Attempt To Take It

It is far too early to assume yet that the Nazis are preparing to attack France across Luxembourg and the Moselle Gate. Quite possibly, the artillery fire heard in Luxembourg is merely an incident and preparations observed may be directed to other purposes than those surmised.

Nevertheless, there are reasons which lend color to the supposition. Germany is certainly passing into a position which imperatively calls for action on her part, if she is to have any chance to win the war. Leaks in the British blockade there may be--greater than Mr. Chamberlain claims. And it is pretty certain that quantities of war material are passing from the United States to Germany by way of Vladivostok.

For all that, however, the odds increasingly favor the Allies. The very action of Turkey and Rumania, both of which must guess right under penalty of being ultimately extinguished, indicates the conviction in the Balkans that things are not well with Germany. And the Balkan governments are in better condition to judge that matter than anybody else. If Germany is getting supplies, she's not getting enough. And what is far worse, the position taken by Turkey and the concentration of Allied troops in the Near East place the Allies in position to strike to cut off Russia's oil supplies altogether, and to hurry to the rescue of Rumania if Hitler attempts to seize oil supplies there. Worse still, it suspends over Germany's head the perpetual threat of an Allied offensive against her backdoor.

And if, in view of those circumstances, Germany feels that she must deliver a knockout blow quickly, then there are reasons why she might pick on the Moselle route. For that way lies the road to Verdun.

From the viewpoint of physical advantages, this way into France by Verdun is one of the weakest open to the Germans. On the other hand, it is the most heavily fortified portion of the Maginot Line. Every step of the way will have to be taken under such a rain of fire as the world has never seen. And if ever the Nazi armies come up before Verdun, they will be before the most heavily fortified city on earth. Eleven outlying forts, the most modern steel and concrete construction and mounting the heaviest batteries, guard the city from surrounding heights. In the main line forts about the city itself number sixteen, with 21 lesser batteries.

And still--Verdun is a symbol to French and German alike. Verdun, from the time of Charlemagne, was alternately an appanage of the Holy Roman Empire, independent, and a vassal of the French kings, did not finally become French until the Sixteenth century. Germans have always claimed it, and the Nazis, with their crazy-pot history, would attach enormous significance to its possession. Yet again, Germany took it in 1870 by a brilliant siege, and in taking it sealed the doom of the French cause.

On the other hand, in 1915 more than 350,000 Germans died before the town, then poorly fortified as compared with the present, in a vain attempt to break through and take it again. And it was there that the French soldiers took up the cry "il ne passeront pas" and made it good against the greatest artillery bombardment yet known.

All the long conflict between Germany and France is epitomized here. Here Germany had her most complete and satisfying victory, her most abject and costly defeat. And here France, too, met her own most gloomy defeat and her own most glorious victory. Every German might be expected to go out to battle here in the grimmest determination to repeat the victory and wipe out the defeat, to do superhuman feats to that end, to ride over that "passeront pas" this time. And here the French will to resist would be met in its citadel. Take this place and France might well collapse--the war be won--mastery of Europe for the new barbarism achieved.

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