The Charlotte News

Wednesday, April 10, 1940


Site Ed. Note: This date in history, the Appomattox Court House National Park was established, 75 years to the day afterward, the first day of Unity in four brutal years which accomplished absolutely nothing which could not have been better meted by meeting in the cool of the glade beneath one of the old magnolias in Charleston, behaving over watermelon and cakes, and hearing Mr. Lincoln tell one of his notoriously tall and bawdy tales to the little wenches in their hoop-skirts all a flitter in the twittering breeze of April, 1861.

Instead, Johnny was to home wingless, like a chickenless egg he was, not much any longer to look at to those in their hoop-skirts looking for their hero come to protect against Sambo and his Evil Protector in Washington, down by the rail line amid the soft foot in high cotton providing the weeviled itchy fabric for the umbrellaed hoop-skirt.

But for all our alternate professions of and pretensions to enlightenment in the 142 years since that time, how much advancement have we truly made as a people, as we stimulate nothing more today than civil war in Iraq with our Crusades to bring enlightenment to an embittered land made bitter in time by centuries of internecine strife and imperialism from without brought down by Crusades of yore, all looking for a hero to come home to the hoop-skirt?

For more on the cool of the evening, go here.


Merchants Mustn't Overlook This Old Southern Institution

Anyone who has ever felt his heat-smothered spirits revived in "the cool of the evening" may be inclined to take issue with the Merchants Association.

For the benefit of their employees, the merchants want daylight savings from the last of April to the last of September, provided it is made effective over both Carolinas.

And it would be nice, we must admit, for people who get off from work at five or later in the afternoon to have an extra hour of daylight for sport. But for those who only go home and take off something and relax, advancing the clock by an hour would mean that they had an hour longer to wait for the sun to call it a day and the delicious freshness of the Summer twilight to drive the stifling heat away.

It means, in a highly practical sense, that bedrooms will be an hour longer cooling off to a temperature where sleep is possible--an hour which will be regained in the morning, to be sure, if sleep has come by that time. It means that young children must either be sent upstairs to a breathless, still-bright room, or kept up later than they should be until upstairs is bearable.

But worst of all, it means a saving in daylight, of which in Summer we have an over-sufficiency, at the expense of the blessed cool of the evening. We don't know that that's such a bargain.


Is The End Here Worth This Dangerous Precedent?

A group of distinguished Bostonians, headed by the dean of the School of Theology of Tufts College, has protested to the Dies Committee against its efforts to force Communist leaders to reveal the lists of the party membership, under penalty of being sent to jail for contempt of Congress. And others are being heard from to the same effect.

And the longer we look at it, the more inclined we are to think they are right.

It is the contention of Dies & Co., of course, that the Communist Party is an agency of foreign governments in this country, bent on raising all the devilment it can and eventually destroying the American Government. More than that, we believe they are pretty largely right.

But what we believe or what Martin Dies believes is not equivalent to the established fact. If the Communists are such agents, they are violating already existing laws. And before they can be adjudged guilty of that, they must be proved to be guilty--else we shall be abandoning the first principle of our established jurisprudence.

And until such violation of the law is proved, the Communist Party occupies precisely the legal position of any other political party. If you can force the Communist Party, as such, to reveal the names of its members simply because you don't like its ideology, then you can do exactly the same thing to the Democratic Party or the Republican Party or the Farmer-Labor Party, or what have you. Nor is it any answer to say that it would not be done in practice. The mere fact that it has never been done is no evidence that it might not someday be done, once the precedent has been established.


Not Chamberlain, But Baldwin Did These Things

Whether Earl Stanley Baldwin sleeps well these nights in the quietude of his retirement, we do not know. Chances are that he does, for he was ever a pleased man. But if so, his self-opinion is made of cast iron.

If there is any one man in the world directly and ultimately responsible for the present sad case of the English and French fortunes, for the miserable mess of the war in Europe, for the rapidly waxing menace of Hitlerism, and for the corresponding swift enslavement of unhappy small peoples, it is just this Earl Stanley Baldwin.

It is idle to saddle Chamberlain with the blame. He carries part of it, to be sure, but only proximately. For what he did at Munich was merely the natural continuation of the policy he had inherited from Baldwin, who had preceded him in office and who had named him as his successor.

The great primary tragic blunder was not Munich at all. There were two such blunders. One was the failure to halt Mussolini when he embarked upon the Ethiopian adventure. The other was to halt the remilitarization of the Rhineland, to which Hitler was nerved precisely by the success of Mussolini's Ethiopian bluff.

But the Earl did not foresee the consequences of these two moves? Hundreds of the most competent observers did, and told him about it pointedly. But it would have meant war? The overwhelming evidence says that it would not have, and in any case in meant war in the end--and war which may well come out in the defeat of the Allies and the cause of Western civilization, as it could not have done then.

Good thing the man is not a sensitive sort. He'd need a strait-jacket.


It Is Imperative For England To Take Norway

The next few days promise to be crucially important for the history of the Western World. Upon them may depend the decision as to whether or not England and France, standing alone, can stand the advance of the new barbarian hordes.

Whether the Allies can now throw the Nazis out of Norway is a question. But it is inconceivable that they will not hurl every ounce of their available power into a determined attempt to do so. Indeed, the British Navy is apparently already engaged in the attempt before Bergen. From the reports we have as this is written--which scarcely amount to more than rumors--nothing decisive seems to have resulted as yet.

But decisive action should not be long in forthcoming. Hitler has got his neck a long way out. If the British can clear the seas rapidly, there is every reason to believe that in short order they can toss the Germans out of Bergen or some other of the Western coast cities of Norway. The cities mainly stand on fiords and are difficult of approach, but the shore batteries are slight and of relatively small caliber, and unless the Germans have time to bring up heavy siege guns, should be relatively easy picking for the guns of the heavy battleships and battle cruisers.

And if one of these cities can be taken, then an expeditionary force can be landed in Norway without difficulty. It is reasonable, therefore, to suppose that Britain has called up every possible unit of her fleet to the purpose, though many of those on distant station probably have not arrived as yet.

But if that is so, then Adolf Hitler is bound to steam his whole fleet into the open sea. If so, it is likely that the greatest naval battle of modern times is in the making.

Theoretically, the British Navy should have the easy best of that, but it was not so at Jutland. The British Navy will have rarely or never gone into action with more at stake.

It may be too much to say that the Allied blockade of the Nazis will be definitely broken if the Norwegian conquest holds, but at the least a great hole will have been put in it and a hole likely to be rapidly extended. To patrol effectively the great expanse of the Atlantic now open to the Nazis would be impossible for the British Navy, huge as it is. Moreover, the seizure of the Norwegian coast brings the Nazi air fleet within about 200 miles of Scapa Flow, and it is unlikely that the British fleet can keep its base there, which it must if it hopes to block Nazi shipping in the northern waters.

Another important thing is that if Britain finally loses Norway and Denmark, she will have lost a very important and quickly accessible source of food supply. From the Scandinavian Peninsula as a whole she has bought most of her butter and milk, much of her bacon, other foodstuffs.

What is far worse is the psychological effect on other small neutrals. Holland and Belgium, observing the fate of Denmark and Norway, may decide to submit quietly to Nazi "protection." And if they do, England will be left without a single source of food supplies in the North Sea, will have to bring it all from far across the seas. That would make it a great deal easier to starve her. And Rumania could vanish into the Nazi maw overnight. If that should happen, the Balkans in toto would be lost and Turkey with them.

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