The Charlotte News

Friday, April 11, 1941


Site Ed. Note: This Good Friday of 1941, the column, from the mild-mannered reporters contributing to this great metropolitan newspaper, had as its study two purely local issues, whether businesses should be allowed to crowd into predominantly residential areas, and the entry of a third candidate to the mayoral race; and then swept suddenly from that to the broad theater of war news: first the decision by the President to have the United States send troops to protect Greenland, Danish territory, against potential Nazi occupation and hence control of sea lanes to enable submarine attacks on the United States and eastern Canada; the determination that the Greek campaign for the Allies to gain a foothold on the Continent to enable an offensive backdoor move to Germany, threaten Italy and perhaps grab it into the allied camp, and prevent Germany from occupying first Greece, then the Balkans and thereby gaining the necessary foothold to take the Dardanelles, isolate Turkey, and achieve control of the eastern Mediterranean and thus the crucial oil reserves in Persia (Iran) and Iraq, was not so badly lost as had first been thought, with a force of sufficient size left to defend a fallback position where roads would not enable the German army so easily to avail themselves of movement and supplies as in the lost Greek territory in the Struma and Vardar valleys; and that the British bombing of Berlin's civilian targets was appropriate given the regular Nazi bombing raids transpiring since September on London and Liverpool and other key points embracing civilian targets in England.

While the world steadily became an increasingly bloody killing field, nevertheless purely local issues stateside of zoning and mayoralty continued to garner the attention of the average citizen.

Yet, thoughts of war predominated, as evidenced by the first letter to the editor of the date, where even so mundane a thing as the choice of comics among children was infused and interlaced with thoughts on the war in Europe, as the little girl who authored it, who also contributed the winning riddle on molasses, spoke eloquently of her eschewing Superman and Red Ryder, based on their violence ill-fitting escape from the present world with all its violent news, for the more palatable to her little sister, Little Henry and Freckles and His Friends. War infects everything and everyone, whether directly and immediately in its path or not.

Many of the little children of England, however, in these days, as well as those of Berlin, and later Dresden, would never again have the luxury to wake from their beds to read the comic section, thanks to the aggressive night raids in fire wrought by the Nazi Supermen and their all-knowing, pluperfect ways.


A City-Wide Zoning Law Would Keep Them Out

A filling station in tony Myers Park, eh? That prospect will awaken one large and influential section of Charlotteans to the crying need of a city-wide zoning law.

What happened to the east side of Providence Road, to be sure, pointed up the case for zoning as graphically as anything could have. This lovely residential street, with its arch of oaks and many fine homes, bisecting two fine suburban developments, lost its amateur standing some years ago and went outright commercial.

Stores and filling stations, mind you, are necessary. These neighborhood marketing centers are great conveniences. But their sites should be designed according to plan, and they should not be allowed to trespass in areas where people have built their homes and trustingly settled down to the enjoyment of them.

It has been amply demonstrated that restrictions placed on property by its developers have not a great deal of standing in court. Beside, they are inflexible, whereas a zoning law would be susceptible to change in the light of utility and desirability.

Such a law, precisely, together with a city plan looking to the future of this metropolis of the Carolinas, is a prime plank for any of our Mayoralty candidates to nail to their platforms. Surely it would make a hit just now in Myers Park at least.

Marion Davis*

His Entry Adds a Third Capable Mayoralty Candidate

Marion Davis's entry brings into the Mayoralty race a man who represents no clearly defined group. Mr. Baxter, to a considerable extent at least, is a candidate of the Douglas group, or, at any rate, the forces which have backed Ben Douglas and his Administration in general. And Judge Currie is, of course, the candidate of the group which has taken the name of Citizens Group.

Mr. Davis has had no previous experience in politics. A native of South Carolina, he has been in the city long enough to be fully conversant with its people and its problems, to make a success in business, and to become very widely and favorably known on his own account. He will unquestionably make a good run, and if he is elected, he will have the combination of executive ability and pleasant manner necessary to the job.

Of one thing Charlotte is assured. It now has three men who are running for the job--any one of whom should make an excellent Mayor and discharge the duties of the office with credit to himself and the city. That has not always been the case, and it is a healthy sign of interest in civic affairs on the part of responsible people.

Wise Move

Greenland Controls the North Atlantic and Eastern Canada

The Burton Wheelers will probably raise a terrible howl about it, but the only thing wrong with the President's Greenland move is that it has been so long and so dangerously delayed.

Greenland is of the first importance for the control of the North Atlantic Ocean. If Germany had it, she would have got control of eastern Canada and would be in striking distance of American cities as far south as Baltimore and Washington. Moreover, she would be in position greatly to intensify her submarine warfare against Britain.

That she has not already occupied it and established herself firmly there is probably due to Hitler's calculation that it might bring on war with the United States and that it is best to try to destroy England and the United States separately rather than together. But that, in view of recent developments, he had begun to contemplate grabbing it anyhow is plain enough.

The extension of the "war zone" to Iceland was a move in that direction. Moreover, German "surveying parties" have been reported in the territory recently, and Nazi planes have been consequently flying over it. Indeed, it is to be hoped that the President had the foresight to have the Marines ready to land on the island's shores as soon as the announcement was made, else we might yet see a determined move on the part of the Nazis to get there first.

It is manifest that a terrific uproar from Copenhagen and Berlin is to be expected. Nobody but the Wheelers will pay any attention to protests from Copenhagen, for Denmark is Hitler's prisoner and, moreover, the government has been filled with traitorous Nazi stooges. The Danish Minister in Washington, who signed an agreement with the President, is the only free representative of true Danish sentiment. But, of course, it is to the purpose of stirring up the Wheelers that the Nazi uproar will be addressed.

Less Dark

Odds Still Great but Allied Outlook Is Now Better

The outlook in the Balkans, while remaining dark, has nevertheless grown somewhat more cheerful than it was the day before yesterday.

The Germans have tacitly confessed that they lied when they claimed that they had effectually bottled up the whole Greek army in the Struma Valley and that it has surrendered, 300,000 strong. Now their claims only run to 80,000 Greek prisoners, which is strong evidence that the Athens claim that the main body of the eastern army succeeded in cutting its way through the light German forces to make contact with the western forces.

The Greek armies, in short, seem to be still virtually intact.

And that the Serb armies are intact is plain from the fact that the Nazis assert the capture of only 20,000 prisoners.

Let it not be forgotten that the end of all military action is the destruction of the opposing armies. Until that is accomplished, occupation of territory means nothing.

And the most hopeful thing of all is that British, Greeks and Serbs have established themselves solidly on much shorter lines and in territory which offers the best chance of defense. The Vardar Valley had a great motor road through it, and it was all along that the German Panzer divisions advanced. There are no such roads in the territory now to be defended--the same territory upon which Italy came to grief last Winter.

The odds are still heavily against the defenders, but they are not hopeless.

Hitting Back

Berlin Opera Is a Fair Target for Englishmen

The destruction of the Berlin Opera and the damaging of various palaces in Berlin is by no means ample retaliation for the destruction of Westminster Hall, St. Martin's-in-the-Field, the Coventry Cathedral, or any of hundreds of other British monuments, by the Nazi terror which flies by night.

The Opera, built by Frederick the Great, is in the heavy German style of the Eighteenth century, one of the most dubious ever invented by man. Architects, struggling to say nice things about it, have sometimes called it "noble" but few have ever found it beautiful.

To find monuments comparable to those which have been destroyed in England, one must turn to the provincial cities of Germany. And even there they are not numerous. Great in music, the German is almost as inept at architecture as he is in politics.

Berlin is in general by far the ugliest great capital in the world. And it seems almost a shame to deprive it of the few buildings which give it any claim to notice at all.

Nevertheless, the British work in Berlin Wednesday night was probably a step in the right direction. His own medicine seems to be the only kind the German can understand. And while the confinement of bombing to military objectives may be sound from the military standpoint, it is obviously very poor psychology from the standpoint of the average Englishman as he sees his own monuments ruthlessly destroyed.

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