The Charlotte News

Sunday, April 14, 1940


Site Ed. Note: That which is a little surprising in these editorial columns of early to mid-April, 1940 comes by omission: that there is not a single mention of the 75th anniversary of the end of the Civil War and the assassination of President Lincoln, this date having been the anniversary of that final act of the War.

Perhaps, the print having been amply expended during the anniversary two years earlier of the Gettysburg campaign, and the final gathering then in 1938 of some of the remaining veterans, coupled with the fact that they were now all gone locally from the scene in Mecklenburg, the last having died during the previous two years, it was deemed no longer of much interest to the populace to recount the last of that War, to which the generationally passed memories of it some still bitterly and tenaciously clung--those still insisting that some were consigned to Jim Crow separation, that some were allowed brashness only so long as it was in the cause of providing entertainment and laughter to the white folks, from the accustomed position of subservience at the back of the bus.

Does the omission then not say something of a bent still extant then within the mind of the South in 1940, that it was far more curious of the decisive battle which inevitably consigned its fate from unrecreant back to that of reluctant, sycophantic suitor to the Union than of the disgrace which came at the end of the War and secret delight in some, recreant, of the assassination which followed? A question which perhaps would have its answer in the streets, before very long--one of which Cash would, in his concluding passage of his book three months later, cautiously issue contingent caveat.

Whether "Passage" was by Cash, we can't say. It would seem unlikely, however, since to have been on a bus on an early spring morning such as this one, meant that he was not up to walking to work, only about four blocks from the Frederick where he lived. That made all the more unusual when considered against his daily habit during the fall a mere twelve years earlier of walking ten miles each way from Boiling Springs to Shelby to his work as managing editor at The Cleveland Press.

But then, maybe it was a rainy day and his umbrella was stubborn to avail him of shelter.

"Balkan Quiz" serves up a tangle of questions presented by the never-ending chess match with the minds of Hitler and Mussolini and Stalin, and points up the trouble of trying to predict the next move by psychopaths bent on world domination. Is their brash boasting mere bluster and brag, meant slowly to erode the morale of their object of eventual intended predation; is it rather feint to encourage redeployment and dilution of the Allied troop strength from strategic locations, making those then more vulnerable to attack while bolstering the stated target, a mere stalking horse; or is it a true indication of what they in fact intend, so outrageous in its premises as to be dismissed as just bluster and brag, until the bragging threat would find coincidence with reality?

Questions which would indeed have their answer before very long.


To Eastern N. C. We Commend The Action Of Congress

Let all North Carolina, at least all North Carolina somewhere east of Raleigh, take note of the action of the Congress of the United States looking to reapportionment in the House of Representatives.

The necessary legislation, as far as its basic principle was concerned, was passed without debate, without opposition, without any thought of opposition, really. The Constitution, you see, imposes upon Congress the continuing duty of reapportioning representation in the House, according to population, after every decennial census.

This duty was carried out, forehandedly in routine.

But so, by George, does the Constitution of North Carolina impose upon the State Legislature the duty of reapportioning representation, not only in the House but in the Senate, too, at the first session after each Federal census. And will the Legislature carry out these instructions after the 1940 census?

That remains to be seen. Eastern members of the legislature, knowing themselves to enjoy greater representation than they are entitled to, deliberately and repeatedly refused to do so after the 1930 census, so that the present Legislature is constituted as to membership on a twenty-year-old basis. But the East may come around, may have to come around, in the next session.


Robert Rice's Zeal For It Is Quite Unnecessary

The clamor of Robert Rice Reynolds, Lundeen & Co. to the effect that we must grab Greenland at once is a little odd. It has all along been the contention of these eminent statesmen that it will not matter in the least to us if Nazi Germany wins the war in Europe.

But Nazi Germany is the sole possible claimant to Greenland whose seizure of it would be calculated to give us cause for alarm. Britain might seize it, indeed, by way of heading off Germany. But to suggest that that would constitute a menace to us is to suggest nonsense. Britain already has many possessions much closer to us than Greenland. And if her seizure of it could constitute a menace to us, then Canada is presently such a menace that we ought to exterminate the Canadians immediately.

Certainly, nobody in his senses can want Greenland for itself. It produces cryolite, which we use in making aluminum and soda. But it is generally a barren land and such a gross economic liability that Denmark has often lamented the necessity of having to support it because of the Danes there. If Mr. Hitler wants it, he wants it for an attack on Canada. But it is not likely that he has any thought of doing that just now or until after he has won the war. The President of the United States has made it amply clear that Greenland comes under the Monroe Doctrine, and Hitler would scarcely care deliberately to pick a war with us with Britain and France still on his hands.

The Government may be trusted to take what steps are called for in connection with Greenland when and if they are called for. Meantime, the hollering of Reynolds, Lundeen & Co. is only a snide attempt to capitalize on the case by way of an entering wedge for their scheme for grabbing British possessions in this hemisphere and so getting us into war with England.


A La Fontaine Fable With Unorthodox End

It was early morning and the bus was crowded with Negro servants going to work.

Near the back the Country Mouse and the City Mouse sat together, both of ample girth and huge of arm. The City Mouse was full of airs and proud of her vanity. She had been in New Yawk for a while, and was loudly making sure that nobody should remain unaware of it as she poked fun at the Country Mouse. Her rich laughter rang through the bus and made even the sour morning faces of white people smile.

"Lawdy, chile," she cackled, "is you all still riding in that ol' waggin and mule?" She slapped her companion's knee and doubled up, shouting.

But there was spunk in the Country Mouse and she had no intention of yielding the field tamely.

"Honey," she mocked, herself rocking with laughter, "honey, is you all still riding in that ol' Model T without no top outta Noah's Ark? Last time I seen you in it I liked a-kilt myself laughing!"

But the City Slicker had her answer.

"Law, chile," she exploded, pulling the stop cord, "what I rides in ain't got no hee-haw on it!"

The bus ground to a halt, and the two got off in the laughter of the crowd, the Country Mouse a little crestfallen, but still cackling amiably.

Balkan Quiz

A Mass Of Questions Which May Be Answered Soon

A hundred thousand picked Nazi troops are reported massed on the Hungarian border, opposite the easiest door to Rumania and also in striking distance of Yugoslavia. Russian troops are reported massing at Odessa on the Black Sea, only a few miles from Rumania's flat and easily accessible Bessarabian plain, and also the Russian port of most importance with regard to Turkey.

The Allies loudly announce, according to reporters, that they will be unable to come to Rumania's aid if Hitler acts there. The army in Syria, they say, is only big enough to protect Syria. Turkey is silent.

Nazi Germany embargoes practically everything Rumania needs, at the same time demands that Rumania shall keep up her exports to Germany.

Rumania shuts off exports to Germany, especially oil. Bucharest is reported as expecting formal demands from the Nazis in the next few days that Rumania demobilize so that more Rumanians can work to produce what Germany needs, that Rumania give Nazi Germany a monopoly of her exports.

Bucharest is reported as saying that all such demands will be refused; that Rumania will resist any attempt to dominate or invade her. Nazi agents were through the streets of Bucharest and Belgrade dropping leaflets warning the citizens in Rumania and Yugoslavia that if they value their freedom they will aid Germany.

Mussolini is silent.

These are the facts and rumors that we get from the Balkans. What their relationship to one another may be, what they all add up to, is a problem which can only be answered in questions.

Is Nazi Germany attempting to bluff Rumania and the other Balkans into becoming her puppets, or is she deliberately planning to invade Rumania and perhaps also Yugoslavia at the same time she is involved in Norway? Is this, indeed, a diversion designed to make the British and French scatter their naval forces and so reduce the pressure on the Nazis in Norway?

Will Rumania fight? Or is she bluffing on her own account? And is it likely that she would fight without being confident of aid from some quarter?

Are the Allies telling the truth about their inability to aid Rumania, or trying to lure the Nazis into a trap? Is Turkey the joker in the Allied hand? The Turkey which is a member of the Balkan Entente and bound to come to Rumania's aid if she is invaded, which is in easy striking distance of the mouth of the Danube, which has two million first-class fighting men, the majority already under arms--the Turkey into which Britain and France have been pouring supplies for months?

If Germany invades Rumania, is the Turkish Army to be immediately landed in Rumania under the guidance of Allied warships?

Is Russia massing her troops to aid the Nazi bluff, if it is a bluff? Has she entered into an agreement with Germany to carve up Rumania between them? Are her troops massed to intimidate Turkey and head off any move from that country?

Or, remembering Hitler's old ambition to grab the Ukraine, is this in fact a defensive gesture against the Nazis--preparation for grabbing Rumanian Bessarabia, the door to the Ukraine, if Hitler does move?

Did Mussolini enter into an agreement with Hitler at their recent border conference to carve up the Balkans between them, perhaps with Russia participating also? With the Italian dictator striking Yugoslavia at the same time Hitler struck in Rumania? Is the fact that the Allies find an army of nearly a million men only adequate to protect Syria based on the expectation that they will have to fight Mussolini in the Mediterranean, will need these troops to protect not only Syria but Egypt, Palestine, and French North African possessions? Or merely on the fear that if they weaken the force, he might be tempted to take advantage of the opportunity to strike?

It seems probable that we shall know the answer to some of these questions, at least, before very long.

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