The Charlotte News

Thursday, April 17, 1941


Site Ed. Note: The page of this day, including both Raymond Clapper's piece and that of Dorothy Thompson, in combination with the Cash editorials, presents an absorbing picture. Ray Clapper speaks of the move in England to put thiamin complex, vitamin B-1, into the flour, in part to ward off depression and nerves regarding the persistent nightly bombing raids--as Cash indicates in "All Out", the worst of which had reportedly occurred the previous night.

Dorothy Thompson provides a fair summary of the dilemma of Russia at this point with respect to both Germany on Russia's western frontier, making inroads to the Black Sea and threatening Turkey, having incurred the wrath of Stalin with the recent invasions of Yugoslavia and Bulgaria, and Japan on the east--for the time being, with the Russo-Japanese neutrality pact signed a few days earlier, no longer posing a threat to Russia should it be attacked by Germany.

And adding fuel to the Nazi paranoia, fueled in its rage by the indomitable will to run its war motors farther, and to do so to quest for more oil to run them farther still, in Iraq and Iran, the fortuna wheel cycle of insanity which knows no end once begun, Stalin had declared his commitment to aid Turkey in the event of invasion there by Hitler, the last land bridge remaining between Hitler and Iraq and Iran. Control of Turkey would leave only the Ukraine and its own oil reserves and northern vigil on the Black Sea standing between Hitler's deus ex machina and complete dominance of the vital resources in that region. Still, the relatively inefficient methods of either shipping oil by rail over land or by pipeline presented not only an expensive proposition to construct and maintain, but one subject easily to sabotage, as any pipeline would inevitably be above-ground, especially over the deserts of Iraq, and thus one dune's dark-night's bullet hole or bomb in an isolated portion thereof and the whole thing drips away into the sand. Thus, the more plausible and more easily protected, even if substantially longer, sea route through the Suez and around Saudi Arabia to the Persian Gulf. Thus, the move on Egypt, not so much by land through Turkey, as Dorothy Thompson assumes in her piece, as that left still substantial territory sympathetic to British interests for Hitler to transgress, but primarily via the more direct route in the Mediterranean.

Remembering that every defensive move by Russia or Britain to protect smaller nations in the region, was considered in Berlin to be an offensive move against the Reich's lebensraum theory of geopolitics, their divine right to possess all and control all which lay before them for the taking by their hungry machine, putting that together with what Cash discusses in the first piece on North Africa, and the piece on Ireland, the different approaches to aid to Britain encountered between Northern Ireland and Eire, the threat posed to each by Hitler's air raids there as well, and you have a pretty fair synopsis of the condition of the world at this time--a very bleak picture indeed for the Allies, which, as to any substantial fighting force in the trenches of the moment, equated principally only to the beleaguered Great Britain.

And, with the situation thusly painted black as to England, the whole of it was bête noire as to the position of the United States in the world as well in this darkest hour--one which about half the people of the United States still refused to recognize as any of their business. Witness the business in the Senate in defense of Cotton Ed's law student son's attempt at avoidance of the draft on claims of special need as a clerk to the Agriculture Committee.

Now, reading Cash's take in the piece below, re the gunning down of an Italian anti-Fascist news-sheet publisher, by probable Italian or German embassy-sponsored action in Chicago, a city in which Cash had lived for nearly a year in the mid-twenties, project forward to July 1 and Cash in Mexico complaining for the previous day to his wife of being followed by Nazi spies in a country known still to have them, and his declaration, according to his wife, that he had been "poisoned" after receiving his vitamin B-1 shot for his previously diagnosed thiamin deficiency, as administered by the physician his wife had insisted that he see after his troublesome previous night, and one may understand better what Cash was perceiving in fact in those last fateful hours of his life. And that they were, in all probability, perceptions not the result of his wandering imaginings run too taut to the mental boundaries between perfect sanity and madness, but rather accurate gleanings of the world around him, both immediate and far, and that he and his wife were indeed in imminent danger of death at the hands of Nazi intriguants--desperate and dangerous in any time, but especially so, with those characteristics multiplied arithmetically, when their own very survival was perceived to be threatened by the arrest of the 32 Nazi spies in New York the previous weekend, spies being aided in the task by the very German Embassy, operating on direct orders of the Abwehr in Hamburg, of which Cash speaks below in "A Murder".

It was not beyond the facts to believe that such operatives would harass and even murder an individual for no more threat to them than publishing views antithetical to their ends of disruption, and especially as Hitler grew more desperate for that precious resource of oil to keep his hindered war machine running.

Was it therefore Cash's madness in Mexico that led him "by his own contrivance" to his death? Or was it rather the madness of a bunch of dyed-in-the-wool Nazis, skilled at bending and shaping a type of inverted reality to their ends, ends bent on world domination and destruction of everything in their path to prevent it? Where do you come down? Cash as madman? Or Nazis as madmen perverting perceptions of reality?

Does his book trouble you? Does his writing for The News trouble you?

Do Nazis murdering a United States citizen in Mexico in 1941 with impunity and succeeding in convincing others, not at all in sympathy with them, and to this day, that the person was in fact a suicide, trouble you?

Incidentally, two of the signatories to the letter to the editor of the day from the University, exhorting the Senate to abandon the rules of seniority and not thereby allow the elevation of Robert Reynolds to the chairmanship of the Military Affairs Committee, M. T. Van Hecke and R. H. Wettach, were in 1968 honored with having the U.N.C. Law School building named for them. The law school, however, we understand, is soon to move out of Van Hecke-Wettach, away from the campus proper to a new locale, north of town--a bad move in our judgment for its removal of the law school, which ought to stand symbolically as the hallmark of integration on any campus, from the heart of campus life, aristocratically placed away and aloof from it.

For many decades prior to 1968, it was in Manning Hall, (where we encountered our first philosophy lectures, a small portion of one of which related, we recall, to the quest for maintenance of immortality through donations to colleges and universities to acquire as a namesake a building), located in the thick of campus life, before moving to south campus, enough of an escape, though still within sufficiently proximal relationship to be counted within the infrastructure proper, and thus within the sphere of life reasonably integral to the campus as a whole.

Soon, by deign of the newly proposed locus, it will be in physical divorce from campus life entirely. It is probably too late, and count us perhaps old fogies standing in the way of progress for daring to remark it, but we suggest that the Board of Trustees rethink this symbol thoroughly and not just respond to moneyed interests, desirous of indoctrinating young lawyers to the corporate wheel, and thereby insisting on a fresh new habitat for the budding young barristers every forty years or so.

In any event, we trust that the new name will not be the Robert Rice Reynolds (a.k.a., Jesse Helms-Dave Clark) Law School. Or, by equal measures of lack of discretion, the North Law Building. If either, we shall dissociate.

We prefer the Frank Porter Graham Law School--and not on north campus, where the little airport used to be.

Duke, we remind, so far as we know, has not ever once changed the location of its law school since it began in the 1930's, and that law school consistently is ranked, in the last fifty years or so, higher than that of the University, despite its having started out as something of an upstart. Little is determined by how fancy and new is the infrastructure, but rather what we do qualitatively with the infrastructure we have.

Incidentally, also, should you find it at all amusing, for one reason or another, that the other letter of the date asks for recollection of the lyrics of an old sea-shanty, felt near and dear to the writer, please remember that the writer was a young girl who had a few days earlier written in, as published April 11, about maintaining the "Little Henry" and "Freckles and His Friends" comics for the sake of goodness and her five-year old sister, eschewing old "Superman" and "Red Ryder" for their violence. Regardless of her age at the time, we always have rather been partial to sea-shanties, ourselves, even when at the approximate age of the writer.

So, in any event, weigh, haul aweigh...

All Out

Hitler Uses His Full Power In Desperate Victory Bid

Adolf Hitler is now hurling everything he has into the war to press for a quick decision. In Egypt he appears to have been temporarily stopped, but that he will move heaven and earth in an effort not to remain stopped is shown by the boldness with which the convoy, sunk yesterday by the British, was proceeding on its way from Sicily to Libya.

There will be many more such convoys, beyond question, and the probability is that some of them will slip through. Even if the cost of landing a sufficient force is tens of thousands of fighting men drowned at sea, Hitler is probably ready to pay it.

And if it is humanly possible he will go forward on land in Greece and Africa. The dispatches from Tobruch say that the Germans have already paid with thousands of lives in the attempt to take that town, but there is no indication that the attack is slackening. And in Greece he is cutting forward regardless of staggering losses.

What happened to London last night--described as the worst raid of the war--is probably only the beginning of what is to come. It would be rash indeed to rule out the possibility that he may now be about ready to launch the much-talked-of attempt to invade England by sea.

In the Atlantic, where his activities have lulled somewhat during the last few days, a renewed outburst of destruction is certainly to be looked for. His wholesale bombing of northern Ireland is probably an attempt to frighten Eire out of any thought of letting England use her bases to counter that attack.

The stake, as Hitler well knows, is his own neck and those of his gang, the life or death of the German nation, which has put itself outside the civilized pale. And so we may as well brace ourselves for more and more evil news.

A Record

Which Throws Some Light on a Number of Things

Last Saturday in Chattanooga the partially nude body of Mrs. Jane Cathey, wife of the president of the Chattanooga Traction Company, was found in her living room by her eleven-year-old daughter. She had been clubbed to death by a heavy instrument.

Yesterday a 55-year-old Negro, who had served as gardener to the Catheys, confessed to the police how he had killed her with a baseball bat while she begged for mercy. He hadn't liked her reprimands for coming to the house drunk.

What makes the case--of a relatively common type--interesting is the Negro's police record.

He had:

Been arrested and acquitted for the slaying of a Negro youth.

Served a sentence in the penitentiary for the murder of his wife.

Served a workhouse sentence for stabbing a Negro woman and her daughter.

The case seems to furnish pretty clear evidence as to what it costs white people to assume that crimes of Negroes against Negroes are of so little moment that they need to be punished only with nominal sentences.

A Protest

It Is Cotton Ed Smith, Not Son, Who Is Attacked

Cotton Ed Smith, whose own tongue is barbed for his opponents, usually turns plaintive when he is on the receiving end of criticism.

Now he complains that the uproar about the attempt to get his son exempted from the draft on the preposterous ground that he was indispensable (as a clerk) to the Senate Agriculture Committee is an effort to crucify the son for political purposes. And he goes on to groan that in April, 1939, the son tried to enlist as an aviation corps cadet, got turned down. And proceeds:

"Unable to enter aviation, Ellison entered... law school... needs another year to complete his course..."

In point of fact nobody at all has attacked the son. That the young man should want to go forward with his personal plans and should desire exemption is understandable. Thousands of others feel the same way.

What is under attack is the fact that Smith and twelve of his associates attempted to use their influence as Senators of the United States to insure the young man's exemption on totally untenable grounds. He is entitled to the same consideration as other young men. He got it when the draft board set the time for the call forward long enough to enable him to complete the current school year.

The fact that he once applied for entrance into the air corps makes no difference, and does not at all excuse him from serving where the Army deems he can best serve. Nor does the plea of Cotton Ed that he (Cotton Ed) didn't vote for the draft change anything. On the contrary, it especially behooves a United States Senator to set an example in bowing to the will of the majority.

Nobody has any criticism of young Smith himself. And if anybody has crucified him it is precisely Cotton Ed Smith in person.

A Murder

But These Agencies Are Still Tolerated Over Here

At Chicago John F. Arena, 43, of Italian extraction, published an Italian language newspaper, La Tribuna. Anti-Fascist, he published editorials lashing the Fifth Column activities of the Italian Embassy and consulates in this country.

Repeatedly he was warned, by anonymous telephone calls, to "change the tone of his editorials"--himself had no doubt as to the source of the warnings.

Tuesday evening he escorted a young woman to a movie. When he left, a man appeared, shot him twice, killed him, fled.

This is not the first time this has happened. Repeatedly, exposés of the activities of the Italian and German embassies and consulates in this country have appeared in the most reputable American publications--exposés including evidence of cold-blooded murder, ordered from Berlin and Rome.

These agencies are, in fact, agencies of subversion existing among us for the purpose of spying, carrying on sabotage, spreading poisonous propaganda to the end of breeding distrust of our Government, and intimidating the nationals or ex-nationals of Italy and Germany now living in this country. Their staffs are many times as great as could imaginably be required for legitimate diplomatic purposes. Yet they carry out their criminal schemes under the cloak of diplomatic immunity.

The marvel is that we go on tolerating such brazen insolence.

Eire's Stand

Old Cult of Hate Blinds Her To Her Interests

Yesterday the dispatches reported that Nazi planes had heavily bombed northern Ireland Tuesday night. And yesterday also the Washington Merry-Go-Round as published in The News, reported that Irish Minister Frank Aiken, in this country on an arms-buying mission, says that "the Irish (in Eire) are as adamant as ever against turning over their urgently desired bases to the British."

Perhaps Americans do not get on to criticize Eire too harshly. We ourselves are doing a good deal of wish-thinking and trying to dodge the obvious implications of our position. And Eire will bring down Nazi bombs on the heads of her citizens when she hands over these bases--as certainly as they now fall on the heads of the northern Irish.

For all that, Eire claims that all Ireland is rightfully of a piece, that there should be no north and south but only one nation. And proves it by refusing to come to the aid of the north Irish by an obviously indicated move.

The Irish bases on the north and south and west coasts would thrust British naval defense forward 300 miles in the Atlantic, might well be the decisive factor in winning the Battle of the Atlantic.

And it is manifest that Ireland's fate is bound up immediately with that of Britain. Some chauvinistic people in Eire imagine that the Nazis will give them good terms if they aid in betraying Britain, but the record shows that they are mad, that Eire will be enslaved as certainly and as fully as England if the latter falls.

In view of all that, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that what is really moving Eire is the old cult of hatred for ancient and now non-existent British wrongs.

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