The Charlotte News

Friday, May 2, 1941


Site Ed. Note: We should note initially that when the first piece uses the term "native Americans", it is of course meant in the sense of native-born American citizens, not the more current meaning for the term "Native American", a term which did not come into general use to mean aboriginal Americans, Indians, until the latter 1960's.

In this first piece, again displaying a tone of exasperated impatience, Cash chose what would turn out to be his last birthday to launch, with some degree of invective, into the engine of the America First movement, finding it highly suspect, at best nonsensical, basing its opposition to aid-to-Britain on propositions which he suggests not even twelve year old children would accept--that the broad Atlantic would insulate America from the Nazi after the fall of Britain, that Hitler would need ample time to consolidate his new gains and mobilize against America. Both of these notions were Pollyannish, ignoring the realities of the seas' compression by virtue of the airplane, and the idea that, more likely than military attack, Hitler would provide the Trojan Horse, to coil from within the United States, indeed, as Cash postulates it apropos to impute to the Firsters Fifth Column tactics, using such groups themselves as the stalking horse behind which the Nazi ideology would be made palatable to large numbers of people, then to seek capitulation to terms, and without ever firing a shot.

As things turned out, while Britain held firm, Cash was proved correct in his assessment that it was foolhardy to assume America's insularity; even the far broader Pacific proved an insufficient buffer to the Axis. Moreover, Hitler didn't need to consolidate his forces; he could rely on the Japanese navy and air force to do the dirty work for him.

The rest of the page is here.

Defeatist Campaign

Great Concerted Drive To Make Us Believe England's Cause Is Hopeless Is Now in Progress

It is clear enough that a concerted and heavily financed campaign of defeatism is being carried on in this country at present, under the leadership of the outfit which calls itself the American First Committee. And that it is having its effect is made clear by Mr. Clapper in his column today.

The line is that Britain is already defeated, that the war is bound to end with her surrender to the Nazis this Summer, that we are safe enough if we appease Germany now, and that the thing to do is cynically to abandon Britain. This is what Lindbergh has proposed, and this is the standard line of everyone of the speakers at the numerous and widely spread meetings.

Who are these people?

One answer is definitely given by the fact that Churchill's name was booed at Chicago--mightily--and that Lindbergh's New York audience cheered twelve minutes when he said that England was sure to be defeated. These cheering cattle are obviously either British-haters, communists or outright Nazi-adherents--Germans, Italians, Irish, Russians or native Americans--Fifth Columnists in the full sense of the word.

But not all of them are of this sort. Some of the promoters are timid business men moved by tenderness for their own pocketbooks and fear of post-war changes, plus an ignorant and wishful optimism about Hitler's real aims. Others are so-called conservatives who so hate Roosevelt that they are willing to wreck the nation to get him.

Still others are partisans who hate any Democrat to that extent. Some are old isolationist politicians who have vested interest in trying to defend the ruinous policies backed by them in the 1920's--as old Hiram Johnson. Some are hysterical pacifist-radicals like Wheeler and Nye, who see a plot against the people behind every bush and who think that peace can somehow be had merely by bellowing for it.

But let no one fool himself about what it is they really propose. Deserted, Britain will at once--and naturally--turn to hate us and to getting the best terms for herself. She probably can get extensively good ones by handing over her navy--and with it the command of the Atlantic--to Hitler and agreeing to co-operate in his proposals for America. We will immediately be faced with overwhelming Axis naval power in two oceans--with four years still to go before we have an even half-adequate two-ocean navy.

The defeatists have glib answers to all this, of course. There is the one about the wide Atlantic as compared with the English Channel, for example. But no one whose mental age is above twelve years and who has any knowledge of sea power from the Punic wars down can honestly take any stock in that argument.

Just as dubious is the argument about Hitler requiring years to consolidate his gains. Hitler's own record and that of many other conquerors shows that this is only wish-thinking.

Moreover, their central proposition, that Britain is already beaten, has no basis in the facts or in parallels. Nations are beaten when their forces are destroyed or their morale collapses. Any school boy who ever heard of Cannae or Gettysburg knows as much. The Romans, not the Carthaginians, won the Punic wars; Grant and Sherman, not Lee, won the American Civil War. But to hear some of these defeatists talk, you'd think that Rome should have folded the day Hannibal passed the Rhone, that Yankeedom should have thrown in the sponge when the Confederate cavalry galloped around Washington. England lost campaign after campaign in the Napoleonic wars, but Bonaparte did not die as the master of London but as a broken exile on a lonely rock in the South Atlantic.

And in May, 1918, less than six months before the Germans stood outside the railroad car in the forest of Compeigne and wailed, hat in hand, to sign an abject capitulation, the defeatists in England, France and the United States were all roaring that American aid had come too late and that the Allied cause was hopelessly lost.

Whether they know it or not--and many of them do plainly know it--the proposition of these defeatists is one for appeasement, which will have its logical end in complete surrender to the Nazi system.

The grim record shows how effective has been Hitler's propaganda system--which uses defeatism as a principal tool--in the nations appointed to be his victims. The evidence gathers that it may yet be effective in lining America alongside France.

Going, Going---

If We Want A Secondary Airport We'd Better Hump

A characteristic of "The Friendly City"--a creditable characteristic which helps to offset some of its unbecoming qualities--is its go-getiveness. Once it makes up its mind to go after something.

The time has come, and is fast waning, for the municipality to acquire a site for the $330,000 airport in the rough that the Federal Government is willing to build here. The deadline of June 30 has been fixed, by which date the City must complete its part of the deal, on pain of the approved application for funds being countermanded.

And by now it must be obvious even to those who fought and defeated the proposed bond issue, principally on the ground that they thought they smelled a rat and didn't like Mayor Douglas anyhow, that the net and immediate result of their victory was (1) to deprive this city of a ready-made secondary airport, and (2) to prevent the completion and enlargement of the U.S. Air Base.

The threatened withdrawal of the Government's $330,000 puts the question squarely up to us again in a more puzzling form. For lack of a hundred or so acres of suitable land, worth something like $15,000, are we going to let $330,000 and a secondary airfield slip through our fingers? If not, how shall we proceed?

Site Ed. Note: It should be noted that shortly after expropriation day in March 1938, John L. Lewis provided to William Rhodes Davis what amounted to letters-marque vis à vis Poland, France, and Great Britain. He introduced, with his uniquely powerful stamp of approval within labor, William Rhodes Davis to the Mexican labor movement hierachy as an acceptable man with whom to do business, while advising the government, through the labor leaders, to accept Davis's proposal to sell the expropriated oil to Germany and Italy, given the boycott forthcoming by British and U.S. oil companies.

Lewis's reasons for doing so are subject to much speculation: FDR at the time had accepted the glad-hand of bon-vivant Davis into the inner sanctum of the White House; Lewis perhaps wanted to establish CIO ties to Mexican labor, thus expanding his base of influence and power; or the good feeling engendered to CIO by Davis having given a sizeable amount, perhaps as much as $175,000, to the CIO's lobby, the Non-Partisan League, in 1936, which in turn enabled the group to contribute substantially to FDR's second term campaign and thus garner for Lewis considerable political clout with the Administration.

Whatever the case, although Lewis was designated a subagent of Davis in the German Abwehr, it is unlikely Lewis, always the pragmatist, had much interest in the politics of Davis or the Nazi Party but rather sought what he could for United States labor interests, even if doing so proved callous at times to humanity at large. Such are hardbitten businessmen sometimes.

One might make a similar argument, of course, in defense of rogue Davis's various intrigues with the Nazis; but the difference was that Davis was orchestrating and making his living off the Nazi oil trade with Mexico while structuring arrangements directly with Hitler's lieutenants, not just vouching for someone in the normal course of business relations. The impression of Lewis pervades, for better or worse, of a man trying to consolidate power over labor, not of someone bent one way or the other on ideological considerations. He had in 1937, for instance, actively denounced the labor practices of the Nazis and Fascists.

Yet, as the below piece points out, effectively thwarting crucial defense preparation in the United States at this critical juncture appeared to suggest that Lewis's sympathies tacitly lay at least with the Nazis as against Britain. Whether, however, that was based on ideology or practical concerns of the negative impact of defense industry on wages and hours, in the end, mattered little to the citizens of those countries being daily slaughtered by bombs dropped from on high by German Luftwaffe planes or shells fired out of long guns sticking from Panzers, machines run in part on oil obtained from Mexico, a trade which at least tangentially Lewis had assisted in creating.

What He Asks

Lewis Demands Veto Power On American Policy

At Harrisburg, Pa., yesterday John Lewis bawled that the Government couldn't expect much co-operation from Labor until Labor "is granted a place in America's affairs." Then he went on to inveigh against Sidney Hillman, to denounce Knudsen, and to blast "Government policies." Finally, he announced that if the Government wanted to play ball with Labor it should put Labor's representative on the Defense Board--no, not John Lewis himself, but his stooge, Philip Murray.

The present Administration has done more for Labor than it had won by its own efforts in the previous 50 years. And it has been so tender of Labor's rights that it has allowed the defense program to be vastly--and perhaps fatally--delayed by refusing to turn the heat on to make Labor agree to a rational policy about strikes.

The truth here is plain enough. John Lewis was all smiles for this Administration when it practically took orders from him. And what he wants now is to restore a situation in which he can assume that power and prepare the way for his own towering personal ambitions.

More than that, John Lewis hates the present foreign policy of the country, and his demand is really that he be allowed to reverse it and defeat the will of the overwhelming majority of Americans--laboring men included. There is more than a little reason to believe, indeed, that he has refused to agree to a rational policy of arbitration and conciliation in labor disputes precisely because, among other things, he hopes to cripple the policy of aid to Britain.

John Lewis is no mean fighter, and justice requires acknowledgment of his past service to Labor. But he is doing Labor no service at all in attempting to challenge the body of the American people.

Framed Edition
[Return to Links-Page by Subject] [Return to Links-Page by Date] [Return to News<i>--</i>Framed Edition]
Links-Date -- Links-Subj.