The Charlotte News

Saturday, September 14, 1940


Site Ed. Note: "The Vichy government is of course only a cat's paw for Hitler in this case--he wants to slap our demand that the status quo be maintained in Indo-China in the face, and if possible to get us into war with Japan, so as to make sure that we do not disturb his plans in Europe and so as to catch us helpless whenever he gets ready to grab Latin-America." So says "Cat's Paw". It goes on to say that should the U.S. government provide diplomatic recognition to the new ambassador arriving to represent Vichy, replacing the recently resigned regular French Ambassador, then a transfer of rights in Indochina by Vichy to Japan would be considered legal and thus a fait accompli.

Aside from the recognition issue, Vichy did do precisely that the following July, granting occupation rights fully to Japan in French Indochina. (See "Jap Humor" and "Diversion", July 24, 1941, "This Is It", July 25, 1941, and "Catspaw", July 26, 1941) Such concessions by Vichy to Japan were obviously at the beck of Hitler, the puppet-meister, concessions which would pave the way for Japan to do that which was to come in December, 1941, the move south to the Dutch East Indies for the oil and rubber, the simultaneous attack on Pearl Harbor, at once to do what Hitler wanted, as suggested in the quote from the piece by Cash, plus in so doing to take the Fleet out of commission to enable the move to be accomplished with a minimum of resistance. And by accomplishing this course, the dreaded two-front war would be made to stare down a crippled United States Navy, with its Pacific Fleet in shambles, its immediately available air support badly damaged.

Such a move became paramount in the grand scheme after Hitler's decision, made on December 18, 1940, to attack Russia, and thus himself embark on an ill-fated two-front campaign, dividing his Wehrmacht, against the advice of his generals, between east and west, abandoning for the nonce the relentless bombing of Britain which after eight and a half months had left some 40,000 dead, but the surviving population showing no signs of surrender--that attack on Russia to be initiated on the first anniversary of the surrender of France, June 22, 1940, that having been precisely 125 years from the day Napoleon abdicated for the second and last time after his defeat at Waterloo. No doubt in those calendaring coincidences was seen a mystical connection suggested by the very mystical Heinrich Himmler, who believed in witchcraft--but, along with his pals, perhaps failed to realize that practicing it always boomerangs in the end, especially when emulating the likes of Napoleon.

And we get on the page today an idiot letter writer from Oak Park, Illinois--Hemingway's hometown--excoriating The News for its editorial "True to Form" of September 11, condemning the lynching of a black man handed to a six-man mob by the jailer in LaGrange, Georgia, a jailer who then couldn't seem to identify a single one of the six men. Presumably, by extension of logic through time, this letter writer would have also thought it appropriate to treat similarly with the three civil rights workers murdered by the Klan in June, 1964. But, who knows? Just as the sun also rises, people sometimes change over time.

The Billopp piece reminds of an earlier epistle from Ernest to the brother of Louis Graves of the Chapel Hill Weeekly.


Lineberry of More Use as Chief Than as Army Man

Chief Stanhope Lineberry of the County Police is a good illustration of the sort of man the Army would rather leave where he is than impress into service. Chief Lineberry, as head of this department, has filled the bill up to the most sanguine expectations of his sponsors.

And in these times local police work assumes an even greater importance than usual. With the National Guard bound for camp, police forces may also be called upon to take the place of the militia.

In any case, Chief Lineberry's usefulness in his present capacity was enough to warrant his resignation from the Guard and staying put where he is. The community, with one disorganized police force on its hands, cannot afford to have anything upset the other.


General of the Armies Has Affection of People

Yesterday celebrated his 80th birthday John J. Pershing, called Black Jack, the sole general of the armies of the United States.

A stern man and martinet, who has had few or no genuine intimates. He seems to have been withdrawn and remote even in the days when he was the young officer on field duty. And he has grown steadily more so ever since his wife and children were burned to death in a fire a great many years ago. There were people who denounced him as a harsh and inhumane fellow when, back in 1918, he saw clearly that if the war was really to be won it was necessary to march to Berlin and give the Germans a thorough dose of their own medicine.

But if he is the sort of man whom, as the Washington Merry-Go-Round once phrased it, nobody would ever called "Papa Pershing," he still has a peculiarly warm place in the heart of the American people. Part of that is explained by the American admiration for great efficiency--which he certainly had in his time. But as the years have gone on, men who grumbled at his iron discipline in France have come to feel more and more that it was actuated by the knowledge that only the thoroughly disciplined soldier has a fair chance in war, and by the will to cut through to victory for the country to whose service he had dedicated himself. And in recent months the perception that he was right in 1918, plus his obvious great concern to preserve the heritage of the nation against the threat from the old enemy, has greatly increased the warmth of feeling toward him.

Cat's Paw

Vichy Government Presents Us With a Problem

The time seems to be rigidly approaching when the United States must make a decision about continuing recognition of the so-called Pétain government of France at Vichy. As matters stand at present, we have no ambassador in France, and it appears that Bullitt is not to return there. Meantime a representative of the Vichy regime is on his way to Washington to take the place of the ambassador of the former France, who has resigned.

If he is accepted, formal recognition will have been accepted the Vichy government, and the present Treasury order freezing French gold assets in this country will become untenable. If the gold goes to France, it will of course fall into the hands of Adolf Hitler.

Stories coming out of the Far East indicate that the Vichy government is presently making or has already made trouble for us by granting Japanese demands in Indo-China. The Vichy government is of course only a cat's paw for Hitler in this case--he wants to slap our demand that the status quo be maintained in Indo-China in the face, and if possible to get us into war with Japan, so as to make sure that we do not disturb his plans in Europe and so as to catch us helpless whenever he gets ready to grab Latin-America. So long as we recognize the Vichy government, however, it leaves us without a leg to stand on. For in that case the transfer of Indo-China to Japan will be entirely legal, as the right of a sovereign government.

Then there is Martinique. That island lies directly between two of the naval bases recently transferred to us by Britain. The stories from down there indicate that 95 per cent of the population want to abandon the Vichy regime and turn to De Gaulle. But the commander of a French cruiser in the harbor continues to hold for Vichy--and Hitler. As matters stand, the island is simply a Nazi naval base which Hitler is not yet ready or able to take over fully. When and if he can, he certainly will. And if we have extended formal recognition to the Vichy government, there again we shall have no legal ground for objection, for it will be through the Vichy government that he will operate.

Site Ed. Note: William Kunze of the Bund should not be confused with Fritz Kuhn, the head of the outfit. The Bund seemed to like Kuhn and Kunze.

Old Cry

Mr. Kunze Raises Standard Hitler Claim in America

William Kunze of the German-American Bund raises a familiar cry--that of the persecution of Germans in this country. It is the cry Hitler's agents have raised in every victim country as the opening move toward taking it over.

The excuse Kunze employs is the draft bill, thereby plainly hoping to strike a telling blow for his master in Berlin. The bill he proclaims is "a damnable, vicious Congressional declaration of civil war upon all United States citizens of German origin." That, because it bars employers from filling jobs vacated by drafted men with members of the Bund and the Communist Party.

Obviously the provision does not constitute any move against citizens of German origin in general but only against the sort of Nazi agent who acquires citizenship in this country in order to use it as a cloak for treasonable activities.

The Bund is neither a political party nor a cultural group: it is a society organized for the deliberate purpose of establishing Nazism in this country by the same methods used in Germany and its victim lands. And when Kunze demands that its members be allowed to work in war industries, he is simply and brazenly demanding carte blanche for spies and saboteurs.

Yet he clearly hopes to stir up the population of German origin in general with this cry. And at the same time, by demanding hearings, to defer the draft for awhile yet, and so give his master a better chance of beating us to the draw.

Site Ed. Note: For more on Mussolini's artistic son Bruno, as mentioned in the piece, see "Pedagogic Note", October 10, 1937, "By Definition", August 19, 1940, "New Roman", November 1, 1940, and the by-lined book-page piece by Cash, "Blockade in Boston", July 24, 1938. (See also the front page of the Syracuse (N.Y.) Herald, October 5, 1937, announcing Bruno's first flight for the Italian air force in the Spanish civil war, and the post-Cash News editorial "Creed of Death", August 7, 1941, announcing Bruno's flaming end at age 24.)

Feat of Arms

Italian Air Force Wins New Laurels in Its Tradition

The heroic Italian air force Tuesday performed a feat worthy of its glorious tradition.

There were plenty of nearer and more obvious objectives for an ordinary fleet than Tel Aviv. But then the Italian air fleet is no ordinary air fleet. And those obvious objectives were obviously ordinary air objectives.

They were defended by prosaic soldiers and prosaic guns and prosaic planes--a nasty and brutal lot, so little schooled in the theory and practice of Fascist warfare that they actually try to kill Italian warbirds when they find themselves being bombed.

But the Italian air force is made up of artists whose sensitive souls shudder away from anything so crude as that. For them war is an art, and all of them belong to the Order of the Rose as founded by that celebrated hero, Bruno Mussolini, who observed that batches of Ethiopians opened up like a rose under the sun when you dropped bombs on them.

When the Italian air force goes forth to battle it wants to fight something really dangerous like an Ethiopian on the ground with a spear, like an old Spanish woman who is known to be armed with witchcraft, above all, like a baby in its cradle--with all its cunning arms of helplessness and appeals to pity. Nobody can kill a baby with quite the eclat of an Italian airman. That is the final, glorious test of steel-hard Fascist manhood.

So the Italian air force went to Tel Aviv, a Jewish village in Palestine, 30 miles away from any military objective. They performed truly magnificent feats. One hundred and twelve people it slew--men, women, and babies. Then it turned away and went proudly home. Its banners streaming the glory of Italy in the wind.

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