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Scandinavian American. [volume] (Seattle, Wash.) 1945-1958, September 01, 1945, Image 9

Image and text provided by Washington State Library; Olympia, WA

Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn87093436/1945-09-01/ed-1/seq-9/

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THE SCANDINAVIAN AMERICAN
SCANDINAVIAN-ANIEBICAN
————————__—____
demand forvforest products so pressing as that
imposed by war, and no industry has more fully
or more promptly met this critical demand.
The Scandinavians have played a great role
in pioneering and developing the Pacific North
west. They may be depended upon to play an
even greater part in shaping the industrial fu
ture which lies just ahead.
1’? it? it?
Surrender?--W e Wonder
When our mighty fleet steamed into Tokyo
Bay. the Japanese were prepared for them—with
a sign!
High on the loftiest building a block-long ban
ner read: “Three Cheers for the U. S. Navy
and Army!"
From the decks of our great steel fighting
craft, admiral and seaman could read it across
miles of the .blue waters of the bay. They could
read the words. The meaning? They couldn’t
read that. Neither can the world.
Was it the smile, the handshake, the greeting
of a good loser—a familiar and usually sincere
gesture in the American prize ring? Or was it
the Oriental idea of insolence, contempt?
That is something all would like to know—we
who have fought Japan into submission; other
nations which helped according to their inclina
tion, convenience or disposition; yet others not
direct contributors to the victory, but mightily
interested in knowing whether or not Japan, the
trouble-maker. is to turn over a new leaf.
There are other evidences. other gestures, the
meaning of which is hidden in the impenetrable
mists of the Oriental mind and its bizarre. at
times fantastic. workings. We call that mind
inscrutable. “Unscrewable” would be a better,
more readily understandable word. We can't
screw the top off a Japanese head, look inside,
and see how it functions, what makes it work.
i t #
When our advance group of officers and tech
nicians landed at Atsugi airfield, near Tokyo, the
strip’s borders were en fete, described as being
the setup of a friendly tea party. Spotless white
cloths were draped on tables; orangeade had been
prepared; an officer apologized abjectly because
the plumbing in one of the “men’s rooms" would
not function. “So sorry! One of your bombs."
There has been complete though we'll-take-our
time compliance with General MacArthur’s in
structions for the preliminaries to occupation.
The most scrupulous care had been taken by Jap
anese officers to see that no weapons were left
serviceable for use by a fanatic. Breech-blocks
had been removed from big coast—defense guns.
Propellers had been stripped from warplanes.
fl 0 ’
What is back of all this display of bland cour
tesy. this strict and apparently willing compliance
with orders?
Before they had shown so unmistakably the
depths of their sadistic natures when engaged
in war. the people of Japan had long been known
as “the Frenchmen of the Orient"—a tag-line
originating in their unfailing and universal cour
tesy.
We hope this is not true—that is to say, we
hope they do not turn out to be precisely like the
Frenchman. We would be willing to take a little
less courtesy. if they would give us some be
lievable and understandable clue which would
lead us into the recesses of their minds.
The service newspaper “Stars and Stripes“
says. with great cogency, that we must learn
more about the Japanese.
This is good advice. For only by a better un
derstanding of them can we learn to deal with
them in a manner calculated to remove or reduce
their potential for world mischief.
If there is material in their makeup which can
be developed into the components of good world
citizenship and good neighborliness, we can afford
to be a bit patient until it is found.
If there resides in the minds of the masses there
an inherent thirst for democratic, humane ways,
a desire to go along with a world which, we hope,
is advancing toward better things. then we should
make every effort sufficiently to understand their
true nature in order that during our occupation
we may help such impulses to emerge and shape
the destiny of a new Japan.
‘A’ 5’1? 7’1?
Norwegian Instice
In welcome contrast to the sordid disclosures
of treason in the trial of Vidkun Quisling. is the
manner in which the trial itself has been con
ducted in the Norwegian court.
Fresh in the minds of prosecutors, judge and
jury must have been the tragic memories of five
years of brutality and suffering imposed by a
ruthless invader into whose hands their people
had been betrayed by the traitor at bar. Surely
if any innocent victims of the acts of a faithless
fellow-countryman ever had excuse for summary
vengeance. the people of Norway were given that
excuse by the treacherous conduct of Quisling.
Yet out of Oslo comes an example of stem but
evenhanded procedure, of restraint and sober
responsibility before God and man. which will
live long in history to the everlasting glory of
the Norwegian people and to the high service of
humanity in the exaltation of justice above pas
sion.
Those who have followed the two trials from
afar cannot avoid comparing the decorum of the
OsLo court with the shameful procedures and hap
penings in Paris when Marshal Petain faced a
jury of his French countrymen. Such compari
son measures the psychological gulf separating
the people of Norway from those of France.
It is to be hoped that in the current Nuern
berg trials of Nazi war criminals, American mem
bers of the court, at least, will be guided by the
spirit so evident in the Oslo trial.
is it? it
Pearl Harbor
The American public will not be surprised to
learn that no one in particular was responsible
for the most humiliating and imperiling defeat the
United States Navy ever has suffered in all its
long history.
The only proof to come out of the affair is that
along with statecraft among our politicians and
strategy among our Army and Navy leaders they
did not neglect to learn how to pass the buck.
In absolving particular persons and laying the
guilt to the Congress and the whole people of
the United States. President Truman entirely
overlooked the point that. even though we were
shamefully unprepared, those immediately in
control of our land and sea forces in Pearl Harbor
DID NOT USE THE DEFENSES AT THEIR
INSTANT COMMAND.
If our naval units had not been lined up like
sitting ducks. if our fighting planes had not been
grouped wing to wing like coveys of quail. cold
and unmanned, there would have been a far dif
ferent story to tell of the “day of infamy."
Washington officials may have been lax. and
probably were. But the situation was known to
be such that a state of alertness was called for
implicitly.
Also. a warning right on the ground was
ignored. Had it been heeded and acted upon. the
intervening period of some fifty minutes would
have been sufficient to prepare for a reception
for the Japanese which would have left few of
them to return to their carriers to relate the sad
story of failure. Our fleet would have been saved.
and it is entirely possible that the war with Japan
would not have drawn out into almost four years
of bloodshed before victory.
The American people have paid enough. our
fighting men have bled enough. because of in-
excusable blundering at Pearl Harbor. to entitle
them to the TRUTH.
Those who now are busy finding excuses for
others may yet find it necessary to find some for
themselves.
President Truman’s motives are commendable,
but in his exalted position he has an obligation to
the American people far greater than any he
owes to blundering officials in Washington and
careless, incompetent commanders at that time
charged- with their country’s defenses in the
Pacific.
is i7 ‘53
Stalin’s Tip
Those who confidently expected leaders of the
Chinese Communists to shoot their way into
Chungking and hand Chiang Kai-shek an eviction
notice signed by Uncle Joe must have been greatly
surprised and, it may be, disappointed when they
read the moderate terms of the treaty of friend
ship negotiated between China and Russia.
This pact, to run 30 years and indefinitely there
after unless terminated by notice of either party.
comes as near as any such human document can
approach the goal of establishing the basis for a
peaceful Asia which would mean so much to the
whole world: perhaps most of all. outside the
contracting parties. to the United States. For a
peaceful Orient will mean the millions there can
turn their energies from war to modernization
and internal development. This. in turn. will mean
a constantly expanding interchange of trade in
which we can hope to participate to the mutual
profit of both sides in the bargaining.
Gradually Russia makes clear the pattern of
her international relations. Joseph Stalin once
pointed out that “Communism is not an exportable
commodity." He said it could exist only where
circumstances favored its birth, growth and use.
as in Russia.
There is a pregnant tip in this statement by
Marshal Stalin which opponents of the principle
of full employment in this country could heed to
their profit. If they insist upon maintaining what
they call a “fluid labor market" (meaning a res
ervoir of unemployed); if they persist in their
outmoded regard of labor as a commodity. with
wages ruled by 'the law of supplyand demand.
they will create a condition. an atmosphere. in
America in which Communism will generate
spontaneously as it did in Russia a quarter cen
tury ago.
Since these “economic royalists” are still the
most solidly coordinated voice in our government.
the choice is theirs.
at :‘z A
Try It At Home, T00!
On demand of Secretary of State James Bymes.
Bulgaria has called off a scheduled election in
which only one party Would be permitted to enter
candidates. A radio commentator has suggested
that if Byrnes finds the principle of free elections
works in Bulgaria. he might recommend its trial
in South Carolina. a state which the Secretary
long represented in the United States Senate.
To which We add the further suggestion that
it be tried in all Southern states. in every one of
which the one-party system exists in practice.
and in most of which large groups of Negroes
and “po' white trash“ are denied the right of
franchise as effectively as Bulgarian leaders pro
posed to deny it to large sections of her popula
tion in the election to which Byrnes objected so
firmly.
it a“; 5“:
Hjalmar Schacht. former Nazi head of the Ger
man Reichsbank. recently said of der fuehrer:
“I wouldn't believe Adolf Hitler was dead. even If
he told me so himself." Still you will hear that
the German has no sense of humor!
9

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