Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 2, No. 13 July 5, 1939
V.U.C. Abroad — Charlie Plank in the U.S.A
Charlie Plank in the U.S.A.
U.S.A. and the War in Europe.
This subject is causing considerable anxiety in Europe just at present. If there is war in Europe, will U.S.A. come in on the side of the democracies; or will she stay neutral and supply the sinews of war; or will she just remain completely aloof? Charles Plank, former V.U.C. student, is at present in the U.S.A. and his views on the situation are printed hereunder:—
"You ask about the ideas over here so far as war is concerned. Well, I think from general observation that they think that war is not imminent at the present time. It is thought that as long as Hitler only talks then that is alright. Furthermore it is considered that the recent statements of Roosevelt indicate that he is in favour of helping the democracies, and Hitler has realized that. I have talked to a lot of people here about the entry or otherwise of America into the next war. Taking everything into consideration I think that America would be into the next war within three months or say six at the outside. Most Americans are definitely in favour of maintaining their neutrality but they are getting jittery about what will happen if England and France lose. Furthermore their desires and ideas on their traditional neutrality are not so positive as of old. Also a recent scientific poll conducted in the States indicated that about 18 per cent, of the people are in favour of fighting for the European democracies. Now if that relatively high percentage is in favour of fighting when we are at peace, how many more people will favour it when London and Paris are in ruins and the papers are starring those terrible atrocities which can be dug up in any war Then again how many influential people over here are Jews, and you know how they love the German top dog just now. Personally I think that Roosevelt has realised that the American nation cannot permit the democracies of Europe to go under. America has got a lot of worries so far as the nazification of Central and South America is concerned, and a nazi England would put U.S.A. in the soup properly.
The columnists in the "New York Times" and in the "New York Herald Tribune." especially Dorothy Thompson in the latter are specially worth reading and they should be in the Wellington Public Library. Dorothy Thompson wields a tremendous amount of influence throughout the States as she is very popular, coming next to Mrs. Roosevelt in a recent nation-wide poll, and her articles, which are published in a very large number of papers, are all pro-British.
But when you read American news you must first determine whether the paper is a Republican or a Democratic one. In interpreting what you read this is most important.
New York's World Fair.
Charles has been to the World's Fair. Here is his description of it.
"One of the attractions of New York is the World's Fair which is . . . now in full swing. I've never seen anything approaching it in beauty, interest, or size. Most of the buildings are modernistic in design but coloured in pastel shades. The displays of the various nations are very fine and notable among them is that of Russia. Some 5,000,000 dollars has been [unclear: spent] on it and they have made a wonderful job. The British pavilion is quite bright and its main theme is Britain's prestige (if she has any left now). There is a family tree showing how George Washington descended from King John and several of the barons; and there is, an original Magna Carta on display."
Snippets about America Gleaned from Charles.
"After being over here I'm more socialistic than ever before and I'm an ardent new-dealer and supporter of Roosevelt. Fancy there being twelve million unemployed in a country with all the gold in the world, and with their enormous potential resources."
"Talking about girls, I've never seen a better looking lot than the American ones. In general they look attractive, and are tall and slim, and they take great care of their figures and complexions; and what's more, make great jobs of them. Lots of them are very disappointing when they talk, however, as many have rotten accents, and others use their heads only to keep their hats on."
"Living here is about twice as costly as in New Zealand, but everyone is paid proportionately more. The majority of girls continue working after they marry and they marry very young—just after they come out if possible—when they are about 18 years old. When they have babies, which isn't often, they just take time off."
A. T. S. McGhie, well known to his many friends and enemies at V.U.C. not so long ago as "the McGhie" has succumbed at last. He was alternatively an immovable object and an irresistible force in debate, but the citadel of his indefatigable heart has been stormed by two eyes as soft as two bunches of violets in the spring (or something like that.) His engagement was announced several months ago and news now comes that he is to be married on July 22nd. They all fall in the end; the bigger the harder! Our very best wishes to Mac and the future Mrs. Mac.
John Hatherly is returning to N.Z. shortly after an absence of two and a half years, spent partly in South Africa as assistant master at a Johannesburg Boys School and partly in England. We prophesy that his views on Nazi Germany will be sufficiently interesting to warrant a talk to the Free Discussions Club on the subject. He lands about the middle of August.
Jack Aimers informs us in a letter that they hold dances in hotels in Australia. No charge is made for admission as the proprietor hopes to make up for this in additional bar trade. We think he probably would.
Henry Abraham has left the University of Melbourne and is now a member of the Melbourne Observatory staff. He now spends long periods of time star-gazing and enjoys his work very much.
John White has been having a very interesting time in England. He has done a trip over to Ireland and has been through the Courts of Justice, both in Eire and in Northern Ireland. Just at present his attention is concentrated on Wimbledon where he is the New Zealand Lawn Tennis Association delegate.
Janet Grainger has recently completed a tour of France and Germany. She is now back in Scotland and intends to do a trip round England very shortly.
Bill Combs, who is at St. John's College, Cambridge, on a post-graduate scholarship, has been awarded a first class pass. In Part I of the Modern Languages Tripos, a College Scholarship and the Wrights Prize.
Pat Kelly worked his passage to England and is now doing theological work at St. John's College, Durham.
Don McElwain is now lecturing at the University of Western Australia. He is playing wing-three-quarter for the University 1st XV.