The Charlotte News

Friday, October 16, 1942


Site Ed. Note: "It takes imagination to translate an old rusty crowbar into a casing of a shell for one of our battleship guns."óVice Admiral S. M. Robinson

That is not the quote of the day but rather one abstracted from the header material on the front page. It may sound a little unstrung with contemporary times, to invoke imagination to the end of conversion of a simple hand tool into a shell casing, but such were the times of 1942, with world freedom threatened on every side by tyrants with the military power, if not checked and destroyed, to achieve the end of ousting all semblance of freedom and democracy. That is not to say that such times could not come again or that conditions are not in other ways just as dangerous in the times extant, where the planet slowly warms itself into such a state of disrepair that the natural tendencies for the earthís survival is its extrication of its most gluttonous inhabitant, the one spoiling its natural balance, homo sapien.

Such would teach The Origin of the Species; such would teach the Bible. Commit the deadly seven sins enough and natural selection works to eliminate the species entirely.

Perhaps, in hindsight, a more fitting moniker for World War II, indeed a fitting nickname for natural selection, is simply "Rusty Crowbar". The Allies joined to extricate from the planet particularly violent and brutal human beings bent on ruling the other human beings and all their resources. Had it not been done, in all likelihood, none of us would be here to tell the tale. We would have all gone the way of Hitler long ago, blown ourselves to dust when his own scientists developed the nuclear technology first and perfected the accuracy and payload capability of the rocketry already being developed by warís end by Werner von Braun.

So, Rusty Crowbar it is.

It may have been sitting there in a garage in Shelby, for instance, or in any number of burgs throughout the land, in any number of basements or tool sheds or garages throughout those burgs. It was sitting there oxidizing in the damp air of winter and the humidity of summer, waiting for its handler to shed light on its best ultilitarian purposeóto prize a tire from its wheel, perhaps, or to open a wooden crate full of merchandise to fill a general store for the Christmas rush to avert the harsher residual subjugation from the depths of the Depression; or to unbend the damage done when its owner, tired from a long dayís work with little pay, came home without properly attentive bearings, missing the entry portal of the garage by three inches, resulting in a crease to the old A-Modelís right front fender, its front tip left in a state of disgrace, bowed downward ninety degrees, stabbing the tire; or any number of such signally abrupt occurrences, by alternative whimsy, dissonant, assonant, or concordant with human desire.

Rusty Crowbar finally won the war.

The question since, of course, is just what we will do to honor that sacrifice and commitment to insure world freedom from tyranny, and not just in a political sense, not just with fine platitudes, not just with respect to that which is foreign, but domestically within the United Stgates, in our own towns and villages, in our own individual lives. Will we be, as individuals, little dictators when we encounter someone who merely disagrees with us? Will we act "fairly", according the necessary ephemeral appearance of fairness, while masking hidden intent to achieve a pre-determined, prejudiced result in any given episode when we are called upon to exercise our discretion? Or will we view matters with objectivity and act with true equanimity and egalitarian attitude toward our fellows?

The front page reports that signs of revolt and bitter discord with the Quisling government continued to erupt in Norway. A large fire had caused cessation of production of Nazi submarines at Trondheim. A priest refused to recognize the legitimacy of the Quisling government, resulting in 1,100 dissident priests being jailed. Lay persons were installed in their stead, to preach the gospel according to Quisling: Do not resist the will of God; do thou obeisance to the Nazi commandant without question or resistance of his Will, for it is said that when in Rome, do thou as the Romans do, and also render unto Caesar the things which are Caesarís. Only your souls belong to any abstract God and your soul isnít a thing until you are dead. God protects you after death; in this life you are on your own, so ask for the protection of your Nazi master, and, provided you are of full Aryan blood or at least properly fit to work or fight for the cause, you, too, will be protected until death.

Reports of widespread unrest also circulated from Yugoslavia and France.

Cologne was substantially raided by the RAF the previous night, the first time since the record thousand-plane bomb-fest of the night of May 30. This time, the raid consisted of about 400 fighters and four-motor bombers, presumably Flying Fortresses and Liberators.

Berlin broadcasts hinted that, with the weekend lull of 30,000 Nazi troops in close fighting occurring within Stalingrad, "shock operations for the season" were about to cease.

And amid it all, the Potomac flooded, approaching record depths.

On the editorial page, Raymond Clapper advocates the establishment of a United Nations executive council to bind together the Allies politically, to foster post-war rebuilding efforts and prevention of future world wars, that being publicly encouraged by Chinese Foreign Minister, T. V. Soong. (Whether Mr. Soong later sang on that well-known Coca-Cola commercial of the early 1970ís, we donít know.)

The idea, of course, ultimately was implemented in the form of the United Nations Security Council, albeit not with formality until two years after the war ended.

It would reach its apogee of impact on world events during the Cuban Missile Crisis of October, 1962, saving, along with astute and active negotiation and compromise from the White House, the world from the nuclear brink; it would reach its perigee during the lead-up to the Iraq war of 2003, that because the United States determined as official policy to act without United Nations Security Council approval in waging a pre-emptive war.

Dorothy Thompson astutely outlines, in geopolitical form, the goals of the two empire quests which started the war, those of Germany and Japan. She suggests, with a good deal of prescience: "We would not have the slightest chance of survival if we stood alone as an isolated power. We might survive for a generation while the Eurasian Power and the Far Eastern Power were being consolidated, but, in 30 years the American children of today would fight a war and lose it."

One could posit that Vietnam was that war, notwithstanding the victory of World War II, that the post-war world shaped by the United Nations left open the door too wide for the extra-territorial pursuits of Stalinís Russia, for Maoís Communist Revolution in China to oust the Nationalist government of Chiang Kai-Shek, in short that the John Birchers of the post-war world were entirely correct, that the other Allies should have fought a war against Russia after the defeat of Germany and Japan, to put down pre-emptively Soviet Communist aggression, and then used the resultant foothold of democracy in Eastern Europe and Asia to quash Chinese Communism.

But all of that latter notion is poppycock, of course. It was not possible, either politically or militarily. After such a war, after an exhausting four years of American commitment, after six years of British and Free French warfare, after all of Europe lay in ruins, no one was prepared to draw a line in the dirt which, if breached, would have resulted in another major war, this time with Russia, or even a small one immediately against the Chinese Communists--that which Korea was five years after the war. The notion was deemed lunatic and properly so. The object was to achieve peace and a lasting peace, to avoid further world war. And, in those strict terms, such a peace has thus far been achieved.

The war lost, of which Ms. Thompson speaks, by Americaís children of World War II, was not Vietnam. Vietnam, obviously, was not a world war or even, in hindsight, a war for restraint of the domino theory which otherwise flourished after its loss; it did not, undermining the continued authority of that theory built on the World War II model of Japanese conquest in 1941-42 at a time before nuclear weaponry deterred the collapse of further dominoes after the first fell. Vietnam was a nationalistic civil war, the participation of America in which was advocated by the World War II alumnists, xenophobic to anything smacking of communism, regardless of how that self-adopted label played out in practical terms in the case of the Viet Minh and Vietcong. Those alumnists argued successfully to a faction of Americaís children its necessity for prevention of loss of the dominoes again; and Americaís children then went off to fight it, some voluntarily, others by conscription, the rest, for the most part, trying to stay off the frontlines by whatever means necessary.

For want of a better way of putting it, Vietnam was a Hollywood war, the motivation for fighting which had been trumped by hawkish forces in the country preying on Americaís childrenís fascination with war movies in the 1950ís and 1960ís. It was no accident that "Patton", one of the better World War II films ever made, was the favorite of Richard Nixon in 1970. We liked it, too, but we also liked at the time "M*A*S*H" and "Catch-22", films released the same year.

Whether Nixon ever saw either of the latter, we donít know. If so, it didnít show. He did not internalize them. He certainly could have used the balance. The Big Fool went on to try to lead the country across the Big Muddy, regardless of all the signs telling him to turn back and to keep his 1968 campaign promise to end the war via the "secret plan". Until finally the Big Fool got himself impeached by Americaís children who got sick of the Big Foolís tricks and restraints on their freedom to accord, by force and chicanery employed against the opposition, the Big Foolís following their sense of decorum and status quo in happy-happy land.

"Tube Ad" reminds of the need for continued supply of used toothpaste and shaving cream tubes to supply the war industriesí need for tin. Some 240 tubes were enough to solder all of the electrical connections on a Flying Fortress, says the piece. Shave plentifully and brush your teeth regularly, for we need those tubes. Men with beards, people with yellow teeth, are simply unpatriotic. Too Bad. Kitchener Wants YOU!

Take it off; take it all off.

To enable employment of school children and teachers in the Christmas rush, with extra labor pools chewed up by the war and war industry, the merchantsí association of Charlotte, another editorial informs, suggested that school be let out early for Christmas.


But, it also suggested a return to school earlier than normal, say, institution of a break from December 15 to 27, rather than the traditional December 21 through January 1.

December 27th? Noooo.

Too Bad. Kitchener Wants YOU!

Wrap that present, boy. Or bend that rusty crowbar into some shell casings. Or be prepared by spring to go to the frontlines to fire the shell casings made from returned or discarded Christmas presents wrapped by somebody else.

For only the second day of the entire year, there was no News on the microfilm for Saturday, and so we have a whole weekend off. And given the looneytunes in the world, both then and now, we need it about now.

Yesterdayís quote of the day was clipped, incidentally, from both our low-resolution and high-resolution versions of the print, obtained at two different times. The same is true of a couple of other days on which we failed to elucidate a clipped off quote. Obviously, the mystical forces did not want those known just now. We shall nevertheless undertake the dauntless endeavor to find and provide them for you a few weeks hence.

We may or may not have some comment for you tomorrow on "Fine Points of Law"óor we may wait and return to it a little later. We start with the notion that "water is land" in Montana because, as the locals there like to report still, the first dam in the state was made from the body of a fellow who invaded the riparian rights of his neighbor and didnít live to contest the right in court. Water is irrigation for the land and so is, naturally, land, more to the point, property.

We suppose that you might drink it should you be dying of thirst, but just donít divert it or dam it for your own use, or make a regular habit of filling your canteen from it, Sparky. That is, lest youínís want to have a shower head made from that canteen.

Meanwhile, hereís a clip for the keeping, with a lesson not too late for the learning.

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