The Charlotte News

Saturday, March 28, 1942


Site Ed. Note: The front page tells of a surprise raid by British commandos on the port at Nazaire in France, the largest raid of its kind since the fall in June, 1940. Repots from the Nazis that heavy losses and captures were suffered by the commandos differed from the more neutral British report.

From the Russian front, reports indicated that the German strategy had changed from defending cities and fixed fortifications to taking the offensive in open field fighting to try to break the encirclement by the winter-hardened Russian fighters. Such new Nazi offensive operations were proceeding in Staraya Russa to the north below Leningrad as well as in the south, around the embattled indistrial city of Kharkov in the Donets Basin region.

The Army and Navy continued to set forth plans for increased bomber and patrol boat action against the prevalent U-boat attacks along the Eastern seaboard and into the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. This response came from Governor Broughtonís letter to the President complaining of the U-boat activity taking place off the coast of North Carolina with apparent impunity to the U-boats involved, as chronicled in "Quick Action" in the editorial column of the day.

It should be noted that the Presidentís reponse to the Governorís complaint letter, taking only a day from receipt until initiation of Army and Navy action, occurred far more quickly than did the Governorís slothful response back in mid-August at the time of the riot by and against the would-be lynch mob in Roxboro. In that episode, the Governor took fully two weeks, until August 29, to get the State Bureau of Investigation involved in the investigation of the would-be lynchers, even though he had ordered immediately in mid-August an investigation of the African-American Civilian Conservation Corps men who came to Roxboro with bats to break up the rock throwing lynch mob seeking, without success against a brave, albeit apparently blind, sheriff, the release of an accused African-American to their awaiting blood insatiate hands.

The SBI then came up with the names of the mob members on October 15.

We shall see if the Army and Navy can significantly abate the U-boat nuisance in 45 days. Though we acknowledge that the task of the Army and Navy in seeking by planes and patrol boats to control fast and stealthy U-boats of the Reichsmarine in the murky, pirate-haunted waters of the Atlantic is a more formidable one than ferreting out the names of known Klansmen in and around Person County in North Carolina forming a mob in full view of the sheriff and his deputies, we shall nevertheless keep track of this problem as well, with due recognition also for the fact that the Governor did not have at his disposal the Army and Navy, even it did take him over two weeks to deploy the investigatory forces he did have.

We shall count it as a race between the State of North Carolina and the Federal Government as to who was more efficient and swifter against hate groups.

Whatever the case may turn out to be, the poor Old North State in 1941-42 certainly was getting double-barreled action: on the one hand, the Klan throwing rocks in Person, and on the other, Nazi U-boat commanders sinking off its coastal shores and batteries, at will and in plain view, merchant and naval vessels.

The front page also reports of Senator Trumanís investigating committee coming up with more damning evidence of Standard Oil of New Jersey, the firm founded by John D. Rockefeller, this time pointing to the construction of an aviation fuel refining plant in Germany before the war, in 1938. The committee also focused on the fact that the large oil companies, including Standard Oil, were obtaining contracts from the government to produce aviation fuel whereas small producers were not awarded the government contracts. From the profits on the fuel, the large companies were able to pay for the refining plants, the building of which was financed initially by government loans.

"Hold-Out" condemns as unethical, even if technically legal prior to the declaration of war on Germany December 10, the actions of Standard Oil in providing patents to produce synthetic rubber to I. G. Farben in Germany while holding out the patent rights from American manufacturers until just two weeks earlier,after three months of active warfare. Had The News been aware that the actual production of the synthetic rubber was by labor enslaved at Auschwitz, labor whose destiny was the gas chamber, probably from that poison gas being manufactured, as reported on the front page, in occupied Belgium for presumptive use at the time in an airborne attack on England, ultimately preempted for want of fuel, then the editorial would no doubt have been even more outraged than the relative restraint employed here.

Raymond Clapper explores the tension between the one-quarter Muslim population of India, led politically by the modern moderate Muhammad Ali Jinnah, and the Hindu majority population, led politically by Nehru and spiritually by Gandhi. As we commented a few days earlier, the issue of partition of the country would be tabled for the duration of the war but would surface again in 1947 and, despite opposition by Gandhi, would result in the creation of Pakistan for the Muslim population. As feared by Gandhi and other leaders opposing partition, the result was a slaughter of many Hindus in Pakistan territory and Muslims remaining in Indiaís territory, as well as an inter-migration displacing millions. Gandhi, himself, was assassinated by a Hindu fanatic during a visit to the refugee camps.

Dick Young tells of the "Boy with the Bat" being the rudimentary hallmark of American ingenuity and can-do spirit, that as long as the boy with the bat was visible on the street corners, as on this Saturday morning, then the war undoubtedly would be won in the far corners of Europe and Asia with the same tenacity of purpose and insistence as that employed in the sandlots, with eye on the ball and bat in hand.

The same might be said, of course, depending on your favored sport, of basketball, football, track, etc. But the imagery of Americana, even if basketball and our version of football are as intrinsically native to the land as baseball, is better conveyed, along with hot dogs (of German origin), peanuts (of George Washington Carver), and Cracker Jack (of surprise origin), through baseball as the medium of expression.

Besides, it was spring and with this particular Saturday night anyway, the basketball season ended. As we said a couple of days ago, it ended with Stanford beating Dartmouth for the NCAA championship. The date of the more presitigious NIT championship, won by West Virginia over Western Kentucky, is unknown, but was likely on the same date in the afternoon. That was the way it was played in the 1960ís, youngster, even if after 1950, the NCAA became the more favored dance to which to be invited.

Ah, shall we dance the night away, until and through April 6?

After that point, as far as we were concerned, it was soccer or track, never baseball. But thatís beside the point. As we said once before, we have an abiding prejudice against the sport, generated, no doubt, from the fact that we once tried to catch a baseball with our mouth. Basketballs, footballs, and soccer balls are softer. Track utilizes no balls at all, save the shot which tends not to be thrown at the competition.

Speaking of basketball and oil, incidentally, we note in watching this yearís NCAA tournament an obnoxious commercial sponsored by Exxon-Mobil. It says in self-congratulatory fashion that there are 95% fewer emissions on new cars today than in 1970, and then concludes, "Exxon-Mobil working for you."

First, the 95% fewer emissions is the result of the creation by the Nixon Administration of the Environmental Protection Agency and its continued stewardship through several administrationms, Democrat and Republican, albeit with varying results, in the four decades since. The big oil companies fought it from its inception and lobby typically against lowering of C.A.F.E. standards. After all, it reduces their profits, those of Exxon-Mobil being the highest of all the companies, and higher than at any time in history, when we were paying $4.00 per gallon last summer.

Second, 95% reduction in emissions over the course of nearly forty years is a disgraceful record, not something about which to brag, especially with increscent global warming known to be taking place throughout those last 39 years.

And speaking of Alaska from these days of 1942 and the possibility of attack on Japan therefrom, it was Exxon of course whose tanker in 1989 was responsible for the Valdez oil spill which negatively impacted the environment of the region for years afterward. Of course, Exxon--after being ordered by the government to do soótook full responsibility and cleaned up the environment and saved all the little birds and fishies just for you. Probably a couple of rabbits, too.

Fill Ďer up, Jeeves. Youíre the man.

New ad: Oil companiesómore Big Spills than people friendly product.

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