The Charlotte News

Saturday, January 16, 1943

FOUR EDITORIALS

Site Ed. Note: On the front page, a report indicates that former Ambassador to Japan, Joseph Grew, warned against a Japanese "jujitsu" feint, a pretense of defeat to lull the Allies into a compromising position, then launching its strike with tiger stealth.

Ambassador Grew, as made public in Secretary of State Cordell Hull's January 4 release of a "White Book" on Pearl Harbor, had become aware in late January, 1941 through the Peruvian Ambassador's cook that there might be an attack in the works on Pearl Harbor. The report was deemed by assistant chief of Army intelligence, Sherman Miles, to be too lacking in reliability and probability of occurrence to pass into the military and civilian command channels.

It was, therefore, perhaps a good thing that Admiral William Halsey believed that the Japanese armadas, consisting of five destroyers found 60 miles northwest of Guadalcanal, another nine 140 miles northwest of Lunga Point on Guadalcanal, and yet another five discovered 200 miles northwest, were offensive in nature, trying to replenish troops and supplies on Guadalcanal, rather than planned for evacuation. All three armadas were attacked on Thursday, U.S. time. One destroyer of the first group and two of the second group were seriously damaged, along with the destruction of 30 Japanese planes. The third group of five destroyers was attacked from the air by Allied planes in the Shortland Islands, near Munda, with no hits reported on its ships but twelve pursuing enemy bi-planes shot down. Northwest of Munda, an enemy cargo ship was hit from the air.

The Mikado's attempt to retire, perhaps to lull the stupid American to sleep again, as at Pearl Harbor, would not work this time.

Stupid American continue to believe he on offensive because he cause stupid American to remember Pearl Harbor.

On the Russian front, substantial progress continued, hemming into a semicircular claw as many as 500,000 German troops in the Rostov area, a quarter of the estimated troops still in Russia. They were being trapped from three sides: from the southeast, advance from which direction had reached the Sal-Manyck Hills above the Sal-Manyck River; from the east, having reached the east bank of the Donets River, last natural barrier to Rostov, about sixty miles away; and from the northeast, General Vatutin having approached to within 90 miles of the city.

The Nazis had abandoned territory so quickly that they left behind 10,000 head of cattle.

There were, apparently, no herdsmen among their headsmen to head 'em up, move 'em out. Where was Red Ryder when you needed him, Der Fuehrer? Probably fighting for the Reds.

From Iraq came the report that the Iraqis, fed up with the Nazi effort afoot since May, 1941 to eat away from within their autonomy and make them a Nazi satrapy, had declared war on the Axis.

From Tunisia and Libya came more reports of Allied bombing of Axis airdromes and Rommel's support columns, amid conflicting reports of further push westward toward Tripoli by General Montgomery's Eighth Army against Rommel's stalled position along the Gulf of Sirte. Italian communiques claimed renewed offensive action by the British while the British contended fighting remained in a lull. In all likelihood, the latter was correct, General Montgomery awaiting the continued softening up of Rommelís columns from the air as well as the pummeling with bombs of the supply depots and airdromes in the rear, both in western Libya and in Tunisia.

From Poland came reports of Gestapo atrocities as Warsaw and a strip 60 miles wide through Silesia were being cleared of all remaining Poles, who were either shot or transferred to concentration camps by train. Germans and impressed Norwegians, Dutch, and Belgians, brought into Poland as slave labor, were sent into the region to Germanize it and begin work on construction of an "east wall", against feared encroachment of the Polish border by the Russians.

In the effort at Germanization, the Gestapo was reported to have machine-gunned one entire village with a population of 1,700.

Of some 400,000 Jews walled off in the fall of 1940 inside the Warsaw Ghetto, some 250,000 to 300,000 already had been transferred during the summer and fall of 1942 to concentration camps, primarily Treblinka. An estimated 100,000 had died from starvation.

Now, the final mass movement to the camps of the remainder of the Ghetto's population was beginning, all pursuant to the Final Solution determined at the Wannsee conference held in the Berlin suburb a year earlier, led, with the imprimatur of the Fuehrer, by Reinhard Heydrich, shot May 27 by the Czech underground in Prague, dying a week later.

On the coming Monday, however, January 18, a mass revolt would occur in the Ghetto, as rumors had reached its inhabitants that a train ride to the camps meant sure death. The Jewish population had managed to smuggle arms into the Ghetto and took up positions behind makeshift barricades, forcing out, for the time being, the Gestapo and their Storm Troops.

A siege continued for three months, until April 19, when the Ghetto was stormed and most of its remaining 50,000 enforced residents murdered, those surviving the purge being finally shipped to the camps after the Ghetto was completely razed by the Nazis on April 23.

By the time the Russians reached Warsaw in 1945, there was nothing left of the Ghetto but open ground.

On May 16, 1943, the Nazis burned the Warsaw Synagogue as a final act, purging Poland of all Judaism, except those still awaiting the showers of Treblinka, of Sobibor, of Auschwitz, and those of the spirit which they could not kill.

On the editorial page, "Down to Earth" plays contrapuntally to the columns during the previous week by Raymond Clapper, Dorothy Thompson, and Samuel Grafton, counseling a harder stand against fascists and Nazi-sympathizers among the French in North Africa. The piece insists that the generals be allowed to conduct the war without having to be concerned with the purge of former collaborationists, that the focus must be maintained intensely upon the fight.

But, wasn't it the case that, to maintain the fight with maximum efficiency and esprit de corps among the Allies, on which American and British commanders depended, any and all Axis-sympathizers needed to be ferreted out and eliminated from command?

Otherwise, those who might, for their own survival, feign Allied conversion, would likely, at the turn of fortune in battle toward the Axis, cut and run, surrendering to the Axis.

Or, even worse and more probable, they might deliberately hedge their bets, to insure placement on the ultimate winner, by undermining and slowing operations of the Allies, so that if the Axis won, they could demonstrate, in the subsequent interrogation, their steady concern for a favorable Axis outcome, performed in stealth while coerced by the Allies to give the face, at least, of cooperation.

Did Burke Davis's view of the matter not unduly simplify the task of the generals, to fight the war and not be concerned with politics and diplomacy along the way? He appears to assume that politics and diplomacy were merely nice frills to be enjoyed when peace permitted the time for such niceties, that the task of war meant instead gritting one's teeth and fighting with every available tool, including those gathered along the way who had been previously collaborating with the enemy.

Yet, as with Admiral Darlan, putting such a person in charge of troops meant not only disrupting the fighting spirit of those under command, disgruntled by the ex-collaborationist leadership, but also caused General Eisenhower and his staff of commanders in Algiers to have to maintain one wary eye on the former collaborationist while trying to plan and fight the war, being careful of both the information imparted and the responsibilities entrusted to the once and potential traitor.

We think that the three syndicated columnists had the better of the argument on this point. But, it is also good to air both sides of any argument, there being no practical manner of test of the premise, save by dialectic, of the affirmative proposition, in this case, that all fascist sympathizers should be eliminated from roles of leadership in lands re-captured by the Allies.

Mistakes of this type, however, continued even after the war. Emperor Hirohito, notably, should have been tried as a war criminal and executed along with his leading generals. So, should have his Empress wife. To drop atom bombs on civilian population centers and then leave these two war criminals alive was simply the result of unfortunate post-war sentimentality displayed by General MacArthur, with the practical attribute in mind of seeking to use their coerced offices to decree their loyal population to lay down arms and accept the new way of peace.

But it was the Emperor and Empress, after all, not just the "militarists", who started the whole Pacific war, started, four and a half years before it, the war in China--that is, unless one accepts the preposterous premise that the Emperor and Empress were merely puppets following orders to save their own little necks. But there were others, such as Queen Wilhelmina of the House of Orange, who had fled and become governments in exile associating with the Allies. The Emperor and Empress, therefore, had no excuse in the face of history for their encouragement actively of the warring mentality then besetting Japan.

But this pair floated on out through history, were even feted at the White House in 1975, made thusly palatable by General MacArthur's unwise, though understandable, decision to ingratiate them to the effort at democratization.

To complete the circle of this argument, we return to the premise of Ambassador Grew, however, that jujitsu tactics were often employed by the Japanese. An enemy of this determined stripe, raised to believe themselves divinely inspired and in possession of a divinely gifted light of insight and willpower to manifest that insight through world domination for their country--including, of course, in this stripe of leadership the Nazis who started the entire war--never really gave up these goals and carried them with them to their graves. Anyone who thinks the Emperor and Empress were somehow divinely inspired and worthy of god-like awe and titles is an idiot living outside reality. They were cheap little feudalists, bent as brigands on cushioning their own royal existence and nothing else, certainly not benefiting their people who only suffered under their despotic rule, and should have been hung, publicly, in Tokyo, in 1945, after perhaps a one-hour war crimes tribunal. Exhibit A would have been the record of the July 2, 1941 Imperial Conference at which the Emperor gave his personal approval to the movement south to effect the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, that which directly resulted in the occupation later that month of French Indo-China and the attack five months later on Pearl Harbor, to enable free reign to expand their presence into Malaya, Thailand, Burma, the Philippines, and the Dutch East Indies.

Unfortunately, General MacArthur was suckered by their bows and humble ways, and America, perhaps, quite unwittingly, paid for their continued sustenance, with their little childish grins in place, in blood, until they finally perished from the face of the earth to whatever hell their childishly egocentric notions led them.

Samuel Grafton expands his argument of the previous day, in favor of extended social security to every American, assuring thereby a living wage, shelter, and food, a right after all guaranteed by the spirit, if not the letter, of the Constitution--except as interpreted by Neanderthalic royalists who read any document only with their scheming self-interested, childishly egocentric, notions in mind, assuming, that is, they can read at all--to embrace all of the United Nations post-war.

The elimination of want, after all, should be the first goal of any democratic ideal. For without it, there can be no achievement of democracy, only fascism. For the haves, in a material sense, will always grind the have-nots, even with rueful humor, into the dirt, unto death, branding them what they, themselves, in fact fear that they are, and at every opportunity--just as any good Nazi did and would do. They start with the determined premise that they are superior and proceed from that premise to every conclusion, until their "argument" is so pathetically outrageous, twisting their opponent's words into that never meant, that never even uttered, until their utter stupidity and flailing desperation is so apparent, so the object of ridicule, that their self-loathing finally turns the rattlesnakes to suicide--just as with any good Nazi.

Raymond Clapper looks at the War Production Board, headed by Donald Nelson, a year after its birth out of its forerunners, SPAB and OPM, and finds it doing its job well. He cites the fact that 99% of the steel industry had been converted to military use, with only 1.3 million tons remaining in civilian production as compared to 20 million in 1940. Two billion dollars worth of war equipment was being manufactured in 1940 compared to six billion in 1942, with the projected output to soar to 80 billion in 1943, now that re-tooling, employment re-distribution and re-training, and streamlining of transportation and organization of raw materials had been duly stressed and achieved in 1942. The country, in one year, had converted itself to war footing as never before. The whole of society was one big war machine.

Mr. Clapper cautions, however, that with this giant monster created, small businesses, not able to compete with lucrative war contract-fat mass manufacturers, would succumb in a heavily price-regulated and heavily taxed economy. He predicts that after the war, without proper safeguards, these small business owners would find it hard to return to business and, with the giant colossus thusly created striding the landscape, the military-industrial complex of which President Eisenhower warned during his latter days in office, small business as an entity within society might never recover.

And among the former characters of Charlotte on whose personal antics Dick Young muses and reminisces this Saturday with his friend, Mr. Beasley, the fat butcher dubbed "Mr. Five-by-Five" sounds like a barrel of laughs, perhaps someone to whom you might wish, after enduring a few of his hysterically funny practical jokes, after winding up falling on the floor one time too many after he rigged the chair to fall to pieces under you or being scared out of your wits by his cutely rigged sound of explosion hitting your eardrum from the other end of the fake telephone call he got you to answer as you entered his butcher shop, to take a four-by-four and whack "Mr. Five-by-Five" right upside the head, as a nice return practical joke.

We also wonder whether the man of the house out of the couple, Mr. and Mrs. Squirrel, who Mr. Young observed building the nest in the magnolia tree outside the police department window, the object of Mr. Young's attention having been focused by the police dispatcher, was the mixed-up Freudian case to whom Cash had made reference from his sitting in the churchyard observing a woman throwing nuts onto the freshly fallen snow back in January, 1940. Perhaps, Mr. Squirrel had gathered sufficient nuts to attract Mrs. Squirrel and they were now building their nest next to the police department, in plain view of the dispatcher's window.

In Chapter 12, the half-way point of William L. White's They Were Expendable, Lieutenant Kelly explains the hasty preparations conducted in complete secrecy, even from the crew, for the PT-boat squadron's newly ordered mission to transport General MacArthur, his wife and son, to Australia, set to embark March 15. That now left less than two weeks for insuring adequately equipped and provisioned boats for the journey.

Word had come that Japanese General Yamashita, the Tiger of Malaya, being done with the capture of Singapore in mid-February, was on his way by the end of March with an armada of reinforcements and supplies to lay siege to Bataan and Corregidor, bragging that he would capture General MacArthur and his contingent of defending troops within a month after arrival. His prediction, save for the capture of the already departed MacArthur, was accurate. General MacArthur, incidentally, had previously announced, pursuant to a report out of Manila, that the previous ranking officer in command of the Philippine offensive, General Homma, had committed hara-kiri out of frustration for not having won the Philippines in a quick and decisive sweep of the islands. The report, however, was untrue.

In the process of preparation of the boats for the long journey to Australia, provision had to be made for adequate gasoline while making pretense to the crew that it was still for the run to China. This provision would supply the rows to the rowboats which President Roosevelt would subsequently suggest to a woman at the White House was the means by which General MacArthur managed his escape.

The boats first had to be overhauled, as they had already gone twice their hours without it. Because there was no gasket material, usually cork, sometimes cardboard, available for the engine, each gasket had to be carefully peeled off during disassembly, preserved, and re-attached, a time consuming chore in itself. Bottoms had to be scraped on the boats and struts had to be overhauled. The 3/8" plywood decking had to be shored up with planks to accommodate twenty 50-gallon oil drums per boat. Lieutenant Kelly told the men of the crew that they would have plentiful gas and replenished torpedoes, along with all the food they wanted, when they reached the island paradise of Cebu, full well knowing that this story was pure fantasy, Cebu possessing no gasoline, and little being available in all of Mindanao.

Gasoline was precious. The boats ran only on 100-octane fuel, the same used in the airplanes. To limit consumption, Kelly's patrol boat was tied to the buoy marking the entrance to the mine field, a diesel launch then instead used to patrol the immediate vicinity of Corregidor and Bataan, with use of the boats only when necessary to counter any enemy approach to the area. All offensive operations had been terminated.

Two reporters, Clark Lee and Nat Floyd of The New York Times, were planning to accompany them on the run to China, along with Colonel Wong. They had been encouraged to find alternative transportation, on the claim that the commanders didn't know when they might be able to leave.

The plan, provided by Lieutenant Bulkeley on March 11 to the four commanding officers, Kelly, Cox, Schumacher, and Akers, was for General MacArthur and his family to ride with Bulkeley in PT-41, escorted by the other three boats. In case of encounter with the enemy, the other three would peel off the squadron and wage a fight, with Kelly's boat leading.

To draw suspicions of the men and potential Japanese spies away from preparations, the squadron crews were ordered to make substantial physical improvements to their shore base at Sisiman Cove, including the installation of a full galley and mess hall.

On March 4, Lieutenant Kelly had received word that Peggy had been transferred from the hospital on Corregidor to one on Bataan. The fortuitous change provided an opportunity for him to see her, perhaps for the last time. The men gave the PT-boat spit and polish in preparation for the date. A splendid meal was prepared and all ate well. Kelly couldn't tell Peggy anything of the pending mission. When she told him that she couldn't get time off before the 15th, maybe a little earlier, he tried to urge her to make it for an earlier date--without spilling the beans that the 15th was the scheduled departure date.

Lieutenant Kelly said his goodbyes to Army nurse Peggy that night, assuming it would probably be the last time he would ever see her.

We mean no disrespect to the tender scene, but, judging by the "Major Hoople" of yesterday, they had probably said their good-byes the night before, anyway. She was, after all, a woman who understood.

Meanwhile, Ellie, stuck in the basement, hiding from the Chuck McCarthy family, overhears the society lady upstairs making her plans for her gala party, perhaps to include Mrs. Astor and Mrs. Vanderbilt. Ellie thinks she would rather be with the inhoomin rats down in the basement than down the upstairs with the hoomin kind, those Scraggs.

We smell a blood plot, maybe one fit only for Nauseating Murder Magazine, forming in Ellie's McCarthy-cooked brain, one perhaps entailing the use of hoomin blood to mark her forehead with an X, as with her Granny, from whom Chuck had rescued her to become her guardian, so awarded by the jedge, so as to achieve the vision.

But, as we have said, you must engrave the X, deeply, not just mark it superficially, as with some little pansy, properly to achieve that vision thing.

You either surf or you fight. For, as we have said before, Chuck don't surf.

See how they break both ways?

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