Monday, October 11, 1943

The Charlotte News

Monday, October 11, 1943


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Fifth Army took Pontelandolfo, twelve miles northwest of Benevento, in its continuing flanking maneuver toward the rain-swollen Volturno River. General Mark Clark had stated his determination to beat the 24 days it took Garibaldi in 1859 to cross the river when he sought to unify Italy by marching from Naples to Rome.

On the Adriatic coast, the Eighth Army was able to gain but two to three miles against stubborn German resistance.

In the fourth major time-delayed explosion of buildings in Naples since its occupation, twenty-three officers and soldiers were killed and thirty more injured in a blast which took out an entire wing of a building being used as a barracks. When evacuating the city, the Nazis had planted numerous such delayed explosives. One the previous week had exploded just after General Clark's car had passed.

It was disclosed that American Flying Fortresses flew missions of record strength, consisting of 400 bombers, on Friday and Saturday. The Friday mission had bombed Bremen and the Saturday raid had penetrated as far as East Prussia and Poland, hitting Danzig. It was believed that a raid the previous day which lost thirty bombers and two fighters while attacking Muenster and Coesfeld was equally large.

On the northern Russian front, the Red Army had pushed to within 70 miles of the Latvian frontier.

Admiral Nimitz released details on the Wake Island attack of the previous Tuesday. The raid dropped 320 tons of bombs and destroyed 61 Japanese planes and severely damaged two ships. The Navy lost thirteen planes.

General MacArthur disclosed that between October 6 and 9, American forces, without firing a shot, had captured Kolombangara Island and its strategic Vila airfield; no Japanese were found alive.

It was speculated by observers that the landings had occurred from Arundel Island, a mile across Blackett Strait from Kolombangara.

The State Department released an extensive 700-page White Book titled Peace and War: United States Foreign Policy 1931-1941, detailing the policy toward Japan during the decade leading to Pearl Harbor. The book indicated that war and a concomitant attack by the Axis on the U.S. had been foreseen by the President and Secretary of State Hull as early as 1933 but that adherence to isolationist doctrine by a large part of the country inhibited the taking of adequate military steps to prevent it.

The report in latter January, 1941 from U.S. Ambassador to Japan Joseph Grew, based on a conversation overheard and related by a maid, that an attack specifically on Pearl Harbor was being planned in case of Japanese trouble with the U.S., had drawn the considerable attention of the State Department.

On the editorial page, "Out of School" finds it ironic that the Senate sought to hush Senator Henry Cabot Lodge of Massachusetts for his statements chiding Russia for potentially costing a million American lives by its failure to afford bases in the East from which America could launch attacks on Japan.

The piece finds the Senator's criticism apt, that Russia should have been willing to allow use of these bases as quid pro quo for opening a second front in Europe, even if it was understandable that the Russians did not want to risk a war with Japan while it fought the war in the West with Germany.

Allowing U.S. use of the bases, however, would have violated the non-aggression pact between Russia and Japan. But, by the same token, Japan could ill-afford further diversion of its widely dispersed troops to wage war on Russia. On the other hand, Japan would obviously take all steps necessary to alleviate pressure on the homeland.

Would such a move by Russia have sped the end of the war or would it have caused the Russian offensive against Germany to become significantly weakened by having to divert Soviet troops to the East to defend against Japanese attack?

"Child Riders" thinks it unfair to cast blame for city bus congestion on school children who rode buses downtown and back during the rush hour.

"It's Not Simple" brings to awareness the factor of which many were unaware, that a shortage of underwear had led in part to the paper shortage which had cut down on availability of newsprint. It seems the loggers would not cut timber in winter without their longjohns. The Government, carped the editorial, with its prolix publications, many of which were completely useless, was also a responsible party in the crisis.

"A Convert!" finds the recent issue of Dave Clark’s Textile Bulletin finally accepting the New Deal and its social programs as a fixture in American life, urged businessmen and manufacturers to stop wasting their energies on resisting these programs, plumped instead for fighting against the "evils which have been included".

Uppermost among those "evils", no doubt, which racist, reactionary Dave meant to include for the good fight was any form of progress toward racial integration in society.

An Army private writes a letter to the editor in praise of the editorial the previous week which had suggested a community survey be undertaken to determine the problems in the black community before trying to assess the best solutions, after the City Council effectively tabled until after the war further action on its determination that better housing was the most salutary remedy for the problems of the black community. The soldier agreed with the editorial and found the progressive attitude refreshing.

Raymond Clapper, citing Judge Fred Vinson's testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee that signs of inflation were proliferating in the country, again stresses the need for new taxes, especially higher sales taxes, to stem inflation, despite its unpopularity with both the Administration and Congress for its regressive nature.

But, he warns, the country could only tax corporations so much before they rebelled and, in protest, stopped producing, thus slowing the war effort.

Samuel Grafton carps at the myopia of organs such as the New York Daily News, which of late had complained of America sending 42 percent of its tobacco to foreign Allies while it also inveighed against the Russian failure to accommodate America with bases in Siberia. Mr. Grafton finds problematic this editorial stance for its focus on only one issue at a time rather than viewing the war holistically.

The Daily News also favored acquisition of bulwark islands in both the Atlantic and Pacific at the end of the war.

The Russians, says Mr. Grafton, did not want a war with Japan in the East while weakening their position in the West, possibly thereby losing the war to Germany. Nor did the United States want such events to transpire.

And as to islands, the U.S. had them before Pearl Harbor, Wake, Guam, the Philippines. A lot of good they had done.

Mr. Grafton ultimately concludes that cigarettes passed between friends would be a preferable post-war state of affairs to island-grabbing.

Moreover, he finds the fallacious duplicity of the position self-evident from the fact that the Daily News obviously would not support Russia should it seek to grab the Baltic States and other such buffer zones at the end of the war. Why then should the U.S. enjoy such latitude?

Mr. Grafton suggests to the publisher, Capt. Joseph Medill Patterson, co-founder, with his cousin Col. Robert McCormick, of the Chicago Tribune, that he learn to add.

Drew Pearson reviews a letter sent by Admiral Husband Kimmel, former U.S. Fleet commander at the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor, requesting a hearing forthwith on his court martial rather than, as he had previously agreed to do, waiving the statute of limitations and waiting until the end of the war to avoid airing of matters which might prove bad for public morale. Upon re-examination of the matter in light of better U.S. fortunes in the war during recent months, Admiral Kimmel had determined that it was time to clear his name while memories were still reasonably fresh and witnesses still alive. One, indeed, had already been killed in the war.

He had retained the same attorney who had cleared General Smedley Butler in 1931 when, after publicly criticizing Mussolini, General Butler was court martialed by President Hoover.

The Admiral had sent the letter to Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox and to the President. Mr. Pearson believed that both men would have a tough time saying no.

Eventually, as the Admiral requested early retirement, the court martial was dropped.

Mr. Pearson also relates of a visit by shipbuilder Andrew Higgins with his friend, the President, during which Mr. Higgins provided scale models of several ships and boats his company was building for the government. He neglected, however, to include a PT-boat. The President objected to the omission and Mr. Higgins informed him that the company was building such a model for him which would be delivered instanter.

The President stumped Mr. Higgins's engineering knowledge when he asked how the PT-boat could accomplish an in-board turn at high speed, as it could at 50 mph, in defiance of centrifugal force. Astonished at the President's detailed knowledge of the boat, Mr. Higgins confessed his lack of an answer. Mr. Roosevelt expressed his anxious desire to take a look at the model so that he could confirm his intuitive understanding of how the craft operated.

Never underestimate the power of a scale model to convey detailed information on the workings of the real article.

It should not go unnoticed in the twinings, incidentally, that between this date's front page and editorial page there are separate and distinct mentions of Blackett Strait, PT-boats, an American bombing raid on Haiphong in Indochina, and Senator Henry Cabot Lodge.

About the only thing missing is another report on the situation at Coo in the Dodecanese Islands, where at last report the previous week the British were still engaged in battle with the Germans who had landed in force to combat the earlier British landing.

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