Saturday, October 23, 1943

The Charlotte News

Saturday, October 23, 1943


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Fifth Army launched an artillery attack inflicting heavy losses against a counter-blow by German panzer divisions, the first appearance of tanks in the area in awhile, repelling the Nazis at Alife. The Army also took control of commanding heights in unidentified locations.

An Allied spokesman indicated that, notwithstanding the Allied gains, the Germans had now established a solid line north of the Volturno, blocking the path to Rome.

The Eighth Army advanced two miles on the Adriatic coast to take Lupara, a key to the high ground in central Italy. But the Nazis still held the important heights in the area.

Berlin and Rome radio declared the belief that the Allied air and naval forces likely would soon land north of Rome in an attempt to encircle the city in the Civliavecchia region 45 miles to the north to complement the drive north of the Volturno, 100 miles to the south.

Reports Hal Boyle, a diary entry found on the body of a dead Nazi soldier in Italy had recorded: "Many times [the Allied airmen] bring tears to our eyes. We are afraid to move even a muscle in our slit trenches lest we give our positions away." The diary had included an appeal to Air Marshal Hermann Goering: "Hermann, dear Hermann, where are those planes you promised us?"

The unrelenting cruelty of the Nazis, even in the face of defeat, was betrayed by the photograph on the page of sobbing Italian women who told of the Nazis shooting sixteen men of their village at Rionero in retaliation for one farmer shooting one German chicken thief.

The bestial Nazi will, displayed so visibly at places like Lidice, was now being exerted even on former German allies. For Italians had all betrayed the good little Nazi.

The RAF lost 44 bombers on a mission to Kassel in Germany, the highest RAF loss since the end of August. Another smaller force also hit Frankfurt while Mosquito bombers raided the Cologne area.

After two weeks of heavy fighting in and around Melitopol, the Red Army took the city, key to blocking the evacuation route of the Nazis in the Crimea and the Dneiper bend, threatening to entrap half a million to a million German troops. The Nazis lost 20,000 men in defense of the position.

The entire German line was said to be crumbling in the face of relentless pounding by the Russians along an extended front, notwithstanding the steady reinforcement of the lines with fresh German reserves.

The Red Army also reached to within fifteen miles of Krovoi Rog, the next major objective to complete the trap of the Germans within the Dneiper bend.

In the Pacific, the largest concentration of bombs yet to be dropped on New Guinea, 220 tons, fell on Sattelberg, fifteen miles north of Australian-held Finschhafen, blowing the Japanese-held position, said one of the bombardiers of the raid, "to hell".

And, in a macabre moment complementing the war news, Aloys (The Great) Peters, a high wire artist whose act was to hang himself and survive to tell the tale, didn't on this occasion in St. Louis. He was leaping for the first time from 70 feet and the rope to which his neck was attached became entangled, stopping his fall abruptly in advance of the expected point at which he would have normally reached up and momentarily grabbed the rope to break the fall. This time, he died.

It doesn't pay to jump.

Too bad the rope wasn't of glass, as the noose was of rubber.

On the editorial page, "Syphilitic South" implores the South to begin to take serious steps toward eradication of the problem of syphilis which was troubling the Army no end, providing the highest rate of the disease among soldiers in the nation. Charlotte's Morris Field, indeed, held the nationwide record for Army base syphilis infections. The piece expresses chagrin at such a record and labels it a disgrace to Charlotte. Lack of enforcement against prostitution was blamed as the chief culprit contributing to the problem.

"Higher Goals" receives Governor Broughton's expression of satisfaction with the state's mental hospitals with a caveat: not enough had yet been done even if substantial progress, led by increased spending per patient, had occurred, especially at Morganton, since Tom Jimison's exposé of the system had been printed in The News and other newspapers across the state in January and February, 1942. But personnel shortages, especially of trained doctors, were still plaguing the hospitals because of the war.

"Is This Us?" wonders at what might be accomplished with North Carolina's rich budget surplus, the largest in the nation, amid illiteracy and poverty and poor health, also among the highest rates of any state in the nation.

"In Or Out?" expresses surprise at the news that Bob Reynolds might not run again for the Senate, reason being that his mother-in-law, Evalyn Walsh McLean, would not fund his campaign. Neither would anyone else.

Well, Senator Bob, the Hope Diamond not coming to his aid, would indeed choose not to run against former Governor Clyde R. Hoey of Shelby in 1944. That was that.

North Carolina currently has a Senator, however, who loves to run and run and run, and has plenty of financial backing each time, sometimes the most of any pol in the country, most of it coming from the tobacco industry of whom he is the chief puppet. Man, if you like that tobacco industry, vote for him in ten days. Yeah, he is for the little guy. Just examine your job status and pocketbook these days, little guy, and you can tell.

Just call him Senator Moonbeam.

Ah, moonbeams over Buena Vista. Sounds so poetic.

But, if you'd ever seen one, you might think otherwise.

Raymond Clapper criticizes the Republican opposition in the House to both a national sales tax and higher income taxes to curb inflation driven by war and to pay for the huge cost of the war.

Samuel Grafton similarly examines the Republican cry to "save the middle class" by refusing to raise taxes, as recommended by Congressman Knudson of Minnesota.

The better issue to be touted to save the middle class, says Mr. Grafton, was to provide the President's requested food subsidies, lest the middle class be forced to spend an additional 15 billion dollars in the coming year for inflation of food prices, 4.5 billion more than the proposed tax increase sought by the Treasury. To avert such inflation required but the spending of two billion dollars, but, alas, that required a tax increase and the no-new-taxes people wanted to save the middle class and so they had resorted to the new slogan, "Subsidies are immoral," that despite the fact that subsidies had been used for years to raise food prices. Now that they were offered to stem inflation, they were deemed morally repugnant.

He finds this sloganeering among the Republicans troubling. Even more troubling were the advocates of a national sales tax, to saddle the middle class with the tax burden, who also opposed food subsidies, failing which the 15 billion dollar food price increase would hit the average American table.

Dorothy Thompson, challenging the proper reading of her words by a friend, Elsa Maxwell, assessing Ms. Thompson a sentimentalist for regarding the German people as a whole not to be the enemy against whom retribution should be undertaken following the war, waxes prophetic by predicting that Germany would become a buffer state between Russia and the West at the end of the war.

Germany, she says, could only become a menace, regardless of whether it was armed or disarmed, if it became a stronghold for exertion of Russian policy against the West or for Anglo-American policy against Russia. The dilemma thus posed suggested the probable outcome she offers, and the outcome which came to be in fact after the war.

In Germany, especially in Berlin, existed the rope in the Cold War which, if pulled too tight, as Nikita Krushchev suggested to President Kennedy in 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis, could become the flashpoint for manifestation of the policy practiced by the two powers since the atomic arms' race began officially in 1949, that of mutually assured destruction.

The Cold War could only be resolved by funambulists.

And we did not mean to neglect the news on Wednesday of the passing of the Old Maestro, Ben Bernie. It simply didn't seem to fit. It still doesn't, but maybe it will later--perhaps by V.J. Day. So here it is. Take it away, Old Maestro.

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