Friday, November 12, 1943

The Charlotte News

Friday, November 12, 1943


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports of little progress on the Italian front because of harsh weather conditions, as the Americans of the Fifth Army had advanced only one mile, beating back a German counter-attack at Calabritto and capturing a height on Mount Camino near Mignano. The Eighth Army was limited to patrol skirmishes near Acquerra in the central sector and artillery exchanges with the enemy across the Sangro River in the east.

RAF bombers struck heavily at Cannes in Southern France, following a daylight raid on Thursday by the Americans at nearby Antheor in attempts to sever vital rail links funneling supplies to the Germans fighting in Italy. A ball-bearing plant was also hit at Annecy, forty miles west of the Italian border and 30 miles south of the Swiss frontier. The raids complemented raids taking place in the previous 48 hours on the rail links through the Brenner Pass at Bolzano and at the Mt. Cenis tunnel at Mondane, the latter on the rail line leading from France to Italy.

It was reported from Bern that Italian underground patriots were using the Roman catacombs as an ambuscade from which to attack and assassinate German officers, then returning to their subterranean hidey-holes.

On the Russian front, as the Germans were reported burning Kerch in preparation for evacuation of the city, now beset on two sides by Russian troops landing in amphibious craft across the Kerch Strait from the Caucasus, another part of the Red Army had advanced to within ten miles of Zhitomir, a key rail junction, the taking of which would sever the last rail link from the north in the western Ukraine west of the Polish border, putting General Nikolai Vatutin's Army within 70 miles of the Polish border. Traffic on the section of rail link between Korosten and Zhitomir on the Leningrad to Odessa line was reported at a standstill. Additionally, the German defense line in the Gomel sector in White Russia, near the Pripet Marshes, was reported by the BBC to have been broken.

Observers of the Pacific action speculated that two new drives might be imminent in the theater, one from Lord Louis Mountbatten's Southeast Asia command in India and Japanese-occupied Burma and the other from the Central Pacific, under the command of Admiral Chester W. Nimitz. Admiral Nimitz gave a Veteran's Day address at Pearl Harbor in which he indicated the prospect of bold new offensives in the Pacific to complement the gains already made in the Aleutians and in the Southwest Pacific.

Hal Boyle reports from North Africa that three slot machines, culled by the Army from juke joints catering to airmen in training with the 12th Air Force in Waycross, Georgia, had wound up catering to airmen and soldiers in North Africa. The proceeds were used to provide leisurely amenities in the soldiers' mess.

Whether that story somehow dovetails with the President's annual Proclamation of Thanksgiving, reprinted on the page, in which he stated, "November having been set aside for 'Food Fights for Freedom' month, it is fitting that Thanksgiving Day be made the culmination of the observance of the month by a high…" we don't know.

On the domestic front, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 12 to 6 to send to the floor a bill which would abolish the poll tax in the remaining eight states still imposing it. The House had already approved the measure. Among those voting against it was Tom Connally of Texas who indicated his hope that Chairman Frederick Van Nuys of Indiana, who voted for the bill, would hang a black wreath on his door.

Whether that constituted a veiled threat of imminent murder by Senator Connally of Senator Van Nuys was not fleshed out.

And a three-year old returned home safely after a night in the woods near Pindall, Arkansas, spent with a stray dog.

The name of the dog was not provided, but we might guess that it was Pal from Albany, N.Y., having ventured south to escape the repeated slapping he had suffered at the hand of General Patton, called in specially by Tech Sergeant Franklin Higgins to instill discipline in that whimpering good-for-nothing fleabag son of a mongrel race, so that Tech Sergeant Higgins might return to his duties in the service of his country to prepare to fight the goddamned Germans and Japanese.

On the editorial page, "Strange Plea" reports of the clamor for higher taxes to pay for the war and attenuate the tendency toward inflation brought on by higher wages, a clamor coming from a strange source, the American people, via several representative Labor organizations, including the CIO, the National Farmers Union, the Brotherhood of Railway Trainmen, and the Women's Trade Union League. The NAACP and the Consumers Union also were among the organizations pleading for higher taxes.

"Correspondents" looks at two different topics: the statement by Charles Kettering of General Motors that newspaper correspondents ought be silenced in their carping at industry for not keeping pace with the war effort, arguing that industry had produced a record output and was thus beyond such criticism; the disappearance from the war front dispatches of the names of prominent reporters.

As to the first issue, the editorial finds Mr. Kettering’s points well taken but not to the point meriting any censorship of the press.

On the second, it concludes that something might be brewing on the front lines, such as another major offensive. For the last time, it notes, that the names of prominent reporters had disappeared as by-lines to the stories for awhile, the North African invasion took place.

"Not for Us" finds fallacious the argument being promulgated by Coleman Roberts, North Carolina Automobile Club president, that North Carolina was entitled to special consideration on gas rationing because it was a "rural state". The editorial asserts that North Carolina was no more deserving of special consideration than other states of the Eastern Seaboard and certainly not based on its rusticanality, an argument, if successful, only likely to lead other rural states to try to make the same case. Moreover, military needs took precedence over all civilian uses of fuel.

Raymond Clapper plumps for the sustenance and increase in food subsidies as recommended to the Congress by the President, to limit prices on food while sustaining the farmer, preventing the deadly spiral of inflation which would otherwise ensue as wage increases would be the inevitable result of higher food prices. Mr. Clapper finds a coalition of Democrats and Republicans in Congress, however, succumbing to pressure from various farm lobby groups to let off the brakes entirely on price controls.

A report compiled by the editors looks at the spiraling cost of the war, accumulating 168.25 billion dollars in war debt to date, as against a national debt of 26.25 billion at the conclusion of World War I. The Administration's enunciated goal in asking for 10.5 billion dollars in new tax revenue had been to pay immediately half the war debts being accumulated. But instead of the 10.5 billion, the Congress had approved only 2.25 billion in increased taxes. Nevertheless, points out the piece, the facts of stagnating war expenditures and increasing income delivering higher revenue to the government would allow, with only the 2.25 billion increase, the goal of 50 percent immediate reduction of the annual war debt to be met.

Samuel Grafton assigns to bitter irony the fact that the Congress had overseen so well the interests of the taxpayer and farmer in refusing to pass new food subsidies or raise taxes: in consequence, food prices, as well as other prices in turn, would soar and the consumer's net advantage on taxes would be thus nullified, and without any benefit coming to the government by which it could pay down the war debt.

It was of further irony, says Mr. Grafton, that the foreign policy had suddenly become so clear, with the previous week's vote in the Senate approving 85 to 5 the Moscow Agreements, while the domestic policy remained so muddled. As the Congress had allowed the war to resolve the economic problems of the country during the previous four years, it appeared bent on having inflation rule the roost for the ensuing four years.

He predicts that the formulation would lead to financial disaster in the future, a country living in a peaceful world, but ultimately one in which its own high prices would strangle commerce.

Drew Pearson reveals some facts from behind the scenes of the recently concluded Moscow Conference. The heart of the accord, the aggregating of the United Nations around a post-war organization designed to maintain world peace and the provision that all signatory nations would renounce extraterritorial aggression absent joint consent, had been drafted a year earlier by former Undersecretary of State Sumner Welles. But when he presented the proposal to Cordell Hull, the Secretary rejected it. At the Quebec Conference in August, however, FDR and Churchill had signed onto the concepts and thus they went with Secretary Hull to Moscow with the leaders' imprimatur.

Pas de deux Francais?

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