Tuesday, November 16, 1943

The Charlotte News

Tuesday, November 16, 1943


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that a Nazi counter-attack drove American troops of the Fifth Army off the heights of Monte Santa Croce north of Venafro.

The Eighth Army, however, gained high ground in the east, north of Atessa, while more of its patrols crossed the Sangro River, encountering German resistance at Montazzoli. The bad weather persisted, preventing concentrated air attacks on German positions.

Word was still pending on conditions at Canneloni.

In Russia, the Red Army pushed west of Gomel and Zhitomir, coming to within 275 miles of the German border in the area of Nevel and to within 320 miles of East Prussia at Demekhi. The drive west of Kiev and Zhitomir had effectively severed German rail supply lines between the north and south.

The Yugoslav Air Force flew for the first time in American Liberators with the American Air Force in a raid on Athens airfields.

RAF bombers carried out the largest attack yet of the war on Burma, hitting targets at Pegu, northeast of Rangoon.

Refugees to Turkey reported that Greek Andarts, guerilla fighters on the mainland, had landed in force from a destroyer onto the island of Leros in the Dodecanese, inflicting numerous casualties on the Germans who had previously landed on the island and had pinned the British defenders.

Berlin radio announced a rumor coming from Vichy France that Marshal Petain had suffered either a stroke or had been attacked by Partisans, causing him to cancel a scheduled speech the previous Saturday.

From the Polish Telegraph Agency in London came the story that 40 children, most from a tuberculosis hospital, had been taken "hostage" by the Nazis in Warsaw where the population had already been decimated.

Since October 12, Allied planes had sunk or damaged more than 40 Japanese warships in the area of Rabaul, New Britain, and Kavieng, New Ireland.

From London came reported expectations of agreements of even greater immediate significance to the war than had come from the foreign ministers' conference at Moscow, as rumors of an imminent conference between Josef Stalin, FDR, and Churchill began to circulate. It was expected that the last great Allied drive into Western Europe would be planned at this historic conference, in addition to cementing the post-war alliance between the three powers begun at Moscow.

The historic conference, the first in which Stalin would participate, was in fact only twelve days from its beginning at Tehran.

And the 43-year old brother of King George VI, the Duke of Gloucester, was appointed the first member of the Royal Family to be governor-general of Australia.

On the editorial page, "Cotton Ed" quotes one of Drew Pearson's columns, not yet appearing on the page, regarding the senior elderly Senator from South Carolina, Cotton Ed Smith, and his tirades during the testimony of CBS head, William Paley, before a Senate committee considering the White-Wheeler bill to regulate radio broadcasters. Senator Smith was against the regulation and Mr. Paley favored review by the courts rather than bureaucratic oversight of the radio networks.

Senator Smith, however, finding the Supreme Court's decision the previous spring, upholding the validity of regulation by the FCC, to be loathsome, asked Mr. Paley why he would seek to have matters adjudicated by such a fractious and irreconcilable Supreme Court, as exhibited, he said, by the outrageously diverse minds of Justices Felix Frankfurter and Frank Murphy.

In the end, however, the aging Senator couldn't hear what Mr. Paley was saying.

Undoubtedly, he couldn’t hear the radio either.

"The Plaint" reveals the efforts by Congress, specifically by Congressman William Fulbright, author of the recently passed Fulbright Resolution, precursor to the Moscow Agreements, to have Secretary of State Cordell Hull come to the Capitol and provide the closely-held details of the Moscow Conference.

Congress, concludes the piece, was becoming frustrated by the control over the war and peace being exerted by the White House and Executive Branch.

"Battle Dress" remarks on the layout changes of the editorial page begun the previous day, changes not favored by The News but made necessary for the duration by the realities of the war, specifically the shortage of newsprint.

The change was in the continuity of Hal Boyle’s column from the front page onto the editorial page rather than on one of the other inside pages where it normally resided, plus a squib or two at the bottom of that column.

The News was slowly becoming evermore clad in drab battleship gray.

"Gambling?" once again addresses the football parlay sheet controversy as to whether it was a lottery or illegal gambling. The North Carolina Attorney General had assessed it as gambling. But no sooner said than a policy statement for prosecutors issued indicating that for a conviction the activity had first to be shown to be a gambling device and, second, the accused caught in the act.

To the editorial the concepts were as much double-talk as the sheets themselves. It concludes that they were not gambling, but rather a sure thing.

"Vain Hope" challenges any notion that reports of high inflation within Nazi Germany necessarily spelled its doom financially and thus ruin in the war. For the United States, too, had high war inflation, a natural by-product of any war. No one, therefore, advises the editorial, should set their sights on victory over the Nazis through internal economic collapse. It would rather continue to take bombs and bullets to effect the end of Nazi Germany.

Raymond Clapper contrasts the food distribution policy for the hungry of Europe being practiced by the United Nations relief organization headed by former Governor Lehman of New York with the policy favored by former President Hoover, who had headed European relief after World War I. President Hoover would distribute the food to all comers. The United Nations would distribute it only to those who demonstrated a willingness to revolt from within their occupied lands against the Nazi occupiers.

Mr. Clapper finds the Hoover plan, while humane, suffering from an idèe fixe examined myopically. For it meant being tender to those who would fill their bellies only to go back to the factory to build weaponry to attack and defend against the Allies, that it would ease rather than foment the inertia toward internal revolt, as the surest path to nurture revolt was by starvation. It also ran counter to the very practices of the underground and guerilla organizations at work throughout Europe who sabotaged their own institutions, factories, and way of life to shorten the war, even if the immediate result was antithetical to their own collective sustenance and well-being.

The only reasonable plan was that of the relief organization.

Drew Pearson details the facts behind the brewing scandal regarding payments made by the aircraft manufacturers to Frank Comfort, former member of the Democratic National Committee, for lobbying on their behalf to reduce their taxes paid on foreign investments. The money had never been deposited in any bank, implying that Mr. Comfort paid it off to politicians instrumental in getting the tax reduction measure passed.

Mr. Pearson also reports of the strained relationship between former Ambassador to France and Russia, William Bullitt, and FDR, after Mr. Bullitt waged a campaign to dislodge Sumner Welles as Undersecretary of State, with an eye toward assuming the position himself. Apparently, the President had some pointedly negative words for his once-favored former Ambassador.

Samuel Grafton examines the strangely ironic results of the most recent Fortune poll of June in which FDR was favored by 51.5% of American voters for 1944 while the other four principal contenders, Willkie, MacArthur, Bricker, and Dewey, garnered but a total of 33.5%. The results were discordant with normative behavior patterns in elections as Roosevelt was already on record as committed to normally unpopular positions: for higher taxes; for the 20% withholding tax; for food subsidies; and for the continuity of the Office of War Information.

The Republicans, on the other hand, were in search of a magic number. It was not 634-5789, but rather 6-4-3: six children had Governor Earl Warren; four stars had General MacArthur; and three terms as Governor of Ohio had John W. Bricker.

Dorothy Thompson turns against the Cassandras on the domestic scene in the United States, those predicting the inevitability of another major war after World War II. They included General Patton who had written the young brother of a deceased soldier that he would be able to fight in some future war for America, Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox, who warned against the illusion that the present war would be the last, "Victory Through Air Power" author and advocate Major Alexander de Seversky, who believed that air power would turn the next war less bloody but full of chaos, and Republican Senator Owen Brewster of Maine, who believed that a war might erupt with Great Britain in the area of the Persian Gulf should there not be a more equitable distribution of oil reserves presently controlled by Britain. A war with Russia might erupt in the same area over access to a warm water route from the south.

"So we could have a wonderful war bound to embrace the whole world, or lay the foundations for World War No. 4. That would be fine because by then, we will have perfected atomic disintegration, and can blow the human race off the earth, and give the globe a final, lasting peace."

We don't know who was playing the greater Cassandra, but Ms Thompson gets the prize, however sardonically stated, for accuracy.

She concludes, however: "I don't believe these prophets. I don't believe we are going to fight over Persian oil, nor even over air transport."

And the German Fleet attacked Pearl Harbor, September 7, 1941. It's Christmas…

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