Saturday, November 20, 1943

The Charlotte News

Saturday, November 20, 1943


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in the face of a German counter-offensive in Russia from the Pinsk Marshes southward to the middle Dneiper at Cherkasi, the Red Army was reeling backward, forced to give up Zhitomir, captured just a few days earlier, in the worst setback of the 1943 campaign. The Nazis had also attacked at Korosten, also recently taken by the Russians. Kiev, for now, was safe.

Meanwhile, it was reported from Switzerland that fully half of the seven divisions of Rumanian troops fighting in the Crimea were being evacuated.

Despite bad weather and heavy resistance in Italy along the German winter line, both the Fifth Army and the Eighth Army were once again on the move and had gained ground. The Eighth Army captured Perano above the Sangro River valley. The Fifth Army gained ground north of their newly-won positions at Venafro.

The RAF attacked Leverkusen in Germany the night before, location of a factory which made components for poison gas, though not the finished product.

The estimated number of heavy bombers involved in the record raid of the previous night on Berlin and Ludwigshafen was increased from seven hundred to a thousand, dropping 2,500 long tons of bombs.

In the Pacific, the Allies began their sixth successive day of bombing raids on the Marshall and Gilbert islands, thus far without the loss of a single man or plane, testament to the air superiority now held in the Southwest Pacific by the Allies. Ninety tons of bombs were dropped on Nauru, a third of the way between the Marshall-Gilbert group and the Solomons.

The aggressive operations had caused the Japanese to withdraw substantial troops from North China and Manchukuo to shore up their inner positions in the home islands.

Turkey appeared to have abandoned its neutrality and had swung to aiding the Allies in a non-belligerent role.

A blast in the Soho district of London, breaking windows over an area extending 400 yards, caused rumors to resume that the Germans had managed to construct a secret weapon, one which effected such blasts without setting off air raid sirens or producing audible sound in advance of its explosion--perhaps, a radio-controlled glider bomb, a long-range rocket gun, or a Junker plane capable of flying and dropping bombs from within the stratosphere.

It appeared, however, that the origin of the blast was far more mundane, the result of a faulty gas main.

The supposed secret weapons, despite their enigmatic qualities, could nevertheless still be heard on approach and would leave behind evidence of their source.

Rumors came out of France that, amid arrests of Cabinet members, Marshal Petain had tendered his resignation as Chief of Staff of the Vichy Government, in the wake of the Nazi interdiction of Petainís attempts to re-establish the Republic with a new constitution.

In London, a man emerged from a three-foot by eleven-foot coffin-like box beneath the parlor of his girlfriend, where he had been stowed to avoid service in the French Army from which he had deserted. He was returned to the Army to face charges of desertion and the woman was given a month in jail for aiding desertion.

Another example of the Tell-Tale Heart.

Also in London, Sir Oswald Mosley, dedicated BUF'er, who had been interned with his wife, Diana Mitford of Asthall Manor, for three and a half years in what was described as a "luxury flat" within Holloway Prison, was, along with his wife, released, apparently for health reasons.

Another example of the Tell-Tale Heart.

On the editorial page, "Army Refund" finds the return of 13 billion dollars by the Army to the Budget Office a remarkable event, signaling a turning of the tide in the war, that the Army had determined that it possessed all the equipment and manpower it needed to win the war.

"The Subsidy" agrees with the Administration that food subsidies were necessary to prevent inflation and that the Congress was wrong in its effort to defeat them with the anti-subsidy bill.

"The Checkup" reviews an address by Wendell Willkie in which he expressed approval of the Moscow Declarations but warned that without inclusion by the four signatory powers of the smaller nations among the United Nations, the unity thus achieved could fall apart, leading to another war. Space must also be made in the new organization of nations for surrendering nations of the Axis. China, Russia, the United States, and Great Britain were not to be the exclusive governing powers of the post-war world, he asserted, lest problems arise from such status. The editorial agrees.

"Dog War" once again tackles the problem of dogs turning up around Charlotte dead from gunshot wounds, some 3,000 since April. But leash laws had become so strict, says the piece, as to be absurd.

"Who's Dan?" relates a story told by Drew Pearson of Cordell Hull flying to Moscow over the Holy Land and recalling the names of the various towns from the Bible. "Where's Dan," he asked. Someone in his entourage answered, with another question.

How about some Beer, Sheba?

Samuel Grafton points out the paradox in the positions of The New York Times, revealing on the one hand that fifteen million workers were not union members and had not therefore obtained the large wage increases which union members had acquired, while on the other, editorializing in favor of the national sales tax, regressive as it would be in its mode of taxation. The newspaper with all the news fit to print was also, equally paradoxically, against food subsidies on the premise that not having subsidies would keep costs of living down.

Another group of citizens, comprising one-fourth of the population, were on fixed incomes, including personnel of the Army and Navy, school teachers, firemen, policemen, retirees on small pensions, and those living on investments and inheritance. Efforts to adjust these wages based on increases in costs of living, also suggested by The Times, could not entirely be accomplished at the Federal level.

Raymond Clapper equates with General Jonathan Wainwright's stand the previous year on Bataan the intention by Congress to override Judge Fred Vinson's grant of a limited wage increase to railroad workers by giving them a larger increase. Judge Vinson would lose the good fight to Congress, says Mr. Clapper. And by the action, Congress would stimulate other workers and other industries to follow suit to seek higher prices and wages. The oil industry was already lobbying for higher prices.

Dorothy Thompson looks ahead to the coming conference between FDR, Churchill, and Stalin, to start November 28 at Tehran. Questions left unresolved at the Moscow Conference of foreign ministers inevitably would need be discussed at this conference of the primary leaders. Among those thorny issues was the treatment of Germany after unconditional surrender. It was important to formulate a policy of which the Germans could be aware so that they would know what they faced upon surrender. In addition, the inherent problems with de-industrialization of Germany had to be resolved. For de-industrialization would negatively impact Russia by depriving it of payments of reparations in kind from German industry after the war. Moreover, the proposed concept of a military occupation government of Germany by the British and Americans would have to be discussed as, no doubt, Russia would not be amenable to such an endeavor without its own inclusion, in a land so close to its borders.

Drew Pearson reports of Republican Senator Alexander Wiley of Wisconsin commenting favorably on Cordell Hull's report to the Congress on the Moscow Conference. But Senator Wiley had tempered his praise with the reservation that Mr. Hull's cooperation with Congress had come three years too late. If, continued Senator Wiley, the Secretary of State had come before Congress in early 1941 after Ambassador to Japan Joseph Grew had warned him of the potential for attack at Pearl Harbor, he might have convinced the Congress to authorize more money for defenses in the Pacific, thus avoiding the war there.

Of course, amid isolationist and America First rhetoric abounding throughout the country, it was a struggle at the time just to get Congress to approve Lend-Lease, accomplished in March, 1941. There was at one point in 1939 a recommendation to fortify Guam, turned down by Congress until the authorization of 242 million dollars for the purpose by the House in February, 1941, (later reduced to 4.7 million before being signed into law in March), something which only stimulated the thrust against the U.S. and British by the Japanese in any event. And, by September of 1941, everyone generally in the press and public assumed that an attack by the Japanese was nigh somewhere, probably to occur against the Philippines. Yet, no money was earmarked for use in the Philippines to provide General MacArthur's troops proper air defense. Both Guam and the Philippines were also attacked by the Japanese on December 7-8, 1941.

Senator Wiley's post hoc ergo propter hoc reasoning, notwithstanding its partisan motive, in the abstract sounds much more salutary than when placed in the light of the actual history of the time, especially since no Secretary of State had ever spoken before Congress until Mr. Hull's address on the Moscow Conference.

Mr. Pearson also looks at the price ceilings on hogs versus corn--back to the corn-hog ratio.

Another example of the Tell-Tale Heart.

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