Friday, November 26, 1943

The Charlotte News

Friday, November 26, 1943


Site Ed. Note: The front page, continued on the inside page, reports the fall of Gomel to the Red Army, held by the Germans since August, 1941. Gomel was the last important German stronghold east of the Dneiper River and served as rail junction for five key rail lines, including one to Moscow, one to Leningrad, and two into Poland. German communiqués, admitting German evacuation of the city, claimed that the vital infrastructure of Gomel had been destroyed prior to evacuation.

The Germans appeared to be faltering in their counter-offensive of thirteen days duration in the area west of Kiev, as General Nikolai Vatutin's forces were standing firm.

In Italy, the fighting on Thanksgiving had been limited, with minor skirmishes involving elements of the Fifth Army and the Eighth Army, though encountering heavy resistance, solidifying and gaining some new positions in the heights.

After a week off, the American Eighth Air Force conducted a daylight raid over unspecified targets, thought to include Bremen, in northwest Germany. The RAF meanwhile conducted a fourth straight night raid on Berlin, again, as on the previous night, using Mosquito bombers. The RAF also hit Frankfurt and Offenbach. Thirteen British bombers failed to return, compared to 44 the last time Frankfurt was struck, on October 22. Berlin had been bombed now twenty out of twenty-five nights thus far during November.

Reports via Stockholm from eyewitness observers attested that a fourth of Berlin had been destroyed by the record-setting raids by the RAF on Monday and Tuesday. Most of the destruction had occurred in the central government district. Relatively few casualties were reported, compared to the 50,000 killed in the August raids on Hamburg. The reason given was that Berlin streets were so wide that they afforded people easy avenues of escape from the falling bombs.

Other reports declared that thousands of Berliners were fleeing the city, defying orders of the Nazis to remain until alternative locations could be designated. A traveler reported that 3,000 German men, women, and children who were suffering from shell-shock or were badly wounded were arrested by the Nazis and then shot.

In the Pacific, Admiral Nimitz declared that few of the 5,000 Japanese who had occupied the Gilbert Islands remained alive. The airbases in the Gilberts now were being fast repaired to serve as staging grounds for attacks on the more heavily defended Marshall Islands.

An outnumbered American destroyer force meanwhile sunk four of six Japanese destroyers ninety miles southeast of Rabaul, apparently seeking to evacuate men from Buka on Bougainville. A fifth destroyer was severely damaged and possibly sunk. A sixth was hit and escaped into the darkness. None of the American ships were hit.

Twenty-nine Allied planes were reported by Tokyo radio to have attacked Shinchiku on Japanese-held Formosa, just 650 miles from the mainland of Japan. Speculation ran that the origin of the flights was in China. If the report was true, it was the first raid on Formosa since the attack at Pearl Harbor.

Hal Boyle tells of the Fighting 45th Infantry Division, now fighting in Italy, which had made its mark under General Patton in Sicily, capturing a thousand square miles of territory in just three weeks and becoming the first division to break through to the north coast of Sicily, cutting the island in half, capturing in the process 6,000 Italian and German prisoners.

The Germans particularly dreaded the 45th for its Native American members who the Nazis believed were cannibals. One Native American sergeant, exploiting the fear, pointed to his mouth each time he encountered fresh German prisoners.

A piece on an inside page tells more of the back-story on the failure of the Army to release for three months the news of General Patton slapping the private in Sicily on August 10. The Army censors had approved release of the story but General Eisenhower had suggested to the reporters that printing it would potentially provide psychological aid to the enemy. The reporters thus voluntarily withheld the story. Word of mouth, however, spread, eventually reaching Drew Pearson. After clearance from both the censors and the War Department, Mr. Pearson made the announcement on his Sunday broadcast. The report criticizes the Army for not being forthcoming with the story on its own.

A piece on another inside page provides a brief biographical sketch of J. Edgar Hoover, finding him a pleasing gentleman who appreciated art, apt on a given day to be found browsing an art museum, and who had not yet taken a wife despite "500 chickadees" being after him. Ah, yes.

Whether he found particular interest in the works of Hieronymus Bosch was not indicated.

And in Marietta, Georgia, the "50-plus" widow of Confederate General James Longstreet offered herself for employment in a bomber factory operated by Bell.

On the editorial page, "Evangelist", though acknowledging initially its less than enthusiastic support generally for Eleanor Roosevelt, endorses her campaign to convince the American housewife that the banning of food subsidies by Congress would create rapid inflation. The First Lady had provided in her November 23 "My Day" column a list of certain stock foods and the amount by which each could be expected to rise by January should the pending anti-subsidy bill pass.

Dorman Smith quickly showed how the spiral of inflation works: from the wages of sin demanded by the miners to shoes. No doubt, daggers, pails, and umbrellas were in the mix as well, not to forget ships and sealing wax.

"Skulker" suggests that Hitler should not have needed the air raid shelter into which he crept Monday night. His mastery of the universe and sense of intuition should have enabled him to avoid bombs with ease from up top. Yet, he retreated. Soon, predicts the piece, if the bombs didn't get him first, another means of death would.

"Our Cars" examines the changing demographics with respect to automobile ownership in wartime. The war industries had caused many auto owners to migrate from Western to Eastern North Carolina. There were now 6.8 North Carolinians per car. Over half the cars in operation were over six years old. The older cars belonged to the farmers.

"Three Cases" reviews three decisions by the North Carolina Supreme Court: upholding the City of Charlotte in its dedication of land for a park for African-Americans, the first in the city, notwithstanding the complaints of adjoining property owners that the park would lower property values; the decision also to uphold Charlotte in denying parking privileges of right to taxicabs in the downtown area; and the decision to grant a gallon of liquor per person even in dry counties, despite a state law which had purported to authorize liquor consumption by local rule.

The latter decision, the piece finds ironic, for there was no liquor to be had in any event.

Those wishing to get drunk, such as the losing property owners next to the new park, would have to do so only academically.

A re-printed editorial from The Richmond Times-Dispatch advocates the abolition of segregation in the bus and streetcar lines of Virginia. It ventures that such a course would be a conservative one, avoiding the necessity of Southern black leaders to resort to radical Northern black leaders in seeking to effect such changes.

Drew Pearson provides the inside story on John W. Bricker's chances for the Republican nomination, stating that even in his native Ohio, where he was a popular three-term governor, he was only nominally favored, while Republicans preferred Ohioan Robert Taft. It was unlikely, thought Republicans, that Governor Bricker could carry Akron against Wendell Willkie.

Mr. Pearson also relates of the Army’s blunder, revealed by the Truman Committee, in sending aloft barrage balloons over the shipyards, aircraft factories, and other war industries in Seattle and Los Angeles. By doing so in specific areas only, the Army had given Japanese kamikaze raiders a handy map for hitting selected targets. Not wishing embarrassment, the War Department directed the Army to remove them.

Raymond Clapper informs of labor unrest which he personally witnessed stirring at the Mesta Machine Works in Pittsburgh, manufacturers of drive shafts for Navy cruisers and big guns for the Army and Navy. Seventy-five crane operators had gone on strike anent a petty grievance regarding Sunday work, causing the entire plant of 4,500 to become idle for want of ability to move parts. The workers on duty were playing horseshoes.

The type of minor strike shutting down whole plants had occurred previously, says Mr. Clapper. He thinks it stupid for a handful of workers to be able to shut down a whole plant for a day or two over some minor issue and thereby, however unintentionally, aid Hitler in the war effort.

Samuel Grafton comments on three events in a week suggestive of Allied softness in seeking to eradicate Fascism from the world: Marshal Petain had denounced Pierre Laval and come out for a new French constitution, seeking to insulate himself from Allied post-war retribution for the sell-out of France to the Nazis in 1940; Sir Oswald Mosley, BUF'er, was released from prison for phlebitis in one leg; and Senator Gerald Nye had declared in a speech, delivered simultaneously with Cordell Hull's report to the Congress on the successful Moscow Conference, that Fascism should not be banned from the world and that no international organization could lawfully prevent sovereign nations from declaring war when their people saw fit to do so.

The Allies needed to toughen their stand in relation to release of known Fascists such as Mosley in order to have any bona fide cloak of legitimacy at the end of the war when time came to try and punish Fascists in Germany. Instead, Fascism, laying moribund on the ground, bleeding to death, was seeking to resurrect itself, and the Allies were not only not resisting the effort but were even assisting in the resurrection.

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