Monday, November 29, 1943

The Charlotte News

Monday, November 29, 1943


Site Ed. Note: Rushing headlong into enemy flamethrowers, reports the front page, British, Indian, and New Zealand troops of the Eighth Army launched on Sunday night a new offensive over the Sangro River with the goal of pressing the Germans north of Rome, hitting the eastern anchor of the German winter line through the hills along the Adriatic coast.

West of Venafro, the Fifth Army seized more high ground, while most of its action was limited to artillery duels and patrol activity.

A full-fledged battle was reported being waged between Italians rebelling in Northern Italy, near Lake Maggiore, and the Nazis occupying the region, resulting in hundreds of deaths nightly.

Over the weekend in the Pacific, a Japanese cruiser, the 49th enemy warship sunk during November in the Northern Solomons area, was sunk in St. George Channel between New Britain and New Ireland, while 2,000 enemy troops were reported to have been dispatched by the Army and Marines on Bougainville since November 1, a thousand of whom had been killed during the previous ten days. The Army and Marines had suffered a total of a thousand casualties, including wounded and missing.

In the Panama Canal Zone, an American Liberty ship was torpedoed and sunk by a German U-boat. In addition, an American tanker and a Colombian inter-island schooner, the Ruby, were also sunk by U-boats.

In Russia, the Red Army continued to advance northwest of captured Gomel toward Zhlobin, coming to within twenty miles of the town. Fighting also continued to the west in the Berezina River area and in the marshes and woods of the Pripet River sector. The Germans continued to stage a tank and artillery counter-thrust in the Ukraine in the areas of Korosten, Chernkiskhov, and Brusilov, but no appreciable gains had been made since the re-taking of Zhitomir. Other Russian forces made headway in White Russia in the area between Gomel and below Dnepropetrovsk.

Rumours abounded in the London press that a meeting was underway in North Africa between Stalin, FDR, and Churchill, with the likelihood that the conference would yield a final ultimatum of surrender to Germany, lest an invasion of Western Europe would begin. Chiang Kai-shek was also rumored to be involved in the meeting, along with Eduard Benes, President of the Czech government-in-exile.

Speculation even ran that a German representative might be present to transmit German peace tenders, though that report was considered dubious. Secretary of State Cordell Hull denied the fact of any such overtures, stating that most usually such rumors were spawned by the enemy to encourage overconfidence among the Allies.

In fact, the five-day Cairo Conference between Chiang, FDR, and Churchill had concluded Saturday. On Sunday, Roosevelt and Churchill flew to Tehran for a meeting with Stalin. To preserve the appearance of Russia’s continued neutrality in the Pacific war, to honor the mutual non-aggression pact with Japan, Stalin did not wish to meet with Chiang.

A propaganda agent for Herr Doktor Goebbels wrote in the Europa Press that Berlin might be laid to waste finally by the Allies, that one-third of the city was already destroyed.

But the correspondent also predicted that Germany would strike back with even greater “total war” than that inflicted upon Berlin. Speculation accurately had it that such meant firing from France a big gun or launching a rocket-propelled weapon, both of which had been reported the subject of German experimentation.

As to the latter, the speculation would prove terribly accurate within a year.

During the weekend, after five successive days of bombing, Berlin air raid sirens remained silent, as RAF and American attacks centered on Western Germany and Belgium.

In a speech given to the German people via radio nine days earlier, Adolf Hitler was reported to have stated ominously that the loser in the war would be destroyed mercilessly, that Providence would no longer bestow any advantage on Germany, and that Russia would, if the Allies won, sweep across the European continent and destroy it, the base and source of human culture.

But what was there left to destroy? Hitler had already razed or killed most of it, directly or indirectly.

Eddie Gilmore, among a group of British and American journalists allowed into Kiev, re-captured by the Russians on November 6, relates of the building of temporary bridges by the Russians across the Dneiper to replace those blown and never replaced when the Nazis rolled across it in September, 1941.

He describes the singing Red Army, marching into battle, amid the rumble of American trucks delivering supplies to the front, and the rattle far away in the night of the artillery shells exploding, enabling alas the relatively secure sense that the Red Army had matters under control on the Eastern Front.

On the editorial page, "Trapped!" quotes from the Baltimore Sun two instances in which the Congress had shown itself playing hypocrite. In the first, they had voted themselves an $85,000 food subsidy to keep low the food prices in their cafeteria. But no sooner than they had eaten their 40-cent turkey dinner, the Congressmen proceeded to the floor of the House where they passed the anti-subsidy measure which abolished food subsidies designed to keep food prices low for ordinary consumers.

In the second, despite rationing of newsprint, Congressman John J. Delaney of New York had received from his colleagues in the House on November 23 unanimous consent to extend his remarks into the Congressional Record, whereupon, with a brief introduction, he submitted the entirety of William Cullen Bryant's "Thanatopsis".

"Split-Up?" chronicles the history of Germany since the time of Napoleon and wonders whether, to avoid another war, it should not be carved up substantially more than merely the division from it post-war of Austria, as insured by the Moscow Declarations. Specifically, it suggests that Prussia, the dominating political and military influence in German culture since 1871, should be made a sovereign state, apart from Germany.

"Heavy Blows" takes strength from the fact of the newly successful offensive launched in the Gilbert Islands, bringing the process of interdiction of Japanese supply lines for the South Pacific nearer to fruition, while the relentless strikes on the Reich’s centers of industrial and political power, especially Berlin during the prior week, were taking their toll on enemy morale in Europe. The new gains and offensive efforts in Italy, complemented by the consistent Soviet push during 1943, held promise of further pinning down Hitler’s once proud Wehrmacht by the ensuing spring.

Raymond Clapper urges no conscience with respect to the bombing of Germany and the killing inevitably of thousands on thousands of Germans, young and old alike. It was only payment in kind for the ineffably odious attacks by the Germans on Rotterdam, Warsaw, and other cities of Europe, not to mention the Luftwaffe's 1940-41 blitz of London.

Mr. Clapper commends to readers, as embodying the proper attitude, the song, "Don't Let's Be Beastly to the Germans" by Noel Coward.

He speculates on whether the Allies, however, should not clarify for the sake of the German people, and to counter propaganda issuing from the Reich that the horrors to be suffered by Germans in war would not hold a candle to the atrocities to be inflicted by conquering Allies the first month after surrender, the concept of "unconditional surrender", as demanded by the Allies since the Casablanca Conference in late January, and how it was to be applied practically to the average German civilian and soldier not accused of specific atrocities.

Samuel Grafton considers what might be included and what likely would be excluded from identical planks on foreign policy, if they should be adopted by both the Republicans and Democrats in 1944 as counseled by Cordell Hull.

Tariffs, he suggests, likely would be a subject excluded. And that would leave room for isolationist policy to intrude to exclude foreign trade with disfavored nations. And the candidate so offering such a position could perform the act with a clear conscience, as he could point to the party platform, identical to the opposition, and insist that he was toeing the mark, nothing being stated with particularity re tariffs.

Likewise, the subject of island possessions in the Pacific would likely be omitted from such identical planks, leaving room for Democrats so inclined to continue to argue for grabbing island possessions after the war to maintain bulwark defenses.

Moreover, policy toward Russian post-war possessions, especially the Baltic States, would likely not garner mention in identical platforms. Yet, America's stand on such determinations would portend the future for U.S.-Soviet relations.

Thus, Mr. Grafton concludes, the notion of having identical planks, sounding unified, in fact might muddle foreign policy, permitting the likes of isolationist publisher Robert McCormick to find an umbrella from criticism of his stands on the particulars, shielded by such homogenization of viewpoint on the generalities.

Drew Pearson looks at the controversy brewing in the Senate over Lend-Lease diapers for Arabs in North Africa. It seems that Senator Styles Bridges of New Hampshire had discovered that the equivalent of 690,000 diapers had been shipped to the Free French for distribution to Arabs. The problem was, however, that the Arabs were reported to be utilizing the underwear instead for headwear.

This piece, no doubt, somehow fits with the front page report that Australians had provided more than 916 million dollars worth of reciprocal Lend-Lease aid through the end of August to the United States, with more than 1.16 billion projected by year’s end, at least in terms of its disputing those voices in Congress, such as that of Senator Bridges, calling for tighter controls on Lend-Lease diapers.

Mr. Pearson also reports on the new rubber plant to be built by General Tire & Rubber Company in Waco, Texas, to produce synthetic rubber tires. A hue and cry had been raised against the plant by rubber workers in Akron, protesting that the new plant, along with others proposed to be built in cheaper labor markets of the South--albeit also closer to the manufacturing plants producing the synthetic rubber--would break the wage lock held by the Akron rubber workers.

Originally, rubber czar William Jeffers had agreed and ordered the rubber companies to revise their plans for the venues of their proposed new plants. But since Mr. Jeffers had resigned, it was a different story, with greater latitude given to the tire companies so that they might speed production of badly needed synthetic tires, both for the war and, especially, for the civilian market.

Lastly, Mr. Pearson comments on the release of Japanese-Americans from internment camps established throughout the country in spring, 1942, delivering up in the process 400 skilled seamen whom the War Shipping Administration was seeking to assign to merchant ships. The Navy, however, had balked and was stalling its issuance of a final decision.

Parenthetically, he reconstructs how the Army, through General Somervell, had authorized the construction of the Alaska-Canadian oil pipeline, without the knowledge at the time of Secretary of Interior Harold Ickes. When Secretary Ickes heard about it, he determined that the pipe would be built through mountainous terrain which would freeze it so badly as to congeal the oil; the project was halted.

No one wants gelatinous oil.

General Somervell was able, however, to get the project uncongealed, only now to have the Truman Committee seek once again to put a halter on it.

Because, when the buck stops there in Alaska, the oil can become pretty icky.

Wood or buckhorn? We have both.

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