Thursday, November 4, 1943

The Charlotte News

Thursday, November 4, 1943


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Eighth Army, after a seven-mile advance, had captured Isernia, bringing it to within 90 miles of Rome. Isernia had provided the central connection point in the only road between the eastern and western parts of the German Massico line. The next such highway link lay 60 miles north.

The Eighth Army also established further bridgeheads across the Trigno River, but encountered and withstood a significant German counter-offensive consisting of at least 20 Mark IV tanks at the initially established bridgehead at San Salvo.

The Fifth Army to the west, after gains of from five to eight miles, solidified its hold on Mt. Massico and captured San Croce, bringing it to within 85 miles of Rome along the Appian Way. The action placed the Fifth Army astride the coastal road to Rome above Sessa Arunca. Northwest of San Croce, the Army took Presenzano, considered another prize, seven miles south of the communications center at Venafro.

The combined operations of the two armies played considerable havoc with the German defensive line through the mountains, forcing the Germans to retreat into the Garigliano Valley.

Secretary of War Henry Stimson announced that through October 29, American casualties in the Mediterranean theater of operations since action began November 8-9, 1942 with the landings at Morocco and Algeria, totaled 31,128, including 5,539 killed, 17,621 wounded, and 7,966 missing. The British had suffered higher casualties and the French smaller numbers, the total for the three nations having reached around 100,000.

Estimates of enemy losses for the same period were placed by the Secretary at 40,000 killed and 90,000 wounded, with 468,955 having been taken prisoner, making total Axis casualties to date in the Mediterranean action 600,000, six times more than that for the Allies.

Hal Boyle begins to look back at the year of fighting in the Mediterranean, during which time he accompanied the American ground troops and, himself, was almost killed on one occasion. He tells of the realities of war, that the front had no fun in it as was sometimes sought to be portrayed in myth created for home consumption. Most of the soldiers, he said, did not exhibit warm feelings toward sentimental expressions of patriotism, were given to hoot at American films which displayed such treacle. It was, suggests Mr. Boyle, one of the healthiest signs within the Army.

The people at home had become complacent because all they had been fed in the news for months was the sugar-coated part of the war story. The gruesome details of battle had not been disclosed for censorship. The gruesome details were thought bad for morale. But the generals now understood that complacency was a far more sinister enemy to the war effort than transiently diminished morale from learning the truth of the horrors of war.

The conspiracy to withhold the facts worked both ways: the soldiers did not want to disclose to the people back home how bad their lives were; the people back home did not want to complain to soldiers of their own hardships.

From the Pacific, a delayed report of the details of the naval engagement taking place Tuesday at Empress Augusta Bay on Bougainville indicated that American ships, without loss, had driven a force of at least twelve Japanese warships out of the area and back to their base at Rabaul on New Britain. The Japanese admitted that at least one cruiser and two destroyers had been sunk.

General MacArthur's headquarters reported that three destroyers and eight large merchantmen, meantime, had been sunk by bombers intercepting ships at Rabaul, sailed there from Truk to participate in the counter-invasion on Bougainville. A total of twenty-six ships were at least damaged. Combined with the bombing of ships and airfields on Bougainville, the total shipping sunk or destroyed Tuesday was about 100,000 tons.

From Russia, it was reported that Russian pursuers, paced by sword-wielding Cossack cavalrymen, had forced the German lines into disarray as the Wehrmacht fled across the Nogaisk steppes in the Ukraine toward the Bug River. The Russians were advancing close to Kherson on the Black Sea, in the area of which the number of German dead was reported in Russian communiqués to be especially high as they had attempted to ford the Dneiper River to the west.

A heavy RAF raid took place the previous night on Dusseldorf, wreaking havoc in the industrial center. A smaller diversionary raid took place also on Cologne. Nineteen British bombers failed to return from the raid. The target of the largest American raid yet on Germany the previous day was disclosed as Wilhelmshaven.

An agreement was finally reached between the Government and the UMW granting a wage increase to striking coal miners, promising an end to the strike, in full force since Monday. Secretary of Interior Harold Ickes indicated that the wage increase would necessitate an increase in the price of coal to consumers by 15 to 45 cents per ton, a price increase he would recommend to the Office of Price Administration.

And, a Swedish publication reported that Russia was sending beautiful and intelligent Russian women behind German lines to spy. They arrived by parachute and were equipped, among other things wireless, with radios.

On the editorial page, "War Chest" complains of lagging contributions in Charlotte to the War Chest fund, less than in previous years. It exhorts the populace to understand that the war was far from won, that it was still necessary to dig into their pockets, and other places private, and provide financial support for the effort abroad.

"Coal Victory" asserts that while the settlement of the strike by giving into the miners may have been in the abstract an admirable resolution, as the coal miners were not the profiteers during the war, the President, by acquiescing to their demands, had created enormous resentment in the greater part of the work force who could not obtain a wage increase because of government strictures. The result would cause the Smith-Connally anti-strike legislation to appear as a cipher, suggests the piece, would no doubt ripple through the economy to spawn other strikes aiming to achieve better wages and hours. The people would assume that the President had never been serious about curbing the demands of Labor during wartime.

The net effect, concludes the piece, was that the President had lost further favor with the American people, already upset with his performance in recent times.

Would it spell the end of the Roosevelt era in 1944, even though Thomas Dewey flatly had declared he would not run for the Republican nomination?

Would it be President Willkie taking the oath on January 20, 1945?

Stay tuned.

"Today's Poet" reprints with approbation an ode to "Private Enterprise" by Benjamin DeCasseres, as originally set forth in the New York Journal-American.

But today, isn't it the case, that through the macro-mismanagement of such large corporations as General Motors, Private Enterprise, and for some 35 years, has been colliding with Major Difficulty, to the point where the Private is all but finished in an era where Greed finally fully replaced Creativity and Industry within the ranks of American Know-how?

And the Senate Minority Leader of the Republicans now tells you that the Republican agenda for the next two years will be to defeat President Obama, not to get the country back to work and on the right track, not to encourage Private Enterprise but to continue General Disorder. For to do the former would mean no more Republican presidents for awhile.

They would rather discuss that which amount to trivialities to the vast majority of the people, beating the dead horse of abortion rights, seeking to amend the Constitution to ban flag burning--upheld by an opinion of a conservative Supreme Court, delivered by its most conservative member, Antonin Scalia--baiting immigrants, baiting gays, destroying the health care plan just enacted earlier this year before it even gets up and running.

They do not want to discuss the major issues of the times: unemployment, which their policies largely created, global warming, and lowering of American dependence on oil, not just foreign oil, but oil generally. For that would do damage to their corporate funding for 2012.

When they talk about the economy, incredibly they talk about the government bail-out and seek to lay the blame for that at the feet of the Democrats. But the supreme fallacy in their argument is that it was a Republican president in the fall of 2008 who called an emergency meeting of congressional leaders and the Cabinet to relate the need for the government bail-out. Yet, the average uninformed lunatic who votes for them seems not to understand that simple fact, insists on the talk-radio line that the bail-out is the brainchild of President Obama and the Democrats. They would rather follow corporate imagery than reality.

Raymond Clapper expresses the hope that from the new foreign policy of the United States embodied in the Moscow agreement would come the means by which war of the type waged by Germany twice in twenty years could be obviated for future generations. For it provided the means for the Allies to remain cohesive after the war and to maintain within their possession the bulk of the weaponry, taking from the gangster nations the means of war and placing them instead in the hands of the nations desiring peace. Pending the establishment of a general security organization, to which the four signatory nations, the U.S., Britain, Russia, and China, had pledged commitment to establish, the four had promised their military forces to maintain peace in the world. They had also agreed not to become unilateral aggressors in the affairs of other nations and to regulate after the war the proliferation of arms.

Mr. Clapper finds evidence of Russia's good faith in the pact by signing it with China, thereby risking retaliatory response from Japan with whom Russia had a mutual non-aggression pact.

Samuel Grafton finds himself first in agreement generally with Senator Richard Russell of Georgia for his call for the United States to develop a foreign policy, but then as quickly turns to criticize the Senator for the proposed moves which he purports to call a foreign policy, instead, says Mr. Grafton, amounting only to the same sort of "tub-thumping" in which Hitler had engaged Germany for a decade.

Instead of a foreign policy, by definition a policy to cultivate foreign friends and isolate foreign enemies, the proposals by Senator Russell, to demand from France as repayment of war debts the island of New Caledonia as a permanent possession of the United States and to demand unilateral American rights in airbases around the world, some of which were on land owned by Britain, would only have the tendency to alienate friends and unite them potentially as enemies of the United States, the converse of an effective foreign policy.

Moreover, in the case of New Caledonia, it was already being used by the U.S., and thus to demand permanent possession of it after the war was a superfluity.

The problem with the foreign policy with respect to France, says Mr. Grafton, was the grudging nature of the State Department's recognition of the preferred leadership by the Free French of Charles De Gaulle and the French Underground. To exacerbate that problem by now demanding New Caledonia could not help but create lasting hostilities with the French. The Senator's proposal for a foreign policy would only lead to isolation and further war.

Drew Pearson reports that the verbiage resulting from a dispute erupting on the Senate floor between Senator Tom Connally and Senator Claude Pepper, regarding the wording of the Connally Resolution on U.S. membership in the United Nations, had been proposed by Senator Connally to be stricken from the Congressional Record. Senator Pepper, after reading through it, decided he wanted to leave it. The exchange remained, unexpurgated, save for the change of Senator Connally's words "ain't so" to "isn't so".

He further chronicles a growing dispute between the medical establishment, counseling that the nationís health had not been harmed by the absence of so much sugar from the diet during the war, and the sugar manufacturers who asserted that the doctors were in conspiracy to destroy their business after the war.

In any event, this may have eventually won out over that.

Mr. Pearson concludes with another dispute, this one occurring during testimony before the Agriculture Committee of the House between Mayor LaGuardia and one of his former House colleagues regarding whether the Mayor's previous position taken in 1931 while in the House was in support of regulation of oleo, in defiance of his present stand in testimony before the Agriculture Committee against a tax on oleo. The former House colleague presented the record to show the former position, impeaching the Mayor's claim that in fact he had been against the regulation in 1931. Mayor LaGuardia begged to go home and start over.

The Reverend Herbert Spaugh commends to readers a comparison of two poems he favors as contrasting points of view, one by Dorothea Day, "My Captain", which in turn paraphrases the "belligerent and rebellious" "Invictus" from 1875, by William Ernest Henley.

We do not find "Invictus" either belligerent or particularly rebellious; instead, it celebrates the spirit of individualism at work, the triumph of the individual soul over adversity, the last vestige of humanity which no one can take but by one's own allowance, the spirit which, as suggested in "Private Enterprise", gave the United States both its tolerance for diversity and its elan vital.

Jews, we suggest, confined to concentration camps by the Nazis during the war, were obviously not spirited by a belief in Christ. Rather, they maintained themselves collectively, to the extent fate and circumstance dictated by the Nazis would humanly allow, by reliance each day on the maintenance of their individual souls and by their own faith in the deity, combined with the basic human instinct for survival.

Nor have many of them and their children and grandchildren yet found in their hearts any spirit of forgiveness for their Nazi captors. Nor, we suggest, should they. For it was part of the Nazi will that the faith of the Jew be tested supremely and, by that test, conquered ultimately with Death. The result to the Nazis for seeking to implement such a self-fulfilling prophecy was made manifest in 1945.

We give you the two poems, starting with "Invictus", for your own comparison:

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul

Out of the night that dazzles me,
Bright as the sun from pole to pole,
I thank the God I know to be
For Christ the conqueror of my soul.

Since His the sway of circumstance,
I would not wince nor cry aloud.
Under that rule which men call chance
My head with joy is humbly bowed.

Beyond this place of sin and tears
That life with Him! And His the aid,
Despite the menace of the years,
Keeps, and shall keep me, unafraid.

I have no fear, though strait the gate,
He cleared from punishment the scroll.
Christ is the Master of my fate,
Christ is the Captain of my soul.

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