Monday, November 8, 1943

The Charlotte News

Monday, November 8, 1943


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Red Army, moving at a pace of 24 miles per day, had taken a key rail junction at Fastov, southwest of captured Kiev, cutting off Germans in the northern Ukraine from those still fighting in the vicinity of Krivoi Rog. Fastov was 250 miles from the Rumanian border. Other Russian contingents had moved to within 50 miles of Rumania.

On the central front, the Russians had penetrated to within 45 miles of the Latvian border.

In especially rough country in the central area of the Allied front, the Fifth Army in Italy drove forward one mile to capture Calabritto. The Army also gained several miles beyond captured Isernia, along the road from Foggia to Rome through the Abruzzi Mountains.

Explosions observed in the important port of Gaeta, 70 miles south of Rome, indicated that the Nazis were in the process of evacuating the city. That plus the false propaganda broadcast on Friday from Germany that Allied planes had attacked Vatican City in Rome were viewed by observers as signs of increasing Nazi frustration and resulting efforts to bolster waning morale at home.

The Eighth Army, still encountering tough resistance on the Adriatic coast, advanced five miles to take the entire length of the Sinello River, moving to within seven miles of the Sangro River, the Germans' next natural line of defense.

From the Pacific came the news that since Friday the Allies had sunk probably twelve Japanese warships in the Bismarck Sea in the vicinity of Rabaul on New Britain, as the Japanese sought to bring in supplies from Truk.

Indicative of the heavy losses suffered by the Japanese navy and air force since the Marines had landed on Bougainville a week earlier, there was a loud lull in the fighting in the area of Bougainville, the Japanese having been decimated of virtually all the forces they had to muster from Rabaul into the fighting at Empress Augusta Bay on Bougainville.

Gunnar Kumlien, in the first of a four-part series of articles, tells of a guerilla "ghost army" in Italy south of Rome, hiding in the forests of the Abruzzi Mountains and assisting the Allies in sabotage against the Germans. The army, making their way south to join the Allies, consisted of former Italian, Indian, and American prisoners who had escaped German prison camps at the time of the Italian armistice. Their presence in the forests, where they lived in earthen caves and beneath huts made of sticks, kept the Germans on the roads and out of the wooded areas. Even though the “ghost army” had no weapons, they spooked the Nazis.

Hal Boyle relates of Private John Welsh III, editor of the "Mail Call" and "Pup Tent Poets" columns of Stars and Stripes, the Army newspaper. Private Welsh had left Harvard three years earlier to join the Army and in the meantime had given up both an officer's commission and the rank of sergeant in the Air Corps to remain a private. He wanted, he said, to remain a "professional private", the best rank in the Army.

Among his editorial tasks, he enjoyed most deciding which submitted G.I. poems to publish. Most were rejected. There was far more quantity than quality among the would-be soldier-poets. No great poem had come out of the North African campaign, but he believed that the Italian campaign would render some fine poetry as the emotion aroused from fighting bloodier battles was likely to inspire it.

The problem with his job was having to reject poems, which usually prompted a vitriolic letter from the forlorn aspiring Keats or Byron.

Private Welsh stayed busier than an "armless man with fleas", reports Mr. Boyle. Most of the letters from rejected poets, appropriately enough, therefore began, "You Louse!"

On the domestic front, the imprimaturs of a specially appointed presidential commission and of Fred Vinson, Director of the Office of Economic Stabilization, for a wage increase to railroad workers of from four to ten cents per hour was rejected by both George Harrison of the Brotherhood of Railway Clerks and by B.M. Jewell, chairman of the rail employees wage conference committee. The railway workers had originally sought a 20-cent increase. An award of 8 cents had been granted earlier by the presidential commission and had been accepted by the carriers. But that hike had been vetoed by Judge Vinson. The railway workers were now busy trying to obtain enforcement from Congress of the previously authorized 8-cent raise.

And from London came reports that bets were being made that the war in Europe would soon end. A broker at Lloyd's of London set the odds at four to one against peace by Christmas and three to one against the appearance of the dove by February. He said that he was being bullish.

If one had a business which required war insurance, the odds set the premium.

Everyone from the local barber who happened to cut the hair of someone in military intelligence to friends of government employees were providing hearsay accounts of when the war might end.

On the editorial page, "Huzzah! That's Our Bob!" finds The News editorial column returning to old form after recently finding something about which to praise Senator Robert Rice Reynolds. For now he had turned up one of five Senators, along with Senators Hiram Johnson of California, Henrik Shipstead of Minnesota, Burton Wheeler of Montana, and William Langer of North Dakota, who had cast a vote against approving the Moscow Agreements of the previous week.

The editorial describes the vote as nothing less than an act favoring the Axis. It recalls the language of Senator Reynolds in February, 1939 to the German newspaper Voelkischer Beobachter, wherein he had said that America should not fight for the democracies of Europe, "imperialistic Britain and communistic France", nor for the Jews anywhere in the world.

The piece concludes that Bob was not just one of five but rather one of a kind.

"Gerald Johnson Leaves Us" laments the departure of Gerald Johnson from his post on the editorial staff of The Baltimore Sun, impelled by a desire to spend more time writing books and magazine articles. The piece describes him as "one of the leading liberal minds of the profession for almost twenty years."

Mr. Johnson, a graduate of Wake Forest, had been a friend to W. J. Cash, often providing Cash a place to stay on his trips from North Carolina to New York City and back to see Alfred and Blanche Knopf during the 11 years Cash was writing The Mind of the South for the publishing house. Mr. Johnson lived until 1980.

"France Casts the First Stone" finds the French Committee of Liberation a petulant spurned suitor protesting too much in rejecting the Moscow Agreements. The reason offered was that France was not represented at the conference and thus had declared its intent not to recognize or abide by the agreements.

The editorial finds it entirely proper that France was left out of the meeting as it had been reserved for the primary military and economic powers of the world at the time, the U.S., Russia, Great Britain, and China. France could not claim a place among such impressive company at this juncture of history.

The piece predicts that France would not be alone among smaller powers in its objections thusly to the esults of the conference and that others likely would share a fear with the French that they might be left out of future such gatherings. And because of that infectious tendency, it suggests, the promulgation of the French objections, while not substantive regarding the contents of the agreement, was nevertheless material.

Raymond Clapper applauds the Senate’s near unanimous approval of the Moscow Agreements, finds it pre-emptive of further German propaganda trying to divide the Allies, and taking from the table the issue of partisan wrangling over its terms in the upcoming election year. He concludes that the vote might very well shorten the war.

Samuel Grafton wonders why the President's address on the previous Monday, plumping for food subsidies, had received no response from either side of the issue, only stone-cold silence. Previous copper subsidies had worked; so had subsidies on meat and butter, allowing a lowering of the cost of living during wartime. But no one now would come out and argue the points regarding food subsidies on either side. The President had contended that 800 million dollars in food subsidies would save consumers billions. Yet, there was no chorus of yeas or nays.

Mr. Grafton similarly wonders why the isolationist press, having complained of the amount of beef shipped abroad during the summer, had not printed a story breathing a sigh of relief at the President's announcement that 90 of 99 million dollars worth of beef shipped to the Allies under Lend-Lease had been returned to the United States from Australia and New Zealand.

He asks plaintively for someone to say something, anything.

Drew Pearson reports that two effects observed around the White House resulting from the off-year elections in which Republicans dominated were that presidential advisers were busier than ever promoting FDR as the only man fit to lead the country in 1945, and that FDR, himself, was, per his usual course, saying little about a fourth term, but, to confidantes, leaning against it.

FDR had been quoted as saying, "We're behind." Concludes Mr. Pearson, he would not make up his mind on whether to run a fourth time until the following June and if then he still believed he was behind, no one could convince him to run.

Mr. Pearson indicates that moderate Democrats were favoring a candidacy of General George C. Marshall, should FDR choose not to run.

Meanwhile, some conservative Republicans in New York had decided that the country was swinging right and therefore were ready to put forth the candidacy of Jim Wadsworth whose track record as a New York Senator and Congressman once included opposition to woman's suffrage.

The elephant, as portrayed by Dorman Smith, could see all the future ahead before the nation could even remember it.

Mr. Pearson also reports that when wheat for food consumption was already scarce, distillers were forced to use wheat to make industrial alcohol for the war effort. They normally used molasses but shipments of molasses from Puerto Rico and Cuba had been severely curtailed by the fact that the two countries were using their own molasses instead to manufacture gin for the U.S. market, shipped from Havana to Miami aboard tramp steamers.

U.S. officials were seeking from Cuba molasses--not chicks, molasses.

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