Tuesday, November 9, 1943

The Charlotte News

Tuesday, November 9, 1943


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Red Army had developed an 80-mile front north and south from Kiev, plunging deep into the Crimea, as Germans fled the area of the Dneiper, evacuating through the Black Sea in Dunquerque fashion.

The Russians had advanced in the central part of the front to within 115 miles of Poland and 140 miles of Rumania. Further north in the Nevel sector, the Russians were on the outskirts of Poltsk, only twenty miles from the Polish border.

It was reported that as the Germans had fled Kiev, they ransacked the city, leaving it in virtual ruins.

In Italy, the Eighth Army made advances on the Adriatic coast, taking the heights at Torino di Sangro, less than two miles from the Sangro River, the eastern anchor of the Nazi winter defense line. That line extended westward across the Apennines to Mignano, where the Nazis were attempting to halt the American drive to Cassino along the road to Rome, and then west through the Aurunci and Garigliano Mountains. This line was under attack in several places by the Fifth and Eighth armies.

In the Pacific, aerial photographs showed 25 Japanese warships stuck in Rabaul Harbor, trying to escape while at the mercy of Allied bombers.

Despite the addition of phosphorous bombs, appearing as tentacled octopi when first exploded, to the Japanese arsenal at Rabaul, the defenders were nevertheless being decimated, losing 63 planes just in the previous two days in the vicinity of Rapopo Airdrome, 800 during the previous month.

Prime Minister Churchill gave praise to the Moscow Agreements but warned that 1944 would see the greatest sacrifice yet of Americans and British lives in the war save some intervening miracle. The war would not be won in 1943, he declared, despite potentially mortal blows having been struck at Germany through the air war.

He also reaffirmed that he would not preside over the dissolution of the British Empire, as stated previously at the outset of the North African Campaign in November, 1942. It was “no time for those who have practical war work to do to dream of a brave new world.”

Speculation ran in London that the spring thaw for Russia, during which time there was typically a lull in fighting between April and June, would be the worst time to launch a second front into France from Great Britain. Thus, it was thought that the Channel crossing might be on the immediate horizon or at least before April, to take advantage of the Russian momentum, creating a two-front war simultaneously for the Germans.

Conventional wisdom had it that after the thaw would be too late.

Whether the report was put forth deliberately to confuse the Germans or genuinely missed the mark, it was as wrong in its guesswork as it could be.

Gunnar Kumlien, in the second of a series of articles on Italy written for his Stockholm newspaper, relates of the dire food situation in Italy, the Nazis having driven north all of the sheep which normally served as a meat supply for Rome during winter. Meat could only be had on the black market for about five dollars per pound. The bread was practically inedible. Grapes were no longer to be found and oranges, ordinarily plentiful in winter, had been stripped from the trees and shipped north.

Daniel De Luce reports of the beginning of the resuscitation effort at Isernia, just captured November 4, left devastated by the retreating Nazis. Both the American and British flags now flew over the town, which until two months earlier had a population of 12,000. It now numbered 236.

Hal Boyle lets John Welsh III, the “Mail Call’ column editor for Stars and Stripes, tell what the average G.I. thought, mainly musings on parochial matters of the moment, not far-ranging or idealistic treatises anent future events or the post-war peace.

The letters were typically being written by geniuses or imbeciles, said Private Welsh, with few coming from the mental spectrum in between.

On the editorial page, "A Great Day" rejoices at the news that Bob Reynolds would not seek the Democratic nomination for the Senate in 1944 against former Governor Clyde R. Hoey of Shelby. It recounts some of the specifics of the Nazi-leaning policy Bob had followed during his tenure in the Senate and shudders at recollection of the fact that he had gained at one point, through his Vindicators organization, a substantial following nationwide, receiving more mail and phone calls than any other Senator. The reason, says the piece, was that he satisfied a yearning in the country for a Fascist voice. Had Hitler ever conquered the country, Bob, says the editorial, would have been one of his chief Gauleiters.

It expresses, in conclusion, the hope that his like, unique among solons in North Carolina’s history, would never be elected again.

"Old Chieftain" commemorates the 80th birthday of the Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, Farmer Bob Doughton of North Carolina, known for his budget trimming and fiscal conservatism. Despite his differences with the President in leading the recent fight to keep taxes low and deny the Henry Morgenthau's request for an additional ten billion dollars in revenue, FDR sent along his congratulations to the North Carolina Democrat.

"In the East" draws attention to the apparent fact of a gathering battle storm from the Burma-China front, indicative that large initiatives in that area were imminent and that the war against Japan would soon be initiated from those areas, not just from the sea.

Samuel Grafton, in analyzing the Republican trend in the off-year election, finds that the Republicans won something but could not seem to figure out what they had won or why. Some thought that the country was tired of Administration policy but 64% of the American people in June had responded to a Fortune poll that they preferred FDR as President if the war were not over by election day 1944. The same poll found 73 percent of the people approved of the President’s handling of the war, belying claims of the isolationist New York Daily News that the reason for the Republican torrent was disapproval over the President’s decision to attack in North Africa the previous November rather than against Japan.

Dorothy Thompson discusses two diametrically opposed reports on the crowd reaction to King Victor Emanuele’s recent visit to Naples. One reporter had claimed that the crowd rejoiced at the presence of the King while the other had stated that the crowd’s face was mainly indifferent interspersed by occasional signs of disrespect.

The result was that there was no way to determine accurately the crowd reaction at Naples. Indeed, whether positive or negative sentiments expressed toward the King implied Fascist or anti-Fascist leanings was not easily discernible given the complex of recent versus more distant history regarding King Victor and his meandering sympathies, first with Mussolini, then demanding his resignation and approving his arrest in late July.

But, says Ms. Thompson, in the wake of the Moscow Agreements, the King's popularity in Italy really was no longer an important issue as Russia, the U.S., and Great Britain had agreed that anti-Fascists must be included in the new Italian government. The tacit understanding was therefore that King Victor would need to abdicate to afford the people’s voice to be heard in democratic elections.

Raymond Clapper finds Fred Vinson, future Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, presently Chairman of the Office of Economic Stabilization, to have provided the soundest advice regarding raising of taxes, the need for increased revenue, and stemming inflation, that each in a stroke had to be done. He had simply stated that what the anti-tax advocates had accomplished by refusing to hike taxes was to place the burden for paying for the war on the returning soldiers who had been fighting to win it.

The Congress had refused to raise taxes and thus had dodged the issue.

Many of the Republicans wanted a policy encouraging inflation to aid their cause for the presidency in 1944.

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