Saturday, December 11, 1943

The Charlotte News

Saturday, December 11, 1943


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Fifth Army, operating west of Filignano, driving toward Cassino from the east, had gained a mile and taken an important height. Other forces, approaching Cassino from the south, fought a fierce engagement for San Pietro, seven miles southeast of Cassino, but no word yet had come on the result.

Italian soldiers, entering the fight for the first time, fighting with the Fifth Army, suffered a setback against the crack German troops of the Hermann Goering Division in the foothills north of Mignano.

The Eighth Army captured the town of San Leonardo, north of the Moro River and eight miles southwest of Ortona. It was unclear in the communiqués, however, whether the second bridgehead already established across the Moro during the previous two days had been lost.

After a week respite from bombing Germany, both the Americans and RAF hit unnamed targets in respective day and night raids over Northwest Germany, operating from British bases. From Mediterranean bases, American Liberators struck targets in Sofia, Bulgaria, amid growing internal unrest and a tottering Nazi-puppet regime. The major raid, which lasted 105 minutes, wreaked substantial destruction in Sofia’s rail and industrial areas. The missions reported no losses.

General Hap Arnold, chief of the U.S. Army Air Forces, predicted that the air assault on Germany would become so fierce that its defenses would be spent by the time of a land invasion. The General arrived in Italy, along with Lt. General Carl Spaatz, chief of the Northwest Africa Air Forces, and Maj. General James Doolittle, chief of Strategic Air Forces, to plot further strategy on a new and heightened air campaign originating from both Britain and Italy.

Further air attacks on Cape Gloucester on New Britain and the islands of Jaluit and Mili in the Marshalls by American Mitchell bombers encountered little opposition from the Japanese, leading General MacArthur's headquarters to conclude that the Japanese air capability in these areas was virtually spent. A combined sea and air attack on Mauru, 300 miles west of the Gilberts, also took place.

It was reported from Yugoslavia that the Germans had reached into their best reserves out of Bavaria to bolster their operations against Marshal Tito’s Partisans. A reliable source out of Cairo estimated that as many German divisions were being occupied by Tito's forces as were deployed against the Fifth and Eighth armies in Italy.

In Russia, General Ivan Konev's Second Ukrainian Army had expanded a bridgehead into the area of Cherkasy and, in heavy fighting, had penetrated the city.

But 200 miles to the northwest, General Vatutin’s First Ukrainian Army was still in retreat before the two thousand tanks hurled at them by Field Marshal Fritz von Mannstein, with the ultimate objective of retaking Kiev from the Russians. Retreating to the area south of Malin, General Vatutin’s forces were now seeking to hold a line only 55 miles west of Kiev. The Germans also threatened the Korosten-Kiev rail line, the taking of which would significantly impair the supply route to the Russian forces fighting in the area of Chernyakhov, 80 miles west of Kiev.

President Roosevelt met with General Eisenhower in Carthage to brief the General on the details of the strategy planned at Tehran with Churchill and Stalin to finish the war in Europe. General Eisenhower had been present at Cairo in the meeting with Chiang Kai-shek regarding Pacific and Far East strategy, but was not present at Tehran.

General Lewis Hershey, head of Selective Service, announced his intention, when the call-up of fathers would begin, after all fit single men and non-fathers had been drafted, first to call fathers in the 18 to 21 age bracket, next those up to age 25, and then those up to 30. Those over 30 appeared for the nonce, therefore, in the clear, able to continue feeding and diapering the fortuitous draft deferment.

No distinction was made in the report regarding fathers of children born after September 15, 1942, as in the bill signed the day before by FDR. Presumably, the so-called post-Pearl Harbor fathers would be deemed eligible for the draft along with non-fathers and single men, in the usual order of call-up, and only the pre-Pearl Harbor fathers would enjoy the temporary deferment.

But what about that old axiom, "All's fair in love and war"?

Hal Boyle obtains comparison of the far less technical World War I air war from Harvard history professor Bruce Hopper, who had been in the previous air war, to that of World War II. The professor had a preference for the simpler time when they had the availability of R & R in Paris, despite the 120 percent casualty rate. They sat on their helmets filled with sand as protection from the sparse enemy ground fire, and mainly had to look out only for German fighters and trees.

Now, the professor was the chief historian for the U.S. Eighth Air Force, flying the missions over France and Germany, and was advising on the compilation of a history for the newly created Fifteenth. Dr. Hopper believed that a thorough study of the air war would become invaluable to future conceptions of air defense. He further opined, defying much of the conventional wisdom of the time, that Japan could not withstand long the full complement of the combined British and American navies and air forces after the war in Europe was won, but demurred when asked to provide a time estimate.

After the interview, not reported, it is said that the professor broke down crying, uttering repeatedly, in a whispered voice, only the single phrase, "The horror."

Inexplicably, as he spoke, he was dangling from one hand two blue glass Christmas ornaments, while in the other, he held a palmful of sand. Something about balance under heat, no doubt, as the ornaments struck the perceiver as the symbol adorning pawn shops.

And a little girl, left briefly in charge of her father's store, escorted an O.P.A. inspector to the store's list of ceiling prices which were required to be posted on the premises. She responded that she was well aware of where her father maintained the ceiling prices, promptly climbed a ladder to the top shelf, and pointed to the list affixed above it. It was, she explained to the inspector, as close to the ceiling as they could post them.

Her mother, said the piece, could not "talk" English.

The great philopsophical question of the day, however, remained unanswered by the little girl: Were there ceilings on eggs? and, as corollary, if so, how high was the wall from which they fell to reach the ceiling?

On the editorial page, "New Team" expresses dismay that any Republican voter would find any appeal at all in the prospect of a MacArthur-Lodge ticket in 1944, as being promoted in some limited Republican circles. Neither had anything to lend to leadership of the country, says the piece. The two were simply put forward as contrarians, if not so contrarian as the former isolationists, to an international peace organization, in the case of Senator Lodge, and to FDR's handling of the war, at least in the Pacific, in the case of General MacArthur.

Supporters of such a ticket did not appear to grasp, concludes the piece, that the overwhelming majority of the people were now onboard with the principles of Woodrow Wilson promulgated at the end of World War I, advocating a League of Nations and U.S. leadership in establishing and maintaining it, and thus stood solidly in the corner of the President in both his conduct of the war and his plans for the peace.

"The Squawk" finds comical and hardly surprising the atavistic denunciations heaped on the Wright Brothers and the legacy of modern aviation in general by Senator Bennett Champ Clark of Missouri, one of the chief voices of isolation in the Senate prior to the war. The occasion was the recognition by the Congress of the 40th anniversary of the birth of aviation at Kitty Hawk.

Come, Fly with Us.

"Mazuma", (slang for "money", cf. Four Million by O. Henry: "Burn a few punk sticks in the joss house to the great god Mazuma"), tells the tale in statistical abstracts of the cost of living increases versus wage increases for three time periods, since September 15, 1942, since the beginning of 1941, and since the beginning of the war in Europe in September, 1939, finds the cost of living to have increased far less than wages, and concludes it to provide the explanation for the great increase in solvency, anecdotally witnessed in the society, all the while during which Congress made the case for suffering millions of wage earners, supposed to be unable to stand the least skimption of a rise in taxes, indeed, in need of wage increases, and thus wholesalers and retailers in consequent need of concomitant increases in prices to pay for the increased wages, thus favoring the ban on targeted subsidies.

American Speech, May, 1926: "How many of those using the word mazuma know its meaning? As originally used by the Jewish people it is m'zumon and is a Chaldean word meaning in literal translation the 'ready necessary'. It is employed in the Talmud which is written in Chaldean and not Hebrew."

Coming of Cassidy, 1913: "'What's this?' he demanded… 'Money,' replied Hopalong. 'It's that shiny stuff you buy things with. Spondulix, cash, mazuma.'"

"Negro Lift" applauds Governor J. Melville Broughton for his declaration to the State School Board that African-American educational facilities were inadequate in the State and in need of dramatic expansion. The editorial finds, if anything, the Governor’s words to be understatement of the conditions extant in black schools, that despite North Carolina's eleven black institutions of higher learning, the most of any state in the South at the time. There had already been a move to bring about parity in teacher salaries between whites and blacks, but facilities, especially facilities for technical and vocational training, lagged woefully behind those accessible to whites.

In response, however, the Board had placed the matter on hold until its spring meeting. Action, urges the editorial, was, instead, needed forthwith--boilingly so.

Dorothy Thompson finds implied significance in the wording and order of the eight paragraphs of the Tehran Declaration, especially the intervention of two paragraphs on the peace, between a paragraph on the military strategy to hit Germany from the East, West, and South, and another indicating that no power on earth could prevent the total destruction of German armies and war plants. The two intervening paragraphs, inviting all nations and peoples to the peace table, eschewing the term "United Nations", she concludes, thus acted as an invitation to both neutral nations and enemy nations, as well as the Allies, to effect peace before the destruction of Germany would finally become a fait accompli by land and air.

Raymond Clapper cautions Wendell Willkie and the numerous other internationalist leaders of the Republican Party that Alf Landon and a group of Republicans, solidly against the Administration's internationalist approach to foreign policy, might well take over the party by 1944, favoring the nomination of Thomas Dewey.

Charley Halleck of Indiana, against the draft in 1940, against Lend-Lease in 1941, against establishing a fortified base in Guam, though making the nominating speech for Willkie in 1940, was not in the same camp on foreign policy.

And now Representative Halleck had been named chair of the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee. With conventional wisdom being that the Republicans would obtain control of the House in the 1944 election, Mr. Halleck would likely become majority leader in the House and Joe Martin of Massachusetts, the new speaker.

Conventional wisdom in this instance would prove wrong. The Republicans did not obtain control of the House until 1947, at which time Mr. Martin did become Speaker. The Democrats, however, regained control of the House in the 1948 elections and maintained it for another four years, when, again, Mr. Martin became Speaker for two years.

Samuel Grafton, following his previous day's column finding utter hypocrisy in the views of New York Daily News writer John O’Donnell for his expression of concern over preservation of the Four Freedoms, namely freedom of the press, shut out at Tehran and Cairo, now turns his attention to the similar plaint offered earlier in the week by fellow syndicated columnist Raymond Clapper. But this time, Mr. Grafton gives deference to the fact that Mr. Clapper was an honorable journalist, sincerely expressing a heartfelt position.

And, Mr. Grafton then proceeds to admit that the heavy-handed approach to security at Tehran, while the Big Three made plans for the world at large in relative secrecy, appeared nothing short of an anomaly. Yet, he asks rhetorically how it was that the world had reached such a juncture and finds it wholly understandable, in that everything had already been tried and had failed prior to the meeting to accomplish the ends of winning the war and structuring a post-war peace.

In a practical sense, therefore, while the Big Three virtually crammed down the willing throats of the world the plans for war and peace, there was simply no other reasonable method by which to achieve the goals of these conferences while the wars in Europe and the Pacific continued to rage at the behest of lunatics.

Drew Pearson discusses the first bit of streamlining of the State Department undertaken by Edward Stettinius, new Undersecretary, replacing Sumner Welles in August. Mr. Stettinius had moved black messengers, charged with escorting Cabinet members and ambassadors in to see various members of the Department, from their physical positions of privilege staked out in the hallways of the Department into the former men's room, one redecorated for the purpose, (probably adding a few stuffed raccoons on the walls to provide a more homy atmosphere), but still relegating the messengers to relative obscurity. The messengers, some of the most highly esteemed blacks employed by the Government, were displeased with their displacement. The move had led observers to wonder what would next be on the streamlining agenda for Mr. Stettinius.

Perhaps, the Terraplane.

Just because some of the more fleet among the messengers might have taken to calling him Mr. Streptocarpus, was no reason for retaliation.

Mr. Pearson then reports on the strange situation in Nebraska, where an Army private had been convicted and sentenced to death by mandatory electrocution on December 30, for the admitted brutal slaying of a sixteen-year old girl.

Private MacAvoy, however, would likely have his stark weather execution stayed for want of an electric chair available in which to run the current through him. For the War Production Board had decided not to release such equipment to the State of Nebraska, which had not in so long imposed the death penalty that it did not have suitable electrocution equipment on hand. The Board had determined that it was not a genuine necessity of the war to release such equipment for execution of one Army private. The decision was subject to appeal into the Federal courts by the State of Nebraska.

Of course, in the meantime, with the clocking tick, tick, ticking away to X-Day, the guards might have simply turned their backs for a short time and tacitly arranged thereby to provide the little chiseler the old shaft.

Or, they could have just sung, in unison, a Christmas carol, one of the lines of which might have gone something like, "We're not sure what he did, but he's our hero just the same."

And, that's right, the Trio, judging by the Side Glances, apparently showed up at Dottie's, and there were cornered by the female commando--who went, no doubt, but for reasons unknown, by the name "Lizzie".

Framed Edition
[Return to Links-Page by Subject] [Return to Links-Page by Date] [Return to News<i>--</i>Framed Edition]
Links-Date -- Links-Subj.