Monday, December 27, 1943

The Charlotte News

Monday, December 27, 1943


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that, battling flamethrowers, Canadian troops of the Eighth Army in Italy took Ortona, eleven miles below Pescara, key eastern terminus to the trans-peninsula highway to Rome.

The Fifth Army shored up its positions taken in the Samucro Mountains overlooking San Vittore, key German position still strongly held on the road to Cassino. Southwest of Castel San Vincenzo on the central front, a fierce battle was ongoing for Catenelia Degli Mainardi.

In Russia, the First Ukrainian Army under Nikolai Vatutin moved to within 120 miles of the Rumanian border by taking the town of Andrushevka, forty miles west of his starting point on the offensive drive in the area of Brusilov, and closer to the rail town of Berdichev than the Army had been when pushed back by the mighty panzer drive of November. Having killed 6,200 Nazis the previous day and 26,000 in four days, the Army was now within fifteen miles of the Zhitmoir-Odessa rail line, a crucial remaining supply line for the Nazis, cleared at great cost in the November offensive of German Field Marshal Fritz von Mannstein.

General Ivan Bagramian's Red Army forces to the north, threatening Vitebsk, moved closer yet to the city, to within five miles, an advance of three miles over the reported progress of the previous day, killing another 2,000 Nazis.

In Yugoslavia, the Partisans fighting under Marshal Tito continued to make headway against the Nazis in Croatia in the area of Zagreb, in Western Bosnia in the Livno-Duvno sectors, and in Eastern Bosnia, fighting both Nazis and Chetniks, at Kiadanz and Zivinizar.

British Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Tedder was appointed by General Eisenhower to be his deputy commander in the Continental invasion. Tedder had been chief coordinator of air operations in Tunisia the previous winter and spring, and had also handled air cover for the invasion of Sicily in July.

General Sir Bernard Paget was named commander of Middle Eastern operations, to replace General Sir Henry Maitland Wilson, named to replace Eisenhower as commander of Mediterranean operations.

In the Pacific, American fighter planes knocked out another 61 Japanese planes which had sought to attack Marine positions just obtained on Cape Gloucester in the north of New Britain.

Major "Cyclone" Davis of Compton, California, described "one of the damnedest dog fights" he had ever seen: "For 30 minutes every fighter in the air was whirling in circles from 8,000 to 14,000 feet high and burning Nips were falling out of that squirrel cage like sparks from a pinwheel."

--Sort of reminds as a birthday cake, don't it, mate? Burnin' Nips fallin' from the flamin' dang pinwheel. It don't get no better than 'at.

The Marines continued to make progress in opening their two beachheads at Borgen Bay on Cape Gloucester, taking the 450-foot high Target Hill from the Japanese and opening artillery fire on the airfield, 265 miles from Rabaul.

Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox confirmed the report that an American destroyer was lost covering the landings by Marines on Cape Gloucester on Saturday afternoon, Washington time. In addition, a small transport ship was damaged. The loss brought to 134 the number of warships destroyed by the enemy since the beginning of the war.

The British Royal Navy disclosed that the British battleship Duke of York had been involved, along with the cruisers Jamaica, Belfast, Norfolk, and Sheffield, in the sinking of the Scharnhorst off the coast of Norway.

For the first time since December 28, 1917, after nearly nine months of American involvement in World War I, the Government seized and began operating the nationís railroads in anticipation of non-resolution of the scheduled December 30 strike of three of the five operators' unions, the other two, the Trainmen and Locomotive Engineers, having declared their willingness to abandon the strike in favor of continued reliance on mediation by the President.

Wages and labor conditions were declared by the War Labor Board and the President to be frozen until the railroads returned to civilian control. The FDR-approved four-cents per hour wage increase plus five cents in lieu of overtime pay, however, went into effect for the cooperating Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen.

The Government vowed to keep the trains running and had available Army personnel with railroad experience to replace any striking railway workers.

The Smith-Connally Act now applied to the railways to make any conspiratorial effort at strike punishable as a crime.

After the War Labor Board agreed to the President's recommended approval of the sought 17-cents per hour wage increase for steelworkers and retroactive pay to the Christmas Eve expiration of the old contract, the 160,000 workers who had walked off the job were now returning to work at the direction of United Steelworkers Union president Philip Murray.

Hal Boyle reports of an Oakland, California P-38 pilot who had on his shoulder on each mission a parrot named Jock, veteran of 50 combat hours, including those flown by his former caretaker. Jock could cuss in five different languages but slept during most of the missions. He had an aversion to alcohol and cigarettes, but liked watermelons.

And Alice Ealand, having announced her part in an upcoming Charlie Chaplin movie, was promptly upstaged by the studio, which said the announcement was premature. Mr. Chaplin, however, confirmed the news, indicating that Ms. Ealand would be in his new film on Bluebeard.

Only problem was that the studio had other ideas entirely and eventually turned the 1944 film over to another director who cast John Carradine in the leading role.

Ms. Ealand, attractive though she was, seems never to have been heard from again, save in three bit parts in 1944 and 1945, showing off her figure while appearing, in one with Esther Williams, under the name "Alice Eyland".

Why this story was deemed front page news at this point in history is your guess--as well why we bother to spend time with it.

Whether, incidentally, Ms. Eyland might subsequently have carried the torch and become sweetheart for the Liberandos, or perhaps simply become a metermaid, we don't know.

On the editorial page, "No Remedy" takes issue with the seizure of the railroads by the Government as an inadequate measure, as inadequate as had proved seizure of the coal mines, to forestall the growing trend toward strikes to obtain higher wages and better working conditions, holding the country hostage in the meantime to effect it. The Government, having given in on the coal mine crisis and granted most of the demands of John L. Lewis and the UMW, was now responsible for the looming strikes in the railroad and steel industries. The piece predicts that it would not be long before other industries were hit, such as the aircraft manufacturers.

The editorial column had predicted the trend all through the summer, should the Government acquiesce to the demands of the coal miners.

It recommends a tougher stance in the seizure of the railroads than the Government took in the seizure of the mines. The more cathartic remedy, it sets forth, would be to muster the railway workers into the military and then force them back to their railway jobs at regular Army pay.

The problem with this suggestion, notwithstanding its seemingly salutary resolution of the issue, is that it would have aggravated the railway workers, led inevitably to less efficiency and malingering in the running of the vital railroads, and ultimately thereby disserved the public while necessitating diversion of military officers to oversee the railroads when that manpower and attention was necessary of concentration in the prosecution of the war itself.

Furthermore, such a resolution would have presented the unseemly picture of the Government having militarily taken over the coal mines, the railroads, or the steel industry and essentially thereby appearing wearing the monstrous mask of doctrinaire Fascism which the war was seeking to defeat.

The results in dispiriting the country, no doubt, would have offset any immediate positive consequence. The President, we conclude, acted wisely in getting along with Labor, which, after all, was the backbone of the war supply effort and, itself, was making great sacrifices on the home front, working long hours with low pay, even if better than before the war. Morale was the key and the President acted to maintain, to the extent possible, high morale in time of increasingly depressing news of an extended war, with mounting casualties, many of whom were related to the workers in the war industries, many times their husbands who had left positions in the same industry to go abroad and fight a war which was being won, but won sluggishly and at great human cost.

"The End" remarks on General Eisenhower's categorical statement that the war with Germany would end in 1944. That prognosis from the Supreme Allied Commander, juxtaposed to Emperor Hirohito's own recent remarks to the Japanese people that the war was going badly, gave reason to believe that the reality of the end was in fact near in both spheres of the war. It cautions, however, against over-optimism and warns that great sacrifices yet had to be undertaken to intersect reality with the potential military might of the Allies to effect the desired end.

"Scharnhorst" finds in the sinking on Sunday of the 26,000-ton German battleship a symbol of the end to come for the German nation under Nazi rule.

"Inspection" expects no good would come for the Democrats in sending Party Chairman Frank Walker into the South in 1944 to try to mend fences with disgruntled members of the Party. Nevertheless, it asserts that, despite some Democrats ready to bolt to support Wendell Willkie, and despite consistent carping against the New Deal, the South would continue solidly Democratic, wishing the terms of peace and the indicia by which the post-war world would operate to be written by Democrats and FDR, not Republicans who had acted to prevent the Fourteen Points of Woodrow Wilson from becoming effective during the Republican era from 1921 to 1933.

Raymond Clapper offers some justification for the Armyís Canol oil project in western Canada, costing 134 million dollars, undertaken in April, 1942, under investigation by the Truman Committee for overspending.

Mr. Clapper defends the Armyís decision to seek to establish a new oilfield because of the timing, the Dutch East Indies and the Philippines having fallen during the previous three months, and concerns abounding about whether the Japanese might take Hawaii and attack the West Coast of the United States.

Moreover, he reports, an oilfield had been found which rivaled the find in East Texas. But considerations of secrecy prevented open discussion of planned uses for this oilfield by the Army at the end of the war.

Samuel Grafton applauds the Allies having come to grips, albeit two years late in realization, with the wisdom of supporting Tito's Partisans in Yugoslavia. He lays the blame for the delay in doing so on myopic fears that the Partisans were laced with radicalism and Communism, leading for a time to a backwards judgment that the Chetniks, led by Mikhailovitch, represented the hope for Balkan resistance to the Nazis. Now, the Chetniks were fighting with the Nazis, and Tito's Partisans were, with substantial aid of Allied air support, occupying more German divisions than the American and British forces were in Italy.

A letter writer gets down to cases on corruption of the judicial system with politics. One of the memorable quotes which he lays forth as giving credit to this notion was attributed by him to a "Professor Williams": "The danger of moral flatuancy [sic] born of exclusive worship of the Bitch-goddess success."

The correct and full quote is: "The moral flabbiness born of the exclusive worship of the bitch-goddess success. That--with the squalid cash interpretation put on the word 'success'--is our national disease." It is attributed to William James in a letter to H. G. Wells.

Drew Pearson comments on the revolution in Bolivia, with emphasis on the dual reactions to it within the Government. Future Governor of New York Nelson Rockefeller--future candidate for the Republican nomination for the presidency, and future appointed Vice-President, the second appointed Vice-President thus far in history and one appointed by an appointed Vice-President, shortly after acceding to the White House by the fact of his predecessor's resignation August 8, 1974--was, as U.S. Coordinator of Latin American Relations, supportive of the new regime, despite its anti-U.S. rhetoric uttered by the National Revolutionary Movement which gave rise to the coup. Vice-President Wallace also supported the new government. Both based their support on the belief that the revolution had been fomented by the workers against an oppressive government, even though one which had been friendly to U.S. economic interests, agreeing to supply tin ore to supplant that lost in early 1942 in the East Indies to the Japanese. The prior government had been responsible for sending goon squads against tin mine strikers, killing numerous tin miners in the process.

But the State Department had taken a negative view of the coup for its implications to U.S. interests.

Mr. Pearson questions whether, for the sake of expediency, the Administration had aligned itself with governments in Latin America practicing methods not in accord with democratic principles.

Dorothy Thompson takes issue with the attitude of Labor in calling strikes, that they were doing themselves ultimately a disservice in public perception for the time after the war. She quotes from a letter which was typical of servicemen on the front, indicating that their own plight had no such luxuries as hourly wages, overtime pay, weekends and holidays off, and controlled working environments. The ultimate position was one of bitterness and resentment on the fronts when reading about churlish behavior as they saw it, such as the demand for a 4-cents per hour increase plus overtime compensation as sought by the railway workers.

Fourth Day of Christmas--four fjords rawlin. Now, all you have to do is find in the above note four separate connections to fjords. The movement is on your shoulder.

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