Friday, December 3, 1943

The Charlotte News

Friday, December 3, 1943


Site Ed. Note: The Fifth Army, reports the front page, broke its agonizing stalemate with the German lines and pushed through in the Calabritto area.

The Eighth Army also continued to make headway, from the Sangro Ridge, capturing the town of Castel Frentano on the Adriatic coast, causing nearby Lanciano to be evacuated by the Wehrmacht.

In Russia, the Nazis were throwing men in vain at the Red Army lines in the Cherkasy area and all along the 600-mile front, while the Russians took more territory northwest of Gomel and closed in on Zhlobin. The Soviets claimed 2,900 Germans killed and 72 tanks destroyed or captured just on Thursday.

Eddy Gilmore of the Associated Press reports that heavy blizzards were blowing through portions of the Russian front, albeit with temperatures relatively warmer than during the early stages of the previous two winters, thus producing, instead of ice, rain and mud through other parts of the front, not the solidly frozen front characterizing the previous pair of early winter campaigns, so crippling to the Germans not accustomed to Frosty.

The night before, the RAF attacked Berlin for the fifth time in two weeks, this time dropping 2,000 tons of bombs on the already devastated city. Fighters of the Luftwaffe rushed to the skies in defense and claimed to have bagged thirty RAF bombers in what was billed as one of the greatest air fights in the history of warfare. Mosquito bombers attacked other targets in Western Germany.

In all, the missions were costly as 41 RAF bombers in fact did not return.

Among the casualties of the Berlin raid were three correspondents, one American, one Australian, and one unidentified, who were aboard one of the bombers which did not return.

In the Pacific, between Monday and Wednesday, in the area between the Marshall Islands and New Guinea, Allied bombers sank a 10,000-troop Japanese transport and a large tanker, damaged two destroyers, and dropped 200 tons of bombs on enemy bases at Kavieng on New Ireland, on Wewak, and on atolls within the Marshalls. Advances were made by Army infantry on the Huon Peninsula of New Guinea and by the Marines on Bougainville.

Senator Tom Connally, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, spoke from his home in Texas concerning the Cairo and Tehran conferences, stating that both would have profound effects on the war. The Tehran Conference, he suggested, would strengthen significantly the hand being played in the war by Russia.

Senator Connally also advocated obtaining better title to Atlantic islands presently leased from Britain and acquiring Pacific island bases as well, to provide adequate air and naval defense facilities post-war.

The London Star reported that the Tehran Conference had produced a "give in or die" ultimatum to be delivered to Germany jointly by the three Allied powers.

Senator Burton Wheeler of Montana, a Democrat and former isolationist, predicted that FDR would not run for the presidency in 1944 and would not accept a draft of his party, that, indeed, no Democrat could withstand the Republican trend evidenced in the November off-year elections, strongest example of which, stated the Senator, occurred in a normally Democratic stronghold of Kentucky where a Republican won a special election for a seat in Congress.

The recently completed "Big Inch" oil pipeline had sprung a leak near Hamilton, Ohio and was spilling oil, forty miles worth, into Dry Creek.

Hal Boyle reports on the casualties of war now being suffered among journalists covering the Italian Campaign. Their number included Richard Tregaskis, author of Guadalcanal Diary, who had been hit in the head with shrapnel but survived after brain surgery, albeit having to overcome partial paralysis to his right side.

Up to that point, his biggest problem had been locating size 14B shoes to wear, scarce on the battlefronts, so scarce that he carried leather with him to an Italian boot maker who cobbled together a pair for him.

Mr. Boyle also reports of the old joke which could never die in the Army, re the horse asked by a sentry when spotted to step forward and be mechanized.

And some workmen in Millbrae, California, north of San Jose, were employing a "long white rock" as scouring soap. Curious paleontologists from the University of California at Berkeley got wind of the story and decided to investigate the unusual pumice, only to find that it was the eight-foot long tusk of an ancient elephant, thought to be 100,000 years old. The find was compared to the discovery of the La Brea Tar Pits in the middle of downtown Los Angeles.

On the editorial page, "German Toil" argues against the AFL opposition to use of German labor to rebuild Germany after the war. Proposes the piece, however, the German people had fought the war and manufactured its implements, all the while with the belief, based on the outcome of previous wars involving Germany, that their masters would protect them from harsh consequences at the hands of the victors, that they might live to fight another day.

This time, it would be necessary to do more to deter the reprise of "Tomorrow Belongs to Us" in a newer version, with snappier rhythm. There was no better method of deterrence, suggests the editorial, than to force the average German to common toil to rebuild the country he had helped to destroy, his own.

"News Story" comments on the shabby competition exhibited by journalistic organs anent breaking the report of the tripartite meetings of the Allied heads of state in Cairo and Tehran, finds it little better than the behavior normally exhibited by overzealous high school boys.

"Soldier Vote" comments on the bill pending before Congress to make it easier for soldiers and sailors to vote by absentee ballot. With up to twelve million men and women set to be in service by 1944, the editorial finds it likely that the military vote would sway the election. FDR's majority over Wendell Willkie in 1940 had been but five million votes.

The Democrats expected the lion's share of the votes because of the tendency of soldiers to vote for their Commander-in-Chief. But the Republicans believed that grievances among the soldiers against the Administration might be of sufficient weight to sway matters to their side.

"War Words" expresses the belief, in light of the Cairo Declaration on the war with Japan, that the terms Bataan and Singapore, neglected in the public consciousness during the past year of better war news, would soon come back into vogue, this time without the humiliating connotation as before.

Raymond Clapper again looks at the unholy influence exerted on Congress by powerful lobbies and the tendency of powerful Democrats in Congress, such as Representative Bob Doughton of North Carolina, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, to act more like Republicans than Democrats in practicing fiscal conservatism in an effort to win back some of the power ceded in recent years to the Executive Branch.

Samuel Grafton complains of the inertia of the public in not reacting to a couple of exampled stories. Senator Butler had complained initially of six billion dollars being wasted on Federal aid to Latin America after his trip south of the border. The public sat politely by without a whimper. It turned out, a la Representative Michele Bachmann, that the amount was actually 600 million dollars, not six billion. Nevertheless, the point was made, carps Mr. Grafton, regarding the public's hopeless apathy.

And a pox, says Mr. Grafton, likewise on Senator Butler for having sat on the story for several months. Because in those several months, the interest alone on the six billion would have been 40 to 50 million.

A second story inspiring no more than inertia was that of Governor Thomas Dewey of New York demanding that the Federal Government turn over gangster Louis Lepke, in Federal custody on a narcotics charge, to the State of New York for an executive clemency hearing before the Governor on a death sentence imposed for murder. The Feds had refused. Governor Dewey suggested that the refusal was because Lepke knew too much about Federal officials, information which could prove compromising if made public. No sooner said, the Government agreed to hand over Lepke, but only on condition that he be executed rather than appear at the clemency hearing. Mr. Grafton again finds the absence of public outcry to betray extreme lassitude.

A news piece on the editorial page, for want of space elsewhere amid the rationed newsprint, tells of American war correspondents complaining to the White House and the Office of War Information, while OWI Director Elmer Davis protested to the British Government, regarding the premature release of news of the Cairo and Tehran conferences to the public via Reuters. Britain's Minister of Information, Brendan Bracken, was urged by Mr. Davis to exert stiffer control henceforth on Reuters.

The Reverend Herbert Spaugh extols the virtues of classical music, such as Handel's "Messiah", over the transitory hits of the day issuing from Tin Pan Alley, for instance "Pistol Packin' Mama", which, contended music critics, was only a rehashed song out of the past, the Twenties favorite "It Ain't Gonna Rain No Mo'", or, from even further back, "'Possums in the 'Simmon Tree, Shake Them 'Simmons Down".

Ah well, the Post Office could have at it again.

Tin Pan Alley, music critics were forecasting, would yet turn out new versions of some old chestnuts as "Give Me Back My Fifteen Cents, and I'll Go Home in a Hurry" or "Chicken in the Bred Tray". Such songs, says the Reverend, have their place and help people escape their melancholy, but, would disappear as breadcrumbs thrown the birds while the classics remained to enliven the wire.

He favors the traditional songs, such as "Silent Night", over "White Christmas".

Well, so, too, do we.

Drew Pearson waxes prophetic again to predict that FDR would not run for a fourth term should the war end by the time of the conventions the following summer. Instead, the President, with his attention since 1941 focused primarily on foreign policy, would devote his time to insuring that an international peace organization would this time around thrive, with United States participation, unlike the ill-fated venture of the League of Nations and the failed dream of his predecessor, Woodrow Wilson.

Predicts Mr. Pearson, eerily, "But if he stays in office another term, he will experience nothing new, only be bothered with old headaches."

Mr. Pearson also relates that General Eisenhower had been in Italy when the story broke in Algiers regarding the slapping incident in Sicily involving General Patton. An aide to General Eisenhower had issued a non-denial denial of the story. When the General returned, he was angered by the non-denial denial and denied the denial, admitting the truth of the story.

He goes on, "A group of Republican Senators was twitting loyal young Democratic Senator Mon Wallgren of Washington about the 1944 election." Senator Wallgren declared, in response to the brazen claim of assured victory by the Republicans behind a prospective Dewey-MacArthur ticket, that the Roosevelt-Wainwright ticket would trump it. To the Republicans' inquiry of how General Jonathan Wainwright could be of any use to the President on the campaign trail when he was in a Japanese detention camp, the Senator replied that FDR did not need any help.

Bet you didn't know they had twits back then.

Mr. Pearson finishes the day with alcohol, memory, and Coffee.

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