Monday, December 6, 1943

The Charlotte News

Monday, December 6, 1943


Site Ed. Note: The Declaration, says the front page, from the singularly monumental meeting for the first time between Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin was released in the wake of the four-day Tehran Conference, concluding December 1. The Declaration, reprinted on the page, first indicated that the three heads of state had met with their military staffs and concluded a three-pronged strategy for conquering Nazi Germany, from the West, from the South, and from the East.

Thus, for the first time, the Allies made it clear that they would not rest on trying to win the war in Europe solely through the combination of air power, the Italian Campaign and the war in Russia. There would be a strategy to conquer from the West and via a broader Southern front, implicitly indicating ground operations in both areas.

The timetable for the new fronts, in the West and an enlarged front in the South, were also reported to have been established by the three leaders.

Speculation thus ensued that the massive attacks to come might put an end to the war by winter.

The Declaration went on to lay out an initiative for peace in the post-war world, in which would thrive the spirit of the Atlantic Charter, renouncing all imperialism and insuring a climate in which the Four Freedoms would be nurtured in any nation wishing to join in the insistence on democratic ideals. It promised to both large and small nations alike a place at this broad table of United Nations committed to a "world family of Democratic nations", wedded to the elimination of "tyranny and slavery, oppression and intolerance".

The winning of the war itself would prove, however, a far easier proposition than to bring to fruition the proposal for the peaceful world of Democratic nations afterward. Even among the Four Powers meeting at Tehran and Cairo, the Cold War would prove a formidable opponent to the nurturing long of this ideal, and not only among the four powers but within each of them as well, within each of them with respect to their own peoples.

Democracy is an easier concept to say and on which to agree in principle than to realize.

After the heavily secured Tehran Conference, the military staffs returned to Cairo for further meeting to plot strategy, were joined there by Prime Minister Churchill. It was not yet known where President Roosevelt had gone at the conclusion of the Conference.

President Roosevelt spoke after the Conference, indicating to the people of Iran that they had played a great role in the winning of the war by hosting the historic meeting. He stressed that "great progress" had been made both in planning the prosecution of the war to its earliest possible conclusion as well as planning for the peace, to establish a world "for us and our children in which war would cease to be a necessity".

On Capitol Hill, as well as in London and Moscow, news of the conference was greeted with approbation. Senator Guy Gillette of Iowa, however, expressed the concern that the statements could have been more specific in laying forth plans to win the war.

News of the Declarations from the conferences had been slow to reach Berlin, the Tehran Declaration still not having cleared the Nazi propaganda channels by Monday, even if radio broadcasts made it sound as if the delay had been occasioned by the inability of the Allies to formulate a coherent statement for release.

As counter-propaganda, Berlin radio proclaimed that the Allies had agreed to insist on 600 billion dollars from Germany in war reparations, an amount which would be levied through confiscation of German industry.

--They vill take your Volksvagen, mein Herrenvolk, the one from you which Herr Hitler has promised you and only you, which you vill obtain victorious after the var, unless you are veak-kneed and submit, in such case instead Volksvagen to be provided to Russian and American family. Bevare.

Expectations in Berlin were that Western Europe would be invaded by the Allies and that a new Russian winter offensive would soon begin. In response, promised the broadcast, retaliatory bombing of Allied countries would soon resume in white-hot heat.

From Northern Italy came the news, via Swiss reports, that Count Ciano, brother-in-law to Mussolini and former Foreign Minister to the Fascist Government, had been executed by being shot in the back for being a traitor, done pursuant to judgment of a special court convened under the auspices of Mussolini's new Republican Fascist Government headquartered in Northern Italy.

On the Italian battlefront, it was reported that, in fierce hand-to-hand combat, the Fifth Army had taken new heights west of Mignano, in the areas of Mount Maggiore and Mount Camino, along the road to Rome. A counter-attack by the Germans west of Venafro was repelled with heavy American and British losses.

The Eighth Army had advanced ten miles beyond the Sangro River to the Moro River, making a two and a half mile gain from San Vito, already captured Sunday, bringing the Army to within fourteen miles of Pescara.

As snow swept through White Russia, the Germans were reported to be running short of reserve troops and had resorted to using engineers on the front lines. The Red Army was sweeping forward now at many points in the region, retaking territory and waging attrition against the Wehrmacht as it went.

Advances had also been made in the Kremenchug area to the south. Nazi counter-attacks at Cherkasy had been repulsed.

Don Whitehead, substituting for Hal Boyle in the Reporter's Notebook column, reports firsthand of a supply mission which he accompanied, flown over the Fifth Army front in Italy. The drop was targeted for a spot in the hills north of Venafro, specifically a hill dubbed "The Pimple".

Sgt. Pilot Bill Lynn stated simply, "I get it."

He got it.

They dropped their supplies right onto "The Pimple", but only after the clouds which had swept in to obfuscate it had sufficiently parted to inform the target. The Nazis utilized such obnubilation under which to launch ground raids, free from interference by Allied air assault, against the Allied troops on "The Pimple", held firmly by the Fifth Army for the previous twenty consecutive days, in some cases with their trenches and foxholes residing only twenty yards from German emplacements, holed up within the crevices of the rocks.

The war, however, did not disrupt the ordinary routine of the area farmers around Venafro. They continued to push forward their oxen moving the plough, in one case leaving tracks which had led right to a Nazi anti-aircraft gun, circled around it, and then continued on the other side.

The plough does not stop because of the death of one man.

On the editorial page, "No Respite" indicates that while the strategy was being plotted by the three leaders for concluding the war in Europe, Germany continued to suffer unrelenting bombing raids, undoubtedly spelling to its people that the end was near.

"Jap Forts" compares the use of log and sand forts reported to have been employed by the Japanese on Tarawa to the same type of construction utilized by the American colonists so effectively at Fort Moultrie during the Revolution, preventing the over-confident British from landing at Charleston. When the British finally got to the landing five years later, inland fortresses at King’s Mountain, Yorktown, and Guilford Courthouse had been sufficiently manned to repel the Redcoats.

Apparently, suggests the editorial, the Japanese had become aware of the efficacy of log and sand forts.

Yet, when Birnam Wood do come to Dunsinane…

"Poor World" comments on the wild German boasts, as heard from 1941, when they had proclaimed their manifest destiny to conquer Russia within six weeks. Now, the proudest German boast was, in wild hyperbole: "The German High Command plans by one fell, drastic stroke to end the unbridled mass murder… Mankind is not far from the point where it can at will blow up half the world."

The piece finds the boast hollow, even lunatic.

Yet, the Nazi scientists hard at work at Peenemunde and Haigerloch and other such nuclear and rocket research facilities were not laughing or considering Buck Rogers the least bit confined to the comic book prints. They were deadly serious in their will to succeed and nearly, short only by a matter of months, communicated to the world, in that one fell, drastic stroke, the ultimate warhead attached to their already deployed rocket bomb, for hurling who knows where.

"Britain" comments on the fact that it seemed "long, long ago" now when in 1940 and 1941 the Kingdom appeared tottering on the verge of collapse beneath the rain of Nazi bombs plowed nearly nightly into England’s major cities, when Churchill was said to be preparing to set up Parliament's shop in Canada, insulated from the immediate threat of the Blitz. Australia appeared prepared in the Pacific to join the United States in the war effort.

But now, with the tide of war having turned sharply in the previous two and a half years since the end of the Blitz and the Nazi turning his attention instead to the quick conquering of the Russian bread basket and oil reserve to fuel his soldiers and tanks and planes for the final onslaught, it was no longer the lonely, insular island isolate.

Canada would remain in the same condition after the war; South Africa likewise was not bolting from the Empire; Australia was content. Only India had unsettled itching for sovereignty and independence.

The Allied effort had produced the cement to adhere the once crumbling parts of the Empire back together again.

Samuel Grafton comments on the Cairo Conference and its implications for new governmental policy, to wage a determined peace out of the war, by the insistence that Japan be stripped of its empire possessions and ability to wage offensive warfare into the future.

He suggests the new policy as the reverse of the German strategian Clausewitz, who had found war to be "a continuation of politics by other means". "At Cairo, we have a foreview of the peace and its politics as a continuation of the war, of the forces and the authorities which are winning the war. The old formula doubles back on the aggressors, and they will die of it."

Drew Pearson tells of 1936 Republican nominee for the presidency Alf Landon laconically and colorlessly, as usual, droning to freshmen Republican Congressmen that no one had the Republican nomination sewn up for 1944, notwithstanding Wendell Willkie's supposed proclamation of same a few weeks earlier.

He then regaled the Congressmen with the story of how he nearly became Secretary of War-designate in 1940, just before Republican Henry Stimson was named to the post. He had been invited to a luncheon where the prospect was apparently going to be placed before him, only to have the luncheon suddenly canceled when it became public that he had criticized the prospect of FDR running for a third term.

Mr. Pearson then turns to presidential security on trips overseas, tells of the armada of ships which formed a net beneath the Pan-American Clipper trapeze on which he flew to Casablanca in January. The recent trip to Cairo and Tehran, however, says Mr. Pearson, had employed different means of protection of the President, which could not yet be revealed.

Raymond Clapper writes of bloody Tarawa and the horrible toll of carnage of the Russian front, and that the hope for stopping such sanguinary conflict in the future was now at the threshold as the Cairo and Tehran conferences ushered in the new age. All four powers meeting at these historical crossroads, working in concert, would be necessary to avert such crimson flow in the future.

Recommends Mr. Clapper: "Read the dripping account of bloody Tarawa by Robert Sherrod in this week's Time Magazine. He participated in the landing, and was in the midst of the slaughter. Is there any political question more important than fixing things this time so that no aggressors can rise to again force American men to die on the coral beaches of the distant Pacific?"

Indeed, it is as compelling an account as Mr. Clapper's question prefatory to it.

"A 20-year old crewman on the boat had been shot through the head, and had murmured: 'I think I'm hit, will you look?' Now he lay on the beach. A Jap ran out of a coconut-log blockhouse into which Marines were tossing dynamite. As he emerged a Marine flamethrower engulfed him. The Jap flared like a piece of celluloid. He died before the bullets in his cartridge belt finished exploding 60 seconds later."

One Marine had been shot pretty badly in the shoulder, continued Mr. Sherrod, but he continued fighting anyway until he found the "mucker" who had shot him.

In the end, by the third day, the tough Japanese fighters, though finally running out of ammunition, had earned the respect of the Marines for their tenacity to fight to the death, in some cases shooting themselves rather than suffering the humiliation of capture.

Mr. Clapper had pointed out on Saturday that Admiral Nimitz had commented on the terrible carnage on Tarawa and had suggested that the American public was not yet inured to the horrors of warfare, that the three terrible days of fighting on Tarawa to wrest it from Japanese hands had all sounded so simple in the initial bare press accounts. Landing, three days of fighting, victory.

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