Tuesday, December 7, 1943

The Charlotte News

Tuesday, December 7, 1943


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Turkey's President Ismet Inonu had, subsequent to the Tehran Conference, met with FDR and Churchill in Cairo, where strong pressure had been brought to bear on Turkey to fulfill a commitment made to Britain in 1939 to enter the war on the side of Britain in the event of hostilities.

The strategic importance of Turkey, as indicated by the map, lay in both its proximity to the Balkans and its control of the Dardenelles, affording a sea route from the Mediterranean into the Black Sea, to provide a back door supply route to the Soviet Union, as well to inhibit evacuation of Nazi troops from the Crimea. Presently, supplies to Russia had to be shipped via the Persian Gulf.

Military experts predicted that the war in Europe would likely end within the ensuing year, but that the war against Japan would need be fought for at least another two years. Beyond the Allied unity demonstrated by the Cairo and Tehran conferences, there were other reasons for the optimism: Allied infantry were believed to be numerically superior to the Nazis by a ratio of three to two, the Nazis estimated to have no more than 5.5 million men in their fighting force; air superiority was calculated to be by a ratio of three to one. The Russians alone were believed to have six million men available for combat. Russian equipment, dramatically modernized by Lend-Lease, was now, in most instances, superior to that of the Germans.

The predictions for the end of the war in the two primary theaters, while faulty, were not far off; indeed, had the advent of nuclear weaponry not been set astride the world, the war in the Pacific might well have dragged on in the heavily defended Japanese home islands for another 16 blood-soaked months or more following August, 1945.

The Russians had driven southwest through heavy blizzards in the Ukraine to Kremenchug and had severed in the process the vital Nazi rail link between Smela and Znamenka at Tsibulevo, threatening Kirovograd, 23 miles further west. The fall of Znamenka was considered imminent. The offensive was now threatening all German positions in the Ukraine, including the manganese center of Krivoi Rog, 60 miles below Znamenka.

Don Whitehead describes some of the Fifth Army fighting to block the German evacuation route across the Garigliano River, raining shells down on the Germans from the heights of newly won Mount Maggiore and from Mount Camino.

In a tank battle enshrouded in fog, the Eighth Army engaged the Wehrmacht across the Moro River at San Leonardo, two and a half miles northwest of recently captured San Vito, destroying four Mark IV German tanks in the process.

Heavy rains in the areas of both the Fifth Army and Eighth Army fronts bogged down supply operations on both sides of the fighting. The Garigliano River had flooded its banks to the point that its breadth spanned a mile in some places.

Two years after the attack at Pearl Harbor, the vital Pacific installation was reported to be bustling with activity to win the war. Both the Harbor and the American Pacific Fleet, so battered by the attack, had recovered and were doing fine.

The President vetoed a resolution passed by Congress to commemorate December 7. He said that the memory of the infamous day was still all too vivid to Americans and thus the country needed no reminder.

And, it was reported that Mussolini was virtually paralyzed, nothing new for the former Duce.

On the editorial page, "Anniversary" contrasts the miserable time for the Allies two years earlier with the present when the Axis was now faltering at all points, in Russia, in Italy, under the weight of Allied bombs in France and Germany, and in the Pacific.

"Cotton Ed" finds Senator Cotton Ed Smith of South Carolina behaving true to form in debating on the Senate floor Senator Danaher of Connecticut as to whether the proposed legislation to have uniform procedures among the States to allow soldiers in service abroad to vote by absentee ballot was in fact not just another attempt to undermine States' Rights.

The editorial suggests that it was not a surprise coming from a Senator who recently expressed his belief that the delay in reporting the slapping incident involving General Patton was a New Deal trick because of its timing while Congress considered whether to approve the promotion of General Patton from his permanent rank of colonel to major general.

"The Harvest" blames the UMW and John Lewis for the 20 to 25-cent per ton increase in the cost of coal in Charlotte, just announced by OPA, with similar increases being registered across the country. The piece concludes that it was always the ordinary consumer, including the miners themselves, who ultimately paid for increases in the wages of masses of workers in vital industries. It was not the mine owners, who simply adjusted their books and passed on the cost to the people.

"Escapist" chronicles the lenience which it deems the Mecklenburg County courts to have dispensed to a convicted hit-and-run driver who had killed two young girls on a bicycle eight years earlier, later released and then convicted twice in the previous six months for drunk driving and hit-and-run. The piece predicts that he would likely again escape sufficient retribution.

Dorothy Thompson examines the statement made recently by former Undersecretary of State Sumner Welles, questioning whether the post-war world, as envisioned at Cairo and Tehran, would be one in which the U.S., Great Britain, and Russia would dominate as the Great Trinity, with China trailing as a subordinate power, or whether the Tehran Declaration's expressed goal of establishing equality for all free nations pledged to democratic principles would set the governing table. Many of the foreign policy experts were predicting the former, as envisioned as proper by Walter Lippmann in his recent book, American Foreign Policy--Shield of the Republic, the premise of which, however, Ms. Thompson posits, was based on faulty assumptions about history.

Raymond Clapper looks at the opposition of the AFL to punishing trade unionists in Germany after the war by sending them to Russia to rebuild the ruins of that country resulting from the German invasion since June 22, 1941. The AFL believed that the proposed policy would bitterly undermine and punish one of the basic organs of democratic will in Germany, one which had stood in solid opposition to Nazism, to make it essentially a slave labor force to the Russians. The question, one appearing begging for imminent answer, as some observers were predicting the end of Nazi Germany within as little as three months, was thus posed: were the Allies bent on re-building Germany and Europe after the war, or punishing the German people for the sins of the Nazis?

Samuel Grafton, after reading a New York Times editorial regarding the decision at Cairo to strip Japan of its empire booty at the end of the war and the editorial writer's conclusion that proper vigilance of the Pacific to enforce such a policy would require compulsory peacetime military service in the United States, finds this "Pax Americana" to suggest only a Pyrrhic victory for America. Japan would benefit from boom times economically brought on by its not having to support either an army or a navy, resulting in low taxes, and enabling its industry to be devoted exclusively to commercial pursuits, bringing about a beneficial balance of trade in relation to the West. Meanwhile, the U.S. would be bogged down by the necessity of paying for a large peacetime military force and the burden of devoting a large segment of its output for the purpose of war--the military-industrial complex against which President Eisenhower inveighed during his latter days in office.

Meanwhile, the Japanese by the latter fifties were beginning to export transistor radios and small cars as foundation for what would become one of the most stable economies in the world.

Drew Pearson discusses the decision of Senator Guy Gillette of Iowa not to run for a third term in 1944. Democratic National Chairman Frank Walker took him to task over the decision, indicating that his party needed him. The anti-New Dealer Gillette retorted, however, that he had been the object of one of the attempted purges by FDR and his own party in 1938, and thus felt no obligation whatsoever to be bound by party fealty.

Jim Farley had suggested to Senator Gillette that he seek the presidential nomination in 1944.

Mr. Pearson also relates of a special toast by Josef Stalin provided Major General John R. Deane, Secretary of State Hull's primary military adviser at the Moscow Conference. Premier Stalin said that he looked forward to the day when the British, American, and Russian armies would converge in the streets of Berlin. There were loud cheers all around, especially among the Russians. Then, Stalin walked across the room to General Deane and clinked glasses. The toast was considered symbolic of an incipient new era in cordiality and cooperation between Russia and the West.

And the Side Glances of the day seems, loosely, to be observing, paternalistically, the prospects for the Robinson-Braddock marriage. (No offense meant to the Fockers.)

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