Friday, February 12, 1943

The Charlotte News

Friday, February 12, 1943


Site Ed. Note: Bad weather, according to the front page, forestalled renewed operations to unite the forces for the British Eighth Army with the forces of the Central Tunisian front, perhaps for as long as a month to six weeks.

In Russia, Communist Party organ Pravda published an editorial critical of a Washington columnist who had suggested that Russia would seek to dominate large sections of Europe and a path through Iran to the Persian Gulf after defeat of Germany. Foci of the claim against the Russians were the Baltic States and Bessarabia.

Of course, Secretary of the Navy, Frank Knox, had just stated a few days earlier that the United States, in order to insure a future free from recurring attempts at Japanese expansionism, should acquire rights to military occupation of numerous islands in the Pacific. Thus, with the Soviet experience having been as it was, with millions of deaths suffered in the previous nineteen months trying to force the Nazis out of their country, it is not hard to understand why the post-war picture turned out as it did in fact in war-torn and war-weary Europe.

The series of three photographs conveys rapidly the hair-trigger anger of the Russians, as it shows a revealed Fifth Columnist, responsible for the deaths of twelve Russian guerillas who had nevertheless successfully annihilated a Nazi-Hungarian brigade, being led by his Russian captors among the village women whacking him with brooms and sticks along his final walk to death before the hastily assembled firing squad.

A delayed report from the Navy stated that three Japanese destroyers had been sunk and four others damaged during the final attempts at evacuation of Guadalcanal by the Japanese during the first week of February.

Congress studied proposed legislation to make a year of military service compulsory for all young men during the ages 18 to 21, to remain in reserve for four years afterward.

--Mr., you better get up off that lazy chair, drop and give me twenty and start whipping that flabby no-good body into a toned, taut fighting machine, because Uncle Sam wants your body, and Uncle Sam means Business.

Meanwhile, on this Abraham Lincoln's birthday, President Roosevelt visited the Lincoln Memorial and placed palm leaves bedecked with red, white, and blue ribbons at the feet of Mr. Lincoln's looming large statue.

On the editorial page, "World's Lady" offers admiration, while refusing agreement, for the stand taken by Clare Boothe Luce during her first speech before Congress, denouncing the Vice-President and other "world cooperationists" who suggested air power in the post-war world must be shared with both "the British Empire and its colonial interests" as well the Soviets and their totalitarianism. She defined this proposed cooperation as unduly Red, seeking to spread a "redder" version of the New Deal worldwide, relying apparently on Mr. Wallace's May comment promising a quart of milk a day for everyone in the world as salve for want and hence hedge against future warfare. Then she sat down after 40 minutes, to tepid Republican applause.

Unfortunately, the editorial response was not so icy as it should have been to this caustic obloquy couched in ladylike terms, unabashedly resurrecting the old Perfidious Albion nonsense and the anti-Red jargon of the political right, at a time when both of these Allies were sacrificing far more lives than the United States, especially in Russia, to protect the United States from having to send more troops than the half million already assembled in North Africa and the million awaiting deployment from Northern Ireland plus the other planned six million either still in stateside training or soon to be drafted. It was this sort of unrestrained rhetoric which helped mightily to fuel the paranoia that led, post-war, to the Cold War, aided significantly, indeed, by Mrs. Luce's always Red-paranoid husband, Henry, who was a prime supporter, for instance, of Barry Goldwater in 1964 whose platform included withdrawal from the United Nations and surrendering to field military commanders the decision to deploy or not nuclear weapons.

Yet, in your heart you knew he was right.

Unfortunately in your gut, you were not so certain.

As the editorial points out, Time at the time had reported that Representative Luce had referred to the Vice-President's enunciated prospectus for post-war policy as so much "globaloney". The responses of the Vice-President and Mrs. Roosevelt, as well as that of poet and author Carl Sandburg, countering Representative Luce's remarks, were tempered.

On the far side of the Atlantic, however, the London newspapers harshly rebuked the freshman congresswoman, joined by Lady Astor of Virginia, who suggested that the stateside commoner should mind her manners, was seeking only to make a name for herself.

Lady Astor, part of the Cliveden Set, who actively aided and abetted events in Europe in the mid-thirties and were instrumental in establishing the climate of public opinion which led to the Munich Pact, all of which led directly to the war, had, of course, no room to criticize, being likewise equally an imbecile, if not a traitor to all reason.

Nevertheless, the Blonde continues to lead the Blind to this day with such rhetoric as used by the rather stupid, ignorant, unblushingly cony-caught Mrs. Luce in 1943.

All things change and all things remain the same.

Want some more wine?

We shall let you peruse "The Bird" for yourself. We haven't the foggiest notion what that is all about, but it seems to fit quite well.

Ah yes.

"The End Nears" takes from the burning words of Prime Minister Churchill of the previous day and the announcement of grand strategy conferences to be held between General "Hap" Arnold of the U. S. Army Air Corps, Field Marshal Sir John Dill and both Chiang Kai-shek and General Wavell in India, to coordinate plans apparently for a major offensive to be undertaken in the Pacific while the Japanese were reeling from the losses at Guadalcanal and New Guinea, to be positive signals of a war likely to conclude within the ensuing ten months.

Unfortunately, it was a false hope, but not for any want of effort or proper strategy by the Allies.

It was solely the result of the same sustained insanity, which had brought about the Damned Thing to begin with, orchestrated by the Masters of War, those described aptly, without further elaboration being necessary, in Samuel Grafton's column.

Dorothy Thompson also believed the war would end in Europe within the year, as the total collapses of the German armies in Stalingrad and the Caucasus were insuperable obstacles to continued German pertinacity on other fronts. She cautions that, if so, and if the Russians were left to win the war without Western assistance in manpower, not just Lend-Lease aid, then the Russians would be able properly to dictate terms post-war. She urges therefore immediate capitulation to the recent requests of Stalin to Roosevelt that the British and American forces send in troops to the Russian theater to aid in finally defeating the Wehrmacht.

A different strategy was, of course, plotted, one to which Stalin was made privy during the Casablanca Conference.

The truth was, of course, that Hitler still had sufficient forces re-deployed from the Russian front, his best remaining troops, to guard the Channel and southern European coasts. A hard and bloody struggle still lay ahead from the West. There would be no solitary Russian victory. Indeed, had it not been for Operation Torch drawing off forces for the protection of southern Europe, the tremendous successes of the Russian armies undoubtedly could not have been achieved in the winter of 1942-43, any more than it had been the previous winter, though certainly then stopping and pushing back considerably the Nazi from his conquered high water marks, to within Moscow's very suburbs.

Raymond Clapper reports on alley butchering of meat to circumvent meat rationing as an example of that which was only poisoning the war effort, likely to lengthen the thing and insure more deaths of American soldiers, as well as creating inflation at home. It was scatter-brained, anathematic to the solvency of American life, to the ordinary working man and woman, he assures, as surely as bootlegging had been during Prohibition, only serving to drive prices of all commodities higher.

A modern analogy might be drawn to provide a point for bitter opponents of Roe v. Wade to stop a moment at the shadowy corner and perpend of their certainty and moral rectitude.

Understanding the Herblock requires remembering that Hawaii and Alaska were not yet states.

In a rare lapse, the editorial page misspells the name of the author of the quote of the day, Edward Bulwer-Lytton. Cash had once, five years earlier, referenced one of his short stories, "The House and the Brain". The quote is from Lady of Lyons, or Love and Pride, Act II, Scene 1, wherein, as an aside, Claude Melnotte asserts to the audience more fully:

"Humph!--rank is a great beautifier! I never passed for an Apollo while I was a peasant; if I am so handsome as a prince, what should I be as an emperor!"

And, the "Fuel Oil Note" in "Visitin' Around", Pelham item, one, two, three, from the Reidsville Review, again finds our old friend, probably peeking into the whole Bird issue elucidated in the column to the left, "O'Henry". Whoever the typesetter was should be roundly ashamed, go out and catch a cony. For anyone who dares misplace an apostrophe, even accidentally, is certainly no friend of ours. Suffice to say, the front page's photographic series suggests our preferred treatment of such traitors among us. We simply cannot tolerate such insurrection.

Speaking of "The Twilight Zone", we were watching last evening "Terror at High Point", airing December 17, 1963, the series being pre-empted on December 10, likely for memorial programming to President Kennedy.

Dan, the bully of the earth-moving equipment crew of which the good doctor has signed on as time-keeper, no longer working for the toadying furniture store manager, someday soon to be Inspector Drebin into something good, picks on the retarded fellow, who nevertheless speaks impeccable English, for whom the good doctor has obtained a job under the good offices of Felix Unger before he became a sports writer, then the boss of the earth-moving crew, operating on a construction project high above Utah, Mt. Olympus housing project in fact, above Hollywood, Utah, after which incessant bullying, Dan tries also to blame the fellow for the attempted strangulation attack in the classic shower scene in the trailer, Dan obviously harboring a schizoid dead-mother complex somewhere in his closet, finally urging his fellow workers to get their guns, Dan's, he says, being one used for rabbit-hunting, and go after the retarded fellow on the run now up the mountain from the false accusation following him as the assailant of the foreman's wife in the classic shower scene, Dan, the practitioner, no doubt, in his spare time of fowl taxidermy, leading the charge, obtaining the arc light to light the mountain and take pot-shots at the retarded fellow, as the doctor seeks to obtain the fellow's acquiescence in telling the police what actually had happened as he returned, at the doctor's suggestion, hence getting him into the trouble in the first place, that which the doctor had a penchant for doing, Robinson Crusoe to his reading teacher, the foreman's wife, who was recovering in the trailer from the classic shower scene, finally obtaining the fellow's consent, only to be fired upon by Dan as the fellow steps into the searchlight beam, yet Dan being restrained by the foreman, knocking the rifle's aim away, the doctor thus being able finally to get the fellow down the mountain to the police, whereupon, with sufficient encouragement from the doctor, the young man raises his hand toward Dan and proclaims, "Thou art the man!" at which time Dan smiles becomingly, sheepishly, suggests that the retarded fellow had implicated the wrong man, but, upon prompting by the ever-astute doctor, was checked for scratches by the foreman, truth thus outed by the fingernail marks on his right arm, hauled away by the police, not surprisingly--as Dan had, the previous February, appeared in "The Twilight Zone" under yet another alias, "Billy-Ben Turner", no doubt formed subconsciously from the name David Ben-Gurion, and operating under which alias was, by his girlfriend, who did not wish him to leave the little backwoods town for the city girl he had found, bewitched. Now, there he stood by mid-December, the bewitched bully before the police and the earth-moving crew, a-jerkin', just like Tony Perkins.

We write these words on the thirtieth anniversary of Mr. Janssen's death. He was a fine actor and we enjoyed the series--though we are virtually certain that we never saw it during the first fall of its run, for had we, we might never have watched it again--and so peace to his ashes and spirit. We happened to be in the vicinity of Los Angeles the day he passed away there, we seem to recall. We still wonder about the coincidence of the horse farm visit out there in Kentucky in 1967, as well the Jellico coincidence of 1978 and 1980, but, regardless, even if we decided that it would not be good to be a doctor if one were to suffer the fate of this poor doctor, forced to wander searching for one-armed Johnson, as a needle in a haystack, maybe even one conjured from imagination, while being chased by the hard-boiled Lt. Gerard, maybe also conjured from imagination, all over the land, we nevertheless believe that the good doctor must have seen a lot of the country in the process and obviously made a lot of friends along the way, kissing many of them, engaging in much ornithological speculation the while. So, each to his own. He was a wanted man. There are worse fates.

Besides, we never really wanted to be a doctor anyway, as we don't like the sight of blood, did not even like pithing a frog for freshman zoology. Indeed, we would not hurt a fly.

As to the whipped cream comment concluding the column by Sam Grafton, we just offer that the dating game resolved all of that later, as foretold by "Side Glances".

Concerning the little squib on the wreck of the two cars in Glasgow, leaving behind a set of bagpipes unharmed, we haven't figured out why the experiment then ended, but if you only knew...

Ah, but we were so much older then.

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