monday, February 15, 1943

The Charlotte News

Monday, February 15, 1943


Site Ed. Note: The front page tells of the recapture of Rostov by the Russians for the second time in the war, erasing, with the previous retaking of Kursk and the ending of the Siege of Stalingrad, all of the territory acquired by the Wehrmacht during the summer and fall of 1942. Unlike the first time the city had been retaken, however, as the piece by Glenn Babb indicates, predictions were that the Nazis would not be capable of regrouping within close enough range for a counterstrike after spring thaw, as they previously had during the winter of 1942 at Taganrog, forty miles to the west of Rostov. This time, German forces were too depleted for such a stand.

The Russians had also advanced in one column to within seven miles of Kharkov.

In Tunisia, the Allies had on Valentine's Day suffered a major defeat at Sidi Bouzid, ten miles southwest of Faid Pass, which Rommel had captured January 30. Fourteen American tanks were destroyed in the engagement. It proved harbinger of things to come.

The RAF struck Cologne in Germany for the 113th time during the war and bombed Milan in Italy as well.

In Berlin, a central rail station of the city's Metropolitan Railway system, the stop at Friedrichstrasse, suffered an explosion, killing two persons. No one seemed to know what happened. Must have been spontaneous combustion at work.

On the editorial page, "The Red Tide" spells out the doom of the German Wehrmacht in Russia, with its forces now so decimated, the editorial predicts, that it could never recover, leaving the Soviets secure for the remainder of the war.

"President?" seeks to dissuade those equating General MacArthur's military successes in the Pacific with presidential timber, touting him for the Republican nomination in 1944; the piece counters by reminding that military leadership and statesmanship require two different skills.

The General, though urged to seek the Republican nomination in 1952, which of course would go instead to General Eisenhower, who also was courted by President Truman to run instead for the Democratic nomination, would, true to his word, never run for political office. Instead, he would quietly fade away after his having crossed swords with President Truman in spring, 1951, wanting to extend the Korean War into a head-on confrontation with Red China, and in consequence was ordered home, stripped of his command in Korea by the President, nevertheless received by the masses as a hero, giving his well-received "old soldiers never die" oration before Congress.

Raymond Clapper, Dorothy Thompson, and Samuel Grafton each take on the subject of renewed isolationist rhetoric in the country, as exemplified by Clare Boothe Luce’s initial speech before Congress the previous week in which she labeled the enunciated post-war goals of sharing Allied air power, as stated by Vice-President Wallace, as well as the similar rhetoric of Undersecretary of State Sumner Welles, that a post-war environment must be inclusive and cooperative with all of the United Nations, including the Soviet Union, as so much "globaloney".

Ms. Thompson asks the pointed question whether the type of leadership set up in North Africa for the French, General Giraud and Marcel Peyrouton, communicated anything to the world but an intent by the Allies to replace one form of fascist rule for another, merely with the new boss flying a different flag out his window from that of the old boss. She cites Peyrouton’s recent adoption of a policy whereby business and corporate heads would determine the selection of members of a new Council of War Economy, forecasting, in Ms. Thompson's view, nothing more democratic than a Mussolini Corporate State.

Was she correct?

Sam Grafton follows in the same vein, finding folly in the rumblings among former isolationist Congressmen advocating that the British bases on which 99-year leases had been acquired in exchange for the 50 outdated destroyers, arranged as a quid pro quo by the President in September, 1940, becoming an isolationist political football at the time, should be given permanently to the United States by Great Britain in repayment of Lend-Lease aid. The cream of the jest, offers Mr. Grafton, was that the leases would not expire until the year 2039. What was the urgency thus during the thick of warfare to bring up such an aggravating thorn, surely to give pause to the British? He also finds folly in Clare Boothe Luce's remarks deploring contemplated sharing of air power with Great Britain and the U.S.S.R. post-war, being so much restoration of the isolationist rhetoric which kept the country disarmed between the wars and led to the year of distress it had just endured post-Pearl Harbor. Again, he groups these sorts of expressed ideals under the rubric of obscurantism.

Was he correct?

Raymond Clapper finds the various opinions enunciated on the post-war world structure to be doing no more than creating confusion rather than affording clarity to the public mind to form some cohesive weal. He urges the White House to grab the reins, as he recognizes that President Roosevelt had his hands quite otherwise occupied fighting the war.

But, as Ms. Thompson duly suggests, if fighting the war was merely to win for the purpose of exertion of another form of imperialism at the peace table, then the fight was really trivial, a way of substituting one form of empire for another. She offers up the opinion expressed the previous week by Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox, advocating the acquisition of rights by America to militarize Pacific islands to prevent future Japanese expansionism, as another example of this sort of rhetoric--to avoid that future war which the U.C.L.A. sociology professor had declared inevitable of occurrence in 1970 against Japan, as provided comment by the editorial column in "The Unborn", January 2.

Again, of course, while this editorial discussion is conducive to academic debate anent this stage of the war, the matter would be rendered, for practical purposes, moot by the successful detonation and deployment in the summer of 1945 of the atomic bomb, changing the entire defense strategy of the victorious Allies by war's conclusion.

"Fallen Giant" by Louis Graves of The Chapel Hill Weekly, regarding the demise on New Year's Day of a large oak tree on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill, reminds of this piece, the image of which is reproduced below, appearing in the same newspaper 20 years, nine months, and nine days after the earlier piece had been reprinted in The News, a postscript to a review of a Carolina Playmakers presentation of Eugene O'Neil's Long Day's Journey Into Night, quoting from George Bernard Shaw's Saint Joan.

The little piece from The Richmond Journal, attributed to Tom Jimison, mentions in its last two paragraphs a foxhunt by the howl of the hounds as "the angels come out and walk the beams of Arcturus and dance on the rings of Orion while the canine music shakes the hills".

Remindful of the writing of Thomas Wolfe in Of Time and the River, perhaps, Mr. Jimison also foresaw Big Mama Thornton, maybe even Elvis, maybe both.

Arcturus, as we pointed out, is part of the star structure specified in the Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram of 1929, as we showed you once before, and have commented upon several times, such as in this note.

Was Arcturus the man with the "proper motion", wearing the flak jacket, as visible in frames 214-250, clapping three times, swinging his arms back, unnecessarily exaggerating the movement, strangely continuing a fixed gaze east, ignoring the passage of the President’s car after providing it such an ostensibly warm welcome, walking after the fact leisurely to the east up Elm, out of the Plaza, as most others either stood spellbound or spontaneously ran toward the knoll?

Or was Arcturus Desdemona in the black coat with the Polaroid camera?

And, given the juxtaposition of these several pieces, in conjunction with "Triple Talk", we refer you back to this note and its accompanying excerpt from that novel by our friend in the Caribbean, who continues to avow, with ample verification, that he never saw any of these editorials when the thing was set to paper back in 1991-92.

We never had seen the Chapel Hill Weekly piece appearing this date when, on November 24, 1963, we clipped the other piece from that newspaper, which happened to be on the reverse side of republished photographs of President Kennedy taken when he had spoken at the University October 12, 1961. Indeed, we never read the piece until today, February 15, 2010.

We have told you that it gets spooky around here sometimes. There are, we attest, ghosts abounding in these old prints.

"Spanner", according to the first set of meanings provided in the O.E.D.:

†1. An instrument by which the spring in a wheel-lock firearm was spanned or wound up. Obs. Phillips (ed. Kersey, 1706) has ‘Spanner, the Cock of a Carbine or Fusee’; hence in later Dicts., as Bailey (1721), Johnson (1755), with ‘Lock’ in place of ‘Cock’.

1639 R. Ward Animadv. Warre I. 293 A case of good Firelocke Pistolles,+with his Spanner and flaske boxes. 1644 Howell England's Tears for Pres. Wars in Dodona's Grove 169 My Prince his Court is now full of nothing but Buff-Coats, Spanners, and Musket Rests. 1688 Holme Armoury iii. xx. (Roxb.) 243/2 The second is called a Spanner; it is a thing made of Iron, haueing a square hole in the bending part of it, by which the springs of wheele locks are wound vp. [1863 W. Thornbury True as Steel II. 29 He then took the spanner+and bent the spring which communicated with the axis-pin of his wheel-lock.]

2. a. A hand-tool, usually consisting of a small bar of steel, having an opening, grip, or jaw at the end which fits over or clasps the nut of a screw, a bolt, coupling, etc., and turns it or holds it in position; a wrench.

There are several makes of spanner, and they vary greatly in shape and size, some having one opening, others two; some taking one size of nut, etc., others being adjustable to nuts of different sizes.

1790 W. H. Marshall Rur. Econ. Midl. II. 443 Spanner, a wrench; a nut screw-driver. 1831 J. Holland Manuf. Metal I. 215 A screw attached to a spanner or lever. 1858 Greener Gunnery 101 Wood carriage complete, with wrought iron screw and spanner for elevating mortar. 1888 Rutley Rock-forming Min. 22 A nut which screws on to the end of the spindle and is tightened up by means of a spanner. 1830 G. R. Ainslie Anglo-French Coinage 66 Two spanner-like towers. 1902 Marshall Metal Tools 69 The small worm shown in the spanner head.

b. Colloq. phr. to throw a spanner in the works and varr.: to cause disruption, to interfere with the smooth running of something. Cf. monkey-wrench s.v. monkey n. 18a.

1934 Wodehouse Right Ho, Jeeves xi. 142 He should have had sense enough to see that he was throwing a spanner into the works. 1939 A. Ransome Secret Water i. 18 We can't go. It's all off. The First Lord's chucked a spanner in the works. 1946 D. L. Sayers Unpopular Opinions 111 She was in love with Leicester—why didn't she marry him? Well, for the very same reason that numberless kings have not married their lovers—because it would have thrown a spanner into the wheels of the State machine. 1959 News Chron. 10 July 4/1 Mr. Cousins has thrown a spanner into the Labour Party's works. 1960 R. East Kingston Black ix. 90 My department might be able to throw a spanner into the works—if necessary. 1977 Time Out 17–23 June 5/4 Either way, the 60 workers occupying the factory have put a spanner in the works.

3. Mech. a. A bar or lever for opening the valves of a steam-engine (see quots.).

1773 W. Emerson Mechanics (ed. 3) 230 The horizontal piece h 3, called the spanner; so that moving h back and forward, moves the plate 45 over the hole 2, and back again. 1824 Stuart Hist. Steam Engine 175 Two valves, which are moved alternately by levers acted on on the outside from the revolution of a spanner or lever attached to the hollow axle. 1869 Rankine Machine & Hand-tools Pl. F 1. 2 Lower down on this spindle+is keyed a duplex spanner or rocking lever 1, one end of which is attached+to the valve rod of the small engine.

b. In a parallel-motion steam-engine (see quots.).

1846 A. Young Naut. Dict. 306 The lever e is called the Spanner or Lever of Parallel Motion. 1867 Smyth Sailor's Word-bk. 640 Spanner, an important balance in forming the radius of parallel motion in a steam-engine, since it reconciles the curved sweep which the side levers describe with the perpendicular movement of the piston-rod, by means of which they are driven.

4. attrib. and Comb., as spanner tight a., of a nut: as tight as can be secured manually with a spanner; spanner wrench U.S., a non-adjustable spanner.

1925 Morris Owner's Man. 53 The nuts should always be kept (small) spanner tight. 1931 Daily Express 31 Jan. 3/6 Even where the nut was absolutely spanner tight. 1940 Sun (Baltimore) 30 Mar. 20/1 The fuel door+was bolted closed the night before the ship sank, but was found open with a spanner wrench beside it when salvagers examined the sunken vessel. 1969 Publ. Amer. Dial Soc. lii. 35 Spanner wrench,+a wrench having a fixed distance between its jaws which fits on the hose couplings and is used to tighten or loosen connections.

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