Wednesday, February 3, 1943

The Charlotte News

Wednesday, February 3, 1943


Site Ed. Note: While the Allies experienced a setback in their thrust to try to re-take Faid Pass in eastern Tunisia, one of two other approaching arms extending toward Maknassy, the one originating from Gafsa, had reached Sened, halfway point between Gafsa and Maknassy to the east. On the front page, A. P. reporter James Birchard provides a first-hand account of the offensive on the road to Maknassy from Sened, accompanying an American armored column. Delayed by Stukas and Messerschmitts reigning fire from above, and by machine-gun nests delivering shrapnel from the ground, the tank column, he relates, nevertheless plunged forward to get the best of the Nazi resistance during the day-long battle for Sened and took the town in a hail of "fire and brimstone".

The Soviet Information Bureau officially declared that the 162-day old siege of Stalingrad had ended. That good news for the democratic world combined with the news from January 19 that the blockade of Leningrad, fully of eighteen months duration, had also ended. Since November 19, the beginning of the current winter counter-offensive, the Russians claimed 275,000 Nazis killed, 228,650, captured.

The end of the Stalingrad siege freed numerous divisions of the Red Army to add to the onslaught against the retreating Nazis in the Caucasus.

From New Guinea came the sad but ironic story of Vern Haugland, A. P. reporter, who had in August survived a crash over New Guinea and wandered in the jungle 43 days, separated from the pilot, Lieutenant Duncan Seffern, having come out of the jungle earlier, expressing optimism that Mr. Haugland would also emerge. This time, the lieutenant was not so fortunate, as his plane crashed on take-off from New Guinea to Australia. He, along with co-pilot, Lieutenant Robert Hatch of Wilmington, were both killed. Mr. Haugland witnessed the tragedy from the ground.

A report from Guadalcanal by William Hipple indicated that numerous young Japanese soldiers had counted themselves expendables for want of supplies and reinforcements promised by their commanders but never brought down the Slot. Therefore, starving and depleted of ammunition, they gave up rather than face sure death when invited by the Americans to partake of warm food. They decided they were done with being Japanese and wished to be American.

It is a cruel fact of war. The Americans and Filipinos defending Bataan and Corregidor the previous spring, while never expressing any desire to become Japanese, nevertheless succumbed to their aching bellies and lack of ammunition, under similar circumstances where promised reinforcement, air support and supply never arrived, bitterly so to those left behind as expendables.

Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox, fresh off a visit to review the situation at Guadalcanal, confirmed that, while a major Japanese naval contingent had been observed for weeks moving toward Guadalcanal, with a United States Navy force in pursuit, there was no pitched battle at present, as the U.S. force continued to feel out the intentions of the Japanese. Speculation had been running high since this Japanese force was spotted leaving Rabaul in early January that a major new offensive on Guadalcanal might be afoot.

In fact, the Japanese were seeking not to reinforce or supply but to evacuate the remaining Japanese troops. The effort, however, was too late as most Japanese infantry on the island were either dead or starved into surrender.

The subsequent claims, apparently, by the Japanese, as recorded by historians, that some 11,000 troops were evacuated during the course of latter January and early February are quite absurd. Few if any got out by Japanese evacuation.

An estimated 100-plane RAF bombing raid on Cologne took place the previous night, the 112th of the war on the city, object of the thousand-plane record-setting raid at the end of May, 1942, but the first since October 15. Target of the raid was heavy rebuilding activity undertaken since the summer and fall raids, especially aiming at the factories which produced submarine batteries, Diesel engines, and Mauser firearms.

If Americans had cursed the name of Leon Henderson over rationing, they were sure to curse the new head of O.P.A., former Senator Prentiss Brown of Michigan. For, now, O.P.A. announced two new rationing programs: one for canned goods, one to stretch the grounds for rationing coffee from one pound per five weeks to six. Merciful heavens.

In an article in Cosmopolitan, "Puntzi" Hanfstangl, a onetime friend of Der Fuehrer and younger brother to one of Hitler's girlfriends--(could any fraulein resist his obviously charming ways?)--claimed that he had personal knowledge that Der Fuehrer, prior to becoming Der Fuehrer, had personally murdered his half-niece, Geli Raubal. The alleged cause was outrage and jealousy for her having fallen in love with her Viennese Jewish singing teacher, hired for her by Hitler. Herr Hanfstangl further stated that Gregor Strasser, victim of Hitler's 1934 blood purge within the Nazi Party hierarchy, the Night of the Long Knives, had refused to call the incident an accident when Hitler sent for his aid along with that of Hermann Goering.

The date of the incident is not provided by the piece, but her death was recorded as a suicide September 19, 1931, probably occurring the previous night, still 16 months before Hitler's ascendancy to become Chancellor of the Reichstag. She was 23 at the time.

Goering is supposed to have remarked to his attorneys during the Nuremberg war crimes trial, though not so testifying, that her death had a profound impact on Hitler, changing his views on life and people.

Well it might have, were it so that he killed his half-niece because she fell in love with a Jew and not her half-uncle, soon to become resident of die Fuhrerbunker, together with his dog and Eva, both blondes.

The finding of suicide was based entirely on the fact that the door to her apartment was locked from the inside. Hitler had publicly denied rumors which immediately circulated that on the day of her death he had argued with Geli, whom Hitler had sought to have address him as "Uncle Alfi", in the apartment he had provided her in Munich, concerning his objection to her plans to move to Vienna to pursue the relationship with the singing teacher. The gun used in her death belonged to Hitler; he claimed that he inadvertently had left it in the apartment when he departed. An unfinished note to someone in Vienna, abruptly stopped not only mid-sentence but mid-word, was left behind by Geli, expressing her anxious anticipation of seeing the intended recipient of the note upon her arrival there within a few days.

Whatever impact this incident may have had on the formation of the later exhibited character of Geli's half-uncle, it was not decisive in his development as a human monster; it was only another signpost along a long road which probably began in childhood but certainly blossomed during World War I and its immediate aftermath, leading to his leadership of his fledgling Nazi malcontents in the Munich Beer Hall Putsch of 1923. To suggest Geli's death as such a key to Alfi's development would be akin to finding Churchill Downs, Ky., not Calumet of Lexington, to be the reason for the success of Bewitched in being half-sister to Citation and Coaltown in the king's sport's run for the Triple Crown. Or, as if the doctor, by now, after four years of running, being thought innocent and fine, finding Johnson on the ferris wheel as strangers on a train, and, not waiting for the trial, instead yelled, "My horsedom for a king!" then dumped one-armed Johnson below into the muddy, embarrassed deal's slime, all to silence him of the co-conspired crime, then removing his own doctorally-inclined Krum-bilbow prosthesis, danced off wildly into the ocean breeze, oh so quite sublime.

That he killed her, either personally or by proxy, defies doubt given the man's entire scope of monstrous conduct. Anyone who would doubt it would have to be an idiot. He committed suicide with the other two supposed loves of his life, whom, like himself, he hated as well, little Eva and Blondi, the latter probably his deepest love for her inability to talk back to Der Fuehrer or break her oath of loyalty to His Highness. Nevertheless, Blondi also died in die Fuhrerbunker. End of case.

And a Spokane lumberman figured a way to save a good bit of gas in eight trucks hauling lumber one way, normally returning empty. He piggy-backed four trucks on the other four on the return trip.

On the editorial page, O. J. Coffin, dean emeritus of the U.N.C. school of journalism, writes in the Greensboro Daily News of the passing of one of his respected mentors in his youth, Charles Tomlinson of Asheboro and High Point. He speaks of his first acquaintance with the Tomlinsons having been through their High Point department store from which Mr. Coffin had bought a fine, durable pair of Bush Hill shoes comprised of white-oak tanned leather, probably improved with copper toes, but kept lasting by Neatsfoot oil or mutton's tallow--which rubbed, made them lamp-light, in chapman's proper glows, as fleet soot coiled base runs in ruth and fallow gold, so when pyte, roke ran gether the cues a-glued in Homer's odes.

We stress it because once before, over fours years ago, having no direct connection per se or intending in the least any slight to Mr. Coffin's memory, we emphasized a mention of his name in conjunction with some particularly arranged references in editorials of the day, November 2, 1938, and of that period in the run of The News generally.

Raymond Clapper points out that a recent study showed that 60% of Americans in 1943 believed that there would always be big wars in the world. Of the 40% contrary opinion, most were from lower socio-economic levels of society, with less than elementary school educations. Most were also Southern.

It would seem that the poor dumbbells this time, nevertheless, had it right in the expression of their faithful optimism--so far. But, of course, again, we note that no one then knew that to achieve the result would take not only a strong United Nations organization but the development of the doomsday weapon to inculcate in peoples throughout the world, educated and uneducated alike, poor and wealthy of nations, the notion that war does not pay except in blood and pulverized dust which once formed constituent human beings.

"Sign No. 1" says that President Roosevelt brought home the bacon from Casablanca, Liberia, and Brazil. More such bacon, it predicts, would follow.

"The Slowdown" correctly forecasts that the Japanese would not be able again to muster any major counter-offensive in the Pacific.

All henceforth would be defensive strategy. Their plan after Pearl Harbor was to foist a concerted six-month campaign to so pretermit resistance that the Allies would be forced to capitulate to terms. When that did not occur and the weak, spoiled Western nations instead took it in the face, in the jaw, in the chest, in the back, and below the belt, yet got up from the corner and began pummeling away at its avowed new enemy, the Japanese war machine, made for the short-haul, could no longer keep pace. Its once proud, indomitable navy and surprisingly effective air force were virtually now decimated in less than a year's time. The manufacturing base of Japan no longer had the convenient American spigot of oil or 6th Avenue El train track scraps with which to make ammunition and tanks and planes and carriers, blasted to hell in the Pacific.

"The Bounce" tells of how rubber czar William Jeffers had fought successfully Army and Navy demands for rubber during the previous year, that if the military bosses had been awarded their way, there would have been but twenty million vehicles left on the road in the country and all spare tires of those would have been riding Jeeps or melted for other purposes, with driving reduced only to essential uses by law, not by request.

So take your four gallons per week, Soldier, and drive at 35 happily down the open road. It's World War II. You'll be lucky to survive it anyway.

But, remember, no drinking. "Pass the Biscuits" Pappy and his hillbilly band, having beaten Congressman Johnson in 1941, insist upon it.

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