Thursday, February 4, 1943

The Charlotte News

Thursday, February 4, 1943


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Russian circle around Rostov was ever-tightening, with the only remaining rail route of escape having been cut off, that Russian airplanes were attacking German ships in the Sea of Azov trying to prepare for evacuation of the Nazis in Rostov to Kerch on the Crimea, at what was now being called the Russian Dunkerque.

Secretary of War Henry Stimson declared at a press conference that were the Russians to complete, as anticipated, their taking of Kharkov, Rostov, and Kursk, then the Germans should be driven completely from the Caucasus. He stressed that increased Lend-Lease aid was now getting through to Russia, with fewer losses of ships along the northern route to Murmansk and Archangel, and as enabled by a new land route opened to the south through Iran to supply troops fighting in the Caucasus.

Reports had surfaced from Sweden and Spain that the turn for the worst in Russia, with the complete loss of the Stalingrad offensive and Caucasus oil looking likewise doomed to stay in Russian hands, had prompted Hitler to make entreaties for peace, with Francisco Franco to become the internuncio. The Generalissimo, however, had released an unsolicited statement denying that he had been approached with any such proposition. Nevertheless, speculation ran high that the war would soon be over in Europe. Even the black market in Paris had suddenly been orphaned in anticipation of a peace treaty, notwithstanding the announcement after the Casablanca Conference that the Allies would accept nothing short of unconditional surrender.

Speculation continued to flourish that a major naval engagement between the U.S. and Japanese fleets was imminent in the area surrounding Guadalcanal.

In Essen, RAF and American Flying Fortress raids had uncovered attic stores of underground weapons found by roof repairers. The Nazi High Command, attributing the underground activity to Communists, invited the people of the city to turn in any weapons they happened to find stashed in their attics, in which case there would no reprisal.

--Danke, mein herr. You are a good citizen. You are very fortunate that you will not today be instead set before a firing squad but rather rewarded. So now, to prove your continuing loyalty to the Reich and Der Fuhrer, we shall send you to the Russian front to assist our loyal soldiers there. Danke, once again. Good day, good luck.

Captain Fred W. Dallas of Houston, despite wounds in his chest, bleeding profusely, landed his plane with its crew safely in Tunisia after being caught by flak immediately following the release of bombs over Bizerte in Tunisia on January 29. It was the second such crash landing for Captain Dallas. His co-pilot, Kermit Beahan, also of Houston, who described the adventure, had been involved in yet two other crash landings over England.

Captain Dallas of Houston should not be confused with Fred C. Houston of Pittsburgh, executor of the will of Ida M. Capers, involved in that curiously coincidental story appearing in The News in February, 1963, which we referenced in July, 2005, having discovered the 1963 story earlier, in February, 2003, in relation to the nearly identical story, save the breed of dog to be put to sleep, which had appeared July 23, 1939, of which latter story we did not know until July, 2005.

On the editorial page, Raymond Clapper writes of the elevation, effective January 30, of Admiral Karl Doenitz from chief of U-boat operations, a position he had held since October 1, 1939 at the beginning of the war, to Commander-in-Chief of the Kriegsmarine, the German navy. The move signaled, opined Clapper, the onset of a new thrust from within the U-boat packs active in the Atlantic and Mediterranean.

Increased U-boat production by the end of 1942, despite continual pressure by Allied bombing on the deeply sheltered concrete-encased submarine bases and manufacturing facilities, had enabled the U-boats to travel together in greater numbers, in that which became familiarly known as "Wolfpacks". Even so, the better-protected convoys and far greater numbers of Liberty ships crossing the Atlantic everyday by this point in time made life miserable for the lone-wolf U-boat captain.

Doenitz would eventually be handed command of the Nazi state after Hitler and Goebbels killed themselves on Walpurgis Night, 1945. He presided over the surrender of all German forces to the Americans and British during the ensuing week. He was tried as a war criminal at Nuremberg, for waging unrestricted submarine warfare, sinking neutral merchant ships and ordering that survivors not be picked up. He was found not guilty on the more serious count of violation of international law in this regard, but was found guilty of violation of the Naval Protocol of 1936 to which Germany was a signatory, in essence therefore a treaty violation. On the counts of conviction based thereon, he received a ten-year sentence which he served to completion in Spandau Prison in West Berlin.

Freed in 1956, Doenitz lived until 1982 and became the only high-ranking Nazi to survive the war, despite his admissions of having aided Hitler in the planning of the war and despite his anti-Semitism and support generally of anti-Semitic policies, even if he did not per se participate in the Holocaust.

"Firs' Lesson" takes stock of the reality of war against Hitler's seasoned troops being poured in from every front to try to preserve the Nazi foothold in North Africa, critical in preventing an Allied entry from the Mediterranean to the Continent. Setbacks reported in the previous week along that front after a tremendous drive, nearly uninterrupted, either by the Eighth Army across Libya or the Allied forces fighting, when weather permitted, in Tunisia, were, the piece cautions, to be anticipated. More such setbacks before the more experienced Nazi fighters and superior tank technology would come, Mr. Davis accurately predicts.

But, once General Patton took control of the forces in Tunisia, it would not be for long so.

"Unveiling" reviews favorably the first month of the gubernatorial term in Georgia of Ellis Arnall, replacing with progressive fresh air his corrupt, racist predecessor, Gene Talmadge. His first order of business had been to restore the status of an independent Board of Regents for the University of Georgia which, during the previous couple of years, had been beset and humiliated nationally by Governor Talmadge's efforts to control its conduct through the ordered dismissal of "furriners", that is professors who professed something other than Neanderthalic lessons of segregation in their classes and also happened to be from other states of the Union outside Georgia, even including in the definition of "furrin" other Southern states. Governor Arnall had also already overhauled the system of gubernatorial pardons for hire based on political contributions--bribes, in other words.

Arnall, as we have pointed out previously, ran for governor unsuccessfully again in 1966, trying to derail the Democratic nomination of restaurateur, race-baiter, segregationist nonpareil, Lester Maddox. Jimmy Carter also ran in that race for the first time in statewide politics.

Gene Talmadge again would be elected governor in 1946, but would die before taking office, allowing his son, Herman, to be elected by the Legislature to succeed him. Herman Talmadge, as Senator, later served in 1973 on the Senate Select Committee investigating Watergate.

Samuel Grafton writes of Sidney Kingsley's The Patriots, a Broadway play centering on Thomas Jefferson, made timely, says Mr. Grafton, by the incessant bickering and tugs of war within the military and bureaucratic framework of the government.

Mr. Kingsley, who was at the time a sergeant in the Army, had also been the playwright responsible for creation of "The Dead End Kids", known popularly to another generation as "The Bowery Boys".

Of the writing of The Patriots, Mr. Kingsley explained in an interview in his latter years that the source of the dialogue came from letters written by Jefferson, Washington, and Hamilton.

Well, it came out of my questioning. At that time, democracy was being challenged and questioned and there was a good body of thinking that it couldn't stand up to the single-mindedness of fascism or communism, and so I determined to write a play about it, to see if I could find out for myself what it really was. I didn’t intend to write a play about Thomas Jefferson. It just happened that way. The more I asked myself a question about the meaning of democracy, this great principle, the more I found myself going back to the early days of the American Revolution. So that's how it came about… Well I found myself more and more turning to the letters of Jefferson and Washington and Hamilton. These men were great philosophers and they worked out these principles. That required spending days and nights at the library—New York Public Library—and Madge [Evans, wife] helped me. She would go to the library with me, because I was in the Army then… It requires an enormous amount of study so that you know what you’re talking about. Fortunately, Washington, Jefferson, Hamilton—they were all great letter writers. And the volumes are there in the library—volumes of their letters. And that's a personal—nothing more personal than Washington or Jefferson or Hamilton writing about those events.

The Patriots ran successfully for five months on Broadway, beginning January 29, winning the New York Drama Critics' Circle award for best play of 1943. The play was presented in Washington during 1943 as a command performance at the Library of Congress for both the Congress and the Supreme Court. It was subsequently reprised for television, with Charlton Heston playing the lead role of Jefferson, airing on NBC's "Hallmark Hall of Fame" series, November 15, 1963.

President Kennedy admired Thomas Jefferson enormously and once commented, on April 29, 1962 at a White House dinner for 49 Nobel Laureates, that it was the "most extraordinary" assemblage "of talent and of human knowledge that has ever been gathered together at the White House--with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone."

The poem "Tocsin!" by Struthers Burt, resident of Southern Pines and sometime letter writer to The News, reprinted on the page from his volume, published the previous year, War Songs, celebrating the past and present war effort of Americans, is worth a read ghostly by any Patriot.

"…Above the tramping of the dead
The elm tree lifts its shadowy head.

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