Monday, April 26, 1943

The Charlotte News

Monday, April 26, 1943


Site Ed. Note: --Raindrops keep falling on my head, and just like the…

Oh, hello. Didn't see you standing there.

As a picture on the front page appears of General Patton sitting on a hill observing previous fighting in the El Guettar Valley, his forces were now busy taking key hills in northern Tunisia, as shown by the circled area on the map, moving north and south of Beja with an objective of Mateur, the junction of roads leading to both Tunis and Bizerte. The Army II Corps had taken the hill at Sidi N'Sir, ten miles southwest of Mateur, as Axis troops withdrew five miles between Saturday night and Sunday morning in the heaviest American artillery bombardment yet to be inflicted on the enemy in the Tunisian campaign. Another American unit took a hill at Djebel Nechat El Mazi, nine miles northeast of Sedjenane and thirty miles southwest of Bizerte.

The 19th French Army Corps meanwhile occupied five hills, as the British First Army took positions both north and south of Medjez-El-Bab.

The most strongly Axis-defended positions were in the Goubellat area where General von Arnim committed most of his tank forces to resist the encroaching British First Army, between the positions of the French and Americans.

Four badly wounded American soldiers were found in the area of fighting in northern Tunisia, having been shot by Nazis hiding in the bushes while others had waved a white flag in ostensible surrender. It was not the first time that the Nazis had laid this trick on the Allies. Reports indicated that the Japanese had also resorted to the ploy at Guadalcanal.

It of course gave incentive to the Allies to take no prisoners. As a sergeant explained, the men had to learn that you could not trust a Nazi until "he's dead or disarmed."

Sounds as if the actual meaning was "dead".

Allied headquarters reported from Tunisia that between January 1 and April 15, 1943, 36,000 Axis troops had been captured and 30,000 more either killed or wounded. In the same period, 250 tanks had been destroyed along with 3,000 vehicles, 425 guns, and 34 ships. The Allied air forces had destroyed in the air between 918 and 1,200 planes and damaged another 586 on the ground.

Not conveyed in the report was the fact that most of the 36,000 were Italian.

General Lesley McNair, reported as wounded in Tunisia but expected to recover, would live to fight another day. He would, however, eventually be caught by fatal bullets in Normandy, in July, 1944.

Russia broke off relations with the Polish government in exile because of the accusation, as discussed on Friday by Samuel Grafton, that 10,000 Polish officers had been killed by the Russians in Smolensk. The Russians found the accusation intolerable and accused the Nazis of being guilty of the massacre.

Just as Mr. Grafton had suggested, Hitler's stratagem through propaganda of this sort, aimed at dividing the Allies both from one another and from within, appeared to be having its designed effects.

On the editorial page, "Revelation" indicates that the U. S. should send a loud message to Finland that it would not be heard at the peace table after the war should it continue its neutral stance with respect to the Nazis. It endeavors that such a strong message would work to entice Italy and the Balkans into the Allied camp, disavowing all Axis sympathies before it would become too late.

"One Standard" gives praise to North Carolina as a bellwether state in the South, beginning the required movement toward parity between black and white school teacher salaries. The Federal government had mandated equality of salaries on a progressive basis over the ensuing few years.

The new scale provided for base pay of $1,080 per year for black teachers and $1,152 per year for whites, while teachers with nine or more years of experience received the top salaries, blacks paid $1,440 per year and whites, $1,596. No matter the race, no matter the experience, the pay was still a skimption. (And that assumes a twelve-month year, when there was only a nine-month school session, just expanded by the Legislature from eight months. Whether the monthly rate quoted was based on a nine-month year or a twelve-month, we don't know for sure, but we believe it to have been based on twelve months, for previous indications of teacher pay per year quoted in the column.)

Samuel Grafton finds it symbolic of a general turn in Europe toward brotherly love, the more the Allies demonstrated their military prowess, that for Hitler's recent birthday celebration, the Nazis played Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, not the usual Wagner.

He cites the relatively good treatment of Jewish refugees by Italy and by Spain, when compared even to France, as further sign that the Allies were now flexing with impact their newly acquired muscles. He recommends more of the same to encourage occupied lands to ameliorate treatment of refugees, such as issuing a threat for direct retaliation from the air for the killing of hostages. He finds signs that Germany was turning completely to a defensive strategy in the war, such as the manufacture now of more fighters than bombers.

Whether, incidentally, "Happy Birthday" was sung to Hitler by Roger of the Berlin Zoo, was not reported.

Raymond Clapper describes the resistance to the automobile in Bermuda, overcome only by the demands of the Army and Navy. Gone were the days when the unhurried bicyclist or horse-drawn surry occupant could take a leisurely ride across the island to his or her destination. Emergent circumstances, as everywhere else in the world, had reached Bermuda to insure its preparedness at all times in case of enemy attack, a real possibility given its strategic location as a launching pad for air raids on the United States east coast should it ever fall into German hands.

Dorothy Thompson finds Elmer Davis of the Office of War Information in an unenviable position, trying to please Congress, the Federal bureaucracies, and supply both the press and the public generous information about the war, all while being mindful of appropriate secrecy.

She also looks at the prospect of synthetic rubber on the horizon and finds it not worthy of much hope anytime soon as a cheap enough and worthy replacement for rubber.

And, Tom Jimison examines old-fashioned victuals and viands and longs for the day…

Candidly, we can't tell what in the bloody hell he's talking about today. And so we shan't try.

Incidentally, we finished watching "Mrs. Miniver". Lady Beldon, as always, won the prize for best rose of the year, but magnanimously stepped aside and gave up the prize to genial Mr. Ballard, the station agent, who had entered his prize rose, "Mrs. Miniver", only to wind up officially in second place, even if a rigged joust from the start. But, thanks to Lady Beldon's aristocratic generosity extended to the little peon at the urging of Mrs. Miniver, overcoming the old goat's silly pride, Mr. Ballard never knew that. Then, an hour later, he died in the air raid. It didn't do him much good for long, now, did it? So, too, did young Vin Miniver's recently wedded wife, Lady Beldon's daughter. (See what generosity gets you? Nazis strafing your family.) But Vin survived to fight another day and that's the important thing. There's always another wife to be had, right, old chap? Chin-up, cheerio.

No wonder he kissed her on the lips.

Even if somewhat Oedipal in its implications, it was a bit melodramatic all 'round. But, then, so was the war. Right? Right.

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