Thursday, April 29, 1943

The Charlotte News

Thursday, April 29, 1943


Site Ed. Note: The British First Army, reports the front page, had suffered a temporary setback before Nazi shock troops supported by tanks at Djebel Bou Aoukaz, the key height taken the previous day. The German commitment on all fronts in Tunisia had, for the moment, stopped not only the First Army but also General Patton's Army II Corps and the Eighth Army. General Montgomery was reported still to have gained only two to seven miles, trudging through the dense mountainous territory north of Enfidaville.

In the Pacific, an air raid was reported by the Allies on the Japanese-held Gilbert Islands, specifically Tarawa, occurring April 23. Another Allied raid was reported on the island of Attu in the Aleutians, as bombing of Japanese positions there and at Kiska had been substantially increased in recent days.

Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau told a gathering in San Francisco that a cable had arrived from Chiang Kai-shek informing that the Japanese had not only executed American fliers from the Doolittle raid of April 18, 1942, as the President had reported the previous Wednesday night, but had also engaged in wholesale execution of the Chinese in search of the downed fliers.

Though not reported, it was estimated that as many as 250,000 were slaughtered in this punitive purge.

The President issued a warning to the striking miners in the bituminous coal industry that unless all returned to work by Saturday at 10:00 a.m., he would take undescribed action in order to protect the country, that the strike was against the United States as it would cripple the war effort by shutting down steel mills for want of coal to produce steel.

The striking spirit appeared to be spreading. In Cleveland, mass transit workers walked off the job, leaving commuters to clog streets to get to work by an increasingly unfamiliar device, the personal automobile. This strike, while having far less pervasive impact than the coal strike, nevertheless hampered the war effort by increasing the usage of rubber and gas. In Indianapolis, several workers walked off the airplane engine assembly lines in the Chalmers Division of General Motors.

The manager of the Latin Quarter nightclub in New York reported being forced at gunpoint, from in front of his home in Forest Hills, to drive ten miles back to the club, open the safe, and provide $5,000 to the robbers.

It seems that the Latin Quarter was having a run of bad luck in recent weeks, following the report of a shooting at the Latin Quarter in Boston on March 26.

We forgot yesterday to include this page, containing a map of the fighting in North Africa. It combines with today's front page map of Tunisia's "Coffin Corner", to provide a detailed snapshot of the various loci of fighting.

On the editorial page, "Saboteur Lewis" expresses its unrestrained contempt for John L. Lewis and the United Mine Workers Union for committing "sabotage" against the war effort, violating the no-strike pledge, made to the President in February, 1942, by indicating refusal, having failed to negotiate a contract directly with management, to submit to the War Labor Board for final resolution of the dispute. The piece essentially recommends that Mr. Lewis be investigated and possibly subsequently indicted for treason. It urges that the President immediately take over the mines pursuant to the war powers granted him by Congress.

"The Promise" quotes from Thessalonians 2:1-9 in analogy to the present crisis within Festung Europa and the need for the Europeans' hope and patience in awaiting release from their chains by the Allies, constrained of the moment to approach the doors of Europe's prison fortress one fence at a time, until finally they might enter the yard, before the bolted door could then be burst open with gunfire.

Perhaps, the analogy was not perfect, but it made the point.

"The Hammers" urges patience at home on the inexorable success to come in Tunisia, that while the forces were pushing steadily the Axis into the sea, the enemy had staked with months of preparation its last bulwark territory, and thus the fight which lay ahead yet could drag on for many weeks.

In fact, it would not, appearances of the present to the contrary notwithstanding. The Axis in North Africa was doomed, was playing out its final scenes of the final act in that theater.

"High Whisky" deplores the fact that whisky manufacturers were apparently placing inferior quality product on the shelves to dry-mouthed consumers at sky-high prices. While recognizing that whisky was a luxury unnecessary to the public during war, if it was to be had, and the manufacturers had two and a half years' worth of supply on hand as they indicated, then, opines the piece, it should be sold to the public appropriately and not at inflated prices.

In other words, don't tempt the drunks with hooch of inferior quality so that they might spend their newly acquired high war wages in such manner, so that instead they might go forth and buy their $2,000 silver service sets, wasting their excess spending power in that way.

Dorothy Thompson may have another use for the alcohol--which may or may not dovetail with the Dorman Smith cartoon of the day, on which, otherwise, we refrain from comment.

She examines the greed at work to provide the oil industry the exclusive process by which to develop synthetic rubber when the same could be produced from grain and alcohol available in plenty throughout the country. The result was that ships were not able to sail because of lack of high octane fuel, instead being funneled to the production of synthetic rubber for civilian domestic use.

She points to the Russian and Polish program in place for years producing synthetic rubber from grain. She explains that oil is cracked to produce liquid and gaseous by-products, the gases being butane and butylene. The butylene was necessary for high-octane fuel, the fuel for ships and planes. Butylene could also be developed into butadiene, the basis for Buna-S, the hard synthetic rubber. Presently, supplies of butylene were being used to develop synthetic rubber.

But, butadiene could also be derived from butylene-glycol, a distillable extract of grain and alcohol.

Moreover, the soft rubber component of tires came from isoprene, a non-petroleum derivative, which was also available in plenty.

Thus, she concludes, it was simply greed of the oil companies and the willingness of the government to feed that greed with war contacts, which hampered the war effort by backing up ships in port for want of high-octane fuel, diverted to the manufacture of synthetic rubber.

Or, it could have been that somebody, for instance, the Chair of the Senate Military Affairs Committee, had been sampling the grain and liked it so much that he had cornered the market for himself, leaving none for domestic consumption.

Speaking of whom, a piece from The Vindicator of Senator Robert Rice Reynolds is re-published to demonstrate the sort of illogical bile this rag continued to spew consistently against the United States war effort. It systematically seeks to destroy the reputation of Stalin and the Russians for "looking out for Russia first". It also indicates, by implication painting them with the same brush, the like to be true of Great Britain and China. Then, it proceeds to whine and protest the fact that the phrase "America First" had become a vile thing in the minds of most Americans.

While setting forth ostensibly correct facts, at least when taken in seriatim, even if more complicated than presented when viewed together in historical context, it manages to omit for the boobs to whom it made appeal the most obvious facts of all: that the war was on the soil of Russia, of China, and had been and occasionally still was, and would be in time again, on that of Great Britain.

By providing Lend-Lease aid since March, 1941 to these three principal allies, the United States had kept the war off its soil, save for the attack on Pearl Harbor, 2,000 miles from the mainland of the United States, and in the Aleutian Island chain off the mainland of Alaska.

The America First movement, so tender to Bob Reynolds and his former isolationist colleagues, had warned of everything British and Russian while actively embracing the Nazi as a necessary bulwark to Russian Communism and British Socialism. Had it been the way they wanted, the United States would have had the war on its soil, orginating from both the Pacific and the Atlantic. And, if things then had gone the way Bob wanted, why he could have taken his Hope Diamond and his new wife into the White House and greeted his new masters, Tojo, the Western United States District Overlord, and Hitler, the Eastern United States Uberlord, with open arms. Bob's official title would have been Übermensche Primus Reynolds, Favorite Reich Manipulandum.

But the boobs often did, as they still do, fail to see the obvious, for being wooed, in idée fixe, by the Diamond.

Samuel Grafton reminds the careless reader further as to why Russia would not only demand, but would deserve, its fair say in the post-war picture, as The Vindicator had ominously predicted, as if such were an invasive, inveigling maneuver of the Red Menace. (We shan't digress to explain at length why, in the Freudian sense, the America Firsters and their ilk were always so concerned of the Red Menace. But, it seemed to have something to do with the gravitational allure of the moon and who got there first.)

Mr. Grafton elucidates the several rifts emerging among the Allies during the previous few days: the Polish-Russian problem over who killed the 10,000 Polish officers in Smolensk, never minding the wholesale slaughter of Poles by the Nazis since the outset of the war; the quoting of FDR by Drew Pearson, in turn quoting Churchill that General De Gaulle could be made to behave as the Allies wished because he was in the "pay" of the British, never minding that Lend-Lease effectively helped as much to "pay" Churchill, that such a status did not suggest lack of sovereign independence; to the same effect, the suggestion of the Chicago Tribune that the regions of Britain were essentially new American states, then taken up by Berlin radio to warn Britons of their status as sovereigns of the United States; and that the "Indian Government" had turned down a request by a special envoy from the United States sent to interview Gandhi, leaving unclear the source of this supposed government action, Britain or the All-India Congress Party--to which the latter the British had refused immediate sovereignty upon its demands, made during Sir Stafford Cripps's visit in March, 1942, in exchange for Indian support of the Allies in the war, the reason for Gandhi's Satyagraha the previous summer, resulting in riots, leading to his still ongoing house arrest by the British.

Concludes Mr. Grafton, Allied unity was all quite a tangled morass of the moment and needed to be quickly unraveled and repaired before the Germans, on the ropes, could exploit it to their advantage.

And, as a bit of escape from the thusly adduced mess, we provide as bonus the sports page of the day, with an article, intriguingly written, on the prospects of Count Fleet in the upcoming Kentucky Derby. Ocean Wave was the other favorite; Slide Rule was out as slide rules were in.

Just what brought to mind in sportswriter Feder's piece the unusual analogy with which he begins anent the pickle on top of the chocolate fudge sundae, we don't know. Perhaps, it somehow complements the Dorman Smith cartoon of the day, but we are not going to look at that prospect, any more than we are going to consider its graphic allusion to baseball in relation to baby carriages, or the algebraic equation thus produced from Mr. Feder's like analogy between it and horse racing. The things about which these grotesque little men think.

The only horse in the Derby to have previously whipped Count Fleet was Gold Shower. And that had occurred the previous summer, regarded as an accident. Well, let us hope so. We would not wish to view the Count, "the Hertz hurricane", in that light.

The Wave was looking for just one mistake to be made by the Count, proclaimed his trainer, and, "We'll win this hoss race." Perhaps, he had been reading Tom Jimison of late.

Twoses and Bankrupt were on the doubtful list for the race. And, Burnt Cork, it says, "was given the ha-ha."

Just who got the ho-ho, was not indicated.

Anyway, they say that there ain't no gold in Silver City and never was. Let us hope not. He-he.

The local wrestling match, however, they said, was Where the Action Was, especially should you have wished to take a sea cruise to get there.

And, once done and tired with the lather elicited by all that exciting reading, you could entertain your imagination with thoughts of obtaining a new car radio with a free aerial, all at below ceiling prices. If you no longer had sufficient rubber to drive your vehicle, you could instead obtain a scooter and wagon to trail behind it, just as with Sadie, also still below ceiling prices.

We'll be content with one of those nine-cent razor hones and some penetrating oil. We have our reasons which we need not impart.

And, between the statement by Dorothy Thompson, "Grain hadn't a look-in," and the upside down, backward line on the President's Pearson-attributed quote re De Gaulle, as contained in the piece by Samuel Grafton, perhaps itself some sort of Satanically subliminalized confrontation between the darker regions and the Light, combined with the mention by the letter writer yesterday of the abolition by Henry VIII of the licensure of houses of licentious decadence and wicked depravity, known colloquially as the "Rising Sun", known also in the Greek as Apollo, combined with Private Hargrove's mention of January 3, 1942, of which we made reference two days ago, "second verse, same as the first", having some strange reference also therein to the moon, we find cross-currents here of a most undeniably extraordinary, even preternaturally, mercurial quicksilver, somewhere, maybe, crossing between Anne Boleyn of the Tower, Lady Godiva on the horse, Don Quixote, Dulcinea, and the grains of orient pearl turned from wheat, red wheat, as substituted instead by oil and greed turned to butylene, thence to butadiene, Buna-S, rather than to the high-octane for the ships and planes. If he had not died mysteriously in Houston August 1, 1941, we might have sought to lay the matter off on William Rhodes Davis. But as he was, by this point, quite dead as the proverbial doornail, we cannot fairly attribute causation for this mysterious collision of circumstance to him. Who, then?

As to the Dorman Smith, we haven't a look-in. And we shall, therefore, refrain from comment upon it, ha-ha-he. Perhaps you may figure it all out, somewhere on the road to kingdom come, there in "Coffin Corner", after the corvette was sunk, Mahares captured by Montgomery, the 66-mile route of Rommel through Kasserine turned back, as the milliners made fashionable birds' nests for the ladies' heads.

It all becomes a very strange and confusing world, entwining upon itself after 'while, in time of war.

Framed Edition
[Return to Links-Page by Subject] [Return to Links-Page by Date] [Return to News<i><i><i>--</i></i></i>Framed Edition]
Links-Date -- Links-Subj.