Thursday, May 18, 1943

The Charlotte News

Thursday, May 18, 1943


Site Ed. Note: Against stubborn machine-gun fire, reports the front page, American troops were successful on the island of Attu in repelling Japanese entrenchments and taking a key height between arms of Holtz Bay. The capture was so central to operations that it left little to do other than mopping up activity henceforth for the remaining thirteen days of the campaign. It permitted joinder of the northern and southern invasionary forces.

As an advocate of beating Japan first, Senator Happy Chandler of Kentucky warned from the Senate floor that if Germany were beaten first in the war, the United States could expect little help from either Britain or Russia against Japan.

As it turned out, America did not need any significant help from any of the other Allies to effect the surrender of Japan.

Forty miles off Brisbane, Australia, at 4:10 a.m., a Japanese submarine torpedo smashed into a brightly lit Australian hospital ship, Centaur, emblazoned with a newly painted Red Cross on its hull, plainly visible on a clear night, causing the ship to sink within the scant space of three minutes, killing 299 of 363 passengers and crew aboard. The ship carried no patients. General MacArthur denounced the sinking as an act of savagery.

RAF bombing raids struck Sardinia in the Mediterranean and positions along the coast of northern France and Belgium, as well as in southern Germany.

A map shows the arc of Allied bombing activity on Germany for six consecutive days and nights, starting with a massive raid on Duisburg wherein greater tonnage of bombs had been dropped than on any other mission thus far in the war.

The German Foreign Office issued a statement assuring Italy that Germany would stand its defense lines and would not abandon the Italians to invading Allied forces. Nevertheless, London observers believed that the devastating air raids of the RAF and American four-motors had already inflicted such psychological distress on the population that Italy would likely surrender quickly when invasion came.

From Holland, it was reported that the Nazi commissioner of occupation ordered enforcement of the death penalty for strikes or work slowdowns.

At Hot Springs, Virginia, the United Nations food conference opened to plan post-war distribution of food in war-ravaged countries. Controversial for its shutting out the press, the conference was the first of several such meetings prior to the end of the war, each devoted to a different primary topic of post-war planning among the delegate Allied nations.

It was announced that Winston Churchill, the next day at 12:30, would address a joint session of Congress as he had on December 26, 1941.

On the editorial page, "Black Duce" accurately predicts the imminent fall from power and grace of Benito Mussolini. It misses, however, as did most journalists and observers of the day, on its prediction that the downfall of Italy itself in the war would come soon. The Nazis would defend the country fiercely, not out of any sense of allied loyalty but rather to maintain it as a bulwark against an Allied flanking maneuver through the Brenner Pass into Austria as a backdoor to Germany. Fighting in Italy, once begun within seven weeks, would continue for the remainder of the war through V-E Day.

"Home Crisis" looks at the labor-starved and weather-beset farms to find that agricultural production was below that of 1942. It then turns attention to industry to find production down there as well over the previous year's peaks, or at least no better than the same. But, transport of materiel to the fronts had dramatically improved.

A piece laments the passing of Reid Monfort, a Charlotte resident and Associated Press newsman, suggesting that his death would impact many who knew him in the news business all along the East Coast and throughout the South. Indeed, a report of Mr. Monfortís death appeared in The New York Times.

Dorothy Thompson envisages a Europe freed to enable the revolutionists presently at work in the underground to flourish in forming post-war policy and government. Instead, she feared that the policy undertaken in North Africa, placing in power former collaborationist military leaders to form a government on a militaristic, authoritarian model designed essentially only to maintain order, would become the rule of the war, missing an opportunity thereby to harness the pent-up power of seething revolutionists to bolt from within and aid in the defeat of the dictators and collaborationists and to prevent their recurrence in the future.

Raymond Clapper examines the prospect of post-war relations between Sweden and mutually distrustful Russia, as well as with Finland, finding it probable that Sweden would be well-served post-war by a trade alliance with Russia. He warns more broadly that the Allies generally must learn to overcome their suspicions of Russia, destined to become, because of its vital role in the war, a major power after it. Working with Russia, he avers, was the only way therefore to avert the substantial risk otherwise of sparking a third world war.

Samuel Grafton explains the failure of the will of the German soldier to fight to the death in Tunisia the same way he ascribes the like failure of will of the Italian soldier to battle to the throes in frieze, that there was no explanation racially to be gleaned from the failure, only one premised on the permeation of the German and Italian mindsets with Fascist dispirit, extracting the determination to war to the final breath. It was this conclusion, Mr. Grafton insists, which must be reached in order to provide the Allied war effort any meaning superior to that of the Axis. For, if it had been only some ethnic trait which caused the collapse of spirit, such informed Allied morale with nothing more than the same type of impotent and vacuous myths of inherent genetic superiority which regularly issued from the Nazi Propaganda Ministry.

The Raleigh News & Observer finds interesting a set of comparative wage and payroll statistics cited by former Governor O. Max Gardner of Shelby in support of the benefits conveyed by the New Deal: in Gaston County textile mills, wages since 1933 had risen from an average of 20.5 cents per hour to 54.5 cents, while employment had risen from nearly 16,000 to 28,000 persons, and average daily hours had gone from eleven under uniform standard pay to time and a half for all hours over forty per week, resulting in a payroll increase from 7.5 million to 39.5 million. The New Deal--and the war--had been good for workers, good for business.

And, a piece from The New York Times continues the time-tried notion, as we have found consistently pervading in this era at The News, that it's all happening at the zoo; you'd better believe it's true. This time, it is not a young bear on the loose in Brooklyn, as back in February when the Gypsy George children had let Tuffy escape to pester and befright the borough while running amok across the Ozone Park. Nor was it Susan the skunk and J.T. the monkey over in Chapel Hill who the fourteen-year old prospective zookeeper had allowed to escape to do battle with students within the wilder limits of Chapel Hill, a zoo unto itself at certain times of the season, especially in late April, when they are counting up all the spoons.

This time, it was instead a happening within the confines of the Bronx Zoo proper which caught the attention of The Times and The News. Annie was trying to hatch a single little elementary penguin, nonesuch having been so done save four previous times in the 29-year history of the zoo, all breaking through their shell casings the prior year, from an egg she had laid in a nest made of cross-hatched sticks and Cracker Jack boxes, with or without the surprise inside not being indicated, old fishheads, from Mr. Getts's luncheon, no doubt, with Mr. Cross, peanut shells, probably left from bleacher munchings at a Yankees outing in which Joltin' Joe added to his hits to left field, matchbook covers, which likely held no clothes, and cellophane cigarette wrappers, probably culled from Kools deposited during unlucky strikes at lanterloo, by the dirty, no good robbin' Annie who plundered other birds' nests to pad her own and whose two former rivals for her affections, a Humboldt penguin and a black-footed waddler, had once fought to the death, the black-foot suitor having concluded the joust the loser, while Annie watched in horror during her previous residence at the city Aquarium.

We shall follow this story with acuity and see whether the prospective penguinnette became the fifth such hatched in Bronx Zoo history.

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