Friday, May 21, 1943

The Charlotte News

Friday, May 21, 1943


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, chief of the Japanese Combined Fleet and primary planner and leader of the attack on Pearl Harbor, had been killed, as recorded by a communique issued by the government at 3:00 p.m. this date. The plane from which he was surveilling and leading sea operations in the southwest Pacific during April was reported to have crashed.

American naval analysts, however, found the account of the Admiralís death puzzling as there were no combat actions in the southwest Pacific in April significant enough to draw the attention of the Admiral. An attack on Oro Bay in New Guinea and Darwin, Australia by 50 Japanese planes in early April and another air attack on April 7, involving 98 enemy planes, at Guadalcanal, were not operations which would have been deemed of sufficient priority to the Japanese to warrant their top Admiral being on scene to direct operations.

Speculation ran, therefore, that Admiral Yamamoto had died either of natural causes or, because of reverses to the Japanese Navy during the previous year, had committed hara-kiri. In either case, said the experts, it was likely that the Japanese would have wished to embroider the story of his death with the frills of military heroism in order to maintain for the Japanese people the illusion of Nirvanic death in the midst of battle.

Out of the Polish underground radio station, SWIT, came a report that, in retaliation for the RAF bombing raids on the Moehne and Eder dams in the Ruhr Valley of Germany earlier in the week, the Nazis were routinely liquidating the ghettoes at Krakow and Stanislawow, routinely executing their inhabitants.

It was reported from Switzerland that five persons in Germany had been executed the day after the raids, apparently for having provided directional signals to the RAF bombers to guide their bouncing bombs to the intended targets.

Bigadier Charles Orde Wingate, related to Lawrence of Arabia, was reported to have led a similar guerilla-style secret raid during the previous three months, starting in February, from India into Burma, some contingents penetrating as much as 200 miles into the neighboring Japanese-occupied country. The objective had been accomplished: to disrupt enemy rail and transportation facilities by destroying tracks and bridges, more than 75 bridges having been blown during the operation and the strategically critical rail line from Mandalay to Myitkylina having been disrupted at several junctions.

For the second straight night, RAF Mosquito bombers struck targets in Berlin while other RAF bombers hit Essen, Bremen, and targets in France. Only one plane failed to return from the Berlin raid.

Notwithstanding, Berlin radio made light of the raid as ineffectual.

Meanwhile, German raiders flew over southeast England but dropped no bombs at all.

That raid, we are subsequently informed by higher authority, Berlin radio praised effusively as highly effectual in terrorizing the British people to their knees, such that they were imploring, nay, demanding, that Parliament immediately accede to any terms, including unconditional surrender, which Germany would allow them still to accept. Riots, the program continued, were reported to have ensued throughout London demanding further that Parliament immediately deliver a no-confidence vote on Prime Minister Churchill, demand that Congress initiate impeachment proceedings against President Roosevelt and then, except for the Chairman of the Senate Military Affairs Committee and his personally nominated friends, to a man resign their seats in Congress to make way for Nazi-approved replacements. Indeed, the report continued, many of the people of Great Britain, against whom the Germans had no quarrel, were insisting that in the stead of "Traitor Churchill", as they now routinely referred to him, be placed the indubitably competent Adolf Hitler as the new P.M.

During the day this date, American Flying Fortresses attacked submarine bases at Emden and Wilhelmshaven; ten of the Fortresses failed to return after encountering substantial Luftwaffe resistance.

A raid by the Strategic Air Force, led by General Doolittle, had one of its greatest days yet of the war since being formed April 15, in shooting down 113 planes over Sardinia and Sicily adding to the total of 73 from the previous day brought down by the RAF and American fighters. The total included seven Merseburg 323 transport planes capable of carrying 120 men each. Ninety-one of the planes were destroyed on the ground and the remaining twenty-two during air combat.

The RAF and American Air Force jointly announced that 5,172 planes of the Axis had been destroyed during combat operations in North Africa since mid-June, 1940, 3,415 of which having been eliminated by the Middle East command and the remainder in the Northwest Africa campaign.

These numbers varied from the 8,000 planes stated as lost during the African campaign by the Axis by Prime Minister Churchill during his speech two days earlier to Congress. The variation in losses was not explained.

In the Caucasus, the Russian air force and artillery sank six self-propelled German barges moving across the Black Sea, seeking either to evacuate or reinforce troops, still in superior numbers to the Russians, fighting in the area northwest of Novorossisk, near Anapa and Gerch.

In the Aleutians, a blockade was reported implemented on the Japanese positions held on Kiska, sticking the enemy concentrated there in between two hostile American forces, once the airfield, partially completed by the Japanese, was operational on Attu. From Attu, no specific news was reported, just that operations continued against the embattled Japanese, centering around Attu village and a fifteen by twenty mile sector surrounding it.

Flood waters continued to rise from the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, affecting six states, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Arkansas, and rendering 100,000 people homeless.

'Tis 3 o'clock; remember the porter.

On the editorial page, "The Victory" gives praise to Governors Broughton of North Carolina and Olin Johnston of South Carolina, along with North Carolina Motor Club head, Coleman Roberts, for placing pressure on Secretary of Interior Harold Ickes to investigate why gasoline piped into North Carolina was being transferred to less stringently rationed Tennessee rather than Northern states, and resulting in discriminatory rationing in the Carolinas. The result was that, now, the Northern states had a ban on pleasure driving equal to that which had been imposed on the Carolinas.

It was somewhat unclear whether the ban was still imposed on the Carolinas, the piece suggesting implicitly that it had been lifted. But, if so, how was it that the Carolinas had suffered discrimination of which the Northern tier of states were not now likewise suffering vis à vis the lifting of the ban in the Carolinas? The piece assumes more information in the possession of the reader than that to which we are privy. Perhaps, it all made sense, but we cannot prove it by the editorial.

"The Flood" gives praise to the war planners for execution of the RAF dam-busting raid on Monday which resulted in the two dams being broken in the Ruhr Valley, causing untold damage to war industries in Germany. It suggests that official denial of the story that the raid had been planned originally by a Jewish refugee and a broadcasting firm was probably accurate, that the British planners instead had likely targeted the dams with precision much earlier in the war. It also warns that Germany might seek to retaliate in kind against Britain for the attack.

Already, as the front page reported, five persons had been executed for supposed aid to the British in guiding planes to the dams at the time of the raids. The reported retaliation taking place in Poland against inhabitants of the Krakow and Stanislawow ghettoes was effected without any apparent causal connection with the raids; but, to a Nazi, cause and effect are but churlish notions begging logic, of which the average Nazi was dispossessed by the Fuehrer long before. The cause was Nazism and anything which was contrary to the cause, actively or passively, was an interconnected effect requiring for elimination the Solution: Death. It is the way Nazis "thought".

"Our Happy" condemns Senator Happy Chandler for his tepid remarks following Prime Minister Churchill's speech on Wednesday to Congress, in which he stated some relief provided by the P.M.'s words, but nevertheless found curt displeasure from the feeling he claimed was engendered that too many unanswered questions remained in his mind on whether Britain intended to continue the war effort against Japan after the defeat of Germany, not content merely with the Prime Minister's verbal assurances that the intent of the British was precisely that.

Samuel Grafton also condemns the Chandler rhetoric, insisting on taking the fight first to Japan before the defeat of Germany, as a diversionary tactic shunting attention away from the principal task now plainly within reach: the defeat of Germany. Displacing the personnel and equipment from the European theater to the Pacific could potentially cause the war in Europe to be lost, in any event was so much circumlocution, insisting that because America might be left to fight Japan alone after Germany's defeat, America should proceed forthwith to fight Japan alone, that because Russia supposedly had a secret plan to go it alone in Europe, America should abandon Russia so that it might fight alone in Europe--tautological self-fulfilling prophecy, in other words.

Raymond Clapper finds ample evidence surfacing in Sweden that Germany was reeling from Allied bombing, yet still not so staggered on its feet as to be pummeled to the canvas--yet. Morale was low, but nationalistic pride still maintained the Nazi in fighting mode. Persons from within Germany to whom Mr. Clapper had spoken and military experts uniformly predicted that Germany would last another 12 to 18 months before surrendering.

"Fighter Flack" is not about the air war but rather anent the city manager's effective tackling of the issue in front of the City Council concerning the sanitation and street workers who had walked off the job in protest of the embattled Superintendent of the Department, John Barbee. Mr. Flack had restored order and the crisis for the time had been abated.

The piece, again assuming more information than imparted to the reader without access to the fuller story, cautions: "It is well, we venture, that the Council postpone wading into the Sanitation Department row, even now."

Well, we would hope so. That could have been a shocking experience, no doubt, to members of the City Council not accustomed to the underground pipes, especially on sanitation row.

Somewhere between the sanitation row and the chafing discomfort on the cross-town buses, as quippingly referenced in the squib at the conclusion of yesterday's column, overburdened by refugees from rubber and gas rationing, we are left to speculate as to whether "The Honeymooners" fashioned its leading characters as much out of Charlotte as New York City.

--Einstein was sniffing drainpipes, bummed a cigarette while reciting the alphabet...

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