Saturday, May 22, 1943

The Charlotte News

Saturday, May 22, 1943


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports of the shooting down by the Allies the day before of 96 more Axis planes, bringing the three-day total to 285 over and on the ground of Sardinia, Sicily, and the mainland of Italy. Of the previous day’s total, 67 planes were destroyed on the ground. Ten were destroyed during dogfights over Reggio Calabria and San Giovanni, Italy. Seven Allied planes did not return, bringing the three-day loss to twelve, nearly a 24 to 1 kill ratio. The bag included three more Merseburg-323 giant transport planes capable of carrying 120 troops, all hit while on the ground.

For the first time in the Mediterranean theater, Axis bomber pursuits had dropped aerial bombs among the Allied fighters and bombers, a tactic often used during raids on Germany and by the Japanese in the Pacific. Nevertheless, it proved an ineffective tactic.

On Attu, the Japanese were now reported split into three isolated groups, at Chichagof Harbor, Chichagof Valley, and at Lake Nicholas, albeit each of the three positions being located in rough country, potentially enabling the contingents to fight stubbornly to the last. Attu village, the center of the Harbor positions, had been wiped out by Allied bombers the previous day. Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox indicated that the fighting had now been reduced to mopping-up operations by the Allies.

A delayed report from May 17 chronicled the Allied troop advance on either arm of Holtz Bay, including one small reconnaissance patrol which had landed at Blind Cove and proceeded up a 3,000-foot ridge through waist-deep snow.

On an inside page, the map shows the pinched position now of the Japanese on Kiska, within two months to be completely abandoned by the enemy. The Americans were now able to blockade the island effectively from its position on Amchitka to the east and the newly acquired nearly completed Japanese airbase on Attu, further to the west.

Drew Pearson discusses the inter-departmental battle between the Navy and the Maritime Commission on what stress to place on aircraft carrier construction, whether to concentrate on large battlewagons or smaller carriers converted from passenger ships, cruisers, and Liberty Ships. The larger carriers took two years to build while the smaller conversions could be accomplished far more quickly. The Navy, nevertheless, favored the large ships.

But Rear Admiral Howard Vickery of the Maritime Commission, saved by the President, despite the Rear Admiral's solid Ohio Republican background, from being cashiered from the service for obsolescence in 1939, had favored the smaller conversions. Now, Secretary Knox was providing public praise for Henry Kaiser's conversion of Liberty Ships to small carriers, a project which the Maritime Commission actually had instead been instrumental in designing and putting into practice. The Navy had vetoed it.

Similarly, reports Mr. Pearson, the Navy was taking credit for the use of helicopters in the war against submarines. But that idea had been championed by the Coast Guard and the Maritime Commission, while the Navy did not have a single helicopter in its service.

A report details the sinking on May 18 of the German blockade runner Regensburg, which had set sail from Rangoon, Burma three months earlier loaded with rubber, seeking to make its way to Germany. The RMS Glasgow, however, encountered the ship in the Demark Strait and ordered it to halt. The captain gave the signal to stop, but then shortly thereafter charges erupted onboard and the ship was scuttled. Only six of 118 men could be rescued from the icy waters.

The piece also indicates that another German blockade runner, the 5,000-ton Silvaplane, had been sent to the bottom off Cape Finisterre, Spain by British warships a week earlier.

The Comintern announced, in the interest of Allied unity, that it would voluntarily disband its international Communist membership.

The War Labor Board released a voluminous study of the wage dispute among the coal miners, with facts tending to suggest that the Board would likely not be sympathetic with the miners’ demand for an additional two dollars per day to supplement the basic seven-dollar per day wage they had been receiving since the last wage increase of April, 1941. They argued that the last pre-freeze increase at that time, which was commensurate with wage increases for Little Steel during the freeze period, was not in fact a cost-of-living adjustment and so should not count in the Board's formula. It was rather, they argued, an increase based on increase in productivity of the mines since 1937, the point of their last previous wage increase. They also argued that their contract had forbade during its term wage increases, which other industries had been able to achieve more regularly in order to keep pace with wartime inflation. The mine owners, however, disputed these contentions.

Similar cases, observers claimed, came before the Board regularly and frozen wages nevertheless prevailed. The outlook for the miners, despite their threat of strike, looked dim for the duration.

Belying Phillip Murray's no-strike pledge thus far kept since entered in February, 1942 at the beginning of automobile plant conversion to total war production, Chrysler plants in and around Detroit had on duty a workforce this Saturday only one-seventh its normal complement. The Desoto Bomber Plant and the Dodge plant were the scenes of the primary strikes. The War Labor Board issued a directive to return to work immediately.

And, with Virginio Gayda editorializing in his Italian stooge Journal that Germany owed Italy a debt for Italian participation in the Axis North African campaign, enabling Germany to wage its war in Russia without risk of an attack through the backdoor across the Mediterranean, Italy "celebrated" its fourth anniversary of solidarity with Germany. Il Duce and the Fuehrer exchanged warm mutual greetings and promises of continued mutual support in their fight for world prevalence of Fascism and Nazism over their common enemy.

It was surely a scene of articulated warmth and brotherhood all 'round.

On the editorial page, Dorothy Thompson again looks at the Revolution in Europe, analytically dichotomized between the view of the Giraudists and that of the Gaullists, the former, she says, supportive of the oligarchy, comprised of the industrialists, military elite, bureaucrats, and otherwise wealthy nobility, the latter in favor of forging a coalition between the traditionalist-conservatives and the radicals. The traditionalists were made up of the peasant class, small business, the church, especially the Catholic Church, the aristocrats, and a large part of the professions and university academicians; the radicals included the industrial workers and their intellectual comrades.

De Gaulle understood that the oligarchists were the only class supportive of Fascism and Nazism, and that, therefore, to defeat them, required coalescence of the traditionalists and radicals, as odd bedfellows these groups ordinarily made. Giraud, by contrast, simply appealed to the oligarchists and sought rapprochement with them by placing them in positions of responsibility in French Africa.

She again urges that if the De Gaulle approach were not followed in Europe, the radicals would be lost to the Russians and the oligarchists inevitably, as they had at the start of the war, would with their concentration of capital possess the means to overcome the interests of the traditionalists. It was necessary, therefore, in order to construct a post-war world which would not see a divided Europe all over again and a potential third world war arising from the internecine struggles thusly continued, to enable this stasis to take place, to enable the Common Man, comprising the greater body of the combination of the radicals and traditionalists, to defeat the power wielded by the "predatory" oligarchists.

Ms. Thompson concludes with the advice that the Allied military leaders needed to think rather than just fight, that the way to a secure future lay in that close analysis and understanding of the class struggle which had pervaded historically within Europe and that it was this very struggle which Hitler and Mussolini had manipulated and exploited, preying on the prejudices extant between these classes, to achieve power in collaboration with the oligarchists and thereby to enslave to their will virtually all of Central Europe.

And, of course, a close examination of the situation in America today will reveal much of the very same tripartite class struggle, if the tiers are modified somewhat. It is why obviously corrupt mortgage companies can steal people’s property from them with impunity while no one in the bureaucracy or in political life dares much lift a finger. Just words, hollow words, while people lose the product of their life's work to foreign-controlled companies who are Fascist in their backing and employ little hirelings in our domestic midst to foist their Fascism on the United States. Caveat emptor: you will get, little Fascist, if you get anything at all, precisely that for which you are wishing.

Where is the moratorium on foreclosures--all foreclosures, forthwith? No better way would lead to a better economy for all, one not controlled by foreign Fascists in combination with our increasingly Fascist domestic crowd.

Samuel Grafton reviews the litany of problems which would be associated with following the plan of Senator Happy Chandler of Kentucky to change the entire course of the war and divert men and materiel to the Pacific to defeat Japan first while letting the war in Europe languish at a time when Germany and Italy were plainly on the ropes after their devastating defeat in North Africa.

Raymond Clapper again looks out his window from Stockholm, this time toward the other troubled neighbor, Finland, replete with its complex array of problems and division, beset on the one hand by Nazi-oriented secret police and collaborators, mainly those from the industrial classes and the upper middle class. Nevertheless, most ordinary Finns, he indicates, were favorable to America, but also, by equal and opposite measures, distrustful of the Russians. Overcoming this centuries-old inherent prejudice was a goal to be undertaken and achieved by the Allies, he urges, in order to secure a lasting peace in the post-war world.

"The Plotters" exposes a Republican agenda to return to isolationism and protectionism in trade by attempting to tack on an amendment to the bill to renew the reciprocal international trade agreements, set to expire otherwise on June 30. The amendment would allow a future president or congress to cancel the agreements on six months notice. Thus, on six months notice, cautions the piece, the Republicans, if they were to regain a Senate majority or obtain the White House in 1944 or later, could drag the country back to the time of Warren Harding and that which it opines was the very reason for the world economic crisis of the 1920's leading inexorably to the current war.

"Great Days" gives praise to the Allied air effort over Italy, taking its daily toll, suggests that should it so continue, the war in Italy would be short.

The war on Sicily and Sardinia would indeed be short, but taking the mainland of Italy would prove a far more formidable task, especially so the closer the Allies advanced toward Rome. Months of Nazi construction of defenses since November, in anticipation of the invasion, had produced entrenched lines through Italy which would be hard to overcome. The reason for the six-month long hopeless retreat of Rommel and then, in Tunisia, von Arnim, was primarily to buy that time, to enable the construction of these fixed fortifications.

It would take the rest of the war, until V-E Day, to accomplish fully, even if by fall the handwriting for Italy was on the wall.

"Missing Guest" finds Burke Davis mockish of the dead Admiral Yamamoto for his earlier claims that he would dictate terms of peace within the White House itself at the appointed hour, subsequent to the quick Japanese victory in the Pacific.

It was only later, after the war, in a more convivial setting of amity restored between Japan and the United States, that the remark was attributed to Admiral Yamamoto at the conclusion of the attack that he feared only to have awakened a "sleeping giant". Whether apocryphal or merely an attempt by the Japanese after the war to preserve for the world a less bellicose and coolly calculating image of the Admiral, no one knows. The sources of such anecdotes were, after all, other Japanese miltarists, a class bent on subjection of serfs to their feudalist will, the vaunted scheme of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere.

The piece follows on the official speculation among military observers that Admiral Yamamoto was rather the victim of either natural causes or his own hand, not the claimed hero's death from being shot down during observation of his Navy fighting in the southwest Pacific in April.

The official story still has it that he was a casualty of war. But the truth is that no one really knows what happened with any authority. Just as the German propaganda machine told so many lies that it lost track of the Truth, so, too, did the Japanese effort at manufactured and manipulated reality. It is one of the grave penalties of telling lies: one becomes so confused as to lose understanding finally of what the Truth really is, and that it does finally exist, quite apart from the Lie, from the image, from the manipulation.

'Tis 3 o'clock; remember the porter.

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