Wednesday, May 26, 1943

The Charlotte News

Wednesday, May 26, 1943


Site Ed. Note: Reports the front page, five hundred RAF planes bombed Duesseldorf in Germany, a force approximately equal to Monday's raid which had dropped an historical record of 2,000 tons of bombs on Dortmund.

Meanwhile, a force of 400 American Flying Fortresses and Liberators delivered blows to Sicily, Sardinia, and Pantellaria, with the main concentration of the mission centered around Messina in Sicily. Another 23 Axis planes were destroyed at Messina.

Richard Massock, writing for the Associated Press, expressed the general contention among diplomatic observers of the European situation that it was likely invasion of the Continent would be in force against Germany, not Italy, and that the invasion would not come during the summer, that Italy would instead be forced into submission through the currently ongoing bombing raids, whereupon Army officers trained in military government at Charlottesville would become temporary administrators of Italy as Mussolini would retire his government into exile in Germany.

Obviously, the piece could not have been more wrong. Whether these "diplomatic observers" were deliberately planting the story to divert expectations and consequent preparation by the Axis is not clear. Whatever the case, the basis for the facile reasoning was that Berlin was the target of the Allies, not Italy.

Congress was finally about to pass a pay-as-you-go tax measure, a compromise from the Ruml Plan which had favored outright forgiveness of 1942 taxes. The measure being passed by joint confreres forgave all 1942 taxes for persons paying $50 or less in taxes but only 75% for those paying more, with the additional 25% to be paid the government during the years 1944 and 1945. It also would impose a 30 percent tax withholding levy.

More levees broke, at Preston and Aldridge, in southern Illinois as the Wolf Lake Levee's rupture had sent flood waters over 2,000 acres of land, threatening the Atlas Powder Company, manufacturer of explosives.

Whether therefore they were going to be able to keep their powder dry was left to luck, expressed Clarence Campbell, head of the Union County Office of Civil Defense.

The coal strike appeared on the verge of being averted as the War Labor Board appeared to be moving closer to a resolution of the dispute over provisions of the new contract sought by miners with owners. The miners apparently were not going to be awarded their goal of an additional two dollars per day, but would likely receive half that. They would, however, obtain some pay for the portal-to-portal transportation time accumulated each day, which was up to two hours for some miners whose pick was first struck each day against black walls deep inside the shafts.

Also on the agenda was a raise in vacation pay from $20 to $50, and the supplying by owners, at no expense to the miners, of some portions of their safety equipment, tools, and blacksmithing. This latter provision, however, exempted goggles, wearing apparel, and hardhats.

That seemed to leave the canary, the lantern, and the pick for which the owners would be responsible pursuant to the WLB proposed plan.

And, as the attributes of the American Corsair aircraft were compared favorably to those of the Japanese Zero, the death of Edsel Ford at his estate on Grosse Pointe Shores was announced.

One of the line eventually bearing his moniker would be labeled the Corsair in 1957. That was better than labeling it the Zero--or the Corvair, which, incidentally, had superior handling skills at most any altitude, while demonstrating yaw and gimballing reaching the very precipice of automotive engineering dynamism, especially along the broad, straight stretches of road across the wide open country just outside Carson City. Be careful, however, while enduring the driving experience of a lifetime, of the Lake.

Virginio Gayda's Il Popolo d'Italia issued the caveat to the world that Italy’s claim to have attacked Eritrea and the Sudan on a roundtrip raid from Italy had set the stage for a 24-hour bombing raid on New York City in retaliatory "war without pity" by the Italian air force, responsive to Prime Minister Churchill's having initiated such pitiless war on Italy.

Someone probably ought to have told the puppet editor that London was significantly closer to Italy than New York City. Perhaps, they did not wish to dispel the illusion thusly being created and the obvious terror engendered within the Allied masses, especially those of Gotham.

On the inside page, a map appears of the Allied bombing activity on Rabaul, New Britain, northeast of New Guinea.

Also on the page is Drew Pearson's "Washington Merry-Go-Round" in which he offers that Winston Churchill's speech to Congress a week earlier had been first previewed by Harry Hopkins. Mr. Pearson thus ventures that the portion of the speech in which the Prime Minister stressed the duality of the role of the President, that of civilian leader and military Commander-in-Chief, and that the constitutional wisdom for so providing had to be maintained inviolate during the war, suggested itself as an Hopkinsian-inserted paragraph deliberately to sound the tocsin for a fourth term run by FDR.

Mr. Pearson also discussed the weighty issue of scuttlebutt abounding in Washington anent the points system for food rationing, some having pointed out the discrepancy that tongue cost the consumer six points while brains ran only three. The Assistant Postmaster General had underscored the fact that applesauce deducted from the weekly allotment of 16 per person a whopping 13 points.

The column went on to discuss some Washington Squares, as well.

In Germany, Robert Wagner, not the Senator from New York but the Gauleiter for Baden and Alsace, reported Berlin radio, said in a speech, presumably at the Reichstag, that the Nazi Party could not afford to maintain within its membership those not fully committed to the goals of the Party.

Not reported was the fact that, at the conclusion of the speech, the Gestapo showed up and took Herr Wagner out behind the building, blindfolded him, and shot him dead as part of the ongoing purge of Party recalcitrants.

Another piece tells of an interesting trial just concluded in Annapolis, Maryland. It seems that Mrs. Randle had accidentally discharged a shotgun into 17-year old Allen Willey after he had echoed Mr. Randle's remark to Mrs. Randle that she was "the Naval Academy prostitute" before their marriage. Mr. Willey chimed in, to his fatal disadvantage, saying that he had the pictures to prove it and would get them. Whereupon, the shotgun, being wrestled from Mrs. Randle's grip by Mr. Randle, discharged into Mr. Willey. A second discharge, presumably also accidental, struck Mr. Randle, "her wealthy horseman husband", in the leg. She was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to five years in prison. Her husband had refused to testify against her.

She was upset because of young Mr. Willey having called her the "vilest names". Just how it was that Mr. Willey had pictures to prove the accuracy of these vile names was not explained.

Perhaps, this relationship of people bore some resemblance to the passenger array of one of the departing Edsels in that ad.

There seemed, in any event, to be some substantial ground for calling in an alienist of some description, perhaps a horse alienist, to cure the Randles of their family dysfunctionality, which apparently had spread to the neighbors somehow.

Anyway, the moral seems to be to stand clear of domestic disputes not involving your own family, especially when Mrs. Randle has a shotgun liable to be accidentally discharged.

Mrs. Stinchcomb was the chief prosecution witness. She said the whole episode was pretty hairy--not to mention sort of kooky.

They should've bought another Ford.

Southern Congressmen and Senators predicted defeat of the anti-poll tax legislation which had passed the House and was now headed to the Senate.

There were not so many Communists in the Senate presumably as in the House who sought to interfere with a State's plain rights to engage in free enterprise, merely charging for exercise of the rights to a franchise, you see.

Anyway, the Chesterfield Kings ad, dominating most of the space on the page, provides a whole new meaning to the phrase, "Catch a Wave".

On the editorial page, "The Burden" again addresses the idea of rampant juvenile delinquency within the streets of Charlotte and the need for return to the hickory withe, razor strop, and a good piece of cane probably, all for use in the woodshed to inculcate into youth the sense of proper decorum to be exercised downtown. In the absence of parental resort to this time-tried corporal method of administration of a sense of standards of apropos conduct, a curfew was authorized, opines the piece, and one not only for youth, but also for youth's parents.

Why, next you know, these wild, hot-rodding rapscallions of the darkling straits of loiter would be chasing smoking WAVE's, WAAC's, and Women Welders, Workers of all sorts, down the street to offer them a light for the night.

It was a sad, uniquely dissolute and cruel time in world history.

"Our Warning" seconds that of poetaster O. J. Coffin of The Greensboro Daily News who had in brief verse urged Representative Marvin Ritch of Charlotte not to run against former Governor Clyde R. Hoey of Shelby and incumbent Senator Robert R. Reynolds of Asheville for the seat in 1944.

"The War Ends?" expresses agreement with the advertising men of America who, after interviewing government officials, came to the conclusion that bombing raids of Germany and Italy would persist during the summer until Germany finally collapsed internally in October, ending the war in Europe. Bombing raids on Burma and in southern China would drive the Japanese out of those areas and thereby open up ground for launching air raids on Japan, prompting its surrender in October, 1944. Meanwhile, on the domestic front, rationing would tighten, inflation would begin to play havoc with tenderness for the New Deal, and, as a direct consequence, it would be thoroughly rejected at the polls in 1944, making way for the restoration of free enterprise and the American form of dog-eat-dog capitalism.

The piece finds truth in this analysis and suggests that it would inexorably work out to be the case, even if some of the dates were wrong.

Well, the dates were plentifully wrong and so was most of the analysis, of course. But, we suppose, in some ways, by the 1952 election, it would indeed come true to some degree, at least the home front part.

In any event, we find far more sense from The Marshall News-Record account of the probable end as printed on the page two days earlier.

Raymond Clapper writes this time from Gothenburg, Sweden re the courageously liberal editor, Torgny Segerstedt, who had boldly predicted in his Gothenburg newspaper when Hitler first came to power that it meant war with Germany's neighbors, prompting a letter of warning from Hermann Goering against such troublesome editorials, whereupon Mr. Segerstedt published the telegram with a counter-warning to the Nazis that free press in Europe would not be stifled. He regularly inveighed against the government insistence on neutrality and the policy requisite to maintenance of it, permitting all Nazi troops bound to and from Norway to pass through Sweden on the trains.

Mr. Clapper wonders aloud whether Mr. Segerstedt would find it perplexing that in a democracy such as the United States, the United Nations Food Conference ongoing at Hot Springs, Virginia, the first of a series of such conferences each designed to focus on one aspect of post-war planning, had banned the press from interviewing its confreres.

Dorothy Thompson, writing in the June American Mercury, distinguishes between the post-war punitive measures which were needed against the Nazi Party leaders along with any others who had committed atrocities during the war and the people of Germany, even if, in modern warfare, wars were conducted not as of old, strictly between armies, but rather between and against the peoples of the various nations involved in the conflict. She counsels that to seek to effect retribution on more than the German military and the German state and to extend it, as apparently was being planned by the military and civilian leaders of the Allies, to the people of Germany was to invite only retaliation down the line generationally, as had been experienced so close to home as during Reconstruction in the South after the American Civil War, with the post-war “peace”, she reminds, having begun with the assassination of President Lincoln.

She finds little presently on the landscape of opinion enunciated within domestic statesmanship with sufficient foresight to see down the road to 1963, not just through the lens of 1943.

Given the experience with East and West Berlin since the immediate aftermath of the War, reaching a climax during the time after the failed Bay of Pigs invasion of April, 1961, an invasion planned during the Eisenhower Administration, foisted on the Kennedy Administration by the Joint Chiefs and the C.I.A. of Allen Dulles, and effectively continuing with the responsive retaliatory measure begun by the Soviets in August, 1961, the construction of the Wall, what strangely and ghostly prophetic words of 1943 Ms. Thompson's must have seemed, and profoundly so, to anyone setting eyes upon them in 1963.

A piece from The Christian Science Monitor chronicles the author's search for an informative book on Martinique, where embattled Georges Robert held fort still for Vichy against increasing Allied pressure to surrender his post or declare allegiance to the United Nations.

The author, for reasons he cannot quite articulate, eschews at the library the newer books on the subject of the West Indies and instead finds himself, notwithstanding the pedestrian title, suddenly enamored of Lafcadio Hearn's Two Years in the French West Indies, published in 1889. Mr. Hearn, it was clear to the author, had actually become smitten with his subject at the time of its writing and was not merely giving in to a publisher's crass commercial insistence that a travelogue be compiled on a particular subject in some rush job to attract the public's imagination to a topical tropical locale, as obviously were the competing contemporary results which sat before him on the library’s shelves.

Lafcadio Hearn, incidentally, had been an intended subject of W. J. Cash as set forth in his first application in 1932 for a Guggenheim Fellowship to write a work he planned, to be titled "Anatomy of a Romantic", proposing to spend time in New Orleans, Ireland, Wales, London and Paris. The proposal was rejected.

Had Mr. Hearn, by the way, predicted in 1896, in Kokoro, the end of Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, as announced the previous Friday?

Higashi No Kaze Ame.

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