Thursday, May 27, 1943

The Charlotte News

Thursday, May 27, 1943


Site Ed. Note: The front page announced that after the President delivered a back-to-work ultimatum similar to the one he had issued to miners earlier in the month before the government takeover of the mines, 50,000 workers in Goodyear, Goodrich, Firestone, and General Tire and Rubber Company, who had progressively walked off the job during the previous five days, returned gradually to work. They declared that their aim of obtaining the attention of the War Labor Board to the wage versus cost-of-living disparity had been accomplished. The President had described the strike as a serious violation by CIO of its no-strike pledge made early in 1942.

Breaking a lull in action over the previous several days, a Russian force of six rifle divisions and three tank regiments, in all 100,000 men, was reported to have attacked German positions north and south of Novorossisk in the Kuban River Valley area of the Caucasus.

In the meantime, Berlin sources had been relaying through Switzerland speculation that it was unlikely there would be any new Allied offensive, either in the Mediterranean or in Russia, during the summer, as both sides shored up supplies and rested after the long campaigns of the winter and early spring months. These sources likewise predicted no German summer offensive in Russia.

Secretary of War Henry Stimson announced that casualties thus far suffered by the American forces in taking from the Japanese the island of Attu had been relatively light: 127 killed, 399 wounded, and 118 missing. He also reported the capture of an important height the previous day, south of the last enemy stronghold at Chichagof Harbor. That position was being bombed repeatedly and was now devoid of structures.

He also indicated that total American losses in the North African campaign from the November 8 Operation Torch landings through May 15 totaled 2,184 killed, 9,437 wounded, and 6,937 missing or taken prisoner. The total Allied losses of the campaign were not provided in detail but totaled less than 70,000.

Axis losses were estimated at 30,000 killed, 26,400 wounded, and 266,600 taken prisoner, most of the prisoners having been taken in the last days of the campaign during the first ten days of May as surrender occurred en masse among both the Germans and Italians, out of food and ammunition. The War Secretary stressed that it was unusual for any force to suffer more killed than wounded.

Most importantly, the Mediterranean was now clear from Gibraltar to the Suez Canal, Allied sea and air traffic passing to and fro now nearly unimpeded.

It was announced that the previous Friday's raid by American four-motors on Emden and Wilhelmshaven had established a record for downed German planes, 74. Eleven bombers were lost in the raids.

During the month of May, a greater tonnage of bombs had been dropped by the Allies on Central Europe than in any month since Americans first joined the bombing missions on August 17, 1942. Fully forty-nine American bombers had been lost, however, during these missions, accounting for approximately 400 crew members.

And a small piece answers our question raised a month earlier when Prime Minister Churchill announced that Britain’s church bells could once again ring. We had wondered why the bells had been stopped in the first place as they could not possibly act as guides for loud bombers through the fog or at night.

The reason, it turns out, was simple: they were otherwise reserved as signal devices to the British people in case of an invasion and, to avoid confusion, therefore, could not be rung in their normal courses. On April 20, the ban was partially lifted.

The bells of Britain were ringing again.

On the editorial page, "Peeping Tom" speaks to a young sailor who had raised his voice in protest from the gallery overlooking the House a few days earlier regarding speeches by Southern Representatives against the repeal of poll taxes in seven Southern states. Observes the piece acerbically, had he been instead in the Senate Chamber, he would have seen likely a far more disturbing drama unfolding, one stuck in filibuster, where a scene already oft repeated on this issue would assuredly again manifest itself. At least he had seen the firestorm among Southerners in the House sufficiently contained and quelled such that the bill had passed.

The Senate, true to the prediction of the piece, would not forward the progress; it would take a constitutional amendment in 1962 finally to eliminate the poll taxes throughout the South.

"The Breakdown" criticizes the Roosevelt Administration for the War Labor Board’s giving in to the demands of the UMW and John L. Lewis for at least half of the demanded $2 per day increase in average wage. The so-called Little Steel formula for enabling wages to keep pace with cost of living increases had been circumvented in this exceptional case, just as Little Steel’s formula itself had come about as an exception to the general rule against wage and price increases for the duration to curb inflation. Now, the piece believes, the die in that direction was inexorably cast, and the consumer could expect higher prices because of this higher wage to coal miners affecting so many dependent industries, chief among which was steel.

"Still Ruml" finds that for all of the months of wrangling back and forth pro and con the Ruml tax forgiveness plan, the opponents got stuck with what amounts virtually to the same thing against which they fought and proclaimed they had thoroughly defeated. Meanwhile, the need for finding increased revenue to pay for the ever burgeoning war budget had become misplaced and forgotten apparently in the debate over concern for how the taxpayers would pay for the war debt.

Dorothy Thompson finds that the dissolution of the Comintern was only a logical extension of the idea that the Comintern had been in its origins and rationale devoted to a different ideal from the Stalinist notion, that the Trotskyite intent had been to spread the Communist Revolution throughout the world, that sustaining Communism in the Soviet Union was only secondary to this goal, while Stalinists had it that Communism had to thrive in the U.S.S.R. first, foremost, and last, that the Comintern was merely a propaganda agency for the Party to promote sympathy for the Soviet system and to deter Western aggression, something which Stalinists overarchingly feared and which fear operated as the keystone to maintenance of the Comintern.

That it had survived at all for the fifteen years since Trotsky had been defeated by Stalin in the competition for leadership of the Party in Russia was the result only of this propagandistic utility which Stalin ascribed to it. Ms. Thompson parenthetically indicates that it was no accident that the first execution among those convicted in Stalin's trials and purges between 1935 and 1938 came in 1936 in the person of Grigory Zinoviev, president of the Comintern.

Thus, the Comintern's final demise was pre-determined and represented not so much a definitive turn in Soviet relations vis à vis the world stage as it did the inevitable inertia exerted toward establishment of the Stalinist nationalist ideal within Russia, departing from the concept of pan-Communism promoted by the original Comintern.

Samuel Grafton observes much the same reasons for the abolition, adding to Russia's nationalistic goal in the war, bent only extra-territorially on destroying Fascism, the idea that Russia had grown of age in its international relations and thus was no longer dependent on the extra-legal efforts employed by the Comintern on foreign turf to obtain the diplomatic recognition Russia once could not acquire officially. With a twenty-year treaty of mutual assistance, cooperation, and renunciation of territorial acquisition signed with Great Britain the previous May 26 and a similar treaty, bearing an indefinite term, formed with the United States the previous June 11, the U.S.S.R. was now at parity with the Western powers diplomatically. The Comintern therefore was simply obsolete.

Mr. Grafton wonders rhetorically whether, now that the declared Fascist aim of the war, to defeat the Comintern, was moot, it would likewise declare itself of moot character abroad and self-dissolve. He understands implicitly the answer.

Raymond Clapper examines the power of King Gustav of Sweden, looking at the confrontation which occurred with Prime Minister Hansson of the Social Democratic Party regarding the Nazis having sought permission to send a division of troops through Sweden to reach Finland to provide defense against Russia. The King favored allowing the move to avoid war with Germany, while Hansson wanted no part of cooperation with the Nazis. The King, nevertheless, won out, demonstrating the continued vitality of the monarchy in Sweden--symbolically represented by the fact of the King's prowess at age 85 on the tennis courts, as described by Mr. Clapper in some detail.

Some more disgruntled Hoskinsites write to complain of the Hoskins-Thomasboro connection referenced the previous week in the newspaper. These residents cited the fact that many Thomasboro residents came over to work in Hoskins and were likewise offended by the newspaper's joinder of the two communities in hyphenated ignominy. It seems that everyone in Hoskins and in Thomasboro wanted their community identities as separate as possible even if they, as individuals, were willing to work and associate together despite their mutually foreign citizenship and self-evident distinctions and disparities. There was no Wall between them; only a creek and the P. & N. Railroad running by it, through it, over it, or in it. But also, there was sure as hell damn well not going to be any damned hyphen joining them together either. They were all too damned church-going, well-bred, and hard-working for any unwarranted upbraiding as that.

We note, incidentally, that Charlotte eventually gobbled up both towns and neither any longer exists. Nor had we ever heard of them anyway.

And, the young lady hanging out in the "Side Glances", receiving the springtime exhortation from her friend to seek work where the boys were during the summer, seems already amply able to project herself, of an eve adamant, quite enough adequately in the city, flimming fibs flawless, to attract her share without getting gritty in the country where of a fact lurk leers lawless, trimming the glib boon to her run free rummer than incautious pursuit of Troilus, rendering the tib's Ring joyless, the croix de guerre lain from the bustle prostrate before Aeneas. In Urbanity, she'd a' soon castrate the lore o' côte d'or as tree us.

The artist's pencil within the space of this block of peripheral glimmering seemed on occasion to slip, leaving stray dashes in some of the most interesting places.

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