Wednesday, May 5, 1943

The Charlotte News

Wednesday, May 5, 1943


Site Ed. Note: American and French forces, reports the front page, had pushed two more miles from the previous day, to within ten miles of Bizerte along the Mediterranean coast as another American force pressed half the distance from Mateur to Ferryville, to within five miles of the latter junction, from which it was another ten miles across Lake Achkel to Bizerte, thus placing this second contingent within 18 miles of the key port city. The drive along the Mediterranean had pushed back a Nazi counter-attack at Djebel Chiniti the previous day. These two simultaneous pincers placed Bizerte within range of Allied heavy artillery from two directions.

A third American column, moving toward Tebourba, to the southeast of Mateur, advanced five miles and took the ridge Djebel Makna, overlooking the east bank of the River Tine. This contingent had nearly reached the key junction at Tebourba, eighteen miles from Tunis.

The Nazis launched a counter-thrust against the British First Army forces eleven miles northeast of Medjez-El-Bab with a column comprised of eighteen tanks. Twelve of the tanks, including two Tigers, were destroyed, the Nazis compelled to retreat.

French forces under General Louis Marie Koeltz also took two miles of ground in an attack about four miles east of Pont Du Fahs to the south, with an objective of Zaghouan, key Nazi communication center, eight miles from their new advance position.

The Eighth Army of General Montgomery remained largely in a holding position, as for the last several days, with some limited patrol activity encountering German resistance to the north of Enfidaville, and artillery fire hitting Axis positions in the northern hills.

The news now suggested a paraphrase of the quote on the editorial page from the previous day by Secretary of War Henry Stimson, such that now the piston head of the Tunisian campaign had shifted from Montgomery to Patton, K.A.N. Anderson, and Koeltz for the nonce, while Montgomery had receded to become part of the cylinder walls along the coast road to the south of Enfidaville.

To continue the figure, the crankshaft thus would likely have to be ascribed to the Allied air forces of the RAF and the Americans, while the spark plugs were the combined Allied navies. No matter who played which role, all were needed to behave in concert for the engine to run the Axis off the African continent to pave the way for the landing on Sicily. The proof of this premise lay in the fact that the exceptionally skilled fighting machine of the Eighth Army had but battled to a back and forth draw against Rommel's equally tough Afrika Korps during the two and a half years prior to the October 21 move from El Alamein west as the Allies landed less than three weeks later in Morocco and Algeria to spearhead the final squeeze play on Rommel and von Arnim.

A piece by A. P. reporter Harold Boyle tells of the five problems which had to be overcome in taking Mateur and how the now battle-savvy American troops under General Patton were performing tasks with the skill of veteran, war-hardened combatants. No longer was the label "green" being applied to them, as was the case a mere two and a half months earlier in the disastrous thrust by Rommel from Faid Pass through Kasserine Pass, even if quickly turned back on its heels. Indeed, many had now been in action for six months since the Operation Torch landings November 8.

Since General Patton had taken command on March 8, the troops were responding as if they had been fighting battles all their lives. They had little choice, of course, with the General’s riding strop and holstered pistols held fast in the general vicinity of the hindquarters of the men on the forward lines.

The five problems, four of which--the "mousetrap", Djebel Tahent, Jefna, and the "ambush country" along the Mediterranean coast--involved the infantry, while the fifth, relied on Allied air superiority, were all overcome by the now tactically skilled American troops in short order.

Suggesting Japanese mainland targets now to be within range of American four-motor bombers, a raid by Liberators occurred the day before out of China by the 14th U.S. Air Force of General Claire Chennault, hitting Hainan Island north of French Indochina and Haiphong Harbor on the mainland of Indochina. A new phase of the Pacific war thus was seemingly foreshadowed.

In the most concentrated bombing raid yet of the war on Germany and the largest mission of the year, the RAF the previous night hit Dortmund near Essen with 1,500 tons of bombs, the same weight dropped by a thousand planes on Cologne at the end of May, 1942. The raid on Dortmund, however, relied on heavier four-ton bombs and was thus smaller in number of planes than the Cologne raid. The RAF spokesman indicated that the British lost 30 planes in the attack, a relatively low number. It was the first concentrated raid of the war on Dortmund, an industrial center of the Ruhr Valley.

The Commander of all U. S. troops in Europe, General Frank Andrews, was reported killed on Monday in a crash of a Liberator over Iceland during an inspection tour. General Andrews had just assumed the position of command in January after General Eisenhower was appointed Commander of all Allied forces in North Africa. General Andrews was the highest ranking officer thus far to die in the war. Thirteen others perished in the crash.

The House passed a compromise measure, after defeating the pay-as-you-go Ruml plan which would have forgiven all 1942 taxes. The substitute measure forgave 75% of 1942 taxes, eliminating all 1942 tax liability for approximately 90% of taxpayers and creating a Federal withholding of 20% of taxable income starting July 1. The bill was now headed for the Senate.

The House Military Affairs Committee began an investigation into a report of lewd, drunken parties being held by a war manufacturers' representative in the Red House on R Street in Washington. John Monroe, the supposed purveyor of loose women and free liquor to government men to induce selection of Mr. Monroe's clients to be recipients of war contracts, testified that the parties did not involve any orgiastic conduct and had no wild women present, were tame affairs where no business was discussed, represented simply sociable reciprocation for Mr. Monroe having been entertained previously by his invited guests.

Bobby Baker was not reported on the witness list, yet.

Mr. Monroe, (alternately, as "James P." and "John R."), reported Time on July 12, 1943, sued columnist Drew Pearson and his employer, The Washington Post, for libel for having been the source of the story of lurid parties at the Red House.

Incidentally, in the same May 17, 1943 issue of Time as had appeared the principal story on the matter, appeared this item.

Fifteen years later, in Life...

On the editorial page, "The Victors" reports that, with 12,500 voters turning out at the polls for the Charlotte city council election runoff, compared to the 10,000 the previous week, a 25% increase to 12.5% of the population of the city, the people had spoken and elected a majority of the eleven councilmen from the Citizens' ticket, having the previous week elected a new Mayor, H. H. Baxter, from the People's ticket.

You were dying to know; we could tell by the expression on your face--as well, the whippoorwill's lonesome cry.

"Poor Thinking" finds abroad the country a loss of self-confidence by the people in their competence to direct government and deems it a dangerous threat to democracy. The bureaucrats and diplomats, it cautions, lose touch with the ordinary day to day lives of the broad mass of people in the country. The people, as stated the Chinese philosopher the piece quotes, Lin Yutang, have the principles, but not the facts, while the diplomats have all the facts, but not the principles. The people, the piece counsels, must, for the assured preservation of democracy, reassert themselves.

"Still Defiant" again takes to task John L. Lewis for his refusal to submit the demands of the UMW for their new contract to the War Labor Board for mediation and suggests that even his late announcement on Monday to provide a fifteen-day truce, allowing the miners who struck Friday night at midnight to return to work on Tuesday, was calculated to upstage the President who had addressed the nation on the strike by radio Sunday night. It again, as it had the previous week, calls for some form of calling to task Mr. Lewis in his persistent attempts to place the security of his union members above that of the United States in time of world war.

"General Andrews" laments the death of the general, pointing out that he was the eighth general to die thus far in the war and that, for his importance, his loss would be felt in the command structure of the Allies.

It is noteworthy that, had he lived, he might have, instead of General Eisenhower, led the Normandy invasion in 1944. Had it been so, would General Eisenhower have been viewed with the same significance after the war? General Eisenhower, of course, was already the pre-eminent figure leading the Allied effort and so it is likely he would have retained that status. But history is a fickle suitor.

A piece by Donald Bell of the Overseas News Agency examines the tension between Poland and Russia and its longstanding sources, spanning back to the aftermath of World War I and Russia's exclusion from Versailles when modern Poland was created.

In 1921, Russia yielded parts of White Russia and the Ukraine to Poland to settle disputes over the territories without war. Then the Poles in 1923 seized Wilno in Lithuania producing a cold war between the two countries until 1938. At Munich, Poland acquired the city of Teschen out of Czech territory and quickly occupied it with Hitler's approval.

Now, Poland's government-in-exile demanded, pursuant to the Atlantic Charter, even if read backwards, East Prussia, Pomerania, and Silesia, as well as parts of Germany from Stettin to Dresden, to assure free access to the Baltic after the war, just as the Soviets were demanding Bessarabia and the Baltic States as buffer zones to deter recurrence of future German attempts at expansionism.

The piece indicates that the Poles were on tenuous legal ground in asserting the Atlantic Charter as a basis for any such post-war claims as against Russia, on whom the Poles relied to free them from the grip of Nazi occupation. So, the editorial reasons, the Poles were seeking to grasp at any straw in the wind which could give it the moral high ground for seeking these territories at post-war peace conferences. In the present instance, that straw was the allegation being promoted by the Nazis, taken up by the Polish government-in-exile in London, that the Russians had killed, sometime circa mid-1940 at Smolensk, the 10,000 Polish officers (whose numbers appeared at variance high or low by 2,000).

But, concludes the piece, the Russian counter-demands for a new Polish Cabinet, given the realities of Polish dependence on Soviet military strength, meant that the Poles would need strike a realistic stance of consideration and accession and not make either unfounded accusations or demands ungrounded in international law. Acceding now and in the future to the will of Russia was a necessary and critical part of providing for Poland's continued existence.

All of this mess, as we have suggested, and as was stated with precognition the day before by the Dorman Smith cartoon, cast a long, foreboding shadow of the 44-year Cold War to come.

Samuel Grafton finds General Henri Giraud in North Africa once again stubbornly persisting in obscurantist ways, on the one hand saying the right things to appeal to the Leftists of France, that capitalism was probably dead, the implication being that socialism would form the economic foundation of French society after the war, while on the other, refusing to release all of the political prisoners among the Free French and not acceding to the wishes of General De Gaulle to have a representative governing council for France pending the end of the war, one which would include in its composition members of the Resistance. Likewise, Giraud had abolished the 1870 Cremieux decree in Algeria, thereby denying French citizenship to 100,000 Jews who had been citizens continuously for the previous 72 years.

Mr. Grafton urges General Giraud to heed the desires of the masses of the French in North Africa as well among the Resistance on the Continent and act in ways consistent with those desires, freeing political prisoners of the Resistance and granting De Gaulle's wishes for a representative government council pending the restoration of representative democracy in France. Far less talk of things which ostensibly might have appeal to the Left, and far more action to encourage genuine optimism for a new, free French Republic upon full liberation of France by the Allies, needed to become the fons et origo for General Giraud's principle of governance.

And, Tom Jimison checks in again from Rockingham, addressing this time the vagaries associated with "naggravatin'" wives and the miseries thereby foisted on their henpecked husbands. He presupposes nothing of the rightness or wrongness of divorce under such circumstances but counsels that no one is perfect, that thus the nattering nabobs of negativism among the young and old alike need take a breath and relax their insistence upon perfection in spouses to fit some preconceived mold--no doubt one formed already by 1943 from the 28 years of watching melodramas amid the popcorn as perfect spouses paraded across the movie screen between the butter at the top and the last grains of salt at the bottom in pluperfectly cast roman d'ventures.

"Why, why, why cannot you be more like, say, Clark Gable or Tyrone Power or Dick Powell? They never stick their bare feet on top of the raddio in winter to keep their tugboats warm. You were raised obviously by one sick mother. And then you leave the window open in the middle of February while I sit here freezing, sewing your old socks."

"Frankly, my dear…"

"No, you stop that right now. Not another word, or I’ll be at the lawyer’s office tomorrow morning at 9:00 sharp and you will be served the papers by 6:00! He respects me as a lady. I might even have a mind to run off with him, maybe even to Cuba or Costa Rica."

"Frankly, my dear…"

Incidentally, we forgot to report the results of the 69th running of the Kentucky Derby, dubbed the "Streetcar Derby", from the previous Saturday. So here it is, the Hertz Hurricane having lived up to preliminary forecasts at the mutuel window. (Someone recently moved the previous "Hertz" link, by the way, and placed in its stead at the same address a Jiffy Pop commercial. The new link says it is a 1964 commercial; it is, however, a fall, 1963 commercial. The cars came out in September of the year preceding the turn of the calendar. Please check facts before spouting, and try to resist the temptation to change links in order to be cute. We know when you've been bad or good...)

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