Monday, June 14, 1943

The Charlotte News

Monday, June 14, 1943

FOUR EDITORIALS

Site Ed. Note: Reports the front page, a force of Flying Fortresses from the Eighth U. S. Air Force hit the German U-boat bases at Kiel and Bremen on Sunday, encountering the largest retaliatory force of Luftwaffe fighters yet met in the bombing raids on the Fatherland and suffered in consequence 26 lost planes, the largest single loss of any U.S. raid yet in the European theater.

After Lampedusa had surrendered on Saturday in the face of heavy Allied bombing assaults during the previous 24 hours, following the surrender on Friday of Pantellaria, a third island, Linosa, surrendered without a fight and without enduring the aerial punishment inflicted on the other two islands. Bombers remained at rest in northwest Africa for the first time in weeks. The Middle East command, however, indicated further bombing raids on Sicily, at the airdromes at Catania and Gerbini.

The Russians indicated that they had shot down fully 498 German planes during the previous week, suffering a loss of 153 of their own. That brought the total claimed bag from the Luftwaffe to 1,250 thus far for the month of June, 3,319 since May 1. Fighting continued in the area around Orel, with the Russian Army making some small gains in territory, taking four towns.

Selective Service Administrator General Lewis Hershey announced that standards for inductees to the Navy were being lowered to enable induction of some of the 2.8 million men previously deemed physically unfit for service. The result was that the previous announcement of intended call-up of fathers could be delayed for three to four months beyond August 1, the last stated date for implementing that dreaded draft policy.

On Flag Day, the United States Supreme Court decided two cases of note, one reversing 6 to 3 a case from 1940 which had upheld a school district's right to enforce salute of the flag each day, the other unanimously holding unconstitutional an anti-sedition statute passed by the State of Mississippi, pursuant to which the defendants had been convicted of advocating either disloyalty to the government or not saluting the flag on religious grounds.

In West Virginia v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624, a case on which we have made comment previously, the Court, with Justice Robert Jackson delivering the opinion, reversed Minersville School District v. Gobitis, 310 U.S. 586, on which Cash made comment when decided by the Court three years earlier. Gobitis had rejected a claim that, based on religious grounds, school authorities could not constitutionally impose under the First Amendment a requirement of saluting the flag. The Court now, however, re-examined that decision, finding at its heart the notion, "'National unity is the basis of national security,' that the authorities have 'the right to select appropriate means for its attainment,' and hence [Gobitis] reaches the conclusion that such compulsory measures toward 'national unity' are constitutional. [Citation.]" The Court then proceeded to assert:

Upon the verity of this assumption depends our answer in this case.

National unity as an end which officials may foster by persuasion and example is not in question. The problem is whether under our Constitution compulsion as here employed is a permissible means for its achievement.

Struggles to coerce uniformity of sentiment in support of some end thought essential to their time and country have been waged by many good as well as by evil men. Nationalism is a relatively recent phenomenon but at other times and places the ends have been racial or territorial security, support of a dynasty or regime, and particular plans for saving souls. As first and moderate methods to attain unity have failed, those bent on its accomplishment must resort to an ever-increasing severity. As governmental pressure toward unity becomes greater, so strife becomes more bitter as to whose unity it shall be. Probably no deeper division of our people could proceed from any provocation than from finding it necessary to choose what doctrine and whose program public educational officials shall compel youth to unite in embracing. Ultimate futility of such attempts to compel coherence is the lesson of every such effort from the Roman drive to stamp out Christianity as a disturber of its pagan unity, the Inquisition, as a means to religious and dynastic unity, the Siberian exiles as a means to Russian unity, down to the fast failing efforts of our present totalitarian enemies. Those who begin coercive elimination of dissent soon find themselves exterminating dissenters. Compulsory unification of opinion achieves only the unanimity of the graveyard.

It seems trite but necessary to say that the First Amendment to our Constitution was designed to avoid these ends by avoiding these beginnings. There is no mysticism in the American concept of the State or of the nature or origin of its authority. We set up government by consent of the governed, and the Bill of Rights denies those in power any legal opportunity to coerce that consent. Authority here is to be controlled by public opinion, not public opinion by authority.

The case is made difficult not because the principles of its decision are obscure but because the flag involved is our own. Nevertheless, we apply the limitations of the Constitution with no fear that freedom to be intellectually and spiritually diverse or even contrary will disintegrate the social organization. To believe that patriotism will not flourish if patriotic ceremonies are voluntary and spontaneous instead of a compulsory routine is to make an unflattering estimate of the appeal of our institutions to free minds. We can have intellectual individualism and the rich cultural diversities that we owe to exceptional minds only at the price of occasional eccentricity and abnormal attitudes. When they are so harmless to others or to the State as those we deal with here, the price is not too great. But freedom to differ is not limited to things that do not matter much. That would be a mere shadow of freedom. The test of its substance is the right to differ as to things that touch the heart of the existing order.

If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein. If there are any circumstances which permit an exception, they do not now occur to us.

We think the action of the local authorities in compelling the flag salute and pledge transcends constitutional limitations on their power and invades the sphere of intellect and spirit which it is the purpose of the First Amendment to our Constitution to reserve from all official control.

Justice Felix Frankfurter filed the only dissenting opinion. Justices Owen Roberts and Stanley Reed also indicated their dissent, but without filing an opinion, resting instead on Gobitis.

When this issue, incidentally, was brought before the Supreme Court again in 2004 in Elk Grove Unified Sch. Dist. v. Newdow, ____ US ____ (2004), regarding not a compulsory salute to the flag but rather the practice by a school district of beginning each day with the Pledge of Allegiance, including the phrase "under God", the Court side-stepped the substantive issue which contended it to be violative of the First Amendment on religious grounds to include in the Pledge the invocative words, an assertion upheld by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Supreme Court, however, held that the father of the student in question was not the custodial parent and thus lacked standing to bring the suit. Thus, the issue, as framed in that case, is still undecided by the courts.

In Taylor v. State of Mississippi, 319 U.S. 583, Justice Roberts, who had dissented in Barnette based on his reliance on Gobitis, delivered the unanimous opinion of the Court holding that a state statute which proscribed as a felony, carrying a penalty of imprisonment for the duration of the war but not longer than ten years, any deliberate and intentional speech of any kind by an individual or member of an organization which was "designed and calculated to encourage violence, sabotage, or disloyalty to the government of the United States, or the state of Mississippi, or who by action or speech, advocates the cause of the enemies of the United States or who gives information as to the military operations, or plans of defense or military secrets of the nation or this state, by speech, letter, map or picture which would incite any sort of racial distrust, disorder, prejudices or hatreds, or which reasonably tends to create an attitude of stubborn refusal to salute, honor or respect the flag or government of the United States, or of the state of Mississippi".

The Court held that since in Barnette, school children could not be compelled to salute the flag, there likewise could be no punishment criminally for merely advocating, on religious grounds, as in two of the several cases before the Court under which convictions had been obtained pursuant to the statute, that students not salute the flag. But, moreover, the Court went further in stating: "As applied to the appellants it punishes them although what they communicated is not claimed or shown to have been done with an evil or sinister purpose, to have advocated or incited subversive action against the nation or state, or to have threatened any clear and present danger to our institutions or our government. What these appellants communicated were their beliefs and opinions concerning domestic measures and trends in national and world affairs."

Thus, the convictions in the others cases, in which speech allegedly advocating disloyalty to the government had been the subject of the prosecution, likewise were obtained in violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution, as violative of freedom of speech and press.

In Chapter 13 of They Call It Pacific, Clark Lee tells of his attempt to get back from northern Luzon to Manila, stopped behind a convoy of buses, trying to determine whether the junction of the road to the main highway had already been severed by the invading Japanese.

The Office of War Information, relying on a report released by the FBI, indicated that German agents in Honolulu since 1935 had aided the Japanese in their attack on Pearl Harbor. Bernard Julius Otto Kuehn and his family were involved in developing and implementing a system of signals which the Japanese consul-general in Hawaii had dispatched to the Japanese government in Tokyo on December 3, 1941, designed to assist the actual bombing missions. One such device was a light hung inside a dormer window of the Kuehn residence. The light signals were designed to inform the consul-general when certain ships were in the harbor.

Kuehn's wife operated a beauty parlor and had obtained information on ship schedules from the wives of sailors. His young son was sometimes dressed in Navy whites and, in response to the cute habit, had been invited aboard several of the ships by officers visually to inspect to see that all was ship-shape with the Navy, then, upon his bidding, "Ay-ay, sir, tanks for de tour," promptly providing the information to his German-agent father.

Originally sentenced to death in February, 1942, the elder Kuehn had his sentence commuted to 50 years hard labor. His wife and children were interned for the duration of the war. All the Kuehns, including the father, were deported to Germany at the end of the war.

And, a representative of the National Grange testified before the Senate Elections Committee that the proposed bill to require polling places to remain open fifteen hours during national election days, as with the legislation to eliminate the poll tax, was an unconstitutional infringement by the Federal government on states' rights.

Whether he also was deported back to Germany at the end of the war, was not indicated.

On the editorial page, "Air Power" takes issue with the piece of Samuel Grafton which had appeared June 2, exploring the limitations of air power as a final weapon to achieve surrender and final victory, having indicated its limitations, made obvious by the refusal of Stalingrad to surrender in the face of heavy bombardment, in the refusal of London to surrender despite like treatment, and, contrary to those examples, the fall of France and the Low Countries achieved without the use of bombs.

The editorial cites in contraposition the surrender of Pantellaria on Friday as an exhibit on the side of air power, adds that Stalingrad was not susceptible to heavy bombing in its vulnerable days, and that the air superiority of Germany contributed to the capitulation to terms by France.

Finally, it begs to differ from Mr. Grafton's point that bombing is indiscriminate and impersonal and thus, unlike ground forces, cannot bring democracy to the people and forge thereby underground alliances to help undermine from within the Axis governments. Instead, it suggests, Pantellaria again demonstrated the concept that stubborn Fascists could be reduced to submissive Fascists with alacrity through air power. It concludes that air power could have the same devastating impact on the Continent.

Fletcher Pratt also explores air strategy and tactics, using those presently employed by the Allies as tea leaves from which to divine an invasion route likely in 1943, finds them indicative of the intent to establish a bridgehead through Southern Europe, not Northern Europe. The fact that the short-range bombing in the south was being used tactically on military targets, without long-range bombing, that strategy being utilized to harass the German people in the north, were primary indicators supporting this theory of invasion from the south, that short-range bombing tactics were primarily designed to soften resistance to invading land forces.

He further explains the impracticability of an invasion through France or Germany during 1943, that the necessary complement of men to combat the roughly 200 divisions which the Germans could divert quickly from the Russian front to Central Europe were simply not yet available at the command of the Allies. Two million Britons presently under arms in England were primarily home guard troops who maintained regular jobs on the side. They were not trained as an expeditionary force to invade a foreign country. The Americans were not yet sufficiently battle-tested to participate in such a massive operation and, in any event, were not present yet in adequate numbers to make up the necessary divisions.

At most, the Allies could muster perhaps a hundred divisions, yet but half that force which could be thrown against them, and with relatively long supply lines battling troops either on home soil or in countries occupied now for three full years.

Italy, however, or the Balkans, with their less accessible routes over the Alps from the north, could not be so easily defended or into which so many troops brought to bear for the purpose in short order. Thus, those areas presented themselves as much easier targets and would likely thus become the avenues for invasion.

The northern route would need wait a year, he says, until many of the five million men presently in training in the United States could be brought to the front, to join more soldiers who would become battle savvy in the operations set likely to begin soon in the south.

It was, of course, an accurate assessment. But, by this point, it probably took no military expert to read the tea leaves, with Pantellaria, Lampedusa, and Linosa each having been forced to surrender in the previous three days, each providing stepping stones to Sicily, and Sicily, in turn, to the mainland of Italy off Messina. There were no similar operations of concentrated bombing in and around the northern French coast to suggest an imminent invasion via the Channel.

Mr. Pratt makes room for the possibility that the strategy and tactics thus evident were by design to confuse the Germans, that a surprise might be in the offing. But considering the manpower issues, he believed it unlikely in 1943.

He also predicts that the Germans were preparing for a major ground offensive in Russia, as suggested by the major air operations being regularly flown of late.

But, even there, his own analysis brought to bear on the subject probably suggested the harassing strategy more than the tactical military strike, the bulk of the reported bombing activity in Russia of late by the Luftwaffe having been exerted against Gorky, south of Moscow, not in the area of the Kuban River Valley of the Caucasus, backs against the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait, into which the bulk of the German forces had been crammed during the winter and spring counter-offensive by the Russian Army.

Samuel Grafton analyzes the purpose of a second front, to split the German horde in Russia, 228 divisions strong, at least in two, determines therefore that a massive invasion of Europe through Germany or France was unnecessary in 1943, even if in that method lay the only sure path to victory. The only thing required in 1943, he offers, was a means by which to divert the Wehrmacht from its concentration in Russia, to spread its forces through Europe. To accomplish that purpose, a less direct route of invasion, through the south, was perfectly suited to achieve the goal. Indeed, he even proposes, a series of smaller operations, not designed to penetrate more than ten miles into the Continent, could likely achieve the second frontís necessary objective.

But, reverting to his argument against the mere sufficiency of air power, he contends that this goal of dividing the enemy ground forces could certainly not be achieved from the air. Some form of ground invasion had to take place and during the time when the Wehrmacht was licking its wounds in Russia, cleaning out from under the rubble of its bombed industrial cities in Germany. The Allies did not want to provide Germany with the same respite which Britain had during the summer of 1940 before the Blitz began in September. The time for the invasion, he stresses, was the summer of 1943. Yet, that invasion was not the one designed to achieve the final victory. The important immediate objective was to divide the enemy forces in Russia, thus providing the assurance of a unified Allied front to the Russians while making the job of defeating the Wehrmacht a true United Nations effort and one against sufficiently diluted forces to enable victory with less bloodshed.

And, putting Mr. Grafton's piece together with Mr. Fletcher's, the entire map for the Allied strategy for the remainder of the war in Europe was pretty well laid forth, now, just 25 days before the landing craft would send the first American and British troops onto the shores of Sicily, the American Seventh Army under General Patton to land in the Gulf of Gela to protect the flank of the British Eighth Army under General Montgomery, to land near Syracuse, each landing infantry force to be preceded by advance paratroops and gliders.

"Term Four" finds the signs pointing to a probable fourth term campaign for FDR, the only residual question being whether it would be successful.

In the wake of the unpopular coal strike and the continuing attempts by the War Labor Board to resolve the differences between labor and mine owners, without renewal of the strike after the new deadline two weeks hence, and the pending anti-strike legislation in the Congress, already passed by the House, a piece compiled by the editors explores the 150-year history of strikes and anti-strike legislation, in both England and the United States. First approached through common law criminal conspiracy, then tempered by use instead of antitrust laws and injunctions to bust strikes, a trend had developed by the early part of the twentieth century in America supportive of collective bargaining legislation and recognition of the right to strike as a just means for resolution of labor disputes. Tha trend culminated in the Norris-La Guardia anti-injunction act of 1932, to limit use of Federal injunctions to end strikes, and with the creation in 1935 of the National Labor Relations Board as a government mediation body to resolve collective bargaining disputes administratively, without the necessity of prolix and costly lawsuits.

Representative Karl Stefan of Nebraska, a native of Bohemia, is quoted from the Congressional Record, memorializing on June 10 the first anniversary of the terrible massacre of the entire male population of the town of Lidice in Czechoslovakia, all for its supposed role in harboring the plotters of the killing in Prague of Reinhard Heydrich, chief planner for the Final Solution at the January, 1942 Wannsee Conference, who died June 4, 1942, following a hospital visit from his Gestapo boss, Heinrich Himmler, after having his Mercedes-Benz bombed May 27 along the base of the long U-curve.

We neglected to point out, incidentally, that the 1943 Belmont Stakes, run June 5, completed the Triple Crown for Fannie Hertz's Count Fleet, who won the race by a record 25 lengths, not broken until Secretariat won by 31 lengths in 1973, likewise on the way to a Triple Crown win.

Count Fleet galloped on to the Great Pasture in the Sky later the same year, passing away at Stoner Creek Farm in Paris, Kentucky, December 3, 1973.

Three days later, Representative Gerald R. Ford was sworn in, fated, as the 40th Vice-President of the United States, succeeding the resigned Spiro T. Agnew, after his plea of nolo contendere to receipt of bribes while Governor of Maryland.

A few days afterward, a big snowfall occurred where we were, in Chapel Hill. It happened to be on the morning of our final examination in Ancient Philosophy, the study of Plato and Aristotle. We had stayed up a large part of the night preparing. We did well on it though.

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