Friday, June 18, 1943

The Charlotte News

Friday, June 18, 1943

FOUR EDITORIALS

Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the border between Turkey and Syria, after being sealed for two days, was reopened. British sources speculated that the reason for the border-sealing was to conceal Allied troop movements within Syria.

Rome radio ventured that British troops were now concentrating along the southern frontier of Turkey. The implication was that Allied preparation was being made for an attack through the Balkans.

Berlin radio reported that British and American troops had been dispatched to Cyprus, also for the purpose of launching an invasion through the Balkans.

Herr Doktor Goebbels wrote in Das Reich that Germany looked forward to the storm from the West. He urged silence to the critics of Germany.

There were small-scale bombing attacks on the Continent, confined to France, while a small German raid hit London and another town in the south of England, said by Berlin radio to be Portsmouth.

Bombing operations from the Middle East by American daylight raiders continued against Sicilian targets, this time hitting airdromes at Comiso and Biscari. An RAF nighttime raid out of Northwest Africa struck Naples.

Soviet troops continued to mass in the area of Orel and Kursk, signaling that summer fighting in Russia would coalesce in that region. There were no crucial developments along the front this day.

"D. C. Speaker", a knowledgeable source on Capitol Hill, advised that fathers were unlikely to be called up for the draft even after the currently 60-day extended deadline to October 1. Three reasons were offered: first, fathers were not wanted by Uncle Sam if he could obtain his manpower by calling from the pool of unmarried men; second, the quotas for the draft were nearly filled, and there being to fill the remaining quotas the newly eligible 18-year olds and previously rejected childless married and single men now rendered fit for service by lowered standards, there would likely be no need for fathers; third, the foci of armed forces training had shifted to the aerial war and on better, more instensive preparation for men already inducted.

Papa might yet remain at home and out of uniform for the duration after all. Way to go, pops. All in a night's work.

The War Labor Board determined that it lacked authority to settle the issue between coal miners and mine owners regarding portal-to-portal pay. The owners had agreed previously to accept $1.30 while the UMW had demanded $2.00 per day for the transportation time to and from the point of work in the mine. The WLB decided that it could not force the issue as it was a determination which needed to be resolved in a lawsuit and, as a mediation board, simply lacked the legal basis for ruling one way or the other on the issue.

It was unclear how thus side-stepping the matter would impact the Sunday night deadline for extension by the UMW of its agreement June 5 to call off its strike for fifteen days.

In Chapter 17 of They Call It Pacific, Clark Lee reports of learning on December 29, 1941 that the Japanese were approaching Manila from both the north and the south, causing general fright for the first time among the populace of the city. Prior to that time, the general feeling had been that, despite the bombing, it was a transitory condition with which they only needed to cope for an interim period until Allied bombers would come to their rescue. It now began slowly to sink in, however, that no such rescue mission was in transit.

Mr. Lee decided to travel south to determine how close the Japanese were to the city. A colonel sought to talk him out of the perilous sojourn by warning that such a trip would mean sure death: the Japanese now were closing in on Manila from the south and already had possession of all primary roads.

And, while we do not in any way diminish the quality of the artwork of NEA sketch artist Carol Johnson in the rendering of battle scenes in Tunisia, as exhibited in one example on the front page, the title given the exhibition in the caption is actually anachronistic to the facts as they were occurring in a fast-paced war. Prime Minister Churchill did not refer to the Tunisian victory as "the end of the beginning". He referred on November 10 to the victory in the Battle of Egypt as "the end of the beginning". The Tunisian Campaign, more appropriately, was the beginning of the middle.

But we do not mean unduly to quibble. They were in the midst of a harsh war, the worst and most inordinate slings of which any day could bring death to a loved one or friend, or, for those on the front lines, even to themselves as journalists. They did well to get the stories as straight as they did amid what often was chaos and to keep the prints pretty straight and accurate. And it was so both at home and abroad.

For at home, one did not know when and whether a notice from the Government Selective Service Board might any day arrive with those dreaded words, "Like, Greetings, Dadů"

On the editorial page, John Daly of The News writes a by-lined piece comparing the psychological status of Japan, not knowing when the bombs might start falling, with that of Germany, already beset for the previous year with massive bombing raids, increasingly so since the fall of Tunisia May 7, releasing planes and personnel to mount the intensity of bombing against European targets. He concludes that the Japanese were in the worse position for their not knowing, for their having to wait with uneasy anticipation for the worst to occur.

"They know what is coming, but neither the day nor hour, though enough has transpired to impress them with the inevitability and the ruthlessness of future events assuring them of horror and sorrow."

Well, we don't know. Maybe it was so. Maybe not. Everyone must live, after all, with the knowledge that at any moment death could come unexpectedly from nowhere. An errant jet might plow into your bedroom and dispatch you in the night. But, we typically do not shut our eyes and part the sorrows and pities of the day with such thoughts on our minds. Likely, neither did most of the Japanese.

The Germans, by contrast, had a reality with which to contend each day, a death-threatening harsh reality. We venture that the Germans had the worse deal at this point between the two cases. Should we have been living in 1943 and had a choice of two cities in which to reside, the Devil or the Deep Blue Sea as it were, Berlin or Tokyo, we would have quickly opted for Tokyo. Better to drown in anxiety than die a quick and sure death in the fires of Hell.

Those with the death wish might have chosen differently, but that is beside our point.

Samuel Grafton examines the difference between the Nazi propaganda being spewed by Herr Doktor Goebbels at home in Germany and that which he purveyed throughout captive Europe. At home, the warning was that, without supreme sacrifice, the war might indeed be lost; abroad Europe, the contrasting line was that Festung Europa was impregnable to the Allied forces.

And so on...

The editors put together their view of what constituted the twelve prior offenses thus far undertaken in the war in Europe by either side. If you have trouble keeping track of the placement of key events between 1939 and 1943, it is a handy clipping to have as a chart of the timeline for the war thus far.

It offers the hope that the thirteenth would prove unlucky for the Nazis.

Arguably, by the way, the thirteenth offensive of the war had already occurred. The Russians had invaded Finland November 30, 1939, but, after unexpectedly fierce resistance from the Finns, could not subdue the country until March, 1940. Thereby showing to the world a weaker than expected Russian military apparatus had provided inertia to Hitler's plan for the invasion of Russia, formulated during the writing in 1923 of Mein Kampf and finally determined as an immediate course of action in late December, 1940.

We also note that the Battle of the Atlantic had been ongoing since March 1941 at the beginning of Lend-Lease shipments, especially intensifying during the period May through July, 1942, a period which saw more merchant ships sunk than in any other months of the war. By spring, 1943, while the U-boat remained a significant menace with considerably stepped up numbers on patrol, the Battle of the Atlantic had largely been won by May, though not widely promulgated at the time for ongoing concern during the remaining two years of the war. Recent reports from Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox had underscored the continued viability of the U-boat as a danger to Atlantic shipping, even if by then largely overcome by a much higher rate of Liberty ships than in 1942 being sent down the ways daily and much better air protection of them, both in reconnaissance and bombing, once put to sea. May of 1943 saw the depletion of the ranks of U-boats by fully 25% of their total force, a total of 43 being sunk, 34 of which were in the Atlantic. The rate of attrition caused Admiral Doenitz to cease North Atlantic operations completely until the fall.

Raymond Clapper looks to the future of Britain after the war by viewing the aims of the Labor Party, at a time when it had officially sworn a truce to political division in the country for the duration. He sees on the horizon a Labor Party which had firmly wedded itself to support of an international peace-keeping and policing organization, led by the principal Allies, and to a broad-based international trade policy.

His focus on Herbert Morrison, Home Secretary and newly selected Labor Party treasurer, a key party position in determining its direction, was well chosen. Clement Atlee of the Labor Party would become Prime Minister in July of 1945, replacing Churchill, and Lord Morrison would become his Deputy Prime Minister, replacing Atlee, each serving in the capacities through October, 1951, when the country would once again turn to the old lion, Winnie, to serve for yet another three and a half years, through April, 1955.

"Unbelief" looks at the winnowing preparations for air raids during the previous six months or so when the threat of the previous year had significantly dissipated in the collective consciousness within the United States. No longer were drills being conducted with any regularity. Air raid wardens came and went and no longer undertook their jobs with the same trenchant effort as had been the case in the wake of Pearl Harbor.

The editorial does not find this state of affairs amusing, as it reminds again, as it had a few weeks earlier, that the chance of attack was heightened by the desperation of the enemy, not lessened, even if the chance of mounting a massive attack was slight in the face of enemy bombers penned down in Europe.

Of course, just how any one or two or three ace fliers would have been able to make their way across the Atlantic or Pacific at this juncture was not explained and certainly begged reason.

"Fear Not" eschews the notion that the Allies might embark on a repeat performance of Darlanism as in North Africa in November and appoint a Fascist stooge as leader of a new government in Italy once the country had fallen. The piece finds it without consequence even if Mussolini were chosen to be the person to capitulate to terms. The term would irrevocably be one of unconditional surrender, no matter who was seeking to negotiate more friendly results on behalf of the Italians.

It would not be Mussolini. His own people would see to that in the end.

"Postponement?" finds the Germans believing that the major Allied offensive in Europe would not come for another year, allowing the time for preparations of their defensive bulwarks. The strategy which the Germans planned for the present, the piece astutely sets forth, was to send seven German and three Italian divisions to fight in Sicily, about 150,000 men, seeking to delay thereby the landing on the Continent for as long as possible.

The editorial concludes with the warning to the Germans that the Allied landing might not come either in northern France or in Italy, but rather through the Balkans.

The little Nazi was left to squirm in his barnyard.

The quote of the day, from Francis Quarles, comes from his Emblemes, Second Book, Number XIII, published in England in 1635.

Should you awaken each day before work, incidentally, with the opening Proverb involuntarily spilling from your lips, or simply hearing it issue from those of your significant other, then it is probably time to seek a new occupation.

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