Saturday, June 19, 1943

The Charlotte News

Saturday, June 19, 1943


Site Ed. Note: Rumors, reports the front page, were circulating out of Algiers that Italian envoys had arrived in North Africa bearing offers of peace. German radio denied the rumors as preposterous.

Off reports that the Fascist Party had called upon Mussolini to relinquish all military decisions to it, speculation ran that Il Duce's ouster was imminent. The speculation was well-founded.

General Doolittle's Air Force of Northwest Africa scored its largest bag yet of the war in one day, shooting down 39 enemy aircraft while attacking targets on Sicily and Sardinia.

The claim of a Pacific theater record of 77 Japanese planes shot down during an attempted raid on Guadalcanal Wednesday was now increased to 94 planes.

The earlier raid on Dusseldorf of June 11 was said to have left between a thousand and fifteen hundred acres devastated in the city, taking a major toll therefore on German manufacturing capability. The RAF command described it as the largest blow struck yet in the Battle of the Ruhr Valley. The raid erased all reconstruction efforts which had proceeded following the attack of the previous summer, laying waste to 380 acres. The damage resultant of the latest raid left three times as much to be rebuilt.

A report indicated that the Germans had been busy in recent weeks moving troops into the Jutland Peninsula of Denmark, increasing since mid-April the number of personnel there from 60,000 to 200,000. The troops had been constructing various hidden military control centers, replete with supplies and munitions, in preparation for a possible northern land invasion by the Allies which could take advantage of the relatively short 350-mile proximity to Britain and afford a short, if heavily defended and therefore grudgingly surrendered, path of entry to Berlin.

Meanwhile, Danes were engaged in daily sabotage activities ranging from the relatively ineffective, amounting to little more than harassment of the occupiers, to the more professional, having a definite impact on Nazi operations.

In the wake of the decision by the War Labor Board to bypass any ruling on the issue of portal-to-portal pay for coal miners, the single most contentious issue remaining to be settled between operators and miners, 45,000 miners had already left the mines in advance of the Sunday midnight deadline for settling a new contract without a another strike. UMW officials were meeting with the owners still to try to remove the remaining impasse.

In Chapter 18 of They Call It Pacific, Clark Lee describes in detail the palpable terror brought to bear on the inhabitants of Corregidor each time Japanese planes flew over to drop their loads. During the last days of December of 1941 and for nine successive days afterward, the Rock received a pounding which General MacArthur described as the most concentrated barrage on one area anywhere in the world during the time--which included active war zones in Malaya and Hong Kong, as well as in Russia, west of Moscow. Yet, the little fortress held, as the bombs continued throughout January.

Mr. Lee continues to describe on the inside page the pattern of each bombing raid. Preceding ominously the fall of the bombs would come a reconnaissance plane which photographed targets and released a balloon to determine wind directions. Then came the dreaded, deadly roar of the motors of the fighters and bombers, followed by the grave silence of the bombs, stirring the air with its freighted promise of death, as those on the ground clung to fate and clenched teeth in ineffable trepidation, awaiting the guilt-ridden relief afforded by the sound of the explosions. Then the brave would venture forth into the streets, with bombs still dropping, to provide aid to the dying.

Drew Pearson describes why the Air Force had lost, on June 13, 26 Flying Fortresses during the raid on Bremen and Kiel. The Luftwaffe had developed a new Messerschmitt, the 109 G-2, which could easily make 360 miles per hour, even faster, and fire its guns and cannons at a rapid rate, creating havoc among the unprotected heavy bombers which slugged along at between 225 and 250 miles per hour. Without long-range fighter escort, the B-17's were now easily being spotted down by the fast, maneuverable new German planes.

Mr. Pearson blames this costly result on the refusal by the Army brass to heed the advice in 1935 of air power expert Alexander de Seversky who had advocated the development of a long-range fighter to protect the heavy bombers on such missions deep into enemy territory.

He concludes his column with an anecdote from the world pedestrian, taking a look at the toll of war even on such mundane matters as tending the White House lawn, the head groundskeeper now forced into some degree of neglect of the grass by the absence of sufficient personnel to assist in keeping it trim and proper. Weeds were growing across the street from Lafayette Square.

Whether Fala was helping the grass to grow any faster was not recorded by Mr. Pearson.

On the editorial page, Raymond Clapper discusses, as had Dorothy Thompson on Thursday, Vansittartism, the view, named for Robert Vansittart, British diplomat, which advocated, as he set forth in his 1941 tract, Black Record: Germans Past and Present, that Germany had been irrepressibly bellicose in its tendencies since the Danish-Prussian War and the Austro-Prussian War of the 1860's and the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, continuing through World War I, that the current war was not the beginning of its aggressive quest for empire, and thus, post-war, would need be repressed severely to prevent re-emergence of the characteristic. It favored a program therefore of punitive sanctions and rigorous control of the government to emerge in Germany after the war.

Mr. Clapper instructs that the Labor Party was engaged in a furious debate between elements desirous of a watered-down version of Vansittartism and those wishing a more positive approach, encouraging post-war establishment of democratic and socialist governments, not punishment for past transgressions.

He examines the use of German propaganda to exploit this theory insisting that it would become the inevitable result to the German people should they lose the war, that the Bolsheviks would enter Germany, exert their will over the people, and generally wreak havoc to avenge the invasion of Russia. There were reports that preparation was being made within the Reich for surrender to the Americans and British, excluding Russia from the peace table. Mr. Clapper rejects that as a possibility, that the United Nations were determined to preserve a unified front, and assurances had been given by all that no separate peace by any would be arranged.

Any belief in Russia's desire for spreading Communism into Germany and France after the war, Mr. Clapper continues, failed to account for the contra supervening goal sought by all the Allies, to insure stable governments in Europe, those which would not again succumb to popular destabilizing movements, such as Nazism and Fascism, with the inexorable wanton extraterritorial aggression incumbent with them. It was thus simply not in the interests of the Soviet Union after the war to desire any form of pan-communist movement through Europe, inevitably exerting such a destabilizing force from within each country.

Samuel Grafton reviews a book by columnist Walter Lippmann, U.S. Foreign Policy: Shield of the Republic, advocating an international approach to the post-war world, centered around a strong United Nations organization designed to maintain the peace and promote political and economic stability among nations. He describes the book as one to be read with your coat on, a "chilly book" which coolly analyzes the need for such an organization abroad the world. It reaches no unique conclusion, assures Mr. Grafton; Wendell Willkie's best-selling One World, published in May, had reached the same result.

Nevertheless, he terms the book, while prosaic in its delivery, a "happening" in its effect, for the fact that Mr. Lippmann’s conclusion was reached in such a practical and methodical manner, a true departure from the more rhetorical, discursive approaches undertaken by most of the politicians who had thus far stumped for the proposition since the spring of 1942 when Undersecretary of State Sumner Welles spoke at Arlington of the "new frontier" and Vice-President Henry Wallace delivered three weeks earlier a similar message, favoring post-war international cooperation.

Mr. Lippmann looks at the matter of Russian-U.S. distrust historically and analytically, disposing in the process of the old argument, made since the beginning of World War I, that the Russians could not be trusted, a prejudice held even in the period prior to the 1917 Communist Revolution, first posited on the concept of an evil autocratic Czarist rule, that the paranoia had extended mutually and even to the time when the term was first coined in accepted clinical usage, the aftermath of the American Revolution, when Russia refused initially to recognize the United States for its dangerously radical tendencies, becoming the last major power to do so, in 1809.

"It is not that the book has been written. Something has happened and this book is the visible sign of it, and this author almost the automatic agent of it. Something has ended and something has begun: It is Mr. Lippmann's high honor to have been selected to draw the chalk-line between the two."

Putting together Mr. Clapper's piece with that of Mr. Grafton, do you not come out with a pattern which unfortunately became, not that being advocated by the two columnists or by Walter Lippmann or Wendell Willkie, but rather a particularly vengeful form of Vansittartism, the division post-war of Germany and Berlin between East and West, becoming for its duration the central symbol and potential flashpoint for nuclear confrontation between Russia and the West? Was the division truly necessary to thwart the resurrection of German mysticism leading on to another folk movement of the type which led to Nazism? Or, for all its vagaries and retrenchments and violations of human rights in the East, did the resulting division and consequent check on re-emergent aggression in fact, in the end, at least serve to avoid another world war, one which would have potentially paradoxically insisted on the final destruction of mankind as the only viable answer to Hamlet's existential proposition?

Dorothy Thompson addresses the graduating class of high school and college students of 1943, retreating to her own college graduation circa 1914, placing her among the "Lost Generation" which came back from World War I, which had before it looked with expectant vision to the future, bright and shining in its new technological garments, promising with them a freer world, freed from the worst of nature's vicissitudes bearing oppressively down on humanity through its ages, only, as a generation, to come out of the war disillusioned by the darkness instead ushered in by these new machines of Modern Times.

Yet, there was out of the chaos, in the interim period between the wars, she stresses, an inertia which sped development of creative invention, especially in the realms of thought and science, advancing in the process mankind's outlook upon the world, speeding insistently the collective mind to become conscious of a more expansive view than provincial myopia would before allow. Progress had been especially keen in the realm of chemistry, producing all manner of synthetic products to replace scarce and irreplaceable natural raw materials.

She urges therefore that the world of the past which her generation had endured, which had failed to prevent these two wars within 25 years of one another, could stand as a lesson to the class of 1943 such that they might take the mistakes and the advances gleaned from this crucible of years and apply them to the advantage of all in the future.

Well, did they take her advice? Is the post-modern plastic age of which we are often wont to complain as being just that--plastic, artificial--in another light to be viewed as a saving grace of a sort, saving us from ourselves and our overweening tendency toward consumption of the planet, substituting the artificial for the natural to conserve the natural? Or, is the inherent problem at the root of it all man's nature in forever seeking illimitable new frontiers to conquer, never content with the world as it is, never satisfied with stasis, always desirous of the reinvention of the wheel by each successive generation, too little concerned with replacement of that which he, individually and collectively, takes from the world's natural abundance, all too often throwing out in the process the baby with the bathwater, both in terms of ideas and inventions, even calling back, for quaintness and style, long moribund inventions which are completely without practical purpose in the present world and eventuate in tremendous waste?

Example, though not to pick on it, comes to mind from this article which appeared week before last in The New York Times anent the trendy fashion among Manhattan restaurateurs during the past fifteen years of lighting their dining rooms with reproductions of 1890's original Edison multi-filament light bulbs, cute and attractive, affording plentiful ambient atmosphere reminiscent of a time no longer within any patron's memory save that stored from images conveyed by celluloid representations of movie sets, but pulling such a massive current as probably to dim every few days Con-Edison's ability to deliver full electrical service to Manhattan's other patrons.

"Welcome, Legion" greets the meet of the American Legion in Charlotte, while memorializing that it was the Legion, home from the Great War, which had counseled continued defensive preparation to prevent another war. It offers that soon veterans of the current war would come home and have passed to them the baton for preservation of the future through learning from the past.

"Color Line", reminded of continuing racial tension in the country by a black-white melee erupting in a Chester, Pennsylvania shipyard, a race riot in Beaumont, Texas consequent of a rape case, and a lynching in Florida, examines the inequities by race in Labor, finds that the 10% African-American portion of the country was grossly under-represented among employees of war industries, ranging from only 3 to 5 percent. Black employees of the Federal Government constituted 9% of the total, but over two-thirds of that employment was in custodial positions.

The problem, practically, aside from the emotional issues of rank prejudice, developed from the unions themselves, the piece offers, shutting out black membership, either by de jure or de facto methods, from ten of the larger AFL unions and seven of the railroad unions, even if the CIO had a significantly better track record of disregarding skin color as a qualification for holding a card.

"The basis of inequality lies with Labor," concludes the piece.

The proposition reminds of this taped conversation, August 28, 1963, at the White House, immediately following the memorable speech of Martin Luther King at the Lincoln Memorial, a conversation in stark contrast to the moving poetry and oratory of the day. Civil rights leaders Roy Wilkins, A. Phillip Randolph, and Floyd McKissick, along with United Auto Workers president, Walter Reuther, and others, discussed with the President the urgent need for proposed legislation, equality of pay, under the Fair Employment Practices Act, and the Administration's proposed Civil Rights Act for equal access to public accommodations, to address pragmatically the grievance of inequality of which the speeches and oratory of the day had so movingly and ineradicably etched within the collective conscience of the nation as needful of emergent redress and eradication at its roots.

President Kennedy, in this short segment of the much longer taped conversation, after listening to Mr. Wilkins and Mr. Randolph, asks why the emphasis should not be from within the black community on insuring equal education, that the Jewish community had taken the lead in that area to address its own discrimination in the past and done well by itself in the process. In response, Mr. McKissick, head of the Congress of Racial Equality, indicates that an experimental program of educational acceleration had been undertaken within the black community of Durham with successful results. But, he adds, the problem inherent in such educational progress had also shown itself: that in many cases, by the time of the sixth grade, the child could no longer communicate effectively with his or her parents who had not got beyond the fourth grade. The compounded problem of working parents left the child without adult supervision after school, quickly leading to problems of delinquency. He stresses, therefore, that the problems of obtaining equal pay and equal access to public accommodations were all interrelated to the issue of proper foundation in education for the children of the new generation to thrive in the society.

The President, himself, had said in his speech to the nation on June 11, 1963, addressing immediately the resolved crisis earlier that day at the University of Alabama regarding admission of two black students to the University, and then extending more broadly to the moral expedient militating for the proposed civil rights bill and the voting rights act:

"Law alone cannot make men see right. We are confronted primarily with a moral issue. It is as old as the scriptures and is as clear as the American Constitution. The heart of the question is whether all Americans are to be afforded equal rights and equal opportunities, whether we are going to treat our fellow Americans as we want to be treated. If an American, because his skin is dark, cannot eat lunch in a restaurant open to the public, if he cannot send his children to the best public school available, if he cannot vote for the public officials who represent him, if, in short, he cannot enjoy the full and free life which all of us want, then who among us would be content to have the color of his skin changed and stand in his place? Who among us would then be content with the counsels of patience and delay?"

Also present, though not contributing significantly to the August 28 conversation, were Martin Luther King, Vice-President Johnson, and Attorney General Robert Kennedy. At one point, not in the above-linked tape segment, Reverend King asked the President whether it might be possible to appeal to the moral conscience of former President Eisenhower to get him to urge publicly the adoption of the proposed laws in order to obtain the support of Republican House Minority Leader Charles Halleck and thus avoid filibuster in the Senate, to which the President succinctly responded, "That won't take."

"Poor Timing" criticizes the curtailment by the House of OPA and OWI funding, as reported on the front page, and, as further limit to the power of OPA, its refusal to approve the price subsidies OPA had advocated to ward off war inflation. The piece inveighs against the politics being displayed, putting partisan anti-Roosevelt sentiments ahead of the country's interest at this critical juncture in history. It expresses hope that the Senate would rise above such cheap tactics.

And, "High Drama" finds the OPA trailing after 54-year old Charlie Chaplin on his honeymoon, wondering where the Little Tramp got the gas for the two cars to traipse across the countryside with his new bride, 18-year old Oona. It ventures with coiling optimism that the bride's father, Eugene O'Neill, would not see fit, tiresome as the topic had become, to write a new play based on the vignette, as a sequel to Strange Interlude from 1928.

It might also have included among the potential plays to be excluded as a basis for memorializing the "merry chase", even if not yet set to paper, Lolita.

Framed Edition
[Return to Links-Page by Subject] [Return to Links-Page by Date] [Return to News<i>--</i>Framed Edition]
Links-Date -- Links-Subj.