Tuesday, June 22, 1943

The Charlotte News

Tuesday, June 22, 1943


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports of a raid this day by Flying Fortresses on Recklinghausen in the Ruhr Valley, a synthetic rubber production center. Fully twenty of the heavy bombers did not return from the raid.

The RAF the night before had sent out 700 bombers against Krefeld, an industrial center 30 miles southwest of Recklinghausen. Of that large raid, 44 bombers, or over 6%, failed to return. That rate of loss compared to the substantially lower 52 in the thousand-plane raid on Bremen June 25, 1942 and 44 lost from the thousand-plane raid on Cologne May 30, 1942, rates of 5.2% and 4.4%, respectively.

As pointed out recently in various reports, including one of Drew Pearsonís Merry-Go-Round columns of the previous week, the greater concentration of enemy fighters in and around the targeted areas, together with faster German planes having been sent up in the air in recent months, were the primary factors contributing to the higher rate of loss.

The relentlessly continuing bombing campaign against the Ruhr was premised on its importance to the Reich in its production of critical raw materials for the Wehrmachtís war machine. As explained by the report, the 50 by 40 mile area produced fully 75% of Germany's coal, 80% of its coke, and 67% of its iron and steel.

On the second anniversary of the German invasion of Russia, the Russian front was relatively quiet with sporadic fighting around Kharkov reported, along with skirmishes in Belgorod to the northeast and in Chuguyev to the southeast of Kharkov.

New calls from Russia for the opening of an immediate second front on the Continent to take advantage of the weakened position of Germany, saddled with the losses in the previous six months in Tunisia, in Stalingrad, the Donets Basin and the Kuban River Valley, were being downplayed by Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox. He indicated that all deliberate preparations were underway for an invasion of Europe, that there were many fronts in the war and it was thus a misnomer to call for the opening of a second front.

Why this issue came up at this time, only 17 days before the slated invasion of Sicily, just as the Berlin radio propagandists had predicted June 22 as the likely day of invasion, and in light of the trip in May by special presidential envoy to Russia, former Ambassador Joseph E. Davies, who had carried the message of the plans for the invasion of Sicily and Italy to Stalin, is not evident except in terms of its being disseminated as a ruse to confuse the Nazis into believing that a rift in Soviet-Western relations was brewing, that there was yet no plan communicated to the Russians for an imminent invasion. Indeed, the message from Mr. Davies may have included the timing for initiating just such a ruse.

To go along with this concept of misdirection and sleight of hand, the BBC broadcast a readiness warning to the French underground, to anticipate an invasion any day, together with the advice to remain patient for the invasion to come.

The FBI announced the arrest of seven men of Italian descent who worked for a bomb-making factory in Rochester, N.Y., converted from a longtime fireworks manufacturer. They were accused of sabotage for deliberately producing faulty bombs for the military, directing employees to fill the shells with either an insufficient quantity of gunpowder or inferior grade powder.

Federal troops had been sent into Detroit to effect calm in the city, riot-torn since an imbroglio between a white man and a black man on Belle Isle Bridge turned into a full-scale race riot Saturday evening, rocking the city to its foundations. Thus far, 23 had been reported killed and 700 injured in the riot. The number of killed would eventually climb to 34.

Searching for the cause, city officials suggested contemporaneously that the interracial fight which immediately precipitated the disturbance was only a spark which set off dry kindling smoldering underneath the surface for months. Tension had been ongoing with the influx to the city of so many new residents, black and white, in search of high-paying war industry work in the converted auto industry. Competition for positions, chafing along color lines in numbers not previously experienced, had gathered force and become a storm of discontent which finally found its vent.

UAW president, R. J. Thomas, however, attributed the source of incitement to Nazi Fifth Columnists, who he proclaimed should be ferreted out by the FBI, tried for treason and executed.

In Chapter 20 of They Call It Pacific, Clark Lee tells of seeking out the 31st Infantry on Bataan, finding a major who introduced him to a Filipino lieutenant who was getting ready to travel north along the peninsula to Abucay Hacienda, a position along the transverse defensive line, the Abucay-Mauban line, stretched across the peninsula from either side of the poorly defended 4,200-foot Mt. Natib. Mr. Lee was going to travel into this dangerous war zone with the lieutenant.

On the editorial page, Dorothy Thompson examines the latest reported peace tenders coming from the Balkans, Rumania having supposedly put forth through a neutral country the previous week an entreaty to peace in exchange for parts of Bukovina and Bessarabia.

She finds the offer suspicious, likely bound up with the tacit approval or even encouragement of the Nazis. For there could be no true alliance with Rumania until Germany was eliminated from the war. Rumania's rich oil reserves on which Germany still depended for the bulk of its non-synthetic oil was too valuable for the Reich to relinquish. Any government which might be put in place in Rumania after an alliance with the West would ultimately be subject in short order to control by the Nazis, too deeply entrenched in Rumanian society to be extricated until the end of the war.

That it was a mere ploy to try to lure the Allies not to bomb Rumania's oil facilities would, she offers, fit well a pattern established since the start of the war. Once Hitler had gained through Munich in September 1938 his hold on the Sudetenland, in turn permitting him to chew up with impunity the remainder of Czechoslovakia, to join with his hold over Austria and Hungary, he had the central Axis from which manufacturing of the war machine could take place to enable the move into Poland.

He made a non-aggression pact with Russia in August, 1939 just before the invasion of Poland September 1, to keep Russia off his back while he consumed Poland on the excuse of joining East Prussia with Germany via the Danzig Corridor, the heart of Polish commerce.

Then, after conquering Poland in late September 1939, he made offers of peace to Britain and France. After conquering Belgium, the Netherlands, and France in May and June of 1940, he offered peace to Britain. Before he invaded Russia June 22, 1941, he offered to ally with Britain against Russia.

Now in mid-1943, with the battle being lost in Russia, his propaganda had turned from bluster to overtly expressed concern over potential defeat. His agents had transmitted the story of rejected unilateral peace tenders from Russia to divide the Allied bloc in two. To the same end, he had in April exploited the story of the several thousand Polish Army officers whose bodies were discovered in a mass grave in Katyn Forest near Smolensk, allegedly murdered in April 1940 by the Russians, (as it turned out, a factually accurate account, though not confirmed as such until 1990).

Ms. Thompson posits that this latter alteration of direction in propaganda was the result of an apparent belief that by dividing the Allies, the anti-Communist elements in Britain and the United States might actually stir from the hustings sentiment anew to aid Germany to defeat Russia. It was a last ditch desperate effort to stave off sure defeat from slowly forming pincers to be deployed both from the East and West, the final dual thrusts of which would eventuate less than two years hence in the defeat of Germany.

She concludes that the aim of these latest "peace tenders" from the satellites, just as Hitler previously had attempted directly earlier in the war, constituted only a Trojan Horse, that their actual intent was to enable preservation of the territory already gained, which in time would make Germany the leading empire on the world stage.

Indeed, though not known outside the upper echelons of government and among the scientists at work on the Manhattan Project, had the scientists at work at Peennemunde, Hechingen, Haigerloch, and elsewhere in Germany since 1939, seeking to develop an atomic bomb and an effective delivery device for it, had won the race to release the untold energy theorized to be the result of nuclear fission, as Albert Einstein had warned in his letter to President Roosevelt August 2, 1939 that the Nazis were seeking to do, Hitler would have quickly been in a position to dictate terms of surrender to any nation within reach of his rocketry or bombers.

Raymond Clapper, seemingly responding to the Shelby letter writer to The News the day before, finds the suggestion of joint British-American citizenship unnecessary and provoking of nationalistic antagonism in both countries. The ongoing cooperation in the war effort was, he finds, completely in symbiosis, replete with sharing of technology, military secrets, equipment, air bases, anything necessary to shorten the war. There was sufficient mutual dependence on one another that no formal mutual citizenship pact need be considered.

Samuel Grafton explains that which he believes few in the country understood at the time, the intended impact of price subsidies. Contrary to the Republican and anti-New Deal Democratic efforts to control the practice as being unduly bureaucratic and relinquishing to the government that which properly belonged in laissez-faire fashion to the free marketplace, that which he labels the Taft-Hoover approach, subsidies in fact were designed to pinpoint the particular industries and articles in need of price supports, limiting thereby the impact of inflationary forces on the economy with item-specific controls. By contrast, releasing these controls to the free marketplace would only bring generalized inflation, as all prices then would be subject to increase without specific supports where necessary to prop them up, thus creating the vicious cycle of inflation.

It was thus fallacious reasoning to suggest that there was no difference in the end to the consumer because he would pay either in the form of increased taxes for the subsidies or at the counter in increased prices controlled instead by the wisdom inherent in the marketplace. The truth was that the consumer would wind up paying more when prices across the board increased in an inevitable spiral than with the targeted price supports--for example, the payment by the government of some of the excess wartime freight charged on coffee to transport it through U-boat imperiled seas to market, or the nickel per pound paid to butter producers to enable a price cut to consumers.

A piece from The Monroe Journal describes the writer's pleasureful reading gleaned from an 1851 book by N. Parker Willis, Hurry-graphs, a series of hurried sketches and editorials on the immediate world of the mid-nineteenth century, written while the author was editor of The New York Journal. The piece especially draws energy from the segments which describe the author's detailed impressions, both of appearance and personal bearing, on seeing up close Senators Thomas Benton, John C. Calhoun, and Daniel Webster. Sandwiched in between the glimpses of the three statesmen, incidentally, is a memorandum of Mr. Willis's varied reactions to a reading of Macbeth by actress Fanny Kemble Butler.

"It's Simple" recommends for reading Struthers Burt's very straightforward approach to achieving world peace: simply solve all the world's problems based on the same concepts used to solve local problems. No elaborate treaties or organizations to enforce and oversee them were needed.

"He gives peace a chance to work, which is what is needed above all else."

Of course, then, every now and again, you have the fight which breaks out on the Belle Isle Bridge and turns quickly from minor cause and effect to major cause and effect, eventually to full-scale chaos, prompting the need for State and Federal troops to enter the stage to restore order.

Would it were that the human creature had, through the millennia, learned sufficiently to control his most violent emotions, individually and en masse; but, think we might have so done, and, no sooner than that be said, something occurs inevitably in the world to prove the premise indubitably for the nonce a fallacy, ignoring the ever vigilant id constantly at struggle against the ego and its governing administration, the superego.

But, nevertheless, everybody's talkin' 'bout bagism, even if nobody really knows how to achieve permanently stasis, so as to avoid the fight on Belle Isle Bridge--without, that is, in the process, so restricting freedom for everyone as to make the fight every now and then a cheap price to pay in society for the ultimate preservation of free speech, free thought, free association, freedom of religion, and free press.

Give us the riot every now and again and spare the repressive Fascism applied to all in their conduct and speech to make a few Neanderthals who cannot understand for their blindness and being enamoured of the sound of their own voices in proclaming the necessity for restoration of their self-defined version of law and order, repressive though it always becomes, this basic human paradox and natural tension inherent in the human being which our Founders well understood from having just gone through the Revolution which founded the country and out of which developed the principles forming our Constitution. Denial of that human tension, dodging it, as did the isolationists of the 1920's, for instance, is the sure route through time toward seeing it played out in society on a large scale.

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