Wednesday, June 23, 1943

The Charlotte News

Wednesday, June 23, 1943


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports of an RAF raid the night before on the German steel and communications center of Muelheim in the Ruhr region, a suburb of Duisburg. Muelheim, with a population of 136,000, had not been raided since two raids in 1940. Thirty-five bombers and one fighter plane failed to return from the mission, fewer than the 44 lost the night before in the 700-plane raid on Krefeld. Other raids were also flown over Holland and France. German broadcasts contended that Oberhausen, previously attacked on June 14, had also been hit.

Another raid had been carried out this date by Flying Fortresses, seen returning to England over Dover and Folkestone, as people of each town turned out to wave to the bombers flying relatively low overhead at 2,000 feet. No communique, however, indicated from whence they had returned.

Both American and RAF bombers conducted separate raids on Salerno, 30 miles southeast of Naples, causing large fires and extensive damage to railroads and supply depots.

Berlin radio reports issued the startling news that German observers believed that Italy would be the recipient of the major thrust of any incipient Allied invasion. The report also included the Balkans as an additional possible avenue of attack. All Italian troops previously spread throughout the occupied countries of Europe were reported to have been brought home to defend Italy.

A combination of the Allied air raids and sabotage from the underground was said to have been making a regular dig into the comfort of Nazi occupation of France. Targeted regularly by the underground were troop trains, electrical and water facilities, and factories.

Factions of the French in North Africa, those following General Giraud and those following General De Gaulle, appeared again to be fractious in vying for leadership, despite the recent establishment of a joint governing war council.

Coal miners in the captive mines, those mines producing coal exclusively for the mining company, were ordered by John L. Lewis to return to work. Captive miners in West Virginia and Pennsylvania were following the directive.

The new deadline for resolving the contract was now set for October 31, unless in the meantime the Government ceased operating the mines. This longer range date was the first time the UMW had extended a walk-out deadline by more than thirty days at a time since the breakdown in negotiations for a new contract first occurred in late March. The remaining issue to be resolved continued to be the demand for portal-to-portal pay.

No further news appeared on the front page this date regarding the Detroit riot which had lasted three days, starting Saturday night. Time added the footnote that UAW president R. J. Thomas, who had been quoted the day before as laying the blame for stimulation of the riot on Nazi Fifth Columnists, had been warning two weeks before the riot that Ku Klux Klansmen from the South were busy stirring up emotional dissension between blacks and whites. Life had run a piece a year earlier stating that Detroit was "dynamite".

In Chapter 21 of They Call It Pacific, Clark Lee predicts that the Battle of the Philippines would be but a footnote to the history of World War II, but that, to be complete, it must state the valiant effort at delaying the taking of Luzon by the Japanese through the last ditch stands by the men who fought under General MacArthur and General Wainwright on Bataan and Corregidor. The delaying action through early May, until Corregidor finally fell for lack food and ammunition, bought the Allies precious time in which to recover from the attack at Pearl Harbor and enabled sufficient planes and ships to be brought to bear in the Pacific to enable the victorious battles of Midway in early June and in the Battle of the Coral Sea in early May, both battles combining to significantly deplete the Japanese Fleet and its offensive capability, never the same during the war after Midway.

Mr. Lee proceeds to explain the sudden decline in provisions which had been plentiful during the early weeks of the siege. Suddenly, everyone was sharing everything.

On the inside page, the story continues, recounting several individual acts of unselfish heroism, indicating that the Filipino Scouts were among the most uncomplaining and self-sacrificing of the soldiers on Bataan.

He includes an anecdote relating his being personally saved by General MacArthur's wife at the risk of her own neck during a Japanese bombing operation. As he was trying to return on foot to the Malinta Tunnel on Corregidor for shelter, Mrs. MacArthur happened to pass him in car, stopped while bombs were falling all around their position, picked him up, and drove both to safety.

And a photograph appeared showing the discharge from the Marines at Camp Pendleton of PFC James P. Baker for being underage. He had performed very well during training, Marine spokesmen indicated, but was discovered belatedly to be only 12 years old, even if his photograph hardly makes his age apparent.

The overeager man-child, incidentally, though the right age, is not the former Secretary of State and White House Chief of Staff under Presidents Reagan and George H. W. Bush, James A. Baker.

On the editorial page, "Wrong Doctor" suggests that the reported psychological ailments of General Jurgen von Arnim, now a prisoner of war in Britain since his capture in Tunisia, were being treated with too much deference by his captors. Instead, the piece opines, he needed to be shown the error of his ways in following Hitler, that his Fuehrer alone was responsible for the bouts of melancholia of which the general now complained.

General von Arnim had it better than most of his fellow Nazi Wehrmacht commanders. He lived out the war a prisoner and was released in 1947, dying in Germany in 1962. Had he desired an honorable death during war, he had plenty of opportunity before being captured toward the end of the Tunisian Campaign.

"Going Up" discusses the German inflationary trends and scarcity of various goods.

It reports of cigarettes being had for $8 a pack. That sounds like a bargain compared to the $25 per pack black market price in Italy, as stated just two days earlier in the piece by Edwin Shanke on the front page. The Italian prices were the result of German soldiers unloading articles at inflated cost. When you start at $8 as your basis, it is not surprising that the final fair market value would quickly jump to $25 on the street.

But those were American cigarettes in Italy. Perhaps the $8 per pack brands were German, known to be adulterated with all manner of ersatz filler, not the real tobacco from Tobacco Road.

--Have tobacco, Americain tobacco? I need cough-cough. Pay well. My lungs black like tar. I fight for Americain. Sold Americain.

"Revolution" discusses the Schneiderman case decided Monday by the Supreme Court, and Wendell Willkie's role as Mr. Schneiderman's defense counsel--which we neglected to mention. It is duly noted.

The editorial finds the defense on principle of the Communist Schneiderman against being railroaded from the country 12 years after his naturalization to be laudable and likely to earn Mr. Willkie yet further respect among the people and increase consequently his viability for a repeat nomination in 1944 as the Republican Party's presidential candidate.

"And, in the course of the argument, Willkie gave the Supreme Court and the American people old thoughts to think over: that resistance to the Government is often good for the nation, that Jefferson and Lincoln believed in the occasional blood bath of tyrants or the right to overthrow the Government and build a new one."

But if he had gone carrying pictures of Chairman Mao…

"The Urging" finds ominous portent in the sudden renewal of demand by the Russians for opening of a second front on the Continent. It wonders why there had been a departure from weeks of silence on this issue, speculates that perhaps the reason was that the Russians had been informed of a delay in the timetable for invasion, or that they had recently come to have knowledge of the particular vulnerability of the Germans at this juncture.

Whatever the reason for the importunate statements, the piece agrees with the Russian sense of exigency on the matter, finds the British and Americans who were favoring putting off the great offensive for another year to be inviting a missed opportunity and thereby prolonging the war, that the time to strike was at hand while the Germans were reeling from losses in Tunisia and in Russia.

"With a preponderance of power at hand, there is every chance that the fortress walls of Europe can be breached, and that the empire of evil can be rolled up before another year has begun. Many men are anxious to try out that theory. Especially the Russians."

Transpose that statement 24 years, or 40 years through time--and it takes on a whole new connotation. Roll up for the mystery tour.

If you don't get it, your mother should know.

Raymond Clapper finds that the appointment of General Archibald Wavell to be the new Viceroy of India, announced Saturday, was being well received among the British, that his reputation for efficiency would stand India in good stead for its continued viability in the war effort.

Mr. Clapper explores the British people's general support for the continued imprisonment under house arrest of both Gandhi and Nehru, finds the fact to be regrettable but necessary to quell the disturbances arising from the Quit India movement led by Gandhi a year earlier.

Gandhi would remain in jail through early May, 1944 when failing health prompted the British authorities to order his release.

Mr. Clapper offers, "Sometimes it seems as if India would have to wait until Gandhi and Jinnah, the Moslem leader, are both out of the way before there is any chance of healing its tortured existence." The statement would prove tragically ominous for Gandhi for his assassination on January 30, 1948 by a Hindu nationalist, angry over Gandhi's appearing to seek rapprochement between the Hindu and Muslim populations of India and Pakistan, both religio-cultural groups largely partitioned from one another by the creation of the new Muslim state, formerly part of India.

The statement would obtain further mystically predictive quality with the death by natural causes of Mohammed Ali Jinnah on September 11, 1948, a year after he had become the first Governor-General of Pakistan in August 1947.

Mr. Clapper looked for a new India, independent of Great Britain, to emerge after the war.

One of the chief concerns for delay in granting that independence, along with the belief that India could not, without British military aid, for long fend off the Japanese in neighboring Burma, was the prospect of internal strife between the Hindu and Moslem populations of the country in the midst of a world war.

Samuel Grafton rebukes his fellow countrymen for complaining of food shortages during wartime, as if fighting itself should come as a surprise in such a period. The British, he points out, were happily suffering far more strict rationing than in America, and had been since the beginning of the war in 1939.

A letter writer takes a pungent stab at a young contributor on Saturday to the Platform of the People, who had inveighed against alleged support of liquor interests by The News, or, in this case, 3.2 beer being sold on military bases as a release for servicemen without the concomitant worry that it might have debilitating impact on their attention to duty. Mr. Woolley on Saturday had found such support wholly compatible with providing aid and comfort to Hitler, Mussolini, and Tojo, in hastening the internal destruction of American mores.

The denunciatory responsive letter performs an exegesis of various Biblical personages, Moses, St. Paul, Joshua, and David, finds each wanting of moral fiber based on a partial literal reading of the scriptures.

Well, first, Mr. Woolley can't be held responsible for every person mentioned in the Bible simply because he embraced the principle of sobriety as being sound Christian doctrine--even if his picking on The News was more than a bit overstating of the premise. Regardless, he did not mention or quote from any scripture, nor cite any of the Biblical figures to whom the responsive letter made reference.

Likewise, however, there is no commandment passed by Moses to the Israelites to the effect, "Thou shalt not drink spirituous inebriants or intoxicating liquors."

To make his point better, perhaps, it would have been more simplistic for the responsive letter writer to point out that Jesus gave wine to his disciples at the Last Supper.

But then, we suppose, one could argue in rebuttal that such was why they were not alert the next day when the Roman soldiers came to arrest Jesus on Judas's betrayal. Maybe Judas tippled too much wine that Maundy Thursday night and that is the object lesson to bolster Mr. Woolley's point.

In any event, the responsive letter writer dissembles considerably in his attempt to make Moses appear as a murderer. He leaves out the verse immediately preceding his quoted passage, Exodus 2:11, which states: "And it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens: and he spied an Egyptian smiting a Hebrew, one of his brethren."

Presumably, the smiting was one involving deadly violence, providing Moses the right of defense of others, even under modern law, to inflict like force being applied. Thus, he was not a murderer, and generally would not be so even if he misunderstood the amount of force being used such that his defense of others would be inchoate and might rather enable conviction for involuntary manslaughter, negligent homicide. In any event, he was not guilty of murder.

The responsive letter writer next turns to Joshua, "second on Bob's list"--just what list we do not find in the letter from Saturday, maybe in Bob's letter to The Observer, but The Observer was not The News in those days--and suggests that Joshua 6:19-24 describes Joshua as an arsonist, "an ancient Hitler".

Joshua was no arsonist or any Hitler. The passage merely recounts his fighting the Battle of Jericho. It was more akin to the Allies invading Europe to release the Continent from the enslavement by Hitler.

The responsive letter quickly shows itself as anti-Semitic nonsense.

He concludes: "No, Bob, Charlotte has its Spielers and Healers, Shakers and Fakers, Rollers and Cajolers, Scientists, a 'Watchtower' for some to peer out of, and a place where 'Jesus Saves' and methinks you are going to have a rather tough time of it up there, in the face of all this competition."

Well, as prescient as some of his rhyming muse might have been, some would beg to differ.

The letter writer, probably drunk on German lager, would undoubtedly have convicted O. J. Simpson or Dr. Jeffrey MacDonald also, on half-readings of the full evidence.

Drink less; read and think more.

It's not a threat either, stupid; it's a promise.

And Herblock returns to the editorial page, now as an Army Private, with an entry drawn in between Army training, the cartoon being self-explanatory, promises more of the same sporadically.

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