Tuesday, June 29, 1943

The Charlotte News

Tuesday, June 29, 1943


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports of the RAF launching another large raid on Cologne and Hamburg, losing 25 planes in the process. The raid brought the estimated total tonnage of bombs dropped on the Ruhr Valley in nine raids during June to 13,500, 1,500 tons more than the record May tonnage.

A raid of a hundred American Flying Fortresses again attacked Leghorn in northern Italy, returning home without a loss. Another raid struck targets on Sardinia and at San Giovanni.

A second accused Nazi spy, just arrested for transmitting military secrets on troop movements and shipments of war materiel, this one an engineer, pleaded guilty to espionage, a charge carrying a penalty of up to thirty years in prison or death. Another man arrested on the same offense, an air raid warden on Staten Island, had pleaded guilty the day before.

They had provided information to the German Government via invisible ink between the lines and on the margins of otherwise innocuous appearing letters mailed to private citizens in Germany.

Both men unusually pleaded guilty at their arraignment. Whether they were promised any lenience in sentencing as a result of the early plea was not indicated, but was probable. Indications were that the spying was performed for money, not ideological reasons.

Vice-President Henry Wallace went on the attack against Jesse Jones, Secretary of Commerce and head of the government-run Reconstruction Finance Corporation, responsible for procuring rubber, quinine, and other essential foreign commodities for the war effort. The Vice-President, chair of the Board of Economic Warfare, criticized Mr. Jones for sloth in his procurement measures, partly in reaction to what he deemed was unfair criticism of the Board which he chaired.

Judge Walter Jones was appointed to replace Chester Davis as Food Administrator after the latter tendered his resignation to the President the day before, complaining of lack of regulatory power necessary to perform his job.

The assistant food administrator meanwhile announced that supplies of butter per person, starting with the new fiscal year, would have to be reduced from 16 to 17 pounds per annum down to 12.5 to 13 pounds.

That is still a lot of butter--a pound per month, plus larger helpings at Christmas, Thanksgiving, Halloween, and on your birthday.

In Chapter 26 of They Call It Pacific, (coinciding with Chapter 33 in the published version of the book), Clark Lee, now escaped from the Philippines to the security of Australia, informs American officers in Brisbane of that which he had been told by General MacArthur of the Japanese warrior. As a class, said MacArthur, they were self-sacrificing and therefore nearly indomitable, that, while not the best fighters compared to those he had witnessed in battle during World War I, it would take the best to beat them.

Mr. Lee then shifts to discussion of the opinions of Japanese General Masaharu Homma, the general who was falsely stated to have committed suicide on March 9, 1942, only miraculously to recover within a month. It was his contention to Mr. Lee in late 1939 that the Japanese were not trying to run the white man out of the Far East, that the slapping of British men and women in Tientsin in 1939 by Japanese officials, who he described as local gendarmes beyond his control, was deplorable. He had hoped then that the United States would understand the mission of Japan in the Orient and would not oppose it with trade sanctions which would only lead inexorably to war.

The chapter then proceeds to berate the lack of preparedness of the United States and Great Britain in the Pacific by comparison to the efficient planning and complete preparation for battle of the Japanese, as evidenced by their rapid advance in a mere five months through Malaya, Burma, Singapore, and the Dutch East Indies, after the initial thrust in the Philippines, Wake Island, and Hong Kong immediately after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Any amount of air support in those embattled areas of the Pacific could have saved the day--but there was, effectively, none against the superior forces of the Japanese.

The remainder of Chapter 33 in the published version, incidentally, had been presented in Chapter 4 of the abstract re-printed in The News June 3.

On the inside page, Drew Pearson reports on Jim Farley's activities, turned from original king-maker of FDR in New York and nationally, to trying to insure preservation of democracy by preventing a fourth term for the President. Mr. Farley had also actively opposed the third term and quit the Administration in 1940 over the issue. Now, he wanted to promote the political fortunes of Senator Guy Gillette of Iowa for the Democratic nomination in 1944.

Behind him stood several Southern senators who were disenchanted with FDR and the New Deal, primarily irritated over farm issues, the Administration’s support of the anti-poll tax legislation, and the racial progress advocated by Eleanor Roosevelt--Exhibit A on that count presumably being the feared "Eleanor Clubs" rumored the previous year to have been forming among black domestic workers in the South to foment violent and even murderous revolt against their employers, all putatively orchestrated by the First Lady.

The Southerners were ready to bolt from the Roosevelt camp over these touchstone issues.

Eventually, in 1948, holding no personal loyalty to President Truman as with FDR, many of them would, led by Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, when he and 34 other Southern delegates walked out of the Democratic convention for the introduction of a civil rights plank, enunciated from the dais by mayoral candidate Hubert Humphrey of Minneapolis.

Mr. Pearson also provides the factum that Blechhammer and Bruex, the seat of the synthetic oil and gasoline industry in Germany, were the most heavily defended of all targets in the country. Allied airmen were eager to get at them.

On the editorial page, Dorothy Thompson examines through the concerned eyes of Sweden the growing trend in America and Britain to urge punitive sanctions post-war against Germany to insure that the country would remain at peace with the world in the future, dividing it into numerous subdivisions, each governed by one of the Allies, stripping it of industrial might, and educating its children by foreign teachers instilling the precepts of democracy with a steel ruler rapped to the knuckles.

Sweden was much closer to the theater of war and to Nazi Germany than either Britain or America, surrounded as it was by Nazified neighbors, in Norway, Denmark, and Finland. That gave, suggests Ms. Thompson, much better perspective on the issue of post-war treatment of Germany than either America or Britain could possibly achieve. And Sweden favored maintenance of a legal and ethical framework for governance of Germany after the war, the only system which could transmit democracy, eschewed punitive measures. Vindictive behavior would only convey to the Germans a reactionary stamp, one which could boil over eventually into another war.

Was she right? Was the Swedish press correct in so asserting?

In the abstract, we tend to say yes to the questions, but murder and death inflicted on millions is not a concept capable of abstraction.

And it chiefly fell to America and Great Britain, along with Russia, to take back Europe from Nazi control. It was these three countries among the Allies which paid most dearly in loss of life militarily, especially Russia. Sweden was neutral, had not joined the war, had remained aloof from the battle. Should it have been heard at all, therefore, on the concept of vengeance? Wouldn’t the premise of establishing a post-war foundation of fully democratic action in Germany have been more forceful coming from Russia? Obviously, however, the question implies an oxymoronic paradox.

Samuel Grafton, in the wake of the Detroit riot of a week earlier, urges a government program to study race riots and to provide prophylactic measures to avoid them in the future. The country's war effort, he trenchantly insists, could not afford the intrusion to normative behavior. The damage done in three days to Detroit would have cost Hitler fifty Junker 88's, he asserts.

He concludes that the answer to the problem lay in making it known to the potential rioter that his actions were not acceptable to the broad mass of the American people.

Was that really the answer, a condescending parental negative sanction to anti-social conduct? Wasn't the solution instead in providing forthwith social justice for all, the living, breathing spirit of democracy cast before every citizen at every step of every day? Is it not still so?

Deprive one person of justice, and you deprive everyone of justice.

Raymond Clapper compares the progressive thrust of the Conservative Party in Great Britain to the turgid insistence of the conservatives in America on a retreat to small government. The British Conservatives had equaled or even outshone their counterparts in the Labor Party for support of liberal social doctrine, had thus co-opted the mainstay field of progressivism from their opponents, and achieved thereby a coalition constituency which seemed to promise continued power after the war. Meanwhile, Mr. Clapper reports, the Labor Party was atrophying, as exampled most clearly by the defeat recently of Home Secretary Herbert Morrison in his contest for the powerful position of party treasurer, won by Arthur Greenwood.

The result was likely to be, he forecasts, that the left wing of the Labor Party might split to form a cohesive and powerful third party in the country which could leave Labor at a loss for its future.

Arguably, that phenomenon just occurred in 2010.

"Not Harry" argues against any thought by the Democrats of nominating Harry Flood Byrd in 1944 for president, notwithstanding a determined letter writer from Virginia who was attempting single-handedly to accomplish it by way of offering comparison between Senator Byrd and other Virginians of the past, Washington, Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe.

Senator Byrd, says The News, was not to be placed in such rarefied company. His efforts to pare down excesses in government bureaucracy were laudable, but in the end too ambitious, such that he pared the core of the apples in his orchards--effectively campaigning recently for the demise of the National Youth Administration, a program which had worked efficiently to train thousands of youths in valuable wartime vocations. Senator Byrd could not see the apple orchard for the rotten apple or two perplexing his eye.

"Little People" predicts that the ordinary citizens of Italy would not follow the lines of propaganda being advocated in the Italian puppet press, encouraging them, indeed assuming the reaction as a fait accompli, that they would fight with knives and guns and fists if necessary to defend their homes against the invader slated to arrive on their shores and doorsteps any day. The ordinary citizens were weary of Mussolini and his Fascism, thus would be more likely to assist the Allies than to resist them.

It might have added that the premise for the notion came on good authority: the Libyan and Tunisian campaigns saw the Italians lay down their arms eagerly before the Allies, even if partially the result of their being left deliberately behind during the retreat by the Germans to act as rearguard cannon fodder.

"Price Climb" finds the Office of Price Administration to be generally effective vis à vis World War I in keeping prices down, even if food prices had risen slightly more thus far than in the previous war. The piece finds that prices had risen more sharply since the fall of 1942 when OPA was given more authority to regulate prices than in its first year of existence, and yet again that, for all the complaints of autocratic rule exerted by its first administrator, Leon Henderson, since Prentiss Brown had taken over as its head in January, 1943, prices had risen steadily further.

Former Senator Brown's tenure, incidentally, would be a short one, completed by the end of the year when Chester Bowles, future Undersecretary of State under John F. Kennedy, was appointed to replace him.

And "The Wimmen" warns the men-folk that women were fast catching them in the population race, at the rate of 100,000 per year since 1910, when the men had led the country by a handy three million. The race would likely be won by the ladies during 1943, informs the piece, if it had not already happened.

The overall birth rate now exceeded the death rate by 4,450 per day. With the wartime baby boom, the women were apt to gain even more on the men. What to do? Preparedness, it counseled, was the order of the day.

The inside page had reported that a minister of Charlotte was reported down with the mumps. We hope that he wasn't all puffed up as well for getting his name in the paper over it.

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