Thursday, June 3, 1943

The Charlotte News

Thursday, June 3, 1943


Site Ed. Note: Initially, we have to issue, for sensitive adults and children, a parental advisory on viewing the front page. We warn that the photograph exhibited thereon could be considered representative of a lack of decorum, even if not probably stimulative of prurient interest, at least in those of normative behavioral characteristics. Our apologies to Miss McGarity, should she still be among the living. We had thought this to be a "family newspaper" and such episodes as this shameless exhibition of human flesh only serve to explain why they labeled it the "Livest Newspaper in the Carolinas". Indeed. Some days left so little to the imagination that it scarcely failed to resemble the post-modern London tabloids.

Shield your and your children's eyes accordingly, unless you be of the Bohemian libertinists, ready at the drop of a hat, or suggestion of a fountain free, to shed likewise your worldly garments before eager newspaper photographers.

After that needless distraction, we are informed that the President was getting ready on Monday next to order striking coal miners back into the mines. Failure to obey the order would result in use of one or more of several optional sanctions, which included drafting labor through Selective Service, (which may have meant to embrace both drafting miners into the military for lapse of their deferment in war-necessary employment and drafting of labor to compel work in the mines, or a combination, drafting into military service and then assigning the miners to work in the mines), literal enforcement of immigration laws to arrest and deport aliens, comprising a substantial segment of the miners, the deployment of military force to protect miners crossing picket lines, as well as deploying former miners already in uniform to work the mines.

The President also affirmed the stance of the War Labor Board which had ordered all negotiations before the Board between UMW officials and mine owners cease for as long as the miners were not at work.

Newly appointed War Mobilization Board chair James Byrnes was said to be seeking, behind the scenes, to bring resolution to the conflict.

Another piece points out that during World War I, President Wilson, to deter strikes in war industries, ordered that striking workers in the Connecticut machinist strike of September 1, 1918, two months and ten days before the Armistice, would not be employed in other industries with government contracts, effectively barring them from most skilled occupations involving manual labor, even in small businesses.

A piece on the inside page cites figures released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics that, while there were the same number of strikes, 395, in May as in April, 1943, the number of workers walking off the job had trebled, from 200,000 to 620,000, while man-days of work lost approximately doubled, from 675,000 to 1,275,000. The coal strike, with finally half a million workers walking off the job at the end of May, had accounted for over half the idle hours reported. Most of the remaining time lost was in the rubber industry with the five-day cessation of work at Goodyear in Akron, followed by Firestone, B.F. Goodrich, and General Tire and Rubber Company walkouts, as well as the Chrysler plant stoppage for a day in Detroit, all during the prior two weeks.

Not mentioned, too, was the centrality of these industries to the war effort, comprising the most vital elements of war production, ceasing for a time the production of coal necessary to produce steel, rubber, tanks, military vehicles, and airplane engines.

It was announced that General De Gaulle and General Giraud, after having agreed already, as reported Monday, on the constituency of their seven-person Committee provisionally to govern France from Algiers pending liberation from Nazi occupation of the Continent and restoration of the Republic, had now finally implemented the plan. First, however, De Gaulle had demanded that his purge list be adopted, singling out for ouster certain former Vichyites who had been assigned positions of leadership in Africa since November. Foremost among those ousted had been Marcel Peyrouton, former Vichyite previously appointed by Giraud in December to be Governor-General of Algeria, and General Auguste Nogues, another notorious Fascist, who had been allowed to remain in charge of French Morocco as a holdover from Vichy control of the territory. Still others on De Gaulle's "No. 1 Ouster List" were Pierre Boisson, Governor-General of French West Africa, General Jean-Marie Bergeret, commander of the French West African air force, and General Rene Prioux of Giraud's general staff.

Now that each of these men had been or were agreed upon by Giraud to be eliminated from governing positions, the National Liberation Committee, as it was to be known, could officially begin business. Those on De Gaulle's lists, numbers two and three, would suffer their severance next at some future time.

Parenthetically, we have to wonder who wrote the headline to this piece. Indeed, the first paragraph does little to dispel the suggestion that General Giraud and General De Gaulle were, perhaps, in the rarefied atmosphere of statesmanship obviously extant, mutually conducive to the amicable tête-à-tête between them, induced to same by some artificial stimulant of which they obtained auto-suggestive example by observation of the Turks in rondo.

Well, despite the faux-pas of the rushed headline writer, who should have thought to add the adverbial "ly" to their "Joint", and then drop the plurality of "Head", you may, we suppose, properly figure out the intended meaning from the choice of at least three alternatives to which the reader is left, and so we pass on to the rest of the page…

Chiang Kai-shek's forces had impelled to the south side of the Yangtze River in southern China 4,000 Japanese troops, now surrounded, while re-capturing the town of Changyang, twelve miles south of Ichang, and occupying the port of Chihkiang, 35 miles down river from Ichang. The Chinese drove northward into the southern Hupeh Province, surrounding Kungan, 70 miles southeast of Ichang. The Japanese had suffered a 30% loss in troops out of the 100,000 committed to the fighting in and around Ichang and at Tungting Lake.

General Joseph Stilwell, commander of the Allied Air Force in China, announced that ten counter-blows from the Fourteenth U.S. Air Force had been inflicted on the Japanese on May 30-31 at Tungting Lake, where fighting had been especially heavy along the ground.

The text of the proposed 22nd Amendment to the Constitution introduced in the Senate by Josiah Bailey of North Carolina is re-printed on the front page. It differs materially from the final version of the Amendment which would be passed in 1947 and ratified in 1951, in that it provides for ineligibility of any President to serve further than one elected term if he or she has served during any part of a prior term of office. The final version, by contrast, exempted from this limitation any President who had not served more than two years of a prior term.

Thus, a President who succeeds to the Office on the death or removal from office of the predecessor, may be elected twice provided that he or she does not serve more than two years to completion of the incumbent term. The Bailey proposal would have meant that a President who succeeded to the Office on death or removal of the predecessor could serve but one full term thereafter, even if succession occurred in the last year of the prior term. Such a version of the Amendment could have opened the door potentially to various forms of political chicanery and machinations to force resignation or removal from office for disability near the end of the term of a particularly unpopular President, or just one particularly unpopular among the opposition in control of the House, responsible for delivering articles of impeachment. With the prospect, however, of an incumbent Vice-President as President, who would be able to serve, potentially, not just once, but twice in the future, deterrence to such chicane gestures was afforded by the ultimately enacted version of the Amendment.

On the first anniversary of the turning point of the Pacific War, Midway, John Hightower of the Associated Press offers a summary piece in which he recapitulates some of the ground of the previous year which had seen, since Midway and the resistance to the Japanese bombing the same week at Dutch Harbor in Alaska, pushing them back to Kiska and Attu, the six-month successful Guadalcanal Campaign in the Solomons, between August 7 and the first week of February, effectively, in combination with the simultaneously successful Papua New Guinea Campaign of General MacArthur's forces, eliminating all Japanese contingents from Gona and Buna, and throughout the southern portion of the Papuan Peninsula, after having previously pre-empted enemy encroachments at Milne Bay and across the Owen Stanley Mountains to the Allied base at Port Moresby, reducing all Japanese action thereby to a defensive war.

The Japanese had suffered, virtually uninterrupted and unmitigated by any victory, so many infantry and naval losses in the Southwest Pacific during that previous year, including the devastating Naval Battle of Guadalcanal in mid-November in which, even though Allied casualties and losses of ships were high, nevertheless prevented reinforcement of Japanese ground troops trying to reacquire from the Allies Henderson Field on Guadalcanal and thus strangled the remaining defenders there off, making final surrender inevitable in February, that the Japanese High Command could no longer risk offensive action with supply lines so stretched and strained over the many thousands of miles from mainland Japan. Added to this devastation was the loss in early March off New Britain in the Battle of the Bismarck Sea of the 22 Japanese ships seeking to bring supplies from Rabaul to the troops otherwise stranded at Lae and Salamau, on the northern tip of the Papuan Peninsula.

The Japanese had discovered the limits of their ability to deploy and provision troops, and had been forced back from both the southern Solomons and the bulk of the Papuan Peninsula, while their other positions in the Solomons, at Munda on New Georgia--in the vicinity of which concerted naval and air action soon would begin against Rendova--and, albeit thus far, until the fall, to a lesser degree of intensity and regularity, at Buka on Bougainville, were being continually bombed and depleted thereby of aircraft and aircraft support capability.

Clark Lee relates the fourth chapter of They Call It Pacific, continued on the inside page. In this chapter he describes vividly the cruelty and animus of the Japanese soldier exhibited toward anyone Caucasian who became their captive, even worse toward the native Filipinos who aided the Caucasian. He describes Japanese officers demonstrating notoriously bad temper while in a drunken condition, including one incident to which Mr. Lee was percipient, that of a sword-wielding drunken major who, at a party provided by the Japanese officers for foreign correspondents, removed from its scabbard his sword and nearly decapitated deliberately a journalist seated nearby who had to sacrifice a chair which vicariously wound up in the condition which, minimally, the journalist would have but for its supervention--losing its legs to the major's blazing-whipped, drunkenly wielded steel.

Mr. Lee also recounts of the particularly horrid manner in which Allied, especially Filipino, prisoners were treated while defending Manila and Bataan, strung up to trees, and routinely bayoneted while still alive, finally suffering the hacking of limbs or decapitation as the coup de grâce.

The Japanese had routinely resorted to various surreptitious ruse to lure troops and officers into the open, for instance hiding in bushes to learn passwords at sentry posts and then uttering the passwords to gain access to kill--foiled ultimately in this particular venture, however, by the eventual realization of the American-Filipino forces that use of passwords containing "l" would be impossible to pronounce except as "r" for the average Japanese soldier.

Mr. Lee details the brainwashing of the Japanese to hate Caucasians, to humiliate them before murdering them as exhibition of deterrent throughout the occupied lands of the Orient. He demurs to include all Japanese in this broad characterization, but nevertheless explains that the show of humility on the part of the average citizen of Japan was a false face, atavistic to a time when the samurai warrior roamed the countryside demanding as requisite fealty for his protective service provided to his lord and peasants alike a demonstrative show of obeisance from the peasantry, lest they lose their heads to the samurai's fire-hardened device instrumental in affording that service, that underneath this veneer of civility lay a potentially vicious predatory beast, a primitive rustican incapable of but rote pretension to civility, that when this fragile façade was removed by provision of training with a sword or rifle to elicit these primordial tendencies, an animal capable of any untoward action was all that remained, that the only way finally to defeat them would be to destroy their morale completely by bombing their cities, oriented on defined order, and so rendering them in such disarray as to be unable finally to persist in the defense of feudalistic empire inculcated in them from earliest childhood by the most savage of techniques, the indoctrination reminiscent of the samurai warrior-child deprived of all pleasure, regimented in all activity.

Of course, as Mr. Lee had informed the reader in the first chapter, that which he describes, could describe any culture subjected to a long history of provincialism and subjugation to feudal existence, the conditions extant for centuries in Japan under the Shogunate and samurai system--as he also described in the earlier chapters, indicating, for instance, that travel had been forbidden for 200 years from Japan on penalty of death, until just the previous century. All which he says must be filtered through that gauze of time and cultural adumbrations. The brutality of lynching in the American South, for instance, after the Civil War was quite as vicious and primitive in its exhibition of animus, if not so pervasive, as that which Mr. Lee describes of the unleashed furies of warfare which the Japanese unflinchingly inflicted on their captives.

O.P.A. announced a "price" hike on steaks and roasts, of from one to three points per pound for purposes of rationing. The increase would go into effect Sunday. Thus, that left an evening and two full shopping days for the housewives of America to rush the butcher shops and hoard at will still on the lower rates.

Butchers, four in particular, were said to be sharpening their knives in anticipation of the dolls storming their stores, seeking their steaks and roasts at the cheaper point expenditure.

The three-day absence of "Terry and the Pirates"--for those of you who go to the library regularly and consult on microfilm, perhaps from some other newspaper subscribing to the Associated Press and the same comics, other parts of the newspaper--, we are informed, had been the result of a loss of strips in transport, now remedied, the strip restored to its rightful place. Terry was back, and back to stay. Have no fear.

On the editorial page, "New Criminals" tells of the harshly punitive approach, receiving unabashed approval from the column, to the gas rationing violators of Mecklenburg, hauled before the provisional authority set up to enforce the regulations. One particularly bad violator, whose offense was not detailed, had his privilege to drive an automobile revoked in the State of North Carolina for fully fifteen years--until June, 1958. We assume that he probably moved to another state or joined the Army and said to hell with it.

"Big Stick" discusses the anti-strike legislation pending in the Congress, the Smith-Connally Bill, which had passed the House in a form providing that no strike could occur in any plant with a government war contract, and otherwise restricting union activities. The editorial stresses that were it not for the recalcitrance and anti-patriotic conduct of John L. Lewis leading down the primrose path his UMW miners, no such bill would have been pending in the Congress. Thus, Labor generally was going to suffer for the actions of only one segment of its vast membership. The blame was squarely to be cast upon the shoulders of Mr. Lewis.

"Keep NYA" advocates the retention of the National Youth Administration for its continual training of young people in various war-industry and armed-service related skills, such as various vocational activities, mechanics, metal working, welding, woodworking, and radio, all vital to shipbuilding and aircraft construction, and all such training performed at a minimum of relative cost to the Treasury and on a time-scale, ten weeks, which enabled quick and efficient preparation of young people for these critical tasks.

"Only By-Play" opines that the De Gaulle-Giraud rapprochement effecting cohesive leadership finally between the Fighting French forces in Africa was not, in the final analysis, going to be any decisive formulation for post-liberation leadership of France. Nor would the elimination of the former Vichyites from power necessarily unite the Free French.

Instead, the post-liberation formation of France, the piece suggests, would come out of the same groundswell of activity as the Resistance which had led the estimated forty thousand arrested at Marseilles to rebel, as reported January 26, resulting in the shooting by the Nazis of 250 persons, eighty of whom were women, nevertheless continuing in underground sabotage and revolt thereafter for at least two more months, and, during the same time, had motivated the members of the underground holed up in the French Alps to form a contingent of saboteurs bent on eliminating as many as possible of their overseers.

It concludes that the problems enunciated out of the conflict over leadership in North Africa was merely a sideshow endemic to any society, including that of the United States, emblematic only of various contesting political factions; its apparent resolution of the moment neither was indicative of copasetic bliss among the Free French, nor suggestive of a permanent resolve to have leadership of liberated France come out of this Committee.

Nevertheless, of course, the Committee would foreshadow the Fourth Republic, as Charles De Gaulle became the primary leader of post-war France, in one function or another, for the bulk of the two and half decades ensuing the Liberation in 1944.

In stark contrast, Henri Giraud, while having some input to the creation of the Fourth Republic and its constitution and serving for three years in the French Constituent Assembly, would die in early 1949 with little post-war impact compared to the broad influence exerted by De Gaulle on the creation of modern France after the Liberation.

A piece without a by-line or source attribution informs briefly of the Twentieth Century history of Morocco, under varying rule by Spain and France. Moroccans would, after the war, demand their independence, pursuant to the tenets of the Atlantic Charter which avowed no extra-territorial motives post-war by its signatories, including Great Britain, the United States, Russia, and Free France; a nationalistic movement formed to achieve that goal would accomplish it in 1956, even if the resulting government is only a constitutional monarchy, not a true democracy.

Samuel Grafton, again reporting from Sweden, picks up where he left off the day before, discussing the long nights of summer in the North, enabling the citizens of Sweden to play until late hours, creating, after the long winter of darkness each year, an atmosphere of relaxation and play, characterized by uniformly ubiquitous attention paid throughout the nation to the garish sun.

He remarks again on the patiently cohesive and cooperative way of life, distinguishing Sweden from the inherent hallmarks, competition and striving, most evident in American daily routine.

Dorothy Thompson discusses in some detail the extermination of the Warsaw Ghetto, under orders issued by its commandant, Wilhelm Krueger, killed by the Krakow underground May 2, 1943, the fate of Reinhard Heydrich in Prague a year earlier on May 27.

The piece is quite remarkable for its information and insight of the time, for little yet had been reported on this massacre, ongoing since January when violence erupted, begun by armed Jews in the Ghetto who had received aid in arms and provisions from the Polish underground, including many wives of men held captive in the Ghetto.

As Ms. Thompson indicates, little was yet known of the results of the revolt, and whether the fighting was still ongoing by these brave suffering men and women confined to this walled and barbed-wired area of Warsaw, left to starve or be sent slowly to the camps to be gassed--as Ms. Thompson accurately recounts.

The bodies, estimated at 100,000, had been literally piling up on the streets of the Ghetto, emaciated, dead from starvation, since shortly after its creation three years earlier on October 16, 1940.

In fact, the revolt by the Jews had reached its climax between April 19 and 23, when all of the resistance was finally eliminated by a concerted Gestapo action which machine-gunned virtually all the remaining inhabitants--during the week of Passover.

The Ghetto was officially closed in mid-May as the Great Synagogue of Warsaw was demolished May 16. Nothing visible remained of the Ghetto by the time the Russians entered Warsaw in 1945. It was estimated that some 56,000 of the original 400,000 inhabitants were murdered, or shipped to Treblinka to be murdered, during the final four months of the Warsaw Ghetto's existence.

Ms. Thompson writes in her last paragraph of the story a fitting epitaph:

"But whatever the outcome, this battle represents one of the most extraordinary episodes in the history of religious and racial strife. Against a common and terrible enemy, the underground heroes of Christian Poland defended the embattled and fighting Jews of Warsaw…"

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