Tuesday, June 8, 1943

The Charlotte News

Tuesday, June 8, 1943


Site Ed. Note: Prime Minister Churchill, reports the front page, declared to Commons that a large-scale amphibious operation would shortly be undertaken against Europe. He also stated that the steady wearing down of German and Japanese air forces was "proceeding remorselessly".

The Luftwaffe bombed Gorky, site of a large armaments factory, 250 miles east of Moscow, while the Red Army struck at German supply depots between Bryansk and Gomel.

Berlin communiques, without Allied confirmation, claimed that an Allied offensive against the small outlying Italian island of Lampedusa, 70 miles east of Sousse, off the coast of Tunisia, had been repulsed. The report indicated that five companies of British commandoes had sought to raid the island with a population of 2,500, a fifth of whom were prisoners.

In Chapter 8 of They Call It Pacific, Clark Lee reports of viewing from afar the aerial destruction wreaked by the Japanese bombers on Cavite, systematically destroying the facilities thereon December 10, 1941.

On the inside page, he discusses an interview he conducted with General MacArthur in which he disclosed that Admiral Tom Phillips of the British Navy, who had skippered the ill-fated Prince of Wales battleship, had acted heroically in seeking to move the vessel out from Singapore to try to sink as many as he could of the reported 80 Japanese ships approaching Malaya on December 8. He sailed intrepid, without air cover, was blessed by cloud cover for most of the journey until, within two hours of the point of rendezvous with the enemy armada, a small break in the clouds appeared overhead, enabling Japanese airmen to spot down and sink the giant new battleship--which had carried Prime Minister Churchill to Newfoundland in August, 1941 to meet with FDR at the Atlantic Charter Conference. Admiral Phillips went down with his ship.

Mr. Lee also recounts an episode described in Chapter 3 of W. L. White's They Were Expendable, the rescue by PT boats of 300 of 800 persons crammed aboard the SS Corregidor, formerly of the British Navy, the world's first seaplane carrier in World War I, seeking escape from Manila during the Japanese bombing December 10, hitting a friendly mine outside Corregidor.

On the editorial page, "Great Unknown" discusses the long apparent lull in the Pacific since early February when Guadalcanal and the Papuan Peninsula of New Guinea were made secure. The relative quietude had been interrupted only by a scare in March that masses of Japanese were congregating in the islands of the Dutch East Indies north of Australia, apparently with the intent to attack. But no attack had ever come. Instead, at the beginning of March, the Battle of the Bismarck Sea had decimated the armada of Japanese ships attempting to reinforce the positions of Lae and Salamaua on the northern part of the Papuan Peninsula.

The piece concludes by speculating that more had been brewing in the Pacific than the communiques had disclosed, primarily sporadic bombing raids against Rabaul on New Britain, on Bougainville, or at Munda on New Georgia. Otherwise, the Pacific had been relatively quiet in recent months.

A new offensive, however, would soon take place, on June 30, against Rendova Island off New Georgia, to establish a PT boat base there for patrols northward. One such patrol would fatefully impact subsequent history during decades to come.

"The Other Foot" finds Italy caterwauling in response to the repeated Allied bombing, offers little sympathy in light of the contempt in which Italy had held Britain during the Blitz of 1940-41, expresses the hope that no mercy would be shown Italy until it was thoroughly vanquished and out of the war, a condition which the piece predicts would befall it within weeks.

Dorothy Thompson discusses General De Gaulle's streak of stubbornness, finds it no more glaring than that of FDR or Churchill, nor any more a fault. She contrasts De Gaulle’s steadfastness to principle with that of the vacillation demonstrated by General Giraud in appointing or retaining former Fascists to positions of power in North Africa in December, notably the now-resigned Marcel Peyrouton and General Nogues.

She remarks that the fact of support of Giraud by the United States had, in the eyes of the Free French, tired after three years of occupation, substantially hindered his willing acceptance. Similarly, the British support for De Gaulle had caused French doubt for some period of time. The French, in short, wanted to be left to rule themselves politically after liberation, not to have foisted on them a new leader with the requisite imprimatur of the other Allied nations. Recognition of this streak of independence in France was the lesson, she offers, to be learned from early mistakes made in North Africa.

Samuel Grafton also examines the new French coalition between De Gaulle and Giraud. He asserts that General De Gaulle was responsible for effecting the new rapprochement by having insisted upon a purge of all formerly Vichy-aligned leaders in the new government of North Africa. Something new had developed from this coalition, French conservatism without Fascist influence. It hearkened well, Mr. Grafton asserts, for the new post-liberation France.

Raymond Clapper contrasts the London of two years earlier, when he visited in August, 1941, with that which he saw in June, 1943. Not much had changed physically. There was no new bomb damage evident, but, likewise, there had been inadequate resources available to achieve any reconstruction of the damage done during the Blitz. Food rationing was much more strict and the appetite daily went wanting in the face of a scant menu. The personnel of the war bureaucracy and those who reported on the war had scarcely changed in the interim, a decisively different picture from that found in the United States.

The major variation was in the omnipresence now of Americans, both civilians and military.

Furthermore, in place of the palpable anxiety he had sensed two years earlier was now an air of confidence, even if not gasconadingly brash or vituperative re the enemy, but rather tempered by the reality and brutality of daily war.

The quote of the day is from the Prologue of The Fair Penitent, a play by Nicholas Rowe, composed in 1703. In light of the Tuesday primary, especially in California, it bears special emphasis.

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