Thursday, July 1, 1943

The Charlotte News

Thursday, July 1, 1943

FOUR EDITORIALS

Site Ed. Note: American forces, reports the front page, captured Viru Harbor, close to Munda on New Georgia, as part of the ongoing offensive against the Japanese bases on the island and its adjoining Rendova, captured the day before.

Air raids were also launched against Munda itself and nearby Kolombangara. Fighters had repulsed about 110 Japanese planes seeking to attack the forces landing at Rendova; 65 of them were shot down.

General MacArthur's troops launched an assault against Nassau Harbor in northwest New Guinea, landing unopposed at Trobriand and Woodlark islands, while American bombers kept the Japanese fighter planes busy near their base at Rabaul on New Britain.

Eight days from the planned Allied invasion, Flying Fortresses operating out of Northwest Africa again hit targets on Sicily, this time striking hard at Palermo.

The D. C. Speaker, unofficial source for unascribed official information from the military, claimed to have intelligence that the Nazis were planning to launch a major air raid against U. S. targets to create an adverse psychological climate in the country.

American cities would have a long wait.

A communique from military officers in Martinique to the State Department, presumed to be on behalf of Admiral Georges Robert, Vichy-aligned leader of the French possession, was confirmed by Secretary of State Cordell Hull as having been received, offering terms by which Martinique would finally convert to the Allied cause and renounce its Vichy ties.

In Chapter 28 of They Call It Pacific, Clark Lee tells of his finally obtaining passage from Australia to Hawaii aboard a bomber, sitting in the bombardierís nose turret. For hours on hours, he tensely awaited the sight of the islands, and was finally relieved when they came into view from his precarious seat.

He arrived on United States soil in early June, his first time in the U.S. in five years, just as news was beginning to break that a major engagement was brewing somewhere in the area. It turned out to be the Battle of Midway.

Continuing the story on the inside page, Mr. Lee examined the wreckage at Pearl Harbor and that scant amount still visible at the cleaned-up Kaneohe air base. At Kaneohe, the Japanese had, with precision intelligence, bombed a hangar full of Navy planes while leaving two nearby empty hangars untouched.

In making his survey, he was struck by the fact that the Japanese had lost their great opportunity to cripple the American Navy by destroying Pearl's repair and dock facilities, a measure which would have impeded operations for months on end. Instead, they had fastened their sights on Battleship Row along Ford Island, seeking the spectacular, but actually inflicting, strategically, but a slight blow to the might of the Navy. By fortuitous circumstance, the heart of the Fleet, its aircraft carriers, were all put to sea or in dry dock on the West Coast.

The only puzzling question was why it had taken the Navy and Air Forces fully five months to strike back hard at the Japanese after the attack, until the Battle of the Coral Sea in early May, aimed at deflecting the attempt of the Japanese to occupy New Caledonia--where Mr. Lee had gone in late April to try to get a firsthand view of the attempted Japanese invasion which never materialized.

He posits that the answer was in the fact that the military had put too much longstanding stock in large battleships, behemoths of the waves, now, to a large extent, rendered by the aircraft carrier and the airplane white elephants, no longer the heart of a modern battle fleet on either side. When the commanders saw Battleship Row shattered, they lost heart and had to scramble to reorient themselves to the new Japanese strategy used to inflict the damage at Pearl Harbor--air power.

He also offers that, based on what he was told of the attack, had the Japanese landed troops behind the two and a half hour air offensive, they could have likely taken, amid the resulting confusion, Honolulu within a short time and forced all American naval operations back to the West Coast.

Of course, the problem with such a bold adjunct to an already bold plan was that it would have meant that supplies and support for such forces had to accompany the Japanese Fleet across 4,000 miles of ocean and remain on hand for continued supply and support during such an invasion, not awaiting the return of the fighters and bombers 200 miles north of Pearl Harbor for the safe escape and return voyage back to Hiroshima. The Japanese simply could not have taken such a risk with the heart of its Navy at sea. The strategy was to inflict a quick and decisive blow to keep the United States effectively out of the war for six months while the Japanese gained their footholds in the Philippines, Malaya, and the Dutch East Indies. To that extent, it worked. But then the trick became to hold onto the possessions thus gained while exploiting the raw materials of the captured territories, a much more difficult, and ultimately impracticable, task in the face of the unexpected American resolve to bring its industrial mass to weight against Japan.

On the editorial page, "Carolina Ships" remarks on the Tim Pridgen series appearing daily in The News since Monday--which we don't have for you--anent the North Carolina Shipbuilding Company, object of alleged calumny in the piece re-printed on the page May 28 from The Hour. The piece, trying to set the record straight without mentioning the past faux pas which apparently brought a threat of suit for defamation, applauds the efforts of the 30,000 men and women of the company who had taken a fledgling industry and within a few months turned it into a venture competing adequately with the Kaiser shipyards in California.

While that comparison involved a good bit of overstatement, no doubt, the Shipbuilding Company did produce its fair share of fine quality merchant ships--even if a few, no doubt, went down the ways with holes drilled in the hulls by the Nazis the company apparently employed, according to The Hour, that is.

Dorothy Thompson finds the passage by the Congress of the anti-strike bill over President Roosevelt's veto to have been an overplay of a political hand. Secretary of War Henry Stimson and Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox, both Republicans, had been against the bill. So, it was not just the Presidentís tenderness for Labor which caused him to reject it. The provision which afforded a vote by secret ballot to determine 90 days in advance whether there should be a strike, then, upon so voting to have one, allowing a period of quiescence, was, she ventures, hardly conducive to an anti-strike atmosphere. Effectively, the provision relieved the union leadership of their anti-strike pledge given the President shortly after Pearl Harbor. Thus, FDR had made a sound practical point in rejecting the legislation.

Moreover, the Congress, in passing this law, had evidenced little or no thought to the historically omnipresent class struggle in the country and the inevitable harm to morale which such legislation would have on the average worker. The dissolution by Russia of the Comintern had released the country from the gambit of needing to worry of the country's war effort being placed in harmís way by Communist infiltration of unions. A more positive approach, therefore, to resolution of the problem of the strike in wartime was needed.

She does not mention that the President's desired alternative was to use the draft laws to end deferments for striking workers in vital war industries, and, to afford a comprehensive threat of the draft to striking workers, to amend the Selective Service Act to afford drafting of all men 45 to 65 years old for service in other than combat roles. Whether that threatened sanction, the sanction for the younger men of being sent to war on the front lines, would have considerably improved morale among the workers, appears a bit suspect.

Raymond Clapper, as he prepares to depart England, reports of the key ingredient on which everyone among the military experts with whom he had talked agreed, that relentless bombing of Germany must continue unabated, not providing the Germans any respite to recover their fighting resolve. That meant that American manufacture of heavy bombers must increase, not level off, to keep pace with the increasing losses from each mission.

Nor was this simple remedy for winning the war in Germany one which neglected the Mediterranean or the Pacific. For once Germany was out of the war, it would release Russia to aid in the fight to defeat Japan, enabling use of Vladivostok for launching raids on Tokyo, and would likewise enable redeployment of soldiers and pilots, planes and equipment, to concentrate the fight in those two other major theaters of war.

"Restlessness" predicts that the propaganda being issued from Berlin, proclaiming a vast new offensive campaign to start soon, likely foreshadowed some major move in the ensuing few weeks, one which would undoubtedly be the last gasp which Germany had to put forward in the war. And with it, also forecasts the piece, the war would soon come to an end.

"Careless Czar" finds the departure of food czar Chester Davis in favor of Judge Walter Jones to be probably a good trade. The opposition had wanted Mr. Davis to become the czar to coordinate all the bureaucracy--the position taken up by James Byrnes as Director of the Office of War Mobilization--not because of his czarist efficiency, but rather because he was the anti-czar's czar, a czar who favored the use of no czarist power--a czar, in short, for all seasons, one fit for present-day Tea Partiers and other assorted lunatics who think that use of the word "czar" in American politics implies some Russky sort of autocracy, not simply a moniker tossed about loosely by the press to suggest broad administrative powers to coordinate varied bureaucracies--such as the Homeland Security Czar or the Education Czar of the Reagan-Bush I years, Gambling Czar William Bennett. (Where were the Tea Partiers years ago when we needed them?)

If you are one, by the way, Mr. Davis apparently was your man, a man with czarist powers bent on not using them. But he is long gone from the scene. Sorry.

As Jonah gone to sit beneath the gourd to await the city of Ninevah to repent its wrongdoings or be smited in the failure, Tom Jimison takes a spell from his writings in Rockingham to return home to Haywood, thinking he could enjoy a return to the less urban ways of the backcountry folk. He finds instead his own kin possessed of far too much culture for him, something of the reverse of that which followed home Eugene Gant, or in that case George Webber, after his wanderings in New York and Berlin, and then prompted Thomas Wolfe to write his posthumously published You Can't Go Home Again--originally part of a longer work finished in 1933, titled "October Fair".

Mr. Jimison finds the premise of the trap advanced by Wolfe true, but for the opposite reason. His kindred had become urbanized. No longer could Mr. Jimison sip his coffee from the saucer or sop his biscuits in the gravy without being the object of rude mockery. Even the custom of ending prayers with "A-men" had gone out of use in favor of "Ah-men", a habit which he, along with Bishop Cannon of the dry brigade and some other Methodist ministers and bishops, had managed some years before to drive from the mouths of those otherwise bound to perdition for mispronunciation of each prayer's coda.

It was a sad sight he had found in Haywood. He concluded that, after all, it was true: you can't, Gant.

So, he was headed off to the head of the Pigeon or over to Cattaloochee to find some people who had not come to such culture as to put on the supercilious airs which he had found pervading among his home folk--someone more in keeping with his table manners, attuned to his philology, and at least aspiring to proper orthography.

And should the "Side Glances" miss your gleaning, it derives from the notion that the new No. 18 ration stamp, good until October 31, was for shoes. Don't lose yours. You may yet need it. If not, send it to us.

Incidentally, we always liked the Dave Clark 5 like that. It's a joke, stupid Tea Partier. We bought all their 90-second records. Go easy on the tea.

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