Friday, July 2, 1943

The Charlotte News

Friday, July 2, 1943


Site Ed. Note: American bombers continued to raid the Japanese airbase at Munda on New Georgia Island, reports the front page, as the landing forces of two days earlier solidified their hold on Rendova Island, five miles south of Munda. Bombers also struck hard at enemy installations at Vila on Kolombangara Island. The raids of the previous two days had destroyed 123 Japanese planes with a loss of 25 American planes. The Navy meanwhile sent warships 150 miles northwest of Rendova, headed toward Bougainville, with an objective not yet made clear to the press. Other ships moved toward the enemy positions at Faisi in the Shortland Islands. Thus far, the Japanese Fleet had not made any appearance in the theater of operations.

Berlin radio reported 25 Allied transports having passed Gibraltar into the Mediterranean the day before, likely an accurate report.

From Russia came a communique indicating renewed intensive Russian bombing of German-held ports along the Crimea at Kerch and Senaya. The sudden activity, after a period of lull in the fighting during the previous couple of weeks, suggested to some observers a possible renewed German offensive in the area of the German bridgehead along the Taman Peninsula, or an attempt by the Russians finally to rid the Caucasus of German threat.

Sources out of Britain indicated that Germany's industrial capacity had been severely limited by the Allied bombing during the previous eighteen months. Since the beginning of 1942, steel production had fallen by over ten percent. Synthetic gas and oil accounted for about half of the twelve to thirteen million tons required annually for Germany to function in a period of relative lull in warfare, a figure dramatically increased when offensive operations were underway. It took a great deal more electrical power to produce synthetic gas, oil, and rubber than their conventional counterparts, the bulk of Germany's natural oil reserves still being obtained from Rumania. The drain on electricity, a finite resource based on hydroelectric dams, the key Moehne and Eder dams in the Ruhr Valley having been bombed May 17, left less available power for steel production.

In consequence of these interrelated factors, production of bombers had been cut in half during the previous eighteen months, with the greater portion of plane production now being devoted to fighters for defense of Die Vaterland. Tank production had been considerably curtailed. Locomotives were being lost from bombing raids or wear and tear at a rate equal to or greater than the rate of production each month. Only U-boat production had increased, by about fifty percent during the previous year. But the dramatically increased presence in the Atlantic and Mediterranean in the same time of Allied warships and planes had effectively neutralized the effects of this latter increase in production.

The same depleted wherewithal plagued Italy.

The President vetoed yet another bill from Congress, the second in two weeks, this time knocking down legislation which, while ostensibly extending the life of the Commodity Credit Corporation, responsible for food subsidies, actually, said the President, would hamper provision of such subsidies by placing restrictions on the use of the government-run corporation's funds. The President described the bill as encouraging, rather than diminishing, the prospect of inflation, by denying the practical ability of the government to deliver up the food subsidies to targeted areas of production where prices had lagged behind the cost of production.

A report released by the Treasury indicated that Federal spending had doubled during the previous fiscal year, and that 92% of the seventy-eight billion dollar budget was being applied to the war effort. The Government's war budget was now fully three times that of the previous year, when it was twenty-six billion dollars. As of the end of June, the annualized budget had grown to ninety billion dollars.

In Chapter 29 of They Call It Pacific, Clark Lee tells of his catching a ride on July 7, 1942 aboard an aircraft carrier bound from Pearl Harbor to the southeastern Solomon Islands. It was guarding landing forces set to be deployed on Guadalcanal and Tulagi for the invasion a month later to acquire Henderson Field.

And, it was announced that rationing points would rise again on beef, one to two points per pound, effective July 4. The nation's housewives were already likely, therefore, if custom held true, starting out early for the butcher counters to beat the deadline and obtain their pound of meat per week on the cheap.

What that made such ration raiders, we shan't begin to speculate.

On the editorial page, "New Drive" welcomes the news that the Allies were now on the offensive in the Solomons, which, it posits, was the first true offensive move being made in that theater.

It suggests the Guadalcanal Campaign, though offensive in its combat operations, actually, strategically, as defensive.

That was probably a good assessment, as the overall reason for acquiring Henderson Field was to protect the supply route from Hawaii to the staging ground in Australia by seizing the airfield from the Japanese before it was completed, converting it then to Allied use for operations northward.

While the bombing operations conducted from it since its seizure the previous August and completion and placement into operation not long afterward could certainly be considered offensive, the piece appears to have in mind exclusively land operations.

It does not comment on the Papuan Peninsula Campaign of General MacArthur during the previous fall and into the early winter, but that also could be characterized as having been defensive, to prevent the Japanese acquisition, as attempted, of the Allied base off Australia at Port Moresby during the previous summer.

The editorial goes on to distinguish between the island-hopping strategy for taking back the Pacific from the Japanese, as much discussed, and the apparent plan now being placed into operation of shoving the Japanese a thousand miles northward to Truk by pushing them out of the Solomons completely. The plan suggested itself as intending the enemy's exclusion first from New Georgia, then from Bougainville and New Guinea. If Truk then could be taken, another key point along the supply route known as the Tokyo Express would be lost, pushing the Japanese back yet another long distance northward. By this means of isolation from supply lines, the steady winnowing of the Japanese arc projecting through the Southwest Pacific, therefore, would not have to be accomplished through winning back territory literally island by island, but rather by taking out the key supply bases which nourished the enemy soldiers island by island.

Yet, Bougainville would prove a more tenaciously held position than either Guadalcanal or New Georgia. The Japanese would continue to hold Bougainville's key harbor and airbase facility, Buin, through the end of the war, even if the Allies would land on Bougainville in November. Bitter, truculent fighting yet would transpire there for another year after the invasion.

Samuel Grafton again explores the contradictions within the positions urged by Herbert Hoover, Senator Robert Taft of Ohio, and Senator George of Georgia, opposing the food subsidy program to bolster certain prices and trim inflation. Senator George also wanted not only to thwart subsidies but also to raise farm price ceilings, a sure path to inflation. That was being promoted while the triumvirate also contended that things should be left alone on the home front to permit the fighting men to return with secure jobs from the warring. The sentimental appeal to preservation for the soldiers of things as they were was precisely countered by this Opposition policy which would send prices soaring, the domestic problem most inimical to war production during World War I, itself a product of internecine goring.

A piece compiled by the editors reviews a proposed amendment from Senator Hatch to the Corrupt Practices Act, to forbid permanently campaign contributions by union and management jack. The anti-strike bill also had amended the Act to forbid labor contributions, but that provision only ran until six months after the war. Through court decisions, the Act, on its face limiting individual contributions to $5,000 per year per election and PAC contributions to three million, already had been eviscerated with so many exceptions to be a hole looking for some plasmic whey to surround its empty perception.

All things change; all things remain the same.

The Republicans had outspent the Democrats fifteen million to six million during the campaign of 1940, 14 to 9 million in 1936. Nevertheless, they lost.

You can fool some of the people some of the time.

The Christian Science Monitor reports of two formerly competing small town weekly newspapers somewhere in the country which had, through change of ownership of one of them, embracing both under the same umbrella, become quite schizoid in the process of combining. Prior to the change, the papers were bitter enemies, though occupying the same building. One was Democratic, the other Republican, both centipedes, wildering.

Oh, how the wrangled rock winds up shining, when all the issues are blinded wide shut in one ball of twinings.

Now, each persisted in its separate identity, but was put together nevertheless by a single editor of magnificent agility, one who leaned this way or that, depending on which side of his head he wore his hat, or wrote his merry way out of it with his red cats and his bat.

Sometimes, when they are already accustomed to stultified stratification within the context of the local orientation, you can fool all of the people all of the time.

We said that.

And in Lexington, you could acquire a red bone hound dog for nothing, just to feed it and the pigeons which the Wall family were cuffing, no longer wanted around for the rationing points, no doubt, the hound carnivorously and the pigeons cooingly were consuming amid a bounder's shout and a twist, up on Sugar Boot Hill with old Fats in the mist.

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