Thursday, July 22, 1943

The Charlotte News

Thursday, July 22, 1943


Site Ed. Note: Branching west now, the Seventh Army of General Patton, reports the front page, had captured Sciacca, thirty miles west of Agrigento, and Castelvetrano, twenty miles further west, bringing the Army within twenty miles of the western tip of Sicily. Later reports indicated that they had penetrated all the way to Marsala on the west coast.

San Stefano Quisquina, thirty miles below Palermo, had also been captured as the American forces steadily approached the capital of Sicily on the north coast.

About half of Sicily was now in Allied hands, as General Montgomery's Eighth Army continued to slug it out before Catania on the east coast against fierce resistance, grudgingly giving up yards at a time.

Italians continued to surrender in waves, now bringing the total prisoners in Allied hands on Sicily to 40,000, including four generals commanding whole divisions. New prisoners stated that their officers had donned civilian clothes and run home--perhaps some sticking branches in their pants and playing a tree until it was through.

For only the second time in the war, and the first time since the shelling of Genoa February 9, 1941, the Royal Navy bombarded the Italian mainland, hitting Crotone in the Gulf of Taranto. The purpose was to interdict shipping of German reinforcements to Sicily across the Messina Strait, an ongoing operation by the Axis, declared General Eisenhower.

Penetrating to within a few thousand yards of Munda airfield, in the Solomons, the U. S. forces on New Georgia were now sweating out the Japanese, cut off from supplies and reinforcements by continuing U.S. Navy action against all comers from the Japanese Navy. The fall of Munda was believed imminent. It was unclear whether the Allied infantry forces under General MacArthur had made further progress beyond the line, held now for several days, two miles from the airfield, but it appeared from the communiques that they had made further advances.

The Navy reported that the U.S. submarine Triton, which had bagged more than a dozen Japanese ships, was presumed lost at sea, the tenth submarine lost by the U.S. thus far in the war, eight of which had been sunk in the Pacific.

From Russia, it was reported that the Red Army had advanced to within nine miles of Orel, the city having been surrounded on three sides by the Russian forces. Another counter-offensive by the Russians was also launched in the area of Leningrad to the north.

In Los Angeles, the operators of buses and streetcars of the Railway Company struck for 24 hours in protest of the War Labor Board’s refusal to grant a wage hike of 10 cents per hour. The million persons normally reliant on the transit system were left stranded. The news was not well received in Washington where Acting Secretary of War Patterson called the strike "intolerable", as it obstructed work in five critical airplane manufacturing facilities.

On the editorial page, "The Navy Blues" finds Admiral Frederick J. Horne’s prediction carried on the front page a few days earlier that the war with Japan would persist until 1949 not very credible. It believes that when Germany was licked, the British would follow through on their promise to enter the Pacific war, and that the combined British and American navies would perform the job efficiently of finishing off Japan.

The whole matter would prove academic by August, 1945.

"The Pope Speaks" hopes that the Allied commanders will not pay heed to the implied reprimand offered by Pope Pius XII for the bombing of San Lorenzo Basilica and other holy edifices in Rome at the beginning of the week. The editorial argues that buildings, no matter how old or sacred, were of far less importance than the saving of thousands of lives of soldiers. And the saving of those lives was why the bombs had to fall so close to these particular buildings, the unfortunate but Fascist-planned fact of their proximity to the marshalling rail yards of San Lorenzo, supplying German troops to Sicily.

"The Conference" examines the purpose of the meeting between Mussolini and Hitler in northern Italy, finds that the reported silence after the conference ended was indicative of its course, a course entirely dependent not any longer on the Will of the Axis but on the ability to withstand against the concerted offensives brought to bear by the Allies since October, 1942.

It had to be, observes the piece, a dismal affair, one simply recognizing the handwriting on the wall, that Italy was foredoomed within weeks or months, that Germany would soon follow. The two leaders, it declares, would in the near future be forced to pay for the toll exacted on the world, for the previous two decades from Italy, and for the past decade from Germany.

Raymond Clapper, again examining Allied air power over Sicily, stresses the RAF. He explains the dovetailing between the British and American air forces and their command structure, that the two worked seamlessly in both machinery and manpower, with Air Marshal Tedder complementing General Carl Spaatz. Mr. Clapper reports that in one six-day period, 600 sorties were flown from one airfield alone in North Africa, out of the dozens of others operating. Only six planes failed to return. He suggests that Hitler and Mussolini were bracing for the worst on the Continent, realizing that Sicily was just a warm-up.

Samuel Grafton explains that the world would have to work very hard in order to spoil the peace inexorably to come from World War II, that you could not start nations hating each other with ease, especially after a war such as the one at hand, that people in the United States, such as columnist Westbrook Pegler, publishers William Randolph Hearst and Robert McCormick, and Senator Robert Rice Reynolds--with his pre-Pearl Harbor scheme to take the Caribbean possessions of the British as repayment for the September, 1940 50-destroyer deal and left-over World War I debts, and his post-Pearl Harbor scheme to seize islands in the Pacific--were going to have to work very hard in the post-war world to get back to the days prior to the war when nation hated nation with a burning and irrational passion.

Despite all of the good will built up between the Allies during the war, the nay-sayers would ultimately have their way in stirring up the hatreds again, especially anti-Communism within the capitalist world and anti-capitalism within the Communist world, until the Cold War erupted.

Drew Pearson delves into the shake-up of the Administration, orchestrated by War Mobilization Board Director James Byrnes, in the wake of the Henry Wallace debate with Jesse Jones regarding who was the more inefficient in procuring war materials. Both Jesse Jones and Mr. Wallace lost in the reorganization, FDR finally pulling the plug on Mr. Wallace’s chairmanship of the Bureau of Economic Warfare, apparently, offers Mr. Pearson, because Mr. Wallace simply became too outspoken and independent on the matter, without the imprimatur of the President.

It was the beginning of the end for Vice-President Wallace's position in the Administration, and, by equal strokes, the beginning of the beginning of the fortuitous rise to the presidency by Harry Truman.

As to the Dorman Smith of the day, it was indeed elucidative of The Road which lay ahead for Italy.

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