Thursday, July 29, 1943

The Charlotte News

Thursday, July 29, 1943


Site Ed. Note: The front page of the day did not reproduce correctly and so we shall have to await another day to provide it for you.

The inside page bears a map of more historic consequence than anyone viewing it at the time could have understood. It is a map centering on the taking of Munda, the Japanese airfield which had been the target of Allied operations on New Georgia since the offensive began with the taking of Rendova Island on June 30.

But it also points out Blackett Strait where, four days hence, on Monday, the PT-109, during nighttime reconnaissance for enemy destroyers seeking to transport supplies and reinforcements to the troops holding Munda, would encounter the bow of one of those ships and be split in half. It would lead to many things.

The front page the day before had reported that General MacArthur's ground forces had penetrated beyond the village of Tetere, to within 2,100 yards of the airbase on Munda, an advance of several hundred yards beyond that reported the day before, specifying forward progress of 500 yards. Resistance continued, however, to be strong by the cornered Japanese, obviously under orders to defend the base to the death--or be killed by their senior officers.

The Japanese did not play football, with or without helmets.

On the editorial page, "Rush of Peace" points up the manifold troubles accompanying victory for the Allies in Sicily and Italy, even if not yet fully achieved. How would an occupation force be deployed with sufficient celerity to police and administer the Italian mainland, while still holding North Africa and fighting in Sicily, and continue then to move forward against Hitler? How would the civilian population of Italy be clothed and fed, especially as winter approached? How would a similar move be made against Greece and the Balkans? From whence would come the men and supplies? How long would it take to deploy them?

These were questions posed by the piece, with the expression of lack of envy for the task ahead of General Eisenhower in finding a way to piece together such an elaborate puzzle.

"The Next War" looks forward a generation to see what might lay down the road twenty or more years hence, to World War III, thought by many of the time as inexorable as day turning to night.

It contains, looking ahead to the Cuban Missile Crisis of October, 1962, what might be considered a somewhat prophetic muse: "If we blink an eye again, a generation or so hence, we will lose a war."

In so saying, it predicts that the next war would involve Pearl Harbor attacks against all major American cities, that the proliferation and modernization of the airplane and bombing methods would make America just as vulnerable to air attack as had been Great Britain during the Blitz by Germany across the Channel. That had cost the British 100,000 casualties among their native sons, daughters, and children. Compounded by time and further technology, the prospects were ominous for America. It was unclear whether initiation of such a war would come from one of the Axis nations or one of the Allies.

The piece concludes that the planners of the peace were forsaking one cardinal premise: that there could be another global conflict.

Burke Davis could not know the portentous gravity of his statements.

But, whatever the mistakes of the planners, the United States did not blink at the most important moments. And, thus far, no world war has occurred since 1945, largely the result of two factors, a strong United Nations organization and the mutual deterrent, like it or not, of nuclear weaponry.

The final question is this: Can man live without mutual deterrent in peace for long? In answering, it is best to pose the corollary question: Can he do so on a small scale, locally, even in his own neighborhood, in his own house, let alone globally?

"Let 'Er Smoke" deals ostensibly with smoke control in Charlotte, a long persisting malady during winter, states that the war seems to have delayed implementation of the abatement ordinance and the recommendations of the smoke control engineer hired by the city, "Smoky" T. F. McGuire, whose term was set to expire without renewal on August 4. Charlotte would simply continue to cough and sputter amid the smog of war.

But perhaps, given the day's other editorials, it takes aboard another level.

"…And you tell me, over and over and over and over again, my friend…"

"Sam & Franklin" follows the debate, with odds cast that Sam was right, between the President and columnist Samuel Grafton re the likelihood of a repeat of the Darlanism of North Africa, eliminating for the most part De Gaulle from the planning of the new provisional French government, that the Allies were already busy cozying up to the "moronic little king", Victor Emmanuel, and the "Fascist" Marshal Pietro Badoglio, as Mr. Grafton had described each in an Office of War Information radio broadcast to England, counseling against such a repeated folly.

The President had taken umbrage at the remarks of Mr. Grafton and publicly criticized them. The editorial nevertheless asserts that, reading the tea leaves, the Grafton contentions were likely correct.

Mr. Grafton this day shifts his focus to shifting focus. He asserts that the shell game was afoot in Italy, seeking to cast all eyes on only one man: Mussolini, now the great repository of all the nation's ills of the previous two decades, the scapegoat for Fascism. It was the reverse of what had occurred to build up Mussolini into Il Duce. And the lesson to democrats, urges Mr. Grafton, was to recognize the game: that very little had in fact occurred with the ouster from government of only one man. The system of Fascism could still persist in other guises, led less ostentatiously by other men, hoping that the democratic world would not notice that no real change had happened.

"Oh, how they will stamp on Mussolini now, and kick his head, and assert their blazing hate of him! And try, perhaps, to canalize our hatred of Fascism into hatred of one man."

"That is what Victor Emmanuel whispers today to Marshal Badoglio: 'Only one man.' And Badoglio whispers reassuringly back to Victor Emmanuel: 'One man.' Only it isn't one man."

"Great man, jackal, beggarman, thief; it is like a game with buttons."

Nix lads, buttons!

In nearly contrarian juxtaposition, Dorothy Thompson takes respite from her month-long vacation (and honeymoon) to offer a piece on the fall of Mussolini and its implications for Italy, finds it a signal event, that Fascism was dead with the dictatorship which foisted it on the people in promise, falsely made, of nationalistic pride and resurrection of Italy to the splendor of the Caesars. Instead, that dictatorship had brought Italy to its knees, beset by Allied bombs. Mussolini was finished; Fascism was finished; the war, in consequence, fought on the Fascist ideal, was over for Italy. Hitler, she assures, could not do what Mussolini could not do, lead Italians against their populist will; Hitler would not provide Badoglio and Emmanuel with the support militarily to protect Italy any more than he did for Mussolini. Indeed, even less likely the prospect for the fall of Mussolini and its repercussions throughout Europe to the Nazi empire.

Drew Pearson reports of Italian-Americans having been sent as advance scouts into Sicily prior to the invasion to obtain the cooperation of non-Fascist Sicilians, many of whom were relatives of the American soldiers, in ferreting out the military leaders who would prove helpful to the Allies, those, like Badoglio, who had been in the Italian army prior to Fascism and held no allegiance to Mussolini, distinguished from the Blackshirts who were cultivated and promoted through the ranks by him.

These Italian-American advance scouts, similar to the scouts sent in to cultivate local support among the French, under the command of General Mark Clark in advance of the November 8 Operation Torch landings in Algeria, were the unsung heroes of the Sicilian Campaign, asserts Mr. Pearson.

He then relates of the tour of the new Pentagon by General Henri Giraud during his recent visit to Washington. General Giraud had expressed amazement at the labyrinthine structure, that he had escaped from two military prisons, but could never escape the Pentagon.

It presented obviously more of a challenge than merely La Grande Illusion.

Next, he reports of the contentious meeting between the President and CIO leader Phil Murray. The latter had contested the Administration's domestic attention to labor, indicating that Office of War Mobilization Director James Byrnes had favored management when Labor sought wage adjustments to keep pace with inflated costs of necessities, especially food. The President took offense and let Mr. Murray know it. The two parted with little between them other than palpable tension.

And, he informs that Tom Dewey had already chosen his campaign manager for the 1944 bid for the Republican presidential nomination, Edwin F. Jaeckle.

Perhaps, this selection, by name only, combined with his eventual choice of a vice-presidential running mate, Governor John Bricker, did as much as anything to foredoom young Mr. Dewey's chances against a Roosevelt-Truman ticket.

It would have been much the same result perhaps in 1956 had President Eisenhower succumbed to pressure by Harold Stassen of Minnesota to dump Richard Nixon from the ticket in favor of Governor Christian Herter of Massachusetts--even if in substance, a remarkable transition.

As to the Dorman Smith of the day...

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