Saturday, July 3, 1943

The Charlotte News

Saturday, July 3, 1943

FOUR EDITORIALS

Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that a Japanese naval force of seven cruisers and destroyers had approached Rendova Island but had been repulsed.

In the largest raid of American aircraft yet originating from the Middle East, a hundred Liberator bombers attacked targets in southern Italy, striking Lecce, Grottaglie, and San Pancrazio. The night before, an RAF raid had struck Catania in Sicily.

The House voted not to override the President's veto of the anti-subsidy bill, originally passing the chamber overwhelmingly. It appeared that the Senate would table the issue and opt to try to present legislation which would seek to limit, rather than abolish, the food price subsidies.

The Senate, meanwhile, as predicted, voted to put an end to the National Youth Administration. Senator Harry Truman had argued that the program should be retained for its essential contribution of youth training for vital war industry.

Herr Doktor Goebbels sought to perpetrate a hoax on the hopeful French underground by using Paris radio to announce an expected attack to liberate France on this day. Then, as quickly to dash those hopes against the wall, announcements were issued periodically as the day progressed that there was no news to report, that the Allies must be having breakfast, then lunch, etc.

That Joey. Funny stuff.

It would be even funnier to Herr Doktor Goebbels in a year's time, and yet again an hysterical belly-temblor, even to his wife and children, by that glorious time in the Führerbunker in Berlin, Walpurgis Night, 1945.

The French Underground are still laughing.

A piece on the inside page written by two correspondents, Walter Farr of The London Daily Mail and Gordon Walker of The Christian Science Monitor, both accompanying the amphibious landing of Marines taking Rendova Island on Wednesday, explains in detail of the silent operation before dawn, one in which tensions ran high as the men expected any minute to receive fire as they approached the island, passing at one point between two islands 150 yards apart. Yet, not a shot was fired and no shots were fired at them.

In the last chapter of the abstract of They Call It Pacific, Clark Lee tells of his ten weeks away from Pearl Harbor, arriving on Guadalcanal with the landing forces on August 7 and remaining through August 24. He summarizes the entire campaign, its being plagued for the first two months with lack of supplies, food, ammunition, and adequate gasoline and bombs to supply the planes. As to the planes, it did not much matter for only twenty-six could be placed on the island in the first place after Henderson Field became operational within two weeks of the landing.

He describes the nearly ruinous effect upon the whole operation resulting from the disastrous nighttime sea battle of Savo Island on August 9 in which four ships were sunk, the Vincennes, the Quincy, the Astoria, and the Canberra, the latter two staying afloat until the following morning. The order was given next morning for the transport ships, which had brought in the Marines and supplies, to disembark for safer waters. As only one-fifth of the supplies had been unloaded when the attack occurred, the Marines suffered afterward from severe shortages of food and equipment until finally reinforcements and supplies could reach them several weeks later. During these initial stages, with the Japanese penetrating very close to Henderson Field, it appeared that the initially successful landing would turn to disaster.

He also briefly recounts the three major sea battles in the area after Savo Island, that of the Battle of Cape Esperance on October 11-12, the carrier battle two weeks later on October 26 in the Santa Cruz Islands in which the Hornet was lost, and finally the decisive Naval Battle of Guadalcanal between November 12 and 15 which determined once and for all the fate of the Japanese. Thereafter, no reinforcements and supplies could reach the stranded soldiers on the island. The campaign thus became attritive until the final victory was won in early February, six weeks after the Japanese had determined to evacuate Guadalcanal and move north.

The tide had turned in the campaign, he says, when Admiral Halsey took over as Naval commander in the Southwest Pacific.

Never again would the Japanese be able to seize the offensive in the Pacific War after Guadalcanal.

Mr. Lee returned to Hawaii in early September but indicates he was eager to accompany General MacArthur on his triumphant return to the Philippines, with Chiang Kai-shek when he would march once again into Nanking in victory, and with General Wainwright and the other American and Filipino soldiers with whom he had contact when in the Philippines, when finally the Allies would ride triumphant through the streets of Tokyo.

It would not occur, of course, exactly like that. But occur it would.

Mr. Lee survived the war, but died at age 49 on February 15, 1953.

On the editorial page, "An Error" asserts that President Roosevelt, after an appeal for clemency lodged by Supreme Court Justice Frank Murphy, had made a mistake in commuting the sentence of convicted traitor Max Stephan from death to life imprisonment.

Mr. Stephan, a Detroit restaurateur, had been convicted a year earlier of treason, the first such conviction in the United States since 1794 during the Whiskey Rebellion, and was sentenced to hang for aiding and abetting the escaped Nazi flier Peter Krug who had been imprisoned in Canada after being shot down. The Supreme Court had refused in February to hear the case after the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals had upheld the conviction on a challenge for lack of sufficiency of the evidence.

Dorothy Thompson had asserted the previous August that the harsh sentence was correct, to deter such behavior inimical to the country's security and war effort.

Were Ms. Thompson and the editorial right? Oberleutnant Krug had already escaped. Mr. Stephan, a German by birth, had for two days knowingly provided the pilot with amenities, food, shelter, and transportation in and around Detroit and from Detroit to Chicago, all while concealing from authorities his knowledge of Krug's whereabouts, with full appreciation the while for the fact that he was on the lam.

Was that truly conduct worthy of imposition of the death penalty? We think not. A life sentence certainly was deterrent enough to anyone. The President, in balancing humanitarian considerations against the harsh realities of war, was entirely correct in sparing Mr. Stephan his life.

Indeed, one has to question in the abstract, skipping for the moment the limitations of statutory law and that the country was not yet at war in mid-1941, how convicted Nazi spies in the spy ring busted June 28-29, 1941, some of whom were United States citizens, got away with maximum twenty year sentences, some as low as seven years, for active spying which proved costly to the United States, when Stephan wound up convicted of treason and received a life sentence for feting Krug, giving him transportation, and not reporting him to the authorities.

"Siren Voice" finds unwarranted and even unpatriotic the pity voiced from London by Reverend William Inge, formerly dean of St. Paul's Cathedral, for the old cathedrals of Europe being bombed in Cologne, Mainz, Lubeck, Nurnberg, as well as the stately architectural masterpieces in harm's way in Italy. To this pity, The News expresses consternation, that the buildings in question were far less important to the future of the world than the destruction of Nazism and Fascism, that Rev. Inge hardly sounded like a British subject at all.

"High Price?" asks rhetorically whether the contention by Republican Michigan Representative Albert Engel, that the war was costing too much money, should not be weighed against what the victory would bring, that all wars were expensive propositions.

The Congressman had undertaken a survey of costs and found, for instance, that a 30-ton tank cost $90,000, a 105-mm mobile howitzer, $21,000, a Springfield rifle, $60, while commercial versions of the latter were less expensive.

Who had the better of the argument?

Dorothy Thompson, with her last piece for a month while she went on vacation, makes a plea to the nation and the Congress to rally to unity for the duration of the war, pressing the idea that, while a rubber-stamp Congress was not desirable in a democracy at any time, neither was it conducive to victory for a large portion of Congress to be devoting itself to attempting to defeat the President. She warns that should the campaign continue much longer, it would cost the lives of many Americans overseas, to be buried in the ground over there.

Samuel Grafton favors a congressional resolution to adopt twenty-year peace treaties with Russia, China, and Britain in lieu of the resolution introduced in the House by progressive Representative J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, part of the new freshman class entering the Congress at the beginning of 1943. Congressman Fulbright had proposed a resolution which would set up forthwith international machinery for keeping the peace into the future and insuring United States participation in its workings.

Mr. Grafton, however, takes issue with the resolution, finding it premature, that the war was here and now and in need of fighting in the present, before resolutions were passed regarding the future. He suggests that his own proposal for twenty-year treaties would carry the spirit of the Fulbright resolution while translating it into present practicalities, insuring thereby lasting alliances with present allies necessary to win the war.

Was the argument of Mr. Grafton on this occasion more semantic quibbling than substantive? What harm was there in looking to the long term? Or, was he correct in asserting implicitly that such star-gazing could too much remove the focus of the American people from the necessity still to win the war? To use his figure, was it tantamount to attempting to build the Willow Run factory for the smooth-working assembly line of peace while the business at hand still had its locus in Henry Ford's shed?

Regardless, the House did eventually adopt Mr. Fulbright's resolution.

Writing in Collier's, George Creel, journalist and head of the Government's office of war information during World War I, made an accurate prediction that the candidates for president in 1944 would be FDR and Thomas Dewey. He came close to predicting the Republican nominee for vice-president as well, selecting Governor Earl Warren of California. It would be Governor John Bricker of Ohio, but Governor Warren would become the vice-presidential nominee, again with Dewey, in 1948--when both won, at least by The Chicago Tribune.

What he did not predict is that Henry Wallace would not repeat as the Democratic vice-presidential nominee, the nod instead fatefully going to Harry Truman.

Mr. Creel stated that the Republicans would campaign on the basis of prosecuting the war more effectively by removing the planning from the White House and turning it over to a central war council which would stress all theaters, not just Europe. The GOP would, he further opines, advance a post-war policy which would eschew isolationism but not embrace the "new frontier" policies of pervasive foreign aid advanced a year earlier by Henry Wallace. Domestically, the Party would favor curtailment of bureaucracy and reduction of spending and waste.

With Harry Truman on the opposing ticket, however, the Republicans could scarcely make much hay over the issue of waste and extravagance, diminution of which was Senator Truman's specialty.

"Pres. Bertie" mocks the Republican Nationalist Revival Committee for favoring the nomination for president of isolationist publisher Robert McCormick of the Chicago Tribune. It then suggests that Father Coughlin or Gerald Smith or William Dudley Pelley might well be put forward by the committee as vice-presidential material, perhaps even Max Stephan.

Heck, while about it, why not be liberal and include Lizzie Dilling in the mix of potential timber?

In any event, these bright young men wanted, said the piece, to return to 1910, back to the days when men were men, and start the First World War all over again.

As preposterous as it sounded in 1943, twenty years hence, the whole Republican Party would be about it sure enough.

A large part of it still is.

And now, it's not just a mere hop, skip, and jump retreat of 54 years by which to attempt to beat the heat of the Twentieth Century Limited.

Yet, they donít profess much to believe in that heat. Even if Alaska is melting away in her backyard--while we go merrily along trying to fix a hole in the ocean.

But--we must stop, for now. For, as the soldier writing the letter home suggests we ought, we have blisters on our fingers.

...Poor, bloody soldiers are weary.

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