Friday, July 30, 1943

The Charlotte News

Friday, July 30, 1943


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that, as massive demonstrations continued in Milan, the military authority sent to arrest the demonstrators instead joined them, revolting against the newly established government of Marshal Pietro Badoglio. The reaction of the Badoglio government to the demonstrations had been swift, ordering suppression of speech, both of press and in free assembly, and the arrest of violators. The moves had prompted outcries of comparison between the new government and that of Mussolini--lending immediate credence to the column of the day before by Samuel Grafton, to beware the new Boss, same as the old Boss.

The loudest cry among the demonstrators continued to be for peace and liberty.

As Time reported, such symbolic episodes occurred at Milan as a march on La Scala to demand the return of the exiled Maestro Arturo Toscanini to open the opera season. "Dove si trova Toscanini?" inquired an impatient crowd.

Everywhere in the second city of Italy, from whence the Fascist revolution had begun two decades earlier and the March on Rome by Mussolini had its origin, the scene was chaos and rebellion, a demand for an end to the war.

In Washington, the President stated that he did not care with whom the Government treated in discussing peace with Italy, as long as it was not clearly a Fascist. It could be a king, a prime minister, or even the mayor of a city.

Asked by a reporter whether Badoglio was thus excluded by the fact of his reported Fascist leanings, FDR responded that he was reminded of the question: which came first, the chicken or the egg? Not stopping to explain, presumably the President meant that it was unclear whether Badoglio was a Fascist sympathizer at one time merely by expediency and the fact of his position in the military or whether he was one of the party leaders who helped foment the Fascist revolution. Time would tell. He was not going to discuss personalities.

He also did not, incidentally, discuss whether there were ceilings on the eggs. Nor falconry.

The key points for the Allied armies, he stressed, were that Italy first needed to put an end to all armed opposition and then needed to be secured against anarchy from a vacuum of power.

He warned that any neutral country providing asylum to Mussolini, as had been rumored he might seek, would be considered to undertake a hostile act against the interests of the United States and the principles for which the United Nations were fighting. He stopped short of indicating what, if any, measures might be taken in response.

Two meetings of the British War Cabinet called by Prime Minister Churchill during the day, the first at 1:30 a.m., prompted speculation that consideration was being made of some offered terms of surrender by Italy. The unusual hour, however, was answered with a brush of the hand, that it was not out of the ordinary for the Cabinet to be called into session at any hour. No word was provided on the substance of the meetings.

It may have been discussion, ontologically, whether the chicken came first or its product. If so, the answer may have been that there was a negative pregnant antecedent to the appetent cause positive.

And, somewhere amid the rioting, Italian stooge editor to Mussolini, Virginio Gayda, editor of Popolo d'Italia, disappeared. A Rashomon of rumors in explanation circulated: that he committed suicide; that he was killed by rioters; or that he was taken prisoner, charged with high treason. No one yet knew the answer.

In Sicily, General Patton's Seventh Army had captured Nicosia, about halfway between Palermo and Messina, and had moved on beyond that point toward Messina to the east. The Americans and Canadians were also pressing the Nazi lines before Mt. Etna, from the center and the right, threatening to push the Germans into a trap either at Catania, thus to be surrounded on all sides, or to force a retreat to Messina.

On the lower slopes of Mt. Etna, the British Eighth Army continued in a holding position, blocked by large minefields and enemy gun emplacements.

The RAF bombing campaign of southern Italy and on Sicily and Sardinia resumed, to interdict any attempts to send supplies and troop reinforcements to Sicily. After four days since the overthrow of Mussolini, it was time for Italy to make up its mind: was the new government in or out of the war? Until a decision came, bombing would continue.

Hamburg, already suffering the largest concerted bombing raid in history since the previous Saturday, with more than 5,000 tons already dropped on its industrial targets, underwent yet a third 2,300 ton drop by the RAF the previous night, the fifth night raid, combined with two U.S. daylight raids, in seven days. Those drops compared to 1,500 tons deposited on Cologne fourteen months earlier in the first thousand-plane raid in history.

It appeared to observers that Hamburg was being made an experiment in completely blowing a large industrial city from the map by use solely of air power.

The battle for Orel continued to rage on the Russian front, both sides now mired in a sea of mud from heavy rains.

A photograph on the page shows Mr. Churchill wading through a sea of admirers on his way to attend the unveiling of his portrait at London's National Liberal Club.

And, we plucked from the spooling microfilm an inside page, as the merry-go-round caught our eyne by the whirrrrring pace. Whatever else of interest or substance might be there, including the announcement of the 35th birthday for the FBI, we shall let you discern for yourself.

On the editorial page, "The Storm" looks at the rioting in Italy and finds its tempestuous maelstrom to be heating up not only the Italian Peninsula all along its length but also hotting up the revolutionary fires elsewhere, as riots had likewise been reported in the Balkans, in Yugoslavia. Comparing the fever to that following the American Revolution, spreading then to France, the piece finds the yearning of the people to be for freedom, not for rule by more of the traditional rulers such as Badoglio and Victor Emmanuel, or by his son, Crown Prince Umberto. The outcome, it predicts, would be the same, revolt, until the people had restored to them the reins of government. The Badoglio Government would inevitably fall, must fall, to satisfy the driving force of the people for return to democracy, making way the road for the Allies.

The Time piece linked above from August 9, 1943 had quoted a Swiss report that the professional rulers of Italy were busy trying to fill the void of government with whatever means might be available to quell the rioting and preserve ultimately their own power over the country. All was not as it seemed.

Samuel Grafton again addresses the theme, finding that the effort in the Italian scheme, much as the recent "coup d'etat" in Argentina, was to avoid payment by the military rulers, such as Badoglio, and by the House of Savoy after enjoying the benefits of Mussolini's rule for 21 years, that the only changes thus far evident under the new rule were superficial, the return to the Christian calendar, the ceasing of playing La Giovanessa at the end of Italian radio broadcasts. The stultification of assembly and speech, however, the more substantive reversals of which being sought by the people, were still enforced as jealously as ever by the new government of Badoglio, on the theory of thwarting revolution and preventing anarchy.

Mr. Grafton suggests that the democracies were not so thick as the Italian replacements of Mussolini might believe, that the change in form only of the government was becoming increasingly apparent, that the only reason Mussolini in the end was overthrown was that he had ceased to be able to exert the control over the masses that the landed gentry of Italy had sought of him in the first place, that he was not stripped of power because he was Fascist or that Fascism had suddenly been considered bad by the ruling orders in Italy. All was not as it seemed.

"Carolina Up" finds from the University of North Carolina News Letter that, while more than two-thirds of North Carolina’s population still dwelled in rural areas, the state was at the head of the pack among Southern states in industrial production, leading the nation in textile mills, tobacco and furniture manufacture.

"Over-Production" suggests that the weekend beer ban recently imposed in Charlotte by the City Council was having its ameliorative effects, as arrests the previous weekend for drunkenness and for prostitution were cut in half. The usual forty prostitutes arrested each weekend were down to twenty. The piece, however, questions where all the prostitutes came from and what happened to them once arrested, why they kept showing up again and again in the criminal justice system. More improvement was needed.

"For the Boys" remarks on that part of the President’s speech on Wednesday devoted to caring for the returning veterans once the war ended, insuring jobs and unemployment insurance for those unable to find work.

The first step, announced in a report released by the White House for planning demobilization of war industry and return to civilian status, as explained on the front page, would be to provide up to three months of furlough pay, not to exceed $100 per month, while the veteran sought work, and then the provision of unemployment insurance thereafter for those who could not find it. There would also be special aid provided in retraining for jobs.

Raymond Clapper, just back from a tour of Sicily, especially Palermo and points east, reports of the rousing welcome being given the American Seventh Army of General Patton. He, himself, had been hit in the face with a friendly bunch of grapes.

It was no accident, he finds, that Mussolini's downfall came just one week after the bombing of Rome. Air power was the supreme commander in the war and air power now clearly belonged with the Allies. He hoped that the Allied command would accept nothing short of unconditional surrender for Italy, to make available its airstrips for further raids north into Germany, to complement the long raids taking place out of England.

Drew Pearson discusses the trip by Cardinal Spellman of New York as emissary to Pope Pius XII, to try to effect rapprochement between the Vatican and Russia.

He then addresses the illness of Senator Hiram Johnson of California, thought to be in grave danger until informed by his wife that Governor Warren intended, upon his death, to appoint former President Hoover to fill his position in the Senate. Subito, the Senator demanded that the oxygen tent surrounding him be removed. The Senator was said to be recovering quickly.

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