Monday, July 5, 1943

The Charlotte News

Monday, July 5, 1943


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that American warships began shelling the Japanese bases at Vila on Kolombangara and at Bar Bairoka on New Georgia, keys in the effort to take the airbase at Munda, the prime objective on New Georgia.

On Sunday, more American and British raids took place against Sicily, striking five airfields and destroying 43 planes. This mission, however, unlike many previous ones in the area since the victory in Tunisia, proved costly: thirteen Allied planes failed to return. The Axis had responded this time with heavier fighter strength than at any time in the previous two months. The RAF also undertook raids on Saturday night, hitting Catania and Trapani on Sicily and Lido Di Roma, a seaplane base south of Rome.

The Italians claimed in broadcasts that they had destroyed 108 Allied planes during the raids, 56 on Sunday alone. The report, of course, was a lie for home consumption.

On the first anniversary of the initial raid by American bombers over Europe, the U.S. Eighth Air Force took to the skies again against France the previous day, striking, as during the previous week, Le Mans, and also Nantes and La Pallice.

The RAF struck again at Hamburg and Cologne on Saturday night in an apparently large raid, losing 32 planes.

The coal strike appeared over for the nonce as coal miners had swarmed back to work, symbolically choosing to do so on traditionally a day of hiatus, the Fourth of July.

Wladislaw Sikorski, Prime Minister of the Polish government-in-exile, was reported killed on Sunday in an airplane crash shortly after take-off from Gibraltar. The cause was said to be engine failure. Mr. Sikorski had been in the news during April and May regarding severance of diplomatic relations between the Polish government-in-exile and the Soviet Union, after a report had surfaced in April that the Russians three years earlier had murdered approximately 10,000 Polish officers, their corses discovered in a mass grave in Katyn Forest near Smolensk.

Though the report at the time was disputed in the American press as a trick of Nazi propaganda to divide the Allies, the claim, exploited as it was by the Nazis to foster distrust, turned out to be true, as admitted in 1990 by the Soviet Government of Mikhail Gorbachev. The number of dead, however, was much higher than reported in 1943, about 22,000. The Soviet secret police, the NKVD, had massacred the officers, along with many civilian Polish intellectuals and professionals, with the direct imprimatur of Josef Stalin.

The death of Mr. Sikorski occurred just as he was mustering forces to make an effort to liberate Poland.

In fortuitous irony, on April 10, 2010, while on the way to commemorate the seventieth anniversary of the Katyn massacre, the President of Poland, Lech Kaczynski, his wife, and 94 others were killed in a plane crash near Smolensk, as the plane sought to land in dense fog.

A new serialized abstract began appearing this date, Action in the North Atlantic, by Guy Gilpatric. As it is a novel, we are not going to provide this one except as it appears occasionally on the front page. Nor shall we synopsize it for you. War novels are not our beat.

As Congress planned to take its summer recess, a piece reviews the many sharp differences which had surfaced between it and the Administration in the new 78th Congress since it took its seats in January.

Among them were the recent override of the President's veto of the anti-strike bill, a veto which probably influenced the coal miners to return to work on the Fourth, the other recent veto, one which stuck, that of the price roll-back subsidy on food, the termination of NYA, the near termination of FSA, the withdrawal by Congress via legislation from FDR's war powers, granted ostensibly by the declarations of war in 1941, which he had sought to use to set a maximum after-tax limit of $25,000 on annual salaries as an inflation stemming device, the failure of Congress to provide a requested additional sixteen billion dollars in revenue for domestic programs, and their passing the modified Ruml pay-as-you-go tax plan despite Administration objections to it as siphoning off too much revenue and acting as a tax break for the wealthy by forgiving or postponing the bulk of the 1942 tax bill.

The President had also been politically pressured to withdraw on February 1 the nomination of Edward Flynn, the former Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, for the ambassadorship of Australia, resulting from rancor on both sides of the aisle, contending that the nomination rang too much of political pay-off, even after it had narrowly passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee by a vote of 13 to 10.

On the inside page appears a map of the islands of Rendova, Trobriand, and Woodlark, captured the previous week, forming an arc along with territory already held, threatening to take Rabaul from the Japanese.

A piece tells of the daring of a pilot, Lieutenant Jack Bade of Minnesota, who, with a slight head wound, pushed headlong, in a game of chicken, his damaged P-40, without the ability to fire its inoperable gun, into a group of five Japanese Zeros somewhere over the Southwest Pacific in June, causing them to flee, saving thereby two Navy bombers being chased by them. He used his propeller to attempt to cut away the rudder of one of them and chased the others away. He had already performed the feat once, chasing away a lone Zero from his own tail in the same manner--turning and heading straight into the spray of the plane's machinegun fire. Upon landing, Lieutenant Bade's only expressed worry was that the Navy pilots would not understand why he didn't shoot down the Zeros rather than scurrying them away with his propeller.

When you're Lieutenant Bade, you don't need to explain.

On the editorial page, "Street Fights" tells of fisticuffs having been brewing aplenty among drunken soldiers looking for some action on the streets of downtown Charlotte. True, most were well-behaved, it says, just standing on the corner watching all the girls go by.

But the others. Whew. Lay off the bottle, boys. Death will come soon enough.

"A Victory" reviews favorably the House determination not to override the President's veto of the bill the previous week to prohibit his plan to subsidize selected food prices to prevent inflation. The anti-subsidy spirit had been driven, it says, by the impassioned determination to defeat the New Deal and the Administration, not by any realistic appreciation of the economics behind the determination by the Office of Price Administration to implement the subsidy. The subsidy was not any bogey, but rather a standard tool to be used by government to control the economy, one which had been utilized for decades.

"Washington" provides the text of a letter from a young Navy officer to an old college friend, impressionistically setting forth a chopped, chipped, and wholly succinct description of the bustling seat of the nation's Government during the middle of World War II. The sum of it was that everybody and their brother were working for the Government. It wasn't unusual to bump into old acquaintances from college or even "Negro mammies who reared you". They had all gone to work for Uncle Sam.

Odds were, however, that the Negro mammies were in custodial occupations.

"Bad Guesses" offers that the German people, having missed their predictions a couple of times on Der Tag, that is D-Day, now appeared restless and worried over the prospect looming, one over which they had no control, having until the last few months been on the offensive for the better part of the war. Now that the shoe was on their foot, not that of England or France or Belgium or Holland or Norway or Denmark or Poland or Russia or Czechoslovakia, the palpable tension was becoming evident as a human trait, not one to which the Übermensch was the least bit immune, but rather as much a downgoing as an overcoming, just as the rest of humanity--at least according to Nietzsche.

Samuel Grafton takes somewhat the opposite approach to the defensive strategy, at least the respite of the Germans from undertaking any offensive in Russia, suggesting that it provided the Herrenvolk with a breathing spell of a sort. As Hitler had sought during the previous six months to change the German perception to regard the war as defensive, insuring their safety behind the impregnable Festung Europa, a lull in the fighting during the summer could confirm that new perspective and bathe the Germans in a more positive outlook than afforded by the news of the previous months from Stalingrad, the Caucasus, and Tunisia.

There was the hope, too, that the Ukraine, the greater part of it having been held for two years, might now begin finally to yield some of the much needed food for the homeland.

He compares the mentality to the earlier stages of the war when the Allies would dread the summer offensives of Germany and long for the winter to enable the chance of either lull or counter-offensive. Good news then had been that Germany was not on the attack.

So, too, in all probability, was the null the better received news now in Germany.

As long as Germany was in this defensive mindset, however, he concludes, the present was the very time for taking the offensive. For the effort had to be, in order to prevent recurrence, to conquer Germany, not just weaken its ability to fight offensive wars.

Of course, the offensive was being taken by the Allies almost every day with repeated nighttime and daytime bombing attacks on German cities, even if now most of the populations of those cities, who were not working in war industries, had been evacuated to the rural countryside.

Mr. Grafton, however, was counseling the need to begin ground operations.

Propitiously timed, Raymond Clapper had now left Britain and traveled to North Africa to get a look at what had been during the winter and early spring the hottest theater of the war outside Russia, was now about to become the staging ground for what would on Friday become the first concerted footsteps on the Continent for the Allies in three years.

He offers comparison to the war climate extant in the area to that in Britain and Sweden, his stopover during May, finds the soldiers of North Africa to have become inured to a grinding ground war, despite air superiority. That distinguished their expectations from those of the Britons with whom he had discussed strategy; the stress there had been almost exclusively on air power. The soldiers in North Africa knew better.

Mr. Clapper finds the attitude realistic and probably that which would govern strategy for the remainder of the war, that extensive preparation for combat operations, followed by the grueling, bloody task of yard-by-yard fighting, would be sine qua non henceforth for victory.

A letter writer, a veteran of World War I, smirks that the younger generation of soldier was spoiled rotten with his laundry being handled by private enterprise, that in his day, each soldier had a regular daily chore of cleaning his own uniform. It would save the Government a tremendous sum of money, he suggests, if only the puling little weak-kneed mamas' boys of the Army of 1943 would learn to wring their own.

--What a bunch of pansies. Can't even do their own laundry. No wonder the war 's being lost so miserably and the country almost broke in the bargain. And those silly, sissy planes. Why, the trench fighting was the only effective way to win, gas or no gas. Took us doughboys but 19 months to send the Hun packing back home. These young, lazy whipper-snappers these days. Canít do an honest day's work to save them. And whining about it all the time. Probably all former reliefers.

Tom Jimison, writing this time for unknown reasons from Canton, tells the story of Uncle Hosea Mooney, hard-working mountain man and spiritual ombudsman of the county, who had died thirty years before on Hyder Mountain near Clyde, in Mr. Jimisonís native Haywood County.

Uncle Hosea could preach hot hell or freezing snow.

He could scare even the Devil himself out of his wits, had cast Auld Horny into the Pigeon River one cold, dark night for mocking him.

The moonshiners thereabouts believed that he had the power to invoke God's curses on them and so steered a wide path for him.

Yet, benevolent he was to the people of the countryside, reports Mr. Jimison, always lending his helping hand and beneficent advice, neglecting his own crops on occasion to help his neighbor with the harvest, giving aid and comfort and work to those who were ill, before even the preacher or doctor ever arrived.

His last word, said the preacher who buried him, "Higher."

Uncle Hosea's name had lived on in Haywood County.

Sainted as he was in those parts, some say his secret nickname was "Sly".

For he knew how to roll back the Stone.

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