Wednesday, August 11, 1943

The Charlotte News

Wednesday, August 11, 1943


Site Ed. Note: The sixth conference, reports the front page, between Prime Minister Churchill and FDR stimulated talk of a grand planning session for a second invasion of the Continent and development of a strategy to end the war in Europe in 1943. Again, Premier Stalin was invited but was unable to attend. Churchill first stopped in Quebec to confer with Canadian Prime Minister MacKenzie King.

Following by 24 hours a raid on Mannheim and Ludwigshaven in Germany, the RAF conducted a night raid, dropping more than 1,500 tons of bombs on Nurnberg, junction of two important rail lines, one leading from Berlin to Munich and Italy, the other from the Ruhr Valley to southeast Germany. Supplies and reinforcements moving through Germany to Italy were moving through Nurnberg. Nearby also was a Messerschmitt factory. Sixteen RAF crews did not return from the mission.

Meanwhile, Berlin was continuing preparations for heavy bombing, believing the city soon to become the pile of rubble which was now Hamburg, digging slit trenches, preparing emergency water reservoirs, and moving its entire school system to other locations.

The bombing of Nurnberg brought the concentrated raids to within 75 miles of the capital city.

The British Eighth Army moved to within sight of mainland Italy as it captured Guardia at the foot of Mt. Etna, just forty miles from Messina.

The Seventh Army consolidated its position just east of San Agata at the mouth of the Rosmarino River.

The most intense fighting, however, was occurring around Randazzo as, amid minefields, broken mountain roads, and fierce enemy resistance, U.S., British and Canadian troops converged on the town to the north of Mt. Etna.

On New Georgia in the Solomons, the Army and Marines were converging from three points, including newly won Munda airfield, to entrap remaining Japanese at Bairoko Harbor, leaving their only avenue of escape across nine miles of water in the Kula Gulf to Kolombangara Island.

The Red Army continued to roll toward Kharkov and Bryansk along a 300-mile front in Russia.

A report speculating about absence of communiqués from the Allies regarding Kiska--the Aleutian island which had received plentiful attention from air raids during July--would soon be answered. A raid was in preparation. The reason no Japanese intercepts had been obtained was simply that the Japanese had already evacuated the island on July 28.

On the editorial page, "Now For the Kill" takes a look at the sixth wartime conference between Churchill and Roosevelt and finds it to be harbinger of things to come, as with each of the previous five, beginning with the August, 1941 Atlantic Charter Conference off Newfoundland, right up to the most recent occurring in May after the successful conclusion of the Tunisian Campaign, presaging the July 9-10 invasion of Sicily. The only difference it forecasts out of the present one was the prospect, with the Allies gaining their first ground on the Continent, that American casualties would rise precipitously.

"Russian Peace" provides good reasons arising from the aftermath of the First World War why Russia would be suspicious of both their British and American allies, of their potentially barring or limiting the participation of the Soviets at the peace table, as after the Great War. Hence, it does not find it at all surprising that the Soviets had formed their own unilateral committees to plan the fates of Germany and Poland after the war.

Nevertheless, out of this miasma of mutual suspicion is precisely where the Cold War began.

"The Issue Opens" suggests to the states that they begin to recover the powers surrendered to the Federal Government of necessity during both the Depression and the war, that with incomes soaring from war industries, the states now had the opportunity to do so.

Samuel Grafton looks at the supposed schism reported the previous week developing within the State Department between Secretary Cordell Hull and Undersecretary Sumner Welles. The basic dividing line appeared to be in policy formulation by Mr. Hull, gravitating toward expediency as the only criterion for establishing a new interim government in occupied lands, the French North African scheme, starting the disaster of Admiral Jean Darlan and proceeding with the division after his assassination between the State Department's backing of General Henri Giraud and the desires of the Fighting French, solidly behind General Charles De Gaulle.

Yet, Mr. Grafton finds the reportage on this issue confusing, the original source of the story, John Crider of The New York Times, reporting that the reason for the State Department's lack of cohesion was the result of a clash of personalities, while Arthur Krock, also of The New York Times, offered that it was in consequence of the President having taken a "high-handed attitude" toward Mr. Hull as he personally swayed toward Mr. Welles in formulation of foreign policy, sometimes completely shutting Mr. Hull out of the policy formulation entirely. Meanwhile, Mark Sullivan of The New York Herald-Tribune had opined that the President stood firmly behind Mr. Hull, that if any conflict there was, it existed only far down the chain of command within the Department, among the "ideology" adherents.

Mr. Grafton offers instead that perhaps the entire tempest forming ostensibly within State was nothing more than the natural product of circumstances as they had manifested themselves, that the apparent confusion had appeared because there was no firm policy in place as to how to govern occupied nations. And he goes further to suggest that the reason for this lack of policy was because the American people had not stepped to the plate to demand any particular policy of occupation, not yet sufficiently engaged to insist on any particular kind of government for Italy or Germany after their final defeat.

The State Department, he concludes, after his four years of opposition to its policies, was, alas, only a mirror of the people it represented.

Drew Pearson finds the whiskey distillers lobbying fiercely for release of alcohol by the War Production Board so that Americans might once again hail heartily, with glasses full, "Happy Days Are Here Again".

The need for alcohol by the military had been reduced in recent weeks, both for purposes of first aid and manufacture of gunpowder. So, didn't the distillers have a point?

No, says Mr. Pearson. For the grain industry was more in need of grain to feed livestock than ever before, and the projections for the coming fiscal year showed a large shortage of grain on the horizon.

Maintain your palates high and dry, ladies and gentlemen of 1943. The pigs, the cows, even the chickens, we suppose, were consuming all that grain which might normally have made you tipsy. So go sing a song instead for them in the barnyard. Old MacDonald, maybe.

He next looks at the various potential valets, including the Vice-President, for Assistant Attorney General Norman Littell, too busy with the Elk Hills oil scandal to be much concerned with his formal attire for official dinners.

Then he examines the reluctance of FDR to seek the nomination for the fourth term. Confidantes had suggested that he did not want to do it, whether the war was already won by 1944 or was still in progress. But what he did want to do was to have a guiding hand in formulating the peace, to avoid the pitfalls of Woodrow Wilson in 1919-20. Mr. Pearson thus deduces that the President might find a willing, palatable Republican--probably Mr. Willkie, though not named in the column--to take on the mantle, with the quid pro quo that FDR would be placed in charge of the American delegation at the peace conference.

The great wielding sickle of Death, however, would come knocking, both at the door of Mr. Willkie and at the door finally of FDR, less than three months after his fourth inaugural, to interrupt any such notions.

Nevertheless, FDR, pale and hollow-eyed, would attend his last meeting of the Big Four, including Stalin this time, in February, 1945, and would from the grave maintain his strong grip on the conscience of the peace planners both prior to the end of the war, with Potsdam occurring in July, 1945, as the San Francisco United Nations conference had already begun during the spring, and after both theaters were tranquil. FDR's lingering ghost perhaps maintained more influence over the peace confreres than he would have been able to muster in his fast physically deteriorating condition--as had been the case with the quickly failing health of Woodrow Wilson toward the end of his term in 1920.

And Tom Jimison checks in again from Lumberton, again telling of a club to which he had gained admittance, a different one from the tall-tales club which he described three weeks earlier, meeting under a special cedar tree on the courthouse square. This one was dubbed the "Jack White Club". The only basis for admission as a neophyte was that one had to have been swindled at one time or another.

It seems that the lawyers of Lumberton had at one time been swindled by one "Jack White" who had rolled into town pleading to their vanities, proclaiming that he was forming a history book of the Lumberton Bar. One only needed to fatten Jack's pocket a little and a biography replete with a picture of the lawyer would appear in Jack's history book. Then, having obtained the dues of numerous applicants to this worthy historiography, Jack split town with $600 in his pocket, leaving behind nothing printed but the feelings of being had and probably some words unprintable.

Yet, Mr. Jimison finds the Scotch of Lumberton deeply impressed by Jack's ingenuity, so much so that they had named their club in honor of him.

And all Mr. Jimison finally had to do to get into the club, besides admitting to having been swindled of a nickel once, was to change his name to Tom McJimison.

Jack White, he confides, was not really the fellow's name, as no good swindler would be so foolish as to part company with his swindlees on terms less than complete anonymity, vanishing into the woodwork, as the snakes which populate the swamps around Lumberton--to which we can attest, as we have before averred.

The fellow's name was probably, Mr. McJimison says, Sandy McGruder. (Whether any kin to Jeb Magruder, we don't know.)

In any event, we figure we could have joined that club ourselves, quite easily. And been initiated many times over, actually. Someday, we shall tell you about a few of the many Jack (and Jackie) Whites with whom we have chanced to run across. Some were named Nixon--or at least quite upset about some of the many unkind things we have had to say of one of that surname.

But, for now, we are too busy trying to get some of their fangs out of our being and so haven't quite the time today.

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