Monday, August 16, 1943

The Charlotte News

Monday, August 16, 1943


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Seventh Army had marched to within fourteen miles of Messina, after capturing Melazzo, a key harbor facility for the retreating Nazis to have used to aid their escape to Italy's mainland.

The Eighth Army captured Taormina, 28 miles from Messina, and pressed onward toward the last Axis escape hatch. San Teresa was the next town up the east coast of Sicily.

The complete retreat and evacuation continued, with the Germans leaving behind only Italian contingents to confront and try to delay the Allies.

British and American forces joined together after the taking of heavily damaged Randazzo had been accomplished by both forces, finally occurring without firing a shot as all resistance had ceased, the Axis forces having beat a fast retreat from the town before the Allies arrived. For the previous five days, the heaviest fighting in Sicily had transpired there, the Axis seeking to guard the evacuation of German troops across the Messina Strait.

Official reports now indicated that the campaign for Sicily was about to end in victory after only 37 days since it began.

Berlin admitted in broadcasts that Sicily was a lost cause, but assured listeners that the Axis had control of the Messina Strait, thus could prevent the Allies from invading Italy. (Just as German cities would never be bombed.)

In Milan, five hours after the latest RAF raid, workers marched through the five feet of rubble which had until recently been the city, demanding that the war end.

Henry Cassidy writes of the discovery at Orel Prison in Russia of the dead bodies of 5,000 Red Army soldiers, either perishing of starvation or shot in the back of the head by their Nazi guards.

The Red Army was reported to have taken Karachev, last avenue of escape for the Nazis trapped in the lines west of Orel. It left only a dense forest between the Russians and Bryansk.

A map shows the advance in the Russian lines since the summer of 1942, lines which had further retreated eastward before advancing during the winter Russian counter-offensive which began in November.

On the editorial page, "Where Next?" speculates on the next move by the Allies, perhaps the mainland of Italy, perhaps the Low Countries, perhaps the Balkans. Wherever it would be, the piece predicts, the end was nigh for Germany, perhaps even months away.

"German Whines" finds no pity for the pleas for mercy issuing out of the German press, complaining of being bombed without defense. The Germans’ track record in the war left little room for empathy.

"On War Workers" argues that, after the end of the war, workers in war industries had to be provided meaningful jobs, that the soldiers came first, but the war workers also could not be neglected without adverse consequences to society in the form of rampant unemployment and swelling again of relief rolls.

"Over-All Draft" plumps for the universal draft of labor, proposed to be applicable to all men between 18 and 65 and all women between 18 and 50, something which had occurred in 1940 in Britain, a policy which manpower coordinator Paul McNutt had advocated for some time for the United States.

"We Can't Know" reminds Americans that by comparison to such starving nations as Poland, the American food rationing program was the equivalent of plenty.

Raymond Clapper joins the other columnists on the page in advocating a firm policy for occupation government of nations conquered and liberated in the war. He also counsels immediate recognition of the French Committee of National Liberation, even if on the limited terms the committee itself had imposed on its duration, until such time as a new government of France could be duly put in place by the people.

Otherwise, he predicts, especially in light of General De Gaulle’s recent announcement that no peace with Italy by the Allies could be binding on France without its full participation at the peace table, that liberation of countries such as France would be problematic, resulting in confusion, hampering the continued war effort.

Drew Pearson analyzes the great concerns before Churchill and Roosevelt at Quebec: 1) the problem of placating Stalin's renewed demand for a second front to be opened in France, lest he write his own terms of peace with Germany and proceed to try to implement them unilaterally; 2) determining how to accomplish an invasion across the Channel anytime soon when Churchill had favored at the January Casablanca Conference a greater proportion of American troops than British to populate an invasionary force, while as yet the submarine menace in the Atlantic had forestalled shipment of sufficient American troops to England to mount such a large operation; 3) reconciling with the second front demand the adoption of the Churchill plan in the last conference of May-June, to attack the soft underbelly of Europe, through Italy, to enable time for the Allied bombing effort to run its course on Germany and the occupied countries, and to provide further time for U.S. troops to be accumulated in England.

The commitment for the future implicitly appeared defined by the conditions extant: there could be no invasion of France anytime soon; the Allies would proceed into Italy, the soft underbelly.

Samuel Grafton returns to the apparent schism in the State Department, represented by the policy of expediency favored by Secretary Hull as opposed to the policy of popular determination of occupation government favored by Undersecretary Sumner Welles. Mr. Grafton finds the recent criticism leveled at Mr. Welles and the pressure to boot him from the State Department, as exerted by Arthur Krock of The New York Times and other columnists pre-disposed to the Hull policy of expediency as an endearing charm beckoning them back to their days of isolationism, to be more than likely the result of the liberalism of new frontiersman Welles and his opposition to the policy of expediency, not his overall competence in the position.

Eventually, within less than three weeks, the critics of Mr. Welles would have their way with him, in a controversial setting, much to the consternation of the President, accustomed to a less than monolithic State Department with different publicly visible functionaries ostensibly assigned to pursue different tasks.

And Harry Golden writes another letter to the editor, as he had the previous November 28. This time he finds Samuel Grafton's cudgeling the "little moronic" King of Italy and the "Fascist" Badoglio to represent but a tempest in a teapot, full of Little Lord Fauntleroy naivete. He chastises also The News for coming to the defense of Mr. Grafton after the President's criticism of the Grafton broadcast delivered under the auspices of the Office of War Information, suggesting that its reason for adopting the Grafton view was disingenuous, that it had merely found an opportunity to carp at FDR.

Mr. Golden slightly muffs the quote from King Lear at the conclusion of his letter: it is "thou marble-hearted fiend".

But let's see these pockets, the letters that he speaks of... To know our enemies' minds, we'ld rip their hearts; their papers is more lawful.

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