Thursday, August 5, 1943, 1943

The Charlotte News

Thursday, August 5, 1943


Site Ed. Note: The major news this date from Sicily was the fall of stubborn Catania, as reported on the front page, amid the cheers of the residents of the town welcoming the British Eighth Army through its gates. Catania fell at 2:30 a.m. Eastern War Time, 8:30 a.m. local time, after a standoff against the Axis since July 15. The British also captured Paterno, ten miles to the northwest of Catania. The fall was preceded for five or six days by the withdrawal of nonessential German military personnel from Sicily to the mainland of Italy. Virtually the whole Axis line around the base of Mt. Etna had now collapsed.

It was announced that American casualties in Sicily through July 22 totaled 6,741, of whom 301 had been killed, 3,870 wounded, and 2,370 missing. The exact British losses were not yet released but were believed by the War Department to be similar, considered moderate for the number of men deployed in the action.

Secretary of War Henry Stimson indicated that the new British, Canadian, and American successes in Sicily had forced the Axis defenders into the narrow northeast corner at Messina. He compared the situation to the trapping of the Axis on the Cap Bon Peninsula in the final days of the Tunisian Campaign in early May, but stressed that there was an exceptional difference, that the Messina Strait was but two miles wide, enabling supplies, reinforcements, and ready escape to the mainland in ways which the Sicilian Strait did not afford to and from Tunisia.

The Italian Government continued to entertain possibilities of peace tenders to the Allies, one set of proposed conditions from the Italian Foreign Minister Raffaele Guariglia including that Italy be declared neutral in the war and that no Allied troops be allowed to enter the country except to effect control of the rowdies.

Meanwhile, demonstrations continued demanding peace, some demonstrators now beginning to turn their hostilities toward new Premier Marshal Badoglio and toward King Victor Emmanuel, demanding death to each.

On the Russian front, Orel fell to the Red Army as the Soviet forces moved through the city, evacuated by the Germans during the previous several days.

On the editorial page, "Joy in Poland" imagines the feelings of the oppressed Poles every time news was imparted of Allied bombing of Hamburg and the other industrial cities made targets in recent weeks and months by the Americans and RAF in the Ruhr and Rhine valleys. Surely, it believes, the boot-kicked Poles took a macabre sense of delight in such news--such news anyway that they might be able to obtain amid strong censorship, such Poles as were still left alive after the great purges in Warsaw, Krakow, and elsewhere in the country.

"Points of Power" discusses the world’s shifting emphasis in the war from sea power of the past to air power of the modern world, that the post-war world, inevitably to be policed by Britain, the U. S., China, and Russia would perforce rely on strategic airports instead of seaports as in the past.

"Balkan Pattern" finds it not surprising that the historically vacillating group of countries should now warrant it propitious to initiate peace feelers toward the Allies as Orel and Sicily had fallen into Allied hands, the writing on the wall as to who would likely now win the war. The Balkan countries wanted to be on the winning side, as, historically, they always had sought to be. The trick in finally winning their loyalty would come in the form of trying to effect a balance of each country’s territorial demands against those of its neighbors.

"Negro Migrants" addresses the issue surrounding the recent violence erupting in Detroit in June and, more recently, in Harlem on Sunday. The stresses of a migratory population seeking higher wages in war industries in the major cities of Detroit and New York had ultimately been the primary source of these riots, the chafing economically between whites and newly arrived blacks to the northern cities, in competition now for the same jobs, against a backdrop of war and tension generally in the society, the frustrations boiling over finally in the summer heat.

The editorial finds the black migration from the South to the North and West, despite its immediate problems, to be desirable finally for the society, to enable relief of the South, overburdened with racial problems for centuries, and to afford a diaspora for the African-American population of the country.

Drew Pearson points out the two moments of hesitation in the political and military life of Pietro Badoglio, both proving costly to his fellow countrymen. The first was in 1922 when Mussolini and his fascisti marched on Rome, having been given aid in the process by the Italian Army right under the nose of Badoglio, its chief of staff. He could have stopped the advance by Mussolini but vacillated until it was too late to stop the drive to take over the government in Rome. The other was during the previous week, after the fall of Mussolini on July 26, when Badoglio could have set his country on a course of freedom, but instead again hesitated until it was too late to stop the continued bombing by the Allies.

He further chronicles Badoglio's professional soldiering for Mussolini, taking over in Ethiopia in 1937 for an incompetent Black Shirt of Mussolini and conquering the little country with efficiency--even if only challenged by little more than spears in the hands of peasants and untrained soldiers. He had never hesitated to support the Fascist cause militarily, even if never being a vocal supporter philosophically.

His fall from grace in the eyes of Mussolini came with the failed Greece campaign of spring, 1941, ultimately causing Badoglio to be called home by Mussolini, some fearing at the time that he might be eliminated. Instead, he was invited by the King to live in the royal palace as a means of royal protection from the Black Shirts. Yet, never did Badoglio denounce Fascism or Mussolini.

The remarks of Mr. Pearson lend great credence to the OWI radio broadcast which had the previous week drawn the ire of President Roosevelt for its strident words when Samuel Grafton described Badoglio as a "Fascist" and King Victor Emmanuel III as "the little moronic king".

Samuel Grafton finds it remarkable that Italian freedom fighters were now surfacing in the wake of the fall of Mussolini, that soon Italians might ironically march arm in arm with the Allies into France to free France from its own Lavaliere fascists. He finds it equally ironic that Russia might soon become an ally to the Balkan nations, thought once to be a target of Russian lust for annexed territory, that the Balkans themselves, always at each others’ throats, appeared now to have effected rapprochement among themselves for their mutual sustenance against Nazi Germany, that Italian soldiers in the Balkans had now turned to fight alongside the freedom fighters against the Nazi occupiers, that Italians were shooting Germans.

A strange and interesting world he finds it to have suddenly become after the dramatic Allied successes in Russia, Tunisia, and Sicily had turned the heads of the once fence-sitting nations of Europe.

Raymond Clapper, continuing his tour of Sicily, now saw Sicilian airfields being used for much shorter range Allied bombing of Italy, saw the photographic results taken ten days after the bombing raids of July 17 on Naples, showing no attempt by the Italians to effect repairs on the shattered remnants. It appeared Italy was all but finished in the war, was no longer making much of a concerted effort to maintain any role in it. Should the Allies be able to capture northern Italy and use airstrips there to surround Germany with bombing activity, he predicts, the war might very well end in Europe in 1943.

Ah, but still there was to come the secret weapon of Nazi Germany, by which they would effect the Second Blitz--the secret weapon which would form ultimately the potential delivery device of the other secret weapon being developed both in the labs of Germany and in the New Mexico desert in a race to the finish, which, ultimately, in combination, would prolong the war, arguably, in its dormant winter phase, for another 46 years.

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