Friday, September 10, 1943

The Charlotte News

Friday, September 10, 1943


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that a German army under the command of Field Marshal Albert von Kesselring had attacked Rome to prevent its surrender by the Badoglio Government. German broadcasts claimed that Rome had surrendered to the Nazis. Rome radio reported that an agreement had been reached whereby German occupation troops would enter Rome only to occupy the German Embassy, the radio station, and the telephone exchange.

An Allied broadcast out of Algiers indicated that the Germans had seized control of Genoa. The broadcast urged Italians to sever all communications lines between the Germans in both Naples and Calabria and those in northern Italy, source of German supplies. It urged that the ensuing week was crucial in keeping the war in Italy short.

Meanwhile, the British Navy seized the port of Taranto with virtually no opposition from the Italians, as the American Fifth Army continued its enveloping movements in the area of Naples where the fiercest fighting had been encountered. Italians were reported to be fighting Germans in the heavily contested northern part of Italy where Erwin Rommel, claimed German radio, had assumed command.

In his first speech since March 21, Adolf Hitler told the German people that the surrender of Italy had been expected for some time and was the result of an absence of will, not lack of German military support.

Rome radio denied reports emanating from Berlin that King Vittorio Emanuele had resigned and that Crown Prince Umberto had assumed the Italian throne in his stead.

As German troops were sent to occupy the major Albanian port towns on the Adriatic, an Allied fleet had been sent from the Ionian Sea to liberate Albania and a major battle there appeared brewing. Albania had been seized and occupied by Italian forces in 1939.

German troops were also indicated to have entered the Dalmatian area north of Albania, disarming Italian occupation troops in the process.

On the Russian front, the Red Army, assisted by air operations and amphibious landings, captured Mariupol, important port on the Sea of Azov, 65 miles west of recently captured Taganrog and a hundred miles from the railway leading to the Crimea. Along with Rostov and Taganrog, the three most important Sea of Azov ports were thus now returned to Russian hands. Chaplino, 80 miles northwest of Stalino and 60 miles from the Dneiper River, along with three other towns, were also said to have been captured, culminating a furious 80-mile advance in just two days.

In the Pacific, artillery units began pounding the Malahang airdrome held by the Japanese near Lae as Australian ground troops moved within two miles of the objective.

On the editorial page, "Golden Chance" opposes the plan of Herbert Hoover for Italy, to allow it to go unpunished for its sympathy with Fascism during the previous twenty years. Instead, the editorial recommends sending the signal to Germany that the Italian leadership would not go unpunished for their war crimes but that the ordinary people of Italy would only be saddled with financial debt for what they had precipitated with their erstwhile support of the Mussolini regime. The consequent object would be to enable Germans to understand that they were better off capitulating to terms and bringing about internal revolt to the Nazis than continuing the war.

"The Children" takes critical aim at the Government for its continuing treatment of the American people as small children insisting that despite developments of late in Europe, the war was yet to be long and hard and not to expect any lessening of pace, all in the name of preventing overconfidence.

"The Jest" suggests that in Valhalla the chortles must be mighty and whooping when it was heard there that Hitler proclaimed Italy had betrayed him in surrendering to the Allies. Only Reinhard Heydrich, says the piece, likely would not have obtained the cream of the matter.

"That For You" praises Cordell Hull for having refused Lend-Lease aid to Argentina for its long flirtation with Nazi Germany.

"Whose Offensive?" lists the substantial Lend-Lease aid provided Russia and offers that in light of it, the next time anyone in Russia complained of the absence of a second front, the figures should be displayed visibly as an argument against any notion that Russia was bearing alone the brunt of the war.

Raymond Clapper reports that the military viewed the coming months to be harder than the ones just past, with all the successes enjoyed in North Africa, Sicily, and now on Italy's mainland. As a function of this possible turn, he analyzes the shortages domestically imposed by the war and the increased expectations for easing of the shortages. While he finds much of the rationing relaxing, he cautions that coal, oil, and rubber deficiencies would persist. Coal would need to be sent to Italy as Italy previously had received most of its coal from Germany. Britain had too little available to assist now that Italy was fighting with the Allies. Gas shortages would continue for the needs of the military in both theaters of war. Synthetic rubber still was in need of more development before it could be put into general use by the public. Moreover, the shortage of rolling stock in railway transportation would likewise continue to be tied to war supply, especialy to the war in the Pacific. The Office of Defense Transportation had sought to suspend "full crew laws", apparently, suggests Mr. Clapper, with the disastrous results of the three major trains wrecks during the week.

Drew Pearson first examines outgoing rubber czar William Jeffers and his waning days in office attempting to urge both Labor and management in the rubber inbdustry to cooperate to bring about the goal of producing thirty million tires during 1944.

He next turns to further explanation of the status of former Undersecretary of State Sumner Welles, dismissed by FDR under ultimatum provided by Cordell Hull that either Hull would go or Welles would go. Initially, Hull was in favor of a suggested Moscow mission for Welles, to smooth relations with Molitoff and Stalin. But with the editorial flak received by Hull in the wake of the news of the Welles dismissal, he now bristled at the notion, believed that he was instead the more appropriate figure to be sending to Russia. The resulting confusion left the President in a dilemma, to send Welles or not. Hence, says Mr. Pearson, the silence from the White House thus far regarding the Welles "resignation", likely to continue until such time as a firm decision could be made on what to do with Mr. Welles.

The News editors, with approbation, present the aims of the local N.A.A.C.P. chapter in Charlotte. The listed aims were modest by our contemporary standards. But by the standards of the segregated society of 1943, they were in many respects viewed as radical, especially the last stated goal, numbered 7:

"Eliminate outward show of racial differences. Take down signs on busses referring to race, same at drinking fountains. Negroes should be provided with rest rooms downtown (there are none now). Negroes should be given places to eat downtown. Negroes should be given opportunities to see motion pictures, but are now unable to, except for inadequate facilities in own section."

Note that there was no overt statement of aim to integrate the mentioned facilities necessarily, save of implicit necessity the drinking fountains and areas of the bus in which members of each race could sit. Nevertheless, with the echo of every word of this paragraph repeated aloud by its reading audience across the dinner table, the implication of integration was heavily breathing down the necks of white supremacist Southern segregationists in loud drum-rolling cadences reminiscent of Sherman's March.

--Naw suh. Nawsuh. Not heh. Not now. Not evah. No.

And thus, it would take over twenty more years and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, ensuing violent bloodshed in many areas of the South, including the death of a President, for just these simple aims set out in item 7 to be effected. Not even the blatant fact of black men fighting and dying alongside white men in a war to save democracy from the ruinous clutches of the worst racist mankind had ever known could ameliorate the entrenched attitudes of the worst of the recalcitrants.

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