Tuesday, September 14, 1943

The Charlotte News

Tuesday, September 14, 1943


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that fresh Allied reinforcements had been sent to relieve the forces of the U. S. Fifth Army meeting heavy resistance in the area of Salerno, a battle being compared to the bloody imbroglio at Gallipoli in World War I. The British Eighth Army was a hundred miles south of the Fifth Army, seeking to join forces and squeeze the Germans in between the two armies.

German sources claimed that the Allies were withdrawing to the sea, beaten. General Eisenhower's headquarters admitted that some of the ground gained had been lost back to the Germans, but no mention was made of any intent to evacuate the position.

John Chester, A. P. correspondent, provides analysis of the possible reasons for the stiff resistance. Three factors were cited: the 150-mile distance which planes had to travel from Sicily or southern Italy to reach the beachheads where the fighting was taking place, compared to the 50-mile distance the Luftwaffe was flying; the difficulty of establishing a large ground force because of the ability of the Nazis to concentrate on small areas of beach; and the resulting difficulty of pushing the Germans out of artillery range of the beaches.

From Friday through Sunday the RAF had flown 500 sorties per day using Mustangs, Lightings, and Spitfires, encountering relatively few German fighters, but shorter range planes were yet necessary to push the Germans back. Closer airfields were still several days away from being ready to fly missions. The result was that the landing forces had been able only to penetrate six to seven miles inland from the beaches around Salerno, leaving the beaches still exposed to German artillery fire.

William Stoneman of The Chicago Daily News reports from the front that the German mechanized and infantry units engaged in the Battle of Salerno were completely cut off from their northern supply lines at this point and thus were fighting for their lives, with little hope ever again to see Germany. Mr. Stoneman reports of having been riding with other correspondents in an unarmed jeep in what they thought was a tour of a victorious front when suddenly they encountered a group of German Mark IV tanks approaching from a few hundred yards distant. Someone waved them out of harm‘s way to await the conclusion of the battle.

Street fighting was reported by Algiers radio to be occurring in Rome between stubborn anti-Fascist Italians and Germans. It occurred amid reports of German propagandists that the new Axis government at Rome would revive Mussolini and Fascism and oust the House of Savoy under the rule of King Emanuele, reported already to have fled Rome with Pietro Badoglio and Crown Prince Umberto.

Both throughout Italy and in the Balkans, Italians were fighting the German occupiers. Milan, Turin, Genoa, Novara, Cremona, and points extending south to Bologna were reported by Swiss sources to be under control of Fascists again while Fascists rallies were being held in the German-held north.

John Lardner reports of his tour of the elaborate prison facilities constructed by the Fascist regime of Mussolini at Vibo Valentia, a town on the corn of Italy’s toe. He reports that the Fascists placed much of their emphasis on two types of infrastructure: roads and prisons.

Does it sound familiar?

On the Russian front, the Soviets captured Bryansk.

In the Pacific, Australian troops completed the capture of the town of Salamaua, 150 miles from Japanese-held New Britain containing the important supply depot at Rabaul. The Australians had already taken the airdrome from retreating Japanese seeking to clear a path of escape to Lae. The Japanese had held Salamaua since January, 1942. Notably, no longer were the Japanese fighting to the death as at Buna and Gona on the Papuan Peninsula in January; they were running for cover. The capture of Salamaua marked the first combined air and sea facility to be taken by the Allies during the Pacific war.

On the editorial page, "Stone Broke" finds refreshing the story from Washington that Governor Broughton, lobbying for higher tobacco prices, found himself without sufficient funds to afford a plane ticket home, had to turn to Lieutenant Governor Harris for the price, only to discover that Mr. Harris had lost his wallet. Somehow both got home.

The editorial found the story suggestive that the state had honest executives, not on the payroll of the tobacco industry or some other special interest.

Yet, it was not reported who financed the trip home.

"Exit, Fatso" finds the rescue from internment by the Nazis of Mussolini to be inconsequential, that eventually the war would catch up with Il Duce and he would be taken dead or alive, better, says the piece, dead. The same, it predicts, would occur with Hitler.

The editorial was dead-on accurate in its precognition.

"Paper, Paper" criticizes the waste of paper produced by the Treasury Department in a mailing to The News of two or three-day old stale news datelined Charlottesville, Virginia. With a paper shortage cutting the availability of newsprint, the editorial finds the waste unacceptable. If it had pertained to the Third War Loan Drive, it would have made sense, but not as it was, a packet of outdated featurettes.

"On Fathers" suggests that no fathers would support the Wheeler Amendment to draft no fathers prior to January 1, just as the Army was opposing it. War manpower needs were paramount and no fathers would likely differ on the point.

The House had passed a bill, subsequently tabled by the Senate Military Affairs Committee, which would have deferred only fathers who were married before Pearl Harbor and had children genuinely dependent upon them; these fathers were deferred only as long as non-deferrable men were available in the three other categories of the draft. The Senate bill would not only extend the draft of fathers but also would have applied to all fathers married before Pearl Harbor. A new House bill soon to be introduced by Representative May meanwhile would defer the draft for all fathers with dependent children regardless of when the child was born. Current policy of the Selective Service was to defer all fathers with dependent children, irrespective of when the child was born.

Raymond Clapper assures his reader that the war with Germany would persist for at least another year before the German people gave up, appearances presently to the contrary notwithstanding. Compared to a year earlier when during the summer the Nazis had pushed to the Volga in Russia and nearly to the Suez in Egypt, the war had taken a decisive turn on three fronts to the favor of the Allies. In the Mediterranean, Hitler's forces were pushed out of North Africa, out of Sicily and southern Italy, no longer with any chance thus to link with Japan through the Suez. In Russia, the failure of the German summer offensive had sewn up that front from German advantage permanently. And the Atlantic had largely been cleared of the U-boat menace, formerly hindering the vital Allied shipping efforts. Still, overconfidence was America’s and Britain’s worst enemy, says Mr. Clapper.

Dorothy Thompson stresses that the Battle for Italy would be an all out effort on both sides, Allied and German, unlike the preceding battles in North Africa and Sicily which had been viewed by Hitler as delaying efforts once the pushes of the Allies began. There would be no similar quick retreat by the Germans from Italy. The losses, she warns, would be heavy for the Allies.

The Italians meanwhile were fighting for themselves, not for the Allies, but against the German occupation. It was best therefore to understand this distinction and use it to Allied benefit by insuring the ends which the Italian people sought. Their worst historical enemies, she says, those who had brought Mussolini to power, had been the latifundian estate owners, the plutocratic monopolistic interests, the military imperialists, and royalty which had provided cohesion for the other groups. These enemies, along with Hitler, had to be the focus of Allied elimination to inspire the inertia to freedom in the Italian people made evident in the recent demonstrations across the country in the wake of Mussolini’s demise and the reluctance subsequently of Badoglio immediately to surrender to the Allies.

Drew Pearson examines the public dismay over Congress, as evidenced by the spate of denunciatory mail he had received after advocating an increase in congressional pay from $10,000 per year. He finds the source of frustration to be the tendency of Congress to gather itself behind its own protective moat and damn the torpedoes vis à vis anyone criticizing the institution or its membership.

The tendency was crystallized most visibly in the recent investigation by the Justice Department into the illegal receipt of lobbying fees by Congressman Goober Cox of Georgia for lobbying efforts with the FCC, in the wake of which investigation he both escaped any punitive sanction and effectively turned the tables, obtaining $60,000 to investigate the FCC, the agency which had initiated the complaint with the Justice Department. In the process, the Congressional Record was doctored to eliminate any testimony favorable to the FCC.

Such antics, says Mr. Pearson, could not help but spread public cynicism anent the Congress.

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