Thursday, September 2, 1943

The Charlotte News

Thursday, September 2, 1943


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports of the question mark surrounding the Navy attack on Marcus Island, whether it was a feint to disperse Japanese ships, whether a hit and run operation, or whether one to pave the way for invasion.

Domei, the Japanese news agency, reported that 12 of 150 fighter planes had been shot down by the Japanese, with negligible damage to their own planes and ground facilities on the island. The report was unconfirmed by Allied sources.

Future presidential advisor to Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Carter, and Reagan, and a member of the Warren Commission in 1964, John J. McCloy, at the time Assistant Secretary of War, reported that the Sicily Campaign had resulted in 7,500 killed, wounded or missing, bringing the total since the start of the war to 70,872, 9,209 of whom had been killed, and the total casualties for all the armed services to 104,658.

Fully 121,000 enemy prisoners, mostly Italian, had been captured during the campaign.

Mr. McCloy also reported that it was anticipated that the Red Army could conquer the entire Donets Basin and possibly regain the Crimean Peninsula during the fall.

The Russians meanwhile recaptured Sumy, a Ukrainian center a hundred miles northwest of Kharkov.

Prime Minister Churchill arrived in Washington from Canada to meet privately with FDR, this time partly a social visit. Emphasis of the meeting was on political rather than military plans for Europe.

In Denmark, subsequent to the resignation of the minister to Sweden, a personal envoy of interned King Christian X, Nazi military dictator, Hermann Von Hanneken, requested that resigned former Danish Prime Minister Eric Scavenius form a new government as a puppet regime to the Nazi military dictatorship. Scavenius flatly refused to become a Danish quisling.

In the meantime, demonstrations in Denmark had subsided under Nazi martial law. Newspaper editors were released from prison on condition that they publish only that approved by the Nazi military regime.

A crewman from the August 2 Ploesti oil refinery raid by 175 U.S. Liberators told of two of the twenty crews lost in the raid having crashed deliberately into the refinery and cracking facility in Rumania. Their purpose had been to shorten the war, the purpose of the mission. Both planes had already been hit and were doomed anyway.

In Berlin, 450 fires were reported via Swiss sources still to be burning from Tuesday night’s RAF raid and 5,000 were estimated killed.

A Nazi-controlled Paris radio station broadcast alerts that the Allies were preparing for a major assault on the French coast and that thousands of troops had been diverted from Russia to shore up French defenses.

More reliable reports had it that troops were being diverted to Italy, Denmark, and the Balkans. The broadcast appeared as a typical Nazi ploy to try to obtain information on Allied plans.

On the editorial page, "Food Waste" reports that OPA price ceilings had so depleted profits of food growers that much of the crops were laying to waste in the fields, too unprofitable to bring to market. It had occurred with Colorado cabbage growers. It had occurred with cherry growers in Denver who could not obtain refrigeration for their crop, invited the public to pick cherries for free; when no one showed for want of gas, the cherries rotted.

The piece opines that OPA officials should be cleaned out and more responsible price regulators appointed to replace them.

"Nobody Home" finds FDR's "vicious personal attack" on Drew Pearson for his remark that Cordell Hull was anti-Soviet to be useless and not conducive to resolution of the underlying issue, the confusion in State Department policy. It reminds that the President had often sided with Undersecretary Sumner Welles and Vice-President Wallace against Cordell Hull and that Hull was an old-time Southern politician who had always expressed consistently his distrust of Russia.

The piece calls for explanation as to the standing of Mr. Welles, and if, as it appeared, he was out of the State Department, to supply to the public the rationale. Was the split the result of policy differences toward the Soviet Union, as it appeared to be? If so, what were the implications of the move?

"Soldier Smokes" remarkably demonstrates through the decades a slowly changed attitude toward smoking. The editorial, without chagrin, congratulates the community for providing $2,500 thus far to a News campaign to raise money for cigarettes to be sent to American soldiers who, it says, would be sure to appreciate the donations.

And they did, of course. At least until it became apparent by the 1960’s that the bullets of war which did not reach them bodily instead had struck their lungs indirectly by means of the device they most often used to escape thought of the prospect of the bullet's deadly confluence with a path aimed through the enemy's sights at them.

Raymond Clapper believes it would be poetic justice should the smaller nations of Europe wind up providing the final death knell to Hitler. After all, the Nazi had preyed on them as the weaker throughout their reign of terror. Now, Denmark and Bulgaria stirred from their overshadowed and quelled national identities to produce in the streets the fires of revolution. Sweden, steadfastly neutral in the war, had felt emboldened enough against the Nazis finally to stop the traffic of soldiers through the country from Norway. Finland was negotiating with Russia for peace. The empire of little nations which Hitler had sought to enslave to German will was now draining the Wehrmacht’s energies from Italy and Russia just as those fronts appeared crumbling in the face of overwhelming Allied strength.

Dorothy Thompson first looks at the varying dates which began parts of the war, concluding that the war really began in Europe in 1933 when Hitler came to power.

She then turns to the issue of recent criticism of parts of the press for speculating on Soviet relations with Britain and the U.S., finds it critical for a free press to engage in such speculation regardless of suggestions by Brendan Bracken, Britain’s Minister of Information, that those in the press and public who speculated openly that Russia might conclude a separate peace with Germany were “unconscious fifth columnists”. In so doing, Ms. Thompson recounts, Mr. Bracken recalled that Russia had concluded in June, 1942 a twenty-year treaty with Britain, pledging in it not to form any separate peace with Nazi Germany. But, she reminds, that pledge did not include demanding unconditional surrender as had Britain and the U.S. since the January Casablanca Conference. And it was on this exception which the Soviets now appeared ready to act.

Drew Pearson examines the Office of Economic Warfare drive to encourage larger production and importation of food from Latin America, especially Mexico, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, and Chile. He recalls the controversy during the 1920’s when increased importation of corn and alfalfa came from Argentina, to the howls of farmers over low competing prices, resulting in a high tariff being placed on the imported corn and the alfalfa colored orange-red to tell farmers that it winterkilled.

Samuel Grafton writes of the disparate desires of the Western Allies and the Soviet Union. The Soviets wanted a second front in Europe to divert 50 to 60 divisions of Germans from Russia. The Americans and British wanted a conference with Russian emissaries to present a unified front in Europe.

The problem, he points out, with trying to make the twain desires meet, was in the potential for disaster which could arise from a premature invasion of Europe. If many Americans and British died in such an invasion, even though the war in Europe were ended by it, residual bitterness would result in the West toward Russia, especially should the Russians then not provide aid in ending the war with Japan.

Observers would not have long to wait for the long-anticipated conference with Stalin. He would attend the Teheran Conference with Roosevelt and Churchill in late November and early December, 1943.

Perhaps more than a bit of coincidence accrues from the juxtaposed mention by the Reverend Herbert Spaugh of the church bells being permitted again to ring on Malta. Churchill and Roosevelt would meet on Malta in late January, 1945 as prelude to the Yalta Conference with Stalin on the Crimea a few days afterward, both conferences reckoning with the post-war organization of Europe, the first also discussing Japan.

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