Tuesday, September 21, 1943

The Charlotte News

Tuesday, September 21, 1943


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Fifth Army made new gains in the area of Salerno, capturing Eboli, sixteen miles inland, a key Nazi communications center during the Battle of Salerno. Meanwhile, American artillery shelling of Naples continued.

The British had landed troops on the Aegean islands of Cos, Samos, and Laro off Turkey, threatening Nazi-held Crete off the coast of Greece.

In a two-hour speech to Commons, his longest as Prime Minister, Winston Churchill promised the opening soon of a second front in Europe. He described the Mediterranean as a third front. He also stressed the importance of a tripartite conference to be held with Josef Stalin.

Both Churchill and General Eisenhower expressed complete satisfaction with the progress of the Italian Campaign.

The Red Army moved to within 115 miles of the old Polish border and to within ten miles of White Russia by taking Velizh, enabling a flanking movement toward Smolensk.

Addressing an American Legion convention in Omaha, General George Marshall attempted to correct public misunderstanding regarding progress of the war, stating that operations were only beginning to enter the offensive phase, that up to this point, preparation of the forces about to be deployed had been the stress. He also attempted to disabuse the public of the belief that the Army was now sufficeintly provisioned for the duration.

Meanwhile, Senator Robert Rice Reynolds protested any notion of transferring General Marshall from his post as Army Chief of Staff to commander of all European forces. The general's ability to orchestrate strategy was too valuable to spare, suggested the Senator—again showing sense for a change.

The House, in a bipartisan vote of 360 to 29, passed the Fulbright Resolution, approving United States membership in a post-war United Nations organization, sending the signal that the pre-Pearl Harbor conflict between isolationists and interventionists was now past history.

French naval forces landed on Corsica, the news of which Madrid reported as having spawned increased sabotage in France.

As German industrial companies sought to transfer ownership of assets located in Italy to neutral countries, the U.S. and Great Britain warned neutrals against such acquisitions, that any such transfers could and would likely be deemed invalid by the Allies.

On the editorial page, "Lost Freedom" points out the incongruity between plumping for freedom for colonial states such as India and the Malay States while at home, eight U.S. states still had the poll tax, a poll tax which disenfranchised more whites than blacks, as 18-year olds subject to the draft still could not vote. More parochial concerns anent freedom, suggests the piece, were entitled to priority over the vaguer concerns expressed regarding those abroad.

The poll tax was so entrenched in some states of the South that it finally took for its abolition an amendment to the Constitution in 1962.

But was the choice truly one of advocacy either of freedoms in the United States or freedoms in foreign lands? Were they not by now inextricably intertwined?

"Speak, Patriots" sardonically urges those in opposition to the immediate draft of fathers to write Congress of their views and to think nothing of whether the failure to impose such a draft might prolong the war by a year or more, or that the Army and the Administration and all the military experts urged that it be done to shorten the war. The experts had been wrong before. The people had the right to speak their minds, even if on peril of error at the cost of far more lives in the war than otherwise necessary.

"Tar Heel Boys" brags of the 230,000 North Carolinians now in uniform, bringing the state up to parity in its long tradition of patriotic service, following a slow start which saw North Carolina lagging behind much of the nation in per capita volunteers.

"What's Up?" asks whether there was a conscious effort to undermine the Allied effort by the appearance of recent simultaneous stories in the press in the United States and Great Britain, the one in Washington favoring the transfer of General Marshall to the European command and sending General Eisenhower home as the replacement Army chief of staff, the other in London questioning why Churchill, and, by implication, Eisenhower, had not made a concerted effort in Italy sooner, following the Italian surrender.

The latter story is esepcially problematic in its initial premise, for the invasion at Salerno actually occurred virtually simultaneously with Italy's unconditional surrender. The surrender was known in advance to Roosevelt and Churchill meeting in Washington and the invasion was specifically arranged to coincide with it by cooperation of the Badoglio Government.

Raymond Clapper identifies the sine qua non for insuring the peace after the war: the continued mass production of the big industrialized nations now fighting the war, the U.S., Britain, and the Soviet Union. Otherwise, he offers, the little nations would be devoured or be forced economically to trade with the likes of Nazi Germany in the future. The weight of the industrialized effort must fall on the big three, to save the little nations from the hungry predators of the future, the precipitate cause ultimately of each of the two world wars.

Dorothy Thompson discusses the fact that the Germans were now clearly retreating from Russia, and at the cost of huge numbers of men and materiel, that the reserves being sent to the Russian front were for the purpose of guarding the evacuation, not to seek to build another offensive. At the same time, the Nazis were concentrating, seemingly pursuant to bad strategy, men and materiel in Italy to resist the invasion of the Anglo-American alliance.

She contends, however, that this strategy was not so much the product of poor planning as it was the premeditated effort to play politics, to pit the Western Allies against the U.S.S.R. She interprets therefore the joint moves to imply that Germany was seeking the West to come urgently to terms of peace with Germany before Russia beat the West to the punch, that the retreat from Russia opened the door of Central Europe to Communists to forge the peace while the Nazi resistance in Italy sought to convince the West that, without the military aid of Russia, they alone could not defeat the Wehrmacht. Ms. Thompson concludes that it was necessary, in order to neutralize this attempt, for the West to reach rapprochement with Russia, and that, from the Russian point of view, with the Nazis in retreat from Russia and the West now bound to the invasion of Italy, the time was nigh for doing so.

Drew Pearson discusses the expressed sense of both the Senate and House, especially prevalent among the traditional supporters of Roosevelt war doctrine, that General Marshall must be retained as Army Chief of Staff, even if it took a bill from Congress to make it so.

He next turns to the recovered health of Manuel Quezon, President of the Philippine government-in-exile in Washington. He had suffered a relapse of his long-standing tuberculosis during the siege of damp Corregidor during the first four months of 1942 and had aggravatyed it by resuming, against doctors’ orders, his work upon arrival in Washington during the humid summer of 1942. Now he was healthy again and thus had removed one leg of the Japanese propaganda stool being foisted on the Filipinos, that the man on whom they had pinned their hopes for liberation was an invalid.

So, too, even more so, of course, was Roosevelt. And there had been no need for his recovery from polio to insure his prowess as a respected leader among his people. Only his actions in governing had been important.

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