Saturday, September 25, 1943

The Charlotte News

Saturday, September 25, 1943


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Red Army had taken back Smolensk from the Germans, held since the early stages of the war in Russia, site of Hitlerís personal headquarters during the winter offensive of 1942, (not 1941 as misprinted in the story).

It was the beginning of the end of Napoleonís reign.

Roslavi, important Nazi communications center on the Desna River, 65 miles southeast of Smolensk, was also recaptured by the Russians.

Amid furious artillery action between the U.S. and German forces around Naples, the U.S. Fifth Army under General Mark Clark had fought its way into the mountains overlooking the plain of Naples.

Reports John Lardner, the British Eighth Army, "chasing and chevying" the Germans for over a year across North Africa, in Sicily, and now in Southern Italy, had become accustomed to nearly every trick of the retreating Nazis, but were still seeing new wrinkles left behind intended to delay the Allies in each theater of action.

Now, the retreating armies were resorting to time-delayed bombs placed sporadically in the forested mountains outside Salerno, in the apparent hope that Allied troops would be in the area when they detonated. It wasnít so. The Nazis had also deployed a time-delayed land oil slick on a rocky slope in the hope of preventing the troops from marching up its sides. The soldiers reported that these tactics didnít delay them; only the blown bridges slowed their advance.

That is when the Tommies had to ford the rivers, after their chevying action had pushed the Nazis into dodging the relentless pursuit of the Eighth, accomplished in part by rambling jeeps.

In the Pacific, Finschhafen on New Guinea had been taken by the Australians from the Japanese, providing an important base of operations for attacking New Britain, 75 miles away.

From Rumania came a report of peace tenders being made to the Allies via Turkey. The Rumanian envoys were said to be seeking settlement of the issue of Transylvania, given by the Nazis to Hungary when they overran the Balkan nation in mid-1940.

On the editorial page, "Home Casualties" laments the loss of 750,000 soldiers to the casualty of illiteracy, the lack of a fourth-grade reading skill sufficient to read a newspaper. The bulk of the 14% rate of illiteracy came from the South, with nine of the ten states suffering the highest rate coming out of the old Confederacy, the tenth being New Mexico. The South was spending as much of its budget on education as the rest of the nation but the overall money available played the culprit, resulting in only half as much being spent per pupil in the South as in other parts of the nation.

Amid the call of Southern politicians for smaller Federal Government and more statesí rights, the piece concludes, with an unspoken nod to liberals, that the inequitable gap in spending had to be filled by the Federal Government.

"Lip Service" calls attention to the fact that the Little Steel formula, established in July, 1942 to insure that hourly wages would either rise by 12% over costs of living during the war or at least keep pace with rising costs, was moot. Since the start of the war in Europe in 1939, the rise in hourly wages in manufacturing industries had surpassed the rise in costs of living by fully one hundred percent. The piece concludes by asking rhetorically how the Little Steel formula still remained applicable.

"The Brushoff?" tells of the reaction of the War Department to the statement by General MacArthur of his subordinate role in the Pacific. Said the War Department, Lord Mountbattenís command in Southeast Asia did not overlap at present that of General MacArthur in the South Pacific, that General MacArthur completely controlled operations in that latter theater. Speculation was that General MacArthur was responding to criticism of the Australian press that not enough offensive action was being taken in that arena. The truth, concludes the piece, was that General MacArthur was likely playing his accustomed role as prima donna. It offers that it was unlikely that such a complaint would be heard from any other Allied commander, and the less, the better.

"Where's The Ship?" questions why the U.S.S. Charlotte, promised by the Navy as a cruiser eleven months earlier, had not yet surfaced among the Navy's roll of ships. Explanation would not be long in coming. The Coast Guard frigate Charlotte had its hull laid in August and would roll down the ways October 30. The ship's primary duty would be as a weather ship sailing off Newfoundland.

Dorothy Thompson contrasts the account of the war provided by Prime Minister Churchill to Commons in his two-hour speech of Monday to that of the despots, beyond account. On the one hand, Churchill was powerless but for his appeal to reason; the despots, omniscient, regardless of reason. Yet, at the end of the day, the appeal to reason and the candid setting forth of the status of the war had made Churchill, albeit among great criticism at home, a hero to the bulk of the British populace. Hitler, giving no reasons for his actions, insisting that the German people give him a blank check of faith in his deific judgment, was a diminishing demigod, possessed of no real power save that preserved by now failing force. Churchill was the man with real power, even if assured only on a day by day basis premised on his performance in office.

Raymond Clapper addresses the manpower shortage in war industry, to be made more complicated by the imminent drafting of fathers.

Drew Pearson writes poignantly to his sister an open letter on the occasion of the birth of her son, wishing the hope that twenty years hence, he would not be marching off to war again, to some distant land torn by strife for the failure of the diplomats of the world to take the necessary stands in foresight plied so hard first by Wilson, then by Kellogg and Stimson during the Twenties, all in the end for naught for the lack of steady tilling.

Unfortunately, twenty years and five weeks hence, the assassinations in South Vietnam, arguably linked to the assassination of the American President a mere twenty days later, would roil further a civil war brewing since the Japanese occupation of French Indochina in July, 1941, threatening to bust wide open and involve American fighting men in greater numbers and for a longer duration than at any time since World War II. It would be only another year beyond the expiration of that score of years when war would again begin to call Americans to the service of their country in fighting for a cause, this time not understood except in the vague analogy to the game of dominoes, whose immediate locus lay on the other side of the world.

Mr. Pearson's hope and dream for his nephew, though fulfilled as to world war, would not be insofar as the tumult stirred between the major powers of the post-war world by the conflicts troubling the little nations.

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