Friday, September 3, 1943

The Charlotte News

Friday, September 3, 1943


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports of the first Allied landing on the mainland of Italy this date, across the two-mile Messina Strait to Reggio Calabria, by the British Eighth Army and the Canadian First Division. The crossing took place in about twenty minutes and the landing was effected at 4:30 a.m., 10:30 p.m. Washington time, under a moonless night. The number of landing troops was not yet provided but the Eighth Army as a whole had varied in its numbers from between 80,000 and 100,000 men.

The Germans were believed to have about thirteen divisions north of Rome and between three and five divisions south of Naples, the latter including the one to two German divisions which had escaped Sicily prior to its fall.

In Flying Fortress raids the day before on Bolzano, Trento, and Bologna in northern Italy, the rail line through the Brenner Pass, connecting Italy with Austria and Germany, was broken in several places, ending at least for the nonce the movement of rail traffic along the vital supply route to Italy.

A large raid of Flying Fortresses and Marauders meanwhile took place in the area of Paris following a night raid by the RAF in northern France.

On the editorial page, "The Invasion" predicts that the landing on Italy's mainland spelled the end for Germany as it opened the way to Italian-held Albania, Greece, and the other Balkan nations, as well as affording bases in middle Italy from which Germany could be bombed more easily from the south to combine with the raids across the Channel.

"Achilles Heel" points to the hypocrisy of representative J. E. Chenoweth of Colorado, a voluble opponent of the New Deal and its waste and extravagance in government. Lately, he had attacked the President for providing a sub-chaser to the Norwegian government-in-exile under Princess Martha. While recognizing Free Norway as a valuable ally which had resisted bravely the oppression by the Nazis in Norway, Congressman Chenoweth asserted that the day of giving away American military implements of war "like a bridge prize" must cease.

The editorial finds the Congressman's position not only passé, a regression to the isolationist era, but also tainted by the fact of the Congressman's own give-away of bridge prizes, as pointed out by Drew Pearson, that of a government job at $1,200 per annum, for instance, going to his son, in college in Colorado, not in Washington where the job was supposed to find him as a member of his father’s staff.

Would it were that the $1,200 had gone to Norway, concludes the piece.

A reader from New Jersey writes a letter to the editor proclaiming that the current aphorism "old enough to fight, old enough to vote"--to be revived with success two and a half decades later, resulting in the 1971 amendment to the Constitution during the Vietnam War--was a dangerous notion. No one eighteen years old was yet savvy enough politically to exercise the franchise wisely, says the writer. And that general status was not improved merely because some of that age were deemed old enough to tote a gun and die in war overseas.

Wonder what he thought of the 1960's.

"You're old enough to kill, but not for votin'. You don't believe in war, but what's that gun you're totin'?"

Raymond Clapper writes of the "savage" attack on Drew Pearson by President Roosevelt for Mr. Pearson's suggestion that Cordell Hull had always been anti-Soviet, finds the President's criticism unduly confusing and chilling of other columnists including himself. For often it was merely speaking the truth which invited the obloquy of the Executive Branch, even to the point of denunciation of the author as a traitor. Mr. Clapper counsels that more clarity on policy from President Roosevelt, such as a clear statement of the status of Sumner Welles, mired in rumors of resignation for a month, or a clear statement of favor for Soviet participation in the councils of war between the U.S. and Great Britain, as recently articulated without hesitation by Prime Minister Churchill, would help to alleviate the speculation of columnists and thus the source of ire exhibited by the President.

And Harry Golden writes again to The News, this time extolling the virtues of visionaries, those who view the world through the prism of ideas and ideals, over those of so-called practical men, those who see the world through dollar signs. The former, says Mr. Golden, usually die virtual paupers, citing the small estate left by Shakespeare, the arrest of Socrates for vagrancy and non-support, the inability of Benjamin Franklin to keep change in his pocket for the tobacconist. The latter, whose class includes such men, he contends, as Harry Sinclair, Albert Fall, and Warren Harding, all of the Teapot Dome scandal, W.M. Kiplinger and his business advice, and Roger Babson with his stock advice, were riding high after the First World War, bringing riches and prosperity to a naïve country bent on high living during the Roaring Twenties. But then…

The visionaries, he finds, were remembered by the world and cherished for centuries; the practical men were soon forgotten by each successive generation in which they had appeared in glitter and bangles, then disappeared.

The comparison was by way of lamenting the elimination from power in government of the visionaries, Vice-President Wallace, Undersecretary of State Sumner Welles, in favor of the more practical men, Jesse Jones and Cordell Hull.

Indeed, was Mr. Golden not correct? Who today, save historians, remembers much of Albert Fall and Harry Sinclair, Kiplinger, other than perhaps his enduring newsletter, or Babson? Yet, everyone knows of Shakespeare, of Franklin, of Jefferson, of Socrates. Ideas endure along with their authors; money and its markets inexorably become sheared as so many sheep awaiting merely the curve of greed to transgress the available supply for making sweaters.

Drew Pearson examines the dispute between Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes and Donald Nelson, Chairman of the War Production Board, over whether to allow logging operations to proceed in Olympic National Park in the State of Washington for the purpose of felling sitka spruce to make the plywood Mosquito bombers for the RAF to continue to bomb Germany.

At issue was a shortage otherwise of available sitka spruce in Washington and Oregon, contended Mr. Nelson, a shortage which would hamper the war effort if not relieved by permission to cut the timber in Olympic. Mr. Ickes resisted, pointing to the fact that Canada had plenty of sitka spruce albeit under embargo, not allowing its shipment to the United States. But Canada's role in the war among the Allies, argued Mr. Ickes, mandated that it contribute its raw materials, especially as the Mosquito bombers were being provided Mother Britain. Moreover, there was, he claimed, plentiful abundance of sitka spruce in other areas of the two states outside the park, areas merely not yet accessible by logging roads, that the war was being used as an excuse by the lumber companies to try to gain access to national park land they had targeted for decades.

Mr. Pearson adds that not only were the facts asserted by Mr. Ickes militating against the opening of Olympic to logging, but the head of the War Production Board's Lumber Division was J. Phillip Boyd, a former employee of Weyerhaeuser, the chief provider of sitka spruce. It was Mr. Boyd who had recommended the use of the particular species for the Mosquito despite the more plentiful southern yellow poplar having been deemed equally suitable to the task.

Men of ideas versus practical men.

Mr. Pearson concludes his column by paying brief devoirs to former N.C. Governor O. Max Gardner for his people hobby, especially enjoying the provision of education for poor boys and girls of North Carolina. The column cites his efforts to endow Gardner-Webb College, located in Boiling Springs, N.C., as prime example of this source of joie de vivre for the former Governor.

The column picks up the notion and devotes a piece, "A Monument", to Governor Gardner's substantial endowment of the college, renamed from Boiling Springs Junior College in 1942 in honor of the Governor and his wife, daughter of Shelby salon, Judge James L. Webb.

Gardner-Webb, incidentally, is just across the street from the location of the little post office in which W. J. Cash wrote his first American Mercury pieces and then began and wrote the first part of the first version of the manuscript of The Mind of the South during the period 1929 to 1932. Cash was a student on the campus before the college was established, when it served as Boiling Springs High School in 1917-18. It became Boiling Springs Junior College in 1928, a four-year college in 1971, and a university in 1993.

O. Max Gardner, who had declined for health reasons to run against Robert Rice Reynolds in 1944 for the Democratic nomination for the Senate, was subsequently appointed in 1947 by President Truman to be Ambassador to Great Britain but died of a heart attack at age 64, just before leaving New York to assume his duties. He was the second North Carolinian to be appointed to the Court of St. James, Walter Hines Page having served in the post throughout World War I, appointed by President Wilson in 1913.

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