Wednesday, September 8, 1943

The Charlotte News

Wednesday, September 8, 1943


Site Ed. Note: The front page boldly proclaims the unconditional surrender of Italy just three weeks after the fall of Sicily and just six days after the Allied landing at Reggio Calabria. The armistice became effective at 12:30 p.m. Eastern War Time.

General Eisenhower announced that the terms of surrender had actually been reached with the Badoglio Government on Friday, the day of the Allied landing on the mainland. The terms had been reserved for implementation at the most advantageous time for the Allies. That time had arrived. Italy pledged full support of the Allies and to resist all German efforts in Italy.

Left open was the question of what would occur with the substantial Italian Navy at Trieste and Taranto. It was believed that the Germans might attempt to scuttle the ships.

Also left unanswered was whether Corsica, which Italy occupied upon the Allied landing in North Africa, would be included in the surrender.

It was likewise unclear what territory on the Italian peninsula was subject to the surrender and what territory would continue to be defended by Hitler and his troops in the north, reported to number as many as fifteen to twenty divisions.

Comparisons were drawn between the surrender of Bulgaria in September, 1918, followed closely by the surrender of Turkey and Austria-Hungary, then Germany on November 11. Similarly, the southern flank of Germany had been exposed by Bulgaria's surrender in the earlier war. The implication was that the war might be over within weeks.

President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill, still together at the White House, were said to be jubilant at the news, of which of course they had been aware since Friday.

All over Europe, the Allied victory was being cheered among the peoples of the occupied nations.

In Russia, the Red Army took Stalino and crossed the rail line to Mariupol, 65 miles southwest of Stalino, continuing its fierce drive against the Wehrmacht.

On the editorial page, "Big Offensive" takes issue with Josef Stalin and the Soviets in their persistent demand that the Western Allies open a second front to divert 50 to 60 German divisions from Russia. It reminds that with the Germans backed up to the Dneiper River for the winter, 50 to 60 divisions had effectively been removed from the front. Moreover, it duly asserts that without the North African and Sicily campaigns, without the bombing campaign over Europe, without American and British production in aid of Russia, the Soviets would not have been able to muster the kind of force they had in the winter and spring offensives of 1943, instead would likely have been crushed.

The piece opines, in short, that the Russians did protest too much.

It concludes by asking when the Russians might challenge Japan from the east, a move no less dangerous than that of which Stalin asked the Allies to undertake. If what Stalin wanted was that the Americans and British would bleed as the Russians had bled, then he was in the wrong war.

"The Conspirators" tells of the Republican National Committee meeting at Mackinac Lake, Michigan, replete with its three leading characters, Tom Dewey, John Bricker, and Earl Warren, each in turn denying his candidacy for the Republican nomination for president. Conspicuously left out was Wendell Willkie and his One World philosophy. The piece finds that it would be poetic justice should Mr. Willkie be hurled by the people into the position once again as the Republican nominee, the one hope for the Republicans in 1944, it asserts.

"Too Healthy" remarks on the counter-intuitive fact that the death rate had reached an all-time low in the country, just as the number of available physicians were at an ebb for being called into service in the war. The piece wonders whether Americans, coddled by too much medical care, tended not to care for themselves as much in ordinary times as when they were without the immediate services of a doctor. Now that many had no physician, they were forced to buck up.

There is probably much truth in the notion.

"Girl Trouble" comments on the traditional custom in Italy that nice girls could not be picked up; there first had to be formal introductions. But for the Allied soldiers coming ashore, it was unlikely that they would stand on such formalities, suggests the piece. As in all such circumstances where hormones meet hormones, there would be activity, activity unpreventable by the Army or by custom or habit of the native population.

Raymond Clapper again addresses the issue of what to do with Mussolini and Hitler after the war. A few weeks earlier, he had recommended simply shooting both of them without a trial. He sticks to his guns. The mail, he recounts, in response to the piece had flowed unremittingly, most simply debating whether hanging wouldn't be preferable to shooting. A Mississippi correspondent suggested that hanging would be desirous for it enabling prolongation of the spectacle so that it might be repeated in every town in Italy and Germany. Shooting was too quick and final.

Mr. Clapper next turns to the Allied courting of Count Sforza, anti-Fascist and pro-democrat, as a possible leader for the new Italian republic.

A member of the Committee on Co-operation in Charlotte thanks The News for its recent editorial applauding the drive to build a new building for the black YMCA.

Struthers Burt, writing in The Ladies Home Journal, looks at the same topic addressed Friday by Harry Golden in his letter to The News, practical men versus visionaries. Mr. Burt finds that had America listened to the so-called practical men, it would still consist of Thirteen Colonies. Practical men always seemed to run in the direction of the status quo, mocking the visionaries who sought progress.

And Drew Pearson preoccupies himself primarily with anecdotal information on President Roosevelt, first that of his stamp collecting hobby, some 40 volumes strong with 30,000 to 40,000 stamps. Yet, among heads of state it was not pre-eminent. The late King George V had pursued a philatelic collection to fully 300 volumes. Harold Ickes shared the same passion and the President and the Secretary of Interior often traded stamps. FDR received many rare stamps from visiting diplomats and heads of state. He had asked the Liberian President on a recent White House visit to be sure and send him some of his country’s stamps bearing leopards on their face. No one in the Congress seemed to mind the practice despite it being technically unconstitutional for the President to receive any gift from a foreign nation.

Mr. Pearson points out that stamp collecting was a popular pursuit of former Presidents Cleveland, Teddy Roosevelt, and Coolidge as well.

Whatever the case, the hobby reminds of this here.

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