Saturday, January 15, 1944

The Charlotte News

Saturday, January 15, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the RAF and RCAF the night before dropped 2,000 long tons of bombs on Brunswick, a manufacturing city of 200,000, located a hundred miles west of Berlin, accomplished in just 23 minutes, a record drop of 87 tons per minute. The previous record had been set September 22 over Hannover with the dropping of 83.3 tons per minute with a total of 2,500 tons dropped. According to the returning pilots, Brunswick was left a ball of fire, lit up as daylight. The city had last been struck on September 27.

Another group of Mosquitos dropped bombs on Berlin while another group again hit Magdeburg, hit earlier on Tuesday by the large American raid, as well as targets in Northern France. Thirty-eight planes were lost in the missions.

It was reported that the previous day's daylight raid on the “rocket-gun coast” of Northern France had cost the Americans sixteen planes out of a total of 1,400 involved in the raid, only three of which, however, were heavy bombers. The raid destroyed twenty-seven enemy aircraft.

The Nazis had used in defense of the raids their new rocket-plane, similar to a jet fighter reported in development by the Allies, but utilizing only rear thrust, enabling it to climb four and a half miles at the astounding rate of 135 miles per hour, accomplishing the climb in only two minutes, compared to the usual average speed of acceleration in such a climb of only 18 miles per hour, taking fifteen minutes to achieve the altitude. The new rocket-plane had been used for the first time against the Americans in the Tuesday raid on Halberstadt and Magdeburg, costing the record number of 59 bombers and five fighters, out of 700 bombers and 500 fighters involved in the raid.

Although not so stated, it is thus subject to surmise that the sudden increase in the rate of loss was the result of this new rocket plane which could catch the bombers at high altitude, heretofore the ace in the hole for the Americans during daylight raids. The reason the Americans operated in daylight was because of the accuracy of the Norden bombsight from high altitude and the relative inability of the Nazi fighters to catch the high fliers before they could drop their bombs and beat a fast retreat back to England while their fighter escorts, substantially increased in number since late October, reducing dramatically losses, fended off the Luftwaffe fighters. The RAF preferred low level bombing by night, that to which they had become accustomed, and at which they were most proficient, during the two years prior to American involvement in the war.

A hundred Russian planes attacked German convoy operations in the Black Sea, seeking supply of the troops in the Crimea and Ukraine.

The Nazi High Command, meanwhile, high as usual, contended that the Allied claims of enemy losses in air raids were unduly exaggerated and that instead of the 394 Nazi planes shot down in the raids of October 14 at Schweinfurt, of December 12 at Emden, and of Tuesday at Halberstadt and Magdeburg, the number of losses to the Luftwaffe actually numbered only 96 fighters.

In Italy, the French forces under General Alphonse Juin, fighting with the Fifth Army, captured Acquafondata, to move from the northwest two more miles to within seven miles of Cassino. The drive, also capturing heights surrounding Viticuso, protected the flank of the American forces moving toward Cassino from the south.

Admiral William Halsey commented that the Japanese were now forced to send up "kids" as pilots, so rapidly their seasoned veterans had been dispatched in air combat over time. Lending credence to the remark, the rate of Japanese losses in the fourth quarter of 1943 had climbed to eight for every Allied plane lost, while in the third quarter the rate had been 5.8 to 1, albeit having fluctuated from between 7 to 1 in August and 5 to 1 in September. In all, the Japanese lost 2,594 planes during the latter half of 1943, compared to 378 Allied losses in the South Pacific.

The Admiral, on leave in the States, told a press conference that the formula for victory was, "First polish off the Huns, then we'll get the equipment we need to polish off the yellow monkeys."

What brave Japanese-Americans fighting with the Fifth Army in Italy, not to mention many soldiers of German heritage, thought of this somewhat tactless comment was not reported. But the enemy in time of warfare is, after all, the enemy. And the Japanese enemy in this war plainly started the fight, and with a vengeance, bent on hegemony with the Nazis and Fascists to rule the world, including the United States. Thus, to the Admiral, who had seen many good men, young and old, gone to their deaths in this cruel war, one cannot fix blame for the visceral comment. He was simply communicating an honest feeling felt by the broad majority of American people of the time, even if, upon reflection, it was hyperbole of obviously vast dimension.

Meanwhile, a massive bombing operation was beginning in the Southwest Pacific, reported to be striking key Japanese bases along a 3,000-mile front, from Borneo to Bougainville.

A delayed report indicated that raids, conducted by the Seventh Army Air Force since and including the raids on Makin and Tarawa in November, had targeted nine bases, two of which had suffered 80 percent destruction, and a third 60 percent destruction. The seven island bases, in addition to Makin and Tarawa, included Kwajelin, Wotje, and four others in the Marshalls, plus Mauru, part of the northern Solomons.

On the Russian front, the First Ukrainian Army had moved to within 70 miles of the primary Nazi communications center at Kovel in old Poland, moving west of newly captured Sarny, breaking through a line established by the Nazis between the Horyn and Slueh rivers. The next likely defensive stand would take place at the Styr River, 25 to 35 miles to the west of the Horyn. So fast was the retreat that the Germans did not have sufficient time to blow the bridges on the Horyn.

The move north by General Konstantin Rokossovsky's troops along a 30-mile front toward Pinsk across the Pripet Marshes was also making substantial progress, moving to within 115 miles of the targeted city, 20 miles beyond captured Mozyr, having broken through one of the strongest enemy defense lines yet established in the northern sector, consisting in one seven-mile area of four trenches, 27 artillery posts, 37 machine-gun nests, plus a dense network of mortars and mines.

Cavalry units, sweeping through the swamps of the Pripet Marshes, had so surprised some Nazi garrisons that the troops were jumping out of barracks windows into the bitter cold snows of winter wearing no more than their underwear, seeking escape to the fate of sure death by frostbite rather than the bite of a Russian swordsman on horseback delivering the Germans by the Grim Reaper out of his native land.

German reports indicated that the Red Army had initiated a new offensive north of Lake Ilmen, 170 miles south of Leningrad, as well as near Oranienbaum, twenty miles west of Leningrad on the Gulf of Finland.

The Partisans in Yugoslavia were reported by Marshal Tito to have suffered a setback as the Nazis crashed down the Vrbas River Valley through defense lines at Banja Luka, site of heavy fighting in recent weeks, to move 42 miles to within 45 miles of the Bosnian capital at Sarajevo. In Eastern Bosnia, the Partisans, however, continued to make headway in an offensive drive.

The Bulgarian capital of Sofia was reported being evacuated as of the previous night, consequent of the two raids earlier during the week which had obliterated the central portion of the city wherein the Nazi headquarters had been.

The Polish government-in-exile in London was reported to have received favorably an offer by the Soviets to extend Polish post-war borders westward into Germany, provided they agreed that the Curzon Line, that is the 1939 Polish border with Russia, including all of White Russia and the Ukraine, be left Russian territory after the war. The British were agreeable to act as intermediary in the dispute and the State Department was considering the Polish request similarly to mediate, not only with respect to the border dispute but to coordinate the Polish underground with efforts of the Red Army to overrun the Nazis, now that the Red Army had penetrated beyond the old Polish border and was closing in on the 1939 border further west.

A report from Lima indicated that the Peruvian Government had arrested several Nazi and Japanese conspirators who had planned a New Year’s coup, seeking to create anti-Semitic disturbances, similar to Kristallnacht in Germany in November, 1938, in the capital and provincial capitals throughout the country on the afternoon of New Year's Eve.

Hal Boyle tells of Captain Victor E. Clark, director of photography for a combat camera unit in Italy. Originally from Selma, Alabama, the captain had helped Clark Gable learn the ropes during officer candidate training in Miami. He boasted that eventually he intended to be the youngest governor of Alabama and that Gable would be his campaign manager. He had been on four raids and rode astride the bombs to get the best shots.

Oh yeah.

By appearances thus far in 2011, incidentally, Alabama's new Governor could perhaps stand a new gag writer. That's okay though, Governor; Governor Carter ran into some of the same problems in 1976. There's always tomorrow, especially should you ever run for president against Gerald Ford. Meanwhile, you may wish to ease up on your issuance of indubitable proof that Darwin was correct in his thesis.

Mr. Boyle next moves to Captain Leonard Westcott of Detroit, a squadron communications officer in the Troop Carrier Command, who was impressive to several of his subordinate lieutenants. None of them had seen anyone like him during the war: he never touched a drop of drink.

Finally, Mr. Boyle tells of a young Yugoslavian girl, a refugee now working as a server of drinks and sandwiches in an air force coffee shop, desperately trying to learn English, having some difficulty, as he explains in detail. Well, if you had to make something on the order of, "Pazdrav, kako ste? Hladno je današnji dan pa sinoć, nijedan? Volja to smrznuti se sutrašnji dan?" into English, you might have difficulty, too.

On the editorial page, "The Britons" points to the smoothly operating British system of national conscription, in operation since May 22, 1940, as example of why there was no practical worry regarding the implementation of a like system in America. The British were registered, but were conscripted only selectively, most volunteering for positions for which then the burden fell on the Government to disprove its propriety for participation in national service.

"The Ensign" relates the saga of the U.S. Army Transport Merrimack, struck by a German torpedo and sunk in June, 1942. Ensign Hunter Marshall III, commanding the vessel’s gun crew, kept his men at their guns despite the torpedo hit sinking the boat by the bow, firing on the U-boat until the crew could get clear in lifeboats. The Ensign and his men finally abandoned ship, their fate, nevertheless, death.

Ensign Marshall of Mecklenburg County was awarded posthumously the Silver Star and was now having a destroyer escort ship named after him.

His valor, exudes the piece, was in continuation of a long line out of Mecklenburg.

"Peace Pipe" reports that FDR had laid forth an invitation to the Governors of the Southern states to come to the White House for a "social", that in lieu of sending Postmaster General Frank Walker, coming under considerable public flak for his hard headstand against Esquire nudes, to the South to woo the Governors to the President’s side; the healing process would take place in person. At issue were States’ Rights, lynching, the soldier vote, freight rate discrimination, the poll tax.

The piece expresses the hope that the President would not concede any of the New Deal principles to the recalcitrant wild bunch of the South, but holds out little hope, less than for realization of the principles enunciated in the Atlantic Charter, that there would be effected at this meeting any lasting rapprochement.

Unfortunately, Burke Davis understood his Southern Governors, stubbornly persisting atavistically in a nineteenth century gestalt, all too well.

"Fighter" applauds the tenacity to purpose of President Roosevelt for sticking to his position, against the mealy-mouthed 2.4 million dollar tax bill before the Congress, eschewing the President's demand for a 10.5 million dollar bill which Henry Morgenthau had sought in the fall, expressing its need to insure payment sufficiently for the war effort. The President continued to fight for the larger bill even though the House and Senate appeared plainly against it, even though business was against it, and even though it was obviously not an astute campaign plank to favor raising taxes in an election year.

A funny thing happened. The President was elected to a fourth term.

The country has a way of respecting and rewarding a man of determination in the White House, one who does not toady to members either of his own or the opposition party when plain practical necessity requires tenacity and leadership toward a contrary purpose to save the country from its often too superficial understanding and grasp of issues, led in a contrary direction by highly financed interests seeking only to line their own pockets.

In so saying, incidentally, we mean no slight to President Obama for his having agreed recently to support continuation of certain tax cuts awarded the wealthy by the last Administration; for, in the end, he and the Democrats in Congress were held hostage by Republicans willing to use the threat of allowing to expire unemployment benefits to the needy as a lever to get their way for their wealthy donors. Remember it, come November 2012 when the Republicans will, no doubt, try to sell you the line that they stood for you, the ordinary taxpayer, who got little or nothing of worth from the deal.

Why so many of you continue to allow yourselves to be fooled time and time and time again, we simply do not quite understand. The Republicans, as a Party, since the time of Ulysses Grant, have stood, nearly, though not completely, uniformly for one and only one thing: Big Money, Big Business. Get that picture firmly set and don't forget it, no matter what big, fat Limbeck cat, making millions of dollars paid out by Big Business each year to tell you what to think, continues to tell you.

Raymond Clapper, beginning again on the front page, continues his close profile of General MacArthur, reporting that the General, while producing an appealingly flamboyant image for photographers, suggesting popularly stateside a cowboy with a corncob, was in fact a sedate, stay-at-home, serious, studious, unpretentious officer. His headquarters, as with his counterparts in Europe, consisted of spare but nicely appointed offices in a large office building in Australia, where he planned operations. He moved regularly to similarly constituted headquarters in New Guinea to implement operations when fighting was ongoing there. He dressed only in khakis, without decorations, and had few accouterments decorating his office. His discussion was simple and matter of fact. He lived in a fashionable apartment with his wife, from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and his young son, who came with him from Corregidor--the son, Arthur, if you recall from William L. White's They Were Expendable, having caused a bit of unusual notice at one point aboard PT-41 during a stopover somewhere beyond Cavite, playing with his pet monkey, General Tojo, brought along for the ride.

Mr. Clapper reports that the six-year old exhibited no tremulous effects from the torturous and intrepid adventure with Lieutenant John D. Bulkeley and his men to escape the Philippines in mid-March, 1942.

Arthur had a late Christmas in 1943, a week late, because his father and Santa Claus were together fighting the Japanese on New Guinea.

Mr. Clapper, having come to the Pacific believing MacArthur would not be a candidate for the Republican nomination for president, concludes from his time with the General that he appeared now more receptive to the notion, having detected in him some sense of perceived abuse by the Administration in the precedence provided his area of command. But, predicated on the closer view of the subject, Mr. Clapper also had decided that he preferred FDR as President, that the General was too far out of touch with life in the United States, having been away in the Pacific for so long, first in Manila, now in Brisbane. Yet, he cautions not to underestimate General MacArthur.

Dorothy Thompson comments on a speech delivered the previous Monday in Madison Square Garden by Earl Browder of the American Communist Party, indicating that the Tehran Conference meant that the Soviet Union wished, both during the war and afterward, peaceful co-existence with Britain and the United States, that the surest path to accomplishing this goal was to quell any civil wars within the European nations and to work with the capitalists in the West, both the captains of industry and labor, in bringing about the atmosphere of cooperation necessary to insure the lasting peace. He thus, significantly, renounced the former goal of the Communist Party to foment worker revolt internationally. He stated that the Soviets were working to effect cooperation between King Peter and Marshal Tito in Yugoslavia, had changed the name two weeks earlier of the Communist Party in Cuba to the "Social Democratic Party". The Marxian Communists, in digust with what they heard, walked out of the Garden.

Ms. Thompson read the speech as signal of a major change in direction within the Soviet Union coming in consequence of the Tehran Conference.

In an early exhibition perhaps of this spirit of cooperation between the West and Socialism, even before Germany invaded the Soviet Union and before the Soviets were considered anything but a Communist threat, in alliance with Germany, to the security of both the United States and Great Britain, a fourteen-year old Fidel Castro had written to FDR in early November 1940, congratulating the President on his recent victory for a third term and indicating in broken English his desire to receive ten American dollars, which he had never seen, in apparent consideration for showing the President an iron mine in his native village of Mayari, from which America could derive iron for steel with which to build ships. Chan Chan.

Samuel Grafton again listens to the opponents of a national service act proposed by the President in his state of the union address and finds them, including Robert Rice Reynolds, uniformly in favor of anti-strike legislation, a much more serious danger to civil liberties than compulsory national service for the duration of the war. The plan would take persons such as females caring for Pekingese dogs or 4-F'ers with punctured ear drums--a reference to Mr. Sinatra, recently turned down for service for same--(now you know who doesn't have a very good ear)--and would put them into useful non-combat service in industry or elsewhere. Nothing, Mr. Grafton argues, could be more beneficial to the war effort and thus protective ultimately of civil liberties. Nothing could be more harmful than to pass anti-strike legislation, having the effect of targeting one substantial portion of the citizenry, Labor, and singling it out to mandate abstention from exercise of long recognized civil rights under the First Amendment, to assemble and peaceably protest, in this case working conditions.

A news piece on the page indicates that the Nazis had banned in Florence, Italy the use of bicycles because of undetailed "outrages" committed against offices of the German command the night before. Perhaps, the bicyclist hoodlums were shouting to the Nazis, "Refund!" Either that or "How!"

Drew Pearson comments on the suggestion that FDR might not be in the predicament he was with the railroad unions had he not the previous summer met with George Harrison, head of the railway clerks, while relaxing after hours in the barber's chair of the White House, receiving a shave. As a result, for the sake of his throat beneath the steady strokes of the razor's edge, he mainly listened as Mr. Harrison revealed the need, in the non-operating unions, for an eight-cents per hour raise plus six-cents per hour in overtime.

Mr. Harrison had announced afterward that the President had agreed to the raise, was thus nonplussed when the Director of Economic Stabilization, Fred Vinson, nixed the plan as violative of the Little Steel formula, designed to restrain inflation. The train was thereafter set running down the track at full throttle, with no end in sight for resolution of the remaining dispute with the non-operating unions.

We can imagine, of course, that the scene may have looked, loosely, as this later depiction. But you knew that all along.

Mr. Pearson next turns, not without interconnection to the shaving episode, to the suggestion made by Democratic Senator from Iowa, Guy Gillette--you get that, right?--in a meeting with Secretary of State Cordell Hull that there would be great safety, though he may not have used that particular word, in consideration of a Hull run for the Democratic nomination, that many in Congress supported the Secretary's assumption of the mantle, provided, as rumors suggested, the President had determined not to seek a fourth term. The Secretary was reported not to negate the suggestion if having reservations for his age, which, if elected, would have made him the oldest president in the history of the Republic. Senator Gillette issued the invitation, not without self-interest: it was also reported that a conservative group of Senators, Harry Flood Byrd of Virginia, Burton Wheeler of Montana, Cotton Ed Smith of South Carolina, and Bennett Champ Clark of Missouri, all former isolationists with the exception of Byrd, a fiscal and social conservative, were solidly behind the ticket of Hull-Gillette.

Mr. Hull would resign his post in late 1944 and would retire, living on until 1955. Had he accepted the invitation, he might have enjoyed a shorter life, by roughly a decade. But that is only speculation by message received special delivery from the ship's captain inside the bathtub, and the man at the mirror shaving meanly in the dark.

Last, Mr. Pearson relates of former Governor of New York Herbert Lehman having been paid a visit by Soviet Ambassador to the U.S. Andrei Gromyko--19 years later to play a key role in the Cuban Missile Crisis--and being introduced to Mr. Lehman's new "deputy general", Mikhail Menshikov. Mr. Lehman, now head of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration for the United Nations, was not certain of what the new deputy general would become deputy general, the appointments for deputies general of UNRRA being the sole province of Mr. Lehman, who had already selected one deputy from the United States and another from Great Britain, having no intention to select one from the U.S.S.R.

Thus, Mr. Lehman asked his assistant, Phil Hammer, to call Mr. Gromyko to ascertain the position for which Comrade Menshikov was to be appointed, was eventually informed that the Soviets had selected him to be deputy general of UNRRA.

"True Freedom and How to Gain It", a poem written in 1853 by Charles Mackay, had been used by a correspondent, indicates the Reverend Herbert Spaugh, at a commencement in 1911, of little use by 1914. The Reverend reproduces the poem in whole. We suggest that its subtitle might be "Imagine".

Canned shrimp in 1944 would be half that available in 1943. Hope you got your store supplied adequately last year.

And, the mother's little helper in the lower right cartoon frame seems to understand the Future, Mr. Getts.

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