Tuesday, February 1, 1944

The Charlotte News

Tuesday, February 1, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that British troops of the Fifth Army had moved to within 16 miles southeast of Rome, to the outskirts of Campoleone, fifteen miles above Anzio, while an American force advanced simultaneously to within a half mile of Cisterna, fourteen miles northeast of Anzio. It was the first concerted Allied drive since the landings at Anzio and Nettuno ten days earlier. German defenses stubbornly defended both Campoleone and Cisterna.

To the southeast, Americans continued their driving wedge through the German Gustav Line north of Cassino, making new headway as the German defenses were reported by Hal Boyle to be crumbling, some Germans surrendering. The prisoners reported that they had been stranded without food for two days, indicative of interrupted supply lines from the north under heavy Allied bombing--bombing which had the previous week cut off the rail line through Central Italy. Conflicting reports emerged from Cassino, civilians coming from the town indicating that it was deserted, while other reports stated that the Germans still held to it.

For the first time, American soldiers got a look at the heavy concrete bunker network which the Nazis had built into the hillsides above Cassino as part of their winter defensive line. Trenches led from the bunkers, holding facilities for 28 men, outward to machinegun nests.

The Red Army had taken Kingisepp, also known as Yamburg, five miles east of the Estonian border, major rail station on the line to the Estonian capital of Reval. Kingisepp was some 70 miles west of Leningrad and fourteen miles east of Narva, the next Russian objective, inside Estonia. To the southeast of Kingisepp, another unit captured the town of Lipa, twenty-seven miles away.

Reports continued to trickle in regarding the American naval invasion of the Marshall Islands, but reports contained no detail and no confirmation yet of amphibious landings by infantry troops.

It was reported that on September 30, the Nazis had deliberately destroyed at Livardi, Italy, a store of precious artworks including, according to Conte Filangieri, an early Botticelli, "Portrait of a Man", and Luini's "Madonna and Child with Alessandra Bentivoglio", some 60 to 70 paintings in all, plus state papers from the national archives at Naples, dating from the period 1238 to 1811. With the exception of 36 paintings, all of the collection formerly housed at Museo Filangieri were consumed in the Nazi 451-degree pyre.

A rumor that Nazi S.S. chieftain Heinrich Himmler had been executed, unfortunately for him and the world, was bogus. A German newspaper had reported that Himmler and Martin Bormann had together been striving in recent months to centralize power in their hands.

A severe earthquake was reported to have hit Turkey, killing as many as 25,000 people.

In London, British playwright George Bernard Shaw complained of high taxes, insisted that the windfall income common to artists be taxed at a substantially lower rate than steady income. He stated that he received ten cents of every four dollars after taxes.

A bill with bi-partisan support to establish equal pay for women engaged in the same go-getting pursuit as men was introduced to the New York State Legislature. To nix inflation, the bill would exempt domestic workers, farm workers, and those employed by non-profit institutions, such as charities and educational foundations.

The House decisively turned down a roll call vote on the substitute measure to enable soldiers to vote by absentee ballot, suggesting that the measure would not pass the House. The move would have been extraordinary as the bill was a substitute for the States' Rights measure, similar to that already passed by the Senate, to send the matter back to the states. Ordinarily, substitute bills were not determined by roll call votes.

Hal Boyle reports on a five-piece band formed in a trucking outfit stationed at an airdrome in Italy. It consisted of a saxophonist, clarinetist, guitarist, drummer, and pianist. The piano had been brought by ship from Sicily and was moving about the Italian front by truck. The band entertained troops in the Army hospital to good effect, reported a nurse. They played such fare as "I'm Getting Sentimental Over You" and "When Day Is Done" within "The Lost Chord Hotel", the name given the tent of the commander of the unit.

Sometimes, after delivering supplies to the front, they would return and pack their instruments, including the piano, onto the back of a truck and tour the various encampments in the area which otherwise had no entertainment.

On the editorial page, "Home-Made" stresses that pedestrian deaths on the highways and by-ways of the nation had increased fully 25% over the previous year. In 1942 and 1943, 40,000 pedestrians were killed and another half million injured. The toll bespoke, says the piece, a continued failure of the American people to heed safety on the highways, even if some of the increase, it concedes, came from increased pedestrian traffic from the fuel and rubber shortage since early 1942. Nevertheless, these grim statistics outweighed even the American casualties and deaths of the war.

"The Return" encourages 80-year old Congressman Bob Doughton of North Carolina, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee and eldest member of the Congress, in his quest for re-election in 1944, his intention to do so he had just announced.

"For Freedom" applauds Supreme Court Justice Frank Murphy for founding a committee to suppress anti-Semitic sentiment in the country, something which had grown steadily and virulently since the outbreak of the war.

"Reactionary" mocks a South Carolina legislator, claiming to be pro-education while contending that the State simply did not have the money for the duration of the war to raise the $734 per annum received on average by teachers. He was all for education, but completely against increasing any funding to aid in its improvement.

"Mystery" recommends punitive measures for the police officer who, when apprised, failed to respond to an emergency at an office building where an Indian wrestler died, allegedly strangled in self-defense by a dentist, Dr. Parker--possibly during a particularly difficult extraction. The officer's reason for misprision was that he was afraid he might get shot. The editorial finds the incident to underscore the lack of efficiency already apparent in the Charlotte Police Department.

In fairness to the green copper, wearing no doubt his doublet, perhaps the report had been transmitted to him thusly: "Beat officer 61, beat officer 61: Respond immediately to the Independence Building. Indian-wrestling match in progress." In which case, his arms may have felt inadequate to the challenge, thus that he would be shot.

Drew Pearson discusses the intention of the 33 defendants in the Washington sedition trial, including Lizzie Dilling, to call among their witnesses Admiral Husband Kimmel and General Walter Short, goats of the attack on Pearl Harbor, whose court martials had been postponed until after the war. Mrs. Dilling and the others had been charged, among other things, with blaming the President for lack of preparation of the defenses at Pearl Harbor, (the attack on which, incidentally, occurred just five days after the release of "Ball of Fire"). Thus, the witnesses would be called to try to prove the truth of the claim.

He next examines how Big Business, especially General Motors, Standard Oil, and such companies, were carefully studying the war situation in Europe, to await the opportune time to jump back into formerly Nazi-occupied countries and re-establish their industrial base. He explains how friction had developed, however, within the leadership of a committee of the National Foreign Trade Council out of New York, designed to study and implement such re-industrialization to be effected by the larger concerns of the West.

Samuel Grafton contrasts the overtly visceral reactionary stance taken by the likes of William R. Hearst to that of Churchill and Eden in Britain, both walking on eggs with respect to the Russian-Polish border dispute. Why? he asks. Was it because Churchill and Eden were less brave of heart and face than Mr. Hearst? He scoffs at the notion and explains that instead it was simply that by putting more pressure on the situation, the inclination of Russia would be to insist the more on having buffer states to protect itself from the West. By treating the matter with kid gloves, Churchill and Eden kept the home fires burning to alleviate stress on the Russians and thus to alleviate stress on the Poles. That which Mr. Hearst argued only encouraged Russia to gobble up Poland for its own protection against encroachment by the West after the war.

Dorothy Thompson addresses the subject of torture of American and Filipino prisoners of war by the Japanese, as detailed in the joint Army-Navy report just released, stressing the Bataan Death March of April, 1942. She questions how a normally affable, courteous population, given to meticulous aesthetic craftsmanship, could become at once so bestial in its manifested behavior.

She offers that, as with the Nazi state, the totalitarian regimes had indoctrinated their minions with the notion of a super-conscience to be maintained within the sphere of the state, stressing nationalistic loyalty and duty, but, by equal and opposite measures, hostility to all outside the state, conceiving the outside as a jungle, voracious of devouring in predation the civilized center.

There had been no provoking course or incident by the Allies before the gross behavior on the Bataan Death March. Indeed, all outward signs were that the Japanese were winning the war, would win the war. The Allies were on the defensive and not doing very well at it in April, 1942. Only the Doolittle raid on Tokyo and surrounding targets on April 18 had broken the otherwise dismal record, but that came only after the atrocities began on April 10 on Bataan.

Ms. Thompson stresses that it was well for the Allies to realize this dichotomy of mind within the Axis states, the predatory, beastly side directed against the jungle being so engraved upon the minds of the fighters that they became little more than autonomic reactors, robotically carrying out orders. To know them might lend understanding with which the Allies could better meet and defeat them. To know this brainwashed “strength” was also to understand its Achilles heel, its tenuous hold on a world born of fantastical notions of Western enmity to all which was Japanese or German, each supposing itself as superior races of men for their ability to void themselves of feeling. False foundations quickly crumble when confronted sternly with that which is rational.

Raymond Clapper, with a stored piece being printed providing his impressions from his earlier journey by LST from New Guinea to Cape Gloucester on New Britain, relates of the political views of the men onboard. Most favored Roosevelt in 1944, with Willkie and Dewey, in that order, favored as the Republican candidate. But the primary focus of their attention was directed on Labor and specifically John L. Lewis. Their contempt for Mr. Lewis was without boundary, even among the union men on the boat. They generally favored the concept of unions but were opposed to strikes during the war and blamed Lewis, head of the UMW, for spawning the strikes. The coal strikes had permeated the news periodically nearly throughout 1943 until finally settled for the most part in latter November.

Mr. Clapper was by this point in the Marshall Islands with the Navy and would, the next day, lose his life while flying on a bombing mission over the islands. His reports, however, were backlogged and thus would continue to be published in The News through February 11.

The Reverend Herbert Spaugh discusses the predators lying in wait for the gullible among those who inherit their wealth, easy marks for those lying in wait who would wish them to inherit the wind.

"Flora" by Bartolomeo Veneto, ca. 1500

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