Monday, February 21, 1944

The Charlotte News

Monday, February 21, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that on the previous day, the largest daylight raid in history, consisting of a thousand American bombers and a thousand support planes, including some from the RAF, had struck primarily aircraft manufacturing facilities in Germany at Brunswick, Bernberg, and Leipzig, knocking out in the process fully a fourth of German fighter production in one fell swoop. Two factories hit at Leipzig were responsible for half of the Messerschmitt production. Four other centers of aircraft production were also hit, plus Rostock on the Baltic.

A Focke-Wulf parts plant in Posen, Poland was also said to have been hit, though unconfirmed by official Allied sources. If Posen was in fact hit, it would have made the total circuit of the mission 1,600 miles from the bases in England.

Fully 126 Nazi fighter planes were knocked from the sky during the raid. American losses were 21 bombers and three fighters, relatively low for the size of the mission.

Another attack by an equal number of planes had struck on this day undisclosed targets in northwest Germany. A few hours earlier, the RAF had made a large raid on Stuttgart.

In Italy, the German advance between Wednesday and Saturday on the Anzio beachhead, which had penetrated from Carroceto about two and a half miles south toward Anzio along the Anziate highway, had, starting Saturday, been repulsed by the Allies. The Germans, suffering heavy losses, had been pushed back two miles toward Carroceto. The entire strength of six German divisions had been concentrated in the assault, the heaviest fighting yet on the Anzio beachhead.

In the Pacific, the damage done by the Navy raid on Truk on the previous Wednesday and Thursday, February 16 and 17, included the sinking of nineteen Japanese ships in Eten Harbor, including cruisers, destroyers, oilers, and eight to twelve cargo ships. Marine reconnaissance from twelve days prior to the raid had shown the presence of 25 warships, including two carriers. Fortuitously, the heavier ships were gone from the harbor by the time of the raid. No carriers or battleships were reported present.

The Japanese report, counter-intuitive to their usual lack of candor, stated, more or less accurately, the losses reported by Admiral Nimitz, including three destroyers, two cruisers, thirteen transport ships, and 120 planes. The total planes destroyed, as provided by Admiral Nimitz, numbered 204. So effective was the first day of attack, said the Admiral, that there was no opposition on the second day.

The raid had resulted in the dismissal of both the Japanese Army and Navy chiefs of staff by Premier Hideki Tojo and Emperor Hirohito. Tojo took over the reins of the Army and Admiral Shigetaro Shimada was named by the Emperor to replace Admiral Osami Nagano as the Navy’s chief of staff.

Admiral Nimitz, describing the raid on Truk as "partial settlement" for the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, reported that the Marines and Army infantry which had landed on Eniwetok in the Marshalls, had been supplemented by reinforcements on Sunday, and had now taken half the atoll, including Eniwetok Island and Engebi Island, the island over which Raymond Clapper was killed February 2. The Marines took Engebi in just six hours and moved 3,000 yards on Eniwetok in a day, indicative of sparse enemy resistance. Parry Island, at the eastern entrance to the twenty-mile long lagoon, was still in enemy hands.

Eniwetok had been used primarily as a refueling stop by the Japanese on flights between the Marshalls, the Gilberts, and Wake Island. Of course, the Gilberts had been in Allied possession since the end of November.

The Red Army, last reported 28 miles north of Pskov, continued its drive toward that gateway to the Baltic States.

A Berlin broadcast indicated that the Russians had poured 100,000 troops into a refreshed offensive against Minsk in White Russia. It also stated that the Russians had initiated a ferocious attack on the iron ore center at Krivoi Rog. The broadcast also contended that most of the German troops had escaped the encirclement at Korsun. Russian sources had indicated 73,000 killed or captured. Berlin radio, of course, had to be taken with a grain of salt.

House and Senate confreres, seeking to work out a compromise between the Federal ballot measure approved by the Senate and the States’ Rights measure approved by the House, indicated continued failure to agree, as the States’ Rights advocates were more entrenched than ever in their insistence that there be no Federal ballot.

The Administration had offered to compromise by allowing the Federal ballot to be used only in the case where a state ballot was unavailable to a soldier. One leader of the Senate’s Southern States' Rights coalition indicated that, had that been available from the beginning, they might have reached agreement, but it was now coming too late in the process to change the result.

Hal Boyle, having reported in the installment published Saturday on the derring-do of one cub surveillance pilot, daily flying over the Cassino front to report to artillery batteries the location of enemy positions, now tells of Captain Jack Marinelli, the commander of the 18 "grasshopper" planes used for surveillance.

The 26-year old captain had to watch his weight as he stood right on the border of 170 pounds, the limit for pilots. The pilots were expected to act also as mechanics for the planes, everything from minor repair to engine overhauls. Each plane carried, in addition to the pilot and his radio, an observer. The men had to improvise much of their sustenance as, being such a small unit, they had no regular mess.

The pilots were under orders to fly no higher than 500 feet and stay behind their own lines, but they took their chances and often broke those rules to obtain the enemy's whereabouts for the artillery.

Allied fighters covered the grasshopper missions and no planes had yet been lost to enemy flak, even if most in the unit had encountered it.

Then, there was the "doll woman" charged in Federal court in New York with seeking to send a message to enemy agents in Argentina via a secret code to avoid censors. A subtly pending charge, we understand, not made part of the formal indictment, was that she also had butchered the King's English in the message.

On the editorial page, "A Party" provides excerpts from the Congressional Record of a colloquy between Senator Robert Rice Reynolds and Senator Burton Wheeler regarding the United Nations Rehabilitation and Relief Administration, objecting to the United States bearing the brunt of the bill for relief after the war. The two former isolationist Senators were up to their old tricks, contending that Russia would dominate Europe and Asia after the war and thus America should not be pouring in aid to help them in their Communist quest.

The editorial concludes that both men were simply returning to familiar ground which they had staked prior to the war.

"A Danger" comments on a speech in Wyoming by Wendell Willkie, warning that the Republican Party leadership was dragging the party over the precipice of a cliff by too stridently attacking the New Deal, not realizing the desires of the people to keep most of its government protections established since 1933. The Republicans, said Mr. Willkie, wanted too much to return to the days of 1929, and such a path backward through time was tantamount to political suicide in 1944.

The piece agrees that the doctrines espoused by Republican chair Harrison Spangler and candidate John W. Bricker of Ohio represented failed policies of the past.

Mr. Willkie felt so strongly the rectitude of his position that he had stated his intention to refuse to run on a platform embracing the outmoded concepts of unregulated free enterprise, restricted foreign commerce, and limited foreign relations generally.

"The Irish" finds trends belying the purported purpose of Mrs. George Bernard Shaw's $400,000 bequest to the Irish to overcome "shyness and inarticulate conversation". While the Irish seemed unoffended in Ireland by the exhibition of largesse, those in America, such as in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn, were up in arms regarding Mrs. Shaw’s condescending eleemosynary purpose, and to the extent that no one could claim that the Irish in America were anything but not shy and articulate.

--Yeah, lady, yous keeps yous artification to yousself. We can talk plenty good. And our writing's even better. You ever read OoLysses? The only shyness I feel is from the blush I get when I stand on my head and look into your face, like, when a rock falls off a chair on the floor and breaks the house down into little pieces of shamrock shimmering in the soft sunlight of afternoon with the dust flecking through the rainbow, blowing to and fro.

Samuel Grafton provides his sixth and final installment of his short "book" on what to do with the Nazis after the war. He again plumps for sending into exile without trial the top 100,000 Nazi officials and propagandists, such as Julius Streicher, publisher of Der Stuermer, anti-Semitic polluter of German minds for two decades.

Mr. Grafton asks rhetorically what otherwise could be done in war crimes tribunals with someone such as Herr Streicher.

In fact, Julius Streicher was eventually tried at Nuremberg for war crimes against humanity by reason of his vitriolic speeches and writings, especially those advocating extermination of the Jews, found guilty, and executed for same in 1946.

But, was Mr. Grafton correct in a sense, in believing that Streicher could only be prevented post-war from using the mails to disseminate his poison seed? Should Streicher have been included in war crimes trials for no more than uttering and publishing speech, even if some of that speech was laced with hatred for a specifically identifiable minority?

It is one thing to stand on the street as Jews were beaten and urge the Storm Troopers to kill. It is another to stand in the public square and urge systematic extermination of a group, something which the government in power was already pre-disposed to accomplish--giving that government a handy-dandy scapegoat on which to hang blame for their own criminal actions against humanity.

It was, after all, not, per se, the people of Germany who killed six million Jews but rather primarily Hitler, Goebbels, Himmler, Reinhard Heydrich, the SS and Gestapo, and those down the line assigned to the concentration camps to carry out the task. It must always be borne in mind that Hitler came to power in January, 1933, not through the majority will of the people, but through a one-third plurality vote, which split between the Nazis, the Social Democrats, receiving 20%, and the Communists, receiving 17%, several minor parties combining for the rest in silence. Since the combination of the Socialist Social Democrats and the Communists could form a near majority, elderly President von Hindenburg and Chancellor Franz von Papen, believing they could control Hitler as their puppet from behind the scenes of the shadow box, and fearing otherwise a Commnust takeover of Germany, placed Hitler and his Nazi Party in power. It was this backroom deal, supported by the Junkers of the military class in Prussia, which gave to the world and to the German people the insane Adolf Hitler, with his already well-formed, power-mad Machiavellian traits, using, not emotionally, but quite deliberately, to stir prejudices and frustrations, already extant and seeking vent, together in a witches' brew of barley and rye and newt out of Macbeth, acting the while as The Prince, the handy-dandy of the Jew as the scapegoat to coalesce a minority of ignorant German workers, oppressed in fact economically during the twenties following the World War in which many of them had fought and lost to their lasting disgrace; it was Hitler and his henchmen who gave voice to these chords of hatred, coalesced around scapegoating an identifiable minority to provide a sense of regeneration of national pride, blaming the Jew in their midst conveniently for their downgoing as Supermen.

It was certainly not Julius Streicher, nor the majority will of the Germans, as Hitler and his pals would have wished the perception be provided to the world, as they sought to do, delivering up yet other scapegoats for blame for their own misdeeds for a dozen years through the Propaganda Ministry run by drama and literature critic, no ignorant worker, Herr Doktor Goebbels. And doing so successfully, even unto some of the post-war judges and prosecutors at Nuremberg, too close in time to the events, too emotionally involved with the stench of death around them and needing handy-dandies of their own to blame for it, the worst of them having already cheated the hangman by the expedient of the Luger laced with strychnine, to see the trick with complete clarity.

Well, look at George Wallace without tears, and you will see Adolf Hitler in the making, with his cohort, Richard M. Nixon, having been made by him in 1968, the Nazi Party in fact, reborn in the U.S.A., from the likes of Alabama and Southern California, the Underground Railroad in Reverse, Measle-Face.

In any event, Mr. Grafton concludes by again stating that the best way to insure the growth of democracy in post-war Germany would be to eliminate all vestiges of Nazi bureaucracy through exile. The war, he says, was neither about atrocities or about violations of the Hague Conventions, but rather was about elimination of fascism. Should German schoolchildren see the Nazis, under guard, taken away for good from their midst, would not the lesson be superior to war crimes tribunals providing the Nazis their rights and voice thus to proclaim their innocence or try to explain their behavior in rational terms? Would it not be superior to dictating the new education to the Germans?

Was Mr. Grafton not entirely correct? Was it really such a great idea in hindsight, even if the bitter sentiment is readily understandable, to try a handful of caught Nazis before the world and execute them, while leaving thousands of former Nazis to recede back into the woodwork of civilian life as if nothing had happened? Many in fact, to wind up in the U.S.A., in various spots, such as Dallas and Orange County, California, digging their bones in their little gardens, and fomenting, with tee-hees, their little revolutions--as many of their sons and daughters, little bitch-witches and bastards, still do to this day.

Just as Mr. Grafton predicted, the sense of bloodlust and retribution after the war would be largely satisfied by these executions, but it left Nazism to ride astride the world, even if underground and no longer wearing brazenly the symbols.

Drew Pearson discusses the bombing of the Benedictine Monastery as it forecasted the likely necessity of bombing Rome eventually, should the Nazis decide to use it also as a fortress. He cited the anti-Fascist, anti-cleric Italian scholar, Professor Gaetano Salvemini, as saying that the Italian people were not so wedded to the Vatican, gave regard to their local priests, but had no real affinity to Rome, that the interest in Rome came primarily from the Irish, the Poles, and Canadians. Whether correct or not, concludes Mr. Pearson, still Rome might wind up, of military necessity, a series of bomb craters much as had Madrid during the Spanish Civil War, and Stalingrad and Leningrad in Russia.

The reading before the Senate on Washington's birthday of his September, 1796 Farewell Address, as he served out the last months of his second term as President, prompted Mr. Pearson to provide some little known facts about the address. Prime among them was that it was never delivered as a speech but only printed in The American Daily Advertiser in Philadelphia. It ran to 7,641 words and takes 45 minutes to read at an average pace.

Though the piece does not suggest it, and Senator Elbert Thomas of Utah who was to do the reading was a Democrat with no identifiable anti-New Deal sentiment, perhaps part of the reason for its reading in 1944 before the Senate was subtly to remind the President of the tradition against serving more than two terms, as established by President Washington in this address. Many in the country, including many prominent Democrats, were of a mind that three terms were enough, even in time of war, just as many, including Jim Farley who had helped make FDR both Governor of New York and President, had felt two were enough in 1940. The little news piece on the page remarks of the organization led by former Secretary of War under FDR, Harry Woodring, whose group of anti-Administration independents, the American Democratic National Committee, were contemplating throwing their support to one of the major party candidates, provided the Democrats did not nominate Roosevelt.

In keeping with the need to inform not only of ships and things with wings, Mr. Pearson talks of shoes and sealing wax, the absence of wax on the soles being prime contributor to the poor wear of shoes enjoyed at the time. It was that as primary culprit, decreasing wear by fully 30 to 41%, not the inferior quality of the leather for the fact of the best going to the military. Oil, too, applied to the soles increased wear, but only by 14%. The War Production Board had refused to mandate the process because shoe manufacturers did not like it, the customers preferring a polished sole off the shelf--even if the polish wore off the first couple of scuffs around the block.

Senator Harley Kilgore of West Virginia chaired a committee looking into the matter and had sent a letter to WPB director Donald Nelson, demanding that he mandate the oil or wax process forthwith, the objections of shoe companies notwithstanding.

Perhaps, the answer was in the synthetic rubber, made of the inferior rayon discussed Saturday in the column, to produce synthetic rubber soles. Then, the he'p could say, with considerable credit in store, especially to the hepcat dancers up in Harlem, "Man, you got rays on your feet; all you need now is a warm gun, and happiness is yours."

Louis Graves of The Chapel Hill Weekly has a piece for the first time in a long while reprinted on the page, in substitute of the space which had been occupied by Raymond Clapper.

Mr. Graves celebrates the lives of two Chapel Hill natives who had provided the world with two well-known drugstore products. Ike Harris in 1919 became a pioneer in the manufacture and distribution of vitamins, for a long while had been the primary distributor in the country. Ike Emerson, twenty years older than Mr. Harris, had, in 1894, invented Bromo-Seltzer.

Both products, says Mr. Graves, were buck-you-uppos, the Bromo-Seltzer being a good reliever of hangovers because of its key ingredient, acetanilide.

So, there you have it, Durham, Raleigh, and Winston-Salem. For all your cheap carping about Chapel Hill, without it, you would not have any remedy for your hangovers, your stomach ulcers, or have any pep whatsoever from your vitamins. Remember to what town you owe your sustenance when next you take the Bromo-Seltzer or vitamin.

Just what of health has Winston-Salem, Durham, or Raleigh given us, pray tell? Why do you think there are so many hospitals in Durham and Winston-Salem?

Come to Chapel Hill and find everyone pleasant in demeanor and fleet of gait, with their Bromo-Seltzers and vitamin-enriched rosy cheeks. The population, by and large, of those other places just don't have the same buck-you-uppos.

Moral: It takes a Chapel Hillian, past or present, to buck you up. Which is why, reading this stuff, you, no doubt, get daily bucked up, just as we do.

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