Tuesday, February 22, 1944

The Charlotte News

Tuesday, February 22, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Nazis had evacuated at noon the previous day the iron ore center of Krivoi Rog in the Ukraine, leaving the way open for the Red Army to drive toward Rumania and the Black Sea, toward Kherson, Odessa, and Nikolaev. With the earlier fall on February 8 of the manganese center at Nikopol, the Germans had now, in quick succession, lost two vital supply centers for their war machine.

In the north, the advance toward Pskov continued, as the villages of Soltzy and Volot were taken, Leningrad district centers situated roughly equidistant on either side of Dno, itself 60 miles east of Pskov on the Pskov-Staraya Russa rail line.

Further east, between Lake Ilmen and Novosokolniki, the Red Army took the large German base at Kholm.

The first combined raid of the Fifteenth Air Force out of Italy and the Eighth Air Force out of England hit aircraft manufacturing centers again in Germany during the day, apparently, according to German sources, hitting targets in southern Germany, along the Danube and in the Alps. It was the third straight major raid on aircraft manufacturing facilities, adding to a record blow of 8,000 tons dropped by 5,000 planes in two days by the RAF and Eighth Air Force.

The Sunday night raid by the RAF on Stuttgart had dropped 2,200 tons of bombs.

No more Porsches for Der Führer.

Fighting continued indecisively on both sides at the Anzio beachhead, with no ground gained or lost for the second straight day. German pressure had relaxed on the beachhead, indicating failure of the grand offensive thrust undertaken during the latter part of the previous week and reaching a climax on Saturday before being pushed back to within a half mile below the starting point at Carroceto, Aprilia from which she came, ten miles north of Anzio.

Fighting on the Cassino front also relaxed and was limited to patrol activity.

Associated Press correspondent Edward Kennedy reported generally that the nine divisions of Germans on the beachhead were a strange assortment of some of the most battle-tested troops of the Wehrmacht combined with some of the greenest, including eighteen-year old boys. The prisoners were reporting that they had arrived in the area of Anzio with the expectation instilled in them that the Allies were about to evacuate the beachhead, needed only a push as with the British at Dunquerque in June 1940. They had been surprised by the reality confronting them which proved otherwise.

Prime Minister Churchill told Commons that he had ordered a temporary news blackout on the Anzio beachhead, not because of abuse of information by correspondents, but rather by persons in Naples and Algiers who were using the word "desperate" to describe the Allied struggle on the beachhead. The use of that word conveyed a false impression, dispiriting to the people and encouraging of the enemy, said the Prime Minister. And, even if it were true, it still should not be used during the battle. The news blackout had now been lifted.

In his first report to Commons on the war since the Tehran Conference at the close of November, the Prime Minister indicated the initiation of a new air offensive, utilizing the combined forces from both England and Italy, one which would eclipse the already record-breaking bombings of Germany and the occupied areas of the Continent. He stated that the invasion of the Continent initially would be accomplished by forces roughly half British and half American, with the Americans increasing as reinforcements after the initial landings.

In Italy, he said, half a million Germans were fighting, but the battle was well in hand, as Allied reinforcements were being sent to the front from North Africa.

The Germans, he continued, were preparing rocket-bomb or drone installations on the northern coast of France, but Allied raids were successfully destroying these bases as they were being constructed.

Admiral Nimitz officially announced the fall of Eniwetok Island in the Marshalls to the American forces, with steady progress being made on Parry Island, the only island of the Eniwetok Atoll still in Japanese hands.

Allied bombing raids had also struck the Kurile Islands of Paramushiro and Shumushu, Paramushiro having been the object of the Navy hit-and-run raid of two weeks earlier.

Shoo-Shoo-Moo, Baby.

Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox cautioned that despite the 92 Japanese ships sunk in the Pacific during the previous three weeks, against a loss of only two submarines, and despite the successful Navy raid on Truk, the end of the war in the Pacific was still nowhere in sight.

Morris Harris, former head of the Associated Press in the Far East and imprisoned for a year by the Japanese in Shanghai after the attack on Pearl Harbor, termed misplaced the speculation that the removed chiefs of staff, Osami Nagano of the Japanese Navy, and Sugiyama Hajime of the Japanese Army, would be forced by duty to commit hara-kiri in their disgrace following the raid on Truk. The modern Japanese soldier, he said, placed as much value on his life as did his counterpart in the West.

He was correct in these instances. Admiral Nagano was taken prisoner at the end of the war and died of a heart attack during his war crimes trial in 1947. General Hajime would return to power as Japanís War Minister in July, following the ouster of Hideki Tojo as Prime Minister and chief of staff of the Army. General Hajime, however, would not await his fate before a war crimes tribunal, beating the hangman with a revolver ten days after the surrender of Japan to the Allies, in September, 1945. Yet, still, it was not by the traditional method of hara-kiri

Kullahs of the Allies, British troops and Indian Gurkhas, fighting the Japanese in Burma under the Southeast Asia Command of Lord Louis Mountbatten, had taken a high point overlooking the Ngakyedauk Pass and had nearly cleared the pass of enemy troops, whether a hundred for every head of a Kullah, not being indicated.

The U.S. and Great Britain announced that they would no longer accept trade in Axis gold from neutral countries, such as Turkey, Switzerland, Portugal, and Spain, recently having become repositories for the tainted commodity.

The Nazis had ordered all non-essential residents of Cherbourg on the French invasion coast to evacuate inland.

Shoo-Shoo, Baby, Moo.

A report out of Boston that former Ambassador to the Court of St. James, Joseph P. Kennedy, would be appointed Secretary of Commerce to replace Jesse Jones who would become Treasury Secretary in replacement of Henry Morgenthau, reported to be recovering from a heart attack, was found without basis. Ambassador Kennedy declared from Palm Beach that he had heard nothing of such an appointment. For good reason: Secretary Morgenthau was in perfect health and was not intending to resign his post.

The President vetoed the two billion dollar tax bill which had been passed by the Congress in lieu of the requested 10.5 billion sought by the Treasury, primarily for the war effort. The President declared the bill to be for the greedy and not the needy. Members of Congress, including North Carolina's Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Bob Doughton, and Senator Walter George of Georgia, representing the Senate Finance Committee, spoke out firmly against the veto, threatening to override it, contending that the President acted illogically by throwing away two billion dollars in revenue when he had sought substantial new injections to the economy, and challenged his asserted rationale for the veto.

State War Finance Chairman Clarence T. Leinbach of Winston-Salem--whose wife, incidentally, had been on the Board of the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association at the time of the posthumous presentation, December 5, 1941, of the Mayflower Society Literary Cup to W. J. Cash--announced that North Carolina had surpassed by 26% its quota for the Fourth War Bond Drive. (It's sort of an in joke, between us and Hamlet; don't fret about it, harried Measle-Face. It's not code, this time.)

George Tucker, substituting for Hal Boyle in the "Reporter's Notebook" column, tells of a sergeant, Frank Massock from Illinois, stationed at a night fighter airfield in Italy. He was summoned from his duty post into the workshop where he met up with his brother, Dick Massock, an A.P. war correspondent. Frank had a bloody nose from having tripped over a guy wire during a blackout.

Mr. Tucker finds a parallel with a December 13 story of Hal Boyle meeting his own brother on the Italian front. His brother Neil, not Hal, as mistakenly indicated by Mr. Tucker, had suffered, not a black eye, as Mr. Tucker also mistakenly reports, but rather bruised knuckles and a cut on the cheek, not from a guy wire, but from a wired guy among the Italians, who had taken umbrage, not so much at a remark made within earshot about the lack of fighting resolve of the Italian soldiers, but rather at Neil's hand signals which he admitted had accompanied the aftermath of the remark when the Italians expressed at it their umbrage.

--You talkin' to me? I don't see anybody else here? ...What did you say? ...4-F who?

Anyway, Mr. Tucker, despite his having fully mangled the story, found the report of mick Boyle "one of the most beautiful columns" he had ever read--assuming, that is, he read the same column we read two and a half months ago. But, we give Mr. Tucker the break that we read it without artillery shells striking within earshot and bombs threatening daily our existence. And, moreover, we have the paper handy, in electronically data-processed form, at which to look and refresh our recollection, even if we were certain, without looking, that it was Neil and not Hal with the injuries. Perhaps, on that count, we might infer that, in the meantime, Mr. Tucker had gotten into the vodka, vermouth, and goat's milk recipe recommended by Mr. Boyle back in December, to attenuate the titinnabulation of the deadly droppings of the nearby bombs and artillery shells.

On the editorial page, "Brotherhood", commenting on Brotherhood Week, as declared by the President and as sponsored by the National Conference of Christians and Jews, predicts that the post-war period would likely carry with it new outbreaks of racial and religious bigotry in the country, and, while true brotherhood would take centuries to realize, a genuine opportunity existed in the wake of the war to make a start toward it.

"Deadly Blow" hails the devastating strike on Truk by the Navy as singularly decisive of the fate of Japan in the war, even if the war was by no means won. It was, says the piece, every bit the equivalent of the attack by the Japanese on Pearl Harbor, and worse because of its timing at a point when the United States was taking the counter-offensive as Japan's naval and air might in the Pacific foundered under the weight of Allied artillery and bombs.

The editorial finds the caution urged by the Navy Secretary against being overly optimistic after the success of the attack to be more of the same quelling of exuberance for fear of the country losing its edge in production. But, this time, the country should be celebratory of its victory as it brought the end of the war a decisive step closer. There was no fear that the country would suddenly become complaisant after over two years of steady war, in the face of recognition of a decisive strike at long last on one of the enemyís key naval nests.

"New Record" finds the 2,000-plane raids on Germany of the previous two days to have been remarkable and indicative of a new era in air power, beyond that imagined in late May and June, 1942 when the first 1,000-plane raids took place on Cologne, Essen, and Bremen. The raids were hastening the end of the war in Europe by softening the ability of Germany to produce war materiel, especially planes, these recent raids having put out of commission 25% or more of Germanyís aircraft production.

"Carbon"--not, per se, giving praise to million-year old samples of the elemental élan vital--but to the National Carbon Company for its contribution to a stable economic environment in Charlotte, stemming the outflow of employees from the city to other urban areas to seek wartime jobs. The new industry would continue to aid Charlotte in the post-war era, predicts the piece. Praise was due to the Wartime Industrial Committee which had wooed the company to Charlotte.

Samuel Grafton, having what he calls a "Jeremiah day", again takes on the problem of lack of post-war planning by the United States with respect to Europe. He contrasts the political sluggishness evident in the speeches of Governor Bricker with those of Wendell Willkie, finding Mr. Willkie animated toward a new world environment which Governor Bricker, if given the chance, would, by appearances, likely spit out.

Yet, Mr. Grafton also finds the Administration also sluggish in recognizing the need for revolution in Europe, pushing aside the French Underground and providing instead deference to former Fascists in France, as well recognition of Franco in Spain and Badoglio and King Emanuele in Italy.

Activity was menacing to those entrenched in political sluggishness, but neutrality with regard to the future was intolerable, as intolerable as it was to Hitler during the war; action toward establishing a uniform policy, not based on ad hoc expediency, was needed.

Dorothy Thompson takes from a rumor published in The Wall Street Journal that Winston Churchill was about to be replaced as Prime Minister by General Smuts of the South African Union, because of the British determination that he could deal more effectively with the Soviets, and to "maneuvre more adeptly" with respect to Europe, lest it be communized.

Ms. Thompson discounts the rumor, but nevertheless analyzes the attitude which fostered it among the British. The "adept maneuvres", she says, was really a euphemism for returning to a system of royal monopoly and nineteenth century economic principles founded on imperialism and worker exploitation. Such outmoded concepts could not prove attractive in the post-war environment and would inevitably lead to the workers lending themselves to Communism.

Both Fascism and Communism were mass revolts against the system of economic oppression borne of early capitalism which treated the formerly independent small businessmen and yeoman farmers as automatons in the factory.

To insure that neither extreme took over Europe in the post-war environment, the ideals of democracy and a free marketplace had to be assured. New principles, in contrast to those of the nineteenth century, had to be put into action to foster this new environment: assurance of maximum employment rather maximum income; curbing the freedom of nation-states rather than creating them.

The nation which affirmatively resolved these problems and insured the desired positive ends, attenuating thereby revolutionary ardor among the workers and hence either Fascists leanings or Communist leanings, would sway the world in the post-war environment.

Drew Pearson examines Bernard Baruchís recommendation that Undersecretary of Commerce Will Clayton, a former Liberty Leaguer and economic royalist cotton magnate who, in 1936, had campaigned against FDR, become the director of demobilization of industry, overseeing the conversion from wartime status to that of peacetime. If he were appointed to the position, it was obvious from his past the path he would likely take in effecting the transition, strictly along the lines of economic royalty. Example was his holding up acquisition of vital quinine supplies, with which to enable the soldiers to ward off malaria in the Southwest Pacific, until it was too late before the Japanese seized the Dutch East Indies and cut off the quinine.

His only saving grace was his wife, sounding as a forerunner to Martha Mitchell. A confirmed New Dealer, Mrs. Clayton had matched all the money used by her husband to defeat Roosevelt with her own money to help him win.

Mr. Pearson next examines the decision of the War Production Board and Foreign Economic Administration to nix the substitute of U.S. flax for India jute, even though the flax was needed to alleviate the shortage on the farm of burlap bags, carpetbags, and binder twine. The jute was being consumed by the Army and Navy for production of rope. Because of the shortage, carpet companies stood idle.

Flax straw, burned by most farmers in the windrows, was to be the source of the flax.

Knotted, polka-dotted, twisted, beaded, braided.

The ostensible fear of the WPB and FEA was that once the carpet manufacturers and farm suppliers had turned to U.S. flax with which to make their bags and twine, they might never return to the India jute. The fear seemed to be driven, however, by economic self-interest, as several members of the WPB and FEA, who disfavored the turn to flax, were from companies which depended on the trade of India jute.

Thus, the farmers were going to lose out on 37.5 million dollars worth of business in flax straw which they were otherwise burning as waste material from their growth of flaxseed.

...Powdered, flowered, and confettied, bangled, tangled, spangled, and spaghettied...

Man, you should have seen them kicking Edgar Allan Poe.

"It remains to be seen what happens to the Calcutta-Wall Street lobby inside WPB and FEA," concludes Mr. Pearson.

He finishes the column with advice that the Truman Committee was investigating the payment for hazardous sea duty to desk admirals and their staffs in Washington. He cites the example of Admiral Ernest King, who spent his days aboard a small yacht in the Potomac, while his staff occupied offices in Chevy Chase and at the Naval Observatory. The paymaster was reported weekly to visit the yacht with the paychecks for the Admiral and his staff, and, upon notification of their actual whereabouts, would then carry the paychecks to their offices. The scene was routine, even if a sham, of which the paymaster was well aware. Now, thanks to the Truman Committee and Mr. Pearson, so were the taxpayers.

And the Reverend Herbert Spaugh, to celebrate the spirit of Brotherhood Week, provides a clipping from American Magazine, appearing in 1939, in which a speech delivered by Hitler at Nuremberg had appeared. In it, Hitler bemoans the fate of the Jews and finds them an oppressed people of the Nazis, a people who had to be liberated from that harsh and despicable oppression.

Wait, let us re-read that.

No, that's right. That is what it says.

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