Wednesday, March 1, 1944

The Charlotte News

Wednesday, March 1, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that on Tuesday morning, the Germans on the Anzio beachhead had launched a third major offensive drive between Cisterna and Carroceto, armed this time with a new secret weapon, a radio-controlled drone tank, loaded with a half-ton of explosives. These tanks backfired, however, as the Allies were able to destroy fourteen before they reached Allied lines, likely refracting fire back onto the Germans. The Germans launched the attack after an artillery thrust against the beachhead of the greatest magnitude since the Allied landings January 22.

Without opposition, and under Navy and Air Force cover, troops of the Sixth Army under General MacArthur landed at Los Negros Island on the northeast corner of the Admiralty Islands, standing at the northern entrance to the Bismarck Sea. Momote Airdrome on the island, said to be one of the best landing strips the Japanese had in the South Pacific, was quickly captured in good condition.

Within twenty minutes, General MacArthur, personally accompanying the landing, went ashore and commended the troops. The successful operation, said General MacArthur, brought the Bismarck Sea Campaign close to a finish and encircled 50,000 Japanese troops, most of whom were now stranded without supply links at Rabaul and on the rest of New Britain.

It was only the second time that General MacArthur had personally accompanied an invasion force, the first having been a paratroop operation on New Guinea.

RAF Mosquitos attacked Western Germany at undisclosed targets the night before. A report of the previous day’s raid by American bombers on Brunswick indicated that only one bomber and eight fighters were lost, a far cry from the 60 lost in the January 11 raid on the city. This time, there was only slight Luftwaffe opposition, the result of the 632 German planes dispatched by the Americans during February.

The British had suffered a record loss of 79 planes over Leipzig on February 19.

The British approved the four-point proposed terms of surrender by Finland, which included ceasing of hostilities against the Allies, breaking off of all diplomatic and military relations with Germany, interning all German troops and ships in Finland, and re-establishing the 1940 Russo-Finnish borders established at the end of the 1940 Winter War. It remained to be seen whether Finland would accept the Russian demands.

In Burma, Lord Mountbatten updated the number of Japanese killed in the Akyab sector: 4,500 Japanese soldiers of the original 8,000 in the area.

A report out of Sweden had it that three Nazi generals were ordered shot, personally supervised by Gestapo chief Heinrich Himmler, for having ordered retreats at Pskov in Russia.

An attempted coup in Argentina, becoming rather routine in recent months, this time by an Army lieutenant-colonel had been put down and order restored. Lt. Col. Tomas Duco had sought to overthrow President General Eldemiro Farrell, to whom power had been ceded the previous Thursday by General Pedro Ramirez in a coup of nationalistic elements. After massing his Third Army on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, Lt. Col. Duco came into town on his own at the invitation of willful General Farrell and the power behind the throne, War Minister Juan Peron, whereupon Lt. Col. Duco was arrested. More coups to come.

The Navy announced that a Liberty ship would bear the name of fallen war correspondent Raymond Clapper, killed while observing a bombing mission over Engebi Island amid Eniwetok Atoll in the Marshalls on February 2.

Thorburn Wiant, in the "Reporter's Notebook" column, indicates from Northern Burma that for six weeks he was without a haircut. They asked him why he was such a hairy guy. He responded that he had seen the results of the Chinese razor cuts of the Chinese soldiers and, because of the results, decided to wait for an Army barber, thus far unavailable. Better to have hair that’s a fright than to look as a skinhead Chinese.

Finally, after enduring laughter at his hirsute status from the skinheads around him, he managed to bribe a Chinese barber with two packs of cigarettes plus extortion by withholding his co-opted razor for the duration of the haircut, provided the barber would employ scissors. After an hour, the nervous job of the reluctant barber was complete.

Mr. Wiant described the look as somewhat punkish, as if a rat had been gnawing on his hair for an hour. All that was missing was a little green and purple dye to make the effect complete.

Taking a leaf in attitude from the future, he decided that he did not care any longer how he looked, as it appeared no one else did.

Every Chinese soldier knew only one word anyway, "Okay."

As with little Topsy, the soldiers did not keep track of time.

As it would be later said by a great American: "Comm-mmm-mmunism does not grow like little Topsy. Treason does not grow like little Topsy." We add that hair, too, does not grow like little Topsy.

Well, maybe it does.

As with that same great American though, the Chinese did one thing in the great American tradition: according to Mr. Wiant, they fished with hand grenades. These Chinese, no doubt, became the Nationalists, while those others, the skinheads, succumbed to Comm-mmm-mmunism and became Reds, to be rooted out by that great young American missionary who laid down his life for the cause of freedom, John Birch.

--Hobbs how hair? Boo how.

--Ding how need.

--Oh, mama foo hoo. Vely boo how.


--Hobbs who how?

--Foo hoo, oh mama, looka foo hoo. Boo how.

And, from South Carolina, seat of liberal thought and progress through its history, came a resolution of the South Carolina Legislature, an obviously reformed body after the Civil War, reformation having been effected during the period called "Progress", in which the Legislature expressed itself succinctly and vividly: "Henceforth the damned agitators of the North leave the South alone in interracial relations."

For the hard of hearing, we shall repeat it: "Henceforth the damned agitators of the North leave the South alone in interracial relations."

This message of good will and provident hope for the Brotherhood of Man during the week ensuing Brotherhood Week, this week known there as Hooded Brother Week, was certainly damned salutary.

Again: "Henceforth the damned agitators of the North leave the South alone in interracial relations."

The "agitation" was thought to refer especially to the recent directive of the FEPC, created by the President, that the Southern railroads engage in hiring and wage practices without racial discrimination.

The South Carolina edict which went, "Henceforth the damned agitators of the North leave the South alone in interracial relations," was endorsed by the Southern delegation in Congress, indicating that it showed public support for the proposed bill of Senator Richard Russell of Georgia to cut off funding July 1 for any Executive committee created by the President which had been in existence for more than a year.

Congressman Whelchel of Georgia agreed with most of the ideas expressed in the resolution which went, "Henceforth the damned agitators of the North leave the South alone in interracial relations." He added, "Outside agitators are causing dissension and strife by mixing in our affairs." He asserted assent to the Russell bill to stop the FEPC from its "trouble making".

The Southerners wanted to have their affairs without any Federal intrusion.

Congressman Cox of Georgia, recently under scrutiny by the Congress for his having too many family members on the Government payroll, stated, in diplomatic manner, "I agree in protesting the effort being made to mongrelize our people."

The South Carolina Legislative directive stated, "Henceforth the damned agitators of the North leave the South alone in interracial relations."

Fala was said to have heard the news, turned over with his paws clasped to his ears, quickly fell fast asleep.

On the editorial page, "Red Cross" presents an appeal to the community to be generous in contribution to the organization assigned the task of tending the wounded abroad, now more than ever to become taxed to its limits of ability as the invasion of Europe drew nigh and the offensive in the Pacific had begun.

"A Visitor" suggests that Tar Heels greet with a smile Governor John W. Bricker of Ohio, soon to come to the state to present his case to the Carolina Political Union at the University in Chapel Hill, and that despite that he was sure not to garner many votes in the state in November, should he be the party nominee.

Of course, to a degree, it would be academic: he was not the party nominee, even if the vice-presidential nominee on the ticket with Thomas Dewey. The ticket lost North Carolina 67% to 33%, and so the editorial knew whereof it spoke.

"Veterans" praises the President's efforts to get Congress to create Federal jobs for five years for returning veterans who would find themselves displaced from their old employment.

But the editorial asks why men over 38 who had been discharged were not receiving mustering out pay and why, likewise, men who were in service prior to Pearl Harbor and who subsequently had been discharged were not receiving the money recently allotted by Congress, amounting to between $100 and $300.

The answer to the first question it finds in the fact that the men over 38 had indicated their intent to return to their old jobs. But it still puzzles to try to find any rational answer to the second question.

"Youngsters" takes issue with Brigadier General J.V.B. Metz, head of the North Carolina Selective Service, in his indictment of American youth for being pudgy and out of shape, accounting for too many of the physical rejections from the draft. The physical ineptitude, he contended, was largely the result of the automobile leading to lassitude and disharmony of body and spirit.

But the piece argues that, aside from inevitable physically unfit citizens, the overall record of the American armed services in World War II was superior to that of the First World War and thus beyond the reaches of the general's criticism. Their victories at Guadalcanal, Tarawa in the Gilberts, the Marshalls, in Tunisia and Sicily, all spelled a very different scenario than that painted by the general. It was not, concludes the piece, a soft generation.

And, of course, the general's remarks having perhaps some validity, it was indeed not a soft generation. But, now, take the current generation…

Marquis Childs looks at new Democratic National Committee chair Robert Hannegan, replacing in January Postmaster General Frank Walker. Mr. Hannegan was set in striking contrast to his Republican counterpart Harrison Spangler, who Mr. Childs indicates he would profile the following day.

The main objective Mr. Hannegan sought was to smooth relations among Democrats across the country. He also faced a major difference from the previous five years in that, this time around, the President's prospective coattails were perceived as likely to be much shorter than in the three previous elections, necessitating more work and organization at the grassroots.

Against the wave of praise for Senator Barkley's stand against the President and his veto of the tax bill as being for the greedy and not the needy, as well inadequate to meet the war debt, Dorothy Thompson praises the President's brave, in solus foresightedness in insisting on the larger revenue. She cites in support of the proposition a study by the Federal Reserve Bank which recommended paying the war debt through taxation rather than through borrowing, the latter having tendency to stimulate inflation.

The study indicated through statistics that Canada and Britain taxed at a substantially higher rate, 52 percent in Canada and 46 percent in Britain, than America, at 32 percent. Britain took 42 percent of its national income in taxes, Canada, 36 percent, and the U.S., 32 percent. And the U.S. had greater capital to tax and so could alleviate its debt burden more rapidly with higher levels of taxation, still not reaching those of Britain and Canada. Yet, in the U.S., families with several children and incomes less than $1,500 per annum paid greater taxes than in Canada and Britain. Luxury taxes had doubled in the other two countries while only being increased by 50% in the U.S.

The overall conclusion, therefore, was that the President was correct in his assessment that the Congress was protecting the greedy corporations and placing too much burden on the lower income groups, while deferring the bulk of the war bill to be shouldered by the soldiers fighting the war, after they returned in victory.

Drew Pearson again addresses the backroom theater behind the Barkley resignation and re-election as Majority Leader. He provides details of the Democratic caucus in which Senator Barkley appointed Senator Pat McKellar of Tennessee to act as head of the caucus in his absence, whereupon he tendered his resignation. At that point, Senator Bennett Clark of Missouri gave a rousing tribute to Senator Barkley, expressed the desire that the resignation be accepted and the fervent hope that he would then be re-elected. And, of course, at that juncture, the vote went accordingly on both points, unanimously.

Mr. Pearson also points out among his Merry-Go-Round items that Vice-President Wallace, on his national speaking tour, had, apparently heeding the advice of J.V.B. Metz, desiring perhaps more of that which was to come in 1969 than that in 1962, for instance, insisted on walking from the meeting hall to the station, some three or four miles in distance. His assistant, a pudgy 200-pounder, not named Pierre, had to protest and take a cab, as the Vice-President maintained his slender physique, the simple miracle of long life and happy accord.

Samuel Grafton finds only par for the course the ready attacks on the President for his having not asked enough in taxes, six million less than Wendell Willkie favored, while also contending that he was unable to get along with Congress when they gave him one-fifth of that for which he asked in revenue and overrode his veto of the bill. Some commentators had even expressed the hope that Congress, with its appetite for blood whetted, would go after Lend-Lease, reducing foreign aid expenditures.

And a news piece on the page announces that on April 14, the Woodmen of the World would hold its annual meeting in Charlotte with several WOW national figures on hand, including the president of the organization, from Omaha. The announcement was made after a joint meeting of the Piedmont District Log Rolling Association of the WOW and the Woodmen Circle.

Whether they would come to town on a horse, carrying The New York Times and head out to the Charlotte Country Club, was, per the usual course, not indicated.

--If you think all that's funny, you are just evil. You make fun of us and ever'thing we believe in. What is wrong with you? You are some kind of a pervert. We are not British. We are Americans, European-Americans. You're some kind of idiot. Besides, Montevideo's in Uruguay. It says that right on the front page. What does Uruguay have to do with Britain?

--And, unlike what you present to assault the senses just to get attention, there are plenty of woodsmen who just like good clean wood and the out of doors and a good, smooth-running chainsaw to embrace the fabric of the fragrant bark and showering pine needles, tingling against your arms, jolting your sinews with the vibrations of the insistently rotating motor, hot and smelling of gasoline, spewing sawdust, swirling all around your head, forming a halo of sunlit rainbows, bent by the gasoline fumes being emitted, as you push ever faster and harder the bar against the bark, causing the channel on the bar wherein rides the chain to become clogged with the sticky and gooy refuse out of the life stream of the spruce and cypress and oak and gum into which you are cutting, the goo dripping down onto your pant legs and shoes now drenched in crimson flow because, in thinking about these myriad images which you really can't see for the safety goggles you are wearing having become clouded with your heavy breath, and just burned your hand horribly against the muffler causing you momentarily to release your grip, you have just gone and cut your right leg clean off mid-calf with that chainsaw, and it's beginning to hurt som'un awful, and there's no one around for miles and miles, and it's bleedin'. Oh, it's bleedin' bad, and you're feelin' faint. Probably won't make it this time, Woodsman. But, wait. There's a glass doorway, which suddenly has miraculously appeared in the forest. Let's go through it and find out what's on the other side...

--Okay. It's go'n' be okay. There's the Red Cross.

--No, it's just a little rooster.

--from To Secure These Rights, The President's Committee on Civil Rights, 1947,
Chairman, Charles E. Wilson

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