Monday, March 13, 1944

The Charlotte News

Monday, March 13, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the British Government's Home Office, having already determined to cease transportation between Britain and Ireland, was also considering closing the border between Ulster and Eire, to prevent further cross-border migration of German agents collecting information from and regarding American troops stationed in Ulster. General Eisenhower had requested that the action be taken after Prime Minister Eamon de Valera of Eire refused the U.S. request to expel all German and Japanese diplomats.

Because of the order, the mail train to Holyhead in Wales, where it connected with the boat to Kingstown in Eire, was running only one-third full. The Irish laborers on the train voiced opposition to De Valera, indicating that Germany had never done anything for the Irish and should not be protected.

Of course, the neutrality of Eire had been assiduously maintained by De Valera to avoid Luftwaffe bombing of Southern Ireland as a result of cooperation with the Allies. Yet, the Luftwaffe had, while still conducting sporadic raids on London and some towns in southern England, not touched Ireland at all since mid-1941. Moreover, Dublin and other places in Eire were bombed half a dozen times during the Blitz, even if only one of the raids, on May 31, 1941, inflicted substantial casualties, killing 28 persons. That was so, despite neutrality. Thus, the excuse had by now worn thin.

Further sanctions at the time against Ireland were thought not to be in the offing for the facts that many troops of Eire fought with the British Army, many war workers in Britain came from Eire, and any economic sanctions would penalize as much England as Eire.

Bad weather again limited significant action on the Italian fronts, on the Anzio beachhead and in and around Cassino.

Underscoring increasing Allied air superiority over France and Germany, a formation of Liberators hit Pas-de-Calais in Northern France for the second day in a row without loss, this time achieved for the first time without fighter escort. An array of Flying Fortresses hit targets in Northern France, suffering the loss of two bombers. RAF Mosquitoes hit undisclosed targets the night before over Western Germany.

Lord Louis Mountbatten's Southeast Asia command announced the taking in Burma of the village of Buthedaung, 55 miles north of Akyab on the Bay of Bengal, as well as hills to the south and southwest.

To the north in Burma, in the Battle for the Hukawng Valley, Chinese and American troops had advanced two miles along the road through the valley, seven miles below Walawburn, the town taken by Merrill's Marauder’s.

American troops on Bougainville killed 112 Japanese troops who had penetrated the American perimeter on the island at Empress Augusta Bay. The Americans suffered 30 killed in the action, taking place the previous Wednesday through Friday, March 8-10.

The Russians, slaying 5,000 more Nazis, bringing the total to 60,000 dispatched to Valhalla within the previous eight days, were now within 22 miles of Kherson. Forces advancing south and west of Uman had taken Gaivoron, along the middle Bug River, killing 2,500 more Nazis.

Commander of the Eighth Air Force in England, Brigadier General James Doolittle, had been nominated by the President to become a lieutenant general.

A man was arrested near Whitesburg, Kentucky for the Saturday clubbing of a mail carrier delivering a War Department telegram, to whom and to what pertinence being not provided. The postman’s body had been buried alive. The man arrested, a miner, said that he had to do it.

John A. Moroso, III, in the "Reporter's Notebook" column, writes of the humor, sometimes sprinkled with salt, which alleviated the stress of sea duty on a cruiser plying the Atlantic, protecting convoys.

Among the various anecdotes was one sounding as inspiring one emanating from the Orca: A sailor on a destroyer was drinking in a bar with a submariner and an aviator, each bragging about their various exploits, each of which was attributable to the ship on which the sailor served. The submariner and the aviator each bragged of his decorations for mission duty. The sailor had nothing about which to hoist his glass, as sailors were not so rewarded.

Finally, in exasperation, he pulled up his jumper and said, "I'll bet none of you birds can match this bruise I've got."

Whether the aviator and submariner responded in unison, "Oompah, oompah, stick it up your jumper. We can beat that, sailor. In the ninth grade, we didn't even get to…"

Well, that's enough of that, boys.


On the editorial page, "High Taxes" recommends, despite a report that North Carolina had the highest state tax rate in the nation in the face of a 73 million dollar surplus, that the citizens should bear in mind the need for that surplus to demobilize and reorient the state after the war, that the high taxes were the result of more industry in the state than other Southern states, and less tax base than Northern and Western industrialized states. It was not so bad or superfluous as it appeared at first glance.

"Ways, Means" finds the difference in efficiency between the long efficient County Police Department and the more disunified and cumbersome City Police Department to be reflected in the different manner in which the membership of the respective civil service boards were constituted. The City board was appointed by the City Council, and thus subject to more political whimsy, while the County board was appointed by a judge, relatively insulated from politics.

"Irvin Cobb" provides obituary to the deceased humorist who died Friday. Few died with such grace, says the piece, and with such magnanimity toward life generally.

"The Irish" finds it time to call the hand of neutral Southern Ireland in the war and applauds the position of the State Department and British Home Office in contemplating closing the border between Ulster and Eire. The piece favors use of force if necessary to keep German spies from Ulster.

Marquis Childs comments adversely on the soldier ballot legislation which had finally passed through the reconciliation conference of the House and Senate. It was one which appeared by all objective accounts not to insure the vote to any soldier without special legislation of his home state. Two questions had haunted the conferees: the black vote, especially concerning Congressman John Rankin of Mississippi; and whether soldiers would uniformly vote for their Commander-in-Chief. Both of these, issues, asserts Mr. Childs, were silly.

The question now was whether the states would act, whether many of the states could afford to call special legislative sessions to act.

Drew Pearson tells of a two-hour conference between the War Production Board's production guru, Charles Wilson, and the President anent numerous issues, none of which involved war production. Oblivious to the reason for the far-reaching conference, he was finally informed by a friend that the President was looking him over as vice-presidential timber. His response was that he was a Republican.

But, informs Mr. Pearson, word was that the President was looking for a conservative to run on the ticket. Undersecretary of State Edward Stettinius was considered a front-runner. Conservatives were so optimistic that they believed that, at the end of the war, the President would resign, enabling the conservative to take over the Ship of State.

It would not quite work out the way they had hoped.

Mr. Pearson next tells of the eighteen-minute telephone conversation between Tokyo and the Japanese Consulate in Honolulu, tapped by the FBI on the morning of December 6, 1941. The FBI thought the conversation sounded as cant. The cant was turned over to ONI who thought it uninteresting. Then it went to G2 who, in contrast, considered it important for transmission up the chain of command. But General Walter Short chose to ignore the warning.

Mr. Pearson then tells of the Brazilian Ambassador inviting members of both political parties to an affaire d’honneur held at the Embassy, hedging his bets for November, the principals winding up not in poker, but rather playing bridge.

Senator Gerald Nye of North Dakota, a Republican, was accusing members of his party in the East of wanting to displace him so that Senator Styles Bridges of New Hampshire could become chair of the Appropriations Committee should the Republicans take over the Senate. The reason for the move, he asserted, was that his adversary would favor the big financial interests. Mr. Pearson points out, however, that Senator Nye was one of the best friends to such interests, having voted to override the President's veto on the tax bill weighted to the advantage of the wealthy, voted for the Ruml pay-as-you-go tax plan, and also for the repeal of the President's executive order, based on war powers contained in the declarations of war, to limit salaries to $25,000 per year.

Samuel Grafton reprints four very grave letters he had received regarding the interrelations between males and females, both in service and out.

Included was a letter from a girl named Honey, who wrote of having encountered on Saturday night Mr. Grafton's good friend, Nick Dinim, in somewhat condescending fettle with respect to Honey's condition, not in the least delinquent though assumed by Mr. Dinim to be by her station, perhaps an orphan, neither pa nor ma. Neither beast.

She begged to differ, inquiring whether girls of proper upbringing could not be issued buttons entailing their legend as being other than Victory Girls, having boyfriends all along, not needing a war to come by one. On whether any were named Sugar Bunch, Ms. Pihoteneusebaum, as we interpret her last name to have been, remains in silence.

Then came a soldier, Joe, writing of his hard luck in not being able to stay home to spend time pursuing his sticking of stamps to his collection book, as the President was wont to do. Rather, he had been unwittingly inveigled into nightclubs where he was hornswoggled into dates with women who had conversation with him incessantly, a terribly noisome fortuity to young Joe.

A lieutenant wrote of the excessive copies of pin-up pictures polluting the mores of the soldiers, wished a manner in which to dispose of them.

No doubt, Mr. Grafton would forward the letter to Honey for her assistance in hooking up the lieutenant with the right party by which the large feat might be accomplished.

Then Nick Dinim happens to write Mr. Grafton again, wishing to impart something atrocious which he had witnessed on Saturday night. Decorum prevented written description; he needed to meet personally with Mr. Grafton on Thursday.

Whether it concerned someone named Jean, whose stockings needing mending, we do not know. But, with the buns in the oven, perhaps we shall yet be enlightened when they are fully baked.

Well, what's so wrong with being a Victory Girl? We don't understand. We shall take out our pestle and crush that in the crucible for awhile and try to effect climb to the precipice of the point on Everest.

But don't try to fool us. As we have warned before, we can see in the dark, as we have been here quite awhile, nigh on wedged in the Dakotas, somewhere between Teddy Roosevelt's hat, Crazy Horse, and the nose of Thomas Jefferson, as the train goes hotly through the tunnel, whizzing by us at great speed, leaving us, in the cool, crisp air of a bright November morning, to wonder where it might be headed, perhaps West, perhaps East.

Anyway, there's nothing wrong with a Victory Girl.

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