Tuesday, March 7, 1944

The Charlotte News

Tuesday, March 7, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that another large American bombing raid of Berlin had taken place, consisting of over 850 bombers dropping more than 2,000 tons of bombs. Losses were the highest of any American raid thus far in the war, 68 bombers and 11 fighters. But enemy losses also numbered 176 planes, the second highest number inflicted of any raid.

Meanwhile, an RAF raid the previous night hit a railroad yard at Trappes, near Paris.

General MacArthur's forces on Los Negros Island in the Admiralties had moved slowly north of Momote Airfield, to gain a foothold in a seven-mile long peninsula forming the northern part of the island.

Admiral Nimitz announced that an American invasion of Majuro Island, midway in the Marshalls, had been effected without opposition and would provide a good supply base for operations.

In Russia, with the Red Army facing hard rains in the south, it had nevertheless advanced to within 87 miles of the 1940 border with Rumania.

Amid heavy rains, American forces in Cassino made several penetrating jabs at German lines, precipitating intense fighting. The rains limited operations on the Anzio beachhead to the repulse of a small attempted German incursion southeast of Carroceto, while a British force southwest of the town took a house which had been occupied by German troops.

It appeared that the testimony provided by Jonathan Daniels to the agriculture subcommittee of the Senate, chaired by Cotton Ed Smith, had sufficiently satisfied the Senators such that they would drop the recommendation to the full Senate that he be found in contempt for his initial refusal to testify pursuant to a claim of Executive privilege. Mr. Daniels had relented after consulting with the President and obtaining his waiver of the privilege, avoiding a Constitutional confrontation, necessitating Congressional action against the staff of the Executive.

--Ha, ha, ha. Vely funny, soldier boy. You want better virtue?

He had nothing to hide, as he testified that he approached Harry Slattery, head of the Rural Electrification Administration, on two occasions, seeking his agreement to accept a position abroad, studying European power developments. The visits had been approved by the President. Former Senator George Norris of Nebraska had been sought to fill the position at REA but declined. Mr. Slattery also declined to resign.

Some 29,000 coal miners in northern England and Wales struck this day and the day before for higher wages. Whether 007 had instituted the strike, was not indicated.

Striking workers, numbering 2,400, at the American Tobacco Company in Durham were ordered back to work by the War Labor Board, but had thus far refused to comply. Whether 86 and 99 had instituted the strike, was not indicated.

Eugene Burns, aboard a carrier in the Pacific, writes in the "Reporter's Notebook" column of several vignettes. Among them was the young lieutenant, 1942 graduate of Annapolis, who sought to relieve the watch preceding him by grabbing the seat of the pants of the person he thought was of his rank. It turned out to be the skipper of the carrier whose grin was maintained for awhile, says Mr. Burns, as he returned to his cabin.

He relates of two sailors who disarmed an errant bomb which had failed to release from a bomber and then dropped aboard the deck as the bomber landed, the bomb's propeller having begun to spin, pressing it toward detonation. The sailors rushed to the rescue of their fellow sailors, stopped the propeller and then proceeded to disarm the bomb. Perhaps a hundred sailors had been saved.

No toilet paper was used to stop the lethal weapon from detonating, as in the case of the stuck torpedo aboard one of the PT-boats described in the abstracts from They Were Expendable, by William L. White, printed in January, 1943 in The News.

On the editorial page, "Ah, Victory" wonders at the shining example of Senator Cotton Ed Smith to make much ado of nothing with regard to the threatened contempt citation against Jonathan Daniels for initially refusing to testify before the Senate subcommittee re his alleged pressure on the REA chair to resign his post. This exhibition, acerbically posits the piece, demonstrated an enormous sensitivity to methods to win the war through attempts to take from the political power of the President and transfer it to the Congress. Cotton Ed was simply doing what he did best, undermining unity in the country.

In 1973, had President Nixon not anything then to hide, he might have likewise responded to Senator Ervin and his Select Committee investigating the June 17, 1972 break-in of the Democratic National Headquarters at the Watergate, ocurring 46 days after the death of J. Edgar Hoover, and instructed his men to do more than either stonewall or engage in limited hang-out. In all likelihood, the press would have responded precisely the same as in 1944 with FDR and Mr. Daniels, yawned, and let sleeping dogs lie. But, the full monty, in the latter day case, could not be allowed, for the possibility of exposing the Bay of Pigs thing. And now that Mr. Hoover was no longer around with the goods on members of Congress to stop the detonation of the torpedo... But, it could have been handled in camera, in executive session. The only problem was that then, instead of being an unindicted co-conspirator,...

"Springtime" indicates that the coming of spring would hearken likely the invasion of the Continent, following the pattern of the war in which spring had been the season to initiate battle, first for Germany in 1940 and 1941, then the Allies in Tunisia the previous April. The heavy bombing raids suggested the imminence of this "terrible destiny" which the Allies were about to meet.

"Protest" finds dangerous to the lives of American fighting men the protests registered by certain American clergymen to the continued bombing campaign in Europe, threatening Rome itself. The piece finds the criticism, just at the time when bombing was softening Germany for the invasion, to be particularly freighted with danger. One group had contended that the American people had not been informed of the purpose of the bombing and its realities. The piece responds that nothing could be further from the truth, that most Americans well understood why the war was being fought in their name and why the relentless, concentrated bombing had to go forward.

Drew Pearson indicates that Maj. General Patrick Hurley had met with the President and informed him that his talks with Arab ruler Ibn Saud had revealed that the Arabs would revolt should the Allies favor establishment of a refuge in Palestine for Jews. Violence could erupt in the Near East necessitating diversion of British troops to the theater to restore and maintain order.

The prospect had been enough to sideline a proposed resolution of Senators Wagner and Taft to lift restrictions on Jewish migration and to declare Palestine a commonwealth. The block was effected, however, not through President Roosevelt but through former Secretary of War Hurley conferring with present Secretary of War Henry Stimson. General George C. Marshall also was on board disapproving of the resolution for the reasons enunciated by General Hurley.

While Secretary of State Hull had, with some prodding, indicated the State Department's lack of objection to the Wagner-Taft resolution, Assistant Secretary of War John J. McCloy had let it be known that the War Department was left holding the bag on the issue, for the fact that State did not wish to express an opinion.

The result was anger, both among Congressmen and Jewish leaders, the latter not uniformly in support of the resolution but opposed to Government vacillation.

Jewish money poured into Palestine had established settlements capable of handling four million people, while only 60,000 Jews had yet to establish residence in these settlements. The State Department had indicated its favor, because of transportation problems from Europe during time of war, to Jewish resettlement in the Mediterranean rather than in the United States.

Samuel Grafton cautions that the split between the President and Congress, brought to a head the previous week with the resignation as Majority Leader of Alben Barkley re the Presidentís eventually overridden veto of the tax bill, and the recent criticism of Prime Minister Churchill in Commons for his being too conciliatory toward Russia, were bound to be whetting the appetite of Hitler and causing him to hold on longer in the hope that a split between the Western Allies and Russia, as well as internal splits, might develop to enable Germany to wage a stalemate in the war and obtain an honorable peace.

Hitler was most adept, suggests Mr. Grafton, at creating and then exploiting the splits, as anyone adept at rear action, such as Hitler became as a soldier in World War I.

Dorothy Thompson takes from an account in The London Times which had voiced opposition to geographical dismemberment of Germany post-war on the premise that it would stimulate nationalistic impulses which could lead to revolt. Yet, the editorial had recommended as essential the division and redistribution throughout Europe of control of Germanyís principal industries, as well as its power and transportation infrastructure.

Ms. Thompson finds this latter point highly suspect on the ground that Germany, after World War I and during its process of rearmament in the period 1934-39, had the bulk of its principal industries owned in large part by foreign interests, British and French, primarily French. It was these interests, together with American automakers with factories in Germany, primarily Ford, which had enabled Germany to rearm. These interests had encouraged the supply to Germany of alloys, ores, and oil, the commodities which were sine qua non to the building of armaments and readying the Wehrmacht for deployment.

Thus, the proposal by The Times of London would not insulate Europe from a resurrection of German industrial might and rearmament, indeed might encourage it were it to become economically profitable in the future for the new industrial barons of Europe who would own the German industrial interests.

She recommends instead that current ownership of the German corporations be held responsible for war reparations to the occupied nations of Europe. The post-war government of Germany must be made of such a strong democratic foundation that it would have the power to dismantle permanently the cartels and monopolies which had led to the war, in assistance of Hitler for their own greed. She drives home a simple maxim which had been learned by the advent of World War II: weak governments, subservient to oligopolies, would inevitably result in industry which would, for its sustained economic viability, drive the wheels of war at the direction of the oligopolies' puppets, such as Hitler.

Marquis Childs reports of Senator Arthur Vandenberg of Michigan seeking to tout the nomination for the presidency of General Douglas MacArthur. Mr. Childs believes it to be a cynical attempt to promote a symbol for the American people rather than motivated by a genuine desire to have the man best experienced in the affairs of state and handling of foreign relations, something at which FDR had obviously more experience after eleven years in office than anyone else.

He echoes the sentiment of the late Raymond Clapper who had written during January that General MacArthur had been out of touch with daily life in the United States for too long to be much attuned to the pulse of the country and thus fit material for the presidency, however well-groomed and fitted he was to being a professional soldier. General MacArthur, Mr. Childs similarly indicates, had not much ability to relate to people on an ordinary level anyway, and the complication of this militaristic attitude with a lack of awareness of life stateside would prove fatal to his potential for adept leadership of the country.

Senator Vandenberg, he says, however, had sought to transform this disability into an asset by positing that it would enable the general to lead without the typical prejudices possessed of those who were entrenched in the political life of the country.

History was on the side of Senator Vandenberg, points out Mr. Childs, as the veterans of the Civil War had elected U.S. Grant as President in 1868. But history also showed him a poor gauge by which to judge the worth of war heroes and generals as presidents. To overcome this obvious fly in the ointment, Senator Vandenberg had cited Generals Washington and Jackson as the examples by which a prospective presidency of General MacArthur ought be judged.

We spend some time on this piece, despite the fact that General MacArthur obviously never ran for president. General Eisenhower, however, did become the nominee of the Republicans in 1952, after two failed attempts by the young Governor of New York, Thomas Dewey, to conquer the New Deal and its extension under Harry Truman, the Fair Deal. Thus, the paradigm championed by Senator Vandenberg, achieving political victory through the recommendation of leadership realized in a field outside politics more than based on credentials of experience and achievement in political life, was eventually followed by the Republicans as a mold by which to shape their candidate's image vis-a-vis the electorate.

We should note, for clarification, that Clare Boothe Luce's assertion in the fall of 1952 on the "Longines Chronoscope" program to which we linked in the note of Saturday, that nine U.S. Presidents had, at that time, prior to the election of General Eisenhower, been generals in the armed forces, and that none had involved the country in war, was, while technically true, also begging considerably credulity--as did most of the utterances of Clare Boothe Luce throughout her public career, more a charming gadabout of her day, with a half-baked head full of nonsense accompanying her wherever she traveled, than an informed individual.

For it is the case that three of the nine generals who became President, prior to President Eisenhower, died within sixteen months after taking office. William Henry Harrison became ill at his inauguration and died a month later. Zachary Taylor died of food poisoning sixteen months into his term. And James Garfield was assassinated and died six months after the inception of his term. The others, besides Washington, Jackson, and Grant, were Franklin Pierce, Rutherford B. Hayes, and Benjamin Harrison.

Among this list, it should be noted, beyond Washington and Jackson, of the four other Presidents who lived to complete their terms, only Benjamin Harrison was considered other than a failure as President. Moreover, during the entire 163-year history of the country up to 1952, it had been engaged in war for only about 17 of those years. The nine Presidents to whom she referred were in office for a total of 38 years, leaving 108 years of the country's history having been governed by Presidents who had not been military generals and who also kept the country out of war.

It might also be rejoindered, with full historical realization in play, that General Washington had led the country in the Revolution against Great Britain to establish the republic in the first instance.

So, Ms. Luce, what was your point? No plan. No plan. No plan. Just useless, mindless rhetoric and speechifying in the most pleasantly enunciated syllabication of the most common words imaginable, with dips into your crib notes whenever the going got rough, such as reciting the numbers of American dead, wounded, and prisoners in the action in Korea.

Next time, stay at home with Henry and raise your children.

"Hell hath no fury like a Truman scorn." She said that.

Hell hath no facile vassal like one not of woman, more of man, born. We said that.

The "Four Horsemen" of the Five, head-clad in their perfectly color-coded scarfs,
In blinders, are perfectly well-obcured by this perfectly well-timed photograph
Of a perfectly well-timed photographer.

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