Friday, April 21, 1944

The Charlotte News

Friday, April 21, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that yet another record load of bombs had been dropped the previous night by the RAF on Germany, 5,040 tons, 560 tons more than the record set just two days earlier. Fully 1,100 bombers, the largest contingent of the RAF yet in the war, struck at Cologne and other targets, primarily in France, including Lens, Pas de Calais, and La Chapelle, as well as at Ottignies in Belgium. Sixteen bombers failed to return.

The day before, 750 to 1,000 American bombers had struck the French coast, dropping 2,500 tons of bombs.

In three days, the Allies had dispatched more than 9,000 bombers to drop more than 15,000 tons of bombs on France and Germany, half of which tonnage had been dropped during the previous day and night.

In the Pacific, bombers had attacked Truk each of the two previous days, and had also struck again at Ponape in the Caroline Islands, as well as at Wake Island.

In Cassino, heavy artillery exchange continued along with the usual patrol activity. Germans were observed on the right flank of the Anzio beachhead engaged in removing their own mines as well those of the Allies.

In China, for the first time in seven years of war, the Japanese penetrated from Manchuria into Hunan Province, utilizing a force of between 50,000 and 60,000 men, about four divisions, with the goal of wresting from the Chinese their hold on 150 miles of the Peiping-Hankow railway separating the northern and central Japanese forces in China.

In India, the Japanese were sending reinforcements to the area of Kohima on the road between Dimapur and Imphal, attempting to secure the area before the monsoon season, set to start in less than a month.

In Russia, two thrusts by the Wehrmacht had been repulsed: one was in the north across the Estonian border south of Narva, the first action on the Baltic front in six weeks; the other took place at the foot of the Carpathian Mountains, 800 miles to the south, begun against the Second Ukrainian Army two days earlier, east of Stanislawow, in defense of Lwow in Poland. In each action, over 2,000 Nazis had been killed.

Utilizing British and American equipment, including planes, the Russians were taking huge tolls on German troops attempting to escape via the Black Sea from Sevastopol in the Crimea, now in a state of bloody siege.

General Patton was reported now to be in London, preparing to lead an Army in the coming European invasion. He was preparing to take command of the Third Army. The General had been in mothballs since the August slapping incidents in Sicily, with rumors having been deliberately floated to the Reich that he was preparing an army in Cairo for the purpose of invading the Balkans.

Now that the Balkans were being invaded by the Russians and pounded by Allied bombs, there was no need to perpetuate the Patton rumor further. The thinking, in releasing this story of his move to England, perhaps was premised on the notion that it would cause Hitler to divert troops early from the Russian and Balkan fronts, or perhaps from the Italian fronts, weakening those defenses, to shore up his French coastal and inland walls.

In any event, soon the rumor would be circulated to the Axis that General Patton was preparing to lead an amphibious assault of the so-called First U. S. Army Group on Pas de Calais. (Presumably, this fictional Group was named in response to the Dragon's Teeth which constituted the barrier prohibiting vehicles from breaching the Westliche Wand between Germany and France.)

On the inside page, a map shows the points of battle between the Allies and the Japanese in northern Burma and northeastern India.

A photograph of Major Richard Bong's sister appears also on that page, with a caption indicating that she had told of the ace flier remaining calm during missions, but then getting "the shakes when it's all over".

Also on the page appears an article quoting extensively from the white supremacist ramblings of the former South Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice, Eugene Blease, brother of deceased racist Cole Blease, who had been both Governor and Senator. Eugene Blease, who had been on the State Supreme Court through 1934, had run unsuccessfully for the Senate in 1942 against Burnet Maybank. He would not run again for political office.

At this time, he was exercised about the President running for a fourth term, warned his fellow South Carolinians that Eleanor Roosevelt would lead the country into the dangerous zone of seeking social and political equality between the races, a status which, he said, would result in "great trouble and even distress" between the races.

Also reported was a special session of the Legislature in South Carolina, called by Governor Olin Johnston for the sole purpose of maintaining white supremacy in the State by stripping from all the state statutes governing elections the word "primary". In doing so, the Legislature presumed to avoid the result of a United States Supreme Court decision in Smith v. Allwright, 321 U.S. 649 (1944), which had held unanimously that the State of Texas must open its primary elections to African-Americans because of the fact that they were state-sponsored elections. (In that case, Justice Owen Roberts noted, while not labeling his separate opinion a dissent, that a previous case in 1935 out of Texas, Grovey v. Townsend, 295 U. S. 45, had, on similar facts, reached the opposite result, upholding the state court decision which had in turn upheld the county election board's determination not to issue an absentee ballot to an African-American, based on the Democratic Party convention having restricted party membership to whites. Justice Roberts, while recognizing the Court's power to overrule its own previous holdings, expressed dismay regarding the resulting uncertainty from varying decisions by the fact of the Court having expressly overruled Grovey only nine years after its issuance.)

To avoid the Allwright result, deemed all wrong in South Carolina, the Legislature removed all state sanction from the primaries, reserving administration of the primary balloting to the Democratic Party organization. In the one-party State, that meant that African-Americans could only vote in November either for the Democrat they did not nominate or for a nominee of some other party which allowed African-Americans to vote in the primary, an obvious faux pas in South Carolina, any such nominee being axiomatically doomed ab initio to defeat. Effectively, the maneuver disfranchised African-Americans in South Carolina. There is not much point in voting when there is, for all practical purposes, only one candidate, elected in the primary in which you could not vote because of skin pigment.

It is this sort of disgraceful political chicanery which led to the violence and social upheaval of the 1960's. Had these idiots simply accepted that the Civil War was over and that their grandpas had done lost it, there would have been no need to have endured the decades of violence, culminating in the 1960's, all simply to achieve the basic right of any American to vote and to have access to the same public facilities, neighborhoods, and schools to which white people had access.

When one reflects on this reality for a moment, posits it as being in a foreign country, not in the good old U.S. of A., one finds one's self more likely situated in Saddam Hussein's Iraq or in Communist China or living under Soviet Communism. However you slice the pie, it was a dictatorship, in some places, as in Birmingham, a virtual police state.

And, of course, some people still do not get it. Despite the fact that some of them, the understrappers to the pols, cannot speak the King's English, they nevertheless are convinced by their overseers that they are descended from royalty.

In the case of South Carolina, more than likely suit, pursuant to 42 USC 1983, seeking injunctive relief, claiming violation of Federal constitutional rights under color of state law, even if the election was privately administered, would be forthcoming. We shall see. In any event, a public function taken over by a private interest does not insulate the private interest from suit for violations of Federal constitutional rights, for the fact that the private interest still acts under color of state law. The state, in other words, cannot contract with a private entity and thereby do in that guise what the state ordinarily could not do under the Constitution.

Any careful reading of the last paragraph of the opinion in Allwright should have instructed a Legislature at all literate in the law that its attempt at interposition and nullification was drippingly fraught with folly, freighted with ill fate, no sooner than the ink dried from the palms--blown through the well's aisles, the slavering cowls of the unfed behind the strangling leashes of a babe's hate, to embed in voracious leapords' streaks the seek in the howling fog for the bane's bate, to imbrue with double jeopardy, their own images to sic, by which their totemic deities in cotton and cane to sate--, viz.: "But when, as here, that privilege [of party membership] is also the essential qualification for voting in a primary to select nominees for a general election, the state makes the action of the party the action of the state."

Obviously, in this instance, the South Carolina Democratic Party was going to be performing a public function, administering the election primary for public offices of government. No sillier conception thus could be made with greater intellectual dishonesty than that which was done by these white trash crackers in South Carolina.


Not really, but we present both sides, here.

--We could try to edit out "--You lieses", and then you see how it would look?

--That's an idea, a spray job.

In the South Pacific, a Navy censor, reviewing a letter from a private to a lady friend, caught an apparent problem which needed immediate attention: the envelope was addressed to Dorothy while the letter's salutation was to Betty. The censor posted notice on the company bulletin board to the effect, seeking discreetly the private's recherché du temps perdu to insure that entendre thus conveyed was not mere faux pas rather than an Eleusinian mystery of sorts.

William Worden, in the "Reporter's Notebook" column, writes on March 24, again from aboard an aircraft carrier in the Southwest Pacific, of the men's various and sundry methods of distraction as the ship of war ploughed its way over the bounding main to the scene of deployment of planes for battle, presumably headed toward Palau for the action which took place March 29-30 in that area, 1,175 miles west of Truk. Some of the men discussed baseball, others contemplated the invention of television, while one man told of how, when a young business tycoon, he had convinced a fellow entrepreneur of the sound business future to be unveiled to them by virtue of selling a boxcar full of toilet paper, which they then proceeded successfully to accomplish.

Some of the sailors and airmen waxed more serious, a Dartmouth man giving his exposition of how post-war governments would likely work.

Missing from the conversation, for the most part, noted Mr. Worden, was discussion of politics. Almost absent was any talk of war or women, not that evidence of thoughts of the latter topic was wholly lacking. Pictures of women, including nude women, abounded onboard. But verbal expression on the topic was de minimis.

At the end of the day, however, the tension was not palpable. It was just that the men discussed other things than the coming battle.

On the editorial page, "For Progress" praises the Charlotte Real Estate Board for some decisions made with regard to housing in the city: that sub-standard buildings should be demolished or repaired; that parks and recreation areas be established in poverty-stricken areas; and that the Board provide its services where needed to property owners and agencies in aid of improvement.

"Censorship" throws us a curve ball. It comments on Drew Pearson's column of Wednesday, regarding the supposed loss at Catania in Sicily of 21 planes and over 400 men by friendly fire, having allegedly taken place three days after a similar friendly fire loss at Gela on July 11, 1943, (erroneously reported by Mr. Pearson as having occurred August 11). The piece recognizes the report printed on the page that day from London, passed by both U.S. and British censors, quoting an Air Force officer denying the second incident, in addition to correcting the date of the admitted Gela episode.

Then, it points out that on Thursday, official corroboration of the Catania incident came from Washington, confirming that 454 men and 33 planes had been so lost at Catania. The rebuttal to the denial came via Stars and Stripes, the Army newspaper.

The editorial remarks that the American people were prepared to accept as inevitable such tragic episodes as loss of life in the fog of war by friendly fire. But, it continues, it was quite unacceptable for censorship to prevail to force rebuttal of denial of the story, that such a roundabout on the Merry-Go-Round undermined public confidence in the news.

The curve ball comes in the fact that the column printed on the page the previous day by Mr. Pearson makes no mention of this rebuttal. Nor that of this date. Perhaps, he will yet do so.

In any event, we now know the truth--further proof that, as we have indicated, for your edification, many times, and as strange as it may seem at times, we do not read ahead, save occasionally seeing a headline or a particular story so noted. Believe us when we say that it makes for an interesting experience at times that such is the case.

Sometimes, we make room for the possibility that our subconscious mind may grasp things by the quick view off the microfilm spools while copying, retained beyond our conscious memory over time, retrieved thus without our awareness to neatly dovetail with stories and print in subsequent editions. But, on other occasions, that is not possible, save by the field of osmotic impulse set up electrically somehow impelling our synapses in vibration as tele-receivers by the simple expedient of being in the general vicinity of the microfilm, albeit still in the boxes, rubber-banded to the reels.

And still at other times, even that would not explain subsequently occurring current events which dovetail too nicely with the print to be completely considered random coincidence.

But, who knows which way, from day to day, the wind will blow?

As, for instance, with the Dorman Smith of the day, which takes on a whole new meaning.

"No Lesson" underrates, we think, the poring to be done in subsequent generations regarding Major Bong's turning down, at the instruction of General MacArthur, the Scotch offered by Captain Eddie Rickenbacker in recognition of the feat of breaking Captain Rickenbacker's record of 26 kills--(we know that some of you probably would like us to say "combat hits" or the like expression in relating this feat of derring-do by the young major, but we refuse, just as we refused in college when those type of offers came our way plentifully: thank ye very much, we just run).

The piece opines that General MacArthur, notwithstanding the praise issuing liberally from Mrs. Ida B. Wise Smith, had likely eschewed the gift on the notion that it cheapened the accomplishment by Major Bong, not because of any necessarily cordial regard for the Drys represented by Mrs. Wise Smith.

Major Bong's personal temperance, suggests the piece, was likely atypical of servicemen and likely not to set a trend. It recalls the airman who had returned to Henderson Field on Guadalcanal in earlier days of the war, in possession of a Japanese sword, and had turned down $500 for it, accepting, however, a quart of liquor in exchange. It concludes thus that the episode provided no moral.

Sgt. Joe Friday would strongly disagree, Mr. Editor. So do we.

That's right…

Marquis Childs discusses the remarkable achievement, exceeding all expectations of the Western Allies, which Russia had been able to accomplish in ridding its territory of the Nazi invader during recent months. So great was the progress that some military observers had renewed their hopes of an end to the war in Europe during 1944. Some of the progress had been the result of Lend-Lease equipment provided Russia, such as a power plant transported by train to the front, enabling reconstruction of destroyed facilities to begin immediately upon recapture. Whole gasoline plants had been provided through Lend-Lease. In any event, the methods by which the Russians replenished their lines had proved vastly superior to that of the German Todt Organization--the little G.T.O., like an olde mobile.

Samuel Grafton questions the object of MacArthurism, blooming as it was in certain parts of the society. He concludes that it was a plea by its adherents, through the invocation of the magic associated with the name, to the "gods of irrelevancy and non-sequitur" to save the life of their child.

How Strange.

The sky was turning green, the grass blue, he says yet again, with regard to the change in attitude toward Soviet Russia, now with Wall Streeters soliciting funds for aid to the once dratted Red Menace.

To douse the flames of such resultant cognitive dissonance came the word: MacArthur.

How Strange.

It was to endow his personage with all the mystery of a man too far away to question, the man who was not there, to imbue the thusly conjured image of the man with the hopes and dreams of those who felt dispossessed, disinherited by a world which had left them behind during the war. They no longer had a home for their isolationist beliefs, anti-Soviet, anti-British. Thus came the word.

How Strange.

Mr. Grafton failed to provide the fact that onboard the PT-boat, skippered by Lieutenant John Bulkeley, which had carried him from harm's way in the Philippines to catch his plane to Brisbane in Australia to assume the command in the Southwest Pacific two years earlier, had been, providing a playmate for his young son, the little monkey, General Tojo.

Drew Pearson again instructs on how the War Production Board was being manipulated by corporate interests bent on monopolistic control of war contracts. An inside tip had been provided from WPB to the Diamond Match Company, American affiliate of the Swedish international match monopoly, when WPB determined to have American military personnel equipped with paper matches, less bulk to carry around than wooden matches in their stiff little matchboxes.

Diamond then prepared a memo to the effect that tropical conditions in the Pacific would render the paper matches too soggy for use. The memo was deemed, by the WPB insider, weak but probably sufficient to "do the trick".

The Justice Department had gotten wind of the memo and was now investigating whether economic self-interest was driving action by the Board.

Well, we don't know, in this instance. If you have ever carried matches on a camping trip, you will discern readily that the wooden variety do better in the elements than do the paper type. Thus, maybe it was less corruption and more practicality in this instance driving the wheel, notwithstanding profit to Diamond in the result.

After dealing with this and that, Mr. Pearson relates some facts regarding the draft which had become understood after investigation of the manpower issues by Congress, focusing recently on whether it was necessary to draft labor from the pool of men declared ineligible for the draft for physical issues and who were not employed in war-essential industries.

Ourselves, we are too busy still poring over the prints to try to understand how the wooden matches of Diamond fit with Major Bong and his 27 combat victories, breaking the record of Captain Rickenbacker, turning down the offer of Scotch, being praised for it by Mrs. Ida B. Wise Smith of the WCTU.

In any event, General Patton was taking command for the moment of FUSAG in England, and that is about all you really need to know today.

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