Wednesday, May 10, 1944

The Charlotte News

Wednesday, May 10, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that, in one of the heaviest night raids of the war thus far, about 750 RAF bombers attacked targets near Paris, at Berlin, and at the Annecy ball-bearing works in France, near the border with Italy, the latter having supplanted the Schweinfurt works since the heavy bombing there in the fall. Seven planes were lost.

During the day, medium range American bombers had attacked targets at Tournai and Mons in Belgium, as well as targets in France, including an airdrome at Amiens and rail yards at Criel, northeast of Paris. Two bombers were lost.

All tolled, another 2,000 tons of bombs were dropped between the day and night raids.

Five bombers and three fighters had been lost in the 3,000-plane operation of the previous day.

In the Crimea, Sevastopol had been taken by the Red Army, with the Fourth Ukrainian Army having made the final thrust during the previous three days. Through the entire 31-day offensive in the Crimea, about 100,000 Germans had been killed or captured, with about 25,000 having been trapped in Sevastopol, only a few of whom managed to escape. Missing from the congratulatory announcement issued by Josef Stalin for the victory was General Andrei Yeremenko whose coastal army had plunged westward to the outskirts of Sevastopol from Kerch during April. It was assumed that he and his forces had been transferred to another front during the three-week period of siege. The two commanders receiving final honors were Marshal Alexander Vasilevsky and Fourth Army commander Feodor Tolbukhin.

Prime Minister Churchill informed Commons that fully one and a quarter million tons of supplies, including 5,031 tanks and 6,778 airplanes, had been shipped via the Arctic route to Russia during the previous six months by both Royal Navy escorts and American merchant ships. The Lend-Lease shipments had resulted in fewer than 16 lost tons of shipping per thousand tons shipped.

Largely dormant since December, the Eighth Army on the Adriatic front in Italy was now on the move, approaching Sulmona, in the wake of the bombing the previous week of the Pescara River Dam, flooding large areas of the German defenses. Allied forces were active in the areas of Palena, where troops had entered the town, as well as at San Angelo. German troops had begun pulling out forces in the area, apparently to shore up defenses on the Anzio beachhead in the face of reports of Allied reinforcements being brought into the area in apparent preparation for a major new offensive, one which indeed, aiming for Rome, was a few days away from its inception.

In Northern Burma, American, Chinese, and British forces, including Indian forces within the Chindits, were operating on three sides of Mogaung. Chindits occupied positions to the south and southwest. Burmese participated in the counter-attacks to the Japanese thrust at Fort Hertz Valley. To the north in the Mogaung Valley, the Americans and Chinese continued to advance toward Mogaung and Myitkyina.

In Northeast India, two attacks by the Japanese along the Palei Road toward the Imphal plain were repulsed by the Allies. Fighting continued in the Kohima area.

Speculation swirled around a meeting in San Francisco between Admirals Nimitz, Halsey, and King, presumably coordinating major new plans for the Pacific theater.

John A. Moroso, III, in the "Reporter's Notebook" column, writes from England of the Navy's "cannon cockers", those men who loaded the ammunition and bombs onto planes.

He also tells of one of the most popular bands among the servicemen in England, a sixteen-piece outfit, the Coast Guard's "Amphibians". The leader was Allen P. Dudley, a pianist from Ohio. He recounted to Mr. Moroso that the most popular numbers were "One O'Clock Jump", "Woodchopper's Ball", and "Shoo, Shoo, Baby". They had played to estimated crowds of 30,000 in twenty appearances.

In Milwaukee, the Episcopal Diocese asked women either to refrain from wearing lipstick or abstain from drinking out of the common chalice when taking Holy Communion. The church had also refused the chalice to men with dirty mustaches and beards.

What about those somewhere in between who might have all three?

North Carolina Senator Josiah W. Bailey, in a speech before the Senate, railed at organized labor for being possessed by the Left, forcing working men to pay dues to earn a living. In seeming non-sequitur, the Senator found hypocritical the move to introduce anti-poll tax legislation to knock down poll taxes in eight Southern states. He saw no harm in charging men a tax to vote when laborers had to pay a union to work.

Of course, there was a substantial difference, which the Senator conveniently ignored: you can only vote in one election, in one polling place, not shop around for other polling places which would not charge radiator fees to vote, at least, that is, without pulling up roots entirely and moving to another state without poll taxes.

Just why Senator Bailey chose to try to make this strange argument is anyone's guess, when his own state of North Carolina had no poll tax, though pole cats were obviously in some degree of plenty.

A photograph appears of Eric Johnston, just elected to his third term as president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, shortly to undertake a mission to Moscow as FDR's personal emissary, at the invitation of Josef Stalin. Mr. Johnston would subsequently serve in roles under both the Truman and Eisenhower Administrations.

The Federal judge in Chicago, ready to issue his decision on the propriety of the Montgomery Ward takeover, whether or not to make permanent the injunction sought by the Government to prevent interference by Montgomery Ward employees with the Government in running the company, deemed the matter moot as the Government the day before, in response to the CIO union election decisively voting for the union as representative in collective bargaining, turned the company back over to Ward. The judge said he regretted having to forfeit making his decision as he had spent a great deal of time researching and preparing his opinion, but had instructed that all copies of it be destroyed. The crisis at Ward, for the time being, until later in the year, had passed.

Appearing to take a leaf from W. J. Cash's last written advice to the world regarding military officers and coppers, Navy and Army officers in Baltimore got into a round of fisticuffs regarding who had priority in taking occupancy of a taxicab. When police showed up to break up the resulting melee, the officers turned their mutual frustrations on the coppers. After the smoke cleared, the police had no one in custody, only souvenirs consisting of several bruises.

On the editorial page, "Rent Control" tells of the announcement by the local head of the Office of Price Administration that rent control would soon be imposed on Charlotte. The piece indicates that blame for it rested with the greedy landlords who had hiked rents precipitously to take advantage of the influx of renters caused by the war.

"War Aim" indicates that the United States had accomplished as much as could be expected in the virtual neutralization of Spain by extracting its promise to suspend 90% of its shipments of wolfram to Hitler, expel all Axis foreign agents, and bring home its troops from the Russian front, in exchange for resumption of trade in oil from the United States and Great Britain.

Yet, the people of Spain, it predicts, would, after the war, not for long tolerate the Fascism practiced by Franco and would, soon or late, start another civil war to topple him. The Allies should thus foresee this destabilizing prospect and plan for the undermining of El Caudillo's leadership to enable him to be removed without a bloodbath.

The piece reminds that Franco was as much an enemy leader within the Axis as were Hitler and Mussolini, even if the weakened state of Spain's military made it impracticable for it to have taken an active role in the war, serving better Hitler's purposes as a noncombatant nation, ostensibly neutral, actually friendly to the Reich--that status enabling, for instance, without the prospect of military interdiction, the continued shipment of wolfram, just as Drew Pearson points out in his column was the status the Germans had planned for Sweden since prior to the start of the war to enable receipt of ball-bearings without the factories producing them, as at Schweinfurt, being subject to Allied bombing.

Instead, Generalissimo Franco would retain power in Spain until his long, lingering death finally took place in late 1975.

"Our Enemies" gives praise to Supreme Court Justice Frank Murphy for leading a national effort to educate against dissemination of hate against Jews, that it was especially unsettling for Christians to engage in the quite un-Christian behavior of smiting another for their religious heritage. Justice Murphy reaffirmed that Americans would support every person's right to speak their mind freely, but would also, by the same insistence, advocate against anti-Semitism and its corrosive impact on society at large.

It is, as we have pointed out, all a part of the same sentence.

"The Return" expresses relief at the report that the President's health was sound after his month spent at Bernard Baruch's South Carolina plantation. Rumors had proliferated that FDR was gravely ill and fighting for his life, or, alternatively, that he was secretly in England meeting with Churchill to plan D-Day, or was meeting jointly with Churchill and Stalin yet again.

The President's health, of course, notwithstanding the optimistic report from the White House, was indeed failing, leaving him only eleven months to live. It would have been easier for him personally to have stepped aside from the office and retired to Hyde Park. But the unsettling effect such a change might have had at such a precipitous time in history, potentially undermining by July Allied confidence in continuity of war policy, and, moreover, the policy to be followed after the war, could well have resulted in extending the time of the war, especially in the Pacific.

Would another Democrat have been able to beat the young Thomas Dewey? If not, would a Republican have felt authorized by the people to undertake in the opening months of his term the decision to deploy the world's first atomic bombs on Japan? Would perception by the Allies, especially Russia, that the Tehran Conference Declaration might prove worthless, have caused disputes within the Politburo which might have unglued some of the commitments made under the personally affable stewardship of Franklin Roosevelt? These were questions, perhaps, which weighed on the President's mind.

Samuel Grafton writes of the anti-Roosevelt campaign having inadvertently galvanized the American working man to support the President with a sense of vested interest in the outcome of the election. The literature promulgated by these forces faulted him for having promoted time-and-a-half overtime wages, unionism, and unemployment compensation.

At the same time, General MacArthur's candidacy, originating from the grassroots, fizzled without rousing any collective salutes, signaling the end of the day of the torchlight parade, the coming of glorious candidates out of the wilderness, bearing with them little in the way of tested leadership skills and political astuteness. Mr. Grafton saw the rejection, not only as one against General MacArthur, but against military leaders in general as political candidates.

Marquis Childs gives his impressions of The Ghost Talks by Charley Michelson, not about Marley, but rather concerning himself as ghost writer for the White House during the previous decade. Mr. Childs dwells on the book's discussion of the feud between Jim Farley and the President, erupting in 1940 as a result of the decision of the President to accept the draft of the Democratic convention for a third term.

Mr. Michelson expected that Mr. Farley, the kingmaker who had helped to adduce to voters Roosevelt as a viable political candidate both in the New York governor's race of 1928 and in the 1932 presidential election, again would try to muster delegate votes at the convention to stop the fourth term draft but, failing that, would lend his support to the ticket as in 1940.

The ghost had included in the book a remark he had once uttered to Mr. Farley: "Jim, you're the most honest man alive. You would not steal anything--except an election."

A letter writer comments on an article which had appeared in the December 27, 1943 issue of Life, commenting, in an editorial by Henry R. Luce, re the World Council of Churches in Geneva seeking to spawn an ecumenical movement to instill a sense of Christian brotherhood worldwide. The letter writer views the change from old Fundamentalism to the New Theology of Christian Brotherhood to be one moving from the Right to the Left, the Center as defined by Life, a good thing in the eyes of the writer, who supports the "good and 'brave'" editor of Life in this support of the Left, and finds the Right, commending to the world "a three-yacht utopia for the 'mental giants' and mass poverty and war", wrong.

The letter writer did not remark on the statement, either echoed by or echoing Presbyterian minister Dr. Peter Marshall of Washington, when he had spoken recently, as memorialized in the column of April 19, that, according to Mr. Luce's editorial, many of the Chinese leaders were Christian, that "many of their pronouncements about the future of civilization have been more sincerely Christian in spirit than the pronouncements of the Christian world itself." It is not clear whether Dr. Marshall had this notion in mind as justification for his statement that China was the most Christian nation in the world, as opposed to the blush placed on it by The News editorial, taking him to task for the contention, based on the fewer than one percent Christian population of China, a paucity relative to the predominant religions, Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism.

Just what all of that means to the price of eggs in China, then or now, we cannot begin to tell you. Consult the Walrus and the Carpenter for a definitive answer.

Or, you could just go play baseball, to relieve yourself of the frustrations in not being able to figure it completely. We don't; as we have said previously. For we were immured from the itch for the sport and disenamoured of it generally forever more, severely traumatized in fact during our youth, in the summer of 1961, when one of our cousins threw an errant pitch in our general direction, which, absent sufficient concentration, or else being endowed with too much, we then attempted to catch with our mouth, and, to top it off, were then served corn-on-the-cob, buttered and salted, that evening by our aunt. Despite the severe traumatization resulting from the episode, we did not hire an attorney, have a press conference, and demand an apology from our cousin and our aunt, demonstrating, demonstratively, for the press the severe and consequential damages to our tender eyes, ears, and mind from this horribly traumatic episode in our development, squelched forever afterward. Instead, we took up basketball and football, and, in the spring, played the tracks.

For we knew enough, even at the age of eight, to understand that people are people, including, most especially, adults and cousins, and that we each make our mistakes, especially when it comes merely to uttering speech, ourselves, even at age eight, having seen by then quite a lot of "The Naked City", and having been to numerous sporting events, including the circus, even to school, where we had heard all sorts of crude and unseemly language, had even had our teeth threatened, until..., even from other students our age. We also had parents who had sense enough to think and were not engaged with the nether regions.

The point being that none of us are endowed with perfection, not even those who live in Fresno. We think it time that the Argentinians infiltrating among us, who seem unable to read the English language properly, learn to do so and actually take the time to read the First Amendment to our Constitution. Otherwise, stay home, duct tape yourself in, shut up, and leave the rest of us alone. We are very tired of it. We shall say, Argentinians, any damned thing we damned well please, in public or in private. You, you move to Argentina if you don't like it, you with your tender little Royalist, Fascist sensibilities. And take your damned Second Amendment with you. The First protects against the Second, not the converse. Try to understand.

Drew Pearson again discusses the SKF ball-bearing company in Sweden, supplying 70 percent of Germany's ball-bearings since Schweinfurt had been bombed during the fall. Finally, after much hemming and hawing by both the U.S. and Britain, the latter worried about being cut off by Sweden from its own allotment of ball-bearings, Foreign Economic Administrator Leo Crowley had importuned Secretary of State Hull to bring pressure to bear on Sweden to cease this flow of an essential component for the German war machine.

The State Department, in consequence, had now indicated its intention to freeze SKF assets in the United States and blacklist the American affiliate, presided over by the vice-chair of the War Production Board, William Batt, while, as a last resort, cutting off shipment to Sweden of essential war goods, as progressively severe sanctions for non-compliance with the demand to stop the shipments to Germany of ball-bearings.

Mr. Pearson concludes his column with a comment on the return of social life to Washington, imparting part of the guest list for a party thrown by Senator Alexander Wiley and his wife.

He does not tell of the music for the party, and so we shall have to utilize our collective imaginations.

In any event, among the guests, greeted by Mrs. Wiley, was Benjamin Braniff.

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