Thursday, May 11, 1944

The Charlotte News

Thursday, May 11, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that 3,000 planes, in both night raids by the RAF and daylight raids by the Americans, from both Italy and England, had deposited 5,400 tons of bombs, concentrating on eight rail centers in Germany, but also including night raids on Budapest and the French invasion coast, the 27th straight day of such massive combined raids.

On the Anzio beachhead, the Germans concentrated 4,000 artillery shells on the Allied lines in the space of a half hour on Tuesday night, a new peak in concentrated fire. Fifteen Luftwaffe planes meanwhile strafed and bombed Allied positions, albeit without inflicting damage.

No new report came from the Eighth Army front after substantial forward movement by the Allies a few miles inland from the Adriatic coast had begun with the evacuation of German defensive positions during the previous three days, apparently to shore up Anzio beachhead positions in expectation of a new offensive by the Allies in light of the landing of new reinforcements and supplies in the area in recent days.

In London, Russian Foreign Commissar Molotov indicated that the time was nigh when the Soviet forces and the Western Allied forces would strike against Germany in combined blows from East and West. He was not kidding.

Undersecretary of the Navy James Forrestal was nominated by the President to succeed deceased Secretary Frank Knox. Senate confirmation was expected to be swift.

Secretary Forrestal would eventually become the first Secretary of Defense, appointed by President Truman in 1947, after the Departments of War and Navy were combined to bring under one Executive Branch department all of the nationís military services.

In India, fighting continued in the area around Kohima and on the Imphal plain. The British announced that, since February 1, the Japanese had suffered 15,000 casualties in the area, as well as in the fighting in Burma, excluding the casualties inflicted by the American and Chinese forces under General Stilwell in the Mogaung Valley region of Northern Burma. In that area, 5,000 casualties had been inflicted as of March 29. Fully 6,100 Japanese had been killed in the action on the Imphal plain. A total of 8,600 Japanese casualties had occurred in the combined offensive efforts by the Japanese at Imphal and at Kohima. Allied casualties, said to be far fewer, were not disclosed.

In China, the Japanese struck at Loyang in Honan Province, and reportedly had gained control of the entire length of the Hankow-Peiping railway. Enemy forces had managed to cross the Yellow River in two locations, 45 miles and 21 miles, respectively, from Loyang, after having been stopped at a third attempted crossing. It was the most effective Japanese offensive in China since the 1938 Hangkow offensive and had already captured 60,000 square miles of territory, most of which was wheat-growing land, opening the possibility of a drive toward the strategic city of Tungkwan.

The previous week, Gandhi had been released from his house arrest imposed by the British, which he had endured since the riots in India of August, 1942 ensuing his declaration of Satyagraha for the failure of the British to recognize at once the independent sovereignty of India. With no sign of rebellion in the ranks of the Indian fighting forces in Northeastern India or in Burma, combined with the failing health of Gandhi, the British had determined there to be no continued purpose in his confinement.

A week-long work stoppage in Jamestown, New York, at the Marlin-Rockwell company, aircraft engine manufacturer, was about to be referred to the President by the War Labor Board, indicative of impending seizure of the company by the Government lest the labor trouble be resolved at once.

Selective Service Director Lewis B. Hershey announced that the latest policy on the draft would be to defer all men 30 years of age and over while retaining the draft deferment for men in key war industries between the ages of 26 and 29, a policy to be maintained for the duration of the war, contingent on the success of the incipient Allied offensive in Europe.

Sid Feder, in the "Reporter's Notebook" column, tells of taking a ride in one of the Grasshopper cubs which served as spotters for the artillery to mark down enemy positions. The Grasshoppers flew too low and slow to be hit by enemy anti-aircraft guns and could, in turn, if pursued, lead enemy aircraft into Allied anti-aircraft gun range, as the Grasshopper pilot with whom Mr. Feder flew had done on three occasions successfully. The Messerschmitts were easily outmaneuvered by the smaller craft. From the air, Mr. Feder could see the enemy's foxholes as well as the dome of St. Peter's in the distance in Rome.

And the latest guess of the Nazis as to when the invasion by the Allies would begin was offered by an astrologer who stated in a Berlin broadcast that casualties often occur on the seventh day after the full moon, coinciding with the coming Monday, May 15. Thus, the invasion would be on May 15. The last prediction had it that it would be before May 1 because of the favorable tides during the latter ten days of April. Generalissimo Francisco Franco had pinned the date with even further chronometric precision, insisting that it would come at 4:39 a.m., April 30, or, failing that, at 4:37 a.m., May 1. Apparently, on May 15, therefore, it would be at 4:09 a.m., El Caudillo, Late of the Allies, War Time.

The next full moon, incidentally, after May 8, occurred June 6, at 8:57 p.m. Sure enough, by June 13, there would be many casualties, on both sides.

On the editorial page, "Cooling Off" comments on the end of the crisis at Montgomery Ward, as also indicated in a news piece on the page, summarized below. The editorial reminds, perhaps startled to find even so mild a political voice ordinarily as the Reverend Herbert Spaugh adversely weighing in on the issue, that the Government was only interested in insuring fairness in labor relations to management at the company and, once the crisis had passed with the union election, had pulled out.

It was not the despotic takeover which had been portrayed in a large portion of the press and had been reflected in public opinion. Indeed, reminds the piece, the Smith-Connally Act, under which the War Labor Board had authority to refer such matters to the President, had been passed over the President's veto.

The piece finds that the prediction that the adverse public reaction would be reflected in primaries had not been proved, as the results in both Florida and Alabama had re-nominated New Deal Senators Claude Pepper and Lister Hill.

"Bolter" finds the stance taken by Senator Josiah W. Bailey of North Carolina against the proposed anti-poll tax legislation to be simply another facet of his general attitude of late, seeking to coerce behavior of Northern colleagues on threat of leading a revolt to form a third party in the South, as he had in the early part of the year on the complaint that Northern Senators were condescending, taking for granted Southerners.

The legislation, predicts the piece, would flounder in filibuster orchestrated by the Southern Senators and would be, therefore, better left until after the war to resolve, when the chances of its success might prove better. It was, during wartime, simply a waste of valuable Senate resources.

"The Lineup" recaps the Republican presidential race, finding Thomas Dewey, though not yet actively seeking the nomination of his party, to be a shoo-in against the only remaining declared candidate, John W. Bricker, far behind Dewey in delegates accumulated.

Thus, the picture to be presented the nation now became evident: the reluctant Dewey stepping forward from the shadowy sanctums of the New York Governorís office, only prodded to do so at the insistence of his party's draft. The dark horse spectacle thus sought to be conveyed would, nevertheless, predicts the piece, fail in November, should the war by then not have reached its climactic final bell.

The Democrats, too, after all, were playing the same canny game: with the President's fourth nomination a fait accompli, FDR still had not thrown his hat into the ring.

"Recreation" compliments the City's Parks and Recreation Commission for providing, notwithstanding a lack of funds, an excellent summer recreation program for the community's children, which, the previous summer, had served 138,00 entrants to its facilities.

Drew Pearson reports that a friend of Wendell Willkie had told him that the President was considering him for appointment as Secretary of the Navy to succeed Frank Knox. Mr. Willkie was reported to have responded that he appreciated the thought but felt it not acceptable or wise, as he knew nothing of the Navy, the plans for the invasion of Europe, could therefore add nothing, and that the whole idea smacked only of politics which should have no part in wartime. He thus declined.

Mr. Pearson next turns to a surprise visit paid by Secretary of Treasury Henry Morgenthau to one of the divisions of the Department, found the female employees there, save one, not at work but engaged in various forms of malingering. He had ordered a crackdown by the division heads.

The column concludes with another note about Winthrop Aldrich, head of the Chase National Bank and member of the Rockefeller family, who was busy touting to the newspapers, movies, and radio networks the candidacy of Thomas Dewey. Mr. Aldrich, informs Mr. Pearson, was scheduled to become secretary of the Navy in a Dewey presidency.

Marquis Childs discusses the topic touched upon the previous week by Drew Pearson, the irrigation at Government expense of the central valley of California, providing newly arable land to the extent of some 550,000 acres, all authorized by the reclamation act of 1937, which had forwarded the provision from the 1902 reclamation act, passed under Theodore Roosevelt, that no parcel over 160 acres could receive the Government benefit of irrigation.

At issue now was an amendment, proposed by Democratic Congressman Alfred Elliott, to the 1937 law to exempt the central valley from the 160-acre limitation. Congressman Jerry Voorhis, to be defeated in two years by attorney Richard Nixon while labeling Mr. Voorhis a Communist, wanted to do the very Red thing of maintaining the 160-acre limitation to afford preservation of the land, as intended, for small farmers so that the large corporations could not take advantage of the Government largesse intended for the small farmer, thus resulting, instead of small family-owned farms, an ideal starting point for many veterans returning from the war jobless, in a mass of tenant farmers and migrant workers reminiscent of the Okie migration of the early to mid-30's during the Dustbowl era--that which led to the reclamation act of 1937.

Mr. Childs favors the Voorhis compromise to exempt only existing landowners who had large tracts irrigated by private resources, while maintaining otherwise the 160-acre limitation for future landowners to receive the benefit of Government irrigation. He thinks the Elliott proposal to be in furtherance of the destruction of American individualism and freedom, already largely lost, at least temporarily, in the industrial portion of society for the inability of small businesses to compete with the large corprations receiving the bulk of war contracts, now threatened by this amendment in the agrarian sector.

In conclusion, Mr. Childs asks for California Governor Earl Warren to weigh in on the matter as he had not yet indicated his position.

All of which indubitably links in some mystical, if not empirical, manner to the Mediterranean fruit fly crisis experienced in California in 1981, and thence to the present... We leave it to the horticulturalists and entomologists to make the connections; we have other fields to till.

Samuel Grafton remarks on the consistently suspicious reportage surrounding Russia in the American press, finds it without sense, at once thinking Russia at fault for being too friendly with Czechoslovakia in offering peace terms while being too harsh with Finland in such an offer. The proof, he offers, that the latter case resulted from anti-Soviet prejudice was that no one would obviously blink an eye had the West demanded terms of unconditional surrender of Finland, given its alliance since 1941 with Nazi Germany, and the determination in January, 1943 by Churchill and Roosevelt at Casablanca that the Allies would accept nothing less from the Axis nations than unconditional surrender.

Certain observers, he further offers, had even become upset with Charles De Gaulle's recent remark, "la cherie et puissante Russie", translated "dear Russia", but meaning not dear in the sense of love and kisses, rather idiomatically similar to the salutation of a formal business letter: Dear Sir or Madame. It would have made no sense, in any event, for General De Gaulle to have said anything less to the Russians, who, before the Western Allies, had recognized the French Committee of National Liberation as the legitimate governing body of France.

Dorothy Thompson addresses the visit of two American citizens to Moscow, both of whom were of Polish heritage, one a priest, Father Stanislaus Orlemanski of Springfield, Mass., and the other a professor. Stalin had granted an audience to Father Orlemanski for five hours, an unusually lengthy time to be granted by the Premier to anyone other than a head of state. He had refused to see the professor.

From this specially allowed audience, Ms. Thompson speculates, as she indicates journalists were wont to do during the war, as to its import. She infers that, because the priest represented the minority view among Poles in America, that the Polish buffer territory granted Russia in 1939 be retained at the end of the war, Stalin had reposited in him a significant role of convincing others of the good faith mission of Russia vis à vis the church, especially the Catholic Church, which embraced a large percentage of the Polish population. For there could be no settlement of the Polish border question without assent by the Catholic Church and assurance of the recognition of the Catholic faith in any territory ceded to Russia, as Stalin well knew from history as recent as the failed attempt by Bismarck in Germany to institute Kulturkampf, the program under which there was a failed attempt to assimilate Polish Catholics with East Prussian Protestants.

Ms. Thompson concludes therefore that Stalin was anxious to foster an atmosphere in which could thrive amicable relations with the Vatican as well as with representatives of all other religious faiths.

As indicated, a news item reports that, no sooner than the Government had released control of Montgomery Ward back to chairman Sewell Avery in the wake of the CIO union election, Mr. Avery indicated that he would not recognize any union contract which had in it a maintenance of membership clause, requiring that, for the duration of the war, anyone who joined the union had to remain in it until expiration of the contract, with the provision excepting an initial period during which a new member could renounce his membership. Thus, the whole issue of the validity of the union contract would yet have to be determined by the War Labor Board.

The Reverend Herbert Spaugh unusually takes a political stand in his column, referring, not by name, but by plain inference, to the Government takeover at Ward as being suggestive of a totalitarian type action which the Constitution had worked to undo.

He adds this bit of editorialization at the end of a column in which he reprints a letter which had been published in a newsletter distributed by Wachovia Bank and the Republic Steel Corporation. The letter was from a soldier, apparently stationed in Italy, to his father, longing for the simpler home life he had experienced back on Elm Street. Elm Street, he informs his father, could not be found in the land in which he fought, where leaders, once installed, could not be rid from power without bullets, rather than by ballots as on Elm Street back home.

Dictatorship, regimentation, and bureaucracy, he warned, had taken hold in these lands and should never be allowed so to occur on Elm Street.

We do not stretch the case. Read it for yourself. Unfortunately, assuming that the soldier and his father survived the war, lived for another nineteen and a half years, they would have seen that the son's utopian vision of Elm Street back home was sorely misplaced, the democratic ideal turned to a nightmare by bullets, not ballots, bullets fired by persons convinced that a dictatorship had taken control in Washington, convinced by voices echoing through the South, primarily Democrats of the old States' Rights school, who insisted that it would be their way or the highway, that there would be no integration and social equality enjoyed by the offspring of some of the very men who had fought bravely in this war nineteen years earlier.

Elm Street had, at least for one tragic day still ringing harshly through our history as a nation, been taken over by the very totalitarian, militaristic forces, convinced beyond any doubt of their perfect certitude, those very systemic traits of which the young soldier complained and warned, of which President Eisenhower complained and warned during his last days in office, in January, 1961.

The Reverend Spaugh's column, it should be noted, appeared, so far as we know, only in the Charlotte News and in the Winston-Salem Journal or Sentinel, in any event, not in publications other than those two cities' newspapers, certainly not outside the state of North Carolina.

Incidentally, we could not leave the day without suggesting that those, these days, who regularly stand up in various forums and inveigh against others' expressions of mere speech, seeking not just intelligent discussion or disagreement with that speech, but active repression of exercise of free speech, active negation and chilling of that expression, especially on the trumped-up rote excuse to which these programmed idiots routinely resort, "O me Ga, there are children present," dissembling little Cretins claiming "threats" where there are none, need to run for office, perhaps, under the same banner, particularly fitting to them, as displayed in the "Grin and Bear It".

It would not be a unique candidacy, obviously, as has been proved in recent times by the likes of Ms. Bachmann and Ms. What's-Her-Name from Alaska.

Ourselves, if we do not like another's expressions, which often we do not, we either walk away, argue with them, or we simply grin and bear it. Any other effort, such as active repression of the speech, public condemnation of the person for their statements, is unconstitutional and Fascistic.

That is what the Nazis did. Suppression of free speech is the first effort at Nazification. Ask yourself, regularly: Are we Nazis?

From where we sit, about half the nation would have to answer the question affirmatively or be accused readily of dishonesty. We hope that the percentages will diminish. The network people and many of their guests who regularly appear on the tv are, we find, actually Nazified at a much higher rate of frequency than the general population, roughly 90% of them, that being largely in consequence of the time-latched and speech-latched strictures in which they operate, the nature of the Klieg-lit Beast, but nevertheless the same in result, losing all sense of humanity and decency in fact, all for the sake of pleasing corporate sponsors at the end of the day with dumb-speak infotainment. If, therefore, you follow about 90% of what those 90% say and use that reference point as your benchmark by which to judge your own and others' behavior patterns, you are a Nazi. That, we posit, is why about 50% of the country is Nazified, so badly so that it does not understand, obviously, the very simple concept of freedom of speech, thinks that everyone ought apologize for language used of which they, in their superior wisdom, disapprove, expressing, usually quite hypocritically, some horrible shock for its being unacceptable to the poor little ears of their poor little, defenseless children, i.e., the Nazified adults who are, just as were the Nazis, quite like little children, very bad children, children who apply subjective standards which are impossible of uniform application, in order to divide and subjugate the population to their Will, politically, and, most especially, economically. In short, these people are thieves who want either power or property or both. It has, in fact, nothing at all to do with speech or their tender little ears or those of their children. They often, indeed, are the worst potty mouths around. That is precisely why what they do and say, publicly, just as with all little Nazis, makes absolutely no sense in the abstract, comes out as nothing short of madness.

Mandatory sensitivity training? How stupid, how oxymoronic the phrase sounds, how the result of pent-up frustrations held by its utterer. The mandatory sensitivity training ought be imposed on the side making the demand, starting with a mandatory reading of the short work by Marshall McLuhan, replete with plentiful pictures and diagrams, by its design assured not to tax the minds of even the functionally illiterate, even the functionally illiterate professional person, too busy for the many decades since school to read anything outside their own professional literature, itself only casually scanned, preferably obtained from seminars and tapes, The Medium Is the Massage.

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