Friday, May 26, 1944

The Charlotte News

Friday, May 26, 1944

THREE EDITORIALS

Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Fifth Army captured the town of Cori, 6.5 miles northeast of Cisterna, seven miles beyond the Anzio beachhead arc, cutting the last of the Nazi communications lines in the direction of Valmontone, the last defense line of the Nazis before Rome, putting the Fifth Army within eight miles of Highway 6 through the Liri Valley. The taking of Cori provided control of the mountains above the beachhead by which the Nazis had maintained the enclosure of the Allies at Anzio since their landing in January.

Cisterna had been captured by the American armored infantry, now having moved seven miles up the Appian Way toward Velletri, 18 miles from Rome. Daniel De Luce reported that he had counted nine burned-out Tiger tanks and 30 miscellaneous vehicles and big guns left behind in the haphazard German retreat.

The Eighth Army captured Monte Cairo and the town of Roccasecca, north of Cassino, as well as San Giovanni, 3.5 miles north of Pico, on the southern end of the Liri Valley, four miles south of Ceprano.

British Minister of Information, Brendan Bracken, indicated that General Sir Harold Alexander, commander of all ground forces in Italy, shared common characteristics with Robert E. Lee.

Readers no doubt felt hope that the comparison did not forecast that he would have to surrender all of Southern Italy to the Germans in the North.

The German Command in Italy ordered that the word katastrophe be eliminated from all communiqués and generally from the vocabulary of all troops.

Henceforth, in all probability, it would be known instead as dogtasstrophy.

Between 500 and 750 American bombers of the Fifteenth Air Force again attacked the rail yards of Lyon, as well as those at Etienne, Chambray, Grenoble, and Nice, plus the Var River bridge, all in Southern France. Other contingents also hit targets again in Yugoslavia. Bad weather kept planes on the ground in England.

Allied carrier-based planes in the Pacific struck Marcus Island and Wake Island, encountering in the attack on Marcus only two Japanese fighter planes, one of which was destroyed in the air and the other on the ground. Four planes and three men were lost in the 373 sorties flown. No Japanese resistance was found at Wake.

The Chinese High Command indicated that a previous report of the severing of the Burma Road southwest of Lunling by the taking of Chefang, was in error. The town was actually Chifang, northeast of Tengchung in Yunnan Province.

While the High Command contended that Loyang in Honan Province remained in Chinese hands, an Army spokesman indicated that radio contact had been terminated, indicative that the town had likely been overrun by the Japanese.

General MacArthur reported that since the May 17 landing near Toem, south of Wakde Island, in Dutch New Guinea, 971 Japanese troops had been killed and five captured, while 61 Americans were killed and 182 wounded, with three missing.

In fighting in the area of Hollandia, American troops appeared about to take the ninth enemy airbase in a month, that at Maffin Bay.

A three-man Senate Judiciary subcommittee, headed by Senator McCarran of Nevada, issued a report stating that President Roosevelt and Attorney General Biddle lacked constitutional and statutory authority for the April seizure of Montgomery Ward, presumably based on the notion that Ward was not engaged in production of vital war materials or bound by government contracts. Senator McFarland of Arizona, however, dissented, indicating that the subcommittee had not properly allowed the calling of witnesses in defense of the Government's action.

In San Francisco, in response to a speech by the controversial Harry Bridges, president of the International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union, urging a no-strike policy for the duration of the war to insure jobs and prevent Government seizures, the CIO-affiliated union voted overwhelmingly to support the policy.

An Army lieutenant was sentenced to hang pursuant to his conviction by a military tribunal in California for the murder of four persons including his girlfriend. He offered no motive for the shootings, had claimed that he blacked out and had no memory of the episode. Nevertheless, he had been declared sufficiently sane to stand trial.

Dr. Ralph McDonald, gubernatorial candidate against Gregg Cherry, both Democrats, was attempting to raise an issue with regard to the legality of the purchase by the state Alcoholic Beverage Control board of 175,000 cases of Rocking Chair whisky. Governor Broughton had responded that Dr. McDonald was all wet, to which Dr. McDonald rejoindered that the Governor was beholding to the liquor interests, terming the purchase the "Old Rocking Chair Deal". The Governor elaborated that the purchase was made in complete compliance with the law after consultation during a period of six months with the 25 local boards of the wet counties of North Carolina, representing one-quarter of the 100 total--the other 50 proving regularly themselves to have been represented by the moon's harvest.

Hal Boyle contrasts the greater role of women in the war in Britain with that of women in the United States. In the latter, the WAC's were experiencing difficulty in attracting enlistments; jobs in war industries likewise were not being filled because women were staying at home to raise children whose fathers were in combat or others, single, as Dorothy Thompson had pointed out the previous week, refused such employment because they believed the war industry work too arduous.

Mr. Boyle expressly excludes from the pointing lesson the hundreds of thousands of women engaged in war work or in the services or in the Red Cross. Nevertheless, he insists, the women of Great Britain, registered for war labor if they were between 18 and 59 and had no children under age 14, were, as a practical matter, universally pulling their weight in war industries or in service. Those working were assigned to tasks by the Ministry of Labor and National Service.

Two years earlier, of 17.2 million women between ages 14 and 64, seven million were employed in war work on a fulltime basis, with another 700,000 working part time. An additional million women were volunteers. Ninety percent of the single women between 18 and 40, and over 60 percent of the married women and widows, worked in war industries or were in the services.

The women would work an eight-hour shift, for instance, in the Sheffield Steel Mills and then come home and fix the family meal. Some manned anti-aircraft guns; and some had lost their lives in performance of the duty. None of them made complaint of their plight.

Mr. Boyle supplements these facts with his prior observations gleaned in Italy that women were driving ambulances while under fire to pick up wounded in the field; in Yugoslavia, women fought alongside male soldiers.

The comparisons were obviously intended to bother the consciences of the idle women back home.

On the editorial page, "Do Not Experiment" provides, on the eve of the Democratic primary, the second editorial endorsement for Gregg Cherry over his opponent, Dr. McDonald. It relates again that its rationale was the unsound fiscal policy recommended by Dr. McDonald, lowering taxes while significantly promising to expand state services, all without explaining how the dual feat might be simultaneously accomplished. It opted for the conservative fiscal management promised by Mr. Cherry.

"A Grave Mistake" discusses the convention in South Carolina of the Negro Progressive Democrats, finding its militant rhetoric ill-advised even in the face of the recent action of the Democratic state convention to seek to privatize the Democratic primary to disfranchise black voters, in response to the Supreme Courtís Allwright decision of April in which the Court held 8 to 1, (or, actually, unanimously, assuming it was intentional that the separate opinion of Justice Roberts omitted a "dissent" label and was, instead, thus only intended as a critical advisory remark vis-a-vis the ostensibly contrary result reached in a 1935 opinion in another factually indistinguishable case), that blacks must be afforded the right to vote in state-sponsored primaries.

The editorial recommends, despite this unfair treatment by South Carolina Democrats, a consistent mien of equanimity, to maintain the respect of Southern whites who would be opposed to such limitations on the basic right to vote.

"Appeasing Russia!" decries the contention of Senator Styles Bridges of New Hampshire that the President was appeasing Russia by providing it an aged cruiser, a matter also discussed by Drew Pearson.

While the piece is in error in assuming that there was only one cruiser involved when in fact it was a class of 1920-era cruisers, all outmoded, the point remains the same: the Senator was carping at a red herring, given that Lend-Lease had gone far beyond this prearranged substitution of ships for the one-third of the Italian Navy promised pursuant to the armistice with Italy the previous summer. The President had agreed with Prime Minister Churchill to make the substitution when a hue and cry was set up by the Italians at giving a third of their Navy to Russia.

The editorial bets that Senator Bridges would be among a recalcitrant minority of the Senate which would try by a one-third vote to block any enduring post-war peace plan.

A piece ostensibly by-lined Samuel Grafton, but presumably by Marquis Childs, as Mr. Grafton has another by-lined piece on the page, looks at the House and Senate investigations into the seizure of the Montgomery Ward plant in late April, finds them fraught with political overtones, threatening to undermine their objectivity.

The Senate subcommittee report briefed on the front page had not yet come out when this piece was prepared.

The editorial cites a Detroit Free Press editorial which had encapsulated the spirit of the matter well: it was asinine on the one hand to allow that the Government could draft men for military service and send them into combat where their lives and limbs were at risk, but, on the other, could not, based on the early criticism of the plant seizure, compel compliance of a stubborn old man, Sewell Avery, insistent on resisting the orders of the War Labor Board.

Samuel Grafton contrasts the improved French underground with the ragtag forces of earlier time. Now, they strutted even a free newspaper, brandished in the face of the Nazi occupiers without the least hint of trepidation. These men, says Mr. Grafton, were truly free. By differentiation, those who had sold out France in 1940 were fearful of losing their lives and no such person could be free.

Soon, the Allies would meet up with these soldiers of the underground. And, if, as had been the case in North Africa and Italy, the Allied leaders began by instructing the underground on what it could and could not say and do and quaked before the prospect of perceived radicalism, then the question properly arose as to who was the truly liberated between the two groups.

Drew Pearson first reports of Senator Langer of North Dakota leading an investigation into the provision by the President of outmoded 1920 Omaha-class cruisers of 7,000 tons each to Russia in substitution for the third of the Italian Fleet which was to go to Russia under the terms of the Italian armistice. His reason was to determine whether the President had such authority without the approval of Congress, not to assess the President's sapience in making the arrangement. All of the ships had been replaced by the heavier and better armed 10,000-ton cruisers.

He next turns to a protest filed by the Office of War Information to the House Appropriations Committee for what it considered to be a breach of protocol when Congressman Taber barged into its New York office and demanded that he be shown documents of foreign propaganda operations. Because of his power, the office submitted. The Congressman was accompanied by a person he described as an aide, but who actually was on the payroll only of the Republican National Committee and not a government employee, thus not bound by confidential privilege.

Finally, among the other assorted items covered in snippets by Mr. Pearson is the assurance provided by Congress to the Marine Corps Commandant, General A.A. Vandergrift, that the Marines would not lose their identity under the proposed bill to merge the Army and Navy under one civilian authority--that which eventually in 1947 became the Department of Defense.

Seeming perhaps somehow a sequel to the story of Monday out of Durham of young Mr. Martin of Charlotte, perhaps facing charges for chopping up his grandma, Mrs. Wisecarver was facing charges of child-stealing in Compton, California.

Parenthetically, child-stealing is a crime applied typically to a non-custodial parent who takes a child without proper consent of the other parent or a court, and should not be confused with kidnapping. Kidnapping requires merely asportation; child-stealing requires transportation.

In the particular case, apparently Mrs. Wisecarver, 21, mother of two children, was pregnant and fled the coop to Colorado to marry the supposed 14-year old father, Mr. Wisecarver, taking along her baking. Mr. Wisecarver's mother, presumably alleging child-stealing of her son, though not entirely clear that it was not related to her grandchild, brought the charge against her daughter-in-law, contending that her son no longer loved the lady, that he had married her only to avoid having any longer to go to school.

It's getting better all the time.

Good morning.

He's leaving home, bye-bye.

Anyway, that is what we glean as the meat of the matter.

Whether the prime rib, the little one being incubated by Mrs. Wisecarver, would come to be well-done or not, or wind up sliced in half to accommodate both sides equally, the story remains to be told.

It would all be alright, no doubt, by the time they were 64. They would no longer have to work in war factories or be a part of the militaire.

Forget it, Jake...

The Reverend Herbert Spaugh remarks on a story in Time of May 22 concerning the case of two sixth-grade girls, ages eleven and thirteen, one apparently having flunked a grade, who had murdered a classmate, appearing as the classic celluloid prison-yard snitch snuff, replete with shiv. The magistrate before whom they appeared lamented that he had recently had before him a fourteen-year old boy who had committed murder, and pondered as to what the state of the world was coming.

Is it any wonder? reading contemporaneously such newspapers and magazines of the time filled everyday with little besides warfare and other mayhem and mischief.

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