Wednesday, August 22, 1945

The Charlotte News

Wednesday, August 22, 1945


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that General MacArthur had confirmed the Japanese report of the day before that the American occupation forces would land by airborne troops at Atsugi airfield, as a Navy task force would sail into Tokyo Bay to land near Yokosuka, the only variance being that both operations apparently would take place on August 28. The Japanese report had stated that the airborne troops would be deployed on August 26. The signing was scheduled to take place on August 31—to be delayed until September 2.

All Japanese ships were to divest themselves of all explosives by throwing them into the sea. All merchant shipping, save coastal shipping under 100 tons, was to remain in port, naval and civilian aircraft to remain grounded. All submarines would remain surfaced, flying black pennons and displaying lights.

All prisoners of war still maintained by the Japanese would be fed, properly sheltered and clothed, with proper medical care until the American forces arrived. American-dropped supplies would be delivered properly to these facilities. All camps were to be labeled with the 20-foot high letters, "P.W."

All mines and minefields were to be removed by the Japanese.

C-54 transports, the largest number ever assembled in one place, were gathering on Okinawa to begin the airlift of American personnel for the occupation. A large tented structure with sandy floors served as headquarters for the 2,600 pilots and crewmen.

Two Japanese newspapers stated that the Japanese could expect their treatment at the hands of the occupying forces to be a reflection of their own behavior and that there was no indication that the occupiers would treat them unfairly.

The formal surrender of the Japanese in China was to take place at Nanking, the former seat of Chiang Kai-shek's Government. The Japanese were conferring with Chinese General Ho Ying-Chin, commander of the Chinese field forces, designated by Chiang to accept the surrender.

Japanese envoys from Saigon were to meet with Lord Louis Mountbatten in Rangoon to arrange surrender of all Japanese forces in Southeast Asia.

There was no word on the coming storm, however, to haunt the West for the ensuing 30 years, regarding the report a few days earlier of the refusal of the Vietnamese, under the leadership since 1941 of the guerrilla Ho Chi Minh, to surrender to the Chinese rather than maintain the position they had staked out of demanding independence for that part of Indo-China formerly known as Annam.

General MacArthur announced that he was going to surrender all vestiges of military control in the Philippines to the Filipinos as of September 1, as the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government were smoothly functioning, making the military government no longer necessary.

Tokyo radio contended that 480,000 people had died, were injured or left homeless in the atomic bombs of August 6 and 9, claiming 160,000 killed or injured in Hiroshima and 120,000 killed or injured in Nagasaki.

It claimed another 200,000 in Hiroshima were left homeless and that 60,000 had been killed in the blast while others were daily dying from burns. Those who had suffered only minor burns from the blast appeared at first healthy, but then from unknown reasons, weakened and died—the result of radiation, not yet understood at this time. The area impacted in Hiroshima was about 18.5 miles in diameter. It was thus difficult to determine actual numbers of dead.

In Nagasaki, the bomb damage was limited primarily to the factory area on the northern side of the city; some of the city received no direct damage save for roofs and windows being blasted out.

These figures may be reasonably accurate. Subsequent figures which have come to be regarded as relatively correct place the total deaths from the two bombs to be somewhere between 150,000 and 200,000, the higher death toll having been suffered at Hiroshima, a larger city with a larger area impacted by the bomb.

In Oslo, Vidkun Quisling denied, during his trial for treason and murder, that he had ordered the Nazis in 1941 to kill Viggo Hansteen, a leading Norwegian underground leader. Quisling insisted that he had only asked the Nazis to "remove him" as Hansteen was making things difficult for the ass-kicked Quisling.

The Internal Revenue Bureau relaxed restrictions on salaries under $5,000, enabling increases, as long as the salaries did not result in price increases. The move followed the relaxation the previous week of restrictions on wage increases, eliminating the Little Steel formula.

The War Production Board announced that within 90 days, tires would likely become available again to civilians without restriction and nylon stockings might be back in circulation by Thanksgiving. By Christmas, 3.5 million radios were likely to be on the shelves, resulting from an 80 percent cut by the military in radar and radio equipment. Rent ceilings also were expected to be ended in the vicinity of Army camps or war plants which would lose their wartime populations.

The Board also announced the end, as of September 30, of its controls on aluminum, copper, and steel. The military would still be allowed priority, along with certain companies in need of reconversion help. Most companies would not receive this aid during reconversion. The move was consistent with the desires expressed for the previous two months by the steel industry, claiming that relaxation of the priority system would increase production.

OPA stood by the policy, supported by the President, of assuring that prices on consumer goods which had gone off the market in 1942, such as automobiles, washing machines, toasters, and refrigerators, would resume the market at the old prices for the time being. Some allowance in increased price would be made for goods which cost substantially more to produce than in 1942 because of rises in wages. But in those areas, the price increases would have to be absorbed by the wholesaler and retailer and not passed to the consumer.

On the editorial page, "The New 30th" discusses the 30th Division, once mustered from North Carolina and Tennessee, the "Old Hickory Division", which had returned home the previous day. It had started the war in its original two-state form, but had become during the war an outfit drawn from all parts of the country. An entire New Mexico National Guard unit, along with an entire Illinois regiment, had been killed in the fighting on Luzon in the Philippines during the first half of the year.

The 30th had opened the spearhead at St. Lo in France the previous summer and had helped to keep open the Avaranches corridor through which Patton's Third Army forces had sped to overrun the Brest Peninsula. It had led the way across the Seine and into Belgium, capturing Leige and the supposedly impregnable fortress of Eben-Emael. It had also led the drive into the Siegfried Line and the Roer River breakthrough to the Rhine. From there, it drove north of Essen, joined with British tanks and moved quickly to the Elbe through Hannover and Brunswick. The Division was on the Elbe when the war ended.

In all, the 30th in two years earned 20,000 Purple Hearts, 9,107 decorations from the U.S., and another 97 from foreign governments. It took 50,374 prisoners, destroyed 434 tanks, in 228 days of combat.

The piece also recounts the accomplishments of the 30th during its time of deployment in World War I.

"A Slight Chill" discusses the enunciated policy of the new Attlee Government in Britain toward Russia, as stated by new Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin, that Britain would refuse to recognize any government not self-determined in Eastern Europe and would insist that governments be allowed to be freely elected. It would tolerate Communism no sooner than Fascism. The policy appeared as a complete departure from that of the Churchill Government, which had taken a course of expedience with respect to the Russians—albeit, of course, a policy dictated by the exigencies of the war.

This new policy suggested that the Labor Government, while adopting domestic policies which were socialist, would not engage in any sympathetic dealings with Communist Russia when it came to the question of totalitarian governments imposed on other countries. Yet, it did not intend to "build a wall" against Russia in Europe, says the piece, and genuinely appeared interested in establishing free government for all.

"Hold It, Now" applauds the efforts of OPA director Chester Bowles to hold the line on prices against a good deal of opposition being mounted by business to raise them, exerted further by the public pressure to have goods which had been denied or limited during the war. After several months of production, goods would become less scarce and wages would drop, along with the pressure to raise prices. But until then, Mr. Bowles would have to keep up the good fight to maintain prices reasonably, to avoid ruinous inflation.

"Time for Justice" finds a case before the Mecklenburg County Superior Court, involving a black man who allegedly had broken into the home of a black family and criminally assaulted an eight-year old girl, before being hit with a hammer by the child's mother, and fleeing, to be an opportunity for white man's justice, stern as between whites and as between blacks and whites, but often lenient, even indifferent, regarding the crimes committed by blacks against blacks, to show itself as dispensing justice fairly and evenly.

The excerpt from the Congressional Record has Representative Jere Cooper of Tennessee offering a bill to exempt from the jewelry tax mechanical pencils which contained certain precious metals, as the silver ring on fountain pens and pipes to prevent them from leaking, the latter two items exempt already from this tax.

After having the bill more fully explained, as joined by Representative Daniel Reed of New York, Congressman Joe Martin of Massachusetts was satisfied and withdrew his objection to the point of order seeking unanimous consent, as were John Rankin of Mississippi and Earl Wilson of Indiana.

It appears that mechanical pencils were on their way to being unencumbered by an excise tax, and would enjoy the same rights as fountain pens and smokers' pipes.

Hallelujah and Amen, brothers and sisters. Run out and buy those mechanical pencils at will, incumbent with the knowledge that they are free and equal. Go home, take out your fountain pen and write what you will, while smoking your pipe, all without that onerous tax on that little band of silver which prevents the leakage.

Substituting for Drew Pearson this date is former Office of Price Administration director Leon Henderson, who discusses the Reparations Commission which had met in Moscow several weeks prior to the Potsdam Conference, which began July 16. He points out that the Commission had reached an impasse and so it was left for the Big Three to resolve the issues of reparations at Potsdam through a series of trades.

Both conferences had stressed the need for disarmament of Germany more than the desire for reparations. Neither conference repeated the mistake of Versailles in fixing particular amounts of reparations to be paid.

But one decision reached at Potsdam, reversing a decision of the Commission, which potentially boded conflict between the Allies, was that each ally responsible for zones of Germany could remove machinery at will from each zone rather than following the Moscow proposal to have Germany treated as one region for reparations. The Russians had been reported removing entire plants from Berlin, such as sewing-machine factories. But when reported, the Russians responded that the Americans were doing the same thing in the Russian zone by taking laboratories and a thousand German scientists.

In the end, the split of Germany favored Russia for the fact that its sphere of influence in the East was uninterrupted by competition from the Mediterranean to the Baltic, while, in the West, the French, the British, and the Americans all would be competing to a degree and would experience inevitably some difficulty in harmonizing their interests.

In the end, Russia was to receive about half the capital equipment in Germany, about four billion dollars worth as part of its reparations. It had sought 20 billion dollars worth in all. Nothing was finalized on Russia's demand that Germany provide it with a part of its production output for ten years. Nor was there any decision on forced labor or what reparations the other three principal European Allies would receive.

In addition to the London conference to be held in early September to resolve these issues, there would also likely be a United Nations economic conference in London in the first half of October to discuss removal of trade barriers, cartels, commodity agreements and the like. "Conversion agreements", to shift from excess production in certain areas to production of scarcer commodities, constituted a new approach being promoted by the American representatives, and was expected to be supported by the Attlee Government in Britain.

Mr. Henderson next discusses the reorganization of the Federal Government in the wake of the war, soon to begin, stressing revisions to the Department of Labor under new Secretary Lewis Schwellenbach and the Department of Commerce under Secretary Henry Wallace.

Marquis Childs exalts the accomplishments of Admiral Ernest King, Chief of Staff of the Navy, in being the military leader most responsible for supplying the personnel and equipment to the Pacific war, enabling victory. His achievements were not well known, having been overshadowed by the battlefield exploits of General MacArthur's troops and, in terms of the Navy operations, by Admiral Nimitz and Admiral Halsey.

It was Admiral King who, when the thrust was to win the war in Europe first, then deal with the war in the Pacific later, had convinced the President and Congress, as well as the Allied leaders at the Tehran and Quebec conferences of 1943, that the war in the Pacific needed to be fought with all the equipment and personnel which could be brought to bear, lest the Japanese would become so entrenched as to take years or even decades to root out and defeat.

Along the way, the Admiral had made many enemies, who regarded him as ill-tempered, even dictatorial. But, in the end, it was this tough-minded approach which had proved essential in insuring the increase of production to match the demands of a two-front war, and enabled finally the war in the Pacific to be concluded, with the decided help of two atomic bombs, only three months after V-E Day, an eventuality no one—save perhaps the fourteen year-old bell-ringer in St. Louis—would have guessed to be probable, even on May 8, 1945.

And, says Mr. Childs, it was Admiral King who was primarily responsible for the coordination which enabled that victory.

The letter writer who, a couple of weeks earlier, had written from Southern Pines, regarding his laughter shared with his daughter Audrey at the Charlotte Observer's editorialization regarding the victory of the Labor Party in Britain as suggestive of an apocalyptic event, writes this time of conscription and the debate regarding compulsory peacetime military service. He is opposed.

For he foresees before the world, "giant space-consuming rocket planes and undreamed of refinements of the atomic bomb." Resorting to peacetime conscription, he suggests, was to regard war as inevitable. It was enough to have a merchant marine, commercial pilots, and, for occasional sharpshooters, the availability of "the mountaineer who can pick a squirrel out of a hickory tree at two hundred yards."

With the manifold changes occurring in the structure of governments, he opined that, rather than peacetime conscription of young people to train them in "mass murder", it would be far wiser to conscript intellectual capacity and have it work out the best societal theories to be turned over to the private sector, and should the private sector not respond, then that, too, conscripted.

Of course, he does not stop to consider that, in a sense, while not, per se, conscription, the intellectual harness of the society has in its public store all of the capacity at work in public institutions of higher learning, which do, from time to time, make recommendations to the private sector on virtually every topic of importance to the society, legislative, scientific, industrial, agricultural; and, of course, the various organs of the society to whom the advice is aimed are always free to accept or reject parts or all of it, as they deem fit.

Harry Golden, in the sixth of his series of pieces on eight selected famous trials, examines the case against John Thomas Scopes in 1925 in Dayton, Tennessee, for teaching evolution in the public school in deliberate contravention of a State law making it a misdemeanor to do so. Mr. Scopes was convinced to become the guinea pig to test the law's ultimate constitutionality regarding Separation of Church and State under the First Amendment.

The trial, with the opposing counsel of Clarence Darrow and prosecution leader William Jennings Bryan, the former three-time Democratic presidential nominee in 1896, 1900, and 1908, and former Secretary of State to President Wilson between 1913 and 1915, was a media circus of its day, as newsmen flocked to the sleepy little town to cover the two famous opposing counsel, pitted against one another over whether the Biblical account of creation in Genesis was necessarily cast aside by science and the Darwinian theory of evolution when the latter was taught in the schools. Mr. Bryan also would be the chief witness called for the defense, after the court excluded the expert testimony to be presented on evolution by Mr. Darrow.

Mr. Bryan's opposition to the teaching of evolution had been well known through the country for a few years prior to the Dayton trial, as evidenced by a piece written by W. J. Cash in 1922, during his senior year at Wake Forest College, a Baptist-founded institution of higher learning then located in the little village of Wake Forest near Raleigh, nevertheless having no truck with anti-evolutionism.

Mr. Darrow argued not against the Bible, but for the ability to teach scientifically based theory in the public schools and the right of students to be exposed to that theory.

Mr. Bryan relied on his fiery oratory from political stump speeches, seeking to defend emotionally the teachings of the Bible, contending that they were under assault, in defiance of the recently enacted statute of the State forbidding teaching contrary to the Biblical accounts of "divine creation of man", specifically evolution.

The case popularly came to be called the "monkey trial" for the popular conception that evolution necessarily stands for man having descended from the ape.

Darwinian theory, however, is actually posited on the notion of natural selection based on the concept of survival of the fittest, in terms of traits and characteristics passed genetically by any species of flora or fauna.

Mr. Golden does not concern himself with the competing evolutionary theory and literal interpretation of the Bible. We shall. For this competition still appears alive and well in certain parts of the country, usually in the South, and appears to have had a resurgence in the past 35 years or so, in the wake of cable televangelism.

To posit that the basic precepts of the Bible are somehow made the less powerful by teaching as literary myth the stories, as opposed to literal interpretation, is to teach that Darwinian evolutionary theory would be made obsolete by the finding that one species of plant or animal had remained in a constant state throughout its genetic heritage as far back as recorded or achaeological history could establish it, despite all the evidence to suggest natural evolutionary trends even in our own time, and certainly through recorded time, in various species of plants and animals. One is not logically and necessarily dependent on the other for its validity. Is the precept, Thou shalt not kill, any the less strong regardless of whether the story of Cain and Abel is an actual account or merely didactic literature?

Is it any the less the Word of God, that God perhaps told literary stories with a point, rather than basing them strictly on actual cruel lessons imparted ab initio to Man before he had the ability to print or to read the Biblical stories with their instruction? The toddler or tyro, incidentally, might best answer this latter question.

Is Inherit the Wind any the less instructive as a play, quite apart from its literal accuracy and faithfulness to the actual account of the Scopes trial? And, parenthetically, was that not the overriding unstated question being posed by the authors in placing it in the guise of a fictional town with a fictional cast of characters while maintaining, in esssentials, the facts of the actual trial?

But to be fair to those who adopted at the time the positions of Mr. Bryan, who died shortly after the trial, and held that the teachings of the Bible are sacrosanct and that it is therefore irreligious and an abomination to contradict those teachings by one iota of variation from literal interpretation of them, those were times when it was still more the exception to find in small towns very many persons who had attended college and when compulsory education through high school, especially in the South, was not yet mandated by the state.

Today, we have little patience, however, with those who still maintain these archaic notions in the face of universal education and universal opportunity to attend college, regardless, with few exceptions, of financial background and educational background. There is no excuse in 2012 for any citizen of the United States to refuse to accept evolution as a viable concept or one which, to be taught, has to be taught alongside the Judeo-Christian creation story within the Bible.

One can be a Christian, indeed, we posit, a better Christian, or a Jew, and believe not one whit in the story of Adam and Eve beyond its representational elements as being simply instructive art.

One is free to disagree. But the disagreement is inevitably posited in the realm of the emotional and not in any demonstrable fact. One starts with the necessary premise of infallibility of the Word of the Bible to reach the belief in the literal aspects of all its stories.

Neither, we posit, does it have anything to do with Faith, for the literal aspects of the story need not be accepted to understand the moral being conveyed, any more than the literal of Aesop's Fables need be accepted to understand and appreciate the principle conveyed, any more than one has to accept the literal of any poem or novel before one understands the moral or principle or ethic sought to be conveyed.

Moreover, if one understands the system of Government in the United States, founded and irrevocably based on a social compact to establish the framework, the powers, and the specified and unspecified limits of power of that Government, then one understands that the Government cannot enforce the teaching in the public schools of any religious concept beyond a purely scholarly inquiry into comparative religion and the analytical underpinnings of religious belief, its derivation from a common human existential angst, for its violation otherwise of the First Amendment Establishment Clause and its necessary implication of separation of Church and State: if the State cannot establish a religion, then, obviously, it must be maintained as separate from religious teaching and instruction.

The proscriptions therefore do not apply to private schools and institutions, which is why, in the United States, there are no, and can be no, publicly supported theological seminaries.

Nevertheless, in the rural town of Dayton in 1925, Mr. Scopes was found guilty by a jury of violating the law of the State of Tennessee, an anticipated result, as no one realistically expected the jury to nullify the law.

The real debate was left for the appellate courts to resolve in challenge of the statute's constitutionality. The outcome of the case was determined, albeit only technically, by the Tennessee Supreme Court in the defendant's favor, the judgment entered against teacher Scopes having been reversed by a vote of 3 to 1 based on the entry of the minimum statutory fine of $100 against the defendant, in contravention of a State statute which forbade a court entering a fine in excess of $50 after a jury verdict wherein the jury did not enter the fine, as was the case in the Scopes verdict. The error required a new trial as the jury had been dismissed improperly by the judge without instructions to set the fine, an act which, in this case, the judge could not do.

But the Court, as reported at 289 S.W. 363, rejected all of the constitutional arguments, including the primary arguments that the statute was either unduly vague in its proscriptions, such that an individual could not govern his or her conduct pursuant to it, or that it violated the Establishment Clause, in the case, the clause of the State Constitution patterned after the First Amendment. On the latter proposition, the Court ruled that the statute did not establish a religion because it did not require the teaching of any religious doctrine, and, moreover, did not deny religious freedom as it did not interfere with a practice of a religious belief because no religion of which it had awareness at the time had as a tenet the theory of evolution.

In the end, the Court recommended to the Attorney General that the "bizarre case", for the sake of the "peace and dignity" of the State, be dismissed pursuant to a nolle prosequi.

Had not the United States Supreme Court unanimously ruled in 1968, in Epperson v. Arkansas, 393 US 97, that such a law, virtually identical to the Tennessee statute in Scopes, is unconstitutional under the First Amendment, then the Church of Darwin undoubtedly might have been formed at some point, if it wasn't somewhere along the line in the interim.

The Tennessee Supreme Court in 1927 engaged in some tortuous and serpentine reasoning, likely for the political climate of the State at the time, to reach its result, especially with respect to the finding that forbidding the teaching of evolution did not establish a religion. For the proscription against teaching evolution tacitly gave breath to the notion that it was acceptable practice, even if not mandated by the statute, to teach in the schools the story of Biblical creation as a substitute, when students asked the inevitable question: How the hell did we get here?

In any event, the Tennessee Legislature refused to admit its mistake even as late as 1939, voting at the time not to repeal the anti-evolution law, proving thereby Darwin's theory in its most visible form.

The Scopes case is best known from its portrayal in the 1955 play by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee, and the 1960 film based on the play, "Inherit the Wind".

One of the additional defense counsel in the trial was, incidentally, Arthur Garfield Hays.

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