Friday, January 25, 1946

The Charlotte News

Friday, January 25, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the National Wage Policy Committee of the Packinghouse Workers Union, a CIO affiliate, had voted unanimously not to return to work on Saturday after seizure by the Government of the meatpacking plants. The union had 193,000 members, while the remaining meatpackers, 55,000, belonged to the Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen, an AFL affiliate. The reason for the action was a claimed double-cross by the Government, that it was not living up to its agreement that there would be a retroactive wage increase to the date of seizure once the Government fact-finding committee would make a recommendation of an increased wage. The PWU contended that the seizure was merely a strike-breaking tool which would favor the packers, leaving the workers with a "raw deal".

William Green, head of AFL, announced that the UMW headed by John L. Lewis would rejoin the AFL. Mr. Lewis would take the seat on the executive council left vacant by the head of the machinists union which had left the AFL in October, 1943.

In London, the U.N. Security Council agreed to discuss the situation in Azerbaijan Province of Iran, in response to Iran's complaint against the Russians, as well as the situations in Greece and Indonesia, about which Russia had complained regarding the British.

At Nuremberg, the war crimes tribunal heard from a former inmate at Mauthausen concentration camp, Frenchman Maurice Lampe, that in September, 1944, the Nazis had executed fifty Russian officers as a special treat for Heinrich Himmler, and had tortured and stoned to death 47 American and Dutch fliers.

The fliers were forced into a stone quarry and then each made to carry 55 to 65 pounds of stones up long flights of steps out of the quarry, while being beaten the while. During the second trip, they were stoned to death by the Nazis. The process was repeated with prisoners throughout the day until the steps were covered in blood and bore 21 bodies. The next day, 26 more fliers were provided the same treatment.

The President ordered the delay for 40 days of the return to Germany of German war prisoners being held in the United States. The move came in response to protests of use of ships to transport the Germans when the vessels were badly needed for return of U.S. personnel from Europe.

It was announced in Tokyo that Russia, France, and the Netherlands would join the prosecution of war crimes against the major Japanese war criminals, including Hideki Tojo. Thus, all nine signatories for the Allies to the articles of surrender would participate, including Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, China, and the United States.

It was reported by the Dutch news agency in Batavia that seventeen corpses of European men with their hands tied behind them and one beheaded had been discovered in a canal near the city. Two were said to have been killed recently.

Near San Diego, in Muroc, Consolidated Vultec Aircraft announced completion for the Army of the XP-81, the world's most powerful high-speed, long-range fighter. The plane had a gas turbine and jet engine, either or both supplying the power, and could exceed 500 miles per hour with a range in excess of 2,000 miles.

In Atlanta, the Georgia House failed by six votes to deliver a two-thirds majority to allow the Governor to succeed himself, preventing the present Governor, progressive Ellis Arnall, from running again. Ultimately, former Governor, reactionary Eugene Talmadge, would be elected in 1946.

In Bridgeport, Conn., a Monroe farmer, defending a divorce suit brought by his wife, testified that while he and his wife had been drinking he had shot tin cans off the top of her head. His wife charged in the suit intolerable cruelty and habitual intemperance. The farmer said that he was a former cowboy and that had he wanted to hit his wife with the shot, he could have. He also permitted his wife to shoot the tin can off the top of his head. The couple, separated for four years, had five children in 14 prior years of marriage.

How many tin cans each had successfully shot off the top of each other's head and how many were missed, was not indicated. But obviously, both had a couple or more holes which were not present at birth.

We do recommend the procedure, however, for those loving, friendly, sociable couples who want to own guns "responsibly" for their "self-protection": first, they must pass a test in which each shoots an object off the head of the other. If they should miss, they cannot own a gun.

On the editorial page, "Brick by Brick" comments on the overwhelming majority of building permits in the community going to non-residential buildings, showing that building materials could be had when someone with enough money wanted them. There was more profit to be had from a factory than an apartment building and the materials may have been bought only at a substantial premium.

But the new buildings were adding to the bitterness of the thousand homeless veterans in the city, who were convinced that no one in the community really cared whether they had a roof over their heads.

And the question remained as to where the workers who would work in these businesses would live, as they would likely come from outside the community.

"The Old Plaint" discusses the effort in Georgia by the Georgia Speaker of the House to block the vote on term succession of the Governor. The Speaker claimed that he was reluctant to introduce the bill to the floor because it would spoil the harmony enjoyed thus far during the session.

The editorial finds the argument specious, as all legislative bodies were given to disharmony by their very nature. Georgia, it concludes, was no exceptional Utopia.

As indicated on the front page, the matter had been brought to a vote and did not accumulate the necessary two-thirds majority, failing by only six votes.

"They Can't Go Home" urges sympathy for the millions of wandering mendicants in Europe and Asia, homeless and starving after the war. The general attitude of Americans was that they deserved their fate. But, it stresses, moral considerations exceeded the quaint notions of crime and punishment.

It cites as example the sea-going fate of Alfredo Raffaele, a former soldier for the Italian King, Vittorio Emanuelle, who had escaped from an American prison camp and stowed away aboard a Liberty ship in Tunisia bound for New York in November, when discovered, turned over to immigration who then returned him to sea until the ship once again could return him to Tunisia. While his plight had drawn great attention because of its peculiarity, he was actually among the fortunate, as at least he had a warm bed and proper food.

A piece from the Winston-Salem Journal, titled "Light for the Farmers", tells of 160,000 of the state's 296,000 farms being serviced by Rural Electrification Administration co-operatives, such that farms had electricity which would otherwise be lit by kerosene lamps. Still, a large job lay ahead to fully electrify the farms. Some 15,000 to 20,000 miles of lines still had to be strung. The piece hopes that the work would not be slowed for want of materials and labor to do the job. Electricity meant a new standard of living for the farmers.

Drew Pearson pays homage to his former writing partner, Bob Allen, who had returned from the war a Colonel and missing his right arm. He tells of his first meeting with Mr. Allen, as he put forth a barrage of questions to Secretary of State Frank Kellogg regarding the presence of the Marines in Nicaragua. He had never heard such sarcasm hurled by a member of the press at a Secretary of State.

Mr. Allen had often goaded Senators to action by berating them for inaction, such as he managed with the late Senator Borah of Idaho, whom he goaded into complaining of FDR's State Department giving aid to fascist Spain.

In 1923, at the time of the failed Beer Hall Putsch which had landed Hitler in jail, Mr. Allen had written from Munich to his newspapers of the dangerous implications of this individual, whom everyone was dismissing as a comical crackpot.

After Pearl Harbor, he was eager to receive combat assignments, but first had to endure training and maneuvers in the swamps of Louisiana and on the plains of Texas. He had been scheduled to go to the Southwest Pacific as one of General Walter Krueger's officers, but General MacArthur, who remembered Mr. Allen's criticism of the Army's shoddy handling of the Bonus Army in 1932, had crossed Mr. Allen's name off the list of officers. He was finally sent during the summer of 1944 to head General Patton's intelligence unit in France.

In that latter capacity, he was traveling in a jeep near Ohrdruf in Germany on April 7, 1945, when an ambuscade from a German patrol fired on him and smashed his right arm. The subsequent amputation, accomplished under rude conditions by an anti-Nazi Austrian physician without bandages or antiseptics, saved his life.

Two days later, a Nazi lieutenant-colonel arrived to cross-examine Colonel Allen and found that he was not about to be treated with such insolence by an officer of inferior rank to his own. As Patton's Third Army was getting closer to the hospital, he was able to order the Nazis about as if they were prisoners, even ordering them to lock their weapons in the basement and stop giving the Nazi salute. Two days later, Patton arrived and Mr. Allen, though his arm badly infected, was still master of his surroundings.

A piece from the Christian Science Monitor discusses an event held at Evergreen Playhouse in Los Angeles for 125 young soldiers from Camp Haan, near Riverside, and Fort MacArthur, at San Pedro. The soldiers were all members of the 442nd Infantry Regiment, all Japanese-Americans, who had fought in four campaigns, the Rome-Arno, the Po Valley, in Southern France, and in the Northern Apennines. The unit had suffered 5,333 casualties and lost 569 men.

The little piece in a local newspaper which told of the event was juxtaposed to three other pieces in the previous three months which told a more sinister tale, that two had shot a Nisei, another Nisei had his home burned, and still others, in Alameda, in the Oakland area, had their homes targeted. Those were just examples; there had been many other such incidents involving deliberate violence against Nisei since the residents along the West Coast had returned from their internment imposed during the war.

Yet, thanks to heavy publicity provided since the end of the war to the war record of the Nisei, such incidents had remained at a relative minimum. The distinguished fighting by Japanese-Americans in the Pacific had also been disclosed since the end of the Pacific war, until that time remaining secret.

In consequence, more and more headlines of positive stories, such as the one regarding the community dance in honor of the Nisei veterans, were appearing in newspapers and fewer of the negative ones.

Marquis Childs discusses the inequities between officers and enlisted men in terms of terminal leave before separation from service. Officers could accumulate up to four months leave time, during which they could look for a job and housing while still receiving full military pay. The enlisted men waited at separation centers and then were discharged onto the street, no longer in the Army or Navy.

Several bills were pending in Congress to remedy the inequity, the most prominent of which was from Representative Mike Mansfield of Montana, future Senate Majority Leader. It was likely, says Mr. Childs, that one of these bills would pass despite their large expense to the country, but it was too bad that it had not been accomplished at the outset of the war. It would have made the transition to civilian life for enlisted veterans much smoother.

Samuel Grafton comments on the shock of the world at the audacity of the Russians to raise before the U.N. Security Council a protest against the British for the situations in Greece and Indonesia. It was as if the worst behaved boy in school had preferred charges against the headmaster during chapel. The assumption was that the West would protect democracy while teaching the Russians manners. Now, the roles were being reversed.

Russia stood in the shoes of a proud and angry man, galled by the notion that the U.N. was intended to protect the smaller nations from the major powers, and pointedly, from Russia.

Thus, it remained a question whether the West could accept such a role, that is where the judges were being judged, just as sometimes took place in Congress. Yet, it showed progress beyond the old League, where the ruling bloc was never questioned, leading on to the impotence and ineffectiveness of the organization.

A letter writer complains of the lack of housing in Charlotte, that she had lived there for a year because her daughter was in the hospital with polio, but could find no decent place to live. So she composes a poem explaining in verse her longing and unfulfilled wish. She envied "the man who lives in a shack."

The editors state that they had waived their long-standing rule against poetry in the letters column out of sympathy for her plight—a bit of dissembling, it would appear, as they had allowed plentiful efforts at verse a year earlier, regarding Blaze, the famous bull mastiff of Elliott Roosevelt, who had bumped a couple of soldiers off a plane in Memphis, on their way home on furlough. And some of that latter verse, nay, even most of it, was downright doggerel, of a mixed breed and of questionable heritage.

Another letter writer claims to have been a reader of the newspaper since its founding in 1888, but had found strange things there occasionally, such as recently when an editorial asserted the hope for the day again when two dozen eggs could be purchased for an hour's wage, whereas at present an hour's average wage of 40 cents would not purchase one dozen. The writer also questioned the recommendation of Dorothy Knox that all stores remain closed Monday mornings so that workers could go shopping.

The editors respond that the writer must realize that their hearts were in the right place, even if, at times, their logic ran astray.

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