The Charlotte News

Tuesday, December 24, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that 800,000 "Little Nazis" had been granted amnesty within the American occupation zone of Germany by proclamation issued by General Joseph T. McNarney, the U.S. commander in Europe. The amnesty was for those who had not been major offenders or offenders with incomes less than 3,000 marks between 1943 and 1945 and whose taxable property did not exceed the value of 20,000 marks, as well as for those suffering from at least 50 percent disabilities. It left about two million Nazis subject to prosecution under the de-Nazification program.

The reason for the action appeared not to be largesse but rather to break the log jam in the crowded de-Nazification courts. Three million of the eleven million registered Germans had been found subject to charges under the de-Nazification law, and clearing out 800,000 of them was considered necessary, to enable more vigorous and efficient pursuit of major Nazi offenders during the war.

The other three major powers had not initiated any similar amnesty program.

In Frankfurt, Germany, Mildred Gillars, the American musician known as "Axis Sally" during the war, as she broadcast in English pro-German propaganda, had been released from prison by American Army officials. Two other Americans who had been German propaganda broadcasters were also released, Herbert Burgman and Donald Day, the latter a former correspondent for the Chicago Tribune.

Governor Ellis Arnall of Georgia announced, in the wake of the death Sunday of Governor-elect Eugene Talmadge, that, though he believed he could, pursuant to the State Constitution, remain in office for the ensuing four years, he would retain the office until the Lieutenant Governor-elect, M. E. Thompson, could take the oath.

A debate was taking place as to whether the Legislature could elect Herman Talmadge, son of Eugene Talmadge, to the Governor's office.

Joseph Curran, president of the CIO National Maritime Union, had announced his resignation as co-chairman of the Committee for Maritime Unity. He gave no reason but it was reported that he was dissatisfied with the structure of the committee, dedicated to presenting a unified front for merchant seamen in negotiations with ship owners.

A passenger plane crashed, killing 20 and injuring one, en route from London to Buenos Aires, going down about 30 miles from Rio de Janeiro.

Throngs of people converged on Bethlehem to celebrate Christmas. A parade featuring Roman Catholic Patriarch Louis Barlassina, 75, the former Priest of Turin and Rome, head of the Latin clergy in Palestine for the previous 28 years, wound through the streets.

At 3:30 a.m., when guards heard Christian Arabs firing a half dozen shots into the air in celebration, they responded with machine gun bursts, causing tension for awhile in the Holy City.

Dick Young reports that police in Charlotte were cracking down on a gang of six or eight youths who had run amok, knocking over pedestrians, ripping awnings of stores, and kicking out automobile windows—all in the spirit of the holiday season and giving back to the community.

The ringleader, age 18, received 30 days on the roads for an assault. Altogether, he and a companion each received 14 months, for charges of public drunkenness and assault. The assault of a black man put a hole in his head and gashed his face. The youths apparently stole $70 from him as well. A young black male was also beaten. Besides the two ringleaders, the other four or five members of the gang disappeared before being apprehended.

The page publishes Clement Clarke Moore's poem, "The Night Before Christmas". You may not have ever heard of that one.

As we think we may have mentioned once before a few years ago, we recited it by heart, or read it, albeit before we were really reading, back in kindergarten to our fellow classmates. But we were chary about saying the word "belly" in public, thought it inappropriate for the occasion. We thought about exchanging words for the offending portion, maybe, "He had a fit of jollity, and could not sit for his frivolity." Or, "Santa laughed quite as much as Shakey's old Puck, and when he had Kentucky plum jelly, why, he had plenty of good, dumb luck." Or, "When he shook, the whole earth quaked in abundance of mirth, so that all burthens were lifted, along with his girth." But we were informed that those did not quite work and any one would unduly alarm the teacher. So, finally, we simply had our papa come with us and say the word "belly". All was copacetic. On the way home, we stopped by the deli.

We have wonderful news. As confirmed by the editorial below, the Empty Stocking Fund has been found. It was in a box, it turns out, in Washington, being protected by the F.B.I. Agent Chip Hardesty had placed it in a box on the top shelf, right side of his living room closet at home, and nearly lost it as his daughter needed the tissue paper, which was to be its wrap-wrap, wrapping, to make her angel wings. Well, we are glad that it was maintained in safe condition, and you kids have the F.B.I. to thank for that result—including Mr. Robinson, who took an active role in the security operation.

It had been conducted surreptitiously so that no one would seek to hijack the Fund before Christmas.

Just what the worth of your toys will be is not readily now determinable, but they will be worth every cent of memory with which you invest them tomorrow and for the rest of your lives. Remember that.

No matter how silly the toy, how remarkably short of your expectations it may be, it is not the flash and the bang of it which you will recall years from now, long after the toy or other thing has become consigned to the basement, attic, garbage, or receptacle for others to use. It will only be the memory of it and how you interacted with it which will remain, if you allow it. Whatever you get, therefore, be appreciative of it and happy you got it.

If you get nothing, be happy of that, too. You are less encumbered than the rest, and thus can move about more freely.

By the way, the world was saved also from Gort by the Army and the F.B.I. Fear not. Santa is on his way, having been spotted over the South Pole, re-routed of course from the traditional Northern approach because of the missing Empty Stocking Fund, and the melting polar cap. They should have disclosed the fact that the Fund was being safely maintained in Washington and saved thereby everyone a lot of worry and fret and extra sleigh miles conducting a search. We need to have open government, if not for our sake, for the sake of George Bailey and his lovely family and friends.

On the editorial page, "The Immortal Story...." quotes from Luke 2:1-14, imparting the story of the birth of Jesus, a traditional place in the editorial column of The News on Christmas Eve.

We always refer the reader back to the Christmas story, "Away in a Manger", related by W. J. Cash in 1937, a piece which remained popular among readers for several years after its initial publication.

"Of Faith....", signed by Publisher W. Carey Dowd, Jr., and Editor J. E. Dowd, extends greetings and thanks to the readers and advertisers, as well the employees of The News, in the 58th year of the newspaper's existence. They offer special thanks that the many employees who had served during the war in the armed forces had now returned to their duties at the paper, making it that much better.

As indicated, it would be the last Christmas that the two brothers would have such a prominent role on the family-owned and operated newspaper, as Thomas Robinson and a group of investors, which included W. C. Dowd, would purchase the newspaper in early January. J. E. Dowd would step down as Editor in favor of Mr. Robinson, and would become instead General Manager.

"Of Hope...." comments on automobile batteries being in shortage as winter was beginning. As the writer's battery ran down and he went shopping for a new battery, he found the going tough, with auto stores telling him that they had more batteries during the war than at present.

From the description provided, an increasingly faint beam of headlamps and slowing of the engine, it appears rather that there was a generator or fan belt issue, not a battery problem. Battery power only affects the car on start-up until the generator has a chance to kick in, if operating properly. So...

In any event, he finally found a proprietor who had a used battery with which he could part, and the writer gave deeply appreciative thanks for it.

The man told him that he expected his profits to decline in the coming year because of the abundance of post-war goods, but that he would enjoy the sight, as everyone would be able to obtain their needed goods.

Whether the editor got his car properly running, however, in the long run remains somewhat doubtful. A new battery on a bad generator would give the illusion of power once again, only to run down shortly afterward. Then, you'd have to perform a u-turn, head back to the shop, start the whole thing over again. Tighten up that belt first.

"Of Charity...." tells of another record being set by The Empty Stocking Fund. The News, which annually sponsored the charitable drive, did not know yet the final figures, (for obvious reasons, as related above), but it thanks the many contributors who made it a success for the 2,000 needy children of the community.

School children had come to the newspaper offices to contribute their coins. A woman saved pennies all year to make her contribution by way of leaving a bagful. The Boxing Commission gave over $1,150, as usual, the largest single contributor to the Fund.

It concludes by saying, "God bless you," to all who had made their offerings.

Drew Pearson tells what the great and near-great of Washington were hoping to receive in their Christmas stockings, starting with the President leaving a note to ask Santa for fewer strikes, full production, and a four-year subscription to Men's Wear.

Eleanor Roosevelt wished a 28-hour day.

Secretary of War Robert Patterson wanted any one of nine jobs, each on the Supreme Court.

Newly appointed Ambassador to Great Britain, O. Max Gardner: "Some knee breeches (football legs should not be hidden)."

Generoso Pope, wealthy New York City businessman and publisher: "To find the New York cop who befriended him when he was a homeless waif in Manhattan 45 years ago."

Paul Porter, recently resigned as head of OPA: "A simple Greek-American dictionary."

And so on and so forth, for a whole panoply of officials and others in the news.

Finally, he relates: "All of us—Peace, Prosperity, and Happiness."

Marquis Childs reports that State Department negotiators had just returned from London with the outline for the proposed International Trade Organization. The document was to be deposited in a State Department safe, as it would be some time before it could be approved on both sides of the Atlantic. Many skeptics in both the United States and Britain believed it would never become a reality, hoped that it would not. The British wanted proof of U.S. intent to lower tariffs and remove other trade barriers.

A scheduled conference in April in Geneva would allow all nations to work out bilateral trade agreements. At that point, the U.S. would have to make its trade concessions or the other nations would not form the organization.

Many in Britain did not support the proposal, wanting instead a system similar to the prewar British Empire member-preference on trade.

Senate hearings were scheduled before the Geneva meeting. The dairy interests and wool producers were preparing arguments against it, that imports would weaken their domestic markets. Foreign imports of wool and woolen goods had amounted traditionally to only five percent of the American consumption of wool. Cheese imports had been limited to one to two percent of the market.

Canadians had argued in London for relaxed customs restrictions in the U.S., to allow for less red tape.

The time was coming when America would have surpluses to export and so it was time to set an example for reciprocal trade, a goal toward which former Secretary of State Cordell Hull had worked with tenacity.

Samuel Grafton suggests the 1948 campaign, as it was presently shaping up, to look as a tired steeplechase, with no one on either side able to generate excitement, though all the major candidates possessed strong character traits. But they lacked "the mystery of personality, the ability to light a fire in the heart of someone else a mile, or a hundred miles away."

John W. Bricker had not been impressive at the recent Gridiron Club dinner. Thomas Dewey, while young and dapper, lacked spontaneity.

The professional politicians liked the way the race was shaping up as it meant that anyone could win on the basis of a whimsical trait or personal fact. Jim Farley, FDR kingmaker, had stated recently that the Democrats might have a chance if they would smarten up a bit. It was a flat statement and Mr. Farley would have aroused more interest by donning a woman's hat and making a funny face.

If someone new entered the ring, such as General Eisenhower, Henry Wallace, or Harold Stassen, and made a few impressive speeches, they might blow open the race. For now, it was to be a technical race based on worn-out issues. If the electorate became charged to expect something more spectacular, such as a promise of a fairer life, they would push aside the available candidates, a result feared by the professionals.

A letter writer provides a Christmas poem. Here, also, it is.

Editorial Research Reports provides the history of the celebration of Christmas, relating that it was first celebrated on the Epiphany, January 6, shifting to December 25 sometime around the end of the Third Century or beginning of the Fourth, coinciding with the winter solstice under the Julian calendar and more closely with the Jewish celebration of Chanukah, The Feast of the Lights. The Yule log, not to mention the You'll See, came into use to commemorate the lengthening of the days.

Sir James G. Frazer, in The Golden Bough, told of Augustine having urged Christians to begin celebrating Christmas, not as the pagan celebration of the rebirth of the sun, but rather as the birth of the Righteous Son of God.

In 1659, because of the tendency at excessive merrymaking at Christmas by the early colonists, the Massachusetts Bay Colony outlawed the celebration of the holiday as breeding too much mischief, very unlike the piety exclusively observed in Charlotte of 1946. Whether, in Massachusetts, the penalty for violation of the statute was burning at the stake, is not related.

Only in Anglo-Saxon lands were presents widely given. Latin countries typically used New Year's Day as that occasion. The Russian Orthodox Church recognized Twelfth Night as the time for such exchange.

Christmas cards came into being around the middle of the Nineteenth Century.

Decorating the Tannenbaum came into practice first in Germany, and was popularized in England by the German-born husband of Queen Victoria, whose grandson, of course, became Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, starting World War I, leading on, inexorably, to the world depression of the Twenties and World War II in its wake, the atom bomb, the Cold War, and the aftermath of the Cold War and Terrorism with which we live today. Thank us everyone.

Mistletoe was probably a Celtic tradition. Santa Claus was derived and delivered, or perhaps derilivered, from the Dutch tradition of St. Nicolaas, a Greek.

All of which conveys the notion of why we like to celebrate all Twelve Days of Christmas. No one really seems to know.

Have a Merry Christmas, and we shall see you again on Boxing Day, the Second Day of Christmas, as The News did not publish on Christmas Day.

Whatever else you may do, don't burn the tree down.

We have received a late report which tends to suggest a possible hole in the F.B.I. claim to its having saved the Empty Stocking Fund. It may have actually been the result of the clever industry of Billy Bailey, attempting to embezzle the money that he might travel to Jamaica and retire. It turns out that he had been entrusted to carry the money to the bank from The News the other day and never returned home. They are even writing a song about the thing. It goes: "Won't you get back to where you belong, Billy Bailey, won't you get back. You know you done us wrong. Bring home the money, honey, bring back the toys, for all those little girls and boys..." Well, you get the gist.

In the interest of complete fairness and accuracy, however, we are still trying to sort out the facts of that story, and will provide more details after Christmas.

If true, it's a terrible thing, and we simply do not wish to dwell on it right now. But the Fund is definitely safe, no matter who did what to whom and in what order.


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