The Charlotte News

Friday, October 24, 1941


Site Ed. Note: October 25 is missing from the microfilm, so no edition tomorrow... Take the day off, watch the leaves fall, go see "W", (as we haven't yet), whatever.

First, we don't know whether the "900" had anything to do with the creation of the "700", perhaps out of the notion conveyed by the first piece that the New Dealers had, as emblematic of their personalities, undue "brattiness", but there it is for your consideration. One must always bear in mind, however, that the alternative to any such brattiness, or, more precisely, irritability usually born from studious attentiveness to resolution of problems, is in the nature of laissez-faire, that is an attitude to let the world go hang while we study how to get rich off the backs of others, that is until that Bubble bursts, and a depression, and potentially a world war, result from not minding the switch dutifully and attentively at the crossroads.

"Aid to Anybody" takes an unascribed leaf from Churchill when he said shortly after the June 22 invasion of Russia, "If Hitler invaded Hell I would at least make a favorable reference to the Devil in the House of Commons." Such was the attitude now, too, in America, as most Americans realized by this late October that the fate of Britain, and hence the United States, and most certainly whether the United States would have to become involved in the war in Europe by sending troops, hung on whether Hitler could achieve quick victory in Russia, that campaign now starting its sixth month, belying early predictions of the Nazis that it would be accomplished in three to six weeks.

Rain and mud had slowed the entire frontal approach by the Nazi panzers in late September and early October. Now, by mid-October, snow was falling a month before the usual time for it on the frontier approach to Moscow, that having been fairly predictable from the June snow flurries around Moscow, well-publicized, even mentioned in The News, just prior to the attack, the first time in memory of the locals that such an early snow had fallen.

By December, the Nazis would advance to within forty miles of Moscow, with some isolated patrols reaching the suburbs, able to see the Soviet anti-aircraft fire strike Luftwaffe bombers. But, to the stark surprise of the Nazi generals, on December 6, back now to the wall, understanding the Nazis' lack of proper equipment and acclimatization for such a winter, Russian General Georgi Zhukov attacked the front of Nazi Field Marshal Günther von Kluge with 100 divisions, a million and a half men, in sub-zero weather, weather which had already played havoc with the German soldier clothed only in toboggans and trench coats, insufficient for the long winter siege which was not supposed to be under the plan put forth on paper before the putsch began. Moreover, the Nazi weaponry and vehicles were now becoming stuck and frozen.

The little Things of Ferdie Porsche, as we have recently suggested, were not meant to go very efficiently in sub-zero weather. (Someday we shall tell you about the thirty below zero night in Bismarck, N.D., in November, 1975 when the starter on the little roadster failed, some 325 miles from the nearest parts supplier in Rapid City, S.D., in sight of Rushmore--but another day.) No doubt, some of the Nazis lost their breakfast, too, struggling to free the sluggish engines from their funk. The problem, we discern, is that in an air-cooled engine the steel of the external cylinders, not surrounded by an engine block and a bath of insulating anti-freeze, as in the typical water-cooled jacket, shrink, and with the liquidity of the oil thickened by the lower mercury, as with any vehicle in sub-zero climes, become especially hard to crank, as the pistons, made of the "warmer", less dense molecular structure of aluminum, and their steel rings, seize against the cold cylinder walls--at least without a shirt-sleeve wearing towtruck driver thinking it beach weather to aid the process of getting them unstuck. The Nazis weren't so fortunate to have such a reservoir of warmth at their disposal, as they weren't in New England or upstate New York, but in the hostile climes of the Red Rooskies with it snowing. Cannot call the towtruck driver.

We share, however, in that instance, not a whit of empathy for them, even as their fingers froze against the icy steel, as did our own that frosty night in Bismarck, crawling underneath the thing with a screwdriver to short the solenoid contacts, positive to negative, without immediate success, the banger being too seized to respond even then to the screwdriver's short. ...Damn, it's cold. And there's no phone within miles of here. We could always start a fire, but we've no kindling. Hmmm, screwdriver, sharp point. Oh, look yonder. We recall that story of Mr. London which we conned once in high school: Here, doggie; come to papa. What do you think, is it your lucky day, punk? Why, what do you know, there's a car. Run along now. ...Well, memories of the Ford Administration...

The result of Zhukov's surprise counter-offensive was to shove back the Nazi front on itself, into a long winter siege during which guerillas of the Soviet army periodically made inroads to the German lines with sniper fire and other such tactics.

In consequence, Hitler would relieve von Kluge of command and fire his commander in chief, Field Marshal Walther von Brauschitsch, and his chief of staff, Franz Halder, taking over the command duties of Operation Barbarossa himself from Berlin.

Also on the page today is a noteworthy piece by one Anton Pettenkofer from New Asia, exploring the issue of what Hitler likely intended for the Japanese, as against his Aryan hordes, once the Japanese had served his purposes by conquering the Pacific and China--probable extermination, as with all non-Aryans, being the conclusion which the author reaches.

And in the end, of course, non-Aryans were not only those not of the "pure white" lineage also free of Semitic genes, but moreover anyone who failed to subscribe to the Nazi dogma of state-control of every aspect of the Aryan's life, from breeding habits to the ersatz food fed them, to the car they were assigned to drive, regimentation. Not forgetting the obligatory "Heil Hitler" as a greeting. Failing any of which meant more than likely a swift exhalation by a Luger to the head of the recalcitrant.

For the nonce, the fate of the world turned on the stalwart Russians in the snows of winter on the cold frontiers. There was no time any longer in America or Britain for petty anti-Red propaganda or vitriolic aspersions of "Commie". All now were comrades in arms against the barbarians, even if an uneasy alliance destined to be quickly attenuated after the war.

Incidentally, speaking of which, we are obliged to make a correction for the sake of historical accuracy: we have twice, if memory serves, and once recently, stated that The Dallas Morning News printed an ad with a mock wanted poster bearing profile images of President Kennedy on the day of his visit to Dallas in 1963, with the word "Treason" as its caption. That is not, strictly speaking, accurate. The posters were circulated as handbills and posted on streets around the city that morning. But the ad, paid for by the "American Fact-Finding Committee", the right-wing organization which probably also disseminated the handbills, in The Dallas Morning News, its offices directly across the plaza on Commerce, named for its founder and publisher, George Bannerman Dealey, was actually instead a laundry list of 12 accusations, posed as leading questions, against the President and the Attorney General, mainly for supposedly being soft on Communism--this a mere thirteen months after the President had stood down with expert diplomacy Premier Kruschev, and, more problematically, the Soviet hard-liners in the Kremlin, at the most precipitous brink of nuclear exchange ever faced during the Cold War, that being over the attempted implacement of Soviet missiles with nuclear warheads in Cuba. No doubt, the scurrilous ad was meant to dovetail, with supporting "facts", the poster's scurrilous charge.

Of course, that day, it was all the same, blending into the seering hatred on the part of these right-wing extremists who coalesced in Dallas to the chagrin of its more moderate citizens, nevertheless the only major city in the country which had voted for Richard Nixon in 1960. This blinding hatred would coalesce in an act of will which would never in the generation then alive be forgotten in the resultant blear produced at 12:30 p.m. CST--8:00 a.m., 1941 Hawaiian Department War Time. The President's motorcade had been delayed, however, in its entry to the plaza by a few minutes, perhaps five or seven, as the President had asked it to stop briefly a couple of times, so that he might get out and shake hands with the friendly people who stood along the curbs to see him, all as the sun shone for a short interim, glimmering, as a part of the South stuck in the ancien régime atavistically, free of the obligatory ablutions attendant with heurism, threatened to pull the country, recognizing the centennial three days earlier of the Gettysburg Address, again completely apart from itself.

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