February 16, 1944

“A” Card Could Be 25% More
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Chester Bowles, chief of the Office of Price Administration (OPA), stated last night in a radio address the black market is to blame for the allocation of rationed gasoline not being higher. Bowles indicated the “A” ration card might be worth as much as twenty-five per cent more gallons than current were it not for “black market parasites.” As much as 2,500,000 gallons of gasoline daily is diverted by the black market. Bowles estimated this equated to a loss of approximately forty-five miles a month per average driver. He went on to say the gasoline situation will become increasingly taxed by military demands “…the closer we get to invasion…” of the European mainland.

February 9, 1944

Is Reserve Held by WFA
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The War Food Administration (WFA) is attempting to hold 20,000,000 pounds of butter in reserve in anticipation of future needs by several areas. These areas include the military, relief agencies outside the United States, allies participating in the lend-lease program, and civilians here in the United States. There have been reports nearly 130,000,000 pounds of butter were held by the government on February 1 with additional stocks in route from Argentina. The WFA claims all of that butter has been allocated with the exception of the amount it wishes to keep in reserve. The current stockpile is the result of purchases during last season’s heavy production time. The WFA insists if it is released now, the government would have to increase purchases this season, starting in April, resulting in less butter available for civilian use.

February 2, 1944

Move Could Impact “New Europe”
LONDON, England—A unanimous vote last night by the Supreme Soviet, which is the Russian Parliament, has granted the sixteen member republics of the Soviet Union full autonomy in defense and foreign affairs as it has reorganized into a commonwealth. This move is seen as groundwork for the Soviet Union to claim governing rights over the Eastern European countries it liberates from the Nazis, including Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, and others that share a border with the Soviet Union. The move also brings to question if Russia will demand representation of all sixteen republics in peace talks at the end of the war in Europe. Russian Foreign Commissar (foreign secretary) Vyacheslav Molotov, who introduced the legislation, said reorganization into a commonwealth is a “…new step forward in the solution of the nationality question…” in reference to the Soviet Union being composed of many unique nationalities.

January 26, 1944

National 35 M.P.H. Limit Not Obeyed
LAFAYETTE, Ind.—A study released yesterday by Purdue University shows the national 35-mile-per-hour speed limit is not being obeyed by the average driver. Average speeds have been reduced by rationing and the speed limit, but the study shows car drivers average 43.32 M.P.H. and truck drivers average 40.14 M.P.H during the current rationing period. Before the national speed limit was in place, car drivers averaged 49.56 M.P.H. and truck drivers averaged 41.20 M.P.H. The study also showed the average speed is affected by gasoline rationing. When the weekly ration is three gallons, the average speed was at its lowest, 41.82 M.P.H. for cars and 39.34 M.P.H. for trucks. The report was presented at the 30th annual Purdue road school.

January 19, 1944

New Combat Boots Create Leather Shortage
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Sources in the War Production Board (WPB) last night indicated a leather shortage is on the horizon so severe that plans to use pigskin leather for civilian shoes are fully underway. A new design of combat boot is partially to blame for the shortage. The new boot requires more leather than the previous design. It is currently in limited use and as its production increases, the demand on leather stocks will further escalate the shortage. A reported one million combat boots will be produced in the first quarter of this year. Another cause of the leather shortage is a reduction in the number of hides being imported into the United States. The WPB order reducing by one-third the output of tanneries directed toward civilian use is on hold pending re-examination of leather stocks and re-assessment of military needs.

January 12, 1944

Nazis Claim for High Treason
LONDON, England—The German news agency DNB has announced the son-in-law of Benito Mussolini, Count Galeazzo Ciano, along with four other former members of the Fascist Grand Council were executed by individual firing squads yesterday. The Nazis stated the executions were for high treason committed when the council voted Mussolini out of power in July last. The other four executed with the count were Marshal Emilio de Bono, Giovanni Marinelli, Carlo Pareschi, and Luviano Gottardi. The executions were carried out yesterday morning in Verona in Nazi-controlled northern Italy around 9 a.m. after an Axis tribunal. The action is seen as a move by Nazis to strengthen their grip on their occupied territory in Italy. British radio reported today Italian patriots operating in northern Italy have assassinated seventy-five “prominent Fascists” over the past ten days.

January 5, 1944

Congress Debates Alcohol Ban
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Are Monday hangovers a threat to war production? Talk of a national prohibition on the consumption of alcohol resurfaced here yesterday when Representative Sam Hobbs, a Democrat from Alabama, announced that the house judiciary sub-committee he chairs will begin hearings on the topic. This announcement sparked much debate on the controversial bill introduced March 4 last by Representative Joseph Bryson, a Democrat from South Carolina. The bill would outlaw the trafficking in all beverages with an alcohol content by volume greater than one-half of one per cent. If passed, the law would be in effect for the duration of the war until all American armed forces are demobilized. Noted prohibitionist Representative Victor Wickersham, a Democrat from Oklahoma, opposes the bill, instead preferring a constitutional amendment. Representative Walter Ploeser, a Democrat from Missouri, also opposed the bill, saying “Our last experience with prohibition was one of the worst things that have ever happened to this country.”

December 29, 1943

But Is Il Duce Dead?
LONDON, England—Reports on German radio last night indicate Generalissimo Francisco Franco, the leader of Spain, has recognized the fascist republican government of Benito Mussolini. This formal acknowledgement has been anticipated since the Nazis installed Mussolini in the puppet government following Italy’s surrender to Allied forces, which was official on September 3 of this year and publically announced by General Dwight D. Eisenhower three days later. However, there is question as to the condition of the Italian dictator. A dispatch today from Madrid to the London Daily News quotes a diplomatic source stating Mussolini died ten days ago in a German hospital. The dispatch stated the dictator, known as Il Duce, died “…from long-standing stomach trouble complicated by acute mental derangement.” There has been no confirmation of Mussolini’s fate.

December 22, 1943

Christmas Bonus for Housewives
WASHINGTON, D.C.—As the year comes to a close and companies are issuing dividends to stockholders, the Office of Price Administration (OPA) last night issued a “dividend” on pork chops. The OPA declared that effective midnight last night, the Spare Ration Stamp Number 1 in Ration Book Number 4 counts as five extra points for the purchase of pork. This special “dividend” is only available to those holding Ration Book Number 4, not restaurants, hotels, and similar entities. The extra points will remain in effect for only about ten days, expiring midnight January 2, 1944. The move by the OPA is designed to alleviate the building stock of swine in hog markets and storage facilities due to lack of purchasers.

December 15, 1943

Four-Legged Marine Heroes
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Marine Corps last night released information about some of its newest heroes of combat: devil dogs. The deeds of these literal dogs often go unheralded, but they proved their worth in the fighting against the Japanese on Bougainville in the South Pacific. Among the dogs called out for their heroism was a German shepherd named Caesar. For three days, he carried messages and maps between headquarters and M company on the front lines, the only line of communication the company had. Caesar was shot on the third day, but marines carried him in a stretcher, with as much care as would be shown a fallen human comrade, to an aid station where he was patched up and then evacuated. Marines reportedly earned the moniker Devil Dogs from German troops during the Battle of Belleau Wood during the Great War due to the ferocity they showed in battle.

December 8, 1943

To Occur within Six Months
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congressional decree issued yesterday, the two-year anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack, calls for court-martial proceedings against Admiral Husband E. Kimmel begin within six months. The court martial for Lieutenant General Walter C. Short is included in this decree. Kimmel was in charge of the Pacific Fleet and Short was in charge of the Hawaiian Military Establishment at the time of the Pearl Harbor attack. Both face dereliction of duty charges in courts martial. During the senate debate yesterday, Senator Clark of Missouri pressed for impeachment of Secretary of War Stimson and Secretary of Navy Knox if they would not initiate immediate courts martial. The Senate then altered the statute of limitation from one year past the end of the war to six months from yesterday, and the House approved the revised bill.

December 1, 1943

Beef Goes Down; Cheese, Fish Go Up
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Announced last night by Chester Bowles, head of the Office of Price Administration (OPA), the point value for beef will be substantially cut for December. This will allow greater quantities of beef to be purchased. The point value for lamb, mutton, veal, and many cuts of pork will remain unchanged as will the values for butter and margarine. Pork values were adjusted in November. That combined with the cuts in beef for December represent approximately a thirty per cent increase in the amount of meat a family can purchase compared to November. Cheese and canned fish products will see dramatic increases in point values meaning consumers will not be able to purchase as much. The OPA will announce specific point values later in the week, and they will go into effect the 5th, this Sunday.

November 24, 1943

Apology Ordered by Eisenhower
ALLIED HEADQUARTERS, ALGIERS—Lieutenant General George S. Patton, Jr., struck a shell-shocked soldier twice while he was being treated in a hospital tent. The general berated the soldier and said he and others like him are “yellow bellies” and would have been shot in the First World War. General Patton believed the soldier to be a malingerer, but he in fact had an excellent record in Tunisia and Sicily. General Dwight D. Eisenhower wrote to General Patton immediately on hearing of the incident and, according to a staff officer, “took the hide off him.” The incident occurred during the campaign for Sicily in August, but was only disclosed yesterday. After revelation of the incident, Congress censured the general, but took no additional steps toward investigating the incident despite calls for such by some members.

November 17, 1943

Liquor Stock Prices Down
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Late yesterday the Senate voted to investigate alleged hoarding of liquor by distillers. Funding of ten thousand dollars has been provided for the sub-committee investigation. Reports indicate liquor shelves devoid of rye and Bourbon in many areas of the country despite distillers having stock in governmental storage. Chairman Van Nuys of the investigating sub-committee described the situation as “an emergency.” He further stated the situation is driving people to black-market liquor purchases. Stock prices for most large distillers have taken a downturn in recent days, but this is more likely due to profit-taking in the markets than the impending Senate investigation.

November 10, 1943

Holidays May Not Be as Merry
HARRISBURG, Penn.—Pennsylvania will become the sixteenth of seventeen states that have a liquor control boards to adoption a rationing system for whiskey. The program is described as experimental and will be in place prior to the holiday season. The intent is to alleviate the long lines of customers that develop under the current system. The new rationing program will continue after the trial period if it is successful, but will be discontinued if not. There are at present no details on when or how the new rationing system will be put in place other than an indication it will commence in the near future. Whiskey is the only spirit falling under the rationing program. Rum and wine will remain unregulated, and brandy and gin will remain under the current one-bottle limit.