Tuesday, April 4, 1944

The Charlotte News

Tuesday, April 4, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Second Ukrainian Army had penetrated into Rumania to within eight miles of Iasi, 190 miles northeast of the Ploesti oilfields.

Meanwhile the First Ukrainian Army had surrounded fifteen Nazi divisions in the densely forested Skala sector on the middle Dniester River, inflicting heavy losses.

The First Army during March was reported to have caused 208,260 German casualties.

The Third Ukrainian Army moved to within 40 miles northwest of Odessa, taking Shovken, Berezovka, and Tsezarevka. Another force of that Army had penetrated from the east to within 25 miles of Odessa, but no further progress report had been issued.

American bombers of the Fifteenth Air Force flying out of Italy struck Bucharest for the first time, coordinating with the Russian advance from the northeast toward the Rumanian capital.

The RAF the night before had struck Budapest, attacked by the Americans during the day on Monday. It was announced that the latter raid had dropped a thousand tons of bombs.

A subsequent report indicated that the record bag of enemy planes in the Sunday raid by Americans on Steyr, Austria, was increased from one hundred to 115.

In Italy, activity on the Anzio beachhead quieted. Italian troops were reported now being utilized at the front by the Germans.

Cassino, quiet for several days, saw only limited artillery bombardment from the Nazi lines, some of which was directed onto the railway station occupied by the Allies.

Lord Louis Mountbatten announced a lull in the advance from three directions by the Japanese on Imphal in India, while the troops of General Stilwell were still making steady progress down the Mogaung Valley toward the key Japanese base in northern Burma, Myitkyina.

Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox announced that Woleai and Yap were both hit by the American carrier task force which had struck Palau beginning March 30. Several Japanese ships had been destroyed at anchorage in the attack on Woleai and Palau. Details of the mission, however, remained sketchy because of the necessity of maintenance of radio silence.

Prime Minister Churchill announced to Commons that the British Empire had suffered 667,159 casualties, 158,741 of whom were killed, during the first four years of the war. There were 270,995 prisoners of war and 78,204 missing. Civilian casualties had been 109,101, of whom 49,730 had been killed and 59,371 wounded. In addition, there had been 26,317 merchant seamen killed aboard British ships.

Only rough estimates were available of the Axis casualties. The Associated Press estimated total German casualties at 4.5 to 5 million. Moscow put the number at 9 million. Italian casualties had been estimated at about a million.

The United Nations Information Office estimated that 4.5 Russian soldiers had been killed or were missing in the war. The Nazis claimed 18.2 million Russian casualties.

It was rumored in London that Foreign Minister Sir Anthony Eden was about to step down from the position, likely in favor of the Dominions Secretary, Lord Cranborne. The reason for the possible shift was said to be that Mr. Eden had too many duties with his role also of leader of the House of Commons.

The rumor, however, turned out to be false. The Foreign Minister, who had served in that role since December, 1940 and had served prior to that time for over two years, between late 1935 and early 1938, while serving since February, 1942 as House leader, would continue to serve in both roles until the Conservative Coalition Government of Prime Minister Churchill was voted out, July 26, 1945.

George Tucker, in the "Reporter's Notebook" column, tells of the travails of an Army private, Ross Poole of Virginia, a former I.B.M. worker, assigned to the Garigliano sector of the Italian front. He, along with seven other men, were given a mission to take out a house which served as a German observation post. They departed for the objective at 9:00 p.m. on March 30, staked out the ground from 75 yards distant.

The private's task was to create a diversion with his bazooka, and so he found a hole in which he could acquire cover, as firing the bazooka would assuredly draw ample return fire. He then blasted a hole in the side of the house as his fellow soldiers threw grenades through the door and windows.

A German exited the house, firing into the darkness as he came. The other Germans in the house appeared also to have escaped. Private Poole realized suddenly that he was likely surrounded by Germans, with his own men nowhere in sight.

His fellow soldiers later recounted that they had called his name in a loud whisper but he had failed to respond. They didn't think he was dead, but they had to get out of harm's way.

Poole waited in the hole until around 2:00 a.m., after it had been raining for awhile. He started crawling until he reached a trail, whereupon he ran into a German camouflage net. Deciding that he was lost, he headed in another direction.

By sunrise he found himself on a muddy bank, and after crawling awhile, saw three Germans headed toward his position. They were only twenty feet from him, but were on a bank while he crouched in a ditch by a field of grain. Two of the Germans departed, leaving the third nearby. Eventually, that German fell asleep. Poole waited awhile and then crawled away.

After taking a nap, he awoke and crawled another 300 yards toward two battered houses, before one of which was a German sitting on a stool reading a book. Poole, believing he was about to meet his maker, pulled out the Bible he carried with him and began reading it for a couple of hours. He reckoned that he read about everything in it.

He reconnoitered and found that American lines were about 800 yards in front of him. But between his position and the lines lay a deadly mine field. He decided finally to brave it and walked right into American lines, the while having been observed by an American officer through binoculars.

Private Poole was told to report to the intelligence officer. His report was succinct: "It's like this. I just took out my Bible and read a prayer and come on in."

The jury got the case in the Charles Chaplin trial for violations of the Mann Act, allegedly transporting, on two different occasions, from and back to California, 23-year old Joan Barry across state lines for immoral purposes. The judge instructed that if the transportation occurred without the requisite intent, even though a sexual act took place after their reaching the destination in New York, there could be no conviction. The violation was not limited to commercialized vice and the defendant could be found guilty even though the woman had solicited the transportation.

It probably would have been wise counsel for Mr. Chaplin to have taken out a Bible and read some passages, as he, too, was walking through a mine field.

On the editorial page, "Planning" recommends that the extant planning boards for the post-war period be made permanent so that city and county expansion could be properly regulated into the future.

"Tense Moment", (somewhat obscured by the presence of an errant imprint of a female model of some description, or a ghost who wandered onto the page), describes the palpable tension now being felt no doubt by Germany as it awaited the inevitable moment of invasion of the Continent from the West.

It compares the time with that experienced by the Allies in the dark days of 1941-42 when the Russians were backed up to their doorstep in Stalingrad and besieged in Leningrad, when the Germans were trouncing the British in North Africa, and the Japanese had routed the United States, the Netherlands, and Great Britain in the Pacific. That, on top of Dunkirk in June, 1940 and Pearl Harbor, had cast a deep gloom on the Allied cause, lasting until the beginning of the combined Russian, U.S. and British offensives in October and November of 1942, coming just as success appeared likely for the Allies on Guadalcanal in the Pacific.

But, it speculates that the Germans might obtain a lull from the spring rains in Russia, enabling them to shift men and materiel to the West to prepare for the invasion.

"But the moment nears. In Axis and Allied lands alike, there is that knowledge. The world awaits it, in dark fear and bright hope."

Indeed, after a restless winter of divided politics within the Democratic Party in a presidential year, the tension at home was evident, the desire to get on with winning the war, the uneasy knowledge, while everything appeared rosy on the war fronts, that men were daily dying and that the blood sacrifice was only going soon to become worse before Germany and Japan could finally be brought to surrender. It was now just 63 days until D-Day.

"Farm Plank" examines the Republican effort to come up with a suitable convention standard which would cultivate the support of farmers, many of whom had split in the halcyon days economically of the present from the New Deal policies of the past, even if much of the farm lobbying in Washington was performed by the large land trusts rather than on behalf of the small farmer.

The piece predicts that the Republicans likely would find no plank which would suitably attract the varying and competing interests among the farmers.

"Julian Miller" provides sympathy to the parents of a soldier who had fallen in battle in New Guinea. At 25, the piece points out, S/Sgt. Miller was one of 20,000 Mecklenburgers fighting in the war. His death was symbolic of the great human sacrifice being undertaken for the country.

The young man's father, Dr. Julian Miller, was the editor of the competing Charlotte Observer, had at one time been editor of The News. His tenure as editor of The Observer ran from 1935 until his death on July 28, 1946.

"Easter Week" marks the coming of Easter the following Sunday. Two services for the public would be available in Charlotte, one an inter-denominational Good Friday service at the First Methodist Church, and the other, a Sunday morning worship service at the Charlotte Memorial Stadium.

No doubt, as the piece suggests, the Easter of 1944, with the war at white-hot pitch and about to turn bloodier than ever for the Allies, especially for American servicemen, would be one of special devotion and prayer.

Dorothy Thompson discusses the trend toward socialism in Europe, starting with Britain, as enunciated by Prime Minister Churchill's speech of a week earlier, the Prime Minister outlining a bold program of public housing which eclipsed anything attempted under the New Deal.

General De Gaulle had proposed similar plans for liberated France, indicating that all unjust war profits would be taken by the government, especially those made in collaboration with Germany.

In Italy, the Six-Party Coalition favored socialist reforms.

Only the United States and Russia had moved to the right, albeit in varying directions not expected to overlap. FDR had in December announced that the New Deal had served its function and was defunct.

Ms. Thompson asserts that these variable trends were disturbing to future cohesiveness among the Allies. She believes that U.S. sensitivity to these trends abroad in domestic policy would largely determine the power of the nation in the post-war world and also largely determine the fate of Europe, whether it would devolve to chaos or develop into progressive states.

Marquis Childs, still with Governor John Bricker of Ohio, campaigning for the Republican nomination for the presidency in Arkansas, tells of the Governor's position favoring states' rights. He questions how well that message would carry in some of the poorer Southern states, as Arkansas, when it came down to cases.

Arkansas, no doubt, wanted its share of a proposed 300 million dollar Federal school building program. But all Governor Bricker had discussed was how good things were in Ohio. Mr. Childs had asked him whether it wasn't the case that the reason for things being so swell in Ohio derived from the heavy industrial base and consequent larger per capita income from which to draw revenue than had a state such as Arkansas. The Governor had responded by drifting into generalities.

Samuel Grafton again addresses the lack of a cohesive foreign policy of the United States. At present, he asserts, it consisted primarily of pointing fingers at Russia whenever Russia did something which appeared unilateral. For some time after the extension of diplomatic recognition to Badoglio, the American carpers had pointed their fingers at the Russians, contending unilateral action. But with Izvestia's recent announcement that the Soviet did not intend full recognition of Badoglio with its limited exchange of envoys, those voices had little further to say. They were not now singing the praises of Russia for coming over to the same side as the U.S. and Britain.

At the end of the day, the foreign policy of the United States was, as Mr. Grafton saw it, in favor of doing nothing.

Drew Pearson discusses Jim Farley's refusal oddly to discuss politics while doing business for Coca-Cola. Business had not stopped him before. Speculation ran that he was being quiet, pending a meeting of the New York Democratic Party which was reported to favor ouster of Mr. Farley as its chairman before the convention for his strong opposition to a Roosevelt fourth term--just as he had been opposed to a third term in 1940 and, in consequence, had split with the President, for whom Mr. Farley had been principal in effecting election to the governor's mansion in New York and to the White House.

It had become apparent, says Mr. Pearson, that Mr. Farley was behind the movement of Harry Woodring, the former Secretary of War under FDR, and his committee in their effort to elect anyone other than Roosevelt. Mr. Farley was said to have been responsible for raising most of the million dollars for the committee to field another Democratic candidate for the nomination.

He concludes with further note on the special Congressional election in Oklahoma, going to the Democrat W. G. Stigler, signaling a bellwether for the Democrats and the New Deal, given Republican Senator Ed Moore's heavy campaigning in his home state for the Republican opponent E. O. Clark, primarily based on berating the New Deal.

Senator Moore, says Mr. Pearson, was the wrong man for that campaign. The district was heavily agricultural and Senator Moore had voted against crop insurance, a vital necessity for farmers, every bit as important as fire insurance to a business.

And, we think we predicted the outcome of the blustery cold N.C.A.A. championship game on Monday, won by the University of Connecticut Huskies over the Butler Bulldogs, 53 to 41. But you have to determine how we predicted that dogfight and the winner of it, even if we had hoped for our team and had, after last week, assumed it would be the Wildcats. The University of Connecticut now has three national championships to its credit in a mere 13 seasons. It is time, therefore, next year, for our school to catch up. For all that, though, and despite their chilly performance Monday, we have to congratulate the Butler Bulldogs for reaching the final game of the tournament in two successive years, never an easy thing to do for any team. Our team, for all its success over the decades, has accomplished that feat only once, in 1981 and 1982, losing the first and winning the second.

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