Wednesday, January 26, 1944

The Charlotte News

Wednesday, January 26, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Italy the Nazis appeared to be evacuating Cassino, pulling out troops to shore up defenses to the northwest against the Anzio-Nettuno landing forces. The Fifth Army had sent more patrols across the Rapido River.

The VI Corps had advanced to the Appian Way against increasing but still relatively light resistance, cutting the road, while threatening as well the Via Casilina between Rome and Cassino.

Shortly after dark, ten miles from the landing zone of Anzio-Nettuno, Luftwaffe planes had attacked three plainly marked Allied hospital ships and sunk one. Losses were limited by quick evacuation.

The Red Army captured Krasnogvardeisk, railway junction 30 miles southwest of Leningrad. A quarter of a million Nazi troops were cut off from communications and supplies in the area.

The War Department announced that it was spending 27.378 billion dollars less thus far during the 1943-44 fiscal year than anticipated. In consequence, there were calls from Capitol Hill to reduce the tax burden.

The President sent a message to Congress demanding that it take action to provide the machinery for affording uniform absentee voting for soldiers and sailors in the 1944 election. He described the December 3 measure passed by the Congress to send the matter to the states as "meaningless". The President reacted viscerally to the argument put forward to justify the move based on States’ Rights, calling that rationale a "fraud" on the American people.

As Drew Pearson had pointed out, only eight states would hold legislative sessions in 1944 before the election.

Argentine President General Pedro Ramirez declared that his country was severing diplomatic relations with the Axis and ejecting all Japanese and German embassy personnel, the last country in the Americas to do so. The reason for the action, he indicated, was that espionage activities conducted by Axis agents had jeopardized the sovereignty of the country.

The usual suspects were now thus being rounded up as espionage agents.

The State Department had listed Argentine agents as being responsible for the December 20 coup in Bolivia. Great Britain had also cited Argentina as the culprit. British authorities in Trinidad the previous week had arrested an Argentine consul while traveling, accusing him of spying.

Secretary of State Hull announced that the Russians cordially had declined the offer of the United States to mediate the Soviet-Polish border dispute, indicating that the matter had not sufficiently ripened to accept the “good offices” of the United States to that end.

British and American correspondents were taken on a tour by the Soviets of the grave site at Katyn Forest near Smolensk, discovered by the Nazis the previous March and brandished internationally as a Soviet atrocity, the killing of 10,000 Polish officers in spring, 1940. The Soviets contended, based on forensic evidence, that the killings had been committed by the Germans in August and September, 1941, shortly after the June 22 invasion of Russia.

The incident had caused a rift between the Polish government-in-exile and the Soviets, complicated by the complex border issue, whether to restore to Poland that which had been given to the Soviets by Germany in 1939 after the Nazi occupation while Germany and Russia were still friendly, or to cede it back to Poland, territory inhabited mostly by Russians and acquired by Poland only in the wake of World War I.

As we have pointed out before, the Soviet Government under Mikhail Gorbachev, as part of Glasnost, admitted in 1990 that the Soviet secret police carried out the murders, and that the actual number of dead was on the order of 15,000 to 22,000 Polish officers and civilians.

The President of Poland, Lech Kacynski, and his entourage, including several relatives of victims of the atrocities, were killed in an airplane crash while trying to land in fog at Smolensk, April 10, 2010, to attend a commemorative service for the victims on the seventieth anniversary of the killings.

HUAC chairman Martin Dies indicated that his Committee was hard at work investigating the finances of “Peace Now”, an organization devoted to an immediate cessation of hostilities among the nations and a negotiated peace.

Whether Kit Marlowe was alleged to be a member of the radical organization was not disclosed by the chairman.

Hal Boyle returns to the subject of diminutive Colonel John Victor McCormack of the RAF, this time stressing his advocacy for open press coverage of the war. He admired General Eisenhower for his liberal policy in that regard.

A 53-year old German-born nurse in Detroit chose to renounce her U.S. citizenship and return to Germany because she had converted to Nazism in 1938 and would "kiss Hitler's foot" if allowed to return to Germany. The Federal judge before whom she appeared granted her request. Upon her return to Berlin, hopefully, before her Nazi friends blindfolded and placed her before a firing squad as a spy, Fraulein Johanna Treiber was permitted to kiss the Fuehrer's foot, all bare and goosy.

On the editorial page, "Platforms" excerpts in brief the statements issued by Republican National Chairman Harrison Spangler and former Democratic National Chairman Frank Walker, indicating each party’s respective general platform for the election year ahead. Predictably, the Republicans diminished the accomplishments of the New Deal and characterized the nation as divided with the Republicans as its savior. The Democrats, equally predictably, lauded the New Deal and all it had done for the country since 1933, promised more of the same for the ensuing four years.

"Substitute" finds it likely that the Southern politicians who had just mended fences the week before with the President in his "social" gathering at the White House, after having threatened to jump ship from the party and form a third party, would have their way at least in dumping from the ticket the too liberal Vice-President, Henry Wallace. Mr. Wallace had come to represent everything the rebels of the South detested, social welfare, internationalism, post-war aid for all the hungry of the world, social justice for all. He was just downright un-American.

Thus, he had to be replaced. The Southerners wanted a Southerner. North Carolina’s Governor Melville Broughton, South Carolina’s assistant president, former Senator, former Supreme Court Justice, James Byrnes, House Speaker Sam Rayburn of Texas, and progressive Governor Ellis Arnall of Georgia, each had been suggested for the ticket.

In the end, of course, Vice-President Wallace, for all of his fine qualities, would be ousted at the behest of the disgruntled and in his stead would be placed Senator Harry Truman of Missouri, not precisely a Southerner, but close enough to the heartland to be counted a man of the people by the folks down South.

When Vice-President Truman became President less than three months into FDR's fourth term, the Southerners who had sought the ouster of Henry Wallace would be in for a rude shock should they have thought that they were getting a good ol' boy in the White House finally. Harry Truman would, if anything, be more liberal and populist than either Vice-President Wallace or President Roosevelt. Nor did he have the bedside manner of FDR. Mr. Truman was a man who brooked no nonsense from anyone, least of all a bunch of idiots from the South bent on racism and appealing to idiots of like bent of mind.

"Stalling?" wonders why nothing had taken place regarding the charges brought by the commander at Charlotte’s Morris Field, contending that some individual landlords had been guilty of rent gouging of soldiers.

"The General" echoes the piece the previous day from Hal Boyle, finding uniform praise from the soldiers for the selection of General Omar Bradley as the commander of American ground forces in the invasion of Europe to come. The editorial seconds the motion and finds the opinions expressed by the soldiers well-grounded in wisdom.

Samuel Grafton remarks on the tendency of the United States only belatedly to jump on the bandwagon of underground movements in occupied nations. Citing as example the Partisans under Tito in Yugoslavia, he predicts that the U.S. eventually would supply arms to the French underground, but only reluctantly. The policy instead should be one of leadership, not tailing the lead of the forces in the occupied countries brave enough to incite internal revolt against the Nazis.

Raymond Clapper, apparently en route or pinned down under fire, serves up a piece, probably written earlier for its dateline from New Guinea, regarding the Guinea Gold, a one-man, four-page newspaper printed for the servicemen seven days per week, with a circulation established in just a year of 46,000. Australian Major Reginald Leonard was the chief cook and bottle-washer of the paper. It featured a comic section culled from the Brisbane papers. It even favored the men with pin-up pictures. But a vote taken on those dolce far nientes surprisingly found disapproval and a desire for war news in their stead.

Perhaps Postmaster General Frank Walker and his crusade against the pin-ups of Esquire had influenced the troops in New Guinea.

But hold. Hold the presses: the vote was only the result of the men's favor for the smooth photos in the magazines rather than all the little dots of the newsprint versions, all the little spaces in between dots having the tendency to interrupt the idea.

Mr. Walker’s Puritanical notions had, after all, not infected the minds of red-blooded American and Australian men, always in need of a good pin-up, albeit one which was smooth and undiluted by dots and spaces.

There were several small newspapers and small radio stations which had sprung up on New Guinea for the servicemen, usually run by servicemen. The reason was that there was little to do on weekends, few places to go for recreation. There was a beach in Port Moresby with an active canteen, but that was about it for entertainment in all of New Guinea, where only a thousand white people had lived prior to the outbreak of the war.

Drew Pearson explains why he did not accept the so-called "Hopkins Letter" for publication, that letter attributed to Harry Hopkins as seeking the president of SMU to run for the Senate in Texas against Tom Connally in 1944 and also suggesting Mr. Hopkins’s indifference to FDR’s re-election versus the election of Wendell Willkie, implying thereby no difference between the candidates. Mr. Pearson indicates that the letter appeared suspect on its face as he knew that Mr. Hopkins strongly supported the President for a fourth term. The letter’s contents thus suggested only a traditional old-guard Republican campaign tactic to smear the moderate Republican candidate by suggesting his affinity to the opposition camp.

He does not comment on the fact that the assistant to Secretary of Interior Harold Ickes had just been indicted for arranging the letter as a forgery.

He next turns to the expressed desire of many families and clergy that the Government begin transmitting casualty and death notices to next of kin by clergy rather than via the impersonal agency of Western Union telegrams. The Government had responded that the telegrams were the most efficient method for insuring prompt delivery and that filtering the message through clergy would likely cause undue delay in receipt.

He quotes the passages of the form telegrams utilized for either wounding or death, a grim and dreaded message which families of servicemen would soon be receiving with greater regularity in the United States than before during the war.

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