Wednesday, January 5, 1944

The Charlotte News

Wednesday, January 5, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that probably the largest single raid in any one day thus far in the war had taken place with 3,000 planes, both American and British, hitting targets at Kiel and Muenster in Germany, and also in Northern France. Twenty-five Allied planes had been lost. The previous night, RAF Mosquito bombers again hit Berlin, without suffering any loss.

In Russia, the Germans had evacuated the eastern sector of Berdichev, a railway town 25 miles south of Zhitomir, which had served as Ukrainian headquarters for the German High Command. Fighting continued in other areas of the town. Other Russian forces had captured the fortress town of Belaya Tserkov, seeking to entrap the half million German troops situated in the Dneiper bend west of Kiev.

The Germans had launched counter-attacks east of the newly breached old Polish border and, according to Soviet communiqués, had penetrated to reach the Russian lines in an area nearby newly re-captured Novograd-Volynski.

From the Pacific came the news that within just three days after the January 2 landings by American forces at Saidor on New Guinea, the Australian troops to the south had been able, after glacially slow movement for two months since the capture of Finschhafen, to progress fifteen miles northward along the Huon Peninsula, with the Japanese now caught between the two forces.

An Allied air raid hit Bulgaria at Dupnitsa, 30 miles south of Sofia, as German forces were reported to be tightening their grip on the country to arrest the increasing signs of internal revolt. Contradictory reports continued to issue on whether the pro-Nazi government had fallen.

Fighting continued in Croatia for the city of Banjaluka. Marshal Tito stated that half the city had been captured by his Partisan forces as house-to-house fighting continued.

Taking a 2,300-foot ridge near San Vittore, the Fifth Army in Italy took control of the heights overlooking the road to Rome.

Lt.-General Sir Oliver Leese had been appointed to replace General Sir Bernard Montgomery as the commander of the Eighth Army in Italy. General Leese had been the commander of a corps in North Africa during the drive from El Alamein to Tunisia between October, 1942 and May, 1943. He had served as a battalion commander in the Coldstream Guards in World War I. General Montgomery had been selected at Christmas by General Eisenhower to lead the British ground forces in the invasion of the Continent. Not yet announced, General Omar Bradley would be appointed to lead the American infantry forces.

Major-General Nathan F. Twining, future Chairman of the Joint Chiefs under President Eisenhower from 1957 through 1960, succeeded by General Lyman L. Lemnitzer, had been appointed by General Eisenhower to assume command in the Mediterranean of the Fifteenth Air Force. His job was to beef up the attacks on Germany from the south, to complement the raids coming from England via the Eighth Air Force and the RAF.

General Twining's family, as we have before indicated, lived in Charlotte, presumably enabling the General on occasion to read The Charlotte News--as a point of information. Just say you read it in The News--oh boy.

Pravda took umbrage at an article appearing in The New York Times, written by Wendell Willkie, for its supposed creation of distrust of Russia regarding the post-war disposition of the Baltic States, Finland, and Poland. Pravda denounced Mr. Willkie, contending that he misrepresented the situation in the guise of trying to ameliorate the attempted proliferation of distrust of the Russians, sought to be accomplished by his fellow Republicans.

Apparently, Pravda, on this occasion, was employing Ms. Litella for its translation of the article. For, reading the excerpt establishes that Mr. Willkie, ordinarily friendly to the Russian ally, was in fact accusing his fellow Republicans of seeking to create the distrust and was counseling them against it.

Comrade Litella, operating cleverly under the cover-name Dmitry Zaslavsky, was said to be contemplating a response.

Hal Boyle tells of a ride in a B-26 piloted on take-off and landing by Maj.-General James Doolittle, hero of the raid on Tokyo April 18, 1942. Two lieutenants boarded the plane just before take-off and were unaware until landing of who their famous pilot for part of the journey had been. During the interim between take-off and landing, General Doolittle read a book.

On an inside page, a map appears indicating the overall Allied progress in Europe and showing the design which, all going by plan, would serve to crush Germany within the ensuing year.

Also appearing is a review of a performance at the Charlotte Armory by Metropolitan Opera stars, Astrid Varnay and Lauritz Melchior. Included in the program, predominated by arias from Wagner's Lohengrin and Die Walkure, was, from the latter, "Hojotoho", preliminary to the Ride.

All 28 flavors were to come.

On the editorial page, "Air Power" comments on the 3,000-plane raid of the previous day, suggesting it to be the realization of the strategy long advocated of literally blackening the skies over targeted cities with bombers, reducing in the process losses. The strategy seemed to be coming to fruition, as 25 missing planes were reported, when under the 5%-rule typical for raids through the summer, there would have resulted losses of fully 150 planes. Plainly, Nazi air defenses and anti-aircraft batteries were reeling under the relentless Allied assault.

"High Purpose" reprints from The Congressional Record a pre-Christmas speech by Senator Dennis Chavez of New Mexico, extolling the virtues of America and expressing the wish that the ugly face of intolerance, that which the Pilgrims came to the land to escape, would never again flourish. The editorial adds that it hoped Senators Wheeler, Nye, and Reynolds were listening attentively to the speech.

Senator Chavez served in the Senate from 1935 until his death in 1962, and had served in the House from 1931 to 1935. He was the second Hispanic-American to serve in the Senate.

"Where?" examines German propaganda efforts to guess the location of the Allied invasion of Europe. Its best guess had been that the landings would take place along the coast of Northern France or in the Low Countries, enabling sufficient proximity to England to afford surprise and superior air cover. That best guess was, of course, a good one.

The piece offers that through history the only successful landings on the Continent had been ones occurring without significant opposition.

The timing, however, was not to be immediate, as generally expected, obviously to unnerve German morale, afford more time for bombing to soften French coastal defenses, interrupt supply lines, and destroy German industrial capability, as well to provide more opportunity for internal overthrow of Hitler, and more time to amass the tremendous numbers of men and equipment plus support for the huge invasion to come on June 6.

Samuel Grafton again examines the hypocrisy demonstrated by re-emerging isolationists in the country, on the one hand having in 1942 and early 1943, led by freshman Representative Clare Boothe Luce, yelled "globaloney" and "milk for Hottentots" to the notion advocated by Vice-President Henry Wallace that the Government send aid to China. But now, some of the same voices, led by former President Hoover, were proposing to send aid to countries occupied by Germany, with the prospect that such food and aid would simply be requisitioned by the Nazis.

William Randolph Hearst, he indicates, was plumping for strict adherence to the non-aggression clauses of the Atlantic Charter, formed between the U.S. and Great Britain in August, 1941 and signed by the Soviets the following month. His tender feelings suddenly acquired for this instrument had only to do with demanding settlement of the question against Russia as to whether eastern Poland, the Baltic States, part of Finland, and Bessarabia to the south in the Balkans would be ceded to Russia at war's end.

Drew Pearson warns that it would not be surprising, given the impasse in the railroad wage situation, if the railroads were to remain under government supervision for the duration of the war.

He also reports, following up on an editorial appearing in the News column, that Harry Hopkins was adamantly seeking an FBI investigation of the origin of the forged letter supposedly signed by him which had on its face sought to cajole the president of SMU into running in 1944 against anti-New Deal Democratic Senator Tom Connally of Texas, while declaring the belief that Wendell Willkie would be the Republican candidate for the presidency, likely also to win. The FBI was busy tracing the typewriter which produced the letter.

Mr. Pearson next updates the case of Private Joseph MacAvoy, whose execution for a particularly brutal murder of a teenaged girl had been delayed for the refusal of the War Production Board to grant authorization for acquisition of materials necessary to fix the electric chair in the State of Nebraska. Nebraska had not conducted an execution in so long that its chair had malfunctioned. The prison officials had located repair materials which they could borrow locally. To repair the chair, however, required its disassembly, fixing, conducting the electrocution, then disassembling it again to return the materials. The State opted to wait. And wait they would until 1945.

We still say that they might have simply borrowed from some old codger a nice long crank and taken care of business by turning their backs. But, we don't actually advocate such actions in reality. It's just a thought.

An industrial traffic consultant for the railroads out of Nashville wrote the paper regarding its November 2 editorial referencing Eleanor Roosevelt's "My Day" column of a few days earlier in which she had complained of the inequities personally witnessed in freight rates charged as between southbound and northbound routes. Her example had been grapefruit she had received from her daughter-in-law in Texas.

The gentleman wrote her a letter asking her to provide him with facts on the precise nature of the freight and its means of transport to substantiate her contentions so that he could investigate.

Apparently, he did not pay very close attention to the editorial in The News or bother to read the "My Day" column itself. We believe the article to have been grapefruit shipped via rail. But that is only our opinion.

Going under the clever disguise, "C. E. Widdell", he was actually the husband of Comrade Litella.

Perhaps, he needed to know whether the grapefruit was yellow or pink, properly to discern the rate structure.

Raymond Clapper, on his last trip, to cover the Pacific war, provides an account of flying via Army transport from San Francisco to Hawaii, chatting with the crewmen as they flew, the only other passenger being Frank Mason, special assistant to Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox. He tells of the crew's varying rhyming lines of prediction for the end of the war, for instance, "Out of This Fix in Forty-Six", such a line having been provided for each year from 1945 through 1948. Each such line had, says Mr. Clapper, a rhyming alternative fit only for overseas communication. Use your own imagination.

Chief pastime of the men was listening, bemused, to the beckoning velvet of Tokyo Rose when she uttered, "Listen, honey, how do you like those 4-F's back home taking your girl?"

Their answer probably added a fifth "F" to the colloquy--and also rhymed.

Anyway, regardless of your stand on the Hottentots, bear in mind this bit of sound advice.

Twelfth Day of Christmas: Twelve Jumblies Mumbling.

First Day: And a cartridge in O'Hare's lee.

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