Wednesday, October 11, 1944

The Charlotte News

Wednesday, October 11, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the ultimatum to surrender Aachen, which had expired at 10:50 a.m., was rejected by silence of the Germans, triggering American air and artillery bombardment of the German city and its 1,500 SS Guards. The Germans were piling in reinforcements from the east. Civilians and some German troops, numbering a total of 248, from the suburbs of the city surrendered under white flags. The nineteen soldiers told of German officers at the Aachen railway station who were shooting any soldier who offered to surrender, even sending 88-mm. artillery shells onto a group of officers who were seeking to surrender. Some 15,000 civilians were estimated still to inhabit the city, ancient coronation spot for Teutonic kings and which contained the throne of Charlemagne within its Cathedral. First Army troops to the north of the city had captured Scharfenberg and Bardenburg, advancing to Wurselen.

Within earshot of the Nazis, the Third Army, inside Fort Driant guarding Metz, were exchanging ricochet shots with the enemy off the walls of a curving tunnel in what the report described as "[o]ne of the war's weirdest battles".

American heavy bombers again attacked Cologne and Coblenz in Germany, in support of the First Army drive, suffering the loss of five bombers and one fighter.

A piece by correspondent Howard Cowan speculates on the whereabouts on the Western Front of the United States Ninth Army, commanded by Lt. General William H. Simpson, the Army having been identified only in two reports, one of which was an erroneous German identification, the other in mid-September. It had been thought that the Ninth was fighting with the Seventh Army and the French First Army in Southern France. But General Eisenhower had just announced that the Seventh Army and the French First Army were fighting together as part of the Sixth Army Group, not identifying as a part of it the Ninth. Mr. Cowan concludes that it was possible that the Ninth was being held in reserve to make a sweep behind the Siegfried Line once a solid breakthrough was accomplished.

It was also possible that they were awaiting "The Ode to Joy" before advancing.

The Russians had surrounded the Baltic port of Memel after reaching the Sea north and south of the city. Memel, 72 miles northeast of the East Prussian capital of Konigsberg, had been annexed from Lithuania by Hitler on March 21, 1938. This thrust aimed at Konigsberg and Tilsit. Another thrust, past Lomza in northern Poland, aimed at Allenstein and Danzig.

The Red Army gained six miles toward the southern border of East Prussia in the area of Rozan along the Narew River, in between Warsaw, 43 miles southwest, and the Masurian Lake region of East Prussia, 33 miles away.

In the south, the Russians had captured the Transylvanian capital at Cluj within Rumania, and also the second largest Hungarian city, Szeged.

The Finns, now fighting with the Russians per the terms of the September armistice, had captured Tervola, 30 miles northeast of Kemi in the area of the Arctic Circle. The Russians had attacked German positions at Petsamo, site of nickel mines ceded by the Finns to Russia, and on the Rybacht Polnostrov Peninsula.

In Italy, Fifth Army troops, slowed by rain, reached the outskirts of Liveugnano, eleven miles south of Bologna on Highway 65—where Abe was said to hang out on occasion.

British troops of the Army took Mount Cece and placed elements on Mount Freddo, while the Americans moved into Gesso, eleven miles southeast of Imola, also capturing Mageratoro and Campagne east of Highway 65. South African troops were engaged in a fierce fight on Mount Stanco, west of Grizzana, on the American left flank.

On the Adriatic front, the Eighth Army made some progress, also despite rain, as British and Indian troops reached a summit northwest of captured San Marino and cleaned out Germans from houses in the villages of Roncofreddo and San Paolo. Heavy fighting also continued a mile east of Longiano.

British troops in Albania, after a tough battle, had captured Sarande, isolating the German defenders on Corfu.

In the Pacific, the American Third Fleet, under the command of Vice Admiral Marc A. Mitscher, on Monday had struck a mere 200 miles south of the Japanese home islands and 500 miles off the Chinese coast, hitting the Ryukyu Islands, destroying 89 planes and sinking or damaging 58 surface vessels, all which they had spotted, albeit no ship larger than a destroyer having been present. They encountered no enemy opposition to the strike. Not one of the carriers supplying the raiders was damaged despite waiting for the return flights. Only a few of the planes were lost.

A four-month old baby abducted the previous week, apparently by his new nursemaid, had been returned safely to his parents, no worse the wear, except that he had been smeared with suntan oil by the black woman who had abducted him in an attempt to convince her husband that the baby belonged to them.

--Baby, I think I'll have to call the police. There is something definitely wrong here.

--No, I know, but the color runs right off onto my hand. It is not supposed to do that.

--No, I know. But Al Jolson was just a stage act. You just have to distinguish and discriminate a little.

The president of the American Trucking Association told the Tennessee Motor Transport Association meeting in Nashville that, with all of the many technological advances coming from the war, it was not unexpected that in the post-war era there would be jet-propelled trucks. "It certainly would solve the gasoline problem," he said.

It would also obviate lots of traffic jams, as well.

Why not a rocket motor on that Cummings, trucker?

On the editorial page, "Try Again" predicts that no great oaks would grow from the acorns of the Dumbarton Oaks Conference, concluded on Saturday in Georgetown, after 47 days of meetings. The peace plan adduced was only a mouse, notwithstanding the sincere efforts of the Big Four to hammer out an agreement which was acceptable and workable for all sides.

They had successfully drawn an outline for the organization but as yet could not get the agreement to bring it to life. There remained the issue of veto power on the Security Council on use of force against other permanent members to thwart aggression among themselves, desired by the Soviets, fearful of losing their rights to have buffer states in the Baltics, in Poland, and the Balkans.

It was the fly in the ointment, says the piece, for no nation would do anything but veto proposed action by such a body should it have the power so to do. It effectively would give the Security Council members the right to undertake unchecked aggression.

It flips the coin to ask whether the United States would submit to a World Court, or would have during its period of expansion in the nineteenth century. Now, Russia was entering its period of expansion as a world power for the first time.

So, before the parts could be welded together into a unified body, there remained to be realized by the members that some degree of sovereignty had first to be relinquished before the body could act as a true peace-keeping force.

Dumbarton Oaks had not kicked the ball through the goalposts, though advancing it to within field goal range. Another conference would be needed to accomplish the formidable task of agreement. For that reason, the editorial labels the Georgetown talks as a failure.

But were they? It led to the San Francisco Conference in the spring which did finally achieve agreement and founded the United Nations. Dumbarton Oaks was intended from the beginning only to be a sounding board for ferreting out the remaining issues to be resolved, not a conference in which the founding of the body was ever contemplated. Perhaps, false expectations had led to the conclusion that the conference was a failure when in truth, it had accomplished, more or less, what it was designed to do, laying the groundwork for the spring agreement.

"Feat" lauds the Boy Scouts for having raised their ensuing year's budget of $18,000 and having done so on the q. t. It was worth noting, says the piece.

"Them Reds" cautions that those critics of FDR who thought that by only mildly rebuffing the American Communists and Earl Browder, the President was seeking the votes of the Communists, needed to think again. The Communists had polled only 46,000 votes nationally in 1940 and a third of those were from California. Twenty-six states had refused to allow the Communist Party on the ballot. Moreover, Mr. Browder had repeatedly in 1940 accused the President of dragging the country into the war. Their highest vote total had been in 1932 when they polled about 100,000 votes.

"Babies" speaks to the precipitous decline in modern times of the practice of midwifery in North Carolina. In September, 1944, of the 381 births in Charlotte, only eleven had taken place outside a hospital. Of those, only five were attended by midwives. All five were births of blacks, but accounted for only 14 percent of the total births among blacks during the month.

The sample demonstrated the great increase in proliferation of hospitals and professional medical care available in the state.

Marquis Childs, writing from Los Angeles, reports of some of the stirrings from the hustings, including that of future Governor, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge, Goodwin Knight, who had told a gathering in Sacramento that the reason Japanese-Americans had been displaced from the West Coast to states in the East was so that they could vote for the continuance of the New Deal in office.

Never mind in that pronouncement that when the displacement came about in early 1942, Republican Governor Earl Warren was then Attorney General of California and was completely compliant in the directive from Washington, that the round-up be made of Japanese-Americans for placement in detention and relocation centers. Judge Knight became Governor in 1953 when Governor Warren was appointed by President Eisenhower to become Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, replacing the deceased Fred Vinson who had been appointed in 1946 by President Truman. Judge Knight was by then California's Lieutenant Governor.

Never mind also the complete illogic of the statement. Why would Japanese-Americans who had suffered loss of their real property and personal belongings in this relocation ordered by Washington, desire at all to vote, let alone vote for the New Deal? Judge Knight was engaging in quite a bit of political chicanery to stir up fervor in strangely compliant and complicit minds, minds which abound in the State of California, especially among California Republicans, who tend to be more dim-witted, compliant, and complicit than most Republicans, which is pretty dim-witted, compliant, and complicit.

In any event, Judge Knight stated that 95% of the relocated Japs were Democrats and could potentially sway the election in states such as Illinois and Ohio. "That's why they have porter-house steak and hamburgers and go to the movies," said the Judge--lying like a little two-bit dog, the way little pol-cats like him do.

Judge Knight told Mr. Childs that he had based his contention on a newspaper article he had read and was now investigating the facts—after the speech in Sacramento.

Mr. Childs finds the Judge to be deliberately engaging in stirring of racial prejudices for political reasons, reminds that only 110,000 Japanese had been the subject of the removal from the West Coast, about 70 percent of whom were American citizens, and only about 15,000 to 20,000 of whom were eligible to vote. Most were in relocation camps in Utah, Idaho, Colorado, and Wyoming.

And so the issue raised by Judge Knight was one which had no factual basis.

Mr. Childs asserts that such rhetoric by persons in public positions only fueled the problem inherent in determining after the war what to do with these relocated Japanese citizens. There had been no policy forthcoming yet from Washington. The Nisei, as he terms the Japanese citizens, had proved their loyalty through many Japanese-Americans who had fought bravely in the war, and yet they were still regarded with suspicion in Black Rock.

He relates that just before he had departed Washington, he spoke with a friend who had just returned from the Burma-India theater and informed him that commanders in the field had been hesitant to use the Nisei in battle for fear of their disloyalty. But when they proved their worth as soldiers, the demand for them exceeded the supply available.

One such Japanese soldier, diminutive in height, had captured 20 Japanese troops single-handedly and brought them back alive. These soldiers were also especially important in intelligence gathering and propaganda.

Yet, when they received letters from home telling of the continued suspicion against members of their families, it was demoralizing.

Mr. Childs concludes that it was a "vicious wrong" therefore to place the issue of race into the political arena under such volatile conditions, exacerbating the problem, one inimical ultimately to the American cause in the war, as well as afterward.

Thank you, Your Dishonor.

Samuel Grafton, in Amarillo, Texas, reports of a West Texas citizen who had it all figured out as to the way it would be with Russia in the future. There would not be a fight in the conventional sense, he said to Mr. Grafton, but rather as "two competitors who slug each other for years in a business way, without necessarily hitting each other." The sage had perspicaciously predicted that the "War" between the two countries would be more like a race in which the top-dog would be the nation which did not suffer so much unemployment as the other.

In St. Louis, Mr. Grafton had stopped in at the Russian War Relief store and spoken to the proprietor. She told him that there was no organized resistance to Russian relief in the community. There were many who gave clothing and even trucks to the cause. There were plenty of volunteers. Once in awhile they received crank calls.

Mr. Grafton concluded therefore that some people must have strong feelings about Russia, but he had not run into them during his travels across the country as he took an informal "negative poll" of feelings, that is a gauge of lack of intensity of alignment on certain matters.

Drew Pearson reports from New Orleans that newly installed Governor Jimmie Davis, author of "You Are My Sunshine" and cowboy singer, had come into office in a dignified manner, waiting until after his address to the Legislature was complete before serenading them with a few cowboy songs.

He was not the typical Louisiana Governor, the office having been vested after the Civil War with more power than any other gubernatorial post to combat carpetbaggers. Governor Davis appeared not to be intending to use that power, as had his predecessors such as Huey Long.

When the Tax Exemption Act, for instance, which allowed new corporations to escape taxation in Louisiana for ten years, came up for renewal, it passed the Senate but stalled in the House behind the effort of some organized women who sought to defeat it for its depriving the schools of an adequate tax base. Ordinarily, the Governor, elected with the help of the big corporations, was expected to push the bill through the House. Governor Davis stood back and let the democratic process proceed. The bill was defeated.

Mr. Pearson, who takes credit for having helped send some of the Long Gang to prison during the previous nine years, relates of his interest in Louisiana's attitude toward the Kingfish nearly a decade after his death in 1935. Those who had once despised him no longer seemed much to care, some even considering him a martyr. His contributions to construction of public works through the state were undeniable. In some quarters, he appeared on his way to posthumous canonization.

Congressman Jimmy "Minnow" Morrison, discussed previously by Mr. Pearson as the gent who feigned having been shot, even pouring catsup on his arm to prove the matter, had come to Washington with the intention of being the next Kingfish, but had been facing a difficult time in his re-election bid in 1944. He presented himself as a friend to the G.I. claiming that he had been responsible for getting them the G. I. Bill, mustering out pay, the absentee soldiers' vote, etc. But the truth was that he had not even voted on these bills, had been absent from the floor.

Mr. Pearson next shifts from Louisiana politics to the story of George Shillito, investigator for the Senate Campaign Expenses Committee, who had resigned as investigator for the House Un-American Activities Committee of Martin Dies. Reason was that he had brought the names of 200,000 Communists from Detroit to the committee, but it had failed to act on the information. When asked how he had obtained 200,000 names of Communists from Detroit, he informed that he had brought the membership list for CIO.

Finally, Mr. Pearson tells of an exchange between Montana Senator Burton Wheeler and North Dakota Senator Langer which began with mutual admiration and ended on the subject of irrigation rights. At first ingratiating himself to Senator Langer, Senator Wheeler had complimented him on his courage in speaking on the Senate floor against the Administration's efforts to prosecute the mass sedition trial ongoing in Washington since early in the year. Interrupting several times to provide his courtesies, Senator Wheeler was thanked fulsomely by Senator Langer—until Senator Langer gratuitously added to the conversation that he hoped the groundswell of enthusiasm would lead to future cooperation between the Senators on the issue of irrigation, given that Montana received 1.7 million acres of irrigation annually to North Dakota's scant 21,000 acres. Senator Wheeler, taken aback, responded that Montana needed more water than North Dakota and that his desire was to obtain yet more for his state. Senator Langer rejoindered that Montana simply took the water because it received it first. The mutual admiration society quickly disbanded.

As we have heard it related, the first murder in Montana was over irrigation rights, the unfortunate poacher on someone else's claim having then reportedly been used as the new dam for the murderer's reservoir.

Hal Boyle, reporting from the Siegfried Line on October 5, tells of American troops shivering in the rain just before midnight when suddenly a German counter-attack was initiated. The barrage was so thick that the leader of the unit, S/Sgt. Richard Sorensen, had to find shelter for his men, chose a nearby abandoned German pillbox. When they started to leave, they heard someone on the other side of the door. A German assault team had arrived to destroy the pillbox. But after the men closed the steel blinds, the Germans couldn't get in, with bullets or brawn, until they brought up the flamethrowers. Just when it appeared they would break through, an American unit outside spotted the Germans and opened fire. The enemy fled back to its lines. Sergeant Sorensen reported that he and his men had sweated off about thirty pounds of weight while trapped inside the box.

A letter to the editor from a soldier complains of the unfaithful women back home, urges fidelity and consideration for the plight of the soldiers fighting abroad or stuck in training camps stateside.

Another letter asks for the full Mencken ranking of states by quality of life, originally published in 1931, and so, with the caveat that it had 13 years of age behind it, albeit without much change in relative rankings in the interim, The News obliges, having whetted the appetite of the letter writer with its piece of the previous Saturday, "No Models".

Goodnight, David.

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