Friday, October 20, 1944

The Charlotte News

Friday, October 20, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that General MacArthur announced to the Filipino people, "I have returned," calling them to "rise and strike" against the Japanese. He also informed them that the Filipino President, Sergio Osmena, had arrived with him and had re-established the legitimate Philippine Government. The General had also brought with him all of the able-bodied survivors of Corregidor, which had fallen May 8, 1942. He reported to General Marshall light losses in the landings, as the Japanese had been caught strategically unprepared, with the result that Mindanao was now practically cut off from Luzon.

The invasion force in the Leyte Gulf had formed three beachheads along the east coast of Leyte to face a total complement of Japanese estimated to be 225,000 in the Philippines. The Japanese had concentrated their mortar and artillery fire on one of the center beaches causing a tough time for the landing forces there. The northern landing force hit the beach in one and a half minutes, moved 500 yards inland before any shots were fired at them. These forces were approaching Taclohan.

President Roosevelt gave an address in which he expressed the exultation of the American people at this dramatic feat.

The First Army took Aachen, completing operations at 3:30 p.m., after a seven-day siege following a battle which had raged since September 15. Many German soldiers had uselessly wasted their lives to obtain another oak leaf cluster on their iron crosses. Their last stand had occurred at a large stone building wherein a hundred SS men barricaded themselves against the American artillery bombardment. A 55-mm. gun knocked down the building. Kaput.

No more oak leaves, stupid.

From 500 to 1,000 Germans remained in isolated pockets around the ruins of the city. Nearly 2,000 had been captured.

It was the first major German city, with a pre-invasion population of 165,000, to fall to the Allies. It was accomplished by the First Army with relatively light casualties.

Canadian forces north of Antwerp gained several miles in a new drive.

French troops of the Sixth Army Group in the South outflanked a German position on the entrance to one of the Vosges Mountain passes.

In Yugoslavia, in a third major hit to the Axis this date, the Partisans of Marshal Tito and the Russians had captured Belgrade after nearly a week of street fighting, after first capturing the Sava River railroad bridge and driving the Germans from the port on the Danube. The Germans' last stronghold was on the Alexander Highway bridge.

--He's close. He's real close.

Debrecen, the third largest city of Hungary, 116 miles east of Budapest, resembling an "endless village", had been captured by the Red Army after a two-week tank battle.

The Russians were within 50 miles of Budapest as German defenses were being sabotaged from within by Hungarian partisans.

In Marseille, Vichy chief Pierre Laval was found guilty in absentia of treason and sentenced to death. The greasy sleazeball would be shot by firing squad October 18, 1945.

Never sell your country out to Fascists. Die first. You will otherwise only die later ignominiously.

The hurricane which had struck Cuba and Miami, killing as many as 37 people, 25 in Cuba, two in Miami, and 11 soldiers in Bradenton, had lost force and been downgraded to a tropical storm by the time it reached the Carolinas, though still packing high winds of 35 to 50 mph and rain. Wilmington was slated to feel its impact later in the afternoon.

On the editorial page, "An Encore" finds the present, somewhat divisive political climate no different from the period immediately preceding the 1940 election, during which time Wendell Willkie had been pelted with missiles in Detroit and a potato in Boston. The President had been hit by an onion.

Recently, Thomas Dewey had come face to face with a tomato.

In 1940, DNC chair Ed Flynn had charged that the newspapers predominantly endorsing Willkie were under dictatorship by advertisers and stockholders opposed to New Deal reform.

Charles Lindbergh and the America Firsters were going about warning the country against support of Great Britain.

Mr. Willkie, himself, had warned that a third term would lead to dictatorship. Alf Landon, the presidential nominee in 1936, had predicted that if Roosevelt were re-elected, American youth would be placed in labor camps.

Mr. Willkie and Mr. Dewey in 1940 had opined that the New Deal was socialist or even tending toward totalitarianism.

So, nothing was new. The 1944 race would likely be closer, however, than in 1940.

"World Man" comments on the great change of attitude in Governor Dewey between 1940 and 1944. In 1940, he had been opposed to Lend-Lease, though came to support it after it was passed in March, 1941 by the Congress. He had favored a foreign policy of striving for peace and avoiding foreign entanglements while asserting the Monroe Doctrine. Though that position was considered at the time acceptable to the American people, he was not a man with a vision but one simply following on the coattails of American opinion.

Similarly, he was so engaged still in 1944 even with his changed attitudes. Now, he favored internationalism. But verbalizing that position did not shield from notice the fact that isolationists were backing him.

He would, says the editorial, be better advised to spend more of his campaign assailing the Administration on domestic policy than criticizing foreign policy.

"Dissenters" indicates that, even while Greece celebrated its liberation from the Germans and the return of the Government of Premier George Papandreou, there was a dual fear of both a return of King George, a Fascist, and the looming possibility of British domination. The British favored King George and the primary liberating force of the country had been comprised of the British.

The British had placed 260 Greeks, most decorated for bravery at El Alamein in 1942, in a British prison camp in Egypt for having rebelled against the ex-Fascists who had purged the Greek Army and Navy. Most Greeks were in support of these men still imprisoned by the British.

So, even in the hour of triumph, there remained trepidation regarding the future.

Drew Pearson tells of President Roosevelt revealing to Italian-American publisher Generoso Pope the substance of a letter which Mr. Roosevelt had written in 1933 to Benito Mussolini urging Il Duce not to engage in an arms race which could lead to war.

The President also informed that he had spent some time in Italy as a boy and learned to a degree to speak and read the Italian language.

Mr. Pearson next turns to the important Senate race in New York between incumbent Bob Wagner, finding himself without enthusiastic support from labor despite his instrumental role in getting the National Labor Relations Act through the Senate, and his opponent Tom Curran, a man with a scant labor record but appealing to the Irish vote.

Also, Senator Wagner had been an early opponent of Hitler and the Nazis, before the war. During the 1940 Democratic platform debate, he had been in favor of specifically naming Hitler and Mussolini as being "totalitarian aggressors". But others, such as Senator Walsh of Massachusetts, wanted to leave the term generic and not provide specific names. Another Senator asked Senator Wagner how he would name Hitler. Said Senator Wagner, "I'd call him a-----."

Samuel Grafton finds one of the remarkable achievements of the Dewey campaign to have been the complete subduction of the foreign policy issue from the debate. That might enable him to win but would hardly benefit the American public in the meantime. The Russians would not go away simply because the country turned to Republican leadership. Nor would the British. A return to isolationism would be disastrous. Yet, still Mr. Dewey wished mainly to avoid the topic, thereby appeasing his isolationist-nationalist friends in the Midwest, led by Chicago Tribune publisher Bertie McCormick.

Marquis Childs, still in Portland, tells of Henry Kaiser's Swan Island shipyard which had just completed its 97th tanker, an operation which took 57 days from the laying of each keel to delivery to the Maritime Commission, chaired by Admiral Land.

Hal Boyle, writing from Liege in Belgium, tells of the survival of jitterbugging in the "playboy city" despite the four-year Nazi occupation and their ban on dancing and radios. Now that the Nazis were gone, the place was jumping. A dark-haired piano player accompanied a lean blonde clarinetist, with a piccolo player and drummer occasionally chiming in.

Into the midst of this playing strode five GI's with tommyguns and musical instruments, looking fit to do battle. When they went to the bandstand, the music and dancing stopped. The GI's began playing the "Flat Foot Floogie" and the youth of Liege followed in crazy rhythm.

The Belgian blonde clarinetist returned to the stand and began playing like Benny Goodman.

The band next played "Night and Day", "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes", "Begin the Beguine", "After You're Gone" and other old favorites, including "Star Dust".

The GI's explained that they had been wounded and, while convalescing, had formed a band. The colonels liked the music and so asked them do a show. It had been received well and so now they played several venues in Belgium. They had that day played at the opera house, receiving flowers accompanied by screams and stomping.

A letter writer compliments the earlier letter of a woman who had expressed the hope that President Roosevelt would live to be 969 and remain in office the rest of those years. She also recounts the debacle collectively and in seriatim of Harding-Coolidge-Hoover, relating in the latter Administration of the Dolly Gann affair during the height of the Depression in which a controversy had erupted regarding the decor at a White House party, the favorite color in attendance being Gann green.

California, between 1978 and 1982, was similarly attacked, not to forget the Final Constriction, in 1986, still with us in its dying vestiges, trying desperately to hold on beyond its capacity even to read, unfortunately.

Remember when you went to that door in that little out-of-the-way spot on the other side of the tracks? And you looked up and you saw the number. Then, suddenly, the top nail unscrewed itself and the first digit flipped around, upside down and backwards. You went in anyway, not heeding the warning from above. That was your mistake. Down the rabbit-hole. You had the tobacca, then the million-dollar bash. Rememba? Bye-bye...

How do we know? We just go. Satellites. Your boy, Ron, put us up there. You ought to know.

The elimination of Evil from the world. Riiight? But Evil spelled backwards...

She then relates some doggerel culled from The New York Times, titled "The Cruise of the G.O.P." It is not to be missed as it properly conveys the continued plight of that Party in the current year of 2011. It might have as a subtitle, "The Mighty Wind or the Big Blow, As You Please".

The theme song could be this.

They appeal apparently to people working mainly in Wichita.

When will they ever learn, and provide the country with two viable choices, both centered reasonably around democratic principles? and not stoop to striving at every turn to appeal to the Fascists in the country, always comprising about a third, just as in Germany before the rise of Nazism.

Let the grass grow under your feet a little rather than laying on it. It's not going to harm you to feel your own pain again. Look at it this way: It's not the Edge of Knight. But rather Doris Day.

Some old battleaxe from Lumberton, born 15 years after the Civil War, younger by eight years than our grandpa who never thought that way, felt that the Depression was not an exception but the rule. She had growed up on a farm eating shoe leather and cow patties. She suggests that President Hoover had got stuck with the blame on that thar thing which was really caused by the First World War.

She pert near remembered Grover Cleveland, the only Democrat in the White House during her lifetime up until 1913. Cotton during his term though was four cents a pound and checked gingham was three cents a yard. You couldn't find it now no more. See there? That's what Roosevelt done did for the country. He eliminated gingham.

The man who would be President next would receive the blame for the post-war depression bound to follow. "The President is not supposed to do anything for you; you are supposed to work and pay taxes to keep up the President."

And then some fellow from Webster Groves, Missouri, writes to urge a change of Administration on the basis that neither President Roosevelt nor Senator Truman had repudiated a reported incident in which several Teamsters had beaten up some convalescing sailors at a Navy hospital reportedly for being unwilling to support the Roosevelt-Truman ticket.

Well, dang, man, what's you think America's all about but tough guys taking care of little pansy wimps who don't want to toe the mark? Why should the President apologize and be as wimpy as Tom Dewey? What's wrong? You a Communist?

Of course, whether that happened and to what degree it was stimulated by Roosevelt supporters or by G.O.P. operatives engaged in dirty tricks is entirely subject to question. Which might have been another reason why there was no apology or repudiation forthcoming, even should the episode have occurred.

Another letter writer asks plaintively whether dogs carried polio. She had seen many a crippled old dog.

But dogs don't usually wind up in wheelchairs and so it seems somewhat unlikely, unless maybe they had been swimming with the humans in non-chlorinated swimming pools.

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