Wednesday, October 25, 1944

The Charlotte News

Wednesday, October 25, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that carrier planes of the Third Fleet had sunk a Japanese carrier, damaged two others, and damaged five or six battleships, a cruiser, and several other warships in a three-pronged naval battle, begun Monday afternoon, west and north of the Philippines as the Japanese were moving toward Leyte. The U.S. Fleet had suffered the loss of the light carrier Princeton when its magazines exploded after being hit, causing the need for its scuttling by American ships. All of the crew of the Princeton were rescued.

It was the first loss of an American carrier since the Liscombe Bay was sunk in December, 1943 off the Marshall Islands.

On Leyte, the American forces liberated fourteen additional towns, advancing nine miles north of Catamon to the outskirts of Tabontabon, eight miles northwest of Dulag. The capture of San Pablo airfield, reported the day before, was officially confirmed. It had been reported that the American troops had waded through mud nearly up to their necks at times to traverse the 12 miles to reach the airfield, the third taken on Leyte, the other two being Tacloban and Dulag. Substantial gains were made west of Palo and Tacloban.

According to Tokyo radio, another B-29 raid had taken place against Japan, striking Kyushu and Salshu, the latter an island between Kyushu and China.

The British Second Army conducted clean-up operations in 'S Hertogenbosch, having captured Monday and Tuesday 1,400 prisoners, as the Germans retreated along a fifteen-mile front north and south of the city. Its capture had imperiled the entire German force of 60,000 to 70,000 men in Western Holland.

Despite the British literally flattening Dutch houses, occupied as sniper nests by the Germans, the former residents cheered the British Army as they entered.

The Canadians made progress on the western edge of Holland, seeking to clear the approaches to Antwerp. One prong continued its drive toward Roosendaal and Bergen op Zoom, as the enemy withdrew from Breda and Tilburg. Other Canadians advanced in the Breskens pocket, and the fall of Fort Frederik-Hendrik was imminent. Below Breskens, other units reached Oostburg, cutting the Oostburg-Schoondijke Road.

About 1,700 American planes, including 1,200 heavy bombers, struck targets at Hamm and Hamburg in Germany.

The Russian Arctic Army of General K. I. Meretzkov had crossed the border of Norway, capturing the port of Kirkenes. Berlin radio contended that all port facilities had been destroyed prior to evacuation.

Moscow reported that Konigsberg, the capital of East Prussia, was being evacuated by the Germans.

To the south in Rumania, the last German-held city in the country, Satu Mare, and nearby Carel , both in Transylvania, had been captured by the Russians.

The Government had taken over the Lord Manufacturing Co. plant at Erie, Pa., for its refusal to abide by Government orders fixing prices.

--Look here, baby. Can you believe 'at? The Government done took over the Lord. Ain't that eerie? What will they do next? That thar's the New Deil fer ye.

An Army officer stationed on New Guinea had written a letter to Bing Crosby thanking him for saving his life with his song. Lt. Col. Earle Thornton had been sitting in his tent listening to Mr. Crosby's radio program, departing briefly and then returning. Just when he re-entered the tent, in the spot in which he was about to place his foot, there appeared a "death adder" already coiled, yet facing the radio as if raptly listening, spellbound, to Mr. Crosby.

After a moment paused in still-life, the colonel got up the nerve to pull away, grabbed a machete and cut the snake in twain. But during the preceding three or four minutes, the creature had not moved, just sat listening to the music.

Thus, the Colonel thanked Mr. Crosby for saving his life.

It's a good thing it wasn't Hope's jokes coming over the airwaves. The snake would've eaten the Colonel whole, along with the radio, coursed off into the jungle causing a minor stir when the soldiers thought that Mr. Hope had turned into an adder.

On the editorial page, "New Owner" tells of a new endowment to Davidson College from the estate of Col. E. L. Baxter Davidson, whose forebears had established the college. The bequest consisted of some buildings in downtown Charlotte. The editorial wonders whether providing these buildings to an institution of higher learning would result in their ready physical improvement, but nevertheless applauds the benefit conveyed to the college.

"The Echo" finds the seizure by Spanish Republicans of four frontier towns in the Pyrenees to hearken a resurrection in Spain of the spirit of independence evident before the victory of the Franco Insurgents in the Civil War concluding in 1939. Said the Spanish National Radio, the insurrectionists had been Reds and found no support among the people. But the appearance of the situation suggested otherwise, that the spirit of resurgam among the Spanish Loyalists was returning. The time would come, predicts the piece, when the people of Spain would arise en masse against the Franco regime.

"Ask Dad" tells of a proposal by State Representative J. B. Vogler to provide a tax exemption for certain college expenses and the likelihood of its support by parents. A $500 exemption for dependents under the Federal code already tacitly gave some benefit to parents sending their children to college. But the State tax code cut off recognition of dependency at age 18, regardless of whether the child was actually earning any income. That caused the increase to taxes just when the student was heading to college. The proposed exemptions would only reduce taxes by $91 in the highest brackets and so would not pay for college education. Nevertheless, it would help and so the proposal was worthy.

"The Peepul" tells of a book by William Lydgate of the Gallup Poll in which the author reveals some well-entrenched opinions of the American people: 1. That a liberal was someone who spent money freely, regardless of his stand on civil rights; 2. Free enterprise was the ability to pull a fast one in business deals; and 3. The poor thought the rich were taxed too heavily.

The column expresses consternation at how such opinions came to be, that people obviously felt their way along to reach them rather than thinking. Mr. Lydgate had suggested that public schools made education so dull that it inoculated, or perhaps narcotized, the population against it.

Whatever the reason for the attitudes, the wise politician or businessman, cynically cracks the piece, was he who learned of these opinions and then exploited them.

Drew Pearson reports on the decision by the Senate Campaign Expenditures Committee as to whether it would investigate the Battle of the Statler, the confrontation after the President's September 23 speech, between the Teamsters and a group of Navy officers, devolving to a fight. The committee had voted four to one against a public hearing on the ground that it would be bad for Navy morale. There followed an edgy colloquy between committee members wondering aloud as to Senator Joseph Ball's capability of maintaining the proceedings of the committee secret, given his announced support of re-election of the President despite being a Republican.

Mr. Pearson next comments on several state elections in which the Republicans were opposed to their candidates and so were bolting the party. Stephen Day, the Tribune-backed isolationist Representative from Chicago, was one such black sheep. Another was Representative Ham Fish of New York, repudiated by Governor Dewey. Yet another was Congressman Wolfendon out of Pennsylvania, who had gone duck hunting on the day the United States declared war on Germany.

The column next turns to Mrs. Pappy Lee O'Daniel, Ms. Biscuits, who had tearfully complained to the Senate Campaign Expenditures Committee of the harsh treatment toward her husband by Senator Theodore Green of Rhode Island, the committee chairman, despite the fact, according to Mr. Pearson, that Senator Green's chief fault was that he was too much a gentleman. But Ms. Bisquickly accused Senator Green of judging without affording a proper hearing, smearing, and other things uncomplimentary, while Senator O'Daniel smiled complacently beside her. Ms. Pass the Bis cried that her sons had given up their studies at the University of Texas to serve their country. The truth was, however, that the bases to which they had been assigned were within twenty minutes of Washington and one had been given the unusual chance of taking three times the examination in officer candidate school, despite the fact that most only got one shot.

Samuel Grafton returns to the speech of Thomas Dewey, before the Herald Tribune Forum, as discussed the previous day, indicating that the Governor had claimed that the Treasury's enunciated plans for post-war Germany, to deprive the country of any ability to wage war by converting it to an agrarian-based economy, had spurred on the determination of the German people to continue the fight, in recognition of the consequent belief that there would be complete destruction of Germany regardless. So, says Mr. Grafton, Governor Dewey was blaming the deaths of American soldiers in Holland, Germany, and France on the Administration, with particularity, on Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau.

Mr. Grafton wonders why Governor Dewey does not pick instead on General Eisenhower for his statement the previous week, "We come as conquerors."

Veni, vidi, vici; which to annothanize in the
vulgar,--O base and obscure vulgar!--videlicet, He
came, saw, and overcame: he came,
one; saw two;
overcame, three.

Mr. Grafton further finds an editorial printed in the Chicago Tribune on October 2 to be most troubling. It had suggested that Senator Johnson of Colorado thought it a mistake to offer to Germany no other terms than unconditional surrender. It further stated that Senator Johnson had found the Morgenthau plan to have caused the will of the German people to have been stiffened to continue waging the fight, costing the lives of American soldiers. Mr. Grafton blames these statements not on Senator Johnson but on Tribune publisher Robert McCormick.

The fact that the statements dovetailed those of Governor Dewey suggested that there was more to the support of the Governor by Mr. McCormick than merely that of an unwanted suitor. But, moreover, Mr. Grafton wonders what sort of terms both men would seek to implement if short of unconditional surrender. They both denied wishing to tender softer terms. They wanted only a more "intelligent" peace plan, but had not described it, and, regardless, such a notion appeared hardly more palatable to the Germans who simply wanted softer terms of peace.

Marquis Childs observes that in 1936, most political pundits had predicted an easy victory for the President, that in 1940 it had been less clear, but still a victory had been charted as probable. Now, no one could venture to say with clarity and certainty what would occur just 13 days hence on November 7.

West of the Mississippi, FDR was likely to obtain 55 electoral votes, 22 from the mountain states, as Mr. Childs had elucidated the day before, plus 25 from California and eight from Washington. Added to those would be the Solid South, 115 votes, providing a substantial total of 170 votes in the President's pocket. He needed only New York, Pennsylvania, and one other state to put him over the top in the electoral college. And, even losing New York or Pennsylvania, he could still win with a majority of the doubtful border states, adding up to 68 votes. Tennessee, with 12 votes, also appeared likely for the President, as did Rhode Island, with four.

Hal Boyle, reporting from Aachen on October 17, tells of Lt. Col. Derril Daniel, from Kingstree, S.C., who had been finishing his doctoral thesis in entomology when he became a soldier in 1940. He had subsequently won the Silver Star and cluster in Tunisia and had also received another cluster for gallantry in Troina, Italy, and in the vicinity of Caumont in France. Now, he was engaged in the mopping up of Aachen.

The nature of the fighting, house to house, meant that it had to be conducted in the daytime to avoid killing their own men. When the fight had been in open country, nighttime battles were the norm and machine gunners could be easily spotted. But in this engagement, it was often the case that they were unable to spot machinegunners until they were on top of them. Houses had to be cleared top to bottom, including the "mouseholes" used by the Nazis to crawl back and forth between cellars. Col. Daniel, himself, had shot a German sniper through a grill from a distance of a hundred yards.

A woman from Austin, Texas, writes a prophetic letter, suggesting that, based on her son's friend's firsthand account of the President's wan and sickly physical appearance as he toured Pearl Harbor in July, it would not be surprising were he to die in office if re-elected. She then adds, without prophecy, that the country would be in serious trouble should Harry Truman become President. He, she said, had a tawdry record in Missouri politics, one which had practically paralyzed and ruined the State of Missouri. She does not elaborate, just urges that people not vote for Harry Truman.

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