Thursday, October 26, 1944

The Charlotte News

Thursday, October 26, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that more than 26 Japanese ships were sunk or heavily damaged in the three-pronged, three-day battle of the Philippines in the worst defeat of the war of the Japanese Navy, inflicted by the Third and Seventh Fleets. Eight ships had been sunk including two carriers, a battleship, and five cruisers. Three more were probably sunk, including two battleships and a third carrier. The American losses included two light carriers and several PT-boats. The result was a complete evisceration of the strength of the Japanese Navy, the bulk of the Fleet having been engaged in the action.

It was the decisive blow to the Japanese Fleet which the American Navy had been seeking for two years since the last major engagements off Guadalcanal. The report of Admiral Ernest King, commander in chief of the Navy, suggested that it would likely shorten the war by several months. The dual objectives of the Japanese commitment had been to effect junction between the forces in the home islands of Japan and those about to be cut off in the area of Singapore by the invasion of the Philippines, as well to arrest the invasion itself. Those objectives interdicted, the Fleet also could no longer provide support for air harassment of Chinese bases of the American Fourteenth Air Force at Liuchow and Nanning, the loss of which would severely impact B-24 bomber attacks on Japanese positions in the Formosa Strait and along the China coast.

The President held a White House press conference to announce the news relayed from Admiral Halsey. Newsmen were in such a rush to leave to press the story along the teletypes that some had forgotten to provide the traditional closing line of each such conference, "Thank you, Mr. President."

On Leyte, American forces slugged through mud and rain to advance in the southern portion of the island to capture Burauen, a key road juncture nine miles from Dulag. Other units had advanced twenty miles north of Tacloban.

On Samar Island to the north, the southern coast had been captured and San Juanico Strait was under American control.

Landing forces on the south shore of Beveland Island were in the process of clearing the last of the German guns preventing Allied use of Antwerp. Canadian troops were advancing on 11,000 trapped Germans on Walcheren Island, north of the Schelde Estuary. Other Canadian units were engaged in fighting in Oostburg, four miles southeast of Cadrand, where the last of the German guns were blocking the estuary. They re-captured Fort Frederik-Hendrik and reached the outskirts of Groede.

To the east, the Second Army was continuing its assault on the Breda Box south of the Meuse, capturing Fort Orten, a mile north of 'S Hertogenbosch, and Zorgen, 12 miles southwest of that city. They were within a mile of Tilburg in the middle of the Breda Box.

To the south, German counter-attacks in the Vosges Mountains were repulsed.

Some 1,200 American heavy bombers and 650 fighters attacked Hannover, Biejefield, Munster, and other West German targets.

In Italy, the British on the Adriatic front had gained eleven miles. The Fifth Army continued to face tough resistance in the area south of Bologna.

The Russians had advanced beyond captured Kirkenes in northern Norway in sub-zero temperatures, seeking to annihilate 130,000 Nazis.

The drive through East Prussia had been slowed by stiffening German resistance, as Berlin and other German cities were heavily dependent on the food produced in East Prussia.

A new drive on Warsaw was forming as the Russian and Polish troops had bridged the Vistula River just north of Warsaw and were in the process of taking several towns in the area, already having captured a dozen.

In the south, the Czech communications center of Mukacevo had been captured, following a nine-mile advance through the Carpatho-Ukraine.

All of Rumania and Transylvania were now clear of Germans.

It was announced that Col. General Heinz Guderian had taken charge of the German Army on the Eastern front. Field Marshal General Gerd Von Rundstedt was the commander on the Western front, after having been temporarily relieved for a time during the summer when he had failed to repulse the Allied forces in the initial weeks after D-Day.

Indicating that Von Rundstedt had attended the funeral of Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, the piece provides the first mention at all of Rommel's death on the front page of the newspaper. Rommel had committed coerced suicide on October 14.

General Eisenhower had informed Congressman Hale of Maine, in response to the latter's question of when the war might end: "War is like pushing a heavily-loaded wagon up a steep hill in a fog and never knowing when you are going to reach the top. So you have to push like hell all the time."

The President had concluded his White House press conference, apparently, according to Hamilton Faron, with an addendum to his original flash anent the great success of the Third and Seventh Fleets versus the Japanese Fleet. It appears to have read: "creshrdlu cmfwy vhgkqj". The press cryptographers are still busy trying to decipher it. Probably some of that Roosky talk.

On the editorial page, "Shirt Stuff", not about Mr. Hope's loss of memory, finds CIO PAC propaganda to overreach verity in the instance in which it had taken to task Governor Dewey for crossing a picket line in Manhattan to speak at the Colony Club on Park Avenue, labeling it hypocritical to his articulated stand in support of organized labor.

Says the editorial, it may have been simply that the pickets were planted to provide the adverse publicity, pregnant with implications, should Governor Dewey cross them, or it may have been a relatively innocuous dispute, one union contesting another, for instance, rather than per se a dispute between labor and management.

Mrs. Roosevelt had a few years earlier refused to cross a picket line to make a speech and, continues the editorial, The News had wondered whether she had bothered to determine the source of the dispute before stepping back.

No citizen, it contends, including politicians, should be cowed from breaching a picket line.

We disagree. Politicians have a duty to act in public as they advocate to obtain votes or they breach the implied in fact contract formed with the electorate. There should be allowed no exceptions. While ordinary private citizens certainly should be able to cross picket lines without suffering obloquy or social sanction, elected representatives who advocate a pro-labor stance and then cross a picket line deserve to be exposed for the hypocrisy. That is all which CIO did in this instance and it was perfectly appropriate. Mrs. Roosevelt had done the correct thing, not just polite, but correct. No lesser standard of elected officials should be tolerated for an instant.

It does not matter why the pickets were present. If Mr. Dewey had no better sense than to do as he did in the heat of a presidential campaign, how could he effectively have led the American people when such matters always carry significant symbolic weight, whether in dealing with foreign affairs or domestic matters?

Anyone sensible would have at least taken the time to stop and speak to the pickets to determine the nature of the grievance. It demonstrated both arrogance and a callow political sense of hoping to be able to ride the fence and appeal to both sides at once without running afoul of either or both.

"Exchange" discusses the good strategy of the Japanese in their effort to resist the Leyte invasion, with their sending their Fleet into the Sibuyan and Sulu Seas as land-based planes attacked the Third Fleet. Another Task Force was supposed to come in from Formosa to corner the Third Fleet when it attacked the Japanese ships in the waters north and west of Mindanao and Leyte.

But the strategy had not worked. The Third Fleet, taking hits from the land-based planes, sent its planes against the Japanese Fleet in the Sibuyan and Sulu Seas. In the meantime, Admiral Mitscher's forces discovered the Japanese ships heading from Formosa and went after them with success.

The editorial finds somewhat incredible General MacArthur's statement that the Japanese Navy was effectively finished as a fighting force, but nevertheless the victory certainly had signaled a shift in sea and air power in the Pacific.

"Farm Fight" discusses the resignation of the Mecklenburg County farm agent. He had done an effective job of rallying farmers to produce during the war, but had also been blamed by the farmers for what they perceived as excessive government regulation. Regardless of the fairness of the blame, it was a simple fact that the agent could not effectively serve when a good number of the people he served were alienated from his authority. Both large and small farm owners had equally opposed his continued service.

Drew Pearson finds appropriate the advocacy on Saturday of President Roosevelt for a U. S. Member of the Security Council in the United Nations organization who would have pre-authorized consent to act to vote for use of force on his own discretion without resort to vote of Congress. Mr. Pearson suggests that three former Republican Secretaries of State, former Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes, present Secretary of War Henry Stimson, and Frank Kellogg, would have each provided their approbation for the effort, as each in his turn had so advocated in their tenures as Secretary of State. The Republican leadership, however, had continually resisted the effort.

When Secretary of State Stimson had advocated merely to consult with other nations in a conference at any point when war was threatened, President Hoover negated the idea and went so far as publicly to repudiate it. He had tried to take steps to stop or sanction Japan in its 1931 occupation of Manchuria, but, while getting the cooperation of use of bases from Canada, Mexico, and Chile, he could not convince Republican isolationists or President Hoover to enable any formal effort to stop Japan. Mr. Stimson's efforts to observe the Paris conference of the League of Nations to push for some form of effort to stop Japan had also failed. His fellow Republicans were too suspicious of the League to permit any entanglement at all. Mr. Pearson opines that had Mr. Stimson succeeded in his efforts, war with Japan might have been averted at its initial stage by staunching its initial act of aggression.

Samuel Grafton discusses the recognition finally of General de Gaulle as the head of the provisional Government in liberated France. The recognition was proving a good move as the FFI had significantly aided the Allied military effort in the liberation cause. The adverse circumstances created with Admiral Darlan and General Giraud in North Africa and Pietro Badoglio in Italy had not been repeated.

Marquis Childs, in Detroit, examines whether the CIO PAC was an asset or liability to President Roosevelt in the campaign. The PAC had $700,000 at its disposal to spend. It had primarily devoted itself to registration of displaced war workers and, in that effort, had proved assuredly an asset. It came with the price, however, of being labeled a radical organization supporting the New Deal.

Dorothy Thompson castigates Governor Dewey for his statement on Tuesday, divisive of the United Nations, undermining the substance of the organization even while supporting its basic concept. She reminds that Warren Harding, while a presidential candidate in 1920, had promoted the concept of a peace organization, but had, when he got into office in 1921, worked to defeat America's membership in the League of Nations, thereby crippling its effect before it ever got going.

She does not identify with particularity the unacceptable statement of Governor Dewey, but presumably it was that discussed by Samuel Grafton two days earlier, that it was problematic for the United States to have had a Russian as a proxy signatory on the armistice with Rumania. Mr. Grafton had fairly elucidated the facts, that the U.S. position had already been ironed out through Undersecretary of State Edward Stettinius in London in April, and the U. S. Ambassador, Averill Harriman, had been present in Moscow at the signing, that the actual signature was thus only a formality.

The statement of Mr. Dewey was, she says, either born of ignorance or was deliberately calculated to undermine Soviet-U.S. relations. In either case, it did not befit a potential President. Her choice therefore was now solidified, as it had been as a practical matter, she indicates, since April when Wendell Willkie had withdrawn from the race after losing the Wisconsin primary.

Hal Boyle, writing from Aachen on October 18, tells of the unofficial mayor of Aachen, a 26-year old American Captain, Gilbert Fuller of Ludlow, Vt., who toured the city daily to insure that the American troops rooting out the Germans house to house obtained adequate artillery support. The Captain, by his own admission, had been a playboy before entering the Army. He had been promoted through the ranks during four years of service, was not a product of officer candidate school, and so was a favorite among the men. He fought with a smile always, no matter how intense the enemy fire, making him doubly popular for neutralizing their fear and bolstering their mettle.

His philosophy was to hit the enemy hard with artillery fire to send them scurrying into the basements, then hurl grenades after them. They could place mortar shells within a hundred yards of their own men without fear. Hitting specific targets was not so important as simply creating enough of a curtain of fire to pin down the enemy so they could not snipe.

He lavished praise on Staff Sergeant Louis Chase, the best mortarman in the Army, who had been awarded the Silver Star. In one instance, Sergeant Chase had spotted three Germans seeking an air raid shelter. He simply called out directions and the mortars hit squarely on the target, killing the three Germans. "Couldn't have done better with a shotgun," said Captain Fuller.

Incidentally, we saw today a report that in an interview soon to be broadcast, Prince Charles has stated that he has traced his lineage to Vlad the Impaler of Transylvania. It was in the context of the support by the Prince of the sylvan environment of Transylvania and the general reconstruction of Romania from the damage done the country during its Communist period of rule, from 1947 through 1989.

In any event, we suspect, therefore, that the young lad in Brisbane had better amend his decorum with regard to his chosen manner of address to the Queen, for we understand that Vlad the Impaler fed his appetite only by the full moon. And bloodlines, they say, must be maintained, sometimes at the expense of the least decorous of the commoners.

Meanwhile, we're still waiting for the lad's sister, Polly-Pamela, to make her appearance, ensuing a careful examination of her reflection in the frying Pan.

--Oh, Mummy. They threatened me. Can I kill them? They haven't the right, not in England, anyway. Why else would they call them Dick-and-Perry-wigged?

Auh, Peewee, it's another swing and a Miss with the bases loaded. We'll have to go to the bottom of the Ninth.

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