The Charlotte News

Tuesday, October 31, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the British of the Second Army had chased the Nazis to the Meuse River, north of Tilburg, and were within a half mile of the Geertruidenberg bridge which the Germans were using as one of their primary routes of escape.

The action had effectively cleared the pockets which had prevented Allied use of Antwerp, with the Canadians still fighting along the causeway to Walcheren Island after taking 2,000 prisoners in capturing Schelde Estuary Island of South Beveland.

West of Antwerp, the capture of Retranchemont compressed the remainder of the Germans in the Schelde pocket into a small square on the North Sea Coast. Below the Meuse and Hollandsch Diep, British and Polish troops moved from Breda and Tilburg to converge at Oosterhout and captured a point less than two miles from one of the two main bridges near Geertruidenberg. The Germans to the west had abandoned Roosendaal as the Allies moved beyond the town to Oud' Gastel. North of Bergen op Zoom, Canadian troops neared Steenbergen.

The Third Army, meanwhile, not heard from in a week or so, had captured Maizieres-Les-Metz.

Some 4,000 tons of bombs were dropped by the RAF on Cologne the previous night. And two raids hit Berlin.

According to Berlin radio, nine Russian and three Rumanian infantry divisions, as many as 225,000 troops, plus a motorized corps and several tank brigades, entered Keeskemet in Hungary, 50 miles southeast of Budapest, with the force ultimately aiming for the capital.

In Italy, Indian troops of the Eighth Army had crossed the Ronco River near Meldola, threatening Forli on the road from Rimini to Bologna. Cap Snaffler would be next in order on the agenda on the Adriatic Mince-O-Matic.

Five miles to the southwest, Polish troops, who two days earlier had captured the mountain town of Predappio, encountered strong German resistance at Caminato in the hills to the north of Forli.

On the west coast of Italy, Brazilian troops took a 2,800-foot peak and occupied Calomini, 15 miles east of Mossa.

The Second Battle of the Philippine Sea was said to have likely taken 35,000 Japanese lives, including those of several admirals, based on the estimates of men aboard the sunk or probably sunk vessels, plus an estimate of 10% loss of life aboard heavily damaged ships. The tally included four carriers plus twenty other warships sunk, fourteen probably sunk, and 22 heavily damaged, a total of 60 ships.

Admiral Nimitz disclosed that Admiral Halsey's Third Fleet carrier planes had hunted down in the Manila area three cruisers which had previously been damaged and scored direct hits on all three, probably sinking one and further damaging the other two.

On Leyte, General MacArthur stated that Japanese casualties had reached 24,000 against 3,221 American casualties, of whom 706 had been killed, 270 missing, and 2,245 wounded.

In land action, the 24th Division was ten miles from joining with the First Cavalry on Carigara Bay, following capture of Jaro in heavy fighting on Sunday. (Shut up, Donny. It has nothing to do with the Pocket Fisherman. Cavalry, Cavalry...)

The Japanese brought in reinforcements from Cebu to Ormoc on the west-central coast of Leyte. A Japanese column two miles long marching toward Carigara Bay some seven miles west of American-held Burog had been spotted by American cavalry patrols on Monday.

Brooks Atkinson of the New York Times, returning from Chungking, reported that the recall of General Joseph Stilwell might suggest that the United States was effectively discounting the war effort in China as being waged by the Chiang Kai-shek Government. The Government had shown itself more interested in trying to perpetuate its power than driving the Japanese from China.

Mr. Atkinson reported that Chiang had demanded of President Roosevelt that General Stilwell be removed and the President had agreed. General Stilwell had been at odds with Chiang regarding the desire to proceed without delay to fight the Japanese in China. Mr. Atkinson also reported that Chiang's Government maintained concentration camps for political prisoners, stifled free speech, had secret police, and resisted democratic forces.

Chiang conceived of himself as a warlord and his armies as political forces meant to divide the people to enable his remaining in power. The Generalissimo regarded the Chinese Communists in the North, fighting a guerilla war against the Japanese, to be his worst enemy and would resume his war against them once the Japanese were defeated. By contrast, General Stilwell had been seeking to improve the efficiency of the Chinese Army, reopen the Burma Road, and get China effectively back into the war.

Preston Grover of the Associated Press reported from New Delhi that the recall of General Stilwell came about as part of a realignment in strategy in the China-Burma-India theater, resulting from the visit to China by Donald Nelson and General Patrick Hurley. They had sought and obtained from Chiang a commitment to greater cooperation in conduct of the war, but only after threatening to withdraw U. S. support for China. The two U. S. emissaries had demanded that Chiang reorganize his Cabinet, remove all reactionaries and anti-foreign members, and place an American general in command of major Chinese operations against the Japanese. Withdrawal of General Stilwell was in deference to the demands of Chiang before he would make the agreement.

What Madame Cash-My-Check thought was not being reported.

Other observers saw the recall as a result of the recent Quebec Conference between Prime Minister Churchill and President Roosevelt. Still others saw it in the way the War Department had described it, the result of a decision to divide the combined three theaters into two smaller areas of military authority.

Prime Minister Churchill, in calling for continued seating of Parliament, in place for nine years without election, and maintenance of the coalition Government established in May, 1940, stated that it was possible the war in Europe would not end before the ensuing summer and that the war in the Pacific would likely last through the end of 1946, all subject to change by changing conditions of war. Arthur Greenwood, prominent Labor Party member, endorsed the plan to prolong Parliament, but also indicated that the Party would not stand behind a plan to maintain the coalition Government until such time as the war against Japan concluded, only so long as it took to end the war in Europe.

Ensign Carl Smith, bailing from his fighter plane over the Pacific, had his life saved by the fact of his big feet. His parachute harness had worked its way off of his shoulders onto his feet, but it caught on his brogans. Rather than fall to the sea on his head, he managed to pull himself up by the parachute ropes and right himself.

On the editorial page, "No Choice", a week before the presidential election, finds Thomas Dewey not a proper choice for the presidency. He had waged a campaign to hold in line the America First crowd while winning new support in the face of overwhelming rejection by the country of that old isolationist line.

So, he had gone about, instead of being too much concerned of foreign policy, talking of domestic matters and the excesses of the New Deal.

But, inevitably, foreign policy became the central focus of the campaign and Mr. Dewey simply had no viable position on which to stand other than to ride the fence, to hold together the disparate interests within the Party and effect an amalgam somewhere with the rest of the country.

The President, it opines, stood head and shoulders above Mr. Dewey in terms of his credentials to take the world into the post-war era.

"One Absent" discusses the prospective absence of the Russians from the United Nations conference on post-war world air traffic. The United States favored unrestricted access of the skies while the British wanted the world divided up into particular routes afforded individual countries prorated on the basis of passenger traffic of its nationals.

The Russians had refused the invitation extended to 55 other nations because pro-Fascist nations such as Spain, Portugal, and Switzerland would be represented at the conference. Russia had similarly scorned the neutrality of the French, British, and Americans during the Spanish Civil War and had sided with the Loyalists.

The action of the Russians, predicts the piece, portended more such snafus with respect to post-war relations and how to effect them without offending the Russians by inclusion of pro-Fascist countries. In the instant case, neither Switzerland, Spain, nor Portugal figured to have much of a place in post-war aviation, but their inclusion had so angered the Russians that they had determined to abstain from participation. And it made for problematic determination of post-war aviation without the participation of the Russians.

"Armed Peace" discusses the battle in France among French patriots as to the proper powers to be accorded the provisional Government of Charles De Gaulle pending free elections. The FFI was considering whether to submit to the new Government or continue to arm themselves.

Having fought for four years against the Nazis, they would not easily lay down their arms until fully convinced that France would be free again. But, the paradox lay in the fact that, in order to restore freedom to France, General De Gaulle's Government had to have complete control. Thus, there could be no free France until the French patriots who had assisted in the liberation and ferreted out the collaborationists were also brought to heel and laid down their arms.

Drew Pearson tells of GOP leaders on Capitol Hill having greeted gleefully reports that Governor Dewey had reconsidered his determination, if elected, to make John Foster Dulles his secretary of state. He was now said to be considering Senator Styles Bridges of New Hampshire, a critic of the Administration on domestic policy but a supporter on foreign policy and rearmament. The Senators greeted this news with approbation as they had gotten along well with Cordell Hull, a former member of the chamber.

He next returns to his topic of the previous day, whether a Dewey presidency would pursue graft in Washington. He finds that Governor Dewey, when prevailed upon by fellow Republicans of the New York Legislature to supersede a Grand Jury investigation proposed of the Republican-dominated Legislature, had agreed the previous December to do so and set up two Grand Juries of his own, and at 10:00 p.m., no less, on a Sunday night preceding the Monday morning scheduled start of the original Grand Jury proceedings.

One of the charges which had been on the agenda for investigation by the original Grand Jury had been whether Lieutenant Governor Joe Hanley had placed his son on the Government payroll in 1939 and then, in violation of state law, collected the bulk of the salary himself.

Whether the charge was true or not, the fact remained that Governor Dewey had criticized the like practice in Washington and had promised to ferret out and eradicate such violations. Yet, he had balked in the face of Party pressure when it came to investigation by an independent Grand Jury into like practices in Albany.

New York legislative committees had received money for designated purposes, not illegal, but that which Governor Dewey had similarly criticized Washington for doing.

Samuel Grafton tells his readers that the last week of the campaign before the election on November 7 could be written off as one of "wicked imaginations". He offers that half of campaign utterances were untrue generally, and during the last week, the percentage rose to 95.

A last week's argument of Alf Landon's supporters in 1936 had been that everyone would be required to wear dog collars with their Social Security numbers should FDR be re-elected.

Frank Knox, to be named by FDR in 1940 as Secretary of the Navy, had proclaimed that no life insurance policy or savings account would be safe if the President won re-election.

In the last week of the 1940 campaign, postcards purportedly signed by Dorothy Thompson appealed to voters to cast their ballots for Wendell Willkie, that she had changed her mind from her prior determination to vote for the President. No better, Roosevelt supporters had sent out postcards to African-Americans telling them that they would be placed in concentration camps if Willkie were elected.

The favorite last-minute ploy was the obnoxious one-minute spot on the radio, costing $30 to $50 per station per minute. They were currently being employed to insinuate that the President wanted to keep the soldiers in the services after the war needlessly to prevent problems with unemployment. Such was disserving to the men in service. And it reflected badly on the broadcast industry for permitting such untruths to be disseminated for the payment of a fee. The practice, Mr. Grafton urges, ought be examined by public hearings following the election.

Ho, ho, ho.

Marquis Childs comments on the same topic, the last minute rumor mongering of the campaign, whispers having emerged of problems with President Roosevelt's health. Some of it was fueled by wishful thinking on the part of Roosevelt haters.

His appearance at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn amid the wind and rain should have convinced the disbelievers that there was nothing to these rumors. But the rumor mongers nevertheless persisted. There was one that had it that he had suffered a slight stroke and would need undergo surgery after the election. But the reporters who had witnessed his speech before the Foreign Policy Association in New York had told of the President having appeared fit and giving his speech in a normal manner. His injection of some asides might have provided to listeners the perception of faltering speech or different intonation in parts of the presentation.

The President's personal physician, Vice Admiral Ross McIntire, had pronounced the Chief Executive fit, and would not risk his professional reputation by doing so against an actual status of ill health.

Some of the rumors had been around since 1932 when the opposition contended that polio, or "infantile paralysis" as they were fond of calling it, had affected and slowed FDR's mental processes. The like had also been circulated in 1936 and 1940.

While there was legitimate concern as to whether any one man could survive 16 years in the White House, concludes Mr. Childs, to spread rumors about the President's health, unfounded on any fact, was hitting below the belt.

Dorothy Thompson discusses the strategic impact of the Second Battle of the Philippine Sea, the culmination of nearly three years of effort. She contrasts the sea war with that on land in Europe, where the movement of armies along turf could readily be charted and observed. In the vast seas of the Pacific, only the stars could follow the movements of ships and men. A land offensive when joined had to be fought; a sea offensive could be dodged and avoided.

For the first five months after Pearl Harbor, for the most part, save in the Macassar Strait, the American Fleet had refused to counter the Japanese aggression. Since Guadalcanal two years earlier, the Japanese Fleet had largely avoided open conflict with the American Fleet.

But the invasion of Leyte finally had driven the action, much as the Japanese penetration of New Guinea and the Solomon Islands southward, surrounding the northern and eastern coasts of Australia in an attempt to cut off supplies and strangle the Allied forces, had driven the invasion of Guadalcanal by the Americans in August, 1942.

Further contrasting the two modes of war, she points out that while land battles could linger on for weeks or even months, settling into a siege, sea battles were immediate and decisive one way or the other. A decisive sea battle could change the course of a war.

And so it had been, she says, in the Second Battle of the Philippine Sea, sending into history, alongside Nelson at Trafalgar, the names of Admirals Kincaid and Halsey as well as General MacArthur. The battle had severed the Southeast Pacific forces of the Japanese from the home waters of Japan. But it was not just this single battle which had caused the result, rather the entirety of the strategy since the Solomons Campaign, including the cohesive effort of the entire country, in the shipyards, in the airplane and tank factories.

The victory had signaled a shift in sea power among nations in favor of the United States. No longer, as had been the case for the prior century, would America be dependent on Great Britain's Navy for protection on the high seas. Yet, it was not a challenge to Britain nor a blow to its pride, but rather had brought the two nations closer together. The American victory was also a British victory.

Hands across the sea.

Hal Boyle, with an American infantry division in Germany on October 23, reports of Lt. Colonel Glover S. Johns, Jr., and his favorite German soldier, a 16-year old medic dubbed "Fritz". Fritz had waved a white flag during heavy fighting to ask whether the wounded Germans behind American lines were getting along all right. Colonel Johns told him that they were receiving proper medical care.

Fritz then sought to leave, but was restrained by the Colonel because of a similar episode earlier in which a medic had visited the American lines and then reported a vulnerable spot which was then attacked. Fritz insisted that he had no such intention and needed to return to his own lines to care for the wounded. Instead, he was told by the Colonel to care for the wounded Germans behind American lines. He submitted.

Later in the day, the American unit was hit by German counter-attacks, and word reached Colonel Johns that Fritz had been sent back to German lines.

The Colonel forgot about the incident until two days later when thirteen Germans approached the American lines waving a white flag. Leading them was Fritz who had sold them on the idea of sailing to Amerika.

Incidentally, we just saw this piece here today, from The New York Times, regarding the arrest on October 22 of a young woman at around 3:00 a.m., not on a Wednesday though, past the 1:00 a.m. curfew, in Riverside Park, when she could not produce her identification card, there, down by the Riverside. In reading the story, especially that she was incarcerated for 36 hours, ye know, we have to conclude that New York's Finest in this instance may have been running through their minds this one from yesteryear. You know what we're sayin' here?

It's like this creep here, who, ye know, hears that little voice in the back of his head, and goes bing-a, bang-a, boom, like a little pansy creep, never stopping to realize that he was just replaying in his head "You Can't Rollerskate in a Buffalo Herd", "knuckle down, buckle down...", ye dumb little drip.

Get a grip, ye know? It's just a record. Nothing to get hung-up about. Pre-emption doesn't work, whether in foreign policy or in censorship, with a pencil or with a gun, all of a piece. We told ye that before, ye stupid drip. Ye just make the problem ten times worse. Ye wind up under the Great Dane, ye know?

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