Thursday, October 5, 1944

The Charlotte News

Thursday, October 5, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the U. S. First Army, led by Lt. General Courtney Hodges, continued its advance through the gap in the Siegfried Line north of Aachen as the Germans pressed artillery and reserves into the area to try to prevent complete collapse of the Line northeast and south of Ubach. The Americans advanced a mile to capture Beggendorf, two miles east of Ubach, and had driven the Germans from Kerkrade, five miles north of Aachen. The Germans had sought to establish Beggendorf as an anchor for a backstop line behind the main Siegfried defenses.

The previous night, when an advance began south of Ubach led by Major Dwight McReynolds of Cleveland, Tenn., Lt. Col. Samuel McDowell, of Rocky Mount, N.C., radioed to find out what was holding up the column. "Not a damned thing but dead Germans on the road," replied Major McReynolds in frustration. "I'll get moving when I get them out of the way." The advance artillery barrage had accomplished its task.

The Third Army of General Patton remained preoccupied with the taking of Fort Driant guarding Metz, as the Germans still clung to their defensive positions inside tunnels on the interior of the fort.

The British Second Army had gained a mile in an advance through Holland toward the German border.

As many as 1,100 American heavy bombers attacked four airfields, Handorf, Lippstadt, Paderborn, and Loddenheide, in northwest Germany near Munster, as well as hitting rail yards at Cologne and Rheine. The airfields were filled with Luftwaffe planes, some having been the new jet aircraft, which had been forced from France and Belgium.

The RAF struck Wilhelmshaven. Reconnaissance flights showed that the raids of Tuesday on Walcheron Island guarding the port of Antwerp, breaching the dam, had flooded an area of 25 square miles, representing a quarter of the island's area.

The British had landed in Western Greece, entering the port of Patrai, 112 miles west of Athens, and seizing airfields on the Peloponnesus Peninsula from which RAF Spitfires were already flying sorties. The British initially struck with paratroops followed by seaborne forces. Other units had entered Albania ten days earlier.

The Germans had apparently undertaken demolition of the Corinth Canal in an attempt to block operations within the Gulf of Corinth.

The move was part of a concerted effort with the Russians and Yugoslav Partisans to rid the Balkans of Nazis. It was estimated that three divisions of Germans were in Greece and were ready to evacuate on short notice.

Ankara radio reported that the Germans were evacuating Athens and the Peloponnesus.

The Russians advanced on the rail junction at Pancevo, nine miles northeast of Belgrade in Yugoslavia. The fall of Belgrade appeared imminent as Rome radio reported that the Russians had reached its suburbs. General Rodion Malinovsky's forces had advanced 27 miles in one day to take Debilyacha from which the attack was launched on Pancevo.

German radio announced a new Russian drive in Western Lithuania, apparently aimed at East Prussia.

In Italy, the Fifth Army advanced a mile along the heavily defended road to Bologna, moving to within fourteen miles of the city and eleven miles from the Roman Aemilia Road, leading from Bologna to Rimini. American forces also gained new positions on Monte Morosino on the Imola Road, three miles north of Castel Del Rio. On their left flank, they took the towns of Cuviola and Quinzano, east of Lorano.

On the Adriatic front, the British Eighth Army advanced two miles northeast of Castagno, while South African units entered Lagaro on the road from Prato to Bologna, and also to the east slopes of Monte Vigese, providing a clear view of Highway 64 leading from Pistola to Bologna.

On the editorial page, "Lo!" sets forth the circuitous journey taken by a single letter written by a local teenaged girl to the President asking him to establish a teenage club in Charlotte. After circulating through numerous agencies, including Civilian Defense and the Federal Security Agency, it wound up on the desk of the North Carolina Recreation Committee who sent it to the Mecklenburg County Civilian Defense Council, eventually to a Parks and Recreation employee who informed that Charlotte already had a teenage club.

"Ha! And hah, hah!" concludes the piece.

"Both Ends" tells of the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners having adopted a resolution favoring the expansion of mental health care in the state. Everyone seemed in favor of that proposition, until it got down to the issue of cost, at which point the old gripes regarding raising of taxes to support it came into play.

"War of Ideas" suggests the peculiarity of the French, that after living under Nazi rule for four years, they wanted to get about the business forthwith of trying collaborationists. But America and Great Britain appeared cool to the idea, primarily being foisted by the Maquis in the South of France.

Yet, Great Britain and the U.S. were insisting on unconditional surrender, a phrase which had increasingly grown more vacuous in its meaning. It seemed to hold implicit that after the Nazis had surrendered, their former allies would escape with impunity any form of retribution for their quisling action on behalf of the Nazis and against their fellow countrymen. It had been true in North Africa where anti-Fascists remained for months in jail after the invasion and liberation. Now in France, it was wearing the face of disapproval for any form of punishment to collaborationists.

The policy produced a disconsolate effect on the Free French.

"Al Smith" suggests that in the passing of the late Governor of New York and 1928 Democratic presidential nominee, there might be by some the transitory thought that they had, in their endeavor in 1928 to deny him the White House because of his Catholicism, his being associated with the wets, and his being a product of Tammany Hall and its notorious corrupting influences in New York politics, produced in the end much more of what they were seeking through their prejudices to prevent.

Of course, they had also gotten Herbert Hoover as the alternative in the bargain, something less than a gift to the nation and its history.

Drew Pearson tells of the return from overseas of Congressmen Karl Mundt of South Dakota and James Richards of South Carolina, both voicing praise for the Army's horizontal organization and for General Eisenhower's hands-on approach to his job as Supreme Allied Commander in Europe.

The General was always sensitive to the soldiers providing support for the front line troops who got the glory. He let the men who refitted the harbors and piers at Cherbourg and elsewhere know that their work was of substantial value to the collective effort. He was seeking to devise some sort of medal for these valorous and indispensable support troops.

Mr. Pearson next turns to the plan of Secretary of Treasury Henry Morgenthau for conversion of Germany to an agrarian state to prevent its industry from again being capable of producing the machinery of war. The tough policy recommended by the Secretary had been in stark contrast to some of the vacillating plans put forward by the State Department. The plan received tacit partial support from the White House when the President asked Foreign Economic Administrator Leo Crowley to step up his efforts to determine an economic plan for Germany in the post-war era.

The move irritated Secretary Hull, and the fact of having Treasury put forward a plan for post-war Germany was interpreted to mean that the President might be easing Mr. Hull out of the picture or reducing the power of the State Department.

The President and Prime Minister Churchill had reached agreement at Quebec regarding the treatment of Germany after the war, that it was to be allowed to resume peacetime industrial production because of its economic importance to Europe, but trade-cartels, which had coalesced to put Hitler in power, would be abolished, and any effort to re-militarize would be strictly monitored and arrested. The British were less enthusiastic about this approach than were President Roosevelt and Premier Stalin.

Marquis Childs relates of one of the collateral effects of a single Administration in Washington being in power for as long as the Roosevelt Administration, the continued power likewise of local Democratic governments. Becoming fat with longevity in office, they tended toward self-preservation and thus inefficiency, dispensing political patronage to maintain their power.

In his own county in Maryland, a movement had taken root to establish a county manager form of government. So threatened was the established ruling clique that they had sent out propaganda fliers to soldiers contending that an alien form of government was being fostered in their home county.

Samuel Grafton now visits Tulsa to find that it was the seat of old time Republicanism for the fact that Tulsa had been settled primarily by Pennsylvania oil men around the turn of the century, at a time when Pennsylvania was strictly Republican.

The rest of Oklahoma was largely Democratic. Oklahoma had voted Republican only twice in its history, once in 1920 for Warren G. Harding, and in 1928 for Herbert Hoover, in the latter election having turned against Al Smith for his Catholicism.

But now the Tulsa Republicans, the oil men, were about trying to convince the rest of the state that the Democrats had deserted their core interests, had imposed unnecessary restrictions on both the oil men and the farmers.

The oil men distrusted Secretary of Interior Harold Ickes with a passion, believed he was planning to have the Government take over the oil industry.

The owners of stripper wells, depleted wells which required expensive pumping to continue their limited production, believed they should receive more for crude than the owners of fresh fields. But, Mr. Grafton points out, they did, by way of a Government subsidy of 35 cents per barrel. Yet, they distrusted this handout because it put them in too close association with the Government.

Dorothy Thompson again addresses the issue of how to treat Germany and how to publicize the intention once it is finally determined, avoiding in the meantime furnishing the German Propaganda Minister, Herr Doktor Goebbels, with his most potent tool by which to inspire Germans at home to fight, suggested plans which would deal harshly with the German people.

Secretary of Treasury Morgenthau's plan to de-industrialize Germany and convert its economy to an agrarian base was just such a postulate. So were the votes for punitive treatment of Germany being registered by some columnists. Ms. Thompson indicates her pride in the fact that Goebbels had banned her column from being re-printed in Germany and all remaining occupied countries, indicative of her column being without use as such propaganda.

The principal thing which America had to figure out was what "unconditional surrender" meant with respect to Germany. There also needed to be a determination of which Germans were anti-Nazi. They were present, insists Ms. Thompson. The longer the war persisted, the more opportunity existed for Hitler to eliminate them.

Hal Boyle, reporting from a small hotel in La Chapelle in France on September 28, tells of the "Redball" truck drivers having dinner on a cold, rainy night at outrageous prices. They didn't care. They had been so busy delivering supplies to the front that they had scarcely eaten or slept in days. They worked twenty to thirty hours straight, for ten days had gotten only 2-3 hours sleep per night. Their outfit had carried a record 222,000 gallons of gasoline to the front in one 24-hour period.

Often, they ate only the fruit, eggs, or produce they could scrounge from farmers along the route.

The newspaper for October 6, 1944 is not on the microfilm, and so we shall see you Saturday.

Just for a little exercise, away from this desk job, tomorrow, which is such a long time, we thought we might go out to the desert and dig a few holes, maybe shoot a few while we're there, too. Why don't you join us?

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