Saturday, October 7, 1944

The Charlotte News

Saturday, October 7, 1944

FOUR EDITORIALS

Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that, in a startling reverse of the previous day's savage fighting to ward off German counter-offensives and stand-or-die defenses, the German lines north of Aachen in the Ubach area had suddenly collapsed, permitting First Army infantry and tanks to advance at 8:00 a.m. through a ground-level mist, moving three miles from captured Beggendorf to a point six miles inside Germany in the area of Baesweiler.

A move south to Alsdorf had opened a six-mile wide gap in the Siegfried Line. Five towns, Herbach, Merkstein, Hofstadt, Alsdorf, and Baesweiler, were captured in the process, positioning the Americans astride important communications lines. Aachen itself was being slowly surrounded and its fall appeared imminent.

Correspondent Don Whitehead described the advances as being definitely a breakthrough of the German defensive lines, not merely an advance in the face of a withdrawal.

Another American offensive moved through a three-mile wide forest south of Monschau, 25 miles south of Aachen, 15 miles northwest of Prum, extending the offensive along a 40-mile front aiming toward Dusseldorf, Cologne, and Bonn, the line extending from the outskirts of Geilenkirchen, three miles north of Ubach, east to the outskirts of Immendorf, then south to Baesweiler, three miles east of Ubach, and another half-mile south to Oldtweiler.

Along the center of the line, another offensive struck east of Aachen, driving nearly a mile through Hurtgen Forest, penetrating ten miles inside Germany, the deepest incursion yet, moving to within 26 miles of Cologne.

To the south of this line, the Third Army gained a hundred grudging yards in the six-day old battle for Fort Driant, five miles southwest of Metz.

An armada of 6,000 planes, including 3,000 heavy bombers, supported the ground operations in one of the largest air attacks yet of the war. More than 1,400 of the heavy bombers were of the Eighth Air Force out of England, the second largest force to fly across the Channel, hitting primarily synthetic oil facilities, tank factories, and engine plants in central and northern Germany, centered around Magdeburg and Leipzig, with another strike at Politz. Another 800 Fortresses and Liberators from the Fifteenth Air Force out of Italy struck targets on the Western Front. The rest of the force was a combination of American and British tactical aircraft based in France and Belgium.

For the second day in a row, the RAF had deployed nearly a thousand daylight bombers, 700 of which had attacked Emmerich and Kleve, across the Dutch border at the northern end of the Siegfried Line. The remaining force again attacked Walcheron Island guarding Antwerp, the island already having been flooded to a third of its area through the RAF's breaching of a dam earlier in the week.

The Netherlands news agency reported that the Nazis had executed 450 Dutch Patriots in a concentration camp located 1.5 miles from 'S Hertogenbosch.

In Italy, the Fifth Army advanced another two miles to within twelve miles of Bologna in the Po Valley after having the day before captured Loiano, road junction on the Florence to Bologna road, Highway 65. Eight German divisions were now reported to be fighting in the area, defending Northern Italy in the last stand with increasing intensityŚan intensity which would carry this fight through the end of the war the following spring. The Germans were reported to be removing the rail lines in Northern Italy and shipping them into Germany--Italy apparently now representing Georgia to Hitler.

To the west, British and South African troops occupied Monte Vigese, overlooking the Pistola to Bologna highway. To the east, a spearhead north of Sassoleone advanced to within ten miles of Castel San Pietro on the Bologna to Rimini highway.

In the Adriatic sector, Indian troops of the Eighth Army crossed the Fiumicino River, occupying San Martino Di Bagnolo and Sogliano, fifteen miles southwest of Rimini. Further west, British troops captured Tezzo in the upper Savio River valley.

The British forces which had invaded Greece and cleared most of the Peloponnesus were now advancing toward the Isthmus of Corinth, linking the southern peninsula to the Greek mainland.

The Russians advanced toward the Tisza and Koros Rivers in Hungary before Budapest and appeared to be but four to five days from being within the outskirts of the capital, 90 miles distant, as Kuban Cossacks harried the rearguard enemy forces in Southeastern Hungary. The Red Army had captured Mako, fifteen miles from Szeged, and were driving toward Orshaza and Bekes. The invasion of the Balkans was now spread along a 90-mile front from north of Belgrade in Yugoslavia, the latter now under siege by both Russian troops and the Partisan forces under Marshal Tito.

The Japanese claimed capture in China three days earlier of the last Chinese-held port in eastern China, Foochow, capital of Fukien Province, across a narrow strait from Japanese-occupied Formosa. Foochow had been taken by the Japanese in April, 1939 but retaken by the Chinese the following September. The Japanese were seeking in this move to prevent American forces from landing on the east coast of China. No confirmation of the taking of Foochow had yet been obtained from the Chinese.

The Chinese had retaken an important peak southwest of Lungling in Yunnan Province.

Secretary of Treasury Henry Morgenthau stated that the sixth war loan drive on Series E bonds would commence November 20, and that likely a seventh war loan drive would have to ensue to help pay for the continued progress of the war.

Wendell Willkie was reported to be improving from strep throat and was not on the critical list at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York. The 1940 Republican presidential nominee and initial favorite for the 1944 nomination would be dead, however, by the following day.

On the editorial page, "The Record" recalls that during the Twenties it had become fashionable to regard the stories of German atrocities committed during World War I to be simply anti-German propaganda propagated by war-mongers. But now, the atrocities of this war could not be overlooked or swept under the rug with such charges.

It relates of the story of Associated Press correspondent Eddie Gilmore observing the charred remains of hundreds of Jews, Russians, and Estonians outside Tallinn in Estonia, found by the Russians upon capturing the city. Eyewitnesses had informed that men, women, and children had been ordered to the woods to cut logs, made to lie upon them, and then murdered. The logs were then set on fire. Others were herded into buildings which were then razed, while still others were placed in barbed-wire enclosures and shot.

It brought to mind the stories from Lublin in Poland, uncovered in recent weeks by the Soviet occupation, and Lidice in Czechoslovakia in June, 1942 in the wake of the killing of S.S. leader Reinhard Heydrich in Prague.

The editorial concludes: "In the years to come, have no doubt, it will again become fashionable to discredit atrocities, and to scoff as we scoffed before. But for these days, there must be no forgetfulness, and no lessening of guilt, until the time of judgment comes."

And, of course, the accounts known thus far were only the beginning of uncovering the far greater atrocities committed by the Nazis within the concentration camps of Eastern Europe and Germany, to come to light during the months ahead.

"The Line" argues that the war which began with the invasion by Germany of Poland must also end in that troubled land, by controlling Prussian aggression henceforth. But there remained the struggle between the London Polish government-in-exile and the left-leaning Polish Liberation Committee in Moscow. As long as Britain and America continued to vacillate on this question of Polish independence, it provided the Soviets the opportunity to insure after the war the type of government in Poland which the Soviets desired it to have, a likely prospect as things stood at this juncture.

It was not desirable to return to the pre-war Poland, a dictatorship, but it was also not desirable to have Poland become, post-war, a satellite of Russia.

Meanwhile, just as thousands were slaughtered during the initial putsch by the Nazis in September, 1939, the Polish population, a mix prior to the war of four million poorly trained soldiers, 3.5 million persecuted and segregated Jews, 4.5 million Ukrainians, and twenty million perpetually poor peasants, were dying wholesale as the Germans retreated back into Germany.

"No Models" sets forth the findings some years before by H. L. Mencken of the Worst American States, based on economic, health, educational, cultural, and social indicia. The worst of the 48 was Mississippi, followed by Alabama, South Carolina, Georgia, Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina, "Ol' 42".

But since that earlier day, remarks the piece, a good deal of progress in the South had been made. Yet, notwithstanding, the states remained in about the same order relative to the other states of the nation. And so, to count North Carolina ahead in large degree of other states in the South was to put lipstick on a pig.

To compare it favorably with somewhat higher ranking states, Kentucky, Virginia, and Florida, was only to compare it to Mencken's 40th, 37th, and 36th ranking states, respectively.

"Way Ahead" finds General Charles De Gaulle's Provisional French Government in France, pending free elections, to be installing a government based on socialism. The French in Lille cheered the General when he told them that a plan was at work to have the government take over and run the mines of the country.

The editorial does not doubt that such a plan would help France in emerging from the scourges economically of four years of Nazi and Vichy oppression. Yet, it was not merely a proposal but already a plan implemented by the De Gaulle Government. It questions therefore why, if the plan was to have the French elect its government as quickly as possible, it was also not to be left to them to determine the form of economy the country would have.

Marquis Childs observes that Democrats, whetted by the September 23 campaign speech of President Roosevelt delivered to the Teamsters in Washington, wanted more of the same and soon, primarily to infuse the campaign with enthusiasm to fuel grassroots movements to get voter registration accomplished by the October 10 deadline and to secure local and state races in border states which promised close elections, such as in Missouri, Indiana, Iowa, and Wisconsin.

The Democrats had made similar pleas to the President in 1940, but those pleas had come later in the campaign, indicative of concerns regarding a closer election in this cycle.

Whatever else was the case, says Mr. Childs, one thing was certain: the days of vast political coattails and patronage from the Roosevelt Administration, reaching its apogee in 1936, were gone forever.

Dorothy Thompson examines critically the seven proposals for post-war Germany promulgated by Senator Edwin Johnson of Colorado. He first wanted Germany's borders to be re-established to those extant in 1932, before Hitler and the Nazis came to power, with the exception that East Prussia would be, after transfer of its 2.25 million Germans back to Germany, divided among neighboring nations. Ms. Thompson asserts that this proposal would only lead to enmity between the existing population of East Prussia and the Poles, that the Russian solution to divest the land from the Junker military caste and redistribute it among the peasants appeared the better solution without dramatic transplanting of populations, also slated under the Johnson plan for the Germans in the Baltic States and Poland.

His second proposal was to try German war criminals, limiting the number to 50,000. Ms. Thompson finds this proposed limit to be arbitrary. Moreover, she argues that atrocities committed against Germans by the Nazis ought be left for their own determination.

Third, Senator Johnson wanted permanent disarmament of Germany except for sidearms necessary for domestic policing. The plan included an end to military training and armament production. But the proposal bore with it the potential for conflict between East and West as the Soviets would feel threatened by the West, that they might enter and occupy an emasculated Germany, while the West would be equally suspicious of Russian motives in that regard. Thus, the United Nations would have to assure mutual protection of Germany's borders.

Fourth, the Senator proposed restoration of properties seized by the Nazis and return of them to their owners and heirs. While finding it sound in principle, Ms. Thompson cites the problem of whole Jewish families having been murdered by the Nazis. An alternative in those cases would be to turn the property over to a fund for Jewish refugees. Moreover, some properties had been taken by the Germans in occupied countries and then taken by partisan forces from the Germans, such as the Bor copper mines in Yugoslavia, originally belonging to French capitalists, now possessed by Tito's forces. It would be impolitic to try to restore those properties to their original owners.

Fifth, Senator Johnson wished to limit to 100 the number of intelligence agents which each of the Allies could maintain in Germany. She agrees without reservation with this concept.

Sixth, he advocated providing Germany the right of choice of government but that the choice could not be one which curtailed freedom of press, speech, or religion. Again, Ms. Thompson agrees but adds that habeas corpus must also be added to the panoply of rights, essentially patterned on the United States Constitution's Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. For, she argues, the other freedoms would otherwise not be secure.

The seventh and final point put forth by the Senator was that any violation of the other six points by Germany would, upon determination of the violation by two of the Big Three powers, result in mutual occupation of Germany by the Big Three. The problem foreseen by Ms. Thompson with this formula was that the Soviets would view the Anglo-American alliance as uniform, always voting in lock-step, and so Russia would likely demand unanimity of the Big Three on such determinations. It would thus be better to propose a requirement of unanimity on this question to avoid conflict with the Russians.

Despite her expressed reservations on some of the details, she finds the entire plan outlined by Senator Johnson to be both sound and practicable.

Dick Young, not explaining the context of his remark, says the following: "Little people with inflated ego, who rear back on their haunches and speak to the press according to their 'own discretion' have no place in the public employ. And judging from my own extended experience in this field they don't last long, thank goodness..."

We profoundly disagree with that sentiment. For how would Watergate have ever come to the public light were it not for such courageous persons inside the Government, risking their careers, sometimes even their hides, telling the tale? in part, in that case, to the Ervin Senate Select Committee in 1973, in part to the Washington Post in 1972-73.

Mr. Young's comment, born of the times of hush-hush military discipline throughout a society permeated by war concerns, implies a militaristic form of esprit de corps within civilian government. But, we are not a Fascist dictatorship and our government cannot be monolithic lest it become despotic and arrogantly aloof in its relationship to the people it is sworn to serve, not to behave as overlord.

So, we hail with good greetings any such person "with inflated ego" having the temerity to speak out against either government abuse of power, withholding of information properly disclosed to the people, or graft and corruption. It is, of course, also completely appropriate for government personnel to speak their mind politically. We live in a democracy, not a totalitarian state where any form of political comment by government employees is verboten--except of course that which kowtows and bows to the powers that be.

Then, we don't get situations in society such as that which was the basis for this dramatization. For without corrupt officials and coppers, it never could have taken root.

But again, because it stands alone, we do not know the particular context of Mr. Young's statement. It hints, however, of the problem of reporters becoming too close and sympathetic to local government functionaries, Mr. Young's beat having been at City Hall, the Police Department, and the Fire Department. Don't expect too much revelation of corruption from such reporters, however colorful they may be on occasion. In so saying, we do not criticize Mr. Young's performance on his assignment for the newspaper.

Incidentally, "The Witness" in 1960, about Murder, Inc. in the 1930's, was brought to you, in part, by Murder, Inc. James Daly could have simply said, "Camels: Abe smokes 'em; He smokes 'em. Ah-men."

Drew Pearson, in Baton Rouge, devotes his entire column to the sloth of Commerce Secretary Jesse Jones in insuring the production of synthetic rubber for the country to make up for the shortage caused by the taking in early 1942 of the Dutch East Indies by the Japanese. As far back as July, 1940, Undersecretary of State Edward Stettinius, then a member of the National Defense Council, had implored Mr. Jones to undertake the steps necessary to insure such production. In November of that year, he followed the advice with a letter to Mr. Jones, which Mr. Pearson sets forth verbatim, essentially laying at the doorstep of Mr. Jones the responsibility for the failure to undertake the steps necessary to provide for adequate synthetic rubber production. Yet, even four years later, the country was still without adequate rubber for its tires, even though Standard Oil in Louisiana was doing a good job in turning out synthetic rubber, if belatedly under the Government's foot-dragging.

The subject came to the fore as a result of Governor Dewey having spent a lot of time in his campaign assailing Labor Secretary Francis Perkins, while largely ignoring the fiasco of the paucity of rubber production under Jesse Jones.

The misdirected criticism had people in Louisiana wondering as to Mr. Dewey's astuteness to issues which mattered to the peopleŚnot whether Southerners wore shoes but whether their cars had shoes to wear.

And a squib reveals that Scotch physicist James Maxwell produced the first color photographs in 1861.

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