Monday, October 9, 1944

The Charlotte News

Monday, October 9, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the First Army had moved three miles beginning at dawn Sunday from two directions on Aachen, closing to 1.5 miles the escape route to the northeast for some 1,500 S.S. Guards, having cut the last major road, the Hitler Highway, the autobahn leading to Cologne, and most of the secondary roads out of Aachen. The doughboys repulsed three German counter-attacks launched up Crucifix Hill northeast of Aachen, inflicting heavy losses on the enemy.

The fall of Aachen, a major road junction of 138,000 population, would have great symbolic impact for it would be the first major population center on German soil to be taken by the Allies.

One First Army force drove south from Ubach to overrun Bardenburg to reach the outskirts of Wurselen, cutting off one secondary road. The deepest penetration was at Oldtweiler, 7.5 miles from Julich, and across the highway from Aachen to Gladbach. Other units emerged from the Hurtgen Forest nearly free from immediate enemy resistance, six miles from Duren and two miles from the town of Hurtgen.

To the south, the Seventh Army, whose headquarters was being visited by General Marshall during his inspection of the front, advanced along with troops of the Third Army to within six miles of the Bussang Pass in the Vosges Mountains, moving to a point eight miles from Belfort.

Other Third Army troops made their way through 300 yards of underground tunnels at Fort Driant guarding Metz. There was also heavy new fighting in the area of Nancy as the Army moved toward the Upper Rhine in a new drive.

Third Army Private Vernon Culpepper of Lewisville, Texas, played possum in his tank after it had been hit by the Germans. When the enemy sought to mount a machinegun on the outside, he popped up through the turret with a hammer and knocked one Nazi out cold, whereupon the others fled.

The Second Army landed forces of British and Canadians on the Schelde Estuary, making satisfactory progress in their movement toward the Leopold Canal held by the Canadians, but under severe pressure from the Germans.

An armada of 2,000 American planes of the Eighth and Ninth Air Forces attacked Schweinfurt, Coblenz, and Mainz. Overcast weather hampered other operations, but the RAF managed to attack enemy ships off the Norwegian coast, sinking two merchant ships and several escort vessels.

During the weekend, a record 10,000 planes had attacked German installations in Germany and Holland.

The Russians advanced 62 miles through the Baltic front along a 175-mile front east of Siaulai in Lithuania, appearing to have cut off 15 German divisions north of Memel. The Russians were within 25 miles of the Baltic port, a jumping off point for attack on East Prussia to the south.

In Balkans, Soviet columns advanced to within 56 miles of Budapest, a gain of 34 miles since the report of Saturday. Moving along the Orient Express route southeast of the capital, the Russians were reported by the Germans to have advanced to Szolnok.

In the Pacific, Admiral Nimitz announced that Third Fleet warships had attacked Marcus Island all day on Sunday without any air opposition from the Japanese. It was the fourth attack on the island, 1,135 miles from Tokyo, the first having come in February of 1942.

An unconfirmed German broadcast announced that American planes had hit Koror Island in the Palaus during the weekend.

Another bombing raid had taken place against the key Japanese oil supply on Borneo at Balikpapan.

More bombing of the southern Philippines was also reported, this time hitting Zamboanga, damaging 25 or more vessels.

The Chinese were still holding Foochow on the east coast of China against a Japanese offensive to take the last remaining Chinese-held port in an effort to thwart American landings.

President Roosevelt announced in the wake of the conclusion of the Dumbarton Oaks Conference in Georgetown on Saturday that the Allies had reached agreement on the essential form of the United Nations organization. It would have a General Assembly with a secretary, a Security Council of 11 members, five of whom would be permanent, initially the Big Four, to be joined later by France, and an Economic and Social Council, plus a World Court. Each of the councils would have a separate secretary.

An armed force comprised of forces from the member nations would be on call for quick deployment to counter aggression and would include air forces. The President also indicated that there would be a commitment by his Administration to obtain from Congress carte blanche authority for the American delegate to authorize use of force without a separate authorization from the Congress required on each such occasion.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Churchill and Foreign Secretary Sir Anthony Eden arrived in Moscow to meet with Premier Josef Stalin and Foreign Comissar Molotov to discuss the post-war treatment to be accorded Germany. Although speculation ran that President Roosevelt might join the conference, it would not be the case. Presumably, the President had already indicated to Mr. Churchill his position at the Quebec Conference. Only Ambassador Averill Harriman would attend the conference on behalf of the United States. The Big Three heads of state would meet only one further time before the end of the war in Europe, that being at Yalta in the Crimea in early February.

In Paris, the National Spanish Union, comprised of Loyalists before and during the Spanish Civil War, called for the ouster of Generalissimo Francisco Franco and his Government, to be replaced by a constitutional regime.

They would have to wait over 30 years, until the Generalissimo's death.

On the editorial page, "Willkie" eulogizes the 1940 Republican presidential nominee who had suddenly died the day before at age 52, after an announcement on Saturday from a New York City hospital that he was recovering from strep throat and was not in critical condition. (Note the ensuing article in Life, September 30, 1940.)

The editorial describes the former Commonwealth & Southern utility company magnate from Elwood, Indiana, as a man of principle who had attacked the New Deal with a vigor in 1940 which had got him the nomination despite having been a Democrat until shortly before his candidacy. But as quickly as he had risen on the political landscape, his star fell among Republicans who, by 1944, saw him as too internationalist, too independent, too aloof from the Party organization to be of any use to professional king makers who dealt in political patronage.

His best-seller the previous year, One World, proved too progressive for most Republicans, especially the Midwestern isolationists led by Robert McCormick. The book had favored a democratic world after the war, in which smaller nations would sit at the table of an international peace organization equally with the more powerful, a perspective which Mr. Willkie had gleaned from his world travels during the late summer of 1942.

In April, 1944, a few days before pulling out of the campaign after his defeat in the first primary in Wisconsin, he had confided to reporters that he was disgusted with politics.

In the end, he was being pawed by both sides, seeking the endorsement which might carry with it a million or more independents and moderate Republicans, potentially a decisive number in the election. He had not yet provided any endorsement, however, and so his leaning in the election and how it might have impacted it would remain an ineradicable mystery.

Mr. Willkie had even for a time been considered as a possible running mate for President Roosevelt to provide a bipartisan ticket. Word had been that Mr. Willkie had put aside the possibility, however, before the invitation was ever formally extended to him. Had it been so, it would have been a dramatic event obviously on the political stage in the last month before the first wartime presidential election since 1864. As it was, his death was simply a side note.

The election turned out sufficiently a moderate landslide for the President, with a 3.5 million-vote popular majority, that Mr. Willkie's endorsement could have scarcely mattered to either side.

"Dear Boss" is reminded by the appeal of the President to Boss Petrillo of the Musicians Union that the effort of the Roosevelt Administration during the Thirties to provide labor with legislated power to enforce collective bargaining had recoiled on itself to some degree during the war. When management refused orders of the War Labor Board, the Government's remedy was to take over the plant. When Labor refused, the Government's remedy was to take over the plant. Thus, there was little the President could do other than plead his cause in patriotic terms to the likes of Mr. Petrillo, insisting on a strike in contravention of orders.

The editorial, however, blinks the fact that under the Smith-Connally Act, there were criminal penalties authorized against anyone who continued to advocate a strike against orders by the War Labor Board to desist.

Perhaps, in this case, however, unlike the Montgomery Ward case in the spring, the Administration believed it would not be able to justify averting a strike among musicians to be war necessity.

"Competitors" finds the policy of the Navy and Army Air Forces in recruiting 17-year olds with special aptitudes to be depriving the pool of potential draftees in the 18 to 26 age group, thus giving rise to call-ups from the older age group, 27-38. Yet, it appeared that, were the services to utilize manpower to its maximum among current draftees, it would likely meet its quotas without difficulty.

"Deaf Ears" examines the problem of the need for some 22,000 medical technicians abroad the country to care for the increasing numbers of wounded men returning from the front and in need of continuing convalescent care. Currently, there were 200,000 American casualties in the war and the number was steadily rising. Women volunteers were needed in these caregiver categories and, thus far, appeared to be ignoring the call to duty.

Drew Pearson reports of the increasing realization in Britain that Governor Dewey could be elected to the presidency. The amount of space devoted in the London newspapers to the challenger had gradually increased from a paucity in July and August to double-column headline stories during September. A member of Commons, chatting with South Dakota Republican Congressman Karl Mundt, when informed by the latter that Governor Dewey's chances to win the election were good, responded, "What a pity." When the Congressman mentioned the incident to Minister of Information Brendan Bracken, he apologized and said, "I thought we had them better trained than that."

He next reports that the Good Neighbor Policy with respect to Brazil had been responsible for avoiding threatened rationing of coffee. While domestic coffee prices had been frozen since December, 1941, the costs of growers in Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, and San Salvador, had continued to rise. Brazil was the only nation of the four which had not provided growers a government subsidy and had thus stopped taking orders for coffee from the U.S., storing their beans for sale to Europe at the end of the war. It had been on this basis that the call for rationing by the War Production Board had taken place. But to the rescue came the Brazilian Minister of Finance, Souza Costa, who promised in July a minimum of a million bags of coffee for each of the last four months of the year. Yet, the crisis had only been averted through the end of the year. The coffee orders for 1945 were still in limbo. Prices soon had to go up or rationing would inevitably be required.

An open letter to President Roosevelt from economist Leo Cherne, published in the Atlantic Monthly, appears on the page, intended as a companion piece to the letter to Governor Dewey from Gerald W. Johnson, published September 8, also from the Atlantic Monthly. Mr. Cherne asks the President for direction on what he would propose as his domestic policy for the fourth term, one which would maintain the prosperity of the war and its employment levels after the war had passed. He counsels that the President might, by remaining silent on these issues, concentrating his attention on winning the war, win the election. But it would be, he also cautions, a victory achieved by means which would run contrary to the purpose of the re-election as there would be no guideline provided by the campaign by which a fourth term could govern effectively.

The whole of it, of course, what might have been, would be largely academic as the President would be gone less than three months into his fourth term.

Marquis Childs writes of the unexpectedly large number of soldiers registering to vote, 135,000 just in the Chicago area. In a close election, it might prove the difference. Thousands of the soldiers had already voted and so the outcome in a close election may have already been determined. Most of the soldiers appeared to be for the President; most had resented the effort in Congress to make it harder for them to vote by declining to authorize a Federal measure to insure uniform absentee voting, rather than turning the matter over to the individual states.

Samuel Grafton reports now from Fort Worth that an oil man sitting beside him during his train ride from Tulsa had begun cursing the President. Then he was joined by another oil man who likewise cursed the President. The two first cursed Social Security, that one day Roosevelt would spend all of the money in the fund before it was disbursed for its intended purpose.

Then they cursed the Supreme Court. Justice Frankfurter, they contended, had the justices fighting among one another.

Then they cursed too much regulation.

Mr. Grafton finds the spirit exhibited by these two oil men to be typical of that pervading the oil men of Tulsa and parts of Texas, that which had spurred, in the spring and summer, the threatened revolt by the Texas Democrats. The rebellious spirit conveyed the idea that the oil men wanted to be free to gamble their money on oil drilling without being told where they could drill and where they couldn't and without having to be subsidized to make up for low oil prices and dry wells.

The question remained whether this rage among the oil men against the Roosevelt Administration would manifest itself among the broader populations of Oklahoma and Texas.

Hal Boyle reports from Germany on October 3, indicating that one American soldier, Major D. L. McReynolds of Cleveland, Tenn.--the same who Don Whitehead had reported on Thursday as having radioed to his Colonel agitated about the sloth of the column moving up the road that it was caused by the plethora of dead Germans blocking the way--had survived a 150-mm. shell landing a mere four feet from him inside a building. Several others were nearby at the time; no one received so much as a scratch.

Mr. Boyle then reports of two soldiers asking the proprietor of a small town cafe to remove a sign which read: "Forbidden to Jews". At first reluctant, the proprietor had to reassured that the Germans were no longer in control of the area and that such signs were now forbidden rather than required.

In another incident, a woman who had been a collaborationist in a town on the border between Holland and Belgium was shorn of her hair. Then two 80-year old women walked up and cuffed her on her ears as the townspeople paraded her through the streets in shame. They had suffered in enforced silence from her informing for some time. Originally, her husband had also been an informant to the Nazis, but he had already been killed. The two elderly women then went to church to give thanks for the liberation and departure of the Nazis.

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