Wednesday, November 1, 1944

The Charlotte News

Wednesday, November 1, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page and inside page report that British Commandos had landed on the southern and western coasts of Walcheren Island, three-fourths of which previously had been flooded, to effect pincers designed to take down the last of the Germans blocking Allied use of Antwerp. Canadians joined the operation by approaching across the causeway from captured Beveland Island onto the eastern side of Walcheren, establishing a small beachhead several hundred yards into the island, eight miles northeast of Vlissingen.

Berlin reported that amphibious forces had landed at Vlissingen, also known as Flushing, supported by air and Navy protection.

German resistance on the south shore of the Schelde Estuary had weakened considerably and the Canadians advanced three miles to the village of Knocke, southwest of Vlissengen.

Below the Meuse River, Allied columns pursued fleeing Germans seeking escape across the river. It appeared that the Germans had successfully escaped the attempt of the Allies to effect a trap, as rain and mud severely hampered Allied operations, keeping air cover grounded. It was anticipated that the Germans would make a stand on the north bank of the Neder Rhine, between Rotterdam and Arnhem.

A German attempt to cross the South Willems Canal at Nederweert, 15 miles southeast of Eindhoven, had been repulsed.

Fighting continued in the Meuse Bulge, west of Venlo on the Dutch border, as American forces took Liesel.

German radio reported that American forces in France had captured Montigny, fifteen miles east of Luneville, as French units entered Baccarat, fourteen miles southeast of Luneville.

In Paris, an explosion hit a neighborhood just fifteen minutes after General De Gaulle had completed a speech commemorating All Saints' Day. The initial explosion was followed by several others over the course of two hours, but it was believed that they were the work of saboteurs and not aimed at General De Gaulle.

About 300 American heavy bombers struck oil and rail targets at Gelsenkirchen, Hamm, and Coblenz. Others, of the Fifteenth Air Force out of Italy, hit Vienna for the first time in three weeks.

In Italy, the Eighth Army had improved its position across the Ronco River, south of Forli, clearing the Germans from Meldola.

Sometimes in hand to hand combat, the Fifth Army repelled several enemy counter-attacks in the central sector south of Bologna.

German radio reported that German and Hungarian troops had abandoned Keeskemet in Hungary in the face of the advance of Soviet troops and tanks, now just 40 miles from Budapest.

Izvestia reported that the determination of the Red Army had increased tenfold when the tortured and dismembered bodies of four Soviet prisoners of the Germans were discovered along the road to Budapest.

Moscow announced the complete liberation of the region of Petsamo in Finland, the Baltic port city itself already having been taken.

Japanese reports, as yet unconfirmed by the Navy or War Department, stated that B-29's had flown over Tokyo and Yokohama, albeit not indicating whether bombs were dropped.

A report from a B-29 crew in China indicated that they had successfully warded off 70 Japanese fighter planes on return from a bombing mission over Kyushu, and landed safely without a scratch.

On Leyte, the 24th Division advanced to within two miles of Carigara, capturing Tunga on the Jaro-Carigara Highway running through the northwestern Leyte Valley, as the 7th Division pushed halfway across the island. The First Cavalry Division was still at Barugo, five miles from Carigara.

Loss of Carigara, which was expected during the day, would mean that the Japanese only had one available escape route remaining, that through Pinamopoan, via a mountain trail to the south. This trail had been the route for enemy reinforcements arriving from Cebu via Ormoc Bay.

Morris Landsberg reported that three major problems with the Japanese execution of their good strategy for opposing the American landing on Leyte had caused the Japanese naval operation to end in dismal failure. Aside from poor execution, they lacked proper air support and did not have adequate intelligence therefore on the size and position of the Third Fleet, commanded by Admiral William Halsey.

They had thought, apparently based on their own self-deluding reports, that they would be facing a severely diminished Third Fleet off Formosa. The twin Japanese Task Forces operating in the Sibuyan and Sulu Seas were attacked by American planes before they could fully execute their planned maneuvers to shuttle-bomb American positions. Instead, the enemy lost three-fourths of their planes and their carrier forces were pushed northward. The Seventh Fleet cut off the pincer which entered the Mindanao Sea and also the pincer entering through the San Bernardino Straits, engaged east of Samar Island.

The Navy announced that during the prior two months of operations on Palau and in the Philippines, on Formosa and over Manila, Navy planes had downed between 2,594 and 2,846 Japanese planes, 1,132 of which were on the ground, with an American loss of about 300 carrier-based planes of the Third and Seventh Fleets. Army planes had taken down even more enemy planes over the key Japanese oil depot at Balikpapan on Borneo. The leading ace of the operations was Commander David Campbell of Los Angeles who had bagged 30 planes, including nine in less than two hours of fighting on October 24.

In Greece, the currency fell through the basement in value, from ten trillion drachmas for one British gold sovereign, worth $4.87, to 22 trillion drachmas. The U.S. dollar in Greece also had lost value commensurately, from $8 per gold sovereign to $18. The devaluations were attributed to slow distribution to Greeks by the Red Cross of rations except bread, causing huge black market inflation and a resulting rush to purchase gold.

In New York, Frank Sinatra, despite warnings that his career might suffer from taking a public stand in the upcoming election, indicated his support for the Roosevelt-Truman ticket. "To hell with this career. Government is more important." He labeled "selfish" those, especially in California and New York, who complained of high taxes.

Though not intending to perform, after encouragement from Bill Robinson, Mr. Sinatra sang while Mr. Robinson danced in accompaniment.

A young boy, age 5, choked to death in Los Angeles after swallowing a Halloween whistle.

Wax. Give them only wax next time.

Meanwhile, that's life.

A woman in Philadelphia gave birth by Caesarian section to quadruplets, the first such delivery on record by Caesarian. All were in good health. Prior X-rays had determined that quadruplets were on their way, but the mother was kept oblivious by doctors of the fact. She thought she was about to deliver twins. The attending obstetrician said that he had never seen so many hands and feet at a birth. Whether he referred only to the quadruplets or included the surgeons and nurses attending was unclear.

And a piece on the inside page relates of many super-duper idears relayed to the Navy from patryotic siticens, such as the one favoring a big net attached to a cupple a torpedas, designed to be catched by the propella of a big battleship and busts it.

Or, the one with the giant trancontinentals railroad track to tranport from one coast to the other the American Fleet by rail.

On the editorial page, "Look Here" comments on a recent poll which determined from 600 respondents in Mecklenburg County that they favored Roosevelt to Dewey by a margin of 53% to 46%. In 1940, the County had voted 80% for FDR and 20% for Willkie.

The editors were willing therefore to bet up to a dollar that the poll would prove inaccurate.

"Out of Place" finds the amending amendment set before North Carolina voters re the manner in which the State Constitution would provide the mandated free education "to all children of the State between the ages of six and twenty-one years" to be hampered by division even among its sponsors as to its necessity and meaning, given that a similar amendment had passed in 1942. The current amending amendment appeared to do little to change the structure of the public schools and, because of its lack of clarity, should be allowed to go down to defeat by default.

The piece does not state precisely how the amendment worked, but if its model for clarity was the quoted Constitutional section of Article IX, then we would think it no wonder that no one understood its impact.

First, what if you are twenty-one and not a child? Is your education free? Is "between" meant to imply "inclusive" or literally to include only those 7 to 20? Did it apply to state supported institutions of higher learning? Did one have to be a ward of the State?

Consult Lewis Carroll for the answers, as he also spawned the questions.

Regardless, "pupils" would have been a more apt noun.

"A Trade?" examines the significance of the recall of General Joseph Stilwell from his command of the China-Burma-India theater. Coming as it did at a time when the war effort of China against the Japanese appeared bleak, it was freighted with ominous portent for the future.

The report appearing on the front page of The News the previous day from New York Times correspondent Brooks Atkinson had suggested that the move was one brokered with Chiang Kai-shek by the President's emissaries, Donald Nelson and General Patrick Hurley, in exchange for Chiang's commitment to increase China's resolve to win the war against Japan. Mr. Atkinson had suggested that Chiang's overriding purpose was simply to maintain his own power and that of the Kuomintang, though it represented only the minority interest within China and was avowedly opposed to the Communists in the North, whom Chiang was committed to defeat after the war with Japan was complete.

If this view was the correct one, asserts the piece, and the President had made a determination to back the Chiang Government after the war despite its inhospitable record to democracy, and the United States thus had "made a trade with anti-democratic forces in China, we will hear more from this later."

Nothing could have been more prophetic, as the foreign policy commitment to Chiang would influence for the ensuing three decades relations with China, would directly result in the involvement of the United States in both the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Indeed, the history still lingers to influence relations today between the United States and Red China.

That is not to suggest, of course, that Chairman Mao and the Communists of China were committed democrats. They were anything but that. Yet, the regime, much as the Soviet regime, must be viewed not in a vacuum of relations with respect to their domestic internal turmoils or to the reactions of their neighbors around the world, but rather in relation and in reaction to them. One could certainly make a forceful case that the Red-baiting which was resumed within the United States after the war fueled the paranoia of the Communist regime in the Soviet Union, and, ultimately, the Maoist Revolution of 1949 in mainland China. Fears of the Communists by the Conservatives in Great Britain also re-emerged in force after the war, as exemplified by Winston Churchill's "iron curtain" speech in Fulton, Missouri, in 1946.

"Hot Spots" indicates that Governor Dewey had to win both New York and Pennsylvania to win the necessary 266 electoral votes to carry the election the following Tuesday. New York had 47 votes and Pennsylvania, 35. Governor Dewey safely had 55 votes from the Midwest while the President safely had 113 from the Solid South.

Both FDR and Dewey had polled well in their respective runs for Governor of New York. The piece reminds, however, that four-time New York Governor Al Smith could not carry New York in the 1928 presidential race. Mr. Willkie had only lost by a margin of 52 to 48 percent in 1940.

Pennsylvania had been solidly Republican until 1932 when the coal miners switched to support Roosevelt. It had remained Democratic since that time, save in the mid-term state election of 1938.

Polls showed both New York and Pennsylvania close, with FDR holding an edge.

Incidentally, whether the little filler suggesting that General Eisenhower liked as a snack raw hamburger with Belgian onions was true, we don't know. But, unless you want salmonella, we don't recommend raw hamburger. Always cook your burgers. Mr. Nixon would have been well advised to take the advice.

Drew Pearson writes of a brewing war between Argentina and Chile in the near future. (Chile works okay with the onions.) Austrian munitions manufacturer Fritz Mandel, subject of Robert Sherwood's Idiot's Delight and former husband of Hedy Lamar, was busy building planes for Argentina. Santiago was only 40 minutes by plane from Mendoza across the Andes. But Chilean planes would have to fly five hours to reach Buenos Aires. The Socialist, Communist, and Conservative parties of Chile, normally at odds with one another, were united in their opposition to Argentina's Fascist ruling clique, worried that the Farrell Government would seek to annex Chile, much as Hitler had Czechoslovakia in 1938-39.

Paraguay, Bolivia, and Peru were sympathetic to Argentina. Brazil, in its official stance, was not, but the Army and many Brazilians were supportive of any Latin American regime which had the chutzpah to resist the will of the United States. While America had severed diplomatic relations with Argentina, its continued trade in Argentine beef had enabled Argentina to prosper. In consequence, many in Latin America saw this result as a diplomatic triumph by Argentina over the United States and cheered it, even if not liking the Fascist regime scoring the success.

Mr. Pearson next informs that one of his two columns of the previous month on John Foster Dulles, that appearing September 25, may have presented the wrong impression, giving too much deference to the notion that Mr. Dulles had little knowledge of his law firm having drawn up the incorporation papers for the America First Committee.

The columnist had since discovered that Mr. Dulles's wife had contributed to America First in February, 1941 $250, and another $200 in May, 1941. Moreover, America First records showed a $500 contribution by Mr. Dulles on November 5, 1941, in support of a rally that date featuring noted isolationist Charles Lindbergh, neighbor of Mr. Dulles.

Yet, during the summer of 1944, Mr. Dulles had denied any sympathies with America First or isolationists, either "in deed or spirit".

Of course, for the present, the revelations would have appeared less significant in light of Mr. Pearson's statement the previous day that Mr. Dewey was now leaning more toward New Hampshire Senator Styles Bridges as his secretary of state rather than Mr. Dulles.

By January, 1953, it would all appear as ancient history, no doubt. It certainly did to us.

Marquis Childs, in Chicago, tells of the increasingly difficult task of Thomas Dewey to woo independent voters, given his commitment during the latter three weeks of the campaign to shoring up the Republican base with fiery anti-New Deal speeches. The rhetoric was working to motivate the base but appeared unlikely to bring into the fold the independent voters necessary to win the election.

Making matters more difficult for the Governor was the headline news of the success in the Second Battle of the Philippine Sea the previous week, just as Mr. Dewey was coming to Illinois to vie for its 28 electoral votes.

He was attempting to make the case that FDR, with his record of increasingly poor relations with Congress since 1937, could not hope to have cooperation on passing peace plans, the more recent record of the Congress to the contrary notwithstanding.

While observers thought that Mr. Dewey would likely poll the 39 electoral votes from Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, the Dakotas, Ohio, and Wisconsin, he also would need, in addition to electoral-rich states in the East, New York and Pennsylvania, the 73 votes from Minnesota, Missouri, Michigan, and Illinois. The prospect, as the race entered its last six days, appeared increasingly remote.

Hal Boyle, reporting from the Ninth Evacuation Hospital in France, tells of 2nd Lieutenant Mary T. Pattje, an Army nurse operating in the hospital who had, for the previous three years, attended the wounded in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, before coming to France. The nurses had become inured to their tasks, no longer felt the grim nature of their duty so acutely as in the early days in 1942. They were more efficient in their operations now. The wounded soldiers were so cheerful and full of humor that the nurses could not help but be buoyed in spirit themselves.

Lieutenant Pattje told Mr. Boyle that she most wanted a fuzzy hat in which to walk down Fifth Avenue in New York. But, she quickly corrected herself, that, in truth, she would settle for getting the hospital tents out of the muddy environs in which they were situated, to alleviate the routine of picking up muddy blankets and having to place them under the patients.

A gentleman writes a letter to the editor accusing the President of having sowed the seeds of disunity in the country for twelve years, pitting class against class, labeling the opposition to the New Deal "economic royalists", stimulating labor disputes between employees and employers. He concludes then by asking whether such a man should be trusted to try to effect world peace when no peace had been effectuated at home.

The answer would be a resounding yes.

Another writer assails the woman who had written the previous week from Austin, Texas, to suggest that her friend's son had viewed the President in July at Pearl Harbor, finding his physical appearance to portend ill health, and also stating that she was privy to knowledge that Senator Truman had wrecked the State of Missouri. The gentleman responds that her hearsay report on the President's health was unreliable, and that it was not reasonable to believe that Senator Truman, having served only as a county judge in Missouri, could have caused so many problems as the woman suggested.

Of course, Senators can cause problems for their home states, but we do not suggest that Senator Truman's record in any way corroborated the Austin woman's bald assertions.

Another letter responds to the letter of Mr. Hartis the previous week, mocking the President's Harvard accent. The author says that he was glad that the President used plentifully the words "wah" and "labuh", and also that he employed "we" rather than the dictatorial "I". He borrows from Samuel Grafton to ask Mr. Hartis whether he was tired of making money and winning the war.

Turn left at Greenland, Max Yassir.

That was actually not a bad subconscious prediction on the part of the letter writer, was it? even if the result of some Freudian slippage, with that "titantic". Two days off the mark, eighty years hence. Makes you think.

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