Saturday, November 18, 1944

The Charlotte News

Saturday, November 18, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that, under the canopy of the first clear skies in a week, the British Second Army had attacked the German flank thirteen miles above the First and Ninth Armies' positions in the vicinity of Aachen, isolating Geilenkirchen, cutting the road out of that town to Heinsborg, and moving two miles southeast of Geilenkirchen toward Prummern. It was the first time that the Second Army had entered Germany. The First Army made its longest advance in three days of fighting, 2.5 miles.

Each of the three armies made slight gains against toughened German resistance behind barbed wire, pillboxes, minefields, and anti-tank traps in a secondary defense line built up during the previous two months since the first breaches of the Siegfried Line by the Allies. Yet, enemy artillery fire was less than expected after the extremely concentrated aerial assault of the opening day of the drive on Thursday. Many of the pillboxes taken east of Aachen had been manned by only three or four Germans, leading to speculation that troops had been withdrawn to defend Eschweiler, ablaze from bombing.

Correspondent William S. White reported that, after an Allied aerial and artillery barrage, the First Army crossed a thousand yards of open field near Gressenich to capture "Crater Hill", a coffin-shaped knoll, battered by fire.

The British Second Army also made two new major crossings of the Zig Canal in southeastern Holland.

The Third Army continued its assault on Metz, fighting house to house inside the fortress town, and also began a new offensive near Luxembourg. Correspondent Kenneth Dixon described in detail the fighting inside Metz, that the soldiers moved past Frescaty Airport up Nescaty Street to a point inside the ring of forts surrounding the town, facing in the process a furious assault from German artillery crossfire from the forts, the German troops being pushed by SS officers to fight to the death. The 11th Regiment of the Fifth Division had captured the Verdun group of forts as well as surrounded Fort St. Privat.

To the south, the Seventh Army moved two to three miles toward Strasbourg along a 30-mile front.

The French First Army to the south moved to within sight of Belfort and the Belfort Gap into southwestern Germany.

A report quoted an anonymous French source as indicating that collaborationists and German saboteurs were still active in and around Paris, operating from forested areas near the capital, and had recently received supplies from the Germans by parachute. Most of the sabotage had been limited to electric cables and pipelines. One small band of Germans had attempted a raid recently on the Hispano Works outside the capital but had been thwarted. German radio contended that an automobile accident which took the life of the French foreign minister was the result of German sabotage.

The Germans were reported to be erecting "mysterious structures" in the mountains of Norway, possibly launching sites for a new secret weapon.

Another report stated that Norwegian families, forced by the Germans from their homes, were now wandering north of Norway in temperatures ranging to 24 degrees below zero.

The Russians moved further in the area northeast of Budapest, approaching Eger, Miskolc, and Hatvan, the latter 26 miles from the capital.

In Italy, the Eighth Army moved closer to capture of Faenza.

On Leyte, Japanese tanks had broken through an American roadblock 2.5 miles south of Limon to reinforce enemy troops fighting the 24th Division in the town on the road to Ormoc. As the doughboys had entered the outskirts of Limon, it appeared to them that the Japanese had evacuated the town, but as they penetrated further, they were met by strong opposing forces consisting of hundreds of well-entrenched Japanese. The object appeared to be to hold Limon as long as possible until the Japanese could consolidate at Ormoc their scattered forces since the landing of the reinforcements the prior weekend.

The weary 24th Division was reinforced by the "Red Arrow" 32nd Division which had distinguished itself previously in the battles for Buna in Eastern New Guinea in the winter of 1942-43, and Aitape in Northern New Guinea during the previous late spring and summer. General MacArthur stated that the reinforcing division had driven a wedge into the enemy strong points north of Limon, serving to protect the 24th Division in its move to within a half mile of Ormoc Village.

A communique indicated that an invasion by the Allies of Luzon in the Philippines appeared near.

A strike which had begun in Dayton, Ohio, by Bell Telephone operators upset with the hiring of out-of-town personnel, had spread to twenty other Ohio cities, including Columbus and Toledo. Operators in Akron voted to join the walkout but withheld action pending votes being taken in Cleveland, Youngstown, and Canton.

Fifteen cars of a West Coast Champion bound from New York to Tampa on the Atlantic Coast Line had derailed at Hortense, Georgia, injuring twenty persons but none fatally. The Atlantic Coast Line was the railway on which had occurred the fatal collision between the northbound and southbound Tamiami trains at Rennert, N.C., near Lumberton, on December 16, 1943.

A photograph on the page, appearing at first glance to depict the tending of wounded soldiers by Filipino women, perhaps undertaking some surgery on the men's necks, in fact only depicted the men receiving haircuts at a barber shop on Leyte.

On the editorial page, "Echo of 1918" observes that the Baptists had now joined the Methodists in seeking statewide prohibition, to end state regulated sale of liquor in 24 of North Carolina's 100 counties.

The piece reminds that Prohibition had begun in 1917 in just such an inauspicious manner, with millions of young voters in the service. It had been ratified as part of the Constitution by January, 1919, two months after the Armistice. It had led to the Roaring Twenties, speakeasies, bootleggers, gangsters, and the lot of evil far worse than that which it had sought to outlaw.

It was unfair, suggests the piece, to inaugurate a campaign to end liquor sales in the 24 wet counties when again so many of the residents were absent and in the service of their country.

"Compromise" discusses the decision of Dr. Frank Porter Graham, president of the University of North Carolina, to stay on, along with the other two public members, in their positions on the War Labor Board. Each had, like Dr. Graham, just tendered their resignations. The President had convinced all three to remain for the duration of the war.

The University Board of Trustees had been urging Dr. Graham to resign either his post as president of the University or his post on the War Labor Board, as his one week per month attending to his University duties was deemed not enough, even though he was only accepting a quarter of his pay.

But, of all people, Dave Clark, his arch-nemesis who had labeled Dr. Graham Pink, if not Red outright, for his stands favoring racial integration of the University, had proposed that Dr. Graham be given a leave of absence and an acting president be appointed in the meantime.

The editorial finds it a reasonable solution to the controversy.

Of course, with The News, edited by known Communists, agreeing for once with Dave Clark, it probably would not be long until Dave decided that his position was far too Leftist in its leanings and would withdraw it in favor of putting Dr. Graham in prison for treason.

"What's This?" recounts an interchange between Representative E. C. Gathings of Arkansas and Dr. George Mitchell of the CIO Political Action Committee during the latter's testimony before a House committee. Dr. Mitchell had impressive credentials, including a professorship in economics at Columbia. Mr. Gathings wondered aloud how such an eminently qualified man could become involved with the CIO.

Said Dr. Mitchell, the CIO was fighting for full employment, world peace, and education of the American people to their responsibilities and benefits under democracy.

The piece suggests that the labor movement was beginning to attract many such well-qualified people to its cause. Several young people in the South whose credentials were impressive had joined as organizers. It was good for the unions and for the country that such was the case.

"Overhauling" discusses the attempts of each house of the Congress to change some of its rules and procedures to adjust to modern times. There were too many committees, 33 in the Senate and 47 in the House, plus a couple of dozen special investigating committees.

There was much duplication of effort between these committees and lack of cooperation between the two chambers and between the committees of each chamber. The seniority system was anachronistic, having been adopted before World War I. It resulted in incompetent men being made chairmen of committees by default. And there was lack of expertise on the part of committees when government agency experts were called to testify before them.

Marquis Childs comments that the most thankless job in Washington was probably that of William H. Davis, chair of the War Labor Board, just having tendered his resignation. Mr. Davis had, says Mr. Childs, performed his job admirably and had been urged, along with the other two resigning public members, Frank Porter Graham and George W. Taylor, by War Mobilizer James Byrnes to remain in the position at least until the war in Europe was won. Mr. Byrnes had agreed to do just that.

Mr. Davis had finally acquiesced and was going to remain in the post, fortunate for the country as it would have been difficult to find someone with his inherent knowledge to fill his shoes for the duration.

A piece by the editors comments on the narrowly passed amendment to the Florida Constititution, by which was banned the closed shop union and maintenance-of-membership contracts. Arkansans had also narrowly voted similarly to amend their Constitution, while Californians had turned down such a proposed amendment.

Both the closed shop and maintenance-of-membership contracts were recognized policy of the Federal Government. It was the first time states had sought to outlaw these policies.

The reason for the action was that, in the wartime emergency, war plants had hired unskilled personnel off the farms to work war jobs. The closed shop contracts forced these men to join the union to be employed, requiring them to pay union dues. Often, the men were quickly terminated for lack of adequate skills and other skilled laborers hired in their stead, again paying more union dues. The public, seeing the practice, disapproved of the idea that a man, in order to obtain employment, had first to join the union, and so passed these amendments in Florida and Arkansas.

But, in other areas of commerce, for instance, newspapers, closed shop unions had worked in harmony with employers for years, often worked alongside non-union workers in other endeavors without friction. The absolute ban of such contracts therefore worked to throw out the baby with the bathwater.

The piece urges readers to respond on the issue and indicate their opinions.

Drew Pearson again discusses the first Cabinet meeting after the election. The President usually made the rounds of each Cabinet officer, asking for his or her report. When he reached Secretary of Commerce Jesse Jones, whose nephew had led the fight in Texas to oppose the fourth term and the threat to nullify the popular vote and throw the electoral votes to Senator Harry Flood Byrd, President Roosevelt rebuffed questions from his Secretary of twelve years standing and instead quipped that he was glad that California was still in the union even if Texas was not.

When he reached Vice-President Wallace, the President had complimented him on his efforts during the campaign on behalf of the President, thanking him especially for helping to deliver the State of New York to the President's column.

Mr. Pearson implies that it may have been forecasting of the position to which Mr. Wallace was going to be appointed at the outset of the fourth term, that of Secretary of Commerce to replace Mr. Jones. The speculation was correct.

He next relates of the story from Poughkeepsie on election morning, awaiting the President's arrival to vote. In attendance were some Vassar students studying journalism and covering the event. They began asking the names of some of the professional journalists in attendance. One young woman pointed to Tom Reynolds, asked for his identity, was told by Fred Pasley of the New York Daily News that he was Colonel McCormick of the Chicago Tribune, of course one of the President's most rabid enemies in the newspaper world. Mr. Reynolds was in fact of the Chicago Sun, whose publisher Marshall Field was one of the President's strongest newspaper supporters.

Mr. Pasley then informed the budding journalist being hazed that she had better maintain a keen eye on Mr. McCormick for he had a knife and intended to use it on the President. The young journalist was taken aback and asked whether the Secret Service would not intervene, to which Mr. Pasley responded that Colonel McCormick had lots of money and had taken care of the Secret Service.

When pressed further by the Vassar student as to whether Mr. Pasley was not going to intervene himself, he responded, "You want me to spoil a good story?"

The President then entered the room and was greeted warmly by Mr. Reynolds.

The knife, however, which the Vassar student then stuck in the back of Mr. Pasley is likely still there.

A letter from a soldier from Charlotte complains of the lack of entertainment which Charlotte offered, found Columbia, S.C., to have clubs which afforded the soldier and his friends a much better time. The editors added that they had heard other soldiers' opinions which differed from the account, and encouraged soldiers to write on the topic.

Dick Young indites of the practice occurring in Charlotte whereby some doctors were illegally charging wives of service men for maternity services, in contravention of Federal law establishing free service and compensating the attending physician on a set schedule of fees.

--Good morning, Dr. Mengele. I am ready.

--Yes, my dear, good morning. You are so lovely today. You understand the procedures, yes? Only the set fee may be paid. Is it safe?

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