The Charlotte News

Thursday, November 2, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the U. S. first Army had advanced one to two miles through the Hurtgen Forest, overrunning the village of Germeter, to reach the town of Hurtgen, seven miles southwest of Duren on the road to Cologne. Another column advanced to the village of Vassenack.

One officer described the fighting as "Indian country" for its fierceness.

In the drive toward Rotterdam and the Meuse River, American and Polish troops advancing over the Mark River had to abandon their position for heavy German resistance. But the Germans had been forced to destroy the Geertruidenburg bridge over the Meuse north of Tilburg. The Allies were firing upon the other two bridges at Moerdijk.

The British Commandos and Canadians attacking Walcheren Island had moved to eliminate all of the Germans from the island, save those still in Vlissingen, bypassing Domburg and knocking out at least two of the Nazis' five big guns still operating to block Antwerp from Allied use. South of the Schelde Estuary, the Allies captured Sluis and were inside Knocke after completely taking out the German 64th Division and its 2,500 remaining men. The pocket had been reduced to three small positions, at Knocke, Cadsand, and Heyst.

Bad weather continued to hamper the availability of air support for the front, but American fighter bombers had destroyed the German power plant at Ahrweiler and a hundred-car freight train near Rheinbach. Some 1,100 heavy bombers hit the synthetic oil plant at Merseburg, as well as other oil facilities in the Ruhr and railyards at Bielefeld and Rheine. These bombers met Luftwaffe fighters in strength for the first time in a month, and early reports had it that 36 German planes had been shot down.

The RAF again hit Cologne, for the fifth time in six nights, adding to the target list Oberhausen, until this raid, the least struck city of the Ruhr. Oberhausen served as a rail traffic center for the Western Front and also was an industrial center.

London Daily Mail correspondent Walter Farr reported from Stockholm that the Germans would definitely soon launch V-2 rockets against the United States. The Germans, after experimentation, he further elucidated based on information from a knowledgeable informant, were convinced that the V-2's could be launched against England on a large scale.

Mr. Farr was informed that the V-2 had been fired against England from experimental stations in Germany and Norway and that other bases in Holland and Denmark could be used for the purpose. The first V-2's carried a payload of one ton of explosives, but rockets capable of transporting larger payloads were in development, the capability of payload being inversely proportional to the distance the rocket would travel. The rockets, propelled by gasoline or other liquid, reached an apogee of 15 to 50 miles before arcing back to earth at 500 to 1,000 miles per hour. The Nazis had a half dozen sizes suitable for striking England and, while having rockets which could reach the U.S., they were concentrating on those designed to cross no further than the Channel.

Of course, this was more poppycock propaganda of Herr Doktor Goebbels, a lot of wishful thinking anent technology which would take another 12 years of development by the Soviet Union and the United States post-war to achieve, that is a long-range rocket firing capability. To hit the United States, the Nazis would have needed to send planes or submarines with rocket launching capability. Such launching capability did not exist except with respect to the slow and cumbersome V-1's. Nor would there have been any realistic opportunity by this juncture in the war to get submarines or planes within any reasonable range of either coast of the United States. The Nazis were again seeking to employ scare tactics to achieve more favorable terms of immediate surrender, short of destruction of the Nazi State.

Similarly, the Reich had reported that Field Marshal Erwin Rommel had died of his wounds from strafing on the French front, not as later reported after the war, by his own coerced hand on option of standing trial for treason before the foregone conclusion of the People's Court for his alleged participation in the July 20 plot on Hitler.

This report was made in the context of drawing a similar fate for Field Marshal Albert Kesselring, commander of the Germans in Italy, who had been reported wounded in his automobile near Bologna by Allied strafing. The extent of his injuries was not yet reported.

Uncle Albert, as he was affectionately called by his troops, would live until 1960, apparently not being ultimately implicated by Der Fuehrer in the plot. In the end, Der Fuehrer realized that the chief conspirator was Der Fuehrer.

Whether Uncle Albert ever got to hear Johnny and the Moondogs in Hamburg, we don't know. Kesselring was also referred to as Smiling Albert by the Allies because he smiled away.

The British and Yugoslav Partisans of Marshal Tito had cleared a hundred miles of the Dalmatian Coast, including the harbors of Split, Methovic, and Dubrovnik—the latter being where Rosemary was.

Polish and Indian troops advanced several miles north from captured Predappio, moving toward Forli in the Po Valley, and effected joinder with the other parts of the Eighth Army which had established the bridgehead west of the Ronco River above Meldola.

Canadian troops of the Eighth Army reached the primary Fosso-Ghiaia crossing on Highway 16, less than five miles from Ravenna.

The Fifth Army, operating south of Bologna, cleared the village of Casetta, two miles from the branch highway to Imola, in turn twenty miles northwest of Forli.

Along the west coast, a heavy enemy counter-attack at Catagnana forced a withdrawal by the Brazilian troops in the area.

Carigara on Leyte Island in the Philippines appeared ready to fall to the American troops, with one force of the First Cavalry Division in the town and another less than two miles away. The 24th Division was stalled by a blown-up bridge beyond Tunga.

To the south on Leyte, units of the 24th Corps continued to push west across the island's hills, nearing Catmon Mountain, sixteen miles from captured Catmon Hill, seeking to attack the Japanese supply depot on Ormoc Bay. Their trek was mostly downhill at this point on the western half of the island.

The British in Northern Burma had captured the important junction at Mawlu, 92 miles southwest of Myitkyina and 180 miles north of Mandalay.

The Russians in Hungary were within 30 miles of Budapest, penetrating beyond Lajosmizse, as late reports indicated they had reached Kunsgentmiklos, 28 miles from the capital. Keeskemet, a city of 80,000 and the last major barrier before Budapest, had been captured after it had been reported the previous day abandoned by the Nazis. Some 1,500 German and Hungarian prisoners had been captured during the prior 24 hours, bringing the total in the Hungarian campaign to 5,518. Some 2,000 Germans had been killed in the battle for Keeskemet, and another 1,000 in the taking of the rail town Tedel and 300 at Kecel.

In Mishawaka, Indiana, 5,200 employees of the U. S. Rubber Company plant which manufactured self-sealing fuel tanks for B-29 bombers, tanks which prevented explosion upon rupture by bullets, remained on strike for the third day regarding differences with management over production schedules.

The inventor of ethyl gasoline, Thomas Mideley, Jr., of Columbus, Ohio, died at age 55, having been ill with polio for four years.

F.C.C. Chairman James Fly resigned his post, effective November 15.

President Roosevelt sent Donald Nelson back to China to establish a War Production Board for the Chinese, to increase their efficiency in war production. The move had the complete approval and urging of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek.

Garter belts and suspenders might soon stretch more, but girdles would continue to be scarce, for the fact that the War Production Board had revoked an order which had prohibited use of elastic fabrics six inches in width or less for anything except military or industrial use, the implication being that girdles were made of elastic fabric more than six inches in width and thus still subject to restriction for military use. Regardless, keep touching those toes so that you won't need one anytime soon in any event. You never know how long this war might wind up lasting.

The O.P.A. took leather-reinforced gym shoes off the ration list, ladies, and so you have no excuse.

In Los Angeles, a wife and husband were divorced after 47 years of marriage. Chief complaint was her objection that he smoked cigarettes.

He, he, he.

On the editorial page, "Poor Poor" remarks on North Carolina's lower than national average welfare disbursements. Welfare payments were paid proportionately, half by the Federal Government, a quarter by the State, and a quarter by the county. This system encouraged free spending of welfare money, as the local offices were only providing one in every four dollars. So, argues the editorial, North Carolina's low standing in payments could be interpreted as parsimony.

But thinking it again, the fact that most of the payments went to the elderly, children, and handicapped, it did not make good sense that the state should be doling out only half the national average.

The problem seemed to go back to the creed that it was better for poor people to remain poor, that they got along better with less than with more. But, says the piece, there was nothing immoral about comparative comfort on relief, the state's populace needing disabuse from that superintending mentality.

The overriding concept, timeless, is that the government is not a business and cannot be run as a business. A business does not distribute welfare checks, except to investors. But, we, as citizens, do not have to subscribe to our Government. We do not have to buy stock in it before we are entitled to its benefits. We are born or naturalized as its citizens. There is no other test than citizenship to be entitled to its manifold liberties, rights, and privileges. The concept of running the Government as a business has been tried numerous times by the Republicans during the history of the United States, and each time wound up only demoralizing the majority of American people. The Government is the only bulwark against the haves bullying those without financial wherewithal. Once the political process is fixed to enable only those with money to run, only those with money to win, only those with money to prosper, the public turns away from its Government and loses respect for it. It ceases to have power without respect, respect born of belief, not brainwashing or force. A demoralized people merely stops working. It does not unite around the concept of mutually enforced poverty, relative or abject; it merely implodes on itself, and, should the political process fail to work to remove the autocrats, erupts in violence ultimately and a form of revolution results to oust them. We are a constitutionally formed people who permit our government's existence as long as it serves the people's interests, both that of the majority and, reasonably, that of the minority. Failing that, we oust it, first by political process, then, if necessary, by revolution. That is our history; that is our truest creed. When we lose it, we lose not only democracy but our true spirit and identity as a Revolutionary country.

"Loophole" comments on a 1942 Supreme Court decision delivered by Justice James Byrnes, now War Mobilizer, in the case of U.S. v. Local 807, 315 US 521, with Chief Justice Harlan Stone dissenting. The Teamsters of New York had been accused of using threats of violence against non-union truck owners entering New York City. The Government had sought prosecution under the Anti-Racketeering Act, but the Court had ruled that the Act did not apply to union activities, specifically exempted under the Act. The Court had pointed out that crimes committed in the course of union activity could, as with any such conduct, be prosecuted by state and local authorities, but did not fall under the Anti-Racketeering Act.

In consequence, since the decision, trucking firms operating in New York either hired Teamsters or paid union wages.

The editorial thus advocates the passage of some new Federal legislation which would protect genuine labor organizing activities but which would also subject criminal activities in furtherance thereof to criminal sanction under racketeering laws.

Sub silentio to the editorial's advocacy was that local and state authorities were cowed by the political power of the local unions from undertaking too much scrutiny of any such nefarious activities.

"First Stone" comments on the suggestion of Senator Kenneth Wherry of Nebraska to the Mecklenburg County Republican Party that North Carolina was not at all safe for President Roosevelt in the election the following Tuesday. The crowd had been small at the Armory. But that fact did not prove daunting to Senator Wherry who suggested it only meant that people were at home thinking things over. He stated that the President's foreign policy was nebulous, that Governor Dewey had set forth a policy which was clear and bold.

The piece indicates that Senator Wherry's record in the Senate was short, succeeding George Norris in 1943. He had, however, already shown a course of naysaying internationalism, voting against the Connally Resolution advocating the establishment of the United Nations organization, voting for a complete deferment from the draft for farm labor, opposing the extension of the Trade Agreements Act to 1945, and standing against war bond advertising in newspapers.

With this record behind him, the editorial states its preference for the nebulous record of the President, and further finds the Senator to have wasted his time in coming to North Carolina for such politicking.

"Private" observes that the decision whether Wake Forest College, then in the village of Wake Forest near Raleigh, and Meredith College, the woman's college in Raleigh, should combine on one campus in Wake Forest, was a purely private matter for the Baptists who governed both colleges. It was not ripe for public debate. However the decision would be resolved, assures the piece, both colleges would continue to provide for the betterment of educational quality within the state.

Drew Pearson indicates that the ultimate reason for the recall of General Joseph Stilwell from China was that he had served an ultimatum on Chiang Kai-shek to step up the war in China against the Japanese, and Chiang had taken offense at such temerity. U. S. Ambassador to China, Clarence Gauss, had likewise suggested the same type of cooperation by Chiang, but he, too, had been recalled at the beck of the Generalissimo.

The problem revolved around the facts that most of the fighting against the Japanese had been performed by the Northern Chinese Communists and that Chiang had fought the Communists, indirectly aiding the Japanese.

Two years earlier, when Madame Chiang visited the United States in early 1943, President Roosevelt had quizzed her about the reports he had regarding the effectiveness of the Communist guerilla army in the North. Madame Chiang dismissed it as Communist propaganda, that no such army existed. The President then called upon Col. Evans Carlson, who had spent time with the Communists, to provide his first-hand account, which confirmed the fighting effectiveness of the guerillas.

The previous spring, Vice-President Wallace had been sent to China by the President with specific instructions to have the U. S. military mission visit the guerilla forces. Eventually, he received permission from both Chiang and the Communists, and the visit occurred. The U. S. military mission reported back during the previous summer that the Communists had half a million loyal troops, if poorly equipped, another two million potential fighters performing guerilla work behind Japanese lines, were possessed of superior intelligence regarding Japanese operations, and were possessed of a commander, Mao Tse-tung, with a brilliant record in resisting the Japanese.

Out of this report, the United States policy determination was to try to achieve cooperation with Chiang to work with the Communists so that the United States could work with both forces in cohesion against the Japanese. This effort ultimately led to the recall of General Stillwell and Ambassador Gauss. General Stilwell's abrupt attitude had also abraded Lord Mountbatten, the two being at loggerheads regarding Stilwell's complaint of too much British sloth in Burma, as well as General Claire Chennault, head of the air forces.

The tension between Stilwell and Chiang had finally come to an impasse by the time Donald Nelson and General Patrick Hurley reached China on the recent mission. They had, in consequence, reported back the scenario to President Roosevelt that in order to obtain Chiang's cooperation, General Stilwell had to be sent home.

Samuel Grafton contrasts the Western Allied view of war crimes, as defined by the United Nations Commission for Investigation of War Crimes, set up in 1943, with that of the Soviets. The Commission, chaired by Sir Cecil Hurst, former head of the World Court in The Hague, had defined war crimes to be violations of the rules of war, not the war itself, not the invasion of foreign countries. Under this delimited definition, until recently, Hitler, Goebbels, and Goering had not been included on the list of a few hundred Nazi war criminals. They first had to commit the "second crime" of directly violating the rules of war, as by ordering or committing atrocities against civilians or prisoners of war.

The Soviets, by contrast, viewed war crimes to be the very act of waging offensive war and mocked the Commission's view. The Soviets were conducting their own war tribunals, as they had at Kharkov.

Mr. Grafton asserts that it was anachronistic for the Commission to maintain such an antiquated view of war crimes when the Nazis and Fascists had waged war in a manner which effectively re-defined the concept.

Dorothy Thompson compares the defeat of the Japanese Fleet in the Second Battle of the Philippine Sea in and around Leyte Gulf to be comparable to the defeat of the Spanish Armada by the British, giving Britain supremacy over the seas since that time in 1805. Rule, Britannia! had been the theme of the ensuing age on the high seas.

While it had been known for some time that the United States had superior numbers of ships to any nation on earth, it now had the proven results to match its numerical strength.

The British had been shocked in December, 1941 when the Prince of Wales and the Repulse had both been sunk by the Japanese. It had meant the fall of the East Indies, Malaya, and the Philippines to the enemy.

But the result was only to awake the sleeping giant to its industrial capability and bring forth that potential to a manifested reality, which now took the form of Rule, Americana.

Marquis Childs, back in New York, suggests that, with the proportion of women voters slated to be the largest for any election in the history of the country, the outcome in a close race might be determined by women.

Women were not only voting but were active in politics. Mrs. Emily Taft Douglas was running hard for the Congress against isolationist darling Stephen Day of Chicago. In Virginia, Mrs. Elizabeth Chilton Murray, mother of three sons in service, was waging a battle against incumbent Congressman Howard W. Smith, an old-line Democrat with the backing of the Byrd machine, having on its side a poll tax law which kept voter turnout at a minimum.

On the Republican side, Clare Boothe Luce was running for re-election in Connecticut in what looked to be a close race with a young woman lawyer. Thus challenged, Ms. Luce had been particularly vicious in her campaign rhetoric.

Hal Boyle, still with the Ninth Evacuation Hospital in France, reports on October 25 that the nurses of the hospital had a pep song, the refrain of which went that the Ninth Evac. would lead the way to health and victory. They had sung it when they left England for Africa in 1942 but no more. They no longer felt like singing pep songs.

The nurses called themselves "Stone's Rangers" after Col. William Stone, their commander. Out of 47 officers, 53 nurses, and 294 men, they had suffered only two deaths, both from auto accidents.

As they talked to Mr. Boyle, rain fell outside the tent, but inside it was warm and a corporal was popping corn.

The unit had been idle for only three weeks during the previous 25 months. They had treated 25,000 soldiers, 7,000 since D-Day, five months earlier. Still, that was not a record. The Anzio evac. unit in Italy had handled more casualties during the fighting there in the previous winter and spring.

Still, the "Fighting Ninth Evac. Unit", as the men called it, had a reputation for being one of the best in the field. Other nicknames included "The Ultra Swanks" and "The Sigh Brows".

One of the nurses said that she wouldn't mind another winter in the field as long as they each were issued a jeep and could get away to Paris occasionally to purchase some French perfume. She insisted that in the next war she would be a doughnut girl, handing out doughnuts and glamour, not pills. It was easier on the feet.

And Mrs. D. S. Beatty responds in a letter to the editor to the frontal attack made upon her by Mr. Hartis the previous week--as well as the other, two weeks earlier, by Mr. Hacker, both of whom we assume to be one and the same, as apparently did Mrs. Beatty--for her ardent stand in favor of the President, resisting the undoubted temptation to call the two gentlemen uncultured louts of the lowest order.

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