Tuesday, November 21, 1944

The Charlotte News

Tuesday, November 21, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that French armor, moving northward along the Rhine, had moved into Mulhouse, and the French apparently were attempting to bridge the Rhine southeast of Mulhouse.

The Third Army was now conducting clean-up operations in captured Metz, the only resistance still encountered coming from five fortress groups in the northern area of the city, including the Verdun group, Jeanne D'Arc, St. Quentin, Gambetta-Derouled, and St. Privat. Quelen was also still held by the Germans, but its guns were no longer working. German Major General Anton Dunckern, commander of the SS in Metz, had been captured.

Both the American Seventh and Third Armies were moving eastward toward Strasbourg and Saarbrucken, encountering weakened German defenses. The Seventh Army's 44th Division captured Sarrebourg, 70 miles northwest of Mulhouse, thirty miles from Strasbourg. The Third Army was within eighteen miles of Saarbrucken, while, to the north, Third Army tanks had advanced three miles into Germany.

The capture of Belfort by the French had come as a surprise to the Americans as it was nearly as fortified as Metz, with about twenty forts ringing it.

General Eisenhower stated that he was especially pleased by the report that the French First Army had broken through to the Rhine with the capture of Belfort. He also urged that more supplies be provided to the Armies to assure that the peace could be achieved as quickly as possible.

War Production Board chairman J. A. Krug echoed the latter sentiment to the National Press Club in Washington, indicating that General Eisenhower had told the Government that he was planning the war against Germany on the basis of available supply.

A record escort force of 1,100 American fighter planes accompanied 1,250 heavy bombers in dropping 4,000 tons of bombs on three synthetic oil facilities in Hamburg, Harburg, and Merseburg. At least 52 Luftwaffe planes, possibly many more, were destroyed during the raids, most over Merseburg. A report indicated that one unit of the Eighth Air Force had knocked out 21 German fighters. On November 2, a record 202 German planes had been destroyed in a raid on Merseburg.

An RAF complement during the afternoon also struck Homberg.

The Russians closed northern escape routes for Germans seeking egress from Miskolc, as troops of the Second Ukrainian Army moved into the southern outskirts of the city, fifth largest in Hungary.

To the north, according to German broadcasts, the Red Army began its winter offensive in Latvia with a major thrust along a thirty-mile front near Liepaja.

On Leyte, a typhoon had brought the battle in the area of Limon to a near halt, although some limited progress by the American troops was reported.

The carrier planes of Vice-Admiral John S. McCain, grandfather to Senator John McCain, had scored another hit on Manila on Saturday, destroying 118 Japanese planes. The group was part of Task Force 58 of the Third Fleet. They had found 100 war-crippled Japanese ships in Manila harbor, few worth attacking.

The toll brought to 731 the number of enemy aircraft destroyed by Navy planes in the Philippines during November. Another 190 had been bagged by Army and Navy planes under the command of General MacArthur.

Vice-Admiral McCain also reported that the combined air and naval forces of the United States were constructing a partial blockade around Japan. He declined to say whether plans called for a complete blockade.

For the third time, the Omura aircraft factory on Kyushu in the Japanese home islands was struck by B-29's. Omura had been struck also on October 25 and November 11. Tokyo reported that Nagasaki had also been hit. It was the eighth strike on Kyushu since the B-29's first began their raids on Japan on June 15.

For the first time, Japanese fighters sought in strength to attack a B-29 force. Twenty enemy fighters were destroyed and another sixteen probably destroyed, while nineteen were damaged. Ground flak was light. There was no report on B-29 losses.

Bad weather diverted part of the Twentieth Air Force contingent, which struck instead at Nanking and Shanghai.

In Rochester, N.Y., an honest cobbler was looking for a man who had left his shoes for repair, leaving inside one of them $255 in cash. When he returned, said Stephen Digorgio, the man would receive his $255.

CIO delegates, meeting at the Stevens Hotel in Chicago, found a phonograph turned off at their war exhibit. It had been stopped by the AFL American Federation of Musicians because there was no AFM record turner on site to operate the phonograph, per an agreement with all Chicago hotels.

We would spin this one for you, but Caesar won't allow it. And we always obey Caesar out of nothing but subservient fear of the power of Caesar.

The Pentagon referred questions over the cigarette shortage in London to the post exchange officer there. The shortage had caused officers and men in the rear not to be receiving any cigarettes temporarily, to allow the men on the front lines to obtain their allotment.

Trouble appeared brewing for that post exchange officer.

In Boone, at 11:00 a.m., after a cold drizzle, came the first flakes of the season, upon the waters fell, turning by dawn, no doubt, to snowballs in a winter wonderland.

On the editorial page, "A Show" comments on the advocacy by the North Carolina merchants against the sales tax, favoring use of the budget surplus to retire state debt and save thereby five million dollars annually in interest. The latter part of their position was consistent with that of Governor-elect Gregg Cherry, but not their opposition to the sales tax, which Mr. Cherry believed was in proper balance with the corporate tax structure in the state. The move afoot, however, to reduce corporate taxes would also give breath to the move to eliminate the sales tax.

"False Scent" observes that a headline the day before which had stated that North Carolina led the way in draft rejections based on low wages had caused initial sadness to its reader. But then, on further reading, it became evident that the CIO had merely filed a report with the Senate Labor Committee indicating the supposed correlation between low wages and draft rejections.

The South generally had led in draft rejections but also in voluntary enlistments. The piece proposes that half a dozen other Southern states with lower wages than North Carolina had fewer draft rejections, tending to negate the argued relationship postulated by the CIO report.

The editorial posits instead that the actual causative factor was race. Blacks accounted for 56.8 percent of North Carolina's draft rejections and likewise made up a large percentage of rejections in other Southern states.

The focus therefore should be, it implies, on raising the standards of living and education for blacks. While low wages were deplorable, they did not logically account for draft rejection--unless, of course, men secretly were surreptitiously slipping to the local draft boards part of their pay envelopes to be admitted to the crucifixion, that is, the draft.

"A Lesson" points out that the French press disagreed with Secretary of Interior Harold Ickes in his argument that the press had lost touch with the American voter by the fact that only 17 percent of the newspapers in the country had supported FDR in the election. The editor of Pour la Victoire, published in New York, had opined that the differential between the electorate's opinion and that of the press stood as a good example for France, especially given the variation of opinion published in American newspapers.

The Frenchman, whose country had lost freedom of the press for four years, says the piece, could, better than Mr. Ickes, appreciate the true meaning of a free press, that it was not beholding to mass opinion or government opinion, but stood on its own legs.

"Volunteers" suggests something wrong with the Belgians for the fact that, despite their liberation by the Allies, some were not in favor of the new alignment of Western Europe. They were marching en masse in Brussels, singing The Internationale, carrying Soviet flags, and doing so despite the lack of Communist organizing in Western Europe during the previous four and a half years of Nazi occupation.

It was likewise the case in France and Italy. Germany might soon follow. Thus asks quizzically the piece: was the Comintern dead only for the reason that it was no longer necessary, that Communism could now thrive on its own?

Drew Pearson reports on the wayward hunting activities of General Simon Bolivar Buckner who, two years earlier, had used Army planes to hunt moose in Alaska while ordinary GI's could not a license get to hunt rabbits. The Department of Interior had refused a license to the General, but he had obtained the intervention of a judge, requiring that the Department show cause why it should not be provided.

Now, the General was in hot water for having cracked up a plane while hunting walrus on St. Lawrence Island, reportedly having shot one and taken from it a trophy. It was illegal to hunt walrus, reserved for the Eskimos. (Apparently, he got the tip for good hunting ground from Senator Robert Rice Reynolds.)

The General had been transferred to Hawaii where, it was reported, he was now hunting sheep. But the only sheep available in Hawaii were tame sheep which had strayed.

The General's father, incidentally, of the same name, had been a Confederate general and, subsequently, Governor of Kentucky. (The missing link, we think, is now here, must be.)

Mr. Pearson next examines the issue of post-war pricing of consumer goods, whether they should be pegged at 1942 levels, favored by War Mobilizer James Byrnes, Economic Stabilizer Judge Fred Vinson, and OPA head Chester Bowles, as well as by former War Production Board member and president of GE, Charles Wilson, or whether they would be at higher levels, as favored by industry for the fact of higher wages and higher prices of raw materials since 1942.

To break the impasse, a compromise had been suggested whereby prices would be based on 1941 prices plus the increase during the interim in wages and raw materials. That formula had been accepted by Mr. Bowles, but Judge Vinson had continued his objection on the basis that there had developed during the intervening years of the war more cost-effective means of production--for instance, leading to a nine percent reduction in the cost of making steel. Moreover, further causing Judge Vinson consternation was the fact that 85 percent of the goods in question were manufactured by just eighteen companies.

How the matter would be resolved would determine whether the President's campaign promise of 60 million post-war jobs could be fulfilled: higher prices would mean fewer jobs and depression; keeping prices stable would lead to greater consumption, more jobs, and a stable overall economy.

As part of his "Capital Chaff", Mr. Pearson reports that two Treasury Department war films, designed to stimulate sale of war bonds, had been ordered destroyed by the Office of War Information. One film had depicted a sailor on a ship with his clothes afire, desperately seeking to extinguish the flame; the other had shown a soldier dying on a battlefield.

Marquis Childs discusses the Democratic Party's schism between conservatives and liberals as to who would compose the three-person board to oversee the disposition of 50 billion dollars worth of war surplus goods. The conservatives, led by War Mobilizer James Byrnes and Bernard Baruch, favored Will Clayton as the prime distributor of war surplus property. But many on the left believed Mr. Clayton of Texas to be too closely aligned with Secretary of Commerce Jesse Jones, and to represent reactionary business practices. They wanted distribution to be accomplished in such a way as to void monopolies and keep prices down. The conservatives wanted to distribute the property among the larger corporations with as little impact on the overall market as possible.

Still in St. Paul, Samuel Grafton comments that the war workers of the city believed their jobs would be necessary for some time to come, even after cessation of hostilities in Europe. The need for war materials for the war in the Pacific would continue, and their facilities were a thousand miles closer than the Eastern seaboard. Mr. Grafton says that he had encountered the same belief in cities in the West.

Post-war, the pat answer for development was that it should be in public works. Only in Missouri, however, had he found creative thinking as to what form these projects might take beyond the mundane. Missouri wanted a Missouri Valley Authority, similar to TVA.

St. Paul held hope that it would become a central air hub for traffic to and from China and India.

Hal Boyle, reporting from Stolberg in Germany on November 10, tells of the situation extant for six weeks in that town, ninety percent of it being held by the American forces of the First Army, the other ten percent by the Germans. The Americans had the run of it by day and the Germans, part of it at least, by night.

The Americans attended USO shows and watched movies not far from the German lines. German civilians came across the lines to the bakery in the American zone, purchased bread, and returned to their lines. The civilians were obedient to American directions. Some tried to befriend the Americans but the no-fraternization rule prevented reply.

German prisoners appeared tired of the war and thought that Germany would lose it by Christmas.

A letter to the editor corrects the News editorial which had stated that, had FDR lost the South, he would have lost the election, pointing out that even without the South's electoral votes, the President would have won. The editors agree.

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