Thursday, November 23, 1944

The Charlotte News

Thursday, November 23, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that, amid rain driven by ferocious winds, the Ninth Army had driven into the Roer Valley to the villages of Koslar and Barmen, north of the Aachen to Berlin autobahn, moving toward Cologne, 26 miles distant. The Roer itself had overflowed its banks, swollen by rainwaters.

Below the autobahn, other American Army units entered Bourheim, Pattern, and Lohn, to form a six-mile wide front.

The area of Aachen was a series of deep muddy pools where, nevertheless, American tanks and artillery continued to operate against the enemy Tiger tanks at point-blank range in the area of Julich on the Roer, 1.5 miles east of Koslar. The battle was the fiercest yet for the American troops.

The First Army was cleaning out remaining enemy contingents from Durwiss and Lohn, nearby captured Eschweiler. Infantry units, in pre-dawn darkness, moved two miles to the outskirts of Weisweiler, east of Eschweiler.

The British Second Army, operating above Geilenkirchen, captured Hoven and high ground beyond Gereonsweiler, aiming for the Roer. Other British units moved to within two miles of Venlo in Holland and captured the town of Amerika, after slugging through the worst minefields and mud since the early days following D-Day.

The Third Army moved another mile into Germany, fourteen miles east of captured Metz, to within 15 miles of Saarbrucken. The Tenth Armored Division advanced to Kesslingen.

We know, New York, already. The Yanks had captured Metz. Forget about it.

To the south, American infantry and French tanks moved along the Rhine plain less than 18 miles from Strasbourg, having completely broken through the German defense lines, facing opposition now consisting of many green German troops, in service for less than a month. One company was composed entirely of deaf Germans.

The French advanced four miles from captured Mulhouse to Battenheim.

The implication was that Marshal von Rundstedt was giving up both Lorraine and Alsace--possibly, to Lord Fortinbras. Some 79,000 troops of the German 19th Army had been pinned against the Rhine by the Allied forces moving through the Belfort and Saverne gaps.

The bad weather, including fog, rain, and snow, had grounded all air operations in support of the front the day before, save a few sorties in the south. This day, about 500 tons of bombs were dropped on Gelsenkirchen by American fighters and bombers.

--What's that, Squadron Leader? More cabbages through the p's and q's to drop them in the bertie. Right.

In Italy, the Eighth Army had cleared all Germans from the river loop less than four miles south of Faenza. Polish troops, driving beyond Monte Fortino, captured three more villages.

The Russians, also slugging through rain and deep mud, moved closer to Hatvan, Eger, and Miskolc in Hungary, engaging in hand to hand combat along an 85-mile front northwest of Budapest. Twelve counter-attacks by the Germans at Hevig-Gyor were repulsed, just south of the Budapest-Hatvan railway.

To the north, heavy patrol combat was engaged near the Polish town of Pultusk above Warsaw.

On Leyte, American planes sank or heavily damaged four troop-laden freighters, four luggers, and fourteen barges designed to reinforce the Japanese at Limon.

The Americans continued to tighten the ring around Limon, as harsh weather still plagued operations.

Admiral Nimitz revised his figures on the shipping sunk or damaged the previous Saturday at Luzon, to include seventeen freighters, oilers, and luggers.

Secretary of War Henry Stimson released his grim weekly statement of American casualties since the start of the war: 528,795, including 117,453 killed.

A supposed recent picture of Hitler which had surfaced in London was said by the London Daily Express to be a fraud. The right ear on the subject was half an inch too large. Ears, said the newspaper, are as good as fingerprints for making identifications, as the ears exhibit little change after the age of 21.

In Ottawa, newly appointed Canadian Defense Minister Andrew McNaughton addressed the Canadian House of Commons, in support of a compromise plan endorsed by Prime Minister MacKenzie King, to have a draft only for home defense and make overseas duty strictly voluntary. The move was in deference to Quebec which had a tradition of opposition to conscription. Several ministers in the Government, however, favored setting a definite time limit on the voluntary system, after which the 60,000 draftees for home defense could be shipped overseas.

--Handy-dandy. Much safer, so safe you wouldn't believe it.

Senator Elmer Thomas of Oklahoma, new chairman of the Agriculture Committee, succeeding deceased Cotton Ed Smith of South Carolina, sought to push through to an immediate floor vote, without committee hearings and debate, a bill to establish pervasive crop insurance which would protect farmers growing cotton, wheat, and flax from virtually any hazard.

The Ohio Bell operators' strike was now starting to spread, as operators had walked out from their jobs in Detroit and Washington. A spokeswoman for the Ohio Federation of Telephone Workers stated, however, that prospects for settlement of the strike appeared good. Part of the conditions of settlement was that the "carpetbaggers" presently manning the lines would be removed and the jobs returned to the 500 striking regular operators--which, pardon us for saying, seems a wee bit circular.

The original source of the strike was the payment of $18.25 as a weekly expense bonus to operators from outside the city of Dayton. Company officials cited the need for workers in times of shortage of help as a reason for paying the extra travel expenses of out of town workers.

--Hm, hmmmm. That ugly hussy is not gonna get more than me for the same work. Hm, hmmm. Just look at that hair-do, and those grimy shoes, tromping around in cow pastures. She is straight off the farm. Probably have party-lines where she comes from. Hm-hmmmmm.

P. G. Wodehouse, having been reported as released from French custody the day before after three nights, was now stated still to be detained, despite charges of collaboration with the enemy having not been pressed by French authorities for the broadcast in 1941 over German radio by Mr. Wodehouse. He would be released the following morning, said the report, after arrangements had been made for surveillance of his country residence.

The press and Mrs. Wodehouse, however, were informed that he had been released that morning. He might have disappeared in the meantime for a bit, madame, lost on the way to the country, probably in some publick house, you know. You know how these traitors are, ma'am. Be home shortly in all likelihood. Good day.

The cigarette shortage in the United States was attributed to increased exports to recently liberated European countries and was expected to become worse during the ensuing two years, regardless of when the war ended, for the same need abroad. Fear of shortage, however, had fueled hoarding, making the domestic situation worse. Lack of adequate shipping for all supplies was blamed for the shortage experienced on the French front among soldiers.

As civilians at home lacked turkey for Thanksgiving, every man and woman in service was assured at least a pound each of the bird, while men abroad received a pound and a half.

Twelve million pounds of turkey had been set aside for the military on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's--by coincidence, the same number of pounds of turkey as bales of cotton set aside by the Government as collateral for its price-support loans to farmers in 1939, assuring a fair price of 8.3 cents per pound, but below that, including the carrying charges, which the farmers would have needed as requisite to remit recompense for their loans and so causing them not to be ready at once to sell. Of course, there, the problem, besides comparison of turkeys to cotton being at once obvious, could have been the fact of the cotton being frozen. For there is little or nothing of something worse, when trying to swab a profusely bleeding wound at the front, than having frozen cotton. Better to cauterize the thing right on the spot, medicinally speaking. But that is applying, perhaps, the magic of Washington to a problem soluble only by Lincoln.

It was reported that, while American troops in New Delhi ate turkey, men in the jungles of Burma had to settle for peacock, though illegal to hunt.

President Roosevelt delivered his annual Thanksgiving Day proclamation, his twelfth and, as it would turn out, his last.

It was the third Thanksgiving since America had entered the war. Fortunately, it would be the last, thus far, to see America or any other country involved in world war.

On the editorial page, "This Day" quotes from Abraham Lincoln's first official proclamation of a Day of Thanksgiving, to be set aside on the last Thursday of November, subsequently changed to the fourth Thursday.

The proclamation was issued October 3, 1863. The piece is in error, or at least is awkwardly worded, in appearing to state that it was one week after the Gettysburg Address, which took place November 19, 1863. The first officially invited Thanksgiving, on November 26, was a week after the address.

During the period 1939 through 41, Thanksgiving was declared by the President to be on the third Thursday of November, so-called "Franksgiving" by the President's opponents. The desire was to extend by a week the holiday shopping period to provide more business for merchants. That experiment having failed, however, to show any marked change in commerce, the date was reversed in May, 1941, and the date reverted to the fourth Thursday from 1942 forward. During the three interim years, only half the states changed the date in 1939 and only two-thirds during the succeeding two years.

In any event, despite the first Thanksgiving being marred by continuing civil war in the country, it still found something about which to be thankful, and so stood as a reminder to this world in time of continued war.

"No Hurry" suggests to the City School Board that it not appoint a successor forthwith should the 70-year old Superintendent resign before the end of his scheduled term July 1. For the terms of three members of the Board were set to expire in the spring and it would be the better part of valor, therefore, to wait until the Board was newly constituted before naming the successor--provided, that is, should the aging Superintendent come to the decision to resign.

"The Hounds" observes the attempt to streamline the Senate in its overabundance of committees, 33 regularly sitting, and additional special committees, such as the one to Investigate Production, Transportation and Marketing of Wool.

The House possessed 46 regular committees and another plethora of special committees.

There were also 23 joint committees of the two chambers.

And then there was the Smith Committee which was studying the whole committee business and seeking to curb the number of committees.

If it seems as if the editors went home for Thanksgiving and left little or nothing of original substance in the column this day, we think that would be a pretty fair guess. But they were entitled.

Drew Pearson tells of the protest sent to the United States Government against the British by Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia for the British refusal to evacuate the country. The British were still occupying the ports of Ogaden and Harar.

Emperor Selassie had garnered great sympathy to his country's cause when it was beset by Mussolini's Italy in 1935. He was lauded as a hero when, in 1941, the Italians were finally ousted and Selassie returned to his throne. His was the first country invaded and so it was promoted as the first wrong of the war righted, accomplished by the British. In exchange, they were given the right of occupation for two years, and the previous March, the right was extended for a year, at the demand of the British.

When Emperor Selassie asked the British to depart by the end of 1944, however, they balked, said that the people of Ogaden and Harar now recognized as their lawful sovereign King George VI. It became evident that the British intended to annex part of the two provinces to British Somalia.

Emperor Selassie had the previous month sought to communicate directly with Drew Pearson, but British or State Department censorship had intervened.

The State Department was quietly trying to urge the British to respect the rights of small nations but also trying to keep the matter quiet on the world stage.

The only two independent countries in Africa, Mr. Pearson points out, were Liberia, founded by American slaves and under American protection, and Ethiopia, under British protection.

He next tells of venerable Rhode Island Senator Theodore Green who stated at a Washington party that to get his Senate colleagues to agree to change the requirement of a two-thirds majority vote for ratification of treaties to that of a simple majority would require first that they abandon the tradition of having in place in the Senate, as standard equipment, snuff boxes.

Samuel Grafton, still in Des Moines, again stresses that Iowa was heavily Republican. When it voted Democratic, as in 1932 and 1936, it was only because of woes being experienced by farmers, as during the Depression. Recovery meant that it was free again to vote its natural will, voting heartily for Willkie in 1940 and less heartily for Dewey in 1944.

Nevertheless, Des Moines had voted each of the previous four times for Roosevelt. The inability of the GOP to carry larger cities, Des Moines having a population of 160,000, was as much a detriment to the party as its inability to crack the Solid South.

A CIO PAC representative informed Mr. Grafton that in Iowa, the small county seat of between 5,000 and 10,000 population was the heart of the Republican support base. Many of the small farmers voted Democratic, but the smaller prosperous towns gave the state to Dewey.

Mr. Grafton finds this trend to be emblematic of the base attracted to the Republicans, that they would have to expand their horizons to appeal more to labor were they again to become a truly nationally competitive party. As it was, they were in danger of appealing to a relatively compact group of special interests across the country. Small county seats could not be the base for a national party, no matter how well organized.

Marquis Childs reports on the compromise plan reached out of the International Civil Aviation Conference in Chicago, one which had synthesized the proposals of the United States, Britain, and Canada. The international organization to be formed would not have power to allocate routes as favored by the British, but rather would leave nations free, as the U.S. desired, to enter into mutual pacts to accommodate international air travel. Nor would there be quotas, as the British had wanted, based on passenger traffic.

It meant that American companies could immediately begin to establish international routes without having to wait for the rest of the world to catch up to its number of planes and experienced pilots.

Assistant Secretary of State Adolf Berle, the American representative at the conference, was due a large part of the credit for the plan.

The temptation to believe that America could act unilaterally in aviation after the war was mistaken; the British held many important international ports of entry and so cooperation was a must to insure widespread commercial traffic.

Dorothy Thompson extols the virtues of Austria and its capital at Vienna, holding a third of the country's population, as an ideal location for the new League of Nations. Geneva, she says, was too small a tableau, too narrow, too provincial to accommodate a world seat. Vienna, built as the intended center of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, was ideal. It had historically been a melting pot of nationalities in Europe and, unlike Germany, had never exhibited strong nationalism. Thus, it could serve as a District of Columbia to the world.

Of course, the seat instead would be placed in New York and so you may read the remainder of Ms. Thompson's moot argument as you please.

Hal Boyle, reporting from Germany on November 12, tells of the Second Infantry Division having broken through in four days the Siegfried Line, which had taken the Germans four years to build.

It took a dozen doughboys, all except one of whom hailing from the South, four hours to construct a chapel of logs inside the Line. The chapel conducted services for both Protestants and Catholics.

Harry Golden, writing a letter to the editor for the first time as "Editor, The Carolina Israelite", seeks to raise consciousness to discrimination against Jews, based on the acts of the few.

Lord Moyne of the British Empire had been assassinated by two Jewish men in Cairo. Even Winston Churchill had reportedly said in response, "I and other constant architects of the future of Jewry will feel compelled to reconsider their attitude if such wicked activities do not cease."

For two wayward men among their number, all Jews had to suffer. Mr. Golden points out that there was a centuries-old phrase in Hebrew for the notion, "K'lal Israel," meaning, "What one of our number does, must be borne as a burden by all of us."

No one blamed the heritage of Dillinger or Machine-gun Kelly for their acts. "[Y]et, because we, too, have a 'machine-gun-Kelly' among our co-religionists it is quite possible that the four million civilian innocents killed in Europe may have lost their cause; because we, too, have a 'Dillinger' and a 'Capone,' it is quite possible that the entire fabric of the dreams and the hopes of millions of innocent people may be completely discredited."

So, it should be, of course, for all. Each individual acts of his or her own accord and responsibility, even if part of a group dynamic of the moment.

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