Saturday, November 25, 1944

The Charlotte News

Saturday, November 25, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Ninth Army moved closer to Julich on the Roer River, 25 miles from Cologne, taking out 15 more German tanks as they advanced. The Army captured Bourheim, two miles southwest of Julich.

To the south, the First Army moved to the edge of Hurtgen Forest and cleaned out Putzlohn, north of captured Eschweiler, continuing the house to house fight within nearby Weisweiler.

The Third Army had crossed the rain-swollen Saar River 28 miles south of Saarbrucken, clearing the enemy from Butzdorf, three miles inside Germany southeast of Luxembourg. An already established bridgehead across the Saar at Postdorf was held against counter-attack. Other units reached Remering and Hilsprich in gains of up to 2.5 miles.

Further south in Strasbourg, the Seventh Army had backed the Germans to the dock area of the city on the Rhine. Supreme Headquarters retracted the report of the previous day that Allied patrols had crossed the Rhine.

Further progress was made in clearing the Germans from the Saales Pass in the Vosges Mountains above Colmar. The Allies encountered strong German resistance in the area between Mulhouse and Belfort.

More than 1,000 American heavy bombers, accompanied by an equal number of escorts, struck, for the second time within the week, the Leuna synthetic oil facility at Merseburg, having also hit it on Tuesday. An oil storage facility at Blingen, west of Mainz, was also struck.

A German document captured by the Allies in Europe showed that the Germans were running low on ammunition, had none for training purposes. They were ordered to remove and take the weapons and ammunition from their fallen comrades in battle to conserve the ability to fire on the Allies.

The Red Army had entered Miskolc and Hatvan in Hungary, northeast of Budapest. The Germans had almost completely abandoned Miskolc by the time the Russians arrived. The defenders of Hatvan, however, were making a stand and counter-attacking.

On Leyte, a four-ship convoy headed toward Ormoc to deliver reinforcements to the beleaguered Japanese forces had been destroyed off Masbate Island by American planes, resulting in the estimated loss of 3,500 Japanese troops.

In ground action, the 32nd Division had crossed the Leyte River below Limon.

Tokyo was left in flames by the previous day's 3,000-mile roundtrip B-29 raid out of Saipan. Official reports stated that two of the Super-fortresses had been lost, one when a Japanese fighter crashed into its tail. A Tokyo broadcast minimized the extent of damage from the attack. Brig. General Haywood Hansell, head of the 21st Bomber Command on Saipan, said that the results of the raid were good but not as expected, hampered by cloud cover.

Admiral Thomas Sprague, who had commanded a force of sixteen escort carriers in the Second Battle of the Philippine Sea in late October, stated his opinion that the publicity being given American aviation aces had a detrimental impact on overall morale, disrupting esprit de corps. He also grimly stated that, once an ace became famous, he tended not to live long, as a lone plane and pilot made an easy target for the enemy.

In Brussels, street demonstrations against the Government of Hubert Pierlot turned violent as police opened fire on the demonstrators when they surged through police barricades, injuring at least five, though apparently none fatally.

Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis, commissioner of major league baseball for 24 years, died at age 78 in Chicago after heart trouble, for which he had been hospitalized for nearly two months, causing him to miss his first World Series since becoming commissioner.

On the editorial page, "Sacred Cow" finds the Army's decision to avoid hitting Emperor Hirohito's palace during the Tokyo raid the day before, to avoid fanatical reaction and vindictive behavior by the Japanese, to have been one endued with debatable strategy.

James Young, author of Behind the Rising Sun, who had been a prisoner in Japan, had opined that this notion was nonsense. His belief was that blowing up the palace, capturing Hirohito and executing him would have been the better policy. All of the relics of Shintoism, he thought, should be treated likewise.

The editorial asserts that it could not comprehend how the Japanese would fight any more fanatically than they already did, how they could treat prisoners any worse than reports already condemned them for having done. It favored the view of Mr. Young, that the quicker the Japanese were shown the humanity and mortality of their supposed divine Emperor, the more quickly they would be disabused of their ascription to him of deific qualities, and thus the more inclined to surrender.

"Painless" discusses the sixth war loan drive just underway and its importance to paying for the war effort. Only one-third of the bill was met by taxes. The rest was dependent on bonds.

During the World War, it points out, quotas were assigned and enforced, requiring citizens to buy bonds even if they had to borrow to do so. In the present war, while there were no quotas, there was subtle coercion in that there were deductions made from employees' pay checks, albeit deductions which were voluntary.

Unlike in the previous war, in which bonds were sold at par value, and, in a depressed post-war economy, were often sold off at less than face value, the new E and F series bonds were sold below par and so could be sold, within a year of the time of purchase, for that which the buyer purchased them. Short-term redemption was not troubling to the Treasury Department as it was able to use the funds without interest for a year.

"Bystander" discusses the post-war outlook for high taxes, three to four times that of the pre-war taxes. Senate Majority Leader Alben Barkley had predicted both the necessity of a high national income and high taxes; so had Beardsley Ruml, business proponent who had put forward the plan in 1943 to defer taxes for that year until the end of the war to offset higher tax rates, especially on business.

"A Dynamo" compliments the understaffed and under-funded Charlotte Public Library for its extra work in putting out a directory of local clubs and organizations, all thousand of them. The library was functioning for the benefit of the community on a level exceeding simply a book-lending service.

Drew Pearson wonders aloud why the Japanese could still land troops on Leyte despite the overwhelming victory had over the enemy fleet in the Second Battle of the Philippine Sea a month earlier. Word had it that the problem lay in the overstatement, by the President, General MacArthur, and Admiral Halsey, of the extent of the naval victory. While important, it was not so important as they had made it out to be.

The Navy Department had responded to Admiral Halsey's initial glowing proclamation of victory over the Japanese Fleet by telling him that it was not so decisive as he claimed and to maintain a lid on his news releases.

But General MacArthur eclipsed any such effort when he publicly declared the victory as a great one. The President then took his cue from the General and called a press conference to announce the greatest naval victory of the war.

The previous week, the Navy chief of press relations stated that the victory had not materially shortened the war.

One of the actions which had lessened the effectiveness of the victory was that Admiral Thomas Kincaid's Fleet, including the older ships damaged at Pearl Harbor, was supposed to act as a decoy to attract the Japanese Navy while Admiral Halsey would bring to bear on the enemy his more modern ships. But Admiral Halsey was diverted from the plan by part of the Japanese Navy moving to the south, to which Admiral Halsey gave chase. Thus, the plan never was fully implemented to trap the Japanese Fleet.

Mr. Pearson next informs that big business had found a way during the war to avoid anti-trust suits brought by the Government. Since anti-trust suits had to receive the imprimatur of both the Army and Navy to assure that no vital industry would be adversely affected, the companies got their friends in the Army and Navy to tip them of coming suits and then tried to prevail upon the Army and Navy to block them.

Nevertheless, a number of anti-trust suits were slated by Attorney General Biddle, including: seeking to break up the international diamond cartel controlled by the British in South Africa; breaking up a few foreign and domestic companies' lock on the sale of electrical goods; breaking up the monopoly held by Eastman Kodak on motion picture equipment; breaking up the monopoly on ball bearings held by SKF; making the machine tools industry more competitive; likewise, non-ferrous metals producers; and farm machinery, with an eye toward reducing prices.

Dorothy Thompson comments on the consistent statements of General Eisenhower, the President, Henry Kaiser, and Manpower Coordinator Paul McNutt during the prior ten days anent the critical supply shortage at the front, caused by lack of available personnel in plants. Mr. Kaiser had reported that 23,000 men had quit their jobs in the shipyards at Richmond, California.

The shift to civilian jobs was out of a striking fear that the war jobs would soon end and the workers would find themselves unemployed, with a rush to the civilian market by war workers and returning soldiers alike. So, the workers were quitting early to grab a civilian factory job.

She reminds of the great present sacrifice on the battlefields of France, Belgium, and Germany by American men, fighting on through the winter, a winter which would alternate between rain, snow, and thaw, leaving ground muddy, in some ways therefore worse than the constantly frozen turf of the Eastern front on which the Russians fought.

One of the problems, she asserts, was that Americans did not celebrate their victories in the war as did the Russians and British. More recognition was due each victory to instill in the workers a sense of pride in the accomplishment and the need to continue. She cites as example of that gone largely absent elaborate note the great victory in the Second Battle of the Philippine Sea--apparently not yet privy to the same information which had motivated Drew Pearson to write of there having been too much made of that victory by the President, General MacArthur, and Admiral Halsey.

Marquis Childs writes of the proposed cooperative plan on oil for the post-war, worked out during the summer between the Americans and British. The plan had been turned over to the Senate by the President for ratification as a treaty, but had so far languished before the Foreign Relations Committee, without even so much as scheduled hearings. The oil industry had so opposed the plan as to cow the committee into pigeon-holing the proposal.

But, says Mr. Childs, if the Senate was going to be intimidated by special interest groups, regardless of the election in which the people plainly rejected all vestiges of isolationism, then the country was no better off in terms of internationalism for the post-war world.

The oil industry was afraid of the prospect of cartels governing the international oil trade. But such was an inevitability and the United States could no more govern the oil producing states than those states could govern the United States.

The Senate meanwhile needed to reckon with the fact that the oil interests, who uniformly had opposed the President in the election, had lost.

Dr. Herbert Spaugh devotes his column to the subject of undue cursing by men in service, that it was unbecoming and un-Christian behavior, that it was to be judged in the eyes of God, and adversely so. Dr. Spaugh had served in the trenches of France in World War I and so could not be accused by anyone of not understanding combat situations.

He does not mention the flap over the President's having said, by his own admission, "...[T]he damn thing won't work," or, by Time's rendition, "The goddamned thing won't work," in relation to the temporarily stuck lever on the voting machine in Hyde Park on election day. The Glendale Ministerial Association of Glendale, California, had demanded originally, based on the Time report, that the President apologize and mend his ways. Based on his amendment to the report, they had accepted his admission as better than an apology and, themselves, apologized for having thought ill of the President's speech.

No one has imparted what General Patton had to say of the whole matter.

In any event, Dr. Spaugh kept his columns short and thus did not have to endure daily the problem of tangled keys and resulting reaction to that condition.

Apparently, his voting booth worked alright, too.

Some people are just blessed that way. Just accept the fact, and cast not stones upon those of us less favored.

Sometimes, too, we are sorely pressed for the fact of the sports team for which we might be inclined to support losing to a team given no chance by anyone to win--such as the grip into which we find ourselves cast this evening. A similar feeling being at work within us, though not quite, strictly speaking, precisely analogous, as that upon a cold winter's night, dreary, creeping, sere and serry, not dearly, fans' due wary, pine-teen, fixed-fee shaven, of January 2, 1967. But, of course, we must keep all of that in perspective, reflecting back to November 19, 2004, a similar performance and result having occurred that night in Oakland, California, which, in the end, proved only to be a valuable learning experience. We hope and trust that it shall be, come March and April, likewise again. In the meantime, there is a cold track, we understand, in Chapel Hill, which needs some thawing by means of treading around its oval circumference with the pleasant patter of several feet. That way, perhaps, the same mistake won't be repeated a week from now, or in the meantime, when the opponent will no longer be deemed, no doubt, the underdog.

Of course, failing that, there are other means of subtle persuasion.

Hal Boyle reports from France on November 13 of being reunited with the Third Division with which he had landed two years earlier in French Morocco in North Africa. He sat and talked for hours with three old friends of the Division, each of whom had been promoted in the interim, about past battles in Africa, Sicily, and Italy.

When Mr. Boyle had first disembarked from the ship to head for shore aboard the assault boat at Fedala two years earlier, he had donned his heavy combat jacket. A soldier looking on told him that if he wore it and was pitched into the water, he would drown. He took it off. Two hours later, the boat crashed into a coral reef sending the inhabitants into the drink. He was able easily to swim ashore in his light gear, but had he worn the combat jacket, he would not have made it. He inquired of the soldier who had saved his life with a simple observation and piece of advice. The men told him that he had perished in combat.

Mr. Boyle expressed that he wished in many ways that he had never joined back up with the Division as there were so many faces missing, most of whom were casualties of war.

The Third had been a good division two years earlier, said one of his old friends, but they were better now with experience behind them. They still had the spirit, however, which they had in North Africa.

Mr. Boyle nevertheless would have preferred the old division, with all the men still present within it. He concludes by saying, "In war—as in peace—you can't go 'home' again."

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