Tuesday, November 28, 1944

The Charlotte News

Tuesday, November 28, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Ninth Army had reached the Roer River on the Cologne Plain, advancing up to a mile into the web of German defense barriers, reaching Kirchberg, 23 miles from Cologne, 1.5 miles closer than the previous day's report had stated. The forces were less than a mile from Julich across the Roer.

The First Army of Lt. General Courtney Hodges had reached Inden and Jungersdorf, and was moving close to Lamersdorf. It had gained control of two-thirds of Langerwehe, five miles from Duren. Other units fought in Grosshau and for the last third of Hurtgen within the Hurtgen Forest.

The British Second Army cleared out the Grubbenvorst pocket, 2.5 miles north of Venlo.

The Third Army advanced two to four miles further, to within ten miles of Saarbrucken, capturing Seingbousse, southwest of the German steel and coal center, and moved to within five miles of Saarlautern.

German radio announced large-scale retreats north and south of Strasbourg, captured by the Seventh Army. Supreme Headquarters denied knowledge of the accuracy of reports out of the French War Ministry that the French of the Seventh Army had crossed the Rhine at three locations north of Strasbourg.

The French First Army took a thousand German prisoners after repulsing a counter-attack which had sought to cut supply lines through the Belfort Gap, virtually eliminating the German lines south of the Rhine-Rhone Canal. The rout had led to what German radio described, per its usual phraseology for skedaddling, as a "planned withdrawal" south of Strasbourg.

Maj. General Ralph Royce, commander of the U. S. First Tactical Air Force, indicated that surveillance showed 28 Rhine River bridges still intact between Strasbourg and Switzerland. Of these, at least ten were pontoon bridges which could be readily replaced in the event of destruction, affording means of supply to the otherwise trapped German soldiers backed to the Rhine. This count contradicted previous reports that only three bridges at Strasbourg and three more pontoons between Strasbourg and Basel were still extant.

Field Marshal Gerd Von Rundstedt was forced during the previous 24 hours to commit new reinforcements to the front, consisting of eight or nine tank divisions.

Reasonably clear skies along the front permitted bombing operations between Linnich and Duren, the eighteen-mile stretch of German defenses before Cologne.

A thousand RAF heavy bombers struck in pre-dawn raids against Neuss and Freiburg, dropping 4,000 tons of bombs. The French First Army and American Seventh Army fronts were within the vicinity of Freiburg. The British Second Army, along with the American First and Ninth, were operating near Neuss, in the area of Dusseldorf. American heavy bombers then struck Offenburg, north of Freiburg. During the night, RAF Mosquitos raided Berlin.

Thirteen American fighters were missing from the previous day's operations which had seen the largest all-fighter battle yet of the war, as the 500 American fighters had encountered more than 400 German planes, knocking out 98 of them.

The aim of the recent bombing operations was to cut off enemy supply channels over the Rhine and thus pin the German defenders backed up to the Rhine.

General Eisenhower had sent home 27 enlisted men to act as Army emissaries with industry to explain how their ammunition had been rationed on the front lines, to urge an increase in production, lagging somewhat as workers left war industry jobs for the civilian market, believing the war about to end and a consequent rush on civilian jobs probable, leaving them in the lurch.

The soldiers stated that they could fire twice as fast and do three times the damage to the enemy were it not for rationing of ammunition. A sergeant recalled that in June, after the repulse of a German counter-attack on the Normandy beachhead, their guns had to remain silent for three days because of a shortage of anything to fire back at the enemy.

Another sergeant explained that on the Siegfried Line, the men expended more ammunition to root out the Germans holed up in their concrete pillboxes than previously required on the battle fronts.

A private explained that in his outfit, the men at one time were limited to eighty rounds per gun per day.

The death toll in an explosion, as reported the day before, of an RAF underground munitions dump near Burton-on-Trent in England, had been estimated to reach between 20 and 250. Enough bombs for several hundred air raids on Germany were detonated in the explosion, as the rush of air from the first bomb apparently set off the others. Scores of persons were said to have simply disappeared and thus the actual count of the dead could not immediately be ascertained.

Along the Hungarian front, the heaviest snow thus far of the year fell, slowing action within the vicinity of Budapest. The Red Army, however, had been reported by the Germans to have captured Mohacs on the west side of the Danube. The Russians continued to make progress in Slovakia to the north, crossing the 2,700-foot Carpathian Mountains straddling the border with Poland. The Fourth Ukrainian Army widened its front to 75 miles, from west of Dukla Pass to the Hungarian frontier, further compromising the towns of Presov and Kassa. Dukla had been a target for two months of the Czechoslovakian Army and was now being menaced from the rear as well as from the front.

The Japanese hit Saipan shortly after midnight with a bombing raid, consisting initially of two or three low-flying planes, in retaliation for the Saipan-based B-29 raid on Tokyo Friday. The initial raid lasted only a couple of minutes. Another raid of more than a dozen planes attacked at noon. The enemy lost at least 13 fighter planes in the latter attack, including six in running air battles which ranged as far north as Iwo Jima. There was no information regarding damage to American facilities. Apparently no Americans were killed in the raids.

Included is a vivid account of some of the downed Japanese planes and the carnage of battle resulting from what was a "more exciting" noon raid than the night raid:

"One Japanese plane thundered to earth within a mile of this camp. The pilot's body was intact in the plane, except for the right arm which lay 200 feet away. All of his clothes were burned off and the pilot slowly roasted in the fiercely burning plane in full view of scores of Americans."

Admiral Nimitz added two more ships sunk at Santa Cruz on Luzon, and 23 more damaged, to bring the total to 151 ships sunk or damaged in the area of Manila by carrier-based planes during the month of November.

On Leyte, operations before Ormoc were at a virtual halt because of heavy rains and mud.

In China, the Japanese had been thrown back in their drive to Kwieyang on the Burma Road in Kweichow Province, having been stopped at Hochich and forced to retreat southward from that newly won position.

President Roosevelt nominated Major General Patrick Hurley to become Ambassador to China, to succeed Clarence Gauss who had resigned shortly after the recall of General Joseph Stilwell, both having fallen into the disfavor of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek.

In Philadelphia, a bank cashier pleaded guilty to embezzlement of $26,000 and was sentenced to a year in prison. He said that he had embezzled the money because he could not live on his salary after the $6,600 prize he had chanced to receive from the Irish Sweepstakes of 1938, the winnings having then accustomed him to a higher standard of living.

--Doc, ye know, it's like this. Ye get a taste of the power of that Cadillac and its effect on others and ye just can't go back to the Dodge or Ford, ye know?

The House Agriculture Committee heard testimony that there had been a record cigarette tobacco crop in the country during the current year, backing up an 18-month supply of tobacco stored in warehouses, rendering a supply for civilians 50 percent larger than prior to the war. Thus, availability of tobacco apparently was not the reason for the cigarette shortage.

In Washington, news that a cigarette shipment had arrived at a restaurant cigar stand brought numerous patrons, including House Speaker Sam Rayburn, to the counter to obtain their allotments.

The nation and the Congress were going jointly to get to the bottom of this quite serious crisis in the midst of World War.

The Anti-Saloon League was thinking of supplanting "anti" with something more positive in its name, to stress temperance, said its Baltimore general superintendent, Dr. George Crabbe.

On the editorial page, "Hamsayings" reports of the return to Charlotte of The Prophet Ham, having also manifested his eminence in the city in 1934. The Prophet on the earlier occasion had not liked The News and had said so openly; The News, likewise, was of a simpatico mindset with respect to the Prophet. The newspaper had collected and printed at the earlier time some of the Christian evangelist's more interesting statements.


"The number of men as given in Revelations harmonizes with the wavelengths of Russia and the Vatican."

"Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points were a complete bolshevistic program."

"The President...hasn't been to church but once or twice since his inauguration. I came to divide Christians from this gang."

Well, we don't need to print them all, as you may read them as you desire for your edification—or simply tune in most any night to Fox.

He also had stated ominously, "After all my meetings, there are usually a number of first-class funerals."

The editorial wonders who in hell got him back to Charlotte.

"Mr. Secretary" states the mixed feelings with which it received the appointment by the President of Edward Stettinius as the new Secretary of State to succeed retiring Cordell Hull. Mr. Stettinius had been the $100,000 per year head of U.S. Steel before joining the Administration, first in war mobilization, then as director of Lend-Lease, and finally with the State Department, having been Undersecretary since the forced resignation of Sumner Welles in August, 1943. Mr. Stettinius had been welcomed in that position for his knowledge of the Russians and their admiration for him, got through his dealings in Lend-Lease.

But to the negative side, Mr. Stettinius lacked any experience as a statesman or diplomat, something which in years ahead would be necessary after the end of the war. While the editorial expressed consistent admiration for him, it was at a loss, because of this dearth of diplomatic record, to express an opinion on his appointment.

Mr. Stettinius would be replaced by President Truman the following June with James Byrnes, who had just promised the President he would remain in his position as War Mobilizer until the end of the European war.

It is of course entirely likely that there was an implied understanding of this prospective change of the guard at the time of the appointment of Mr. Stettinius, that it was actually intended as an interim appointment, only until such time as Mr. Byrnes was freed from his onerous duties as "Assistant President".

Mr. Stettinius, of course, would oversee the beginning stages of the peace process in Germany as well as the charter formation of the United Nations at the San Francisco Conference in the spring. He was appointed as the first U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations at the time of the end of his short tenure as Secretary of State.

Mr. Stettinius's new coterie of assistants would be an impressive bi-partisan group, who would subsequently have great impact on American life, including future Truman Secretary of State Dean Acheson, the only Assistant retained from the Hull team, and future Republican New York Governor, presidential candidate, and Vice-President, Nelson Rockefeller, probably the last prominent liberal Republican. Mr. Rockefeller had previously been Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs.

"White Plague" comments on tuberculosis, a killer of more people at the time between ages 15 and 45 than any other disease, having taken 56,000 American lives in 1943. Of 400 patients in Mecklenburg County the previous year, 44 had died.

Still, great progress was being made in treatment. Forty years earlier, at the birth of the National Tuberculosis Association, the "White Plague", as it was called, was the culprit in fully 12 percent of all deaths. It had been reduced to four percent. The goal of the Association was to be rid of the disease.

Early detection through X-rays was the best means of interdicting it. The call was for mobile X-ray units to pass through communities.

Christmas Seals were the primary means by which funds were collected, even though that fund was not setting aside money for mobile equipment. Private donations were also necessary.

While remaining a problem in under-developed countries across the globe, tuberculosis has been virtually eradicated for decades within the United States.

"The Accusation" provides Pravda's explanation for the Soviet resistance to any role to be enjoyed at the peace table by Switzerland, ostensibly a neutral and trusted nation on the world scene. Russia had included Switzerland with Portugal, Spain, and Sweden, as the neutral countries to whose attendance at the recent International Civil Aviation Conference in Chicago it had objected. The Russians had also vehemently registered objection to consideration of Geneva as the new seat for the international peace organization. Pravda contended that Switzerland had for years been supplying munitions to Germany.

The editorial posits that, if true, Switzerland indeed did not deserve any seat at the post-war peace table, any more than did the other three nominally neutral countries who had nevertheless done business with Hitler during the war.

Drew Pearson discusses further the shakeup in the cabinet of Chiang Kai-shek and the recall of General Stilwell from the China-Burma-India command post. Mr. Pearson had reported July 10 that many of Chiang's warlords would rather fight the United States and Great Britain than Japan.

Many of the people around Chiang within the party structure of the Kuomintang had ties financially still within Japanese-occupied territories of China.

Madame Sun Yat-sen, widow of the first president of the Chungking Government, was openly at odds with Chiang's policy disfavoring the Communist rebel armies in the North--found by a report prepared for the White House by special emissaries of the President accompanying Vice-President Wallace on his trip to China during the summer, to have been fighting more tenaciously against the Japanese than Chiang's forces. General Hurley and Donald Nelson had asked Chiang to cooperate with the Communists for that reason. Shortly thereafter, General Stilwell was called home. Chiang, with the departure of General Stilwell, was now more compliant with Allied demands.

The reason for the need to bring the Chinese situation to heel was the determined belief by the military that the operations in the Pacific, fighting island by island, while perhaps to be successful in defeating Japan in the home islands, would not finally defeat the Japanese in China. It would, it was thought, be necessary finally to fight a major campaign on the Chinese mainland to root out the Japanese in that theater.

The report of the Wallace trip to China had convinced the President that the Chiang forces and the Communists in the North had to coordinate operations to defeat the Japanese. Chiang, as it stood, according to the report, was fighting the Communists more diligently than the Japanese, in an attempt to consolidate and preserve his power against competition from the rebel leader, Mao Tse-tung. The Communists nevertheless were said to have better intelligence on the Japanese and were more economically solvent than Chiang's forces.

Marquis Childs reports of isolationist Chicago Tribune publisher Robert McCormick calling for a change in Republican leadership in light of the overwhelming Republican defeat in the recent election. He favored return of control of the party to the West, away from New York, dominated, he said, by "international bankers" (always to be translated in the isolationist lingo as meaning Jews), big industry, and brokerage houses.

He spoke for many in the Midwest, including such persons as reactionary Gerald L. K. Smith, who believed that the Eastern establishment was too dominant.

Col. McCormick, says Mr. Childs, had coveted the nomination for himself in 1944. He had told Mr. Childs in April, right after the Wisconsin primary had repudiated Wendell Willkie and made it obvious that the non-declared candidacy of Thomas Dewey would prevail, that he believed the party would nominate someone whose name had not yet been mentioned. Mr. Childs eventually came to realize that the Colonel had in mind himself.

While Col. McCormick had finally accepted the nomination of Governor Dewey, he now stated that it had been a weak choice, as demonstrated by the fact that the Governor had lost by a larger majority than the other Republican candidates who had gone down to defeat.

The questions remained whether the Republicans would permit Col. McCormick to take over the party and reform it into one of nationalism or whether they would exclude him and force him to construct his own nationalist party.

By 1948, effectively a compromise would be at work, with Governor Dewey sharing the ticket with California Governor Earl Warren, who had declined the position of vice-presidential nominee in 1944.

The expressed distrust of the "Eastern establishment", as stated by Col. McCormick, would play the constant representation of the harpy to Richard Nixon throughout most of his career in national politics.

Dorothy Thompson follows up on the report from London that the Americans, British, and Russians had reached their tentative agreement for military occupation of Germany post-war. It would include joint military authority for the zones of occupation, as well as planning for an early German central government authority. This agreement ran contrary to the expectation until recently that Germany would be divided into three or possibly four zones with each of the Big Three and possibly France occupying separate areas.

Also provided were, in accordance with the Roosevelt plan, permanent disarmament, punishment of those directly responsible for atrocities, and the necessity for the Germans to earn their way back into the brotherhood of nations. Moreover, there would be a repudiation in Germany of racial superiority.

Ms. Thompson remarks on Stalin's recent speech in which he had underscored the utter failure of the Nazi politics of racial superority. He had included the Russian aphorism: "We do not hate the wolf because his fur is gray, but because it eats our sheep."

Hal Boyle visits an airbase in Belgium on November 6, reports of the cracking of his illusion that night fighters, crews of the so-called Black Widow planes, were men possessed of special night-vision capability. Reports had it that they wore dark goggles and consumed vast quantities of vitamin A.

It wasn't so. They ate ordinary Army grub, had no goggles.

The unit had become operational July 3 in England, had since bagged seven enemy planes, probably eight others, and shot down four flying bombs. Each plane carried two men, a pilot and radar observer. They worked on shifts of two consecutive nights on and two off. The night crews arose at noon, ate breakfast, reported to briefing at 1:00, heard news and targets for that night, then proceeded to an hour-long test flight.

When they were getting ready for a mission, they stood outside for an hour to accustom their vision to the darkness. No lights were allowed to shine on the field during that time.

They sometimes flew two or three sorties in a given night. They were exhausted after the second.

Bedtime came at 7:00 a.m. They caught up on lost sleep during the two days off.

A letter to the editor from Democratic National Committee chairman Robert Hannegan thanked personally The News for being among the 17 percent of American newspapers which had endorsed the President for a fourth term. Mr. Hannegan expressed the belief that The News had thus helped to re-elect the President.

The excerpt from the Congressional Record, a new daily feature of the page inaugurated the previous day, is from the Rev. A. Powell Davies of Washington, included at the request of Senator Harold Burton of Ohio. After the Reverend had said that the Germans are "inclined to be more completely and thoroughly whatever it is they are", he provided a poem, originally indited, he said, by a misogynist anent women, which he had found applicable, instead, to Germany:

O the gladness of their gladness when
they're glad!

And the sadness of their sadness when
they're sad!

But the gladness of their gladness and
the sadness of their sadness

Are as nothing to their badness when
they're bad!

Well, it still applies to the Weird Sisters, who were certainly akin to Hitler, Goebbels, and Himmler in make-up and other things.

That underlying "savages", incidentally, from May 20, is now here. Woo-woo.

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