Wednesday, November 29, 1944

The Charlotte News

Wednesday, November 29, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the First Army had taken the remaining third of Langerwehe the previous day, to move within four miles of Duren, as well as capturing Hurtgen, Kleinhau, and Jungersdorf, moving to the western outskirts of Merode, 3.5 miles from Duren. The Ninth Army captured Koslar, moving to within less than a mile of Julich, a major point on the Roer River defensive line of the Germans. The taking of these five towns opened the way to Cologne, 23 miles distant.

The Third Army advanced ten miles in some places, reaching the outer portion of the Siegfried Line within the Saar Basin, moving to within eight miles of Saarbrucken, threatening Saarlautern, Hagenau, Merzig, Forbach, Sarreguemines, and Sarre Union, the latter 21 miles below Saarbrucken and 3.5 miles from Saarlautern. From Hagenau, railroads led across the Rhine to Karlsruhe and Neustadt.

In the south, the French First Army trapped a large contingent of Germans in a 50-square mile box between Mulhouse and Belfort.

To the north, Canadian troops entered Germany for the first time, crossing the Dutch border in the Nijmegen sector.

The British mopped up enemy stragglers west of the Meuse in Holland while continuing to probe into the German defenses at Venlo and Roermond.

All of France was now liberated save 3,000 square miles, about 1.5 percent of all French territory, including two small rectangular regions in each of Alsace and Lorraine, and about 1,000 square miles of bypassed territory around the ports of Dunkerque, Lorient, St. Nazaire, and land at the mouth of the Garonne Estuary leading to Bordeaux.

A thousand American bombers, accompanied by a thousand fighters, hit targets at Misburg and Hamm in Germany, dropping 4,000 tons of bombs. Misburg's oil refinery had also been the target of bombing on Sunday.

Prime Minister Churchill told Commons that he believed the war against Germany might last until beyond early summer, as he had previously predicted, now altering his prognostic, suggesting extension of the war perhaps to sometime later in the summer.

The Russians and Yugoslavs had crossed the Danube in force south of Budapest, forging a bridgehead 90 miles wide and 25 miles deep, capturing the town of Pecs, about a hundred miles south of the capital, as well as Mohaes and Bataszck. In northern Hungary, the Russians cleared the enemy from the right bank of the Tisza River.

The Russians also captured the Slovak town of Vysni Syidnik, in the southern approach to the Dukla Pass.

In Italy, Germans were fighting tenaciously from newly established positions on the Lamone River, north of Faenza.

Tokyo radio reported the first night attack by B-29's on Tokyo, contending little damage was done by a small formation dropping incendiary and flare bombs. No confirmation had come from American Headquarters.

The Japanese were reported in general retreat in Burma.

In the Philippines, General MacArthur reported some damage had been done to American ships in San Pedro Bay, off eastern Leyte, by 30 Japanese torpedo and dive bombers, half of which were destroyed.

On the western side of the island, American destroyers attacked Ormoc for three hours. To the south, the Japanese had been counter-attacking the American 7th Division for a week, seeking a point through which to accomplish a breakthrough of the American lines. Generally, torrential rains continued to slow operations.

Tokyo claimed that the B-29 base on Saipan had again been raided by Japanese fighters. No confirmation of the report came from American sources.

Telephone operators in Louisville and Memphis were considering whether to go on strike after the War Labor Board turned down their requests for a $5 per week raise and granted instead a $2 per week hike. The $2 increase would bring their weekly wages to a minimum of $17 and a maximum of $27, in comparison to New York operators' wages at $20 and $34, respectively.

Colonel Elliott Roosevelt, son of the President, was reported to be about to wed actress Faye Emerson, to become his third wife on Sunday.

Colonel Roosevelt had been trailing in a Mosquito the fatal B-24 Liberator of Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr., when it prematurely detonated August 12 over England, heading for a semi-drone attack on a German rocket-plane installation in France, killing both Kennedy and his co-pilot.

Fred Perkins, York, Pa., battery manufacture, a longtime protester of New Deal policies, who had gone to jail to avoid paying Social Security taxes, testified before the House Ways and Means Committee considering the raising of Social Security taxes. Mr. Perkins railed against the raising of the taxes, saying that, as an employer, he could not afford to pay them as it was.

"Let's teach Americans to want to be rich again. Let them compete for that honor... Dog eat dog. It's the wealthy who will be the saviors of this country," said he.

Sounds like a pretty fair campaign slogan for the 1912—that is, the 2012 Republican nominee, judging by the bulk of the rhetoric characterizing the campaign thus far.

On the editorial page, "A Clear Fraud" discusses North Carolina Senator Josiah W. Bailey's effort to block inclusion of dams for producing power in a flood control bill. He had favored excising from the bill projects to build dams on the Yadkin and Pee Dee Rivers, on the basis that they were not mere flood control projects but were for the purpose of Federal production of hydroelectric power.

The point the Senator made, says the piece, was sound, that there should be no subterfuge involved in the construction of these projects at public expense. It might be perfectly fine for the Federal Government to supply power, but if a project were going to be built for that purpose, it ought be openly stated as such, not promulgated on the pretext of flood control, improved navigation, soil preservation, or other such stated bases.

"It Still Holds" wonders whether the Little Steel formula, which had frozen wages at 15% above the levels of January, 1941, was still operating. There was disagreement on the notion. The War Labor Board had granted a five cents per hour increase in wages to nighttime steel workers on the ground of remedying inequities in pay.

Despite the CIO not getting the seventeen cents raise it wanted for the workers, it was largely satisfied, having also settled favorably the dispute over vacation pay. Industry, however, warned that the increased wages would ultimately be passed to the public in higher costs of products made from steel, felt that the Board was mincing its words and engaging in a de facto abandonment of the formula.

The editorial finds that the WLB had performed well its task of preserving the formula within the 15 percent rule while forestalling the attempts of labor to drive up wages, thus maintaining for the nonce controlled wages and prices as a hedge against inflation.

"Purification" tells that Republicans had not given up after their losses of 1944. They looked forward, with Roosevelt's dwindling majorities in the late election, to a better time of it in 1948.

Congressman Charles Halleck of Indiana wanted no more "me too" candidates, such as Landon, Willkie, and Dewey, each of whom had basically agreed with the tenets of the New Deal, just promised to be more efficient in its administration. He complained that for twelve years, no Republican had been given the opportunity to vote solidly against the New Deal. He wanted to raise plenty of money to attract the sort of candidate who would in 1948 run independently of the Roosevelt promises, a real Republican.

The editorial believes Mr. Halleck to be on the right track, even if the public was unlikely to go along whole hog with him. But it would give the public a clear choice the next time around.

The choice, of course, in 1948, would be the Fair Deal or Thomas Dewey—or Henry Wallace and his Progressive Party, or, yet again, Strom Thurmond and his segregationist Dixiecrats.

"Rebuttal" returns to the topic it had presented in "Priority" on Friday, that in 1939, a Works Progress Administration study had found that there were over 5,000 dwellings in Charlotte without indoor toilets and over 4,000 without running water.

In rebuttal, the City Plumbing Inspector had asserted that not more than 500 units were without running water, and that plans of owners to install toilets in their rental properties had been halted only by the war.

The editorial scratches its head to discern the reason for the vast discrepancy, finds in explanation that the 1939 study, published in 1940, was discussing something different from that to which the Inspector referred, the latter including all housing which had running water available, even if the spigot was within a short walking distance of the dwelling unit. That caused most rowhouses and slum dwellings without individual unit access to water to be included as having water.

Thus, precisely nothing had been resolved except a determination of a difference in terminology between WPA and the City Inspector.

The Congressional Record excerpt of the day was inserted by Representative Wright Patman from a book by General R. W. Johnson, But General Johnson--. General Johnson for about a year had been head of the Smaller War Plants Corporation, a bureau of the Government, and discussed in the book his problems as an administrator trying to get funding from the Congress to perform the job correctly.

We won't belabor the intricacies of the bureaucratic problems General Johnson experienced. You may read of them if so inclined. We only note it for the facts that it follows an editorial on plumbing, was inserted in the Congressional Record by Wright Patman, and mentions the date June 17, the date on which the budget stated in the appropriations bill for General Johnson's Bureau was amended upward by 50%, from 12 to 18 million dollars, before being voted down the following day.

And that is not to neglect to mention that "A Clear Fraud" states that Interior Secretary Harold Ickes "loosed his billingsgate" in determining to pursue his pet dam projects.

Perhaps, Mr. Liddy and his cadre of intriguants were in fact after a resolution of whether that 1939 WPA study was actually accurate, and believed, sincerely, that the DNC had hidden in a safe in Larry O'Brien's office all the revelatory data necessary to unravel the mystery of the Charlotte indoor plumbing issue, or, at least to descry whether the Yadkin and Pee Dee should be dammed well to have Federally provided hydroelectric power.

Drew Pearson discusses the postponement of the Big Three Conference between Stalin, Churchill, and Roosevelt, arranged to a large degree by Harry Hopkins, in part, to try to wait until Stalin would be in more malleable mood to negotiate.

The primary problems to be worked out related to the British-Russian conflict over how to handle Iran, the Dardanelles, Greece, and Poland. The British appeared to want to maintain the Slavic nations land-locked, without access to the Mediterranean, an issue for a hundred years since the Crimean War, in which the British had fought on the side of Turkey against Russia to prevent the Czar from getting access through the Dardanelles.

The British wanted these problems faced forthwith; the President, for the time being, was willing to allow the postponement. In part, he had too many things going on at home, with a new Congress and Cabinet, to be traipsing off again halfway around the world, as he had a year earlier with the trips to Cairo and Tehran. Stalin refused to meet in the West again, for the same reason he had cited a year earlier and when he had refused to join the prior conferences: he was busy at home fighting a war. Mr. Pearson asserts that the excuse was valid when Russia was fighting on its own soil, as the previous year, but now that they were fighting in Poland, Hungary, and Slovak territory, the excuse no longer had validity.

The conference would be held finally in late January and early February, beginning with a meeting on Malta with Chiang Kai-shek, followed by a separate meeting with Stalin in the Crimea at Yalta.

Mr. Pearson next briefly discusses the meeting of Republican leaders, House Minority Leader Joe Martin of Massachusetts and Congressional Campaign Committee chair Charles Halleck of Indiana, seeking to put in place a new leadership team in the party to bring about in 1946 a better result for the GOP than the relative disaster of 1944.

Marquis Childs tells of the problem encountered at the last minute in the Chicago International Civil Aviation Conference. The British had refused to sign the previously stipulated agreement, whereby, in accordance with the American desire, there would be free competition in the international civil airways. The British now were holding out for a quota system, an equal division of the airways between America and Britain.

Combined with the failure of the Senate to act on the agreed terms of the British-American oil cooperative arrangement and formalize it into a treaty, it appeared that business had returned to the usual mutual distrust between nations, that atmosphere characterizing the pre-war international environment.

To Britain, the United States appeared as the mighty colossus striding the world, seeking power; to the United States, Britain appeared as playing a game of power politics in Europe, to construct a post-war bloc of nations with Belgium, France, and Holland, attempting to stymie loss of its Empire possessions around the world.

Dr. Herbert Spaugh, by way of telling a parable, to beware of Darkness, relates of a story from the Fort Worth Star Telegram which told of Judas, the blue-and-white leader which had led 4.5 million sheep to their deaths in the Fort Worth Stockyards. It seems that Judas had come upon an untimely death when an adder struck him in the chest and he could not be revived.

Hal Boyle, reporting still from an American airbase in Belgium, continues his story of the Black Widow night fighters of the Army Air Force, this time stressing the interrelationship between the pilot and radar observer of each two-man crew. The observer first directed the pilot to within range of striking the enemy aircraft and then the pilot closed in for the kill.

The men worked as inseparable pairs once they became accustomed to one another and learned to trust each other's judgment. They preferred to fly at night. It was like being in another world. Daytime flying was too scary.

A letter writer complained to The News for no longer printing weather maps of the state, wanted more weather news. He got the news he needed from the weather report.

In any event, the editors remark that they had just begun printing the reports for North and South Carolina, causing the letter's author, it said, to make a poor prophet of Mark Twain.

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