Thursday, November 30, 1944

The Charlotte News

Thursday, November 30, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Ninth Army had captured Lindern, 28 miles from Dusseldorf, and fought street by street through Beeck to reach Munchen Gladbach. It also moved through Koslar to the west bank of the Roer River just across from the northwest tip of Julich, and to within three miles of Duren. The First Army took Lamersdorf and Grosshau, emerging from the Hurtgen Forest. They also fought a see-saw battle for the Inde Bridge at Inden, winding up with its western end still in their possession.

Correspondent Wes Gallagher tells of the taking of Lindern, with the troops having begun the process at 6:30 a.m. the previous day from a point 1.5 miles from the town. It took only an hour and fifteen minutes for the first company to reach the town where they were met by enemy fire. It took until late in the afternoon and night for other companies to penetrate. But now the town was firmly held by American soldiers. Many Germans were taken prisoner; some sought to flee to Wurm but were bombed and strafed by American Thunderbolts. German attempts to regain high ground near Linnich had failed.

German defenses were stiffening 23 miles from Cologne.

The Third Army held its positions against a series of counter-attacks along the Siegfried Line. The American forces pushed over frost-hardening ground to a position overlooking the Saar River, not far from Merzig.

The Germans contended that they were now facing 70 divisions on the Western Front, about 850,000 Allied troops.

Some 1,300 American heavy bombers and 1,000 fighters hit four oil refineries in the area of Leipzig and Saarbrucken, eight miles to the east of the Third Army. Also hit were oil facilities at Bohlen, Merseburg, Zeitz, and Lutzkendorf, about a hundred miles southwest of Berlin.

It was the sixth major aerial operation in 36 hours

RAF Mosquitos and heavy bombers struck three benzol plants near Oberhausen, Bottrop, and Duisburg in the Ruhr Valley. The previous night, the RAF had hit Hannover, and in the pre-dawn of Wednesday had bombed Essen and Neuss, while Mosquitos struck Duisburg shortly after noon. RAF heavy bombers also had attacked targets at Dormund.

Altogether, the combined raids in 48 hours had dropped 11,000 tons of bombs on Germany.

Secretary of War Henry Stimson explained that General Eisenhower had to delay the general Allied offensive along the fronts in Holland, Belgium, and France against the Rhine because of the shortage of ammunition. The initial problem after the push across France had been the fact of disrupted railroads. Once that was remedied, the next issue arose from the ports not being able to take all of the ammunition from Britain. When that was resolved, the issue was the absence of sufficient ammunition being produced in the United States.

Secretary Stimson reiterated the complaint heard directly from the soldiers, that the consumption of ammunition was ten times greater than that of the Germans because of the necessity to penetrate their concrete pillboxes, and that the rate of usage had increased after they had reached the heavy Rhine defenses.

Opening of Antwerp to portage would significantly improve the delivery of ammunition to the front, but would also commensurately increase the need for production within the United States to keep pace with the flow.

Russian troops had captured Eger, 60 miles northeast of Budapest, along the Budapest-Miskolc railway. The Russians had also taken Szikszo, northeast of Miskolc.

Third Ukrainian Army troops and Yugoslav Partisans advanced 25 miles west of the Danube in southwest Hungary, breaking through on a 93-mile wide front which extended northward to within 37 miles of Budapest.

Reinforcements being unloaded by the Japanese at Ormoc on Leyte had been attacked by American fighter planes, sinking ten transports and three destroyers, carrying probably 4,000 men. The total loss of Japanese reinforcements was 21,000; 35,000 had come ashore since October 25.

Allied Headquarters confirmed prior Tokyo broadcasts that a third B-29 strike on Tokyo had taken place Wednesday, this one for the first time a night raid, one of only medium strength. All of the Super-fortresses returned safely.

The House Ways and Means Committee voted to freeze the Social Security tax. Mr. Perkins got his way, after all.

The President fired Assistant Attorney General Norman Littell, New Deal defender in the Justice Department, because of his ongoing feud with Attorney General Francis Biddle.

On the editorial page, "Planners All" comments wryly on the scenes of the city which demonstrated the keen interest of the populace in city planning. They included the line of cars backed up behind the unloading bus, the black domestic workers who talked in the rain while it washed from their galoshes mud from dirt paths and roads unpaved, a man who was threatening his neighbor with a "spite fence" because he had not spoken soon enough in opposition to the selling of the adjoining property to a service station, women shoppers in the rain with nowhere else to go--all, in fact, who moved about the city.

They all shared the common trait of potentially benefiting from wise city planning.

"Low-Down" indicates that, according to the North Carolina Unemployment Commission, the state had the penultimately lowest wage in the nation, at an average of $26.51 per week, despite more than 50% increases from the boon of war industries during the prior three years. Only South Carolina, at $24.21, was lower. The national average was $40.77. Alaska and Michigan ran to $50.

A sound economy could not be predicated on such low wages, the efforts to promote them as attractive to industry, notwithstanding.

"Half-Nation" comments on Canada having been a nation split in opinion during the First World War and still in such case. It was so based on different attitudes toward conscription, the three million French, Catholics, and others, largely in Quebec, being aligned against the six million English who had no quarrel with the draft.

Those opposed to the draft had never believed in war, including the present one. It gave to Canada only a half effort in the war. Prime Minister MacKenzie King had warned that, unless a compromise were reached to enable some form of home draft for protection of the country, freeing men who were volunteers to be shipped overseas, there would be threatened in Canada "anarchy".

The piece chronicles the valiant efforts of the Canadian volunteer Army, at Dieppe in August, 1942, in Sicily in July-August, 1943, there taking Enna and Catania, followed by the fight in Southern Italy, climaxed by their landing in considerable numbers on Normandy on D-Day. Now, the Canadian First Army was engaged in the fight for the Rhineland.

Except for tradition and the presence of some Fascists and former Fascists among their leadership, says the piece, there was no good explanation for the attitude of the French Canadians in this war.

"Not Enough" found without good purpose the offered resignation by William Green as president of AFL, attempting to effect unity within the ranks of labor. But, contends the piece, no one man could have such an impact. The AFL convention at New Orleans had demonstrated as much.

The AFL and CIO engaged in the regular back-biting which had gone on for half a century, AFL accusing CIO of Communist infiltration and CIO finding AFL overly rigid, atavistic.

As long as this condition of mutual distrust inhered, there could be implemented no lasting government or management policy.

The departure of William Green, says the editorial, would not heal the rift. The two labor organizations had to set aside their mutual prejudices, strongly held group identities, and antithetically opposing pursuits, tending at times to procrustean headlocks, despoiling the spoils of the labor gains for all.

"There's Smoke" observes the dispute which had been ongoing between Assistant Attorney General Norman Littell, just fired by the President, and Attorney General Francis Biddle. Both men were solid New Dealers, even if Mr. Littell was to the left of Mr. Biddle.

The problem seemed to the piece to lay in the lap of Mr. Biddle, such as the apparent fact, as charged by Mr. Littell, that Mr. Biddle had saved Administration advisor Tommy Corcoran from Justice Department action.

The piece thinks that the row was suggestive of something amiss within Mr. Biddle's Department of Justice.

Drew Pearson tells of a story, now cleared by censors since Stalin had put Japan on notice that Russia would not hesitate to war on Japan, regarding the Doolittle raid on Tokyo, April 18, 1942, and one crew of the raiders who could not make it to Chinese soil and so sought a landing spot on what they thought was Russian Siberia. They were immediately met by Soviet tanks who took them aboard. But just as they were preparing to depart, Japanese tanks arrived on the scene, declared that they were in Japanese territory, demanded surrender of the Americans. After a heated argument conducted in German, each tank commander, Japanese and Russian, fired volleys into the air over each other's head. The Russians then high-tailed it from the area.

After half an hour of rapid travel, the Soviet tank commander bid the American fliers a welcome to the Soviet Union.

Mr. Pearson next tells of a meeting between Henry Kaiser and President Roosevelt, in which the former had laid forth his own plans for reconversion, letting the President know that he believed that James Byrnes's idea, that there would be plenty of war work through the following summer and thus plenty of time for reconversion planning, to be an overly optimistic viewpoint. A good manufacturer, said Mr. Kaiser, began laying off employees several months before the expected termination date of a contract. Thus, workers could begin to receive their notices as soon as March. Industry had to plan ahead for reconversion to hold labor intact for the duration of the war to insure the workers jobs in the civilian workplace.

The President had responded by saying that he would study reconversion, himself, that he would allow Mr. Kaiser to appeal to his workers to stay by promising post-war work.

Marquis Childs writes of the contrasting styles and personalities of new War Production Board chair J. A. Krug and Undersecretary of War Robert Patterson. Mr. Krug was calm and collected in the face of strife; Mr. Patterson was a crusader, always operating at high tension. Nevertheless, they were cooperating on war production, even if Mr. Patterson was at odds with the notion of so much as limited civilian reconversion of industries where none of the materials utilized were necessary to the war effort.

He had battled former WPB head Donald Nelson during the summer over the issue of limited reconversion. Now, Mr. Patterson's crusade to maintain high levels of war production, against the resumption of manufacture of irons and refrigerators favored by Mr. Nelson, with the current shortage of ammunition on the Western Front, appeared to have been perspicacious.

Dorothy Thompson reports that it was now deemed desirable by the United States to turn Germany over to an amicable German government as soon as practicable after the defeat of the Nazis. It meant that there had to be a large population in Germany upon whom reliance could be placed to revolt against all vestiges of Nazism. Yet, the U.S. had done little or nothing to achieve the goal.

By contrast, the Soviets had done much. Just as the Soviet-friendly governments of Finland and Yugoslavia had been manifested through Soviet encouragement, and the Soviet-friendly Polish government in the making, so, too, from an early stage of the war, the Soviets had cultivated, from a few German prisoners, a strong anti-Nazi organization of 100,000 to form the nucleus of a new German regime.

As set forth in an Atlantic Monthly piece by Henry Cassidy, the Russians had isolated the pro-Nazi elements from the general population of prisoners and placed German-speaking commandants in charge of the camps, distributing regularly to the prisoners anti-Nazi literature and propaganda.

In American prisoner-of-war camps, by contradistinction, as set forth in another Atlantic Monthly article, this one by James H. Powers, interned Germans were not segregated from the most vehement Nazis; there was no propaganda, deemed by the United States contrary to the Geneva Convention.

Samuel Grafton discusses the street riots in Belgium, that the enunciated purpose of the disorder, as given by the Government of Hubert Pierlot, was to create order. Citizens were being shot down to show that order prevailed. Collaborationists, in this case munitions manufacturers of Nazi weaponry, had been pardoned to enable a strong pro-fascist contingent to flourish, to agitate the masses into violent revolt.

"Ah, order! It has so many terms. In Belgium, it takes the form of disorder. To a Belgian collaborationist, shaking in his shoes, and looking out of the window at the suppression of popular movements, it may indeed seem that order has at last come to Brussels. Others may take a different view."

A regular letter writer thinks Time ought be sued for libel for stating that the President had said, "This goddamned thing won't work," rather than that to which he admitted, "Tom, this damn thing won't work," the "thing" being the voting machine in Hyde Park on election day.

She thinks that the Glendale Ministerial Association of Glendale, California, who had taken the President to task for the reported former statement, should apologize to the President. (Actually, they had, after the admission by the President.)

She also thinks that the whipping post of colonial days would be too good for the ministers. They ought be tarred and feathered.

Moreover, Time was unreliable, had only sought to undermine the President's victory out of sour grapes, having heavily supported the candidacy of
Thomas Dewey.

She would, she says, from now on only read Newsweek, a much more reliable journal of last resort.

Anyway, we're still trying to figure out whether and, if so, why they dammed the Pee Dee and the Yadkin, and what exactly Popeye had to do with it.

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