Saturday, November 4, 1944

The Charlotte News

Saturday, November 4, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that German counter-attacks, the first whiffs of what would become in forty-two days the Battle of the Bulge, retook the village of Schmidt from the Allies, after the Allies had penetrated to within 1,000 yards of the Roer River, the next enemy barrier to the Rhine, 25 miles to the east. It was part of a generalized counter-attack in several localities throughout the area of the Hurtgen Forest into which the Allies had penetrated, seeking Cologne.

A German broadcast proclaimed that the greatest battle of the war was about to be undertaken by a concerted German effort. It was not mere propaganda this time.

Other American units strengthened their hold on Vassenack, as a light German attack at the town of Hurtgen was repulsed.

In Holland, Polish, American, and British troops moved two miles closer to the Meuse, to within three miles of the Moerdijk bridge, the principal escape route for fleeing Nazis in the area. Resistance south of the Meuse had diminished the previous day as the Germans were withdrawing from the area. Polish troops established two more bridges across the Mark Canal and captured Terheyden. Near the coast, Canadian troops captured Steenbergen, six miles above Bergen op Zoom. American troops drove the Germans back 4,000 yards over the South Willems Canal above Nederweert, capturing Ospel and reaching Groenwood and Fijnaart, moving toward Venlo.

The troops who had landed on Walcheren Island were subjected on South Beveland Island to intense enemy fire from formerly hidden and silent German guns, maintained for a month in camouflage from Allied planes. The Allies managed, nevertheless, to hold their beachhead.

The Eighth Air Force sent 1,100 heavy bombers and 800 fighters in raids on Hamburg, Harburg, Gelsenkirchen, Hannover, and Saarbrucken.

The previous night an RAF Mosquito raid struck Berlin for the eighth time in nine nights.

In Greece, the British reported that, 38 days after their landing on the Peloponnesus Peninsula, all German troops had been forced out of Greece after the recent British landing at Salonika. Some of the Germans had escaped into Albania, some into Serbia. The German occupation of Greece had begun in spring, 1941.

The Russians were within two miles from the north of Budapest, reaching Ulpest on the east bank of the Danube, and seven miles distant from the southern approach, as panic continued to reign within the city. Red Army tanks had reached Pest, the part of the city lying on the east bank of the Danube, and its fall appeared imminent. Buda, on the other side of the Danube, however, was more problematic, given the vast breadth of the Danube. German and Hungarian losses in the attempt to defend the city had thus far been great. Twenty German tanks were destroyed in fighting south of the city the previous night.

In the Pacific, Admiral Nimitz confirmed the previous Japanese reports that on Wednesday and Thursday the Japanese, in a raid of nine aircraft, had struck two airbases in the Marianas, one on Tinian and the other, Iseley Airfield, on Saipan. Japanese planes had also struck a part of the Third Fleet resupplying American operations in the Philippines and had damaged several ships, the precise number not being provided.

As yet, there was no confirmation of the Japanese reported reconnaissance mission by B-29's over Tokyo and Yokohama earlier in the week.

On Leyte, the Japanese were digging in at Ormoc for a fight as enemy planes struck American airfields and docks on the eastern part of the island. The Japanese had received plentiful reinforcement of men and armament via Ormoc from a convoy which was struck by the 49th Fighter Group, taking out two transports and 25 covering planes. A Japanese motor convoy, risking being bottled by the Seventh Infantry Division, was spotted moving north from Ormoc, attempting to reach Carigara Bay by a 20-mile long road. The 49th swooped down and took out 30 trucks and at least two tanks, equipment, and supplies.

Correspondent Leif Erickson reported from Dulag on Leyte that the terrain and weather were singularly unaccommodating. Furious gale force winds whipped rain about and made tent existence dubious through the long nights without sleep. Silty soil caused, alternatingly, intolerable dust or thick, gelatinous mud which clung to the shoes and came to waist deep in slit trenches.

Charles McMurtry reported that the Japanese troops on Leyte were especially well trained and disciplined, engaging in only small-scale, strategic Banzai attacks. Their greatest fear was of American artillery to which they directed their Banzai charges in an attempt to blow up the artillery emplacements with magnetic mines. Japanese sniper fire was unusually accurate compared to other campaigns through the Pacific, hitting American soldiers sometimes at a range of 500 yards. They used both dumdum and wooden bullets, though the latter were considered ineffective.

And a baby tiger is pictured in a series of four photographs, living the life of Riley in an Atlanta hotel suite, having been born on the road to the Hamid-Morton Circus. Whether its name was "Baby" is not provided.

On the editorial page, "Ifs & Buts" observes the report of the three major polls, Gallup, Crossley, and Newsweek, that Tuesday's election was slated to be very close.

The polls had been reasonably accurate in predicting the popular vote since 1936 when an errant prediction of the Literary Digest, predicting Alf Landon to win, had caused it to go out of business. In the same year, Crossley and Gallup, while off by 14 percent in predicting the popular vote, nevertheless predicted a landslide for FDR, as it had occurred.

In 1940, none of the polls had predicted the electoral college landslide of the President over Wendell Willkie, but had forecasted accurately the popular vote result. In early September of 1940, Gallup had predicted that Willkie would definitely carry eight states, each of which he did. But the poll had also indicated ten states leaning toward Willkie, only two of which he finally carried. The final Gallup poll of 1940 had stated that the election would be the closest since 1916, but it turned out only the fourth closest of six elections.

George Gallup, a Dewey adviser in 1944, was the only pollster giving Dewey the lead going into the election.

The pollsters were setting the odds at 50-50 while the gamblers were giving odds three-to-one for the President. The polls had been inaccurate in 1940, especially as to the electoral college result, and so there was reason yet for suspense.

"Easy, There" tells of the drive by the North Carolina Association of Commercial Secretaries to have a study performed by the Legislature of the state tax structure, with an eye toward attracting to the state new industries. A speaker at the gathering had indicated, however, that North Carolina's tax structure already was one of the soundest in the nation in terms of attracting business, for the fact that local taxes were lower than in neighboring states. So, the piece advocates the exercise of caution in restructuring the tax code to lower corporate rates at the state level, in light of relatively low combined state and local tax averages.

"A Hurdle" remarks on the propositions on the ballots of Florida, California, and Arkansas anent amendments to their state constitutions which would outlaw the closed union shop, a practice which mandates union membership for employment at a given company.

Senator Pappy O'Daniel of Texas was campaigning for passage of the amendment in Arkansas. Elsewhere, the supporters of the amendments were likewise bitter foes of labor, indicative of the resentment afoot in the land to labor's attempt to fix union conditions.

The movements were peremptory in nature, seeking essentially to eradicate unions from the landscape, as without compulsory membership in a union, the employer could hire employees who did not wish to pay the union dues and thus break the union.

"Air Battle" relates of the dispute between the British, favoring controlled access to the world's skies by establishment of an international version of the Civil Aeronautics Board, and the United States, favoring free access to the international skies after the war. The British approach would prorate each nation's use on the basis of passenger traffic of that nation, thus favoring the economically dominant nations. The American view would allow equal access to the skies by all nations, large or small. Russia was sitting on the sidelines observing, not attending the ongoing Chicago conference which had begun Monday.

The prospect of soon resolving the issue appeared, says the editorial, to be remote.

Dorothy Thompson discusses the recall of General Joseph Stilwell from China and the situation which precipitated it, the chafing of General Stilwell with Chiang Kai-shek and the effort to obtain from Chiang cooperation with an American General who could unite the divided Chinese forces between the Kuomintang of Chiang in Chungking and the Chinese Communists in the North, Communists who, she points out, were in fact only agrarian land reformers who were, to a great degree, independent of the Soviet Communists.

The fact that China had fought internally a civil war since 1911 between the Kuomintang and the Communists complicated the politics of the situation with respect to the Japanese, as both forces fought the invader, but independently of one another, causing lack of efficiency. The more efficient fighting force had been determined to be the Communists, but Chiang had resisted amalgamating the forces out of fear of loss of his own personal power in China to the Communist rebel leader, Mao Tse-tung.

Ms. Thompson suggests that a new American general who could effect unity of the forces could enable amphibious attack on the east coast of China by the Third and Seventh Fleets in combination with General MacArthur's Army, especially in light of the successful invasion of the Philippines, and thus win the war in China against the Japanese, a trouble spot thus far in the overall Pacific picture after seven years of warfare since mid-1937.

Drew Pearson tells of a pair of Congressmen who were demanding kickbacks from the salaries of their secretaries, supposedly for the purpose of paying their campaign expenses.

He then turns to actor Charles Boyer who was making speeches about the country advocating re-election of the President. At Hunter College in New York, he had requested extra police protection to ward off autograph hounds. After his speech, however, he was not mobbed at all. On the same dais was Republican Senator Joseph Ball of Minnesota who had spoken of international cooperation in the post-war world. In consequence of that and his recent endorsement of the President, the female students gathered around him, left Mr. Boyer to make his exit uncrowded and unnoticed.

C'est la vie.

Virginia Congressman Howard Smith was having his opponent, Elizabeth Chilton Murray, investigated by the Campaign Expenditures Committee of the House. He had also stated to the wife of the brother-in-law of Justice Hugo Black that he was contemplating a libel suit against her for her statements implicating him in transactions connected with the National Airport in Washington.

Samuel Grafton writes of the absurdity of a continuing strand in American politics since the days of the Know Nothing Party in 1852, the tendency to hoist in front of that segment of the populace susceptible to demagogic control the prospect of takeover by some foreign bogey, whether Britain, Rome, as the cry had been in 1928 with Al Smith, a Catholic, running, or, as the claim was in 1944, that, unless Dewey were elected, the Russian Communists would overrun the country. These demagogues were the same, says Mr. Grafton, who thought that the prolonged sedition trial in Washington was so much nonsense and who scoffed at the notion of any intention of the Germans to take over the country.

Marquis Childs takes a look at the last minute campaigning before Tuesday's presidential election, with most pundits predicting a close finish. Governor Dewey was busy making stops in coal mining towns of Pennsylvania, which, along with New York, he had to have in his column to hope to win the election. He was also targeting Maryland. New York, FDR forces confidently predicted, was safely in the President's column; the Dewey backers, however, likewise exuded confidence that it belonged to the Governor.

The President, appearing confident of the outcome, had cancelled personal appearances scheduled for the last weekend in Detroit and Cleveland, and had opted to appear only via radio at a rally in Madison Square Garden on Thursday night.

Dick Young tells of the $94 Government check, misplaced inside a pocket of a coat lent to a chilly man at a possum supper in McConnellsville, S.C., who then walked off with the coat and the check still inside. After the man was traced to Charlotte, Detective Captain Littlejohn of Charlotte was informed of the matter by the Mayor of McConnellsville.

The Captain serendipitously was in a pawn shop trying to buy a trowel for some brickwork he was planning, when the pawnbroker informed him that a man had come in trying to negotiate a check not made out to him, said it belonged to his uncle out in the car. When the pawnbroker asked him to produce his uncle, he left, leaving behind the check, did not return.

It was the $94 check which had played possum after the supper in McConnellsville. The Mayor, in appreciation, assured to the Captain an invitation to attend the next possum supper.

Linguistic question of the day: Why is leopard, of Latin origin, pronounced as lep-ard, when leotard, from a French surname of the first aerialist, who wore one, is pronounced le-o-tard? Does not French derive from Latin as a romance language? So, why was the name of M. Leotard not pronounced as L'Tard? C'est la vie.

To recap, we shall label the anomaly, as interlude, Leotardieude.

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