Tuesday, November 7, 1944

The Charlotte News

Tuesday, November 7, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in the first wartime election since 1864, a record turn-out appeared in the offing, with as many as 50,000,000 people turning out at the polls. Weather was generally favorable, but even snow in New Hampshire and rain in Salt Lake City had not deterred voters from showing up at the polls.

In fact, the turn-out would be 47.6 million, two million fewer than the record established in 1940, but slightly more than the 47.3 million to turn out in 1948, when Governor Dewey would win in Chicago against President Truman, with Strom Thurmond polling 1.75 million votes as a segregationist Dixiecrat.

Voters voted early and often, per the usual practice.

Two small Massachusetts towns, Mashpee on Cape Cod and Mt. Washington to the west in the Berkshire Hills, had found a margin running for Governor Dewey similar to that awarded Wendell Willkie in those two towns four years earlier. President Roosevelt had carried Massachusetts, however, and so the news was freighted with some questionable baggage.

Actually, it was not as good as it sounded initially, as Mashpee was reported tied at 81 votes apiece, when in 1940 Mr. Willkie had carried the town by a margin of 97 to 89. Mt. Washington, however, had a final tally already of 29 for Dewey to 8 for Roosevelt, a crushing defeat for the President in the early returns. But Mr. Willkie had likewise barnstormed Mt. Washington in 1940, 32 to 10. Yet, Mr. Willkie while sweeping the burg with a 76% supermajority, Governor Dewey polled an even more whopping 78%, eclipsing therefore the landslide of Mr. Willkie, thus suggesting good things perhaps on the horizon.

Nutbush, in Vance County, N.C., became the first precinct in the country to report its final results: 21 for Roosevelt; none for Governor Dewey. It was a fairly decisive margin, if perhaps indicative of a turnout problem nationwide for the President's supporters, given that it had been 24 to 0 in 1940. But that was before the war and vast population migrations of one sort or another.

Nutbush, incidentally, would fall victim to competition by 1960, and since, when Dixville Notch, N.H., began its tradition of voting at midnight.

The President, stating his occupation as "tree grower", as he had in the past for his actual growth of Christmas trees, cast his ballot at Hyde Park, ballot number 251, at 12:28 p.m. The voting lever at first would not work and an election official reached over the top of the green curtained booth to free it for the President. He greeted elementary school children before he had voted, telling them that they were not around four years earlier as they were not old enough. They sang for the President.

Governor Dewey voted in New York City, stating his occupation as lawyer, casting ballot number 257 at an automobile tourist bureau in the city. Then, he and his wife went to the Roosevelt Hotel to receive the results.

Between 40 and 45 percent of registered voters in the Bronx and Manhattan had voted before noon, as was the practice in most other large metropolitan areas around the country, as well as in rural districts--pretty much comprising the whole country.

In Los Angeles, 12.5% of the registered voters cast their ballots within the first twenty minutes after the polls opened, primarily the result of war workers getting off the graveyard shift and heading to the polls before heading home to sleep.

The "powder-puff vote" was living up to expectations as women outnumbered men at the polls. In parts of Manhattan...

Most of West Virginia's coal mines were closed to afford the miners the opportunity to vote. Governor Dewey was pinning hopes on the miners given the strong, if not altogether desired, support of UMW leader John L. Lewis.

Other candidates in the race were Claude A. Watson of the Prohibition Party, Norman Thomas, Socialist, Edward A. Telchert, Socialist-Labor, and Gerald L. K. Smith, America First (Fascist-Nazi).

This just in: Mashpee finally recorded the margin as 89 for Governor Dewey and 81 for the President, a clear victory after all for the Governor.

There was, understandably, unprecedented interest abroad being registered in the American election. The German DNB news service, normally closing its doors each night at 9:00, was remaining open all night, hopeful, no doubt, to see a dewy morning.

In Germany, a fierce battle was being waged by the First Army within Vossenack, thirteen miles southeast of Aachen, at the entrance to the Cologne plain. Hand to hand fighting was taking place inside a church in the center of Vossenack. Hard fighting was also taking place near Hurtgen and Schmidt, the latter having been lost to the Germans after being taken the previous week.

In Holland, Allied troops had captured Willemstad.

To the south, in France, American and French forces advanced two miles toward the Vosges passes, reaching the west bank of the Meurthe River between Baccarat and St. Die.

The Russians continued their battle for Budapest, with Premier Stalin announcing that Hungary would soon be eliminated from the war. Russian columns were within two miles of Nazi-held Ferihegy Airdrome in the outskirts of Budapest.

It was announced that on Sunday in the Philippines, Third Fleet planes had sunk six Japanese warships near Manila and also destroyed or shot down 200 enemy planes. Five airfields, including Clark, were reported devastated by prior bombing raids.

Tokyo radio stated that B-29's were over Tokyo for the third time in a week, and had also reconnoitered over the heavily industrialized Kanto area on Honshu. It stated also that 40 B-29's had raided Iwo in the Volcano Islands on Sunday. The Japanese further reported attacks by American Liberators on Haha and Chichi in the Bonin Islands. There was also a claim of another Japanese raid on Saipan and Tinian. None of these claims were yet confirmed by Allied headquarters.

A report from the Netherlands East Indies indicated that the Japanese had wiped out two villages, one near Medan on Sumatra, and the other on Java. Both were burned to the ground and inhabitants who sought escape were machine gunned to death. The village near Medan had been the home of a writer for the local newspaper of Medan, one who had criticized the Japanese. The village on Java had refused to surrender its rice crop to the Japanese following seizure of two prior crops. Residents had killed a policeman sent to arrest the ring leader of the resistance.

Other atrocities listed in a document were also recounted, including people having been burned alive, some forced to drink soapy water after which soldiers jumped on their stomachs until the water was expelled through their mouths. Javanese women who resisted the advances of Japanese soldiers were bayonetted through their breasts.

On the editorial page, "Guess Who?" comments on the general uncertainty abroad the land regarding the outcome of the election, in contrast to North Carolina where the citizenry appeared to take for granted the re-election of the President to a fourth term.

The polls, having been wrong in recent elections, were hedging their bets with numerous contingencies attached to the predicted outcome.

It then recounts the predicted results by four major polls which had been set forth on the front page the previous day.

"Minister" mentions the 24th anniversary of the founding of Dr. Herbert Spaugh's Little Church on the Lane, a Moravian church, and the 20th anniversary of the inception of Dr. Spaugh's pastorate. But it was through his daily column, says the piece, and his being chaplain to the American Legion as a World War I veteran which had served to make him a minister at large in the community. It also compliments him as a good and humble fellow.

"Exclusive" finds reasonable the approach of Lord Vansittart and Parliament in London to exclude neutrals from the peace table. The peace, to be effected properly, suggests the editorial, had to be accomplished ultimately by force. The finer ideals which might be possessed by some of the neutrals as impartial observers would not serve properly to quell aggression, the primary focus of the post-war. The United Nations would need be the apparatus by which force could be maintained as a threat.

"Good Job" praises the effort of the Charlotte War Chest fundraising campaign and its 2,500 workers, exceeding its goal.

Drew Pearson congratulates the country on having weathered a wartime election without undue enmity and rancor among the population. Great Britain had not had an election in nine years, Brazil for a dozen, Canada and other British dominions likewise having had no wartime elections.

Cuba had held an election.

Now that the election was taking place, it was time for the country to get on with winning the war.

Mr. Pearson next observes Will Clayton, Surplus War Property Administrator, who had recently made a speech to the Women's Democratic Club favoring re-election of the President, this despite Mr. Clayton's history. He had provided $7,000 to the Liberty League in 1936 to defeat Roosevelt. But his wife had in the same campaign counteracted the donation with $7,000 given in aid of re-election of the President. Mrs. Clayton had arranged for the speech to be made by her husband.

Sidney Hillman had sought to arrange in the last days of the campaign to disband the controversial Political Action Committee of CIO. The final decision, however, lay with the CIO national convention set to meet November 20. There was divided opinion within CIO as to whether PAC should be permanent or disbanded.

Mr. Pearson concludes with a note that President Roosevelt, in the wake of Pearl Harbor, had reorganized the Office of Production Management to form the War Production Board, excluding Mr. Hillman from the former without first telling him. He had read about it in the papers while in the hospital recuperating from an illness.

Marquis Childs indicates that Governor Dewey's campaign in the late phases had adopted a theme of "divide and rule", appealing to fears and hatreds in an attempt to divide the Democrats.

But, in so doing, he had ignored the reality that the Republicans too were a party of disparate groups, from UMW's John L. Lewis to banker Winthrop Aldrich to Col. Bertie McCormick, chief isolationist publisher of the Chicago Tribune, to Ogden Reid, publisher of the internationalist New York Herald-Tribune. In Congress, Republicans ranged from progressive Charles LaFollette of Indiana to reactionary Clare Hoffman of Michigan. It included New York's able Robert Moses and anarchist William Randolph Hearst.

Governor Dewey had sought to frighten Catholics and alarm the Poles, contrary to American political tradition against such polarization in political campaigns. He had also provided a series of incongruent promises, lower taxes, higher wages, more profits, full employment, and more social security.

A Western Republican had informed Mr. Childs that he believed the people were tired of these sorts of gimmicks of politicians, wanted straight talk about the problems the country was bound to face during the ensuing four years. They begged instead to be told of the coming necessity for sacrifice.

In contrast, the President had relied on his strategy pursued in 1936 and 1940, that of the kindly and wise father who was reliant on the goodwill of the people.

Samuel Grafton also observes the end of the political campaign, finds that it had been characterized by the rise in importance of third party organizations such as the Political Action Committee of the CIO. Many independent Republicans had refused to endorse Governor Dewey, had instead swung their support to the President.

The Democrats, without the aid of the national organization, had raised something on the order of $300,000 through individuals, $80,000 of it at two dinners, one at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles and the other at the Hotel Astor in New York.

Chief radio orators for the President had been Orson Welles and Quentin Reynolds, not professional politicians.

There was self-organization within labor, within theater and the arts, and among the Republican internationalists. Independence from party structures, therefore, seemed to be attracting larger numbers of political activists. Such activity had been sporadic in prior campaigns but had become normative in the campaign of 1944.

A letter writer, a captain in the Army, thanks The News for an editorial regarding the need for women volunteers for the WAC's.

A gentleman from St. Louis writes to apprise the people of the lack of fitness of Harry Truman to be vice-president. And with the President's health in issue, he stresses, the matter of the fitness of his running mate was important. Senator Truman, while a county judge, he contends, had allowed all sorts of sordid activities to transpire on his watch: juvenile delinquency, houses of prostitution, general anarchy, rapine and plunder. Surely the country would suffer should this unfit man become Vice-President, or, God forbid, President. He knew nothing, says the author, of foreign affairs, was just a little man appointed county judge by Boss Pendergast, ex-convict.

Well, the man knew whereof he spoke. For it was, indeed, on President Truman's watch that this occurred. Deny it, citizen, if you will, but the Truth be but the Truth.

The first letter writer, writing in defense of the Roosevelt-Truman ticket, tells of the Detroit Defender having stated that Senator Truman had been a member of the Klan, urging, along with the fact of the Southern Democratic rule of the party, African-Americans to vote for Dewey-Bricker.

We suggest that Ms. Bachmann, with her statement that one should starve if not working, read Dr. Herbert Spaugh of this date. Also, she might wish to take a gander at Proverbs 11:25: "The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that waters shall be watered also himself."

How does that read in your religious cult's version? Liberals and welfare are the Devil incarnate, and therefore they are fat and wet themselves as they also wet the ground?

Or is it rather "Arbeit macht frei"?

Hal Boyle, with the Army in Germany, tells of two soldiers making the best of a bad situation. They had dug a foxhole for the night, only to be awakened with it filling with water. They emptied it only to have it fill again, gave up until morning, when they discovered that the foxhole was over a spring. They then dug a diversion channel and formed a basin in which to wash themselves, even built a stove, affording the only foxhole with hot and cold running water.

Another soldier, manning a bulldozer, calmly proclaimed that bullets didn't hit you unless they had your name on them, promptly dove into a foxhole as one hit a crossbar three inches above his head. He said it only had his initials on it.

Pfc. William Murphy of Greensboro was elected the coolest man in his outfit. With others taking cover to avoid intense enemy artillery fire, Private Murphy sat by a tree calmly reading a comic book.

A sergeant knocked out a 20-mm. anti-aircraft gun, could have bagged two German soldiers, but for the fact that he was laughing too hard to achieve his aim as they ran toward the forest with the seats of their pants on fire.

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