Friday, December 1, 1944

The Charlotte News

Friday, December 1, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that four American armies had pushed the Germans back across the Roer and Saar Rivers, as well as breaking through the German defenses in the easternmost tip of France. The First Army gained 400 yards against Gey and Brandenberg in the Hurtgen Forest, moving to within a mile of the latter town, Gey and Brandenberg being, respectively, 3.5 and 6.5 miles southwest of Duren in the Cologne plain. The Ninth Army formed a line 15 to 20 miles long northwest of Duren along the Roer and Inde Rivers, capturing Weis and three-fourths of Beeck, while partially surrounding Linnich on the road to Munchen Gladbach.

The Third Army moved toward the Saar along a 15-mile front, chasing the Nazis across the Saar River at Merzig.

The 15th Corps of the Seventh Army broke through German lines in the woods southwest of Haguenau, entering its outskirts, 28 miles southwest of Karlsruhe. Haguenau was the largest Nazi supply dump north of Strasbourg and lay on the railroad to Karlsruhe.

Other Seventh Army troops had moved south from Strasbourg, capturing Stotzheim, sixteen miles southwest of Strasbourg, to join the French Poilus moving north fifteen miles from Mulhouse. Other French units had taken Huntingue on the west side of the Rhine near the Swiss border.

A map on the inside page provides an aerial overview of the European war and the Rhine front, explaining the avenues into the Reich, via the Belfort Gap into the Rhine Valley, where the French First Army and the Seventh Army had fought successfully, the Saverne Valley 75 miles north to Strasbourg, where more Seventh Army contingents, American and French, had taken Strasbourg, the Moselle Valley, from Metz to Trier, where the Third Army fought eastward from captured Metz, and to the north the Cologne plain into the Ruhr Valley and its rich coal and iron deposits, to which the First and Ninth Armies were headed. Finally there was the push by the British Second Army and the Canadian First Army across the Dutch border at Venlo, 50 miles from Essen. The only advantage now for the Reich was that their supply lines had been dramatically shortened during the previous six months since D-Day.

Overcast skies prevented operations of either the Eighth or Ninth Air Forces or RAF over Germany, but the Fifteenth out of Italy got in its licks, striking points on the Saar River and on the German side of the Roer.

Of the 3,000 planes which the previous day had attacked Leipzig and Saarbrucken, 40 bombers and thirteen fighters were lost. In tactical raids in support of the ground troops, three medium bombers and one fighter were lost. The raiders encountered the most concentrated Luftwaffe and ground fire resistance, especially around Leipzig, since an attack in April on Berlin had cost 63 American bombers.

The previous night, 500 RAF heavy bombers dropped 3,000 tons on Duisburg and Hamburg. Four of the planes did not return.

In Italy, Indian troops of the Fifth Army advanced along the Florence-Faenza Road against light resistance, finding that the Germans were withdrawing from the mountains into the Po Valley to straighten a bulge in their lines between Bologna and Faenza. Other units discovered that Fontanelice, 9.5 miles south of Imola, had been evacuated.

The Eighth Army continued in heavy fighting at Alberto, northeast of Faenza, while southwest of the town, patrols found the enemy still occupying the heights behind the Lamone River.

Northwest of Modigliana, below Highway 9, the Monte Fregnanello and Tramonti areas were cleared of enemy forces, and to the west, the Monteo Del Tesoro, Monte Fortino, and Roncosole areas were occupied.

A piece on the inside page tells of the "soup sleuths", reconnaissance pilots who flew unarmed Mosquitos over Germany to measure cloud cover.

They cleared the way for the Vegie-matics to operate in the puree mode.

The Russians moved nine miles north along the west bank of the Danube, to within 78 miles of Budapest and less than a hundred miles from the border with Austria. German radio reported that the eastern section of Budapest was in the process of evacuation.

American military observers stated that the expected Russian drive in Poland during the winter promised the best hope for an end to the European war before sometime late in the summer, as suggested by Prime Minister Churchill to Commons. A Russian Embassy spokesman in Washington asserted that the Germans were now caught in the vise between two encroaching forces from each side. The American observers were of two minds on Russia's strategy, regarding the delay before Warsaw: that, either they wished to wait until the ground was frozen before beginning the offensive, or they wanted to concentrate first during the fall on consolidating positions in the Balkans.

Another 5,000 Japanese reinforcement troops were lost in the destruction of yet another enemy convoy headed for Ormoc on Leyte in the Philippines, increasing the total losses of reinforcements since October 25 to 26,000, 9,000 of whom had been lost in the previous two days. The low-flying American planes had sunk or seriously damaged a transport, three small freighters, a destroyer, and a 5,000-ton freighter in this, the seventh wrecked Japanese convoy.

In all, the Americans had sunk 29 transports totaling 103,750 tons during the previous five weeks. The latest convoy was caught off Cebu and Masbate, and at Mindoro Island, to the west. Another freighter was sunk off Borneo.

Associated Press correspondent Dean Schedler, aboard one of the American destroyers, said that the ship's crew were ready to pick up Japanese survivors, but the enemy troops held in their hands objects which, under the searchlights, appeared to be hand grenades and so were left behind in the sea.

In Burma, Scottish troops had forced the Japanese from Pinwe, north of Mandalay, after two weeks of hard fighting.

A report from China on the inside page tells of the thrust by the Japanese trying apparently to vanquish the Chiang Government at Chungking before the re-opening of the Ledo-Burma Road could re-establish land supply lines. The recent connection of Manchuria with Indo-China by the elimination of the last of the American airbases in Southeastern China had emboldened the enemy, having thereby cut off much of the threat of an Allied land invasion on the east coast of China.

The next objective was Kweiyang, before which, it was expected by American observers, the Chinese would make a stand despite the Japanese having amassed an estimated twelve divisions committed to the fight for the provincial capital.

After it, there were rough and winding mountain roads into Kunming and Chungking, which the Chinese and Americans were also expecting to be able to defend.

Chairman Robert Taft, Senator from Ohio, of the Republican Senate Steering Committee, announced that the Republicans intended to oppose the President's nominations of Governor Robert Hurley of Connecticut, just voted out of office, and Lt. Col. Edward Heller of the War Department, to the Surplus War Property Board. The objection came from testimony of the two men regarding their dealings in making a War Department-guaranteed loan of two million dollars to the Narragansett Manufacturing Company. Senator Guy Gillette, defeated for re-election as Senator from Iowa, was expected to be the third nominee to the Board.

House Military Affairs Committee chair Sol Bloom of New York announced that the United Nations conference on world security would occur in Washington. Senator Walter George of Georgia added that it would likely occur in February.

The North Carolina Mayflower Society, which in December, 1941 had honored The Mind of the South, was holding its twentieth anniversary meeting, gathering in Charlotte. Congressman-elect Joe Ervin, brother to Sam Ervin, was scheduled to speak to the members.

Mr. Ervin would die by suicide at Christmas, 1945. His elder brother would fill his seat in Congress for the duration of the term, but would not stand for re-election.

A small item on the front page again proved the idea that it was best to pay attention to the weather, something to which Hitler and his generals obviously gave little or no heed. Moscow had its first snow of the year, in a winter which was thus far the mildest in 35 years.

By contrast, the early Russian winter of 1941, beginning in early October, had been the most severe and coldest in any Russian's memory. It and the succeeding early winter of 1942 had helped to save the Russians from the onslaught of the Wehrmacht.

On the editorial page, "Man Vs. Imp", as a companion to "Nick the Imp", writes from apparent experience, speculatively inquiring as to the real meat of the story having been neglectfully omitted by the A. P. account earlier in the week, regarding the President having cut back from two packs of cigarettes per day to less than one—his favorite being Dromedaries.

The piece wants to know whether he had accomplished the feat by the tired and true on-the-hour method, whereby the smoker knocked down his habit by limiting intake of Nick to one on the hour each waking hour, presumably then slicing down to a mere sixteen per day. But, says the editorial, the smoker inevitably then found himself getting up early or staying up late to afford himself an extra few drags.

Or, had the President made use of the well-known tease method by which the smoker took out the customary Dromedary and left it unlit, nestled between his lips nevertheless, maybe eventually lighting it, then putting the snuff to the light? Finally, when he got tired, he would throw it away, just before it burned his lip.

It opts instead, as being the most probable employed by the President, for the resolution method, the hard resolve to chop it off at the root. Usually, though, that worked for but a short time, said the piece.

The best method, we opine, is never to start the foul habit which leads you, most of the time, to an early grave. Our grandpapa smoked Salems regularly to his death at 92; our papa, a two pack a day man during his earlier tenure, stopped at our birth. We took the example set before us and never got started. We owed it to our papa for stopping for us--as we have commented before, a foundling by the side of the road in the ditch.

"A New Measure" observes that the British had rejected any Italian government in which Count Carlo Sforza had a major role, for his political unreliability. They had not objected to Pietro Badoglio coming to power in September, 1943, despite his past ease with Mussolini's Fascism. Nor had they objected to King Victor Emmanuele.

During the period of their rule, Carlo Sforza had been quoted as saying the U.S. and Britain were making a great mistake in supporting Badoglio and King Victor Emmanuele, that the British appeared against anti-Fascists, their best friends in Italy.

Count Sforza was a liberal, close friend of philosopher Benedetto Croce, the chosen leader of the Six-Party Coalition which had overthrown the leadership of Badoglio. He had resigned as Italy's Ambassador to France when Mussolini took control in Rome and stood as a public gadfly to Il Duce throughout his tenure, hurling plentiful obloquy in his face, on potential penalty of death.

Yet, nevertheless, the British appeared to prefer Badoglio, Emmanuele, or his son Prince Umberto, to the Count.

"The Sacrifice" reminds of Britain's supreme effort and supreme loss during the war. They had suffered 700,000 casualties, 136,000 of whom were civilian. Of those, 176,000 had been killed, 57,000 of whom were civilians. They had also lost a precious heritage of buildings, art, literature, and religious relics, including churches of Christopher Wren. And the country stood broke as it prepared to celebrate victory in the war.

It was well to remember its courage and its loss.

"It has been burned in the cauldron of this war as we ourselves will likely be burned in the next. It fought for its life, but also for the life of the world. We cannot forget."

"Our Vengeance" reports of the cries in the Senate and House during the week for vindictive measures against Germany, for conditions of peace which would punish the recalcitrant nation, including trials and executions of war criminals.

Responses came to Congress: 1. General Jacques Le Clerc, commander of the French forces in Strasbourg, announced that five German hostages would be shot for every French soldier killed by snipers; 2. The Administration announced that Leon Henderson would oversee the economy of the U.S. occupation of Germany after the war.

Both, suggests the piece, were harsh measures. Mr. Henderson, as Price Administrator, had been tough on the country in the first year of the war.

Marquis Childs reports of the gay time in New York City had by all of the foreign delegations as guests of Secretary of State-designate Edward Stettinius, then Undersecretary, at the time of the Dumbarton Oaks Conference in Washington, held between August 21 and early October. The Russians in particular enjoyed the city.

They all went to the theaters and to Radio City Music Hall, where they got to go backstage and be introduced to the Rockettes. Sir Alexander Cadogan, the British Undersecretary of the Foreign Office, was asked by Mr. Stettinius to explain to the ladies what the gathered nations were attempting to accomplish at Dumbarton Oaks, which he then did.

We don't know what was said; Mr. Childs does not reveal it. But it could have gone something like this.

It was typical of the youthful enthusiasm of Mr. Stettinius, said Mr. Childs. Yet, in his fourteen months as Undersecretary, the changes he had managed to effect were minor, only clearing away some bureaucratic obstacles. His primary task, as instructed by the President at appointment, had been to get along with Secretary Hull. He did so, but at the cost of not taking any real initiative--as had his predecessor, Sumner Welles, who had finally irritated Mr. Hull to the point, reported Drew Pearson, where the Secretary told the President that either he would leave or Mr. Welles would depart.

So, it remained unclear as to how much Mr. Stettinius would accomplish toward modernization of the State Department as its new Secretary. It depended largely on the extent of the rein he was provided by the President.

Drew Pearson suggests Mr. Stettinius, former head of U. S. Steel, to be a charming and energetic mediocrity backed by the right people, in this case, the President, Harry Hopkins, the President's chief political advisor, John Pratt, a former executive at General Motors who had given Mr. Stettinius his first major position, eventually becoming vice-president at G.M. at age 31, and J. P. Morgan & Co., of which U.S. Steel was a subsidiary.

J. P. Morgan had previously steered one of its partners, Robert Bacon, into the job of Secretary of State--albeit only during the last two months of the Theodore Roosevelt Administration. Mr. Pearson finds it ironic that FDR would appoint a J. P. Morgan man to such a prominent role in the formation of the post-war world after promising in 1933 to shape a Cabinet without Big Business.

The President had backed Mr. Stettinius before he ever entered Government, having hinted to his friend, Myron Taylor, that Mr. Stettinius was a promising young man. It was then that Mr. Stettinius, at age 37, became head of U. S. Steel.

Mr. Roosevelt had gotten to know the father of Mr. Stettinius during the President's years as Assistant Secretary of the Navy to Josephus Daniels in the Wilson Administration. The elder Stettinius had been the J. P. Morgan representative for purchase of British-French war supplies in the United States, before being appointed Assistant Secretary of War under President Wilson.

Because of these ties, the President eschewed the advice of many in Congress to appoint James Byrnes to the position. By the time Senators Tom Connally and Walter George got to the White House to urge the appointment of Mr. Byrnes, the President had already sent the nomination of Mr. Stettinius to the Senate.

In his stint at supervising materials procurement for war production, says Mr. Pearson, Mr. Stettinius had proved a bungler, underestimating badly the need for aluminum, brass, bronze, and steel. He had relied too heavily on the promises and assuring statements of industry. He subsequently learned not to be quite so ingenuous and consequently improved his procurement practices. He tried, before Pearl Harbor and the loss of the rubber plantations of the Dutch East Indies and Malaya, to get Secretary of Commerce Jesse Jones to build synthetic rubber factories but failed. He did get more high-octane gasoline for ships and planes.

Harry Hopkins had saved Mr. Stettinius from ignominy in that position and got him his appointment as head of Lend-Lease, at which he had performed admirably.

As Undersecretary of State, he had sought to hire new assistant secretaries, but Mr. Hull had nixed the idea. He then wanted to bring onboard two new assistants to add to the four existing positions, an idea with which Mr. Hull first agreed, then pushed aside.

Samuel Grafton tells of a letter he had received from an Army private who suggested that the best way to demobilize the military was to allow the men who had no stable work to which to return to be discharged first, and those who had either careers or jobs or college to which to return to be the last out of the service. That, he believed, would give everyone a fair chance at a job.

Mr. Grafton points out that, while the percentages remained small, thousands of war workers across the country had quit to return to the civilian marketplace, in anticipation of the drying up of war jobs and the consequent rush back to the civilian market.

Both the private in the Army and the war worker feared the same result, being stuck without a job. He suggests a joint Congressional resolution setting as a goal that everyone would be kept in employment, and establishment of a permanent Full Employment Commission to study how to effectuate such a goal.

An unhappy reader writes to say that he was returning his copy of Drew Pearson, as he did not wish to read of the "wop La Guardia sitting on his fanny" or "about Churchill dictating to a secretary stark naked in the White House". Nor did he want to read the letter praising The News from Democratic National Committee chair Robert Hannegan, after he had so mistreated the Southerners at the Democratic convention in Chicago in July.

He concludes, "Since you have become such a strong New Dealer, you can keep your paper, as I have no further use for it."

The editors add a postscript: "We'll print most any letters, as witness."

But all was not bleak from the readers. Mr. O. D. Riddle wrote of his pleasure at the new look of the editorial page as of Monday, found it nice looking and easy to read.

R. F. Beasley of Farm & Home Weekly, also editor and co-publisher of the Monroe Journal, writes of Dr. Mordecai Ham, "The Prophet Ham" of the piece earlier in the week. He tells of a small congregation having come to listen to the Baptist preacher in Monroe on the previous Friday night at the Tabernacle. Four people offered $25 each to the coffers while others added another $75. On Sunday, Dr. Ham had spoken in Charlotte and, according to The News, raked in a healthy $2,000. The sinners of Charlotte needed more saving than the people of Monroe, a much more elaborate case having to be prepared and thus more costly to perform.

Mr. Beasley reports that he had visited one of Dr. Ham's sermons twenty years earlier. At the time, the evangelist was warning that the Jews were going to destroy the human race. He had already then been on the scene awhile, and since had continued his itinerant preachments of hate and prophecies of doom for anyone seeking to differ.

Of course, while Mr. Beasley did not say so, in a sense, perhaps, Dr. Ham was partially correct on that prediction about the Jews, for Adolf Hitler was part Jewish.

The excerpt from the Congressional Record presents a lively colloquy between Senators Bennett Champ Clark of Missouri, John Overton of Louisiana, James Murray of Montana, and the chair, John McClellan of Arkansas, all anent Senator Overton's trying to be heard in response to a diatribe against him, attributed to an unnamed Vermont Senator, Aiken or Austin.

Senator Clark wound up leaning too long upon his desk and, according to Senator Murray, had thus lost the floor, after Senator Murray had defended against his supposed yielding of the floor, on the basis that he was leaning, not yielding.

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