Tuesday, December 12, 1944

The Charlotte News

Tuesday, December 12, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the First Army infantry and tanks had advanced to Mariaweiler, a half mile from Duren, capturing six fortified villages, Hoven, Pier, Merken, Merode, Gey, and Derichweiler. The forces reached the flooded Roer River along a 1,000-yard front south of Obermaubach reservoir, opposite Hurtgen Forest. The bulk of the German forces had already withdrawn east of the Roer.

Fighting continued at the northen end of the front at Schophoven while the Germans mounted fierce counter-attacks below Strass and Gey.

German prisoners likened the battle front around Duren to that they had experienced on Normandy, as whole companies were decimated, strength sometimes reduced from 120 men to 15. The Germans were also running short of weaponry.

Encountering only light resistance, the Seventh Army broke through the Maginot Line, advancing six miles in eight hours to Seltz, 15 miles southwest of Karlsruhe and four miles from the border of the Palatinate. Civilians were found living in many of the Maginot forts, having been abandoned by the Germans. Captured prisoners indicated that the Germans were withdrawing to the Siegfried Line. The Seventh Army was now four miles from the German border and only 1.5 miles from the Rhine.

Nearly 1,300 American heavy bombers and a thousand fighter escorts struck the Leuna synthetic oil manufacturing plant at Merseburg, as well as railroad facilities at Hanau, Aschaffensburg, and Darmstadt.

Heavy bombers out of Italy hit a synthetic oil facility at Blechhammer in southern Silesia.

The raids of the day before had involved a record 4,000 planes, dropping 10,000 tons of bombs.

London reported another barrage of V-2's, albeit described only as "flying bombs", launched against southern England, inflicting some damage and casualties.

Russian tanks and infantry of the Second Ukrainian Army entered the northern suburbs of Budapest, gaining three miles, capturing Veresegyhaz and Szada, 8.5 miles northeast of the city. The other three pincers, from the east, south, and southwest, also continued to advance. The Germans had erected the same type of anti-tank ring about Pest as they had at Sevastopol in the Crimea.

Chaos reigned inside the capital after 30 continuous hours of Russian shelling, with the Hungarian patriot forces rising up against the occupation forces. Some sections of the city were said to be under control of the patriots. Many Hungarian Army officers had deserted to join with the patriots. Meanwhile, the Nazis were busy rounding up patriot leaders and executing them.

Another Russian force drove westward past the bend in the Danube above the capital, moving toward Bratislava, 85 miles distant, and Vienna, 116 miles away, capturing Hont and Varsany.

The ELAS forces in Athens fired shells into the city, near its center, continuing their efforts to control the center of the capital. RAF planes strafed the ELAS troops five miles to the northwest of the city. Field Marshal Sir Harold Alexander, Allied Mediterranean commander, had arrived in the city with British Middle East envoy and future Prime Minister, Harold MacMillan, presumably with intention to try to effect peace.

A Paris war crimes tribunal sentenced nine members of the French Gestapo to death and two others to life imprisonment. A twelfth defendant had died in prison. Each of them was accused of atrocities, including murder, torture, and kidnapping during the occupation.

Another B-29 raid took place on Tokyo, this one at night, involving, according to Tokyo radio, one or two Super-fortresses. Three previous attacks between midnight and 5:00 a.m. had also taken place, according to the broadcast, as yet unconfirmed by Allied Headquarters. These raids, too, each consisted of one or two B-29's. One of the raids had taken place over Shizuoka prefecture, the area hit by the earthquake and tidal wave on December 7, and so may have been a reconnaissance mission.

Berlin radio reported that 20,000 civilians were being evacuated from Tokyo in the wake of the spate of B-29 raids.

On Leyte at Ormoc, thousands of trapped and desperately fighting Japanese troops of the 26th Division, some of the enemy's best troops, were wiped out just south of the port by both the American 77th and 7th Divisions. Some of the Japanese had jumped into the Camotes Sea seeking escape, but had been killed or drowned. This fight eliminated the southern part of the Yamashita line.

To the north to Caragara Bay, the continuing fighting was slowed by mud and torrential rains.

Rear Admiral D. C. Ramsey, Chief of the Navy Bureau of Aeronautics, stated to the House that Navy fighter planes might soon break through the sound barrier, set at something around 763 mp.h. depending on altitude, faster than any enemy plane. The fastest horizontally obtained speed posted to date had been 400 m.p.h. A few months earlier, however, a plane had approached the sound barrier during a power dive.

Admiral Sir Buer Fraser of the Royal Navy and commander of the British Pacific Fleet, stated in Melbourne that the best contribution the British could make to the Pacific war was in air and sea operations, not infantry. Supply of ground troops would become too complicated over such long distances.

Newly appointed and confirmed Secretary of State Edward Stettinius testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on behalf of his Undersecretary-designate Joseph Grew and five newly appointed Assistants, indicating that they were trying to assemble a Department aimed at "a liberal and forward looking foreign policy." His five enunciated foreign policy goals were to end the war quickly, assure that neither Germany nor Japan could wage offensive war in the future, to establish the United Nations organization, expand post-war world trade, and encourage democracy in all nations.

The Senate had returned to committee for further inquiry Mr. Grew, Nelson Rockefeller, Will Clayton, and Archibald MacLeish. They, plus the other two appointees, James Dunn and Brig. Gen. Julius Holmes, were undergoing committee questioning.

A photograph appears on the page showing a heavy nine-inch snowstorm in Kansas City, a storm which had swept eastward across the continent.

On the editorial page, "Cold Dough" challenges the Mecklenburg Board of Commissioners, with three Mc's and a Sandy seated among its membership, to use its good Scotch blood to collect past due taxes in the lush times of 1944, taxes due since 1928, totaling over a half million dollars. Otherwise, it warns, the Legislature would, as it periodically did, pass a bill forgiving past due taxes from prior to a certain point, already having done so for those taxes due prior to 1928.

"Tar Heel Share" observes that the annual report of the Rosenwald Fund, which had spent over 1.5 million dollars during 1943 on improvement of race relations, told a story of race relations in the South. North Carolina was not mentioned among the events which were most detrimental to good relations, riots, race-baiting, flagrant discrimination, and interracial violence. As one little black girl had commented, if America wanted to punish Hitler, they should just make him black and send him to America.

North Carolina had been mentioned several times, however, in positive categories indicative of cooperative advance, even if conservatively accomplished.

It had recently, for instance, equalized pay between black and white teachers, awarded in 1943 the Mayflower Society Literary Cup, that award provided posthumously to W. J. Cash in 1941, to J. Saunders Redding for No Day of Triumph, had fellowships awarded to black teachers from Winston-Salem and Durham to Harvard and Pittsburgh, and the University Press had published Dr. Howard Odum's Race and Rumors of Race.

"The Laggards" reports of the Treasury's announcement the previous week, made with regret, that the Sixth War Loan Drive had already reached its goal and gone beyond it. But the problem was that it had been accomplished through large investors rather than with sufficient representation from individual investors as hoped by the Treasury Department. Individual purchases were two billion dollars behind the set goal, frustrating one of the objects of the drive, to drain off surplus cash into investment.

The piece allows that the shortfall may have come about because the average individual was not so flush with cash as presumed, that the plethora of surplus cash in the country perhaps was in the pockets of the wealthy.

"Face the Facts" examines the proposal of a North Carolina Assemblyman favoring reduction in the state corporate tax rate because of the presence of a 19 million-dollar surplus in the budget. The piece cautions, however, that the move was premised on the prospect of continued levels of income in the state affording annual tax revenue at present of 77 million dollars, compared to the 1939 pre-war revenue of 36 million.

Should the tax base erode after the war, with state expenditures standing at 58 million dollars annually, then there could be a significant deficit created in the budget, causing a need for cuts in essential services.

So, before any tax slashing should take place, there was needed initally some wise assessment of what the prospective tax base would produce in future revenue.

The excerpt from the Congressional Record conveys the concept of the often wasted paper on which the Record is daily printed, at a cost at the time to the taxpayers of $84 per page.

The entire entry of the day tells of Representative Cameron Morrison of North Carolina first trying to be heard in response to Mr. Andersen of Minnesota, then when not afforded leave to speak, apparently objecting to Mr. Andersen's request of unanimous consent that his extended remarks be included in the record, thereafter withdrawing his objection when, having finally received the floor from the yield of Mr. Kerr of North Carolina, he realized that he had objected to the placing in the record of the extended remarks of Mr. Andersen whereas, in fact, he only meant to object to what he thought was Mr. Andersen's request for an additional two minutes of time within which to be heard.

Drew Pearson tells of Prime Minister Churchill's orders issued to British General Ronald M. Scobie in Greece: to shoot at any armed male who resisted British authority and to "keep and dominate Athens".

Secretary of State Stettinius had issued his note, stating a policy of support of popular determination of government in all liberated lands, in response to his receipt of the Prime Minister's instructions via the U. S. Ambassador to Greece, Alexander Kirk.

Mr. Kirk's letter is printed in full. He had stressed that the Prime Minister believed that the ELAS in Athens would use women on the front lines and that the British troops should use discretion in avoiding the shooting of such persons. He also informed that Churchill wanted to impart a lesson through the ELAS which would be instructive to other such groups, that he wanted to accomplish the purpose short of violence but had authorized violence, if necessary, to be used.

Meanwhile, Churchill had refused a coalition government to be formed under aging Themistoklis Sophoulis, despite EAM willingness to serve in such a government. The Prime Minister was insistent that Papandreou remain as head of state.

Some diplomats in Washington believed that in fact the shooting match in Athens centered around the interest rate to be charged on loans of money to Greece from the British Hambro's Bank to build various public works in the country, the Boeotian irrigation project, the Athens water works, the Patras railway and most of the Greek light and power companies. The interest on the loans was high, varying from 7.75 to 16 percent. Hambro's had helped Winston Churchill in 1912 when he had experienced financial trouble. The EAM wanted the interest lowered to a rate consistent with the current market.

If the entire situation seems eerily familiar, given the present scenario worldwide with Occupy and their various peppery confrontations with police, the Greek and Italian financial crises, the recent end to the Papandreou Government in Greece, that of the grandson of the Papandreou in power in 1944, well, you are probably on the right track, that which few understand by the failure of most to research adequately their backlogs of old newsprint.

Remember. Don't blame us. We are just the messenger.

Samuel Grafton again addresses the disagreement between the United States and Great Britain with regard to Italy, Belgium, and Greece, the remedy for which was obvious, that the two countries needed to get together and work out their differences.

The British contended that the argument was one over order in Greece and Belgium. But, in neither country was there order and so the Pierlot Government in Belgium and Papandreou Government in Greece were not receiving the support of the British because they were preserving order but rather simply and only because they were pro-British.

In Italy, the British opposed Count Carlo Sforza becoming Foreign Minister because of his alleged lack of support for the new Bonomi Government. Yet, Bonomi, himself, did not appear to object to Count Sforza. The actual reason for the opposition, therefore, was that Count Sforza was opposed to the British plan of control over former Italian colonies in North Africa.

The United States policy of standing for self-determination and true freedom of liberated peoples in these and other lands was a better and more sincere application of the enunciated grounds for waging the war, as contained in the Atlantic Charter.

Marquis Childs examines the cigarette shortage in the country and observes that there really was no mystery to it. Once 30% of the available supply was absent, shipped overseas to soldiers, and there was more money in the pockets of consumers for purchase of cigarettes, the reasons for the problem became readily evident.

He further explains that in every K ration there were a dozen cigarettes per day. C rations included nine a day. The ten-in-one ration, enough food for a dozen men, carried with it 200 cigarettes. The ration accessory packet contained a score of the nicotine delivery devices to save the Germans and Japanese their ammunition. (He doesn't phrase it quite like that, but we thought we would.)

In addition to these supplied by the Government, civilians bought up cigarettes for shipment overseas to the men, starting in September so they might arrive by Christmas to the fronts.

Added to the problem were domestic hoarders, who, hearing of a prospective shortage, bought in quantity—so they could experience the cool, refreshing, and lingering taste, of the marble in the cemetery. "What these unthinking locusts can do in four or five days is perfectly amazing."

Some people thought the problem lay in lend-lease shipments, especially those being sent to Russia. Blame the Reds for the shortage.

But, explains Mr. Childs, exports of tobacco in peacetime ranged from 40 to 60 percent of that grown in the country, most of it going to Great Britain. The British share had not significantly increased, but a poor tobacco crop in Britain had precipitated shortage there.

The U.S. was exporting, he further explains, 1.5 packs per day per man in service. He urges that more be taken from the civilian supply to increase that number if they weren't enough to keep pace with soldier demand.

Bring us a cheeseburger, and we'll get Packy to tell ye the rest of the story...

A letter to the editor asks for copies of the January-February, 1942 Tom Jimison participant-observer study of the mental hospital at Morganton, says he is part of an organization in Massachusetts, Starry Cross, which supported actively improvement in mental institutions. He had found the remarks contained in the November 6 editorial, "High Mark", to be instructive and added some suggestions of his own gleaned from observation of the problems inherent in such institutions, one primary one being, he says, that the beds were filled with persons who really didn't belong there, either elderly who no one wanted, or alcoholics and drug addicts who belonged in other recovery facilities, or persons suffering from only temporary hallucinations, or the unwanted of any age.

Indeed, Mr. Jimison's report and that of the anonymous woman who reported on the women's facility told of such persons being housed at Morganton.

Ah, Juicy Fruit.

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