Tuesday, December 19, 1944

The Charlotte News

Tuesday, December 19, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Germans had penetrated 20 miles into Belgium along a 60-mile front, from Malmedy to the southern tip of Luxembourg, threatening Aachen 25 miles north, to which the First Army responded with infantry and tanks, while to the north patrols of the 329th Regiment of the 83rd Division crossed the Roer River and made their way into Duren, 20 miles from Cologne.

The First Army line had been pushed back 15 or more miles west of Stavelot, 15 airline miles from the German border.

Supreme Allied Headquarters continued to maintain silence as to the details of the Battle of the Bulge. Front line dispatches, however, told that the Germans were attacking from above Monschau to a position in the vicinity of Echternach.

A Swedish newspaper reported that the winter counter-offensive had been ordered by Heinrich Himmler and was being carried out against the wishes of Field Marshal Gerd Von Rundstedt, commander of the Western Front operations.

Belgians, who had thought their country permanently liberated, found themselves, to avoid reprisal, now scrubbing from buildings signs derogatory of Hitler and the Nazis.

The sudden setback in Belgium was being compared to that of Kasserine Pass in Tunisia in February, 1943.

General Patton's Third Army continued its drive into the Saar Basin, having now penetrated nearly through the fortress town of Dillengen. The Seventh Army also made advances in the Bavarian Palatinate.

Whether the photo of the coonskin cap-adorned soldier heading toward Saarlautern conveyed the notion to the Nazis that the headgear represented a German scalp, we do not know. But it soon might be so.

Some 300 Flying Fortresses dropped a thousand tons of bombs on German supply lines behind the counter-attack, hitting along a 50-mile front from Trier to Gemund. The previous night, 300 RAF heavy bombers had hit German warships in the port of Gdynia north of Danzig on the Baltic, while other contingents struck at Munster and Nurnberg.

This day's missions marked the first time in the European war that heavy bombers had been sent to provide air cover so close to the lines, indicative of the strength of the German onslaught. Usually, such close-quarter cover was provided by medium and light bombers only.

In Athens, the ELAS had attacked Averoff Prison late the previous day, forcing the phalanx of the British guard to withdraw. A British counter-strike was underway. Some 235 of the 475 prisoners, mostly political prisoners, had escaped the prison during the confusion.

Without elaboration, Prime Minister Churchill told Commons that the situation in Greece had greatly improved.

He also stated that the British were following instructions from the United States in quelling the riots in Belgium by use of armed force.

Apparently, Mr. Rockefeller had been talking out of turn to the P.M.

In Italy, heavy fighting of the Eighth Army continued in the area of Bagnacavallo, ten miles into the Po Valley above captured Faenza. To the west, Polish troops pressed toward the Senio River, 5.5 miles from Imola.

The Second Ukrainian Army advanced up to twelve miles to move two miles across the Czechoslovakian frontier from northeastern Hungary out of the Kecske Mountains, moving into the Bodva and Hernad River Valleys, leading to Kassa, the primary German stronghold in Eastern Slovakia. One Russian column was within two miles of the only good road from Kassa and other columns moved from three sides toward the town, varying between 12.5 and 15 miles from its boundaries.

About forty B-29's launched from China struck for the fifth time Omura on Kyushu in Japan, as well as at Nanking and Shanghai in China. Little fighter opposition was encountered.

The raid the previous day on Nagoya in the Japanese home islands had caused serious damage to the Mitsubishi aircraft factory.

The operations on Mindoro Island in the Philippines continued without Japanese resistance, making it the easiest island invasion thus far of the Pacific war. Since the attack had begun Friday, 742 enemy planes had been destroyed. Fully 28 ships had been sunk and 68 others damaged.

Major Richard I. Bong, America's top flying ace, had scored his 40th hit on Sunday.

Then, it was reported, he got on the phone to stupid, bloody Tuesday to talk of old torches.

On Leyte, the 77th Division captured an airdrome near Valencia, nine miles from Ormoc, still seeking joinder with the 32nd Division moving from the north along the corridor. General MacArthur stressed that frontal assault methods of combat were being avoided on the island to minimize losses. That technique plus bad weather had inevitably slowed operations against determined Japanese resistance.

The British War Office reported that the Japanese had worked 60,000 British, Dutch, and Australian prisoners under such brutal conditions, while being forced to construct the Thailand-Burma railway and road, that 24,000 had died. Another thousand who were Japanese also perished. Men who were too sick to walk were transported to the job site on stretchers and there forced to work. Torture and direct killing of the men also took place. The conditions had improved somewhat after completion of the railroad in October, 1943, but remained substantially below acceptable standards.

The President returned to Washington from a three-week vacation at the Little White House in Warm Springs, Georgia. He was said to be sun-tanned and a few pounds heavier. On his trip back, he had passed through Camp Lejeune, N.C., making a two-hour inspection tour of the Marine reservation.

On the editorial page, "One Last Show" remarks with contempt at the parting gesture of Senator Robert Rice Reynolds, seeking to get in one last jab at his favorite bogey, Russia, before he ended his Senate career of twelve years. He had stated that America should have departed the Philippines at the beginning of the hostilities in 1941 and left all of the Western Pacific islands to the Japanese, meantime fortifying the Aleutians, not so much against the Japanese, but against Russia. It was Russia, the Senator warned, who posed the extreme future danger to the country, not Japan.

Before the reader is tempted thereby to crown Senator Reynolds with the title of Cassandra personified, it must be borne in mind that this prediction was from his longstanding hatred and distrust of both Russia and Britain. Both went together in his mind as the true enemies of the United States. Had Senator Reynolds had things his way, he would have become the Reichsfuehrer for North America—and we do not stretch the case.

That the Cold War did erupt within short order after the peace was a function of many problems, some of which were being discussed at this time. But others were not capable yet of the imagination of any but a handful of men within the top levels of Government and at Los Alamos. And, not the least of the problems leading to the Cold War was the very resumption of the type of distrust and paranoid fear of Russia held by the lunatic Reynolds—who had in spring, 1940, we remind, provided to his friend, the German Abwehr spy, valuable French shipping data.

"Whose Poland?" analyses the debate over the division of Polish territory with Russia to the Curzon Line in exchange for East Prussian territory and Danzig. The East Prussian territory, says the piece, would be more valuable to Poland than the Eastern wasteland desired by Russia as merely a buffer territory. Thus, the exchange would be beneficial to Poland.

Inevitably, concludes the editorial, Poland would lean to Russia for defense and thus would fall under its sphere of influence, effectively extending Russia's border to Germany.

"Full Stockings" thanks the many participants of the community in the annual Empty Stocking fund drive by The News, designed to provide toys and gifts at Christmas to the needy in the community.

It makes again its nearly annual special thanks to Jim Crockett, Charlotte Boxing and Wrestling Commission promoter, for his supreme effort on behalf of the fund. Mr. Crockett had generously donated the receipts of the last event held at the Armory.

"An Objection" again registers its lack of support for approved members of the War Surplus Property Board, outgoing Senator Guy Gillette of Iowa, outgoing Governor of Connecticut Robert Hurley, and Lt. Col. Robert Heller, each for their lack of qualification in disposing of the 50 billion dollars worth of war surplus goods they would now be charged with accomplishing.

Though questions of propriety in dealing previously with war contracts had been cleared up as to Col. Hurley and the Governor, there still remained the issue that none of these men had the requisite training and experience for the job but were merely political appointees in need of a job somewhere.

The excerpt from the Congressional Record finds Mecklenburg Congressman Bulwinkle explaining to Representative Gavin of Pennsylvania that his criticism of the British for not having sufficient conscription of younger men was misplaced and dangerous for its potential adverse influence on the morale of the fighting men.

Representative Gavin had contended that the reason eighteen-year olds were being sent overseas and dying at the front was because the British were unwilling to shoulder their proper load of the fight.

Representative Bulwinkle had corrected him with the fact that Britain did draft eighteen-year olds and urged Mr. Gavin to find out the facts before setting off flares on the floor of the Congress which potentially could erupt across the sea.

Drew Pearson devotes his column to the effort of General Brehon Somervell to have quashed the report of the Mead Committee investigating waste by the Army in over-ordering of certain goods and consequent surplus while civilian supplies of goods were in shortage. The General insisted that to reveal the shortcomings of the Army in detail as the report would do would cause a lowering of worker morale in the country at a time when the Army was stressing maintenance of production at high levels to supply the fronts.

The Joint Committee agreed to delay release of the report, even if Republican members grumbled about the action.

Marquis Childs reports on the advanced methods being employed by the Army Air Forces under the command of General Hap Arnold regarding rehabilitation. Fully 82 percent of the fliers entering convalescent hospitals returned to duty. Those who did not, usually missing a limb, were prepared physically, psychologically, and socially for a productive return to society.

By contrast, the Army infantry relied on traditional approaches to convalescence, regimented programs with discipline which caused the men to rebel against them.

Samuel Grafton again looks at the division of opinion from both the right and left on the new Administration being shaped by the President, especially in the State Department. Whereas during the election cycle, the right complained loudly of Sidney Hillman and the CIO PAC, liberals were now complaining loudly of big business man Will Clayton having been appointed Assistant Secretary of State.

Mr. Grafton again looks at the apparent disparity in politics between the liberal Archibald MacLeish and Mr. Clayton through the prism of their cooperation conjunctively with the Administration. He asks whether liberals would have been happier had Mr. Clayton indignantly refused the appointment on the ground that he could not support the FDR foreign policy.

He concludes that the variation across the spectrum, with each side supportive of the Administration, was a healthy sign for a viable foreign policy into the future peace.

Dorothy Thompson discusses the problems of Allied unity while Russia was busy forging satellite states along its Western frontier, resurrecting the Orthodox Church and the concept of Pan-Slavism to aid in selling the package to the Poles and the Balkans.

Britain, to solidify its empire interests, was busy forming a Western bloc with France, Holland, Belgium, and Italy, the other European states which possessed colonies.

Meanwhile, American policy remained, to leave the issue of territorial division open until after the war was over.

The conflicting policies of the Big Three thus pointed toward another world war, of which the rioting in Greece was symptomatic.

To try to bridge the gaps, the Allies proposed to provide relief to the starving peoples of Europe, economic talks between the U.S. and Britain to try to stem British imperialistic aims, and a Big Three political conference.

But aside from these efforts, Ms. Thompson urges a return to the principles enunciated in the Atlantic Charter, renunciation of territorial aggrandizement and no territorial transfer of inhabitants without their consent. Without that, the talks were doomed to fail, and there inevitably would arise conflict among the smaller nations with the Big Three and the resulting problems could lead to world war, just as had the precipitant events leading to the prior two wars.

Policing the City, we find two missing links in the note of July 25. Exhibit A, the bullets, are now here. Exhibit 4F, the knocker, is now here. Whoever copped the copper links from the locker can find a suitable link with this. Drive carefully.

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