Saturday, December 2, 1944

The Charlotte News

Saturday, December 2, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Nazis had fought the First Army to a standstill, fighting more tenaciously than at any previous juncture in the Western Front campaign. They were fighting so well, said an American officer, that Hitler had left the command to Field Marshal Gerd Von Rundstedt.

The Ninth Army had made limited progress in house-to-house fighting in Linnich and the First Army had also engaged in house-to-house combat in Inden, southwest of Duren, making some limited progress toward the Roer River below Gey.

The beginning of the terrible Battle of the Bulge through Belgium was but two weeks away.

The Third Army gained a mile to a mile and a half, as the Fourth Armored Division moved into the outskirts of Sarre Union, 21 miles to the east of Saarbrucken. Other units resisted fierce German counter-attacks, eight miles from Saarbrucken.

The Seventh Army continued its fight just east of Strasbourg, seeking to take the three bridges across the Rhine held by the Germans on the west bank. All three were reported still intact but badly damaged.

More than 250 American heavy bombers attacked railyards in Coblenz, dropping 1,000 tons of bombs, 50 miles south of Cologne. Their 550 fighter escorts shot down 22 German planes from a force of 200 Luftwaffe fighters which rose to meet the raiders. The Fifteenth Air Force out of Italy hit targets in Southern Germany.

A map on the inside page shows the territory won by the Allies on the Western Front during the month of November.

A story which had circulated in the British press after October 25, originating with the Allied Army, had reported four small German boys having been arrested for sniping at American soldiers. The boys were cleared of the charge. It turned out that they had obtained rifles from their parents and were shooting at sandbags piled against an embankment. Some of the bullets had gone over the sandbags and were whizzing above the heads of the troops. But the boys, it turned out, were oblivious to the results of their actions. The editor of the London News Chronicle had complained in an editorial of the slipshod release of the story to the press by the Army before ascertaining the true facts.

Small German boys, by their own bragging admissions on German film, were being used as observers and snipers in fact, however, in the last months of the war.

--Gut, gut, young Reinhard. Welcome home. You see how it goes? Stupid G.I.'s with heart and law become easy targets for shooting practice, yes? Der Fuehrer always knows best.

The Russians launched a major offensive in Southwestern Hungary, moving north and west to outflank Budapest. During the previous 24 hours, the Third Ukrainian Army had moved 22 miles north toward the capital and fifteen miles northwest toward Lake Balaton, taking Kapsovar, Dombovar, Paks, and Szekszard, breaking the German Kapsovar-Paks line, extending 58 miles along the Danube to the south of the capital to Lake Balaton. The drive left the Russians but 144 miles from Vienna and 77 miles from the Austrian border with Hungary.

The inside page reports of the Army and Navy boards of inquiry into Pearl Harbor, appointed pursuant to Congressional resolution in July, having returned decisions that no officer should be held culpable before a court martial proceeding despite mistakes in judgment having been made prior to and during the course of the attack.

Removal from command of General Walter Short was deemed sufficient punishment, according to Secretary of War Henry Stimson, and no further action would be taken.

Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal did not mention by name Admiral Husband Kimmel, the Navy commander at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, but simply stated that no disciplinary action of any naval personnel was warranted.

On Leyte, south of Ormoc, Japanese troops made repeated banzai charges at the American 7th Division, but were repulsed with heavy losses. Torrential rains continued to limit action, but the 32nd Division made a slight gain after three days of stalemate. The weather plus the determined Japanese resistance had ended hopes of a quick resolution to the seven-week long campaign thus far on Leyte.

A story of the five-man crew, forced to land in Russia out of the Doolittle raiders on Tokyo, April 18, 1942, was related by an "authoritative source". The fliers were interned in Russia for a year, albeit under the best of conditions, in a dacha or country house in Penza, between Moscow and Kuibyshev. Eventually, they were allowed to "escape" across the Iranian border.

They almost had avoided internment when they first landed at an airport in Vladivostok, out of gasoline. They had convinced the Russians that they should be provided the same treatment as a belligerent ship in distress putting into a neutral port, allowed to remedy their problem and be on their way. The Russians accommodated for the night, but the next morning impressed them under international law.

Nazi Labor Chief Albert Speer warned that the Germans would soon have the V-3 which would blast New York City by the end of December. He did not elaborate as to the nature of the V-3.

Mayor LaGuardia stated that the war "is not over yet," and that the city would be ready, should any inbound weapon come its way.

The worst two-car traffic accident in the history of North Carolina occurred near Morganton on Highway 70 at the bottom of two hills, known as "Bottom Drop". Both cars had been traveling at high rates of speed when they collided head-on at 3:00 a.m., killing nine persons and injuring five, all in their early to mid-twenties.

A former Marine and his bride of two weeks were arrested on charges of kidnapping and robbery in Los Angeles after they allegedly had sought to rob a Beverly Hills bank at gunpoint, using as a shield a four-year old boy whom they had "borrowed" from his mother for the ostensible purpose of buying him ice cream. When the couple returned to the home with the boy, he informed his mother of the robbery and she promptly called the police, having noted the license number of their car.

At the outset of the bank robbery, the couple had provided a note to the teller: "Give me $3,000 quick and don't notify anyone or both you and the baby will die. The kid is not mine and his life depends solely on your willingness to do as I tell you."

Not indicated in the piece was the additional line: "I have a very big gub pointed at you."

On the editorial page, "Six Times Over" tells of the local bonds which had been issued in 1870 for some out-of-memory investment in the North Carolina Railroad, which the City could not pay until 1950 because of a re-issue in 1920 at their original maturation date and the present bondholders not wishing to accept advance payment before maturation because of the high relative rate of interest. The City had the money with which to pay the sum at maturation, $300,000, but in the meantime, the 6% interest on the bonds had accumulated and would further accumulate to the total of $1,940,000, over six times the original face value.

The lesson to be learned was to raise local taxes to pay bills as the city incurred them, rather than to borrow through bonds, or, if bonds were to be issued, to make them short-term and pay them off quickly.

Of course, it escapes the editors at the moment perhaps that it is a far easier thing to offer the astute public a vote on an issuance of bonds from which they can benefit in deferred payment of interest back to them rather than a hike in property taxes which would cut directly into their pocketbooks.

"Substitutes" discusses the disposal of surplus war property at war's end, all hundred billion dollars worth of fungible goods, and more in land and war plants. Will Clayton had originally been appointed czar of the disposal, but because of Congressional objections, a three-man board was being appointed by the President.

The editorial, however, did not like the appearance of the board, with two lameduck politicians having been appointed, Governor Hurley of Connecticut, just voted out of office, and Senator Guy Gillette of Iowa, also defeated for re-election. The third appointee was Democratic state finance chairman in California, Lt. Col. Edward Heller. The men were compromises between liberal and conservative Democratic interests and were not picked because of their skill. They would thus be beholding to political interests in the disposal of the property.

Moreover, Col. Heller and Governor Hurley had been investigated by the Senate Military Affairs Committee for their part in financing a Rhode Island war plant. Governor Hurley had taken a job with the plant at $12,000 per year with no particular duties, to become effective on his leaving his official duties as Governor.

None of these men, opines the piece, were qualified for the job.

"Tax Summary" reviews the statement of Governor-elect Gregg Cherry to the North Carolina Citizens Association re state tax policy vis à vis surrounding states. Mr. Cherry had found that the state compared not unfavorably. If taxes were reduced now, because of the surplus in the budget, there would be payment for it down the line, together with a reduction in state services.

Maintaining the status quo would not place the state at a disadvantage, as neighboring states with lower corporate tax rates were going soon to have to raise them to pay for increased educational services, not necessary in North Carolina.

"Let's Give Up" favors letting the seven-month old sedition trial in Washington die a natural death, that it was apparent the country's respect for civil liberties was at odds with trying to prosecute even the 27 defendants who had openly advocated for the Nazis and Fascists during the early stages of the war.

Six attorneys and one defendant had accumulated fines of $1,220 for contempt in the early stages of the trial. Those charges were still pending appeal.

The presiding judge had just died during the week and it now appeared that a mistrial would have to be declared—as it would be.

The whole spectacle, which had turned into a veritable circus, says the piece, placed the justice system in a poor light and accomplished little else. It recommends setting the seditionists free.

And so it would be, as the new judge would dismiss all charges. The seditionists would be free to commit sedition at will.

And as long as it is mere speech, so be it. A system which cannot withstand a little sedition from a few nuts like Lizzie Dilling and William Pelley has no business calling itself a democracy.

Hell, we even tolerate the Blonde and the Limbeck today, despite the fact each ought be tried for sedition.

The excerpt from the Congressional Record has Senator James Murray of Montana explaining why it was that he objected to a duly elected power commission in his state, supported the proposed Missouri Valley Authority to exert Federal control over power in that region of the country.

Senator Francis Maloney of Connecticut and Senator Josiah W. Bailey of North Carolina, against the MVA, quizzed Senator Murray as to whether he was not elected by the same electorate, and, finding him to respond affirmatively and further to explain that it was a reactionary press owned by Anaconda Copper and Montana Power which had duped the public into voting for the power commission, Senator Maloney intoned that he "would not trade the two liberal Senators from Montana for all the reactionary press men that may operate" in that State.

Drew Pearson comments on Donald Nelson's findings during his summer trip to Moscow and China. Stalin had told him that the Red Chinese were not true Communists, but "margarine Communists"—something the Premier would have understood as Russians had been reported to have taken a liking to Western-supplied margarine over butter. In any event, he said that the Red Chinese, to his knowledge, had no intention of attempting to communize the Chiang Government in Chungking. Mr. Nelson wanted to inform Chiang of their intentions so that he might be placed at ease in inviting the Red Chinese representatives into the Government.

Mr. Pearson next tells of the prospective new Assistant Secretaries of State under Secretary-designate Edward Stettinius. It looked to be a millionaires' club.

Nelson Rockefeller was likely to become Assistant in charge of Latin American affairs. He had done a creditable job in his role in Inter-American relations until he began to shut down his work and the problems erupted with respect to Argentina.

Will Clayton, millionaire cotton broker and chief aide to Secretary of Commerce Jesse Jones, was likely to become Assistant in charge of economic affairs. He had boosted production of cotton in Brazil, making it the chief competitor to the United States.

Adolf Berle would remain, predicted Mr. Pearson, as an Assistant. His wife recently had inherited three million bucks.

Mr. Berle, however, would not remain in the position, perhaps because of the problems arising out of the Chicago International Civil Aviation Conference just concluded, of which he had been the American representative.

Lew Douglas was another prospect, but he also would not become one of the new assistants.

James Dunn, close friend of Cordell Hull, would be elevated, says Mr. Pearson. He had married into the Armour meat fortune. Mr. Dunn would indeed join the team.

The others on the new team of Mr. Stettinius, besides the sole retainee from the Hull tenure, Dean Acheson, would be former Ambassador to Japan, Joseph Grew, as Undersecretary, Julius C. Holmes, liaison to the Armed Forces, and Archibald MacLeish, former Librarian of Congress, who would withstand in his Senate confirmation hearings bitter opposition from anti-New Dealers.

Among his "Capital Chaff" items, Mr. Pearson reports that Harry Hopkins had told War Mobilizer James Byrnes that if he stayed in that position until the end of the European war, he would become Secretary of State. (While Mr. Pearson does not expressly draw any conclusion from the factum, it would appear that the erroneous inference, given his column of a couple of days earlier, was that Mr. Byrnes had been betrayed by the Administration in favor of Mr. Stettinius. As we have suggested, in all likelihood, Mr. Stettinius understood that his role was temporary until the end of the war. The Administration would not have wanted to intimate that to the press to avoid any appearance to the Allies that Mr. Stettinius lacked full and complete authority as Secretary. Mr. Stettinius would, at the end of June, be appointed by President Truman to become the first U. S. Ambassador to the newly formed United Nations Organization and Mr. Byrnes would become Secretary of State. We shall hold it in mind and see what Mr. Pearson thinks at that point about the changes.)

The column addresses finally the boiling issues in Latin America facing Mr. Stettinius, suggests it as a primary reason for the change of leadership at State, to get a fresh start in Latin American relations.

Recently, the Ambassador to the United States from Brazil, Carlos Martins, had told Mr. Hull that, while Brazil did not approve of the Fascist-leaning Government of Argentina, Brazil felt an abiding necessity to recognize the Government because Argentina was its neighbor. Mr. Hull refused to grant his assent.

But since that time, Mexico, Venezuela, and Colombia had each expressed a desire to discuss recognition of the Argentine Government.

Marquis Childs urges the War Investigating Committee of the Senate to look at the report compiled by the Securities and Exchange Commission anent the Savannah Shipyards case, involving whether Tommy Corcoran had improperly used his political influence to get war contracts for the shipyard. It was the focal point of the dispute between Assistant Attorney General Norman Littell and Attorney General Francis Biddle, which had led to the firing of Mr. Littell at the behest of Mr. Biddle.

The matter had been referred by the SEC, without recommendation, to the White House, which then passed it to the Department of Justice. Justice then turned it over to the New York City District Attorney who turned it over to the Grand Jury, which failed to return any indictments.

The public, says Mr. Childs, was entitled to have an understanding of what took place and why Mr. Littell had been fired from his job, whether it was mere disagreement over the handling of this matter or involved some genuine cause.

Dorothy Thompson explores the myths beginning to surround the public absence of Hitler since the July 20 plot to assassinate him reportedly had failed. Goebbels had put forth the story that one of Hitler's doubles, a man named Berger—first identified in the press as part of the plot—had been killed in the explosion at the Wolf's Lair. Since July 20, he had made but one public speech on radio. Ms. Thompson, who was quite familiar with Hitler and his voice, having covered him in person during the first year of his reign as Chancellor, indicates that the voice sounded as Hitler, but that he had a voice easily mimicked by an actor.

He had always had several doubles. Photographs of late, purported to be of Hitler, had only shown the subject in profile from the rear, eyes not visible. A London newspaper had measured the ears of the subject, found them indubitably not those of Hitler. Adding to the mystery was his failure to make the usual Munich Beerhall Putsch anniversary speech on November 9, the proclamation having been read two days later by Heinrich Himmler.

Stories abounded that he was either dead or had gone insane and was being kept in an asylum.

She asserts, with a good deal of foresight, that these stories would persist even after the war, that it would be unlikely that Hitler would ever be captured alive. Just as with the ingrained German myth of Fredrich I, "Barbarossa" or "Red Beard", who had died July 10, 1190 after leading the Third Crusade of the Holy Roman Empire, a myth that Hitler might arise out of a cave and return to save Germany could easily captivate a portion of the German people. Barbarossa, she points out, was merely an extension of the myth of Wotan and his birds, the ravens.

She predicts that, five or ten years into the future, Germans might contend that whoever is found dead at the end of the war would not be Hitler. They would say, "He lives in our midst, a simple man; he is waiting the day."

Hal Boyle relates of Harold Austin, a reporter for the Sydney (Australia) Morning News, who had some observations on American soldiers. The Kangaroo, as Mr. Austin was known to his colleagues, had come ashore with the First Infantry Division on D-Day and since that time had covered the advance of the U. S. First Army through France, Belgium, and Germany.

When first he saw American soldiers walking in Piccadilly Circus, he thought that they were not really soldiers. They lacked the appearance and bearing to which he was accustomed. But when he had landed with them on D-Day and saw them advance in the face of intense enemy fire, he quickly altered his judgment. He had not amended that fresher opinion in the subsequent fighting. The Americans, he said, had tremendous pride in their country and confidence in themselves.

Still, he did not appreciate their lack of discipline. The Americans were untidy, sometimes thoughtless. The rear echelon troops, in contrast to the combat units at the front, appeared to believe that a show of respect for an officer was a sign of inferiority.

He reserved judgment on how Americans would adapt to retreat as he had observed no such action thus far.

Soon, he would.

Dr. Herbert Spaugh addresses the subject of whether it is appropriate to pray for success in war. He finds that, since war is evil, God would not bless evil, but prayer for safety in combat should not be condemned.

He then tells of the 21 safe bombing missions over Germany of the crew of the "Good Shepherd", a B-24 Liberator. Each time before the mission, the crew had gathered and offered their supplications. On the 22nd mission, a new crew took over, did not pray. The bomber did not return and no word had come of the fate of the crew.

Dr. Spaugh asks whether this was mere coincidence.

Well, in any event, on the night of October 6, 1964, a Tuesday, twelve days after he had spoken to Senator Clinton Anderson on the phone re the proposal to fund the proposed Medicare program by raising Social Security taxes, that to which House Ways and Means chairman Wilbur Mills stood resistant, we saw President Lyndon Johnson speak live at William Neal Reynolds Coliseum in Raleigh. That we recall, he said nothing of anyone being tied up in the stall.

The previous spring, we had seen Duke University beat the pants off of the University of North Carolina in the same building. Two years hence, though we were forced by dint of circumstance only to listen to it through the magic of radio waves flying through the air, it would be a somewhat different scenario, even if the final result was much the same.

Yesterday, with about twelve minutes to go in the game and our team with a five point lead, a television set we have owned since 1976 suddenly gave up the ghost and, without warning, quit working. In consequence, we could not see or hear the remainder of the affair.

That's another true story.

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