Tuesday, December 26, 1944

The Charlotte News

Tuesday, December 26, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that, by Sunday night, following a near standoff of the Germans for 48 hours during the weekend, the surging enemy forces had moved 50 miles into Belgium, a gain of eleven miles beyond that stated in previous reports, reaching to within four miles of the Meuse River near Celles at Dinant, and wiping out the St. Vith salient, forming a solid 35-mile front. Another Nazi column moved west and north, reaching Ciney, six miles from Celles, in a ten-mile drive, nine miles from the Meuse.

Two, and possibly three, German armies, the Seventh Army, commanded by Artillery General Eric Brandenberger, and the Fifth Panzer Army now participated in the Battle of the Bulge.

For the first time, the dispatch tells of the determined effort of General McAuliffe and his men to hold onto Bastogne though surrounded, following rejection of the surrender ultimatum of the Germans. The brief mention does not, however, provide the General's elaborate response. Holding Bastogne, a major road hub, was of great strategic importance, especially as the Allied counter-attack had been pushed back up the Arlon Road to within five miles of Bastogne.

Allied airmen attacked Coblenz and Bonn, as well as providing strategic cover again along the front lines of the battle, the fourth straight day of such bombing after a clearing of the inclement weather. The air cover shot down 75 Luftwaffe planes the previous day while the Americans lost thirteen heavy bombers, seven medium bombers, and 43 fighters.

The Fifteenth Air Force out of Italy attacked a synthetic oil facility at Brux, 50 miles north of Prague. Twelve bombers were lost.

Curt Riess, correspondent for the NEA news service, reported that German morale had rebounded extraordinarily, based on the Belgium Bulge offensive. Germans were reported celebrating and hugging each other in the streets, fully expecting, with the promise of new V-weapons to be deployed shortly, that the war was about to end in their favor.

The news had come just in time, as the Christmas season, especially important to Germans, was going to be dreary otherwise, beset by food and bread rationing and the absence of Christmas trees.

Look on the bright side, Herr Doktor Goebbels. You can offer it up as an old-fashioned Christmas, one, as suggested by Drew Pearson the previous day, which Mrs. Roosevelt so liked and would appreciate. Be sure, however, to have plenty of fire retardant on hand. We would not wish a spontaneous conflagration of you and your most lovely Aryan family. Meanwhile, Happy Chanukah, Herr Doktor.

Eight to ten German and Hungarian divisions had been trapped in Budapest by the Russians, as the Third Ukrainian Army moved to the western city limits of the capital following a fifteen-mile advance. Budapest was now virtually surrounded.

The Russians continued also to advance in Southern Slovakia along the Hron River in the vicinity of Leva.

On Leyte in the Philippines, General MacArthur effected on Christmas Day a surprise landing on Palompon, the last port on the island still available to the Japanese for escape or reinforcement. The landing ended all operations on the island save mopping up. The 77th Division moved into Palompon from the PT-boats in which they landed, trapping the Japanese against other 77th Division troops moving from the south.

During the 67-day campaign begun October 20, the Japanese had suffered 112,728 killed and 493 captured. The Americans had suffered 2,623 killed, 8,422 wounded, and 172 missing, a total of 11,217 casualties.

The final victory on Leyte, which Premier Koiso of Japan had declared as a decisive battle in the move toward the home islands, was considered by General MacArthur to have been "perhaps the greatest defeat in the military annals of the Japanese Army."

Further details were reported of the Sunday B-29 attack on Iwo Jima, stating that, for the second time, the first having been on December 7, the air raid was coupled with a contingent of warships. The communique did not specify the size of the raid, the previous day's account having varied the size from a dozen to 50. Chichi Jima in the Bonins was also raided.

Prime Minister Churchill and Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden were reported to have arrived on Christmas in Athens to seek a solution to the ongoing problem with the ELAS guerrilla revolt.

Meanwhile, a streetcar, the undercarriage of which was loaded with dynamite, had been discovered in front of the Hotel Grande Bretagne, in which stayed General Ronald Scobie, commander of the British troops in Greece, as well as his staff. It was unclear whether the Prime Minister was also at the hotel and precisely by whom the explosives were planted.

In Manhattan, a third of the butcher shops were closed in protest of OPA regulations on the prices of meat. Representative Emmanuel Celler of New York berated the cattle industry and its hold on the Executive Branch to obtain high wholesale profits, forcing butcher shops to sell at ruinous prices. "A cattle bloc steers the Government any way it wishes," said the Congressman.

In the Bronx, the wife of the keeper of the Bronx Zoo, Mrs. Fred Martini, was keeping two little lion cubs and a baby tiger in the couple's apartment. The mothers of the animals having refused to care for them.

On the editorial page, "Rising Costs" tells of the steadily increasing casualty count on the Western Front, 57,775 Army casualties in November, requiring transfer of 80,000 men from the air and service forces to the infantry. That was sixteen days before the inception of the Belgium Bulge offensive by the Germans.

There had been an increase as well of 20,000 men per month being drafted. But the Army at the same time was funneling large numbers of men who were specialists out of the draft into critical war industries to relieve shortages of manpower.

Tires and metals were in diminishing supply. Civilian regimens of retail stocks, including wool and cotton goods, cigarettes, fuel oil and coal, as well as paper, were also reduced.

"France Recovers", unlike Dorothy Thompson's piece of the day, finds the agreement reached between Charles De Gaulle of France and Josef Stalin of the Soviet Union to be nothing to arouse suspicion in the Anglo-American alliance. They had only agreed to check the perennial aggressor, Germany, as against both countries. There was no creation by this agreement of spheres of influence. Though France was moving toward socialism, there was no reason to believe it would not remain wholly autonomous.

France had refused cession to it of the Ruhr Valley, offered by Russia, on the basis that France deemed it safer to have the heavily industrialized German region held jointly with the British and other nations for mutual defense.

The piece gives praise to the leadership of General De Gaulle and France on its restraint.

"The Gates Open" relates of the release the previous week on parole of George Browne and Willie Bioff of the Stagehands Union after serving three years of eight and ten-year sentences, respectively, for convictions of extortion of the motion picture industry to require hiring of stagehands for useless positions. The apparent reason for their early release was the fact that they had provided states' evidence at trial and assisted the convictions of others involved in the scheme.

Despite their having sold out labor in the process of their crooked endeavor, it would not be surprising, says the piece, were the union to take them back into its leadership fold. Mr. Bioff had been received back after his service of a sentence in 1940 for a 1922 conviction for pandering. The editorial placed no bets either way.

"Oh, Whither?" comments on the trend among Administration observers to suggest alternatively a turn by FDR to the right or to the left, depending on who was doing the observation. The editorial finds no cohesive philosophy put forth by which could be premised exclusively either notion.

Plenty suggested a turn to the right: the conservative, big business appointments to the State Department, the similar appointments to the War and Navy Departments, the abandonment of Henry Wallace in the summer for the vice-presidential renomination, and the signing without veto of the Social Security bill freezing taxes at current rates of one percent.

But, too, there was ample evidence of a turn to the left: the announcement of the intention to broaden Social Security benefits, the statement of intention to provide sixty million new jobs after the war to accommodate returning veterans and displaced war workers, as well as his support of War Labor Board directives to industry and the Fair Employment Practices Committee's efforts at bringing about equality of pay and hiring practices between the races.

The only consistent trend, marking the President's entire tenure in office, concludes the editorial, was toward effecting policy which the country appeared to desire. When he had come to office, he was not stirring a movement but following one championed even by the staid United States Chamber of Commerce, which had in 1931 questioned the continued viability of unrestrained capitalism.

The excerpt from the Congressional Record finds Senator Happy Chandler of Kentucky condemning the action of force by the British against the ELAS in Greece, calling attention to the failures of President Wilson after World War I to effect a lasting peace plan. The Senator asks whether, out of haste and disagreement with one group of people and the determination to satisfy another, some of the same mistakes would not be repeated again, leading inexorably and disastrously to another world war.

Drew Pearson tells of the tradition in the Republican Party which Thomas Dewey had to balk to have any political future at all. No losing Republican presidential nominee had again won public office since Benjamin Harrison lost in 1892 as the incumbent to former President Grover Cleveland, who Harrison had defeated four years earlier. (Mr. Pearson, in reciting the litany of failed candidates and their subsequent failures to win office, fudges a bit with Charles Evans Hughes, as he subsequently was reappointed to the Supreme Court, as Chief Justice in 1930, after his defeat of 1916 to Woodrow Wilson, prior to which run for the presidency he had resigned his seat on the Court.)

The Democrats, indicates Mr. Pearson, were not loathe in this vein, having renominated Thomas Jefferson in 1800 despite his loss in 1796, Henry Clay and William Jennings Bryan nominated three times each, and also former President Cleveland's subsequent re-election.

Of course, Mr. Dewey would buck the trend, being re-elected Governor of New York in 1946 and being renominated in 1948. Thereafter, he would serve a third term as Governor.

There would come, of course, Adlai Stevenson for the Democrats, and Richard Nixon for the Republicans, to complete the renominations thus far after losses. No other defeated Republican presidential nominee, until Senator John McCain was re-elected to his Senate seat from Arizona in 2010, and only Senator Stevenson, former Vice-President Hubert Humphrey, Senator George McGovern, and Senator John Kerry, for the Democrats, would subsequently win elections, in those four instances, Senate seats, one once held and the other three, incumbencies. None of the other defeated presidential nominees, except former Vice-President Walter Mondale, in the special election in Minnesota in 2002, after his loss to President Ronald Reagan in 1984, has ever subsequently run for political office.

Mr. Pearson next relates of a touchy colloquy between Representative Howard Smith of Virginia and Representative Mike Bradley of Pennsylvania. Mr. Bradley spoke in favor of the hike in Congressional clerk pay, to which Mr. Smith offered an amendment whereby employers could raise at will to 75 cents the hourly wage of workers. Mr. Bradley, knowing of Mr. Smith's opposition to the minimum wage and hour laws and to labor causes generally, challenged the sincerity of Mr. Smith's proposal.

Mr. Smith then called the Congressman a bleeding heart to which Mr Bradley replied that when his heart bled, it bled blood, whereas the hearts of some Congressmen, who would remain nameless, instead, when it came to considering the plight of labor, bled ice water.

Marquis Childs reports of the mystifying performance of the President at his White House press conference the previous Tuesday. He had made the statement that the Atlantic Charter was not a formal document.

It appeared likely to have been a cover to afford U.S. agreement on the Polish-Russian territorial compromise, to which Prime Minister Churchill had asserted Britain's acquiescence.

The British public was voicing a lack of support for the Government position with respect to Poland on the ground that Britain went to war initially to save Poland's territorial integrity against German aggression and because Britons had been impressed by the ardor with which the Polish troops and underground had fought during the war.

It appeared that the British were more disturbed by the pro-Russian pronouncement of Churchill than were Americans.

As Drew Pearson had pointed out, however, the reaction to the President's statement regarding the Charter had formed more the reality from perception than the fact as intended, Mr. Pearson stating that the President's remark came merely by way of explanation of how the Charter came to be constructed, from snippets passed back and forth between ships at the Newfoundland conference of August, 1941.

Dorothy Thompson calls for complete candor in the determination of Polish territory. The New York Herald Tribune had reported that a conversation between General De Gaulle and Josef Stalin had determined that both leaders agreed that the Russians should have territorial protection from Germany, whereby they could not be refused passage of troops across Polish territory as in 1939, and that the Soviets should not be facing the potential of a hostile Poland aligned with Germany. Thus, the agreement to give to the Russians territory to the Curzon Line and move the German border with Poland east of the Oder was agreed.

Ms. Thompson finds objectionable the points made by Stalin, that Poland should not be forced into accommodation of the Russians and inimicality toward the Germans, regardless of the emerging government in Germany after the war. The result would be a servile Poland, subject to the whim of Russia.

Furthermore, his reference to the refusal of permission in 1939 to cross the Polish frontier was in a specific case, prior to the Russo-German mutual non-aggression pact of August, whereby Britain and France, being solicitous of an alliance with Russia, had sought Soviet agreement to march through Poland in case of German attack on the country. Poland refused its compliance.

The solution also completely ignored the Dumbarton Oaks Conference of August through October in Washington and its determination that there would be a Security Council to referee such issues as whether Russia could, in a given circumstance, have justification to cross Polish territory to meet potential aggression of Germany or some other force in occupation of Germany.

Giving Poland German land east of the Oder and the consequent need for displacement of the German residents of the region also assured German hostility toward Poland. Likewise, the taking by France of the Rhineland would assure German hostility toward France.

She concludes with the ominous note that, one day, American and British forces would evacuate Europe, leaving in place on the Continent only one powerful army, that of Russia.

The Cold War, replete with its fueling mutual paranoia, was gradually beginning to take shape even before the end of World War II or the chartering of the United Nations Organization to attempt to make permanent the alliances forged during the war.

A private from Camp Mackall, N.C., writes a letter to the editor urging veterans' organizations to unite around the world to send representatives to the peace conference at war's end to help write the peace in such manner that the mistakes ensuing World War I would not be revisited. He advocated spending as much money as was presently being spent on war to educate the public of all nations to the advantages of continuing peace, to avoid World War III.

Dr. Herbert Spaugh remarks of the unhappy expressions on the faces of many Christians in that time and recommends smiling more.

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