Thursday, December 28, 1944

The Charlotte News

Thursday, December 28, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the American forces attacking the northern and southern flanks of the Belgium Bulge were within less than twenty miles of each other at a time 36 hours earlier. Infantry and tanks had crossed the Sure River at four places, as well as pushing the Germans back into Germany at two positions in the area of Echternach. In one crossing of the Sure, the Americans had captured the village of Liefrange, ten miles southeast of Bastogne.

The mile-wide relief corridor to Bastogne was holding firm. A report of the ten-day siege of the 101st Airborne Division holding the town appears for the first time, replete with the text from German Lt. General Heinrich Luttwitz seeking on December 22 surrender of the forces, and the elaborate reply of General Anthony McAuliffe: "Nuts!"

The prefatory remarks to the invitation to surrender are, incidentally, printed slightly in variation from that which we provided on December 22, "Ourthe" being printed this day for "Our", "Mourtheuville" for "Ortheuville", and "Homores" for "Hompre", which version being the more accurate, we do not know. In any event, "Marche" was as printed.

The "Bastogne Bastion of the Battered Bastards" had for ten days, since December 18, held their critical ground within the road hub out of which radiated seven roads in all directions.

The London Evening News had hailed the stolid contingent as among the greatest heroes of the war, to be set alongside the "Red Devil" British troops who had held Arnhem against a similar surrounding force during mid to latter September.

The part of the German spearhead which had driven deepest into Belgium, at Celles, was now surrounded by guns and armor, and the main fighting in that area was at Verre, 2.5 miles southeast of the town. Likewise, the thrust into Cimey had been pushed back to a point seven to eight miles southeast of the village.

As of dawn on Wednesday, the German Army had been held for 48 consecutive hours without gain.

Despite bad weather along the front, about 1,700 Allied heavy bombers hit eleven rail targets in Western Germany. The RAF flew 500 of the bombers, dropping 2,500 tons of bombs at Opladen, twelve miles north of Cologne. The U.S. Eighth Air Force out of England flew 1,200 of the bombers, hitting with 4,000 tons of bombs Regensburg and oil refineries in Czechoslovakia, encountering no Luftwaffe opposition.

It was confirmed by Allied Headquarters that sometime prior to late August, German Field Marshal Guenther Von Kluge had committed suicide in response to the success of the Allied operations on Normandy.

In Greece, warring political factions agreed to form a regency while some of the ELAS forces were evacuating Athens.

Prime Minister Churchill, in Athens to try to effect resolution of the uprising, narrowly escaped being hit by an ELAS sniper's bullet as he stood in front of the British Embassy. A woman was hit 300 yards away. Both the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden had now departed Greece to return to London.

Parenthetically, as disclosed by Dorothy Thompson this date, the Prime Minister had voiced disturbance at the fact that Germans were fighting with the ELAS, though Ms. Thompson finds no necessary alignment therefore with the Nazis, as Germans had fought with the Maquis in France and in other occupied countries against the Nazis.

In Hungary, a German garrison holding Buda, the portion of Budapest west of the Danube, had been forced back by the Russians, while the German counterparts in the eastern section of the city, Pest, fought tenaciously house to house to hold that section of the capital. The Russians had crossed the Danube from the east and captured Szentendrei Island to join with the forces on the west bank, the operations having resulted in 3,000 Germans and Hungarians being killed. Other forces plunged into Buda from the west and southwest.

The United States and Great Britain, meanwhile, had asked the Soviet Union to explain its having removed oil field equipment from Rumania. The report from Washington made clear that no accusation of wrongdoing was being implied, but the reason behind the move was nevertheless desired.

In the first concerted Japanese Navy effort since the disastrous Second Battle of the Philippine Sea in late October, an enemy convoy, consisting of a battleship, a heavy cruiser, and six destroyers, attempting to bombard on Tuesday night the newly activated American airfield on captured Mindoro Island, had been thwarted by American planes and PT-boats. None of the Japanese shells had struck the airfield and little damage had occurred elsewhere.

Another raid on Iwo Jima had taken place Tuesday, the 20th straight day of bombing of the island.

The raid by B-29's on Tokyo for an hour and a half on Wednesday, attacking primarily the Musashima aircraft factory, was confirmed by Allied Headquarters. One Superfortress had been shot down, as also reported the previous day by Tokyo radio. The Japanese had attempted a new strategy of defense by lighting smudgepots to set up smokescreens, but the technique had proved a failure.

Some 900 of the butcher shops which had closed in Manhattan in protest of OPA regulations on meat prices, reopened their doors.

The President ordered the Army to take possession of Montgomery Ward facilities in seven cities, in the wake of the continuing defiance by company chairman Sewell Avery of War Labor Board orders. Strikes were ongoing at the time in Detroit, Chicago, and Kansas City by CIO workers, based on the company not honoring maintenance-of-membership union agreements, compliance with which having been ordered by the WLB.

The Chicago and Kansas City Montgomery Ward plants had been on strike when the problems first arose in April, resulting in the first seizure of Monkey Ward property, when Mr. Avery had to be bodily carried from his desk by two soldiers. On this occasion, he left on his own steam.

On the editorial page, "Broughton's Years" remarks on the term of J. Melville Broughton as Governor, coming to an end within a week. He had been, says the piece, a good steward of the State, governing both efficiently and with an eye toward progress.

He had led the fight to eliminate discriminatory freight rates, had equalized pay between black and white school teachers, had sought improvement generally in race relations, had reorganized judicial districts to make them more efficient in prosecuting and adjudicating cases, had put forth a comprehensive plan for improving hospitals and medical care, and had responded to the crisis at the Morganton State Hospital for the mentally ill when apprised of it by Tom Jimison's early 1942 series of reports from the inside of the decrepit facility.

The editorial concludes by stating the expectation that Governor Broughton would wind up one day in the Senate.

Governor Broughton would indeed win election to the Senate in late 1948 against William B. Umstead, appointed by Governor Gregg Cherry to the seat upon the death of Senator Josiah William Bailey in late 1946. But Senator Broughton, after a bit over two months in the office, would, himself, die. Appointed in his stead by Governor Kerr Scott, father of subsequent Governor Bob Scott, was Frank Porter Graham, defeated in the special election in 1950 by Willis Smith in a race-baiting campaign managed by future Senator Jesse Helms. Senator Smith died in office after two and a half years and was succeeded by Alton Lennon, appointed by Governor Umstead, who, himself, died in office after a bit less than two years as Governor, succeeded by Luther Hodges, eventually Secretary of Commerce to President Kennedy. Senator Lennon was defeated in 1954 by Kerr Scott, who then also died in office after three and a half years, in 1958.

The other seat, about to be occupied by former Governor and now Senator-elect Clyde R. Hoey, would exhibit more stability, but Senator Hoey would die in 1954, succeeded by Sam J. Ervin--the rest, perhaps, being explained by the Hope Diamond.

We might note that among the Diamond's prior owners were Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. In 1749, it had been set by Louis XV into the gold pendant which honored the Order of the Golden Fleece, royal French honorary society. During the French Revolution, both pendant and Diamond were pilfered, the pendant recovered, the Diamond lost. Marie Antoinette was parted of her most prized possession October 16, 1793 by M. Guillotine, a deadly foe with whom no one should tangle, even if only producing a little tickle on the back of the neck.

Four days before this tawdry episode of the Revolution, the cornerstone had been laid in Chapel Hill for the First State University. The chief honorary society of the University to this day is the Order of the Golden Fleece.

Whether any of the above-mentioned gentlemen were tapped by it, we know not, not having examined that record. But many of them, including Senators Reynolds, Ervin, Umstead, Graham, and Governor Hodges, graduated from the University. Senator Hoey graduated from the law school at the University, though never separately attending college. Senator Bailey, Senator Broughton, and Senator Lennon each graduated from Wake Forest. Senator Scott and his son both graduated from N. C. State. Governor Cherry graduated from Trinity College, prior to its being moved from Randolph County to Durham by Buck Duke, giving the institution its new name. Senator Smith graduated from Duke. Senator Helms never graduated from college, having attended Wingate and Wake Forest for about a year.

President Kennedy graduated from a small land-grant college in Massachusetts, situated within the Greater Boston area, but received an honorary doctorate from the University, October 12, 1961, properly to complete his education.

"Open Feuds" asserts that not all was well with the United Nations. Russia was upset regarding U.S. reluctance to allow cession to Russia of Eastern Poland. The British and American public were finding the lull on the Eastern Front before Warsaw a suspicious circumstance. Moscow had made no comment on the problems in Greece, whereas the American press was actively in opposition to the British stand. Part of American public opinion was actively opposed to Prime Minister Churchill's veto of Count Carlo Sforza's appointment as Foreign Minister to the Bonomi Government in Italy. There had been brewing also mutual resentment and mistrust between Chiang Kai-shek in China and Washington.

Conventional wisdom had it that these problems did not bode well for the future relations of the United Nations coming out of the war.

Yet another view, however, was that such problems were inevitable between international allies and that it was better that they come forth at present rather than simmer and boil over later on, as had been the case following World War I when, at the Paris talks of 1919, France's Clemenceau, The Tiger, and Britain's Lloyd George broke with Woodrow Wilson's proposal for the Fourteen Points. The editorial offers that it would have been likely more salutary to the peace had these differences come forth before war's end, that they might therefore have been better anticipated by President Wilson.

"Help Wanted" reports of two prominent businessmen in Charlotte, Mr. Tillett and Mr. Ivey, having declined appointment to the new city planning board on the conscientious belief that they would not have sufficient time to devote to its responsibilities. The piece suggests that the Mayor, in replacing them, find only citizens who had the willingness and ability to serve.

"Almost Gone" points out the demise of lynching in the country, with two having been reported in 1944, one in Mississippi and the other in Tennessee, the lowest incidence on record of any previous year since records had been kept. In 1943, three had been reported.

In 1935, twenty persons, 18 of whom were African-American, had been lynched in the United States. There were nine in 1936, five in 1940, four in 1941, and five in 1942.

By contrast to the turn of century, 130 had been lynched in 1901, the last time the number rose above a hundred in a given year.

The trend indicated the dying of an evil spirit besetting and haunting the land, one which had to remain moribund.

Unfortunately, after the war and the righteous and lawful demand by blacks of the rights guaranteed every citizen by the United States Constitution, the lesser lights of the South would renew the practice with vigor in the 1950's and 1960's.

"A Heavy Toll" remarks on the Christmas accident in Charlotte involving a six-year old boy and his young sister, in which the boy had lost his hand and the girl had received a gash in her leg from the explosion of firecrackers. The piece speculates that the "TNT's" must have had in them something other than ordinary gunpowder as subsequent tests of them blew up a metal bucket and drove the fragments 40 yards.

It suggests that, with five million dollars being spent annually in the country on fireworks, this accident might serve as another case to weigh in the balance to assess whether this attractive nuisance was really worth the risk of such serious injuries.

Drew Pearson reports of a plan of newly appointed Assistant Secretary of State Nelson Rockefeller to ameliorate rocky relations with Argentina by virtue of an agreement whereby the Argentine would clean house of its worst Fascist-leaning politicians in exchange for renewal of United States diplomatic recognition. The plan had not yet been approved by the President.

The old problem, before the war, had been the ABC countries. Now, it had boiled down to the A country.

Senator Claude Pepper of Florida, he next reports, found himself seated one setting away from his nemesis on the Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Tom Connally of Texas, a nemesis insofar as the confirmation hearings of the Assistant Secretaries of State. Senator Pepper had led the charge against confirmation of the big business appointees, especially cotton king Will Clayton; Senator Connally had been their chief defender. In between the two men sat the host of the dinner, Evalyn Walsh McLean, Washington socialite, owner of the Hope Diamond, (mother-in-law to Robert Rice Reynolds and heir by marriage to the Washington Post).

Seated across from Senator Pepper had been Will Clayton. Assistant Secretary-designate Clayton and Senator Pepper found themselves exiting the room at the end of the dinner nearly arm-in-arm.

Anything went. Maybe one would now to the other offer invitation to tea.

The Allied commanders, he informs, were concerned regarding the Russians having suddenly stopped the practice of allowing shuttle bombing by use of Soviet territory. The practice had been working well. American bombers would bomb areas in Eastern Germany or Poland and then land in Russia, and, following due rest, take off on another mission, heading west. No reason had been provided for the sudden turn-about in Soviet policy.

With a large part of Germany's manufacturing base having been removed to Poland, it now made it difficult to reach this critical supply base, thought by many to be serving as the primary source of supplies to the Western Front during the Bulge operations.

Anything went. Maybe one would now to the other offer invitation to marguerites.

In either case, maintain a close watch on the coal.

Marquis Childs writes in favor of re-establishment of cooperatives in Europe to ward off the prospect of conversion to communism after the war. The cooperative as an entity had first developed exactly a century earlier in Rochdale, England, when 28 impoverished weavers came together on December 21, 1844 to form an organization for their mutual economic benefit.

The Nazis had, as in Greece, crushed the cooperatives in Europe wherever they found them. The United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration had studied the possibility of forming cooperatives through which to distribute food and other relief to liberated countries. But, in Greece, for instance, given that there were no cooperatives any longer and given UNRRA policy of using only the established economic system through which to distribute relief, the formation of cooperatives for the purpose was deemed too political.

Mr. Childs therefore suggests a modification of policy to insure survival of the cooperative in Europe and its rejuvenation in countries where it had been crushed by the Nazi boot heel.

Samuel Grafton examines the seeming vacillation of the President between standing for principles, the Atlantic Charter, and playing power politics, refraining, for instance, from taking a stand in the Polish-Russian territorial dispute. Mr. Grafton believes that the President still much preferred principle, but, nevertheless, a perception was being created that America had not staked out a well-defined position regarding how the post-war world would be constructed, even if it was clear that the Administration backed a strong United Nations organization to maintain the peace.

Dorothy Thompson indicates the probable uselessness of a plebiscite in Greece as long as there would be a regency in power to control it on behalf of King George II. The 1935 plebiscite, she explains, had been rigged by the War Minister acting as regent for the King so that there was no possibility that the Republicans would win against the Royalists. Everyone who went to the polls received only a Royalist ballot, when they complained, were beaten up. The dictator Metaxas then enforced the rule of the monarchy through the beginning of the Nazi occupation in 1941. There was no reason to believe that matters would be different this time. The Greeks were letting loose at present with their Bronx cheer in response.

The British were backing an established government which had come to power quite illegitimately. The only way to obtain legitimacy, she argues, was to hold a completely impartial election without it being controlled by the present ruling government.

She declares that she had never subscribed to the theory that once one set one's hand to the plough, one should never look back. When advancing over a cliff, it was, she says, best to examine from whence one had come to assure a way in retreat from the precipice.

Whether Edgar in Washington was taking note, we know not.

The gentleman with the pipe in the Side Glances must be John Foster Dulles, reading the tea leaves of the future, beyond that even of his own stretch of years.

A piece at the end of the editorial column relates the tale told by Upton Sinclair to his guests on a snowy night. It seems a tramp had wandered onto the estate of the Duke of Norfolk, whereupon the Duke encountered him, informed him of his trespass. The tramp inquired of where he had obtained the land, to which the Duke responded, from his ancestors. The tramp maintained his inquiry as to the ultimate origin of ownership of the ancestors, until reaching back sufficiently in generations that the Duke was forced to admit its accession as the spoils of a fight.

The tramp then tossed aside his coat and urged, "Very well, then, let's start this thing all over again. I'll fight you for it!"

Fourth Day of Christmas: Four blues in perpetuity entailing.

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