The Charlotte News

Wednesday, December 6, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page and inside page report that the Third Army had advanced two to seven miles along its entire front and crossed the Saar River at six places between Merzig and Saarlautern. The 35th Infantry Division and Sixth Armored Division had captured two-thirds of Sarreguemines. The Nazis had blown all five bridges into that town. Other units advanced to within six miles of Saarbrucken as artillery fire poured onto the rich steel and coal center of the Saar region, producing annually over 13 million tons of coal and two million tons each of steel and pig iron.

The right flank of the Third Army, in combination with the Seventh Army, closed in on the Karlsruhe corner of Lorraine, leaving a German-occupied rectangle measuring 50 miles by five to twenty miles.

Flood conditions along the Roer River hampered Ninth Army attempts to cross it with patrols. Some of its troops, however, were within 22 miles of Cologne.

The First Army gained a short distance below Bergstein at the edge of Hurtgen Forest, near the Roer.

In six months since D-Day, the Allies had freed all except 2,000 square miles of France, all of Belgium, and a fifth of Holland. From Brest to Sarreguemines was 430 airline miles, the lattitudinal extremities of the advance. The French conservatively estimated that 1,150,000 casualties had been inflicted by the Allies on the Germans during the six-month period, including 794,294 prisoners captured.

Wes Gallagher, with the Ninth Army, reports on the ammunition shortage at the front, at first a function of available portage and transportation across the front, but with that cured, now being solely a matter of short production. The situation had occurred from over-optimistic estimates in the Army command structure as to the speed with which the war in Europe would be won, as well as the unexpected strength of German fixed fortifications, requiring more ammunition than anticipated to penetrate them. Further complicating matters was that the Pacific war was moving ahead apace, siphoning off additional ammunition. Factories at home which had been instructed to divert production to other materials than ammunition suddenly were faced with having to reconvert to ammunition manufacture. While the crisis had passed, ammunition rationing was still ongoing, and the condition promised to lengthen the war.

About 800 American bombers escorted by 800 fighters struck with 3,000 tons of bombs dropped on oil targets in Germany at Merseburg and Beilefeld.

Fully 5,000 planes had hit Germany the previous day, from Berlin to the Rhine. Some 1,400 bombers and fighters had hit Munster, knocking out 91 Luftwaffe planes with a loss of twelve American bombers and eleven fighter planes.

The RAF bombed Hamm and Soest in another raid of 1,400 planes. Two of the planes were lost.

Another raid of twelve hundred American dive-bombers and a thousand British planes made sorties in support of the Western Front. Three of the planes were lost.

During the previous 24-hour period, 4,000 Allied planes had dropped 12,000 tons of bombs on eight German rail centers.

It was reported in the House of Commons in London that fanatical Nazis were refusing non-German blood from the British Second Army. Heretofore, they were being given forced transfusions. Conservative MP Norman Bower, however, asked the War Secretary that the practice be ended and the fanatics allowed to die of their own free will.

Foreign Secretary Sir Anthony Eden continued to assert the British policy of opposing Count Carlo Sforza for a position in the Italian Cabinet, notwithstanding the statement issued the previous day by the U. S. State Department indicating that the United States would adopt a hands-off policy, to allow the Italian people to select their government free from outside interference. Several Laborites shouted against Mr. Eden's remarks, demanding a gradual withdrawal of the British military presence from Southern Italy.

Much of the British press had found the note from Secretary of State-designate Edward Stettinius to be rude and self-righteous.

In Athens, a British Sherman tank and a platoon of British soldiers seized the headquarters of the leftist EAM, with one British soldier killed by gunfire while clearing the building, and another soldier of the opposing ELAS also killed. The British troops took control as well of the Communist Party building. Despite continued widespread sniping and British casualties, Greek authorities stated that all resistance would likely be overcome by the following day.

In the Athens port at Piraeus, fighting between British troops and demonstrators had subsided after a pre-dawn clash involving the ELAS firing on a truck load of British troops, killing one and wounding another.

The Russians moved past Lake Balaton, after capture of Marcali eight miles to the south, to move to within 40 miles of the Austrian border. German radio indicated that the Russians had crossed to the west bank of the Danube below Budapest from Csepel Island, taking the town of Eresi, twenty miles south of the capital.

Lines of supply to 100,000 German troops in Northern Yugoslavia were placed in jeopardy from the Russian operations in both Hungary and Yugoslavia.

In Italy, British and Polish troops of the Eighth Army had crossed the Lamone River below Faenza and were making a strong push toward that town.

On Leyte, it appeared that 25,000 Japanese reinforcements in Ormoc Valley would soon begin a major offensive once the weather cleared from the torrential rains. Americans armed with bazookas had beaten back a tank-supported Japanese drive to break out of the grip of American encirclement at the northern end of the Ormoc corridor, south of captured Limon. Rain still limited, however, major action. Another Japanese destroyer was sunk by American planes and PT-boats in the area.

In Cleveland, a seven-year old girl who, on September 14, had sought in vain to save a neighbor's dog from the path of an onrushing automobile and wound up being hit, rendering her unconscious for thirty days and causing her to lose her eyesight, was slowly having her sight return. The medical specialists could cite no good medical reason for the recovery. Her memory was also slow to return, the result of brain hemorrhaging. The girl's parents attributed the miraculous recovery of her sight to the collective good thoughts of well-wishers across the country. One of the first things which she was able to recognize as her sight returned was a goldfish bowl.

In the trial in Los Angeles of bandleader Tommy Dorsey for assault on Jon Hall regarding a pass at Mr. Dorsey's wife, the District Attorney stated his intention not to contest the defense motion to dismiss the case, citing state law that he was a representative of all of the people of California, including defendants. A previous motion by the District Attorney to dismiss the case had been denied by the trial court. The defense motion was under submission.

Whatever the practice was in 1944, we do not know, but for at least the last thirty years, we can report that it is not uncommon in cases where evidence against the accused is weak or cut ten ways to sundown on eyewitness versions of events or there are extenuating circumstances of one sort or another, prosecutors in California move to dismiss a case in the interests of justice. In almost every instance, the trial court accepts the motion. And, of course, as it is the prosector's office, except in the rare instance of grand jury indictment, which originates the charge, that is only the way it ought be.

And, don't forget to obtain your tickets to see the King Cole Trio, live and in person, at the Charlotte Armory tomorrow night, December 7, 1944 at 9:50 p.m. Also appearing on the bill will be Savannah Churchill, the Benny Carter Band, Jean Starr, Marion Carlisle, and Peg Leg Lotz, "the world's greatest one leg dancer".

A splendid time is guaranteed for all.

On the editorial page, "The Big Raid" tells of the passage by the lameduck 77th Congress of a bill to provide for special beneficiaries of World War I veterans, those who were spouses and children of the veterans, to continue through their lifetimes. By extrapolation from the fact that, at the time, there were still widows and orphans of veterans of the War of 1812 drawing benefits, it meant that through about the year 2076, there would be beneficiaries of this bill, widows and orphans of World War I veterans who saw at least 90 days of service.

So, begins the piece, quite precognizant of the coming of the computer age, "In the year 2076, or thereabouts, an editor on The Electronics Daily Flash, casting about for something to lambaste in the next instant's issue, may happily bethink himself of the Congress of 1944, and pitch in."

It isn't 2076 yet, and so we shall leave it for someone else to take up the cudgels on this issue in another, say, 65 years.

The piece concludes with a quote in 1933 from President Roosevelt that the duty of society was to provide for the returning soldiers who had contracted disease or were injured in the service, but also not to create any special benefits for them which placed them above ordinary citizens merely for the fact that they wore the uniform.

"A Solid Front" finds commonality of spirit in the leftist rebellions which had followed liberation in each of Italy, France, Belgium, and now Greece. Each rebelling group had been armed and expressed distrust and disfavor of the installed government. It was even so in France after De Gaulle came to power that the FFI did not wish to surrender their arms until they were certain that the provisional government would not deprive them of their rights.

The piece is not sympathetic with these tendencies, finds them to be overly distrustful of new provisional regimes without giving them an opportunity to enable democracy to flourish.

But each situation was different and the attempt of the piece to lump them together is a misplaced exercise. Certainly Italy and Belgium appear as governments which initially, after liberation, were determined to take away liberties. Not so with the Greek and French liberation governments. So the editorial's question asking whether these forces of resistance, as a single entity, expected perfection in government, deserved an answer determined by which society it referenced.

"Wage Demand" discusses the brewing Congressional wage hike to keep pace with rises in costs of living. The $10,000 per year salary was set in 1924. Even by the 15 percent formula of Little Steel, members of Congress deserved $11,500. But, they wanted $15,000 and some had suggested $20,000, to keep pace with Washington expenses.

The editorial agrees that members should be receiving more, but the fact of its being a political hot potato meant that the Congress would likely look to the White House first to favor the proposal before they took it up.

"Broken Dreams" comments on the disillusionment of the public with Hollywood regarding the balcony brawl occurring in early August between Tommy Dorsey and Jon Hall over a disputed pass at Mr. Dorsey's wife. Now that the case had gone to court, it had been revealed that Mr. Hall, the dashing figure on the screen who always got the girl and always saved the day, could see nothing without his glasses. Thus, the relatively slight of build trombonist Dorsey had easily gotten the better of the usually dashibg man of the screen. Indeed, Mr. Hall could not even see the girl he was holding in his arms when he had all of those passionate love scenes committed to film.

It was downright disconcerting.

The excerpt from the Congressional Record tells of Representative Snyder of Pennsylvania having proposed a new superhighway system for the country and being met with objections from Mr. Smith of Ohio and Mr. Hoffman, presumably Clare of Michigan, for the fact of questions as to where the money would be derived to pay for the elaborate proposal, which included three East-West and six North-South roads.

Mr. Snyder stated that the roads would be built by private industry and then would charge tolls to pay for them, as already the case in Pennsylvania.

Mr. Smith challenged him on the notion that 30 million dollars of the money had come from the Federal Government and would not be repaid by the State, admitted by Mr. Snyder.

Mr. Snyder justified the borrowing from the people on the basis that every business started out by borrowing, to which Mr. Hoffman injected the Garden of Eden, Adam, Eve, and the snake.

You may read it from there. Suffice to say that Mr. Snyder wound up analogized to the snake and the highway system, the apple.

Whether this piece, combined with the first piece in the column, somehow predicted Apple Computer, we leave to you for your higher discernment, depending on how you view the utility and various benefits and detriments to society of the personal computer.

The great advantage is in what we are doing right now; the great disadvantage is that it has surely diminished personal interaction and increased interpersonal touchiness for the fact of lack of experiential data among younger people as to what interaction is all about. It has certainly adversely impacted freedom of speech, as counter-intuitive, initially, as that proposition might appear.

But, as with all inventions, the superhighway included, it takes any society time to catch up with the thing and find its benefits and cease to see it as an elaborate toy solely for amusement.

One of the dangers, we offer, in teaching students at a too young age how to use a computer is that they may grow up without proper interaction with others, without proper manual skills developed with use of ordinary toys, the analog versions, and, moreover, could cause them forever to view the computer as primarily an amusement device rather than as an informational and writing tool, as most of us older than about 35 probably view it. But that is just a series of hunches.

We shall have to wait until 2076, maybe, to determine its full utilitarian benefit or detriment to world society.

We already know, however, what detrimental impact the superhighway system has had upon our planet. That is not a hunch. It is an observation, if not out our window, via the computer hooked to the internet.

But, whatever you do, men, don't use your laptop too much connected to the internet while on your lap. It is, we read, akin to the effect the soldiers in World War II sought to avoid by sitting on their helmets packed full of sand. It will effect the decline of which the last little squib in the column makes remark.

Drew Pearson examines the conflict between Attorney General Francis Biddle and Assistant Attorney General Norman Littell which had led to the recent firing of the latter. The primary conflict appeared one of personality. Mr. Biddle was shy, hesitant to make a decision, but when made, determined to carry it forth. Mr. Littell had been impetuous, emotional, and ready to undertake action without too much deep thought.

As example, Mr. Pearson offers Mr. Littell's objection to the proposed Navy leasing agreement of the Government's Elk Hills oil reserve to Standard Oil because it smacked of another Teapot Dome scandal, similar to that of the Harding Administration, based on the fact that Elk Hills was one of those fields involved in the former scandal. But, this time, there had been no hint of payoffs to government officials, the bribes which tainted the previous transactions. Frank Knox, deceased Secretary of the Navy, had chafed at the charge brought by Mr. Littell and had never quite gotten over the implication that he was not being honest in the Navy's dealings with Standard Oil.

The final problem had been the differences between Mr. Biddle and Mr. Littell regarding the condemnation of the Savannah Shipyard for war use. Mr. Littell wanted to contest the value demanded for the shipyard by Tommy Corchran, that being a million dollars. In fact, Mr. Biddle had agreed and allowed Mr. Littell to proceed to suit for condemnation, being then put to the proof of valuation of the property with the right of the owners to dispute the claimed value. A Savannah jury awarded 1.378 million dollars for the property, and so Mr. Littell's fierce determination had cost the Government fully $378,000.

Says Mr. Pearson, Mr. Littell, in his public defense after his firing, accusing Mr. Biddle of being essentially in the hire of Mr. Cochran, was not telling the full story.

Both men had recorded service in their capacities as liberal fighters for individual rights, Mr. Biddle's greatest achievement being, says Mr. Pearson, the preservation of civil liberties during the war, despite significant efforts, even by the Administration, to curtail them.

Samuel Grafton tells of his delight at New York Times editorials which explained that the purpose of British policy in Belgium and Greece was to preserve order when the actual result had been to cause disorder. The editorials excused the lack of complete democracy in each country with the notion that cooperation with Papandreou in Greece and Pierlot in Belgium was necessary to avoid chaos.

Yet, 21 unarmed demonstrators in Athens had been killed on Sunday.

The truth was that there were both unrepresentative governments and chaos in both countries. Neither government had therefore served its single rationale, from the American-British perspective, for maintaining its support. Should the British maintain their support of these governments even in the face of such plain disorder, then the truth would be shown that the British merely favored these men on any terms, not for their ability to preserve order.

Some of the same newspapers so quick to chasten the dissenters were the same who had doubts regarding Allied recognition of De Gaulle, contending lack of knowledge as to whether he truly represented the French vox populi.

Marquis Childs writes of the delay in the Big Three conference, that President Roosevelt was none too eager to have the meeting too soon because of the recognized necessity for its tough decisions, by comparison to the relatively simple decisions at Tehran a year earlier. Tehran had dealt primarily with strategy and opening the second front in the West. By contrast, the next meeting, with strategy worked out for the duration, would need not have a military focal point, but necessarily would deal with the more complex political and territorial issues of the post-war world and the resolution of the dangling issues necessary for the founding of the United Nations organization, such as right of veto of use of force by the Big Three should one of their number be accused of aggression.

Working out the President's proposals to be arguably acceptable by Britain and Russia was taking time.

The conference would begin in late January with Chiang Kai-shek in Malta and then with Stalin in Yalta in the Crimea.

Hal Boyle writes from First Army headquarters as to how British and American troops held up in battle. He looks to the authority of war correspondent William S. White who, since D-Day, had been with the First Canadian Army, the Second British Army, and the First U. S. Army.

When asked to compare the troops, Mr. White was reluctant but stated that if he were a commander and needed to take a ridge in 18 hours which normally should take a minimum of 24, he would rely on American infantry because they had less reverence for the book when it came to military matters. Once they had it explained to them why it needed to be done in 18 hours, they would do it.

But if, on the other hand, he were a commander who had to hold a position through several months, no matter how hopeless the prospect, he would prefer the Briton because of his determined persistence and patience, plus his cheerfulness cocked above his sometimes rueful churlishness. The American soldier lacked such patience and philosophical acceptance of extant circumstances. The Briton was also a little more expert as a soldier, only to be expected for his longevity in combat.

In more specialized weaponry, particularly armor, the American was making substantial progress and slowly becoming the best soldier in the world. He had better mechanical aptitude and skill than the other soldiers. He might not fight a tank as well as the Brit, but he would keep it running through all sorts of mechanical failures which would put the British tank out of action.

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