The Charlotte News

Thursday, December 7, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Third Army had moved to within 3.5 miles of Saarbrucken, moving to the outskirts of Forbach, French rail town and outpost of the Siegfried Line. Artillery continued to blast away at Saarbrucken. Street fighting continued within Saarlautern as the last Germans were being cleared from Sarreguemines. The extent of the American-held line along the west bank of the Saar River was increased to 22 miles.

"With virtually all Sarreguemines cleared, the Germans fled northward toward the Saarland in a gantlett of artillery fire. They blew five bridges behind them."

Texans of the 98th Division, having won the last bridgehead across the Saar two miles north of Saarlautern, were fighting in the streets of Dillengen.

The Seventh Army, moving to within 8.5 miles of the German Palatinate, occupied St. Louis-les-Bitche in Lorraine, on high ground overlooking Lemberg. Bitche, along the Maginot Line, was three miles north of Limberg. Germans continued to man the last 35 to 40 miles of the Maginot fortifications in France to maintain the last foothold in the country. The Army also took eight more villages northwest of Sarre Union, advancing up to four miles.

Nazi counter-barrages had driven the Seventh Army forces from the northeast corner of Mertzwiller, six miles northwest of Haguenau, the first Seventh Army setback in Alsatian territory.

On the Roer River front, where the Ninth and First Armies remained in stalemate with the Germans because of heavy rains, sleet, and a swollen river, the Germans were observed working to build defenses along the Erft River, signal of the anticipated necessity to withdraw from its Roer positions. The Erft flowed to within eight miles of Cologne.

The RAF bombed Merseburg and conducted a diversionary attack on Berlin the previous night.

Undersecretary of War Robert Patterson announced that a change in Army policy, necessitated because of the need for infantry and armored personnel replacements on the fronts, required that eighteen-year olds, for the first time in the war, were now being sent overseas. By October, of every 100 men inducted to the infantry and armor, 60 percent were being shipped overseas while the other 40 remained stateside until they turned 19. In January, the percentages had been 80-20. There was no choice now, in order to meet demands for personnel replacements, but to send inductees below 19 overseas after completion of their training. The requirement of eight months of training, however, prior to being shipped, had not been relaxed.

The Undersecretary also announced continuing high battle casualties, now reaching 552,018, the Army accounting through November 22 for 474,898 of those, an increase of 13,840 from the previous week. The Navy casualties reached 77,120, an increase of 1,228. Those killed from the Army numbered 91,625, an increase of about 1,800 since the prior week, with 268,099 wounded, an increase of 10,000, 68,926 missing, an increase of 1,400, and 56,248 captured, an increase of 650. The Navy accounted for over 29,000 dead.

More than 24,000 German prisoners arrived in the United States, bringing the total German prisoners on December 1 in the country to 305,648, with another 51,156 Italian prisoners, and 2,443 Japanese . The number had increased by 35,000, ten percent of the total, since November 1.

The Russians had advanced to within 35 miles of the Austrian frontier, having captured the entire 50-mile southern shore of Lake Balaton. The Third Ukrainian Army continued its drive up the west bank of the Danube toward Budapest. The Germans had abandoned Ercsi, 13 miles south of the capital, as the Third Army captured Racalmas, four miles from the southern tip of the Danube River island of Csepel, close to joinder with the Second Ukrainian Army entrenched on Csepel, thirty miles south of the capital.

There was no update on the Russian pincers from the north and eastern suburbs of Budapest.

Up to 500 American heavy bombers of the Fifteenth Air Force out of Italy hit targets in Yugoslavia, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and Austria, as well as coastal installations in Italy on the Adriatic, losing 19 planes.

Secretary of State Edward Stettinius issued a note to the press stating that the United States favored complete autonomy of action of Greece in establishing a new government, implicitly, though not expressly, putting down the use of force by the British to restrain the EAM and its armed elements, the ELAS. He deliberately avoided any endorsement of Prime Minister Churchill's statement that the British were prepared to use force to prevent a Communist regime coming to power in Greece.

In Athens, the British were reported utilizing tanks, planes, and artillery to clear out the ELAS and EAM demonstrators and snipers. Gunfire in the city was still being heard. Fighting had also erupted in Eastern Greece.

On Leyte, American cavalrymen riding heavily armed amphibious tractors surprised the Japanese in an attack on a position ten miles south of Ormoc, at Tahgas and Balogo, after coming around the southern extremity of the island on a 125-mile, three-day trip, the longest such journey ever made by the so-called amtracs. Some of the Japanese ran away in the face of the attack and there was little enemy resistance.

Meanwhile, the 24th Army Corps penetrated the Japanese defensive line on the Palanas River twelve miles southeast of Ormoc.

In China, the Japanese were reported to be within 53 miles of Kweiyang in Kweichow Province.

The 20th Air Force stated that a task force of B-29's had conducted a daylight raid on Manchuria in China.

The 21st Bomber Command out of Saipan in the Marianas announced that two B-29 bombers, on weather reconnaissance flights, each bombed Tokyo seven hours apart, one the previous night and one early on this date. The first plane was commanded by Lt. Colonel Robert K. Morgan of Asheville, N.C., who had led the first B-29 raid on November 24. Col. Morgan had recently been promoted from major. The second plane was commanded by Captain J. T. A. Archer of Brownwood, Texas. Both planes concentrated on the triangular industrial heart of the city, bounded by the Sunida River to the west and the Ara River to the east.

A photograph of one of two extra editions issued by The News on December 7, 1941 appears on the page. Ordinarily, it having been Sunday, The News was not published, having ceased its Sunday edition in March, 1941 on the basis of affording employees a day off each week. That of December 7, 1941 would be the last Sunday edition the daily afternoon newspaper would ever print, at least until it was bought out by the Charlotte Observer.

An inside page shows a map of Tokyo, with a population at the time of seven million people.

A series of Associated Press accounts is also presented from each annual passage of December 7, 1941, in 1942, 1943, and 1944, setting forth the progress of the war on each such anniversary of the war in the Pacific. (The film we referenced two years ago, incidentally, is now here.)

A second inside page provides a map of the Pacific war's progress since Pearl Harbor.

An extremely violent earthquake, thought to have been epicentered in Japan, had been recorded at West Bromwich, England, on December 7, as well as at other seismographic stations in Europe. A leading British seismologist stated that the earthquake shook the whole earth for six hours on the third anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

In Atlanta, editorial columnist for the Atlanta Journal, Morgan Blake, was asked by Federal prisoners who had taken as hostages four guards and barricaded a five-story building, to write a column providing their list of seven demands, compliance with which would mean their release of the guards and surrender of the building. Mr. Blake complied, albeit without glee, a part of his resulting story appearing on the page.

In the only threat of violence, the prisoners stated that unless they were fed, after being deprived of all food for the duration of the three-day standoff, they would start throwing German prisoners from the roof. They were promptly fed.

On the inside page is a story of Willie Wade McCann, ex-Marine, charged in Greensboro with the first degree murder of his uncle. Mr. McCann had allegedly buried the body in a seldom used cemetery for African-Americans.

The prosecutor accepted a plea of guilty to the lesser offense of second degree murder and Mr. McCann was sentenced to a term of 26 to 30 years hard labor in Central Prison. The prosecutor stated that he had talked to Mr. McCann and his former superior officers when he was a Marine and had also examined his war record, all of which indicated "that the prisoner is a moron".

But, you had to have at least a fourth grade educational equivalency to be admitted to the military service at the time. That isn't very nice at Christmas time, therefore, for this prosecutor to have branded all the fourth graders of the nation morons and potential murderers. He should have been suspended for two days for that remark.

And, don't forget to pick up your Christmas tree out of Montana, at the price of from 50 cents to $1.75. Go on, you can afford a big one this year, one of those Rockefeller tall ones.

On the editorial page, "Anniversary" discusses the third annual passage following the attack on Pearl Harbor, which "still stands as a grim monument to evil and treachery".

The piece laments that the nation might yet have to pass one other or more anniversaries of the event before Japan was forced to surrender.

It could not foresee, of course, the terrible force which, less a day, would come to pass on the world stage eight months hence, dropped over Hiroshima, and then over Nagasaki three days later.

The debt owed Japan for awakening the Giant would be repaid.

"Job Insurance" discusses the blueprints for post-war modernization of the country evidenced in bills passed by the lameduck Congress. One was an appropriation of a half billion dollars for highway modernization, which the editorial, while generally supporting, finds not to be in need of Federal funding. The states, it offers, had plenty of funds for the purpose.

The editors could not fully appreciate, however, that brewing behind the scenes, the creation of a superhighway network across the country, something reminiscent of the 1939 World's Fair Futurama exhibit, a network of limited access highways webbing the country together, not just for civilian transportation purposes, but also for defense purposes, to ease the shuttling between areas of military equipment and personnel, something learned from the Germans and their autobahn.

Another area of appropriation which would likewise promise jobs to the multitudes was another half billion for flood control and rivers and harbor navigation, even if these projects were often tainted with pork barreling.

"Up, Liberty" looks at the record of past wars in terms of preservation of civil liberties and finds the current record of the Justice Department under Attorney General Francis Biddle to have been an exemplary one.

During the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln had, on grounds of domestic insurrection and armed rebellion, suspended habeas corpus and jailed some 200,000 persons. Of course, there could be no such claim in any time since in the country of general armed rebellion in one of its sections.

During World War I, it points out, some 1,956 persons were tried for sedition and many more were jailed.

Yet, during World War II, only eighteen cases of sedition had been prosecuted—even though the piece is regarding "cases" as separate trials rather than defendants, the ongoing sedition trial since the spring in Washington having involved 29 defendants by its end in December, when the trial judge passed away and a mistrial was declared, resulting in final dismissal in early 1945.

The count also does not include spy trials. The June 28-29, 1941 arrest in New York and New Jersey of 32 Nazi spies, with another arrested in the State of Washington August 1, resulted in trials or pleas of guilty of all defendants and convictions of all. Numerous other trials of spies or saboteurs were also conducted during the war. The piece, however, is concerned only with trials of civilians for sedition.

"The Lockout" comments on the refusal of Cecil B. DeMille to allow an assessment of one dollar to be deducted from his high salary for the purpose of the opposition by the American Federation of Radio Artists, of which he was a member, to contest the amendment on the November ballot in California seeking to outlaw the closed-shop agreement. Mr. DeMille had protested on principle, that to allow the deduction was to forfeit his rights as a citizen.

The union responded that unless he paid the dollar by 5:00 p.m. the following Monday, his radio program, which reportedly paid him $5,000 per week, would not be allowed on the air. Mr. DeMille still found the collection attempt to repudiate everything for which the American soldier was fighting, taking away his freedom of choice of support or not of a political issue.

The editorial agrees with Mr. DeMille, that the union's power extended over its members to usurp their free choice by the fact of their membership. It was not the America for which soldiers were fighting.

"The Mutiny" comments on the various types of Senators registering objection to one or the other of new Undersecretary of State-designate Joseph Grew, or the Assistant Secretaries of State-designates, Nelson Rockefeller, Will Clayton, and Archibald MacLeish. Objections to each came from different Senators for different reasons, to Mr. Rockefeller and Mr. Clayton for their economic-royalist pasts, to Mr. MacLeish as a poet who was the consummate New Dealer, to former Ambassador to the Soviet Union Mr. Grew for nothing in particular. The list of opposing Senators was comprised of men of different political persuasions, Bob Wagner of New York, Joe Guffey of Pennsylvania, Harley Kilgore of West Virginia, and James Murray of Montana.

Mr. Guffey, says the piece, seemed to have summed up the sentiment by indicating that he had thought after the election that the liberals had won.

But, says the editorial, the Senators would need disabuse themselves of the notion, that the President appeared shaping a new State Department with an eye toward the future of the world, dependent on world trade. In consequence, wealthy businessmen were appointed as its leaders.

The excerpt from the Congressional Record has Congressman Miller of Nebraska reporting on some of his observations from his recent trip to England. He had seen piles of farm equipment from Lend-Lease sitting unused in fields north of London, was told that Britain had no use for it and that such shipments should be stopped.

He also reported that the British expected Americans to pay for the bomb damage to Britain, that Lend-Lease would not be repaid, and that the airbases which America built within British possessions would revert to the ownership of Britain.

The Congressman believed that the American people were in for a shock as to what the President and the British had in mind in terms of war debt.

Drew Pearson reveals some of the inside facts re the attack on Pearl Harbor. The reasons for secrecy had been twofold, first, the involvement of Army and Navy brass in negligence in the attack, and, second, the clash of opinion inside the Cabinet regarding the wisdom of having sent the ultimatum to Emperor Hirohito, provided November 26, that Japan had to remove from China and Indo-China before trade relations, severed in July, 1941 after the move of the Japanese into Indo-China with the cooperation of Vichy, would be resumed and normalized. The President and Secretary Hull had favored the note while Secretary of War Henry Stimson and Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox, both Republicans, had disfavored the strong language on the basis that the United States was not yet prepared for war, that which the note implicitly invited.

On November 27, both the War and Navy Departments warned Admiral Husband Kimmel and General Walter Short at Pearl Harbor of the possibility of Japanese attack from the fact of a breakdown in diplomatic negotiations which made the situation unpredictable, that hostilities could erupt "within the next few days".

On December 1, Admiral Kimmel was informed that the Japanese Fleet had moved southward and was preparing for hostilities. He was informed on December 3 that the Japanese consulates were burning their papers, another sign of imminent war. He was instructed on December 6 that he could burn confidential papers, himself, in the event of greater emergency.

Yet, on the Saturday night, December 6, the crews of the American Fleet at Pearl Harbor were granted shore leave and the following morning, 40 percent of the Navy officers were absent from duty. Not revealed in the report of the Owen Roberts Commission on the attack, released in early 1942, was the fact that both Admiral Kimmel and General Short received additional warning from the FBI derived from information garnered from a tap of the phones at the Japanese consulate in Honolulu. On the morning of December 6, the FBI had listened to an 18-minute conversation between the consulate and Tokyo regarding transmission of a mysterious weather report and other apparently coded information which the FBI immediately provided to Army and Navy intelligence, G-2 and ONI, respectively.

The Navy expressed no interest in the report, but the G-2 man on duty at Pearl took the report to General Short on the golf course. He put the message in his pocket.

Mr. Pearson also relates of the episode involving the spotting by the U.S.S. Ward and U.S.S. Antares of a Japanese midget submarine outside the Harbor an hour before the attack, the report of which had been dismissed by the Navy man on duty who thought it a false sighting and that it was too early on Sunday morning to disturb Admiral Kimmel. At 7:12 a.m., the Ward reported having sunk this submarine and the watch officer awakened the Admiral. Yet, no alarm was sounded. (According to the Roberts Commission Report, a destroyer, however, was dispatched to the area and its conclusion that there was no enemy craft led to dismissal of the report as a false sighting.)

Another submarine had entered the harbor, believed to have done so as the submarine net was temporarily opened to allow two minesweepers to come back into the harbor—or, as Mr. Pearson reports it, a garbage scow to go out--at 4:20 a.m. (The Roberts Commission found that the net was opened for the minesweepers at 4:58 and remained open until 8:40, that the time of entrance of the second submarine was not known but probably occurred at around 7:00 a.m.) The submarine had cruised about inside the harbor for three hours, according to Mr. Pearson's information, marking the precise locations of American ships parked around Ford Island. This submarine was later sunk and its chart showed the exact times it had passed each American ship in the harbor.

In fairness to precision, while these reports generally coincide with subsequent and previous reports on the hours preceding the attack, there were other circumstances involved which caused Admiral Kimmel and General Short to fail to take action, one being that such sightings of supposed enemy craft were fairly regular and in the past had always proved to be nothing more than sightings of schools of fish. Thus, the failure to react was understandable, given that no one believed that the Japanese or any other navy in the world at the time was capable of crossing 4,000 miles of ocean with a fleet of ships without detection to attack Pearl Harbor.

As to the warnings, if anything, they acted as misdirections of attention of the Admiral and General to the possibility of attack on Pearl Harbor for the other general belief that the Japanese were going to attack, if anywhere, as they did also, of course, in the Philippines and the Dutch East Indies, thousands of miles to the west of Pearl Harbor. The report that a task force of the Japanese was moving south, accurate, implied action against these other far more probable targets of attack. The southward moving task force was intended as a decoy from the southeastward moving task force aiming for a final position some 250 miles north of Pearl Harbor.

Mr. Pearson does not specify the source of his information and some of it appears, while generally accurate, to dispute in fine detail some of the later facts revealed in 1946 after the war had ended, as well as some of the details included in the January, 1942 report of the Roberts Commission, chaired by Supreme Court Justice Owen Roberts, an appointee to the Court by President Herbert Hoover. (Cf., Sections 13-15 of the Report)

Marquis Childs discusses the comeback of Harry Hopkins in Government, now acting as the administration's chief liaison with the British Government. He had been the chief U. S. negotiator in effecting with Lord John Maynard Keynes the new lend-lease proposal. Mr. Hopkins had been the person in government who originally was responsible for Edward Stettinius getting his job as administrator of Lend-Lease, the position which brought him to prominence in Washington. Mr. Hopkins also helped Mr. Stettinius plan a revision of the State Department while the latter was Undersecretary. Will Clayton would be in charge of implementing the revisions under Secretary Stettinius.

Mr. Childs remarks that the prospect presented an irony whereby the supreme New Dealer, Mr. Hopkins, was responsible for bringing into high position a conservative business man, cotton broker Clayton whom the New Dealers wanted to send back home to Texas.

Mr. Hopkins, who had been counted out following his illness after the Tehran Conference a year earlier, now enjoyed perhaps greater power within the Administration than he ever had previously.

Samuel Grafton discusses three "liberal" appeals adopted by the isolationists, as represented by editorials in the Chicago Tribune of Robert McCormick and other isolationist publications. First, they were warning that membership in the United Nations organization would inevitably lead to American soldiers being called to combat situations in the British colonies of Africa to suppress rebellions, an obviously unsavory prospect, that American soldiers would have to shoot peasant peoples of the British colonial possessions.

Mr. Grafton finds the notion ridiculous, that Dumbarton Oaks had provided for an eighteen-member Social and Economic Council to deal specifically with the underdeveloped countries and possessions, a council which presumably would improve substantially the lot of colonial peoples around the globe. Moreover, there was no provision for a police force to be sent in at will to enforce the rule of colonial powers.

The second such appeal by the isolationists was to stimulate civilian appetite for a return to production of civilian goods, at a time when General Eisenhower was asking for increased production of ammunition.

The third was to express tenderness for the returning soldiers and the need for society to make way for them with jobs. This sudden feeling for the soldier appeared stimulated by a desire to wreck unions, nothing more at work than the old isolationist distrust of the supposed Communist-inspired labor movement.

A letter writer returns the letter from the President which had appeared on the front page Monday, saying he did not wish any longer to see campaign news and wished The News would let it lie. Taking up space three columns wide to present such a missive on national unity—hurrumpf! Unity for whom? inquires the author. Surely not those who voted against That Man.

The editors add that they can fairly bet for which candidate the letter writer had cast his vote.

Another letter writer wryly looks at the new Red State Department, with such Communists in its leadership now as J. P. Morgan-backed Edward Stettinius at its head, Standard Oil-endowed Nelson Rockefeller, Joseph Grew of Groton School, Will Clayton of the Texas Cotton Exchange, all surely Commies, sneakily appearing to be cast in the capitalist mold, the sort of surreptitious method which your stealthy Commie always uses to insinuate himself into the inside so as to indoctrinate from within the sinews of government the Commie manifesto and thereby undermine all which was American and decent.

Only problem was, Joe McCarthy read that sort of ironic statement and decided it was rich Red meat to throw to the not-so-astute who might take it quite literally. His charges of Communist infiltration within the State Department, that there were, specifically, 205 Communists in the Department led in turn by George C. Marshall and Dean Acheson, were but five years into the future, beginning in early 1950.

Perhaps, the best quote of the day comes from Dr. Herbert Spaugh's column in which he quotes Dr. Stockdale of the National Association of Manufacturers, speaking to the Rotary Club of Winston-Salem, saying, "A cow which gives five gallons of milk a day will not have its production increased by adding four more teats to the udder."

No one could dispute that premise, no matter how hard, philosophically, one were to work at it. There is only so much milk available from each cow on each morning. But, adding the extra teats might speed up the delivery process. We would have had to challenge Dr. Stockdale on that part had we been present.

Got milk?

And from Editor & Publisher comes a series of slips and misprints which might or maybe not bare reeding and dead reckoning of the cause to which they were put.

Framed Edition
[Return to Links-Page by Subject] [Return to Links-Page by Date] [Return to News<i><i><i>--</i></i></i>Framed Edition]
Links-Date -- Links-Subj.