Wednesday, March 22, 1944

The Charlotte News

Wednesday, March 22, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that despite the flattening of Cassino the previous week by the massive 2,500-ton bombing raid, fighting still continued, primarily in and around the Continental Hotel, retaken two days earlier by the Germans, and against Allied positions held on Castle Hill, located to the rear of Cassino. Hand to hand fighting was taking place in the heavily contested southern section of the town, in the area surrounding the hotel.

A new eruption of Mt. Vesuvius sent flying lava onto Pompei, buried completely in the eruption of 79 A.D. Otherwise, the lava continued to flow in its molten river, reaching Cercola.

The Germans announced that they intended to evacuate all military installations in Rome and divert military transportation around the city, effectively seeking unilaterally to declare it an open city. The report stated that, henceforth, the responsibility for damage to Rome would lay with the Allies. There was no reaction yet to the declaration.

Another medium-sized U.S. raid struck Berlin, in a strength of between 500 and 750 bombers, dropping an estimated 1,500 tons of bombs. The raid encountered only anti-aircraft fire from the ground and no fighter response. It brought the total in five such attacks during March to 6,000 tons dropped by an estimated 2,700 to 3,000 bombers. Although the number of losses was yet to be reported for the current raid, 103 bomber losses had occurred during the month, while the raids had bagged 301 enemy fighters.

The Russians had advanced to within 30 miles of the Prut River, the 1940 border with Rumania. Other forces had advanced to within 48 miles of the escape route from Odessa. Still other forces had moved to within 56 miles of Lwow in Poland. Nazis meanwhile continued to flee the advancing Third Ukrainian Army, moving southward in Bessarabia toward Odessa.

German broadcasts, as yet unconfirmed by the Soviets, reported a fierce battle ongoing in and around Kovel in old Poland, 500 miles from Berlin.

In Burma, the Japanese had crossed into the state of Manipur in India, having forded during the night the Chindwin River. It was the same route followed by General Sir Harold Alexander when he led the evacuation of the British troops from Burma in the face of the Japanese advance into the country in early 1942.

In the Pacific, the Marines landed in the St. Matthias Islands, easily taking Emirau and Elomusau, 580 miles south of Truk and 84 miles northwest of Kavieng, New Ireland. As the raid took place, a huge bombardment of Kavieng was transpiring, virtually erasing its presence.

Police in Marilla, N.Y., twenty miles east of Buffalo, were searching for a man who had stopped his car before a house the previous day, rolled down his window and tossed a paper bag into a ditch, yelling that the bystanders should look in the bag. He then drove away. The witnesses found a newborn infant boy in the bag. A convent took the baby in and named it "Baby Benedict" for the feast of St. Benedict.

Whether Baby Benedict was Baptist or not, was yet to be determined.

Got any Kosher bacon?

How about some fresh venison?

The man was probably from Kentucky, or Nantucket.

Wes Gallagher, in the "Reporter's Notebook" column, tells of various anecdotes from London, now looking increasingly as it had during the Blitz of 1940-41, with streets roped off and labeled dangerous for the presence of unexploded ordnance, especially the timed incendiary devices which tended to explode when the resultant fires were sought to be extinguished.

American actress Bebe Daniels and actor Ben Lyon, in the Army as a Lt. Colonel, had the misfortune of a bomb striking nearby their home. Ms. Daniels was in the London run of "Panama Hattie", and refused to back up the time of the play in fear of nighttime German bombing raids, the practice of all the other theaters. She did not wish to provide the Germans with any satisfaction of forcing such a change.

On the editorial page, "Our Ideals" muses over the sudden lamentation of a Congressman from Louisiana re the threatened move of a Treasury Department office from that state to Texas. He decried it as a move toward centralization of government and violative of States' Rights.

The piece finds it intriguing and remarkably ironic that moving a Federal Government office out of a state had given rise to an argument that it violated States' Rights.

"New Course" finds Wendell Willkie, as reported in the news piece on the page, to be increasingly distancing himself from President Roosevelt, even within his basic agreement re foreign policy, presumably to become more simpatico with the views of his own party.

As the news piece indicates, he had stated that he opposed the Administration's tolerance of Vichy and the original appointment of Admiral Darlan as leader of the French after the North African invasion in November, 1942, prior to the Admiral's assassination Christmas Eve, 1942. He also opposed U.S. friendliness to Pietro Badoglio in Italy, as well as the amicability shown other Fascists.

The editorial allows for his criticism of the Administration for playing power politics and both ends against the middle, but bristles at Mr. Willkie's expressed notion that the Republican Party had stood historically since the time of Lincoln for new ideas while the Democrats were engaged in stultification. Anything else might be said, but the premises of this criticism were precisely backwards.

"Bill Parker" gives praise to the outgoing head of the Junior Chamber of Commerce in Charlotte. Mr. Parker was joining the service. His replacement would be James Glenn, employed by The News.

Whether either Mr. Parker or Mr. Glenn owned a horse named "Brown Beauty" or borrowed same, is not indicated.

"Irish Ire" accepts the anger of Prime Minister Eamon De Valera of Eire as expected, given the State Department's request that Eire eject the diplomatic legations of Japan and Germany to stem spy activities on American troops being trained in Ulster.

The editorial says, right, let Mr. De Valera be locked within his own borders, and let the Allies be about the business of war without further distraction.

Drew Pearson examines the reluctance of President Roosevelt to affirm the policy, favored by General Eisenhower, the British, the War Department, and the State Department, that General De Gaulle become the provisional leader of France upon the liberation. The reason surmised by Mr. Pearson for the President having his Dutch up over the prospect was the memory of the Casablanca Conference a year earlier in January in which the President had, despite his most assiduously charming efforts, failed to ingratiate General De Gaulle to General Giraud, finding General De Gaulle to be mule-stubborn and a supercilious bastard to boot.

Mr. Pearson next turns to Captain Eddie Rickenbacker's speech to third term Republican Congressmen, in which he indicated his observations from a trip just completed to the warfronts, including Russia, that American opinion of the Soviet Union needed to be revised from that held generally for the previous twenty years. No longer were the Russians opposed to religion, he said; no longer were the churches closed; no longer were the Russians opposed to the family. He observed as much effort toward establishing free enterprise as in America.

Captain Rickenbacker also sought renewal of the reputation of his friend, General Patton.

Marquis Childs finds picayune--"picayune", he reminds, having been the term applied by the President to inquiries at a December press conference re his intent to seek a fourth term--the efforts of the committee headed by former Secretary of War Harry Woodring to oppose Roosevelt for a fourth term. Mr. Woodring had resigned his post in 1940 after four years because of his opposition to the President's insistence that the U.S. aid Great Britain by providing it some of America's outmoded weaponry at a time when Germany was getting ready to begin the Blitz after conquering France, Belgium, and the Low Countries. Mr. Woodring, an isolationist, had, prior to that time, engaged in a very public feud with his Undersecretary, Louis Johnson, an interventionist.

Likewise were the other members of the committee, former public officeholders with grudges against the President.

Samuel Grafton finds former Undersecretary of State Sumner Welles to have drifted into elliptical territory in criticizing American policy rejecting recognition of General Farrell in Argentina. The reasoning of Mr. Welles was that it implied that the U.S. was not in favor of Argentina having free reign to select its own leader, to determine its own internal affairs.

But, nonplussed, Mr. Grafton responds that General Farrell was about taking from Argentinians their right to select the government of their choice, having shut down the newspapers and jailed all dissenters. The position of Mr. Welles thus made absolutely no sense.

Sgt. Richard Cram, 27, was reported to have died in a motor vehicle accident while in service in Italy. He had played piano for both President Roosevelt and General Eisenhower during the Tehran and Cairo conferences four months earlier. They had requested "Roll Out the Barrel" and praised his playing of it. So, here is a version in honor of Sgt. Cram.

Whether the request for the song implied that the President and General Eisenhower were drinking at the conferences was left unclear. But a report reproduced by Raymond Clapper in his column appearing December 8 so suggested, at least as to the Prime Minister. In any event, it lent to the discussion one more thing at which Governor Dewey and Mr. Willkie might carp.

Who, after all, would want a drunken bunch of louts, wearing ten-gallon hats, dancing jigs, and drinking Scotch liberally, leading them in wartime at just the critical moment when invasion of the Continent was nigh? Think about it, America. The choice is yours, come this November.

Anyway, we understand that Baby Benedict responded well to this song.

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