Friday, March 24, 1944

The Charlotte News

Friday, March 24, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Second Ukrainian Army was now within 15 miles of the Prut River and the 1940 border of Rumania. Columns of the Army were moving on the town of Czernowitz, important rail junction at the foot of the Carpathian Mountains, 90 miles due west of already captured Mogilev Podolski.

Fighting continued in Cassino with the New Zealanders engaging the Nazis. Heavy fighting was reported in the area of the Hotel Des Roses, in German hands.

Two large American air raids struck at railroad targets in Florence and Padua in Northern Italy.

American heavy bombers flew the nineteenth raid of the month on Germany, a record, breaking February's record of eighteen raids in a month, hitting undisclosed targets in Western Germany. The RAF the night before had attacked targets in France, primarily at Lyon.

It was confirmed that the Nazis had occupied Rumania and were moving great numbers of troops into the country, as well into neighboring Bulgaria, causing other Balkan countries to be nervous.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Hull called upon Hungarians to remain firm in the face of the occupation of their country by the Nazis the previous week.

Declaring, "The Promised Land is not so far off now," and, quoting scripture, "Let God arise and let his enemies be scattered," General Sir Bernard Montgomery bolstered morale of the British ground forces whom he would shortly lead in the invasion of Normandy.

In a surprise visit to the English countryside to review American paratroopers, Prime Minister Churchill told the soldiers, the first American troops he had ever visited, that they would soon have the opportunity to undertake the greatest offensive of the war. He was accompanied by General Eisenhower and General Omar Bradley.

The President stated that the United States would, by July 1, have five million men in service abroad.

The President indicated that General Eisenhower would be free to deal with the French National Liberation Committee or any other group which would have provisional control of France upon liberation. In no event would the United States deal with Vichy or its functionaries. Once a provisional government was established, then it would not receive diplomatic recognition until such time as a popular determination of the government would occur.

The Japanese were reported now to have a third prong in their offensive on Imphal in northeast India, the third force apparently moving from the southeast to within 38 miles of Imphal. This force had thus been repulsed. The other two forces, thirty miles south and thirty east, were still intact.

From the Pacific, it was reported that 2,000 tons of bombs had been dropped on Wewak in 23 days during March. The object was to put out of commission the only supply depot left to supply the Japanese troops on New Guinea, at Madang, Alexishafen, and Bogia. Truk, which had formerly supplied these locations, had been cut off from the Bismarck Sea supply route by the taking of the Admiralty Islands.

William Worden, in the "Reporter's Notebook" column, writes from Kwajalein on March 1 of the vast changes in the island of the Marshalls in just three weeks, going from Japanese to American control. What had been a wasteland full of ruin and 4,000 decaying Japanese bodies had quickly been turned by the engineers into an active American base of operations, including a large modern air facility and roads to replace the former dirt paths.

All the modern conveniences, such as fly-proof latrines, screened kitchens, and drained swamps, had replaced the relatively primitive military and natural environment in which the Japanese soldiers had been forced to live.

On the editorial page, "The Tribune" reports of Wendell Willkie's distancing himself, and urging all candidates for the presidency to do likewise, from the Chicago Tribune and America First, the prime exponents of isolationism in the country. Mr. Willkie saw it as a genuine threat to world peace and the internationalist doctrine which was to prevail in the post-war world, which had to prevail if there were to be a sustained peace.

The editorial heartily agrees and suggests that he might have included under the umbrella such organizations as Peace Now, well-funded, and organized around the principle of mediating a peace with Hitler and Tojo. Such organizations also, opines the piece, were inimical to the war effort and to the sustained morale of the country.

"The Balkans" reminds that Hitler's strategy of throwing thousands of reinforcements into Hungary, Rumania, and Bulgaria to try to stem the onslaught of the Red Army making its steady headway through Bessarabia in old Rumania, would, while perhaps slowing the Russian advance, inevitably also weaken the ability of the Germans to withstand the coming assault on the Continent out of England.

"Loophole" comments on the clearing of the president of East Carolina Teachers College at Greenville, now East Carolina University, of charges of misapplication of state funds in the running of the college. The problem was not the guilt or innocence of the college president but that, as it came to light, funds were being disbursed out of pocket to run the college. A bonded treasurer should be appointed, advises the piece.

"A Switch" finds the transfer of 36,000 trained airmen to the infantry to be predictive of a coming trend, now that the air war was being won, with solid air superiority having been established and consequent losses dropping. With the invasionary force on the threshold before Europe, the need was now for infantry to be trained as reinforcements to replace the inevitable casualties of war to come.

There had been a drop in enlistments of 17-year olds for air training. Likewise, deferments for essential war industries for men under 27 were on the wane, as the necessity of various jobs, including within the airplane industries, decreased.

Ironically, suggests the editorial, the winning of the air war had placed now tremendous pressure on the infantry.

But was that so much an irony as an inevitabilty?

Marquis Childs, still in Wisconsin, now in Madison, continues to follow the Willkie campaign in its do or die effort in the April 4 primary in the state. With the party machinery, including National Chairman Harrison Spangler, who had asserted that Mr. Willkie could not poll half the delegates at the convention, becoming more and more entrenched against his candidacy, Mr. Willkie still delivered a positive message with specifics, urging internationalism in a state which had a history of isolationism, a trend now characterizing the Midwest once again. Nevertheless, Mr. Childs believes that Mr. Willkie had a fighting chance. Regardless, he was adhering to his principles, refreshingly so.

Drew Pearson comments on the plan offered by Frank Hancock of the Farm Security Administration and War Food Administrator Marvin Jones to convert the Army and Navy training camps which were on former farmland back to farm developments to enable returning veterans an opportunity to establish themselves in civilian life. The plan, however, was opposed by Will Clayton, newly appointed war liquidator. He wanted the original landowners to be provided first opportunity to buy back the land bought from them by the government, in most cases through eminent domain.

The problem with the plan was that few would have the money to effect a repurchase, with the consequence that the large land syndicates would wind up owning most of this surplus government land, just as had been the case when certain obsolete housing projects were sold.

Mr. Pearson next turns to the table-turning by Representative Adolph Sabath of Illinois on Representatives Clare Hoffman of Michigan, Martin Dies of Texas, and John Rankin of Mississippi. Each of the latter three were given to ad hominem attacks on American citizens without ground or humility or concern for the consequence, hiding the while behind Congressional immunity.

So when the three Congressmen proposed a bill to allow Congressmen unjustly attacked during radio broadcasts to have equal time on the networks to respond, Congressman Sabath gave his assent, but only provided that the bill would include a provision to allow citizens unjustly attacked on the air the right of rejoinder on the air, and also the right to respond on the floor of the Congress to any Congressman who had unjustly attacked them.

The three Congressmen proposing the bill then stood curiously silent.

Senator Mon Walgren of Washington was criticizing the War Production Board, claiming that some of its members had self-interest from investments in molasses-based alcohol, thus for that reason were delaying the program to produce alcohol from sawdust and wood. The severe shortage of alcohol for the war effort could be supplanted with the German process of making alcohol by the alternative method. Indeed, he stated that all of the country's needed alcohol could be so produced.

Samuel Grafton finds it remarkable that Russia was leading by the nose some of the most dedicated Russophobes of the country, such as William Randolph Hearst. When Russia declared its recognition for the Badoglio Government, these former Badoglio supporters suddenly became suspicious of the true Fascist underpinnings of that government and began to question its bona fides.

Similarly, when the Russians the previous year had severed their diplomatic relations with the Polish government-in-exile, regarding the dispute over the revelations by the Nazis of the Katyn Forest massacre of 10,000 Polish officers, Mr. Hearstky, as Mr. Grafton dubs him, suddenly developed a tenderness for the Polish government-in-exile which he had never been heard before to express.

It would be nice, suggests Mr. Grafton, if these Russophobes would find some independence of will and assert strongly their challenge to the Russians in terms such as, "I agree with you. So there!"

And, as is often the case here, as, we reiterate, we do not read ahead, we had not seen the little filler at the bottom of the column when we chose for yesterday's note, re the Reverend Herbert Spaugh's piece, the presentation of The First Word of "The Seven Last Words" by Theodore Dubois, with its rather dramatic organ. As Reverend Spaugh mentioned the Seven Last Words, though not the musical presentation, either of Dubois or Haydn, it is not so very remarkable perhaps, except for that little notation regarding the "boogie-woogie" and then our choice for the other musical underlayment for the note, an offering we had never heard until yesterday, except in its 1971 recorded state, released during our first semester on the Magical Campus, having at the time another title and other lyrics, by Dr. Winston O'Boogie.

We would like to think that it portends somehow well for our team tomorrow, Sunday, as they engage a rematch with the Wildcats, Kentucky, not Davidson, not Arizona. The latter two were met at this stage in other years, 1968 and 1987, with variable results, including, in the former, a memorable last second shot.

But, we have learned not to make predictions. We would perhaps feel a little more comfortable were the print today to be remarking on the Alaska pipeline. But, perhaps, tomorrow it will. Or at least something to do with oil. We shall see.

We shall wait until later to inform as to how we were correct in subliminally predicting Marquette as the last opponent. To state it early might pose a jinx.

At least the grey cat which was sneaking into our basement last year to watch the Final Four with us is no longer around, indicating, by a process of elimination, that it was a Blue Devil cat, not, in this instance, the Butler, who did the deed.

We do have to gloat a bit. It was a scant two and a half months ago, on January 17, when we offered our note about all those laps in the cold of winter which were obviously necessary to avoid further Rambling Wrecks. The advice appears to have struck a chord and resonated, serving well in the interim, with only two forgivable glitches in the performances since.

Remember one bit of advice, gentlemen, as you take to the court tomorrow: it is only the last game of the season that you will remember. We remember plenty.

Also, get those shoes right, and eat some oysters.

What is this? This is this.

Anyway, here is some Jewish humour, from Judges, Chapter 14:

11 And it came to passe when they saw him, that they brought thirtie companions to be with him.

12 And Samson said unto them, I will now put foorth a riddle unto you: if you can certeinly declare it me, within the seven dayes of the feast, and finde it out, then I will give you thirtie sheetes, and thirtie change of garments:

13 But if ye cannot declare it me, then shall yee give me thirtie sheetes, and thirtie change of garments. And they said unto him, Put foorth thy riddle, that we may heare it.

14 And hee said unto them, Out of the eater came foorth meate, aud out of the strong came foorth sweetnesse. And they could not in three dayes expound the riddle.

15 And it came to passe on the seventh day, that they said unto Samsons wife, Entice thy husband, that hee may declare unto us the riddle, lest we burne thee and thy fathers house with fire: Have yee called us, to take that wee have? is it not so?

16 And Samsons wife wept before him, and said, Thou doest but hate me, and lovest me not: thou hast put foorth a riddle unto the children of my people, and hast not tolde it me. And hee said unto her, Behold, I have not tolde it my father nor my mother, and shall I tell it thee?

17 And shee wept before him the seven dayes, while the feast lasted: and it came to passe on the seventh day, that he tolde her, because shee lay sore upon him: and she tolde the riddle to the children of her people.

18 And the men of the city said unto him on the seventh day before the sunne went downe, What is sweeter then honie? and what is stronger then a Lion? And he said unto them, If ye had not plowed with my heifer, yee had not found out my riddle.

19 And the Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and hee went downe to Ashkelon, and slewe thirtie men of them, and tooke their spoile, and gave change of garments unto them which expounded the riddle, and his anger was kindled; and hee went up to his fathers house.

20 But Samsons wife was given to his companion, whom hee had used as his friend.

Next proceeded Samson to the round of Final Jeopardy.

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