Wednesday, April 5, 1944

The Charlotte News

Wednesday, April 5, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Thomas Dewey had captured 18 of 24 delegates in the Wisconsin Republican presidential primary of the previous day, while Wendell Willkie came in a distant fourth with no delegates. Former Minnesota Governor Harold Stassen and General Douglas MacArthur tied for second with three delegates each. The tally sent a clear signal that Governor Dewey would likely be the party nominee and, equally, that Wendell Willkie was out. Indeed, Mr. Willkie saw the handwriting himself.

In Russia, the Second Ukrainian Army pushed to the suburbs of Odessa. The Army had captured Razdelnaya, 40 miles northeast of the Black Sea port, leaving no means of rail escape by the Nazis, resulting in 200,000 German and Rumanian troops being trapped against the Odessa littoral.

The First Ukrainian Army was pushing beyond Gorokhov, between Lwow and Lutsk, moving to within 18 miles of the Polish frontier.

Reports had it that the Germans were losing hope in the area of Skala, north of the Upper Dniester region, leaving behind trucks and tanks and equipment, strewn aimlessly about open fields. One reporter for Izvestia described the scene from the air as appearing as a "Gypsy camp".

The western and southern sections of Tarnopol, in the western Ukraine, part of pre-war Poland, were now in Russian hands.

The previous day's bombing raid by the Fifteenth Air Force on Bucharest was reported to have accomplished great damage, destroying 46 enemy planes, against twelve lost American bombers.

Rumors abounded that Rumania might seek peace from the Allies, given the recent bombing raids on Bucharest and the Russian advance into Rumania, 200 miles to the northeast of Bucharest. The rumors were received, however, against the backdrop of continued German occupation of Rumania and the reduction therefore of the Rumanian Government to mere puppet status, unable to effect independent action.

In Italy, activity was primarily limited to artillery bombardment in the Anzio sector and patrol encounters along the Cassino and Garigliano fronts.

American bombers of the Eighth Air Force, at rest for three days, struck at Pas de Calais in France. A Berlin broadcast indicated that American bombers were spotted also over central Germany.

RAF Mosquitos the previous night struck Cologne and industrial targets in the Ruhr Valley of Germany.

In India, the Japanese were reported to be holding a 15-mile stretch of road between Imphal and Kohima, 60 miles north of Imphal. The Japanese had to establish a line of communications at that point prior to the monsoon season six weeks away or lose their ground and the entire objective of the invasion of India, to acquire control of the Bengal-Assam railway, supplying the British troops in Northern India.

In Northern Burma, Merrill's Marauders had penetrated far enough behind enemy lines, the deepest yet effected, to harass the Japanese by establishing a temporary roadblock at Inkanghtawng, about twenty-six miles northwest of Mogaung, key junction on the Mandalay-Myitkyina railway which supplied the Japanese base at Myitkyina. The Marauders, after accomplishing their hit-and-run mission, then withdrew to the mountains to the east of the Mogaung Valley, in an effort to block flanking maneuvers by the Japanese against General Joseph Stilwell’s main forces.

On New Guinea, Hollandia, the remaining Japanese base on the north coast, was again bombed heavily, hitting its three airfields. In an hour and a half Sunday, the Fifth Air Force set a record in the Southwest Pacific for concentrated bombing on a single target, destroying the last of 288 planes at Hollandia’s airfields.

Wes Gallagher, in the "Reporter's Notebook" column, reporting from London, tells of the poker habits of Lt. General Carl Spaatz, commander of the U. S. Strategic Air Force, and Lt. General Ira Eaker, Allied air commander in the Mediterranean.

Senator Josiah W. Bailey of North Carolina announced his support for Senator Harry Flood Byrd of Virginia for the Democratic nomination for the presidency. Senator Bailey had opposed a third term for FDR in 1940 and thus also the fourth term. But, he indicated that he would support the President if he became the nominee of the party.

In Belfast and Yorkshire in Great Britain, there were 100,000 workers, primarily coal miners and shipyard workers, on strike. British newspapers attributed the labor unrest to subversives, while Scotland Yard raided a group of pro-labor Trotskyites.

The Belfast strike of 20,000 shipyard workers was for the purpose of obtaining the release of five workers sentenced to three months in jail for illegal striking. The Yorkshire strike of 70,000 coal miners was in protest of deductions from wages for coal used in the miners' homes.

At Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, students and their professor had developed a ration-free automobile which ran on heated charcoal over which air was blown to produce carbon monoxide which propelled the pistons. The drawback to the innovation was that the car had a maximum speed of only 15 mph, not that bad though for wartime, when speed limits were set at a maximum of 35 mph in most places.

And, especially at that deliberately slow speed, you could probably achieve the ancillary purpose from such an engine of being able to charcoal broil your burgers or franks on the side as you drove along.

Then, of course, you could inject, for added horsepower out the pipes, some Yorkshire pudding, with a couple of rose blossoms on the side to add a patina of color to dress up the meal in fancy.

On the editorial page, "Seven Sins" sets forth the list of the worst fouls committed by organized labor as seen by Eric Johnston, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

First sin was arbitrary refusal to accept members to the union; second was arbitrary fines on members, radiator fees in other words; third, irregular union meetings and conventions, and erratic and unfair election of union officers; fourth, failure to provide public accountings; fifth, excessive strikes; sixth, violence as part of strikes; and, seventh, restraints on production through planned work slow-downs and feather-bedding, demanding employment of more men than are needed for a particular job.

The piece concludes by reminding that Mr. Johnston had also criticized management and that his ultimate point was that labor and management must learn to work in harmony for the good of all, including society at large, of which they were a part, that which paid their wages and salaries by purchasing their products within the stream of commerce.

"No Quarrel" indicates that it had become obvious that the State Department would not insist on any quid pro quo by the Russians with respect to Japan, likely resultant of the enormous effort, sine qua non for Allied victory, by the Red Army on the Russian front.

The revelation came as a result of Secretary of State Hull's vehement denial of a story circulated in the British press that the United States would condition post-war Lend-Lease aid to Russia on whether it provided assistance in the war against Japan.

The piece interjects the proviso, however, that when the European war was finished, it would not only stand Russia in good stead with the Western Allies to aid in the Pacific war, but would also be substantially in the Russians' own interests, given their proximity to Japan in the East.

"A Retreat" reports of Harry Woodring giving up his effort to find an alternative candidate to FDR. He gave as his reason for abandoning the cause that the opposition to Roosevelt lacked the courage of their convictions.

The piece opines that, instead, the opponents might only have come to realize the futility of their effort in trying to block FDR for a fourth term. Either that or having seen through the effort by Mr. Woodring as being merely to wage a personal vendetta against his former boss for being pushed out as head of the War Department.

Yet, the editorial gives to Mr. Woodring the single plaudit that he did speak his mind and only gave up when it became obvious that his effort was without effect.

Samuel Grafton remarks on the undue importance attached to particular towns and cities by civilian observers of the Italian Campaign, too much stressing the taking of Cassino and Rome as primary objectives. In modern warfare, the taking of strategic points 500 miles from a blocked enemy bastion was often the result. The Russians had perfected this form of warfare and the Western Allies were following suit. Thus, the consternation for the delay in taking Cassino was quite overworked.

The State Department had pinned to the taking of Rome the establishment of a new government in Italy, as if the cities freed the people. That, likewise, was a faulty view. For, says Mr. Grafton, it was the other way about: people freed the cities.

Instead of looking at particular points on the map, the proper objective was the entirety of the German Army, as had been the insistent focus of the Russians.

Marquis Childs tells of interviewing Chicago Tribune publisher Robert McCormick, finding him still dedicated to his philosophy of isolationism. He attacked the bankers of New York. He attacked Thomas Dewey for being supported by the bankers of New York in his campaign, and for seeking to produce a post-war British-American alliance. He nevertheless appeared ready to support Mr. Dewey if nominated. But he also placed great confidence in the 27 Republican governors, that they might yet bring to bear sufficient influence at the convention to cause the nomination of someone else.

Drew Pearson first responds to the open letter a few days earlier from Secretary of Commerce Jesse Jones, contending that Mr. Pearson had lied when he stated in his column that the Secretary had loaned, interest free, 68.5 million dollars of taxpayer money to the Aluminum Corporation of Canada and had the U.S. build the plant, creating unfair competition with U.S. aluminum companies. Mr. Pearson cites conclusions from the Truman Committee, regarded as highly credible, to back up his own assertions.

Secretary Jones had, in his letter, cited as lies that contained in the column of a month earlier on March 6, as well in that of March 22, 1943, (then carried in another section of the newspaper which we do not have within our immediate grasp), and also sought to undermine Mr. Pearson's attempt on March 21 to advert to the Truman Committee report for substantiation. Mr. Jones had first sent out an open letter denying the claims of Mr. Pearson on March 25, 1943, albeit apparently not ever printed in The News, unless it was laid out in conjunction with the "Merry-Go-Round".

In his regular column, Mr. Pearson first addresses the issue of over-bureaucratization of the Navy, such that there had been tremendous duplication of effort and waste of materiel, resulting in an overstock of many items which would never be used during the war.

He next turns to Senator Cotton Ed Smith of South Carolina who spoke before a group of tobacco growers in Washington. After he finished being exercised about such things as white supremacy and being kicked around by "the carpetbagger" Roosevelt in the attempted purge of Senator Smith in 1938, he launched into OPA price ceilings on tobacco, saying that they had been set by people who had no knowledge of the growing of the brown leaf. Then he made the mistake in a colloquy of confronting with that charge the chief of the OPA tobacco division, Ed Ragland.

Mr. Ragland then proceeded to tell the conservative Senator of his long experience, since he was twelve, at growing and harvesting tobacco while he grew up in Virginia. Senator Smith was left with a good bit of egg on his face, amid the cheers of the tobacco growers for Mr. Ragland.

Cotton Ed was on his last legs. At 80, His Highness would be dead by November 17. Good riddance.

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