Thursday, April 6, 1944

The Charlotte News

Thursday, April 6, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that because of the poor showing in the Wisconsin Republican presidential primary on Tuesday, finishing fourth with no delegates committed, Wendell Willkie suddenly withdrew from the presidential race. The 1940 Republican nominee stated, at the end of a 50-minute address in Omaha, critical of the FDR foreign policy, that he could not possibly win the nomination and so had decided to end his campaign, asked that his supporters cease all activity in his behalf. The announcement was not preceded by hints within the body of the speech and left many in the hall dumbfounded.

Mr. Willkie's health would decline in the ensuing months and he would die in October prior to the general election. He had stated the week before, at the conclusion of his campaign in Wisconsin, that he was sick of politics, the only hint that the end of the trail was near. The results in the primary, especially given that Governor Dewey had not actively campaigned for the nomination thus far, sealed the fate of the Willkie challenge.

In an American raid on oil rich Ploesti in Rumania the day before, 40 enemy planes had been shot down. The raid was said to be crucial for interrupting the bulk of German oil supplies, just as the raid on Tuesday of the rail yards of Bucharest had knocked out large numbers of tank cars full of oil on their way from Ploesti to the Danube for distribution around the German fronts by barges and rail.

RAF formations of heavy bombers, flying from England for the first time in a week, bombed Toulouse, France, while Eighth Air Force planes during the day bombed Pas de Calais for the second day in succession. Only one of the planes failed to return from the RAF raid.

Smaller formations of American bombers attacked Nis and Leskovac in Yugoslavia.

For the first time, American P-51 Mustang fighters had been sent out alone, without being in escort of bomber formations, to attack the fighters of the Luftwaffe in the areas of Berlin and Munich.

Lt. General Ira Eaker, chief of air operations in the Mediterranean, disclosed that during the March 15 carpet bombing of Cassino, some of the bombs had malfunctioned at the time of their drop, consequently missing their targets and killing several Allied soldiers on the ground.

It came on the heels of an announcement about three weeks earlier that 23 American transport planes with 410 paratroopers aboard had accidentally been shot down by artillery fire from an American cruiser off Gela in Sicily during July, a mix-up caused by smoky conditions from burning oil off a sinking Allied cargo ship combined with the arrival of a group of Luftwaffe raiders twenty minutes before the American planes arrived overhead.

During three weeks of fighting, Indian troops fought their way through the Japanese to reach Imphal, inflicting in the process some 1,800 enemy casualties. The Indian 17th division reached Imphal with fewer than 10% losses, after the Japanese had previously claimed to have decimated the division.

In a bombing raid on Wewak on New Guinea, not a single shot was fired by the Japanese and no fighters were sent in pursuit of Fifth Air Force bombers, as usually had been the case on such raids.

In Russia, amid heavy rain and mud, the Third Ukrainian Army pushed further into the suburbs of Odessa, the right flank of the Army, one of four forces approaching the city, having entered the western side, seeking to cut off the Odessa-Ovidopol spur railway, the last possible means of rail escape by the Nazis to Rumania, a winding, treacherous route even if available for use. The capture of Razdelnaya two days earlier had cut off the primary rail route for escape. The forwardmost troops of the Third Army had reached to within eight miles of the center of the city.

Fighting continued in the streets of Tarnopol, northwest of Odessa, with the Russians making steady advance on retreating and surrendering Germans. In both Tarnopol and Skala, some 200,000 Germans and Rumanians were trapped with the Red Army steadily moving closer. A 72-hour blizzard in the area had ended, creating better conditions for the Russians to wage the fight.

George Tucker, in the "Reporter's Notebook" column, writes of the Rangers of the Fifth Army who acted as the eyes and ears to describe the location and strength of the enemy through patrols and field reconnaissance.

He describes how patrols operated to avoid mine fields, utilizing four-man points to proceed a hundred yards ahead at a time, crawling on their hands and knees to clear a safe path, and, once accomplished, motioning the rest of the patrol to follow. Each step was treacherous and had to be undertaken by carefully patting at the forward ground and then proceeding with each foot following where each hand had determined safety.

On the outgoing trip, the patrol had cleared a mine field, but on the return, one man, Lt. Richard Harwood of Gulfport, Mississippi, had tripped a mine and lost his life.

Day and night patrols each had their advantages and disadvantages. The enemy and his booby traps could be observed better by day but the enemy also could observe more acutely, whereas by night stealth could be achieved with greater ease, if the danger of hitting mines substantially increased.

Four men went after a German sniper whose position in a dugout hole in a hillside behind a rock crevice was marked by wisps of smoke emanating from the crevice every time he fired from his rifle. As two of the men reached the point, one fired his pistol into the crevice and no return fire issued. The German was dead. He had managed to fit an alarm clock into his hidey-hole and one of the soldiers wanted it, but was afraid it might be booby-trapped. The dead German kept his alarm clock.

Great Britain, having already closed off transportation to and from Eire, ended all telephone communication with the neutral Republic, to forestall the possibility of transmission of Axis spy information.

An eight-year old boy who had been born in 1935 at the bottom of a well near Siler City after his pregnant mother had fallen in while drawing water, died in Durham after being sick for five months with an undisclosed illness.

On the editorial page, "The Forfeit" remarks on the withdrawal of Wendell Willkie from the race for the Republican nomination for the presidency, that the Republican Party was turning instead to the policies of the past, a return to isolationism abroad and to laissez-faire at home, policies which had led to depression at home and war abroad after the disastrous twenties during which those Republican policies reigned supreme.

Despite the fact that Mr. Willkie, having stood for internationalism, even increased pace of the war effort, and expansion of the New Deal program while cutting excessive waste from the bureaucracy, was the one Republican, opines the editorial, who had a chance to defeat FDR in November, the Republicans had rejected him soundly in Wisconsin and appeared to have rejected him throughout the country.

Now, predicts the piece, assuredly the nomination would go to Thomas Dewey. If he should win in November, it continues, then "no man can say what perils lie ahead for the United States."

"Air Peak" celebrates the facts that March had set records for aircraft production, over 9,000 planes, and for sorties flown by U.S. bombers, over 30,000, each delivering a ton of bombs to the enemy. In perspective, 150,000 airmen had participated in those raids, the equivalent of an invasionary force. With the British bombs dropped, over 60,000 tons of bombs had been delivered to the enemy during the month by the Allies. The U.S. had lost in those operations 369 bombers and 178 fighters. But fully 1,081 German planes had been destroyed.

The major job of production of planes was complete; the output of aircraft was expected henceforth to level off as trained airmen were now in glut and being transferred to the infantry. By summer, the new Superfortress, the B-29, would be rolling off the assembly lines, headed for the Pacific war. The already available planes were expected to be sufficient to complete the war in Europe.

"Spectator" reports that Governor Melville Broughton had properly taken a sideline stance with respect to the race for the Democratic nomination for governor between Dr. Ralph McDonald and Gregg Cherry. The piece regards it as a courtesy to the state that the Governor would instead devote himself to his duties during his last months in office rather than participate in a campaign for his successor.

"Our Surplus" lauds the sound management principles of Mecklenburg County in generating a surplus in the budget. It suggests that the result should be lower future taxes.

Drew Pearson discusses Herbert Hoover's cherished goal of determining an heir apparent to the Hoover legacy, which was pretermitted by his defeat in 1932 by FDR. His goal since September had reportedly been to see to it that Thomas Dewey would become the Republican Party nominee for president and that Governor Earl Warren of California, the nominee for vice-president. To that end, he had lined up the largest party purses behind Dewey and had eliminated the bulk of support for Wendell Willkie in California--now, of course, academic.

Former President Hoover's goal would only be met half-way in 1944, with Governor Dewey heading the ticket, but Governor Bricker of Ohio being in the second spot. He would have to wait until 1948 to realize his full ambition of having nominated both men to the ticket--and, in Chicago, having them elected.

Whether by 1964, the year of death for the 90-year old former President who spoke for the last time at the 1964 Republican Convention, he regretted having supported by then Chief Justice Warren is probable but not known.

Mr. Pearson then addresses the FDR purgee from the Congress, former chair of the House Rules Committee, former Representative John J. O'Connor, Democrat of New York. Mr. O'Connor, despite having lost his Congressional re-election bid in 1938 with active opposition from the White House for his anti-New Deal stands, had showed up on the government payroll, being paid a salary as a staff assistant to New York Congressman Martin J. Kennedy. When an inquiry was made as to what he did to earn the salary, since he had a thriving law practice in Washington and New York, Representative Kennedy unabashedly contended that Mr. O'Connor was his legal adviser.

Dorothy Thompson distinguishes war policy and peace policy, indicating that the Soviet Union had a defined, conservative, simple war policy, to push the Germans from Russian territory and to re-establish the 1939-40 Russian borders. The policy had been confirmed by the press conference held earlier in the week by Soviet Foreign Commissar Molotov, who indicated that the objective of the Russians in entering Rumania was not to acquire territory or alter the social order within that country, but to insure the elimination of all German aggression from Russian territory and its bordering countries.

It was, she opines, worth emulating by the Western Allies whose war and peace objectives had become steadily muddled since spring, 1941 when the war goals of Britain were clear, to eliminate the Nazi regime, to push Germany back to its pre-war borders, to enable Germany after the war to reintegrate to the community of nations, and insure that it pay reparations for the damage done to Europe. But since that time, the war goals had become entangled with the peace aims, to produce a muddled policy, "trying to create the peace by the war", as Ms. Thompson puts it.

Wars which had maintained simple, straightforward war aims had been the most successful, such as the American Revolution. Wars, such as World War I, with its goal to make the world safe for democracy, had made the mistake of embarking on peace aims by means of the war. From that miscue developed the inevitable result, as with the failed League of Nations after World War I, that a hopefully confused post-war world came from trying to effect too broad and conflicting peace plans, those of both the Allies and the enemy belligerents.

She consequently recommends that the Western Allies begin limiting and defining their war aims and let the peace be defined separately after the war, rather than continuing to confuse the two and thus diluting the efficacy of both.

Marquis Childs, reporting from Hot Springs, Arkansas, follows the campaign of Governor John Bricker of Ohio, describes the campaign personality of the Governor, more akin, he says, to that of Alf Landon, given to colloquial phrases and pride in his own state government, than of his fellow Ohioan, former President Warren G. Harding, who was more a Washingtonian than an Ohioan, tending to be urbane and full of pious rhetoric, if hypocritical in personal behavior. Those who had compared Governor Bricker with Harding were dealing with superficialities rather than substance.

In traveling with the Governor, Mr. Childs was hard-pressed to determine where Bricker would pick up sufficient delegate strength to head off the Dewey bandwagon for the Republican nomination, strong even across the South.

Samuel Grafton makes an emotional appeal for the establishment of "free ports" for the refugees from Hitler's Germany. Such free ports as he proposed would take a form similar to those established for storing of commercial goods in transit without having to pay tariffs of the country on whose land the port exists. The ports would offer asylum to the refugees from barbarity on a few reserved acres of Allied soil, but would fence off the refugees from the rest of the country until immigration requirements could be fulfilled by individuals among them.

Mr. Grafton makes apology for having to issue such a plea for the storage of people as corn or cattle, but cites the deplorable performance thus far of the Allies in making room for these refugees plus the exigencies of the war as combined conditions calling for any emergent measure reasonably available to alleviate the suffering, however inadequate the safe haven.

And, the Ringling Brothers, Barnum & Bailey Circus opened its 1944 season at Madison Square Garden in New York, featuring Emmett Kelly as Panto, appearing in a skit called "Panto's Paradise". Changes noted in the format of the circus were that fewer male performers were involved, replaced by females, and the "umpah-umpah" traditional sound of the band had been supplanted by all brass instruments.

So, stick it up your jumper.

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