Saturday, April 8, 1944

The Charlotte News

Saturday, April 8, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that, after ten days spent on the ground in England, American Flying Fortresses resumed their bombing of Germany during the day, hitting Brunswick and air bases in northwest Germany in a medium sized raid of between 500 and 750 bombers. The only American activity out of England during the period of lull, one of the longest since the intense American bombing campaign began of Germany in late fall, had been by Liberators flying against the northern coast of France.

In Italy, an American patrol had established against German opposition a new position northwest of Padiglione in the central sector of the front, thereby improving slightly the Allied position in the area. Elsewhere, on the Anzio beachhead and in the area of Cassino and the Garigliano front, activity was limited to the usual exchange of artillery fire and patrol confrontations.

In Russia, part of the Third Ukrainian Army turned back an attempted escape from Odessa by a Nazi column fleeing along a road northwest of the city. The Russians now were within 9.6 miles of the city from the northeast and 16.8 miles from the northwest.

The First Ukrainian Army, after reports had been silent on its progress for the previous two days, was now said to have crossed the Prut River north of Iasi along a hundred-mile front. Other contingents had traversed the Czech-Rumanian border along a 124-mile front. The Army was now between 35 and 106 miles inside northern Rumania.

In the wake of the bombing of Budapest earlier in the week by the Fifteenth Air Force flying out of Italy, thousands were reported fleeing from the Hungarian capital to safer haven. There was speculation afoot that the capital was being transferred to some less conspicuous locale.

The successful carrier operation on Palau, Woleai, Yap, and Ulithi, occurring in the latter three days of March, had not suffered loss of any ship while losing only 25 planes. The operation destroyed 28 Japanese ships, and damaged eighteen, including a battleship. It also destroyed 160 Japanese planes.

Selective Service Director General Lewis B. Hershey announced that, pursuant to requests of the War and Navy Departments, men over 26 years of age engaged in essential war industries, war support industries, or agricultural activities would be deferred automatically from the draft until such time as the available manpower under 26 was exhausted.

A piece reminds of the approach the following day of the second anniversary of the Allied surrender of Bataan to the Japanese.

Another fatal train derailment occurred, in a spate of such derailments across the country since the previous August, including the major Rennert derailment and collision near Lumberton, N.C., in mid-December. The latest occurred near London, Ohio, involving the New York Central Railroad's New York Special. The wreck injured at least 13 persons, including eight servicemen headed home for Easter. The engineer and fireman were killed when they were scalded by steam as the engine fell on its side.

George Tucker, in the "Reporter's Notebook" column, writes from Italy of dropping by the camp kitchen to chat with the cooks. One had been cook for a lumberjack crew in Minnesota, another a bituminous coal miner. Now they were cooking chocolate pies and other assorted pastries and breads. One informed Mr. Tucker that the artillery shelling didn't bother the rising of the bread, but sometimes, when it became intense, he had to run outside and leave the pies baking in the oven.

And, the director of the Cigar Institute in New York informed that 32 million cigars would be withdrawn from the civilian market and diverted instead to the military to supplement the 39 million already being supplied the Army and Navy.

On the editorial page, Tom Jimison, off the page for eight months, since August 11, 1943, offers a piece in celebration of Easter, occurring in 1944 the following day. Mr. Jimison, a former Methodist minister, tells the story presented in Chapter 27 of Acts, the tumultuous voyage in a storm by Paul, aboard a ship bound for Rome to appeal his case to Caesar for preaching the Christian gospel in defiance of Roman law, sentenced to death. Despite the ship being wrecked, the men managed, by dead reckoning, to make their way to Malta.

Mr. Jimison compares the fate of the world in time of world war to the men of that ship and believes that, through the same sort of faith engendered by Paul which preserved the men in those tempest-tossed seas of old, man would receive his guidance to emerge from the war with the world still intact.

"Fill 'Er Up" remarks that the report that the date for D-Day had been set by the Allied High Command had produced speculation, notably by Associated Press reporter and news analyst DeWitt MacKenzie, as to how the coming invasion would fare in supply of gasoline relative to Germany.

The Allies had been able to build up substantial reserves in England and North Africa, whereas the Germans were on the ropes, relying primarily on the oil reserves in Rumania, now said to be exhaustible by the Allies in a mere 100 days, should they be able soon to seize them. And Ploesti lay less than 200 miles away from the approaching Red Army.

The Wehrmacht would, in the not distant future, the piece predicts, begin running out of gas; it had already been forced into lulls for the exiguity of available petroleum with which to run and grease its war machine. The petroleum facilities for refining within Germany proper had been destroyed by the Allied bombing raids.

Despite each ton of bombs dropped requiring two tons of gas to deliver it to the target, three million tons daily, the Allies clearly now had the advantage in this crucial area of supply.

"Progress" tells of a Navy lieutenant's optimistic report on the Pacific war, that while there was plenty of hard fighting still occurring, the Allies now had decided superiority of force, with sufficient manpower properly to defend carriers when the fliers were away, a far cry from past days two years earlier, now also with sufficient firepower packed aboard the planes to keep the enemy at a distance to avoid being hit by one of the 72,000 rounds per minute each section of three planes could now fire.

The piece is reminded of a statement by Col. Warren Clear of the War Department to the effect that when Los Negros Island in the Admiralties had been captured, it meant that the Allies had progressed fully 1,200 miles from Tulagi, in the vicinity of Guadalcanal. He informed that it nearly equated to the distance from Stalingrad to Berlin.

The editorial concludes that the island-hopping campaign had, in nineteen months, (actually twenty), achieved miraculous results.

"Tough Job" applauds Mayor Baxter of Charlotte for his effort to keep Charlotteans focused on war production and in discouraging absenteeism from vital war work, per the program of Governor Broughton.

The piece was not in favor of revival of the Work-Or-Fight program which the Governor had proposed the previous summer and which miserably fizzled with the people. But it also believed that there had to be a way to instill in workers the continuing need to produce for the war and to inhibit slackening resolve simply because the war at present was being won.

"Retirement" discusses the plans for the Charlotte municipal government retirement program and compliments the City Council for taking the initiative to plan for it.

Marquis Childs addresses an unhealthy economic statistic issuing from the Securities and Exchange Commission, indicating that, during 1943, Americans saved 37 billion dollars and invested only 13.8 billion in war bonds. The trend, for the first time during the war, was to spend rather than invest disposable income. The danger, of course, was inflation, always inimical to the war effort.

Mr. Childs did not blame the workers of the country who were living above the minimum subsistence level for the first time in a long while, for some of the younger workers, for the first time ever. He did not blame the young mothers in their teens seeing their soldier husbands off to the fronts from such points of departure as the crowded Kansas City railway station, possibly never to see them again. But he did blame those who were well-heeled before the war began and yet went on spending profligately, contributing to the potential inflation spiral.

Dorothy Thompson discusses the confusion abounding from America's treatment willy-nilly of the various problematic regimes of the world during the previous 25 years. The Soviets had not been recognized diplomatically until 1933. Yet, the Nazis were recognized initially as having assumed control through constitutional means and thus achieving diplomatic recognition from the United States.

Francisco Franco in Spain got control through civil war and a coup, yet was recognized by the U.S. But, in the Argentine, the recent military coup brought to power a regime the U.S. did not like for its pro-Fascist prior dealings, and so refused recognition. But Franco was also a Fascist.

With respect to France, General De Gaulle yet had not been recognized as the leader of the French upon liberation.

But, in Italy, the U.S. Government had granted some limited recognition, albeit not full diplomatic recognition, to the Badoglio Government, despite its unpopularity with Italians and Badoglio's prior Fascist leanings. And, when the Soviets made their gesture recently of limited diplomatic recognition to Badoglio, the State Department set up a hue and cry against it.

She recommends, to sort out the inevitable confusion in perception--that being that the U.S. had a propensity toward recognizing more readily Fascists than democratic movements, even if the perception was wrong--that the U.S. divorce the concept of recognition of a government from approval of that government. Simply to state that recognition was premised on the abilities of a particular government to preserve order through law and to exchange diplomatic personnel should be the limited barometer on which recognition was predicated. Approval of the government was a distinct issue, just as the Soviets had clarified in the aftermath of their announced intent to exchange envoys with Badoglio's Italy. The Soviets had the right idea.

Samuel Grafton takes note of the change of status during the previous four months between the theaters of the war in the Pacific and Europe. Whereas prior to the late November thrust into the Gilberts, followed by the Marshalls, the Admiralties, and the encircling of the Bismarck Sea, plus the strikes on Truk and now Palau, 1,175 miles west of Truk and just 500 miles from the Philippines, the trend had been sloth, creating impatience in the public; now, the Pacific war was forging ahead at breakneck pace.

By equal and opposite measures, however, the European war, advancing in the previous spring and summer, winning North Africa, Sicily, and Southern Italy at a rapid rate, in just five months, had bogged down at Cassino and on the Anzio beachhead.

Only the Russians fought the war in Europe by chasing the enemy and not letting him have respite to recuperate from the previous assault. They had done so without interruption since November, 1942, and had now chased the Germans nearly from the borders of Russia.

Yet, Mr. Grafton stops to realize and remind that General Eisenhower had not gone to England in December and remained there until spring to see the lilacs at Kew. Soon, the invasion of the Continent would come and the war in Europe would once again take center stage.

In the meantime, those, such as publisher Robert McCormick of the Chicago Tribune, who had favored making the Pacific war the first aim and diverting men and materiel from the European front to accomplish it, now had to be satisfied with the progress in the Pacific without the diversion of strength from Europe.

Drew Pearson devotes his entire column to a lawsuit he and his parent newspaper, The Washington Post, had won the previous week, saving themselves 1.35 million dollars, a million of which in damages had been alleged just against Mr. Pearson. The plaintiff was John P. Monroe, the Washington war contract lobbyist who threw lavish parties at the "Big Red House on R St." in Washington to fete generals and Senators for the purpose of wooing contracts, a matter which had come to light sensationally in spring, 1943.

Mr. Pearson had printed stories about the elaborate soirees. He then insisted, and still insisted, that the public had a right to know how its money was being spent and at whose behest. Thus, there was a legitimate public interest in knowing of Mr. Monroe.

The jury, after a half hour of deliberations, had agreed, finding Mr. Pearson and the Post not liable for defamation for the fact that the matter published was deemed true, always a defense to defamation.

Mr. Pearson remarks that he had met Mr. Monroe for the first time during the trial and found him quite charming and likable.

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