Monday, May 1, 1944

The Charlotte News

Monday, May 1, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that another thousand-plane raid by American bombers and fighters struck targets in France and Belgium, following a night raid by the RAF of approximately 500 planes striking targets in France. The raids marked the seventeenth straight day of heavy pounding of Germany or occupied territory.

The weather was overcast and some of the American pilots returned without dropping their bombs, indicating that they did not wish to risk hitting civilian targets in France.

No planes were lost in the raids as no German fighters were observed and little flak was encountered.

In April, it was announced, 8,800 tons of bombs had been dropped by American light and medium bombers only of the Ninth Air Force, flying from England in 5,100 sorties. By comparison, the previous record drop of the Ninth Air Force set in March was 5,000 tons, dropped from 3,000 sorties. The April attacks of the Ninth Air Force were confined to France and Belgium. Twenty-four planes had been lost against little fighter opposition.

A piece reports again that the intended target of the repeated bombing of Pas-de-Calais was the German "secret weapon" installations, thought to be rocket guns. The pilots reported seeing huge explosions erupt upon the dropping of their bombs in the area, indicative of an exploding volatile substance.

The Navy announced a recent sinking of a troop transport ship in the Mediterranean, costing the lives of 498 men, the third largest single loss of life in a ship sinking thus far during the war.

The Paul Hamilton, a Liberty ship, was struck by low-flying Luftwaffe Junker 88's at sunset on April 20. The ship was literally bombed to bits, the result of explosions from its cargo of about 7,000 tons of munitions being delivered to Italy. It represented the largest loss of life aboard any Liberty ship during the war.

In the Pacific, bombers struck from the newly acquired airstrips at Hollandia, in Western Dutch New Guinea, against the Schouten Islands, hitting Biak Island at the mouth of Geelvink Bay, 250 miles northwest of Hollandia, and 700 miles from the Philippines. Other raids struck Wewak, Hansa Bay, Rabaul, and in the vicinity of Wakde Island, just northwest of Hollandia. A base in Timor was also hit.

Faced with the start of monsoon season in two weeks, the Japanese were said to be amassing their forces for a grand thrust against Imphal in India. Their only other choice was to withdraw. But to do that would be to lose face.

A report speculates that, because the weather for May was generally the best of the year for the English Channel, with few gales in either the Dungeness area or the Scilly area, the European invasion was likely to come within the month. The time of the invasion, it indicates, had been set by the President, Prime Minister Churchill, and Premier Stalin at the Tehran Conference in November-December, thereafter was immutable.

Robert E. Sherwood, Pulitzer Prize winning playwright, had broadcast from the Office of War Information in England to the French underground to prepare themselves for the coming invasion from the West and the South, that it would not be long.

A photograph shows an Army sergeant reuniting with his wife in Rahway, N.J., to see his nineteen month old daughter who suffered from leukemia. The story initially appeared April 14, relating of his receiving special furlough through intervention of the President after the sergeant's wife had made a special plea.

Daniel De Luce, in the "Reporter's Notebook" column, writes of the "Snoop Troops", who patrolled by night no manís land on the Anzio beachhead, southwest of Cisterna, every night harassing the German lines. The captain of the troops hailed from Ireland, where as a teenager he had been a member of the I.R.A., but now made home in Georgia. Some of the battalion were from Ireland, some from Georgia, one having led a student revolt while at the University in Athens, against Governor Gene Talmadge. One had been a veteran of the Spanish Civil War, on the side of the Loyalists.

Despite the dangerous night duty, they had never lost a man to the enemy thus far.

In Atlanta's Grant Park Zoo, two keepers were badly gored by Susie the buffalo as they tried to get her into a posing mood for photographers. Susie was more concerned for her calf than her vanity.

In Middletown, Connecticut, a man was reported to have maintained, without withdrawal, his grandfatherís savings account, begun in 1844 with the deposit of $26, now, a hundred years later, with no subsequent principal deposits made in the interim, worth $2,500.

Ben Franklin would be pleased.

On the editorial page, "Dr. Odum" praises the Catholic Committee of the South for its honor of Dr. Howard Odum, sociology professor at the University of North Carolina, for having made a significant contribution to the welfare of the South. The piece finds it appropriate for Dr. Odum having been primarily responsible for the region adopting a realistic attitude about itself and its problems economically.

"Veterans" gives praise to Charlotte for planning for the returning veterans of the war and establishing resources through which they could re-orient themselves in the society, avoiding the problems which hounded the "lost generation" of soldiers from World War I, who often found it difficult to find work. The 20,000 returning World War II veterans to Mecklenburg County would be treated far better, says the piece. It expressed the hope that such efforts on a local level would become a nationwide practice to supplement the veterans' benefits conferred by the Federal Government.

"Late Rebels" again examines the fledgling Byrd-for-President movement as it met in Charlotte. Its goals, said the piece, appeared to be long-range, beyond even the November election, perhaps looking forward to 1948, with possible intent in 1944 to join the Republicans.

The only thing certain was that there was little support for Senator Byrd for the presidency.

"Squabbles" finds the International Labor Organization charged as being bankrupt by Izvestia out of Moscow, while the Secretary of Labor, Frances Perkins, gave praise to it and insisted that, on the word of the President, it would be incorporated as a functioning part of the United Nations organization after the war.

But then I.L.O. members did not speak out regarding disagreement between British and Indian members, the latter favoring a central governing committee to inspect working conditions throughout the world, proclaiming that any committee organized in Great Britain would be biased in its inspections, against the interests of India.

It appeared that the I.L.O. had bumpy years ahead and that it would take some time before working conditions in many economically depressed countries would be significantly improved.

Samuel Grafton again addresses the lack of defined war aims, now focusing on General Patton's remark in Britain that the British and Americans were destined to rule the world, quickly followed by the story of his supposed inclusion also of the Russians. If a general may be so muddled, then who could blame the average G.I.? Who could blame the average citizen?

He warns that the danger would come in not realizing a war aim until after the war.

Marquis Childs examines the sway to be exerted by Wendell Willkie on some four to seven million voters, as assessed by Elmo Roper of the Roper Poll, finds that it could be substantial and perhaps determinative in a close election, whether he leaned toward FDR or accepted Thomas Dewey. But, to motivate independent voters who had supported him, they would have to be convinced that his stand was based on principle and not personal vendetta.

Drew Pearson discusses the close working relationship pressed by the war between ship line owners and maritime workers. Things were so rosy that Joe Curran, head of the National Maritime Union, who had fought for years to keep owners from the hiring halls, now invited them in to assist in shipping assignments. His only reservation with management related to a Standard Oil policy of keeping seamen on shore working at other jobs to promote a backlog of non-union seamen to try to avoid using union men on Standard Oil tankers.

Mr. Pearson next addresses the flak being hurled at the Republican Party in the House for having been led by the collar on the soldier ballot measure by racist Congressman John Rankin of Mississippi. Now, conscious of that painting with the tar brush, they sought to run away from him.

Finally, he looks at a 26 million dollar government expenditure for an armor-plate and tank-turret plant in Illinois, which the army then abandoned. Now, only a private spring manufacturer occupied part of the plant, which, at great expense, had been specially equipped for its intended purpose.

The Reverend Herbert Spaugh discusses the difference in perception of fateful events, some believing them the result of sheer luck, others believing in divine providence. He cites as example the Nazis having reached El Alamein in July, 1942 at a time when the water supply, controlled by the British, had been undergoing cleansing via the injection of salt. The Germans were accustomed to brackish water and so drank to their heart's content and became ill, slowing their progress at a fateful moment. Had they arrived a day earlier, there would have been no water; had they arrived two days later, the water would have been clean and pure. He asks whether it was luck or God.

We mean no disrespect to the Reverend's premise, but involved, too, was the might of the British Eighth Army assembled in the narrow passage between the Mediterranean and the Qatarra Depression, blocking in waves the path of Rommel's forces.

And for every providential act in war, or life in general, favorable to one side, there are to be cited innumerable examples of providence seeming to work for the other, the dark side.

We are not sure therefore that it is correct to say that God takes a side in war, except to stop it.

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