Tuesday, May 16, 1944

The Charlotte News

Tuesday, May 16, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the French forces of the Fifth Army had broken through the breach in the Gustav Line at Ausonia and had moved two and a half miles west to capture Monte Fammera, in pursuit of the Germans at the south end of the Liri Valley, providing a passage to Rome. British armor was massing at the mouth of the valley in preparation for a major fight in the area of Cassino.

The Allies had advanced between three and eight miles since the beginning of the offensive on Thursday night. American troops had taken Spigno in the lower Garigliano Valley. British and Indian troops of the Eighth Army southwest of Cassino had, the day before, regained ground lost to the enemy.

Author and war correspondent Frederick Faust, aka Max Brand, had been killed in the initial Allied thrust of the Fifth Army on Thursday night. He was the creator of the character of Dr. Kildare and Destry of the western genre.

On the Russian front to the north, Soviet planes attacked Kirkenes in Norway, across the northern tip of Finland, sinking several German ships, including three transports.

For the second straight night, 300 Luftwaffe planes hit England, this time concentrating on Portsmouth. Five were shot down, compared to a bag of 15 on Sunday night, the difference being assumed from the fact of the planes hitting on the Channel side without penetrating further into inland defenses.

RAF Mosquitos hit Ludwigshafen the night before. No American raid was reported, with apparently the lightest air activity out of England in 31 days. Raids had noticeably slackened for the previous two and half days, since Saturday.

In Yunnan Province, the Chinese troops continued their advance on the other side of the Salween River, attempting to clear the northern section of the Burma Road to link it with the Ledo Road out of India.

William Boni, in the "Reporter's Notebook" column, assigned to General Joseph Stilwell's forces in Northern Burma, writes of the Mouse Patrol, so-called for its ferreting of rations for snacks while on duty as radio operators. Out in the jungle, the remoteness kept acquisition of news of the rest of the world for the most part at some premium. The only way to obtain it was to tag along with the two radio cars at night and hope that one would not be on 24-hour standby so that they could tune into the BBC for the latest news from the other fronts.

And, two boys, ages eight and nine, were caught in Philadelphia after allegedly triggering a spree of some twenty false fire alarms. On this occasion, the fire captainís cat led the entourage consisting of four engines, a fire truck, and two police cars, all of which turned their exclusive attention to the two boys instead of the phantom fire. They were all following the captain's cat, initially thinking that it was leading them to the fire.

On the editorial page, "Progress" finds encouragement in the report of the State Hospital Board of Control regarding the stateís mental facilities. Chief among the discussed topics was the plan for expenditure of ten million dollars for new physical facilities, albeit not implemented. But the primary advance to be placed into operation was the integration of the medical facilities in the state with the mental institutions in terms of their research and staff.

"A Lesson" finds a model being established in Maryland on health care to stake out territory to avoid socialized medicine by implementing a plan in lieu of it, whereby the indigent would receive medical care from the state.

"Not Ready?" discusses Columbia University Professor Edward Lineman's warning that America was not sufficiently adapted to the idea of internationalism, and so peace plans remained predominantly characterized by isolationist opinion. He starkly stated that America could lose the war and receive home "the most disillusioned and bitter young men the world has ever known" should it persist on the isolationist track. He was not speaking of loss of the war militarily, but loss of the war by being without a proper plan for the peace, one embracing international goals.

The editorial finds the warning one to be heeded.

"How Long?" asks the question not just in terms of the time until the Allied landing would take place in Western Europe but also with regard to the prospect of German surrender once the invasion occurred. Many expert military observers, it reports, believed that once Hitler was shown to be less than invulnerable, he would be overthrown from within by a revolution simmering underneath the surface in Germany and the occupied lands.

Such was the belief by University of Michigan psychologist Dr. Norman Maier.

But the piece wonders whether such a quickly obtained surrender would forecast the long-term peace. For, it warns, the military generals inside the Reich would welcome the chance to overthrow Hitler, install a new government promptly to replace him, and thereon insist that the vox populi had been heard and satisfied, seeking from the Allies favorable terms of surrender which would leave them in power--the implication being that the militarists of Germany who ultimately started the war would be right back in control at its end, ready to start the next one.

The astute question leads to the notion whether, had the July 20, 1944 plot been successful to assassinate Hitler by planting a bomb in the Wolf's Lair, the generals involved in the plot would not have simply done what the piece suggests, in the end creating an illusory and short-lived peace.

After all, there was precedent, in North Africa and in Italy, for the prospect of Fascists being placed in power after unconditional surrender.

Perhaps, thus, if one accepts divine providence as an actual being with mysterious ways, it was with that eventuality in that beingís mind that the bomb failed to kill Hitler by the fortuitous intervention of a table leg.

Or, was it an action resulting from the subconscious of Lt.-Col. Claus von Stauffenberg, to place the briefcase with the explosive device in such a way that another officer would assuredly push it behind the heavy leg and thus save the Fuehrer's life? After all, there were likely torn loyalties which any military officer would feel, especially those indoctrinated under the Third Reich, in seeking to assassinate his commander-in-chief.

Was it simply instead pure chance, the Wheel of Fortune turning for the nonce in Hitler's favor?

Drew Pearson reports of the key role enjoyed by Herbert Hoover in the presidential campaign of Thomas Dewey, to the consternation of some who warned he would drag down the ticket for his bringing back memories in the electorate of depression, while others supported his influence. Mr. Pearson tells of the power the former President apparently swayed over the Republican Party by his response to Clare Boothe Luce when she called him to find out whether she might have a chance to be selected keynote speaker at the convention, being then told by President Hoover not to bother, that Governor Earl Warren of California would be selected the following day. He was.

She had no plan, no plan, no plan.

He next updates the subject of self-sealing fuel tanks for transport planes which had been promoted by West Virginia Senator Harley Kilgore after Mr. Pearson's column had revealed the friendly fire incidents over Gela and Catania in Sicily the previous July, the great loss of life being partially attributed to the fact that the planes exploded. Senator Kilgore had now been assured that the tanks were going to be retrofitted to the transport planes, overcoming objections that there were no shops available in England by which the retrofit could be accomplished, disputed by air officers located in England.

He also notes that General Hap Arnold, commander of the Air Forces, had been in favor of the self-sealing tanks and was also trying to get the Army to adopt the quick-release parachute to avoid drowning deaths attributed to the triple-release versions. The Army had now ordered 200,000 of the single-release units. Mr. Pearson contends that General Arnold had complained that he had to find out about this matter from reading the Merry-Go-Round.

Dorothy Thompson indicates that Allied Headquarters in England had already developed a plan for civil administration of Germany once it was conquered. It would develop in three stages, the first being the military stage to force the surrender completely of all fighting forces, then the transitional stage to enable the military occupation government to select and properly train civilian officials anew, and the third the slow re-education of the populace and turning over of civil functions of government to Germans who could be trusted.

But in the interim, there would inevitably be chaos, as perforce there had to be complete purging from all government and educational entities all vestiges of Nazism and the Nazis who had taught and nurtured it.

Samuel Grafton looks at spring trends, finds the most notable to be the decision of the electorate in the South to turn out race-baiters from office. In one district in Alabama, he notes, the absentee soldier ballots ran over 90% against the race-baiting candidate.

Mr. Grafton points out that the Northeastern variety of the beast was worse than the Southern, but that both were now proving not to be resistless, just as the Nazis had been thusly defanged by the Russians the previous year before Stalingrad.

Marquis Childs examines the tired charade which was the anti-poll tax bill, something trotted out for political purposes every four or five years, guaranteed to pass the House, then wind up being filibustered to death or withdrawn in the Senate, all to reassure the confidence of black voters in the North.

In the eight Southern states with the poll tax, Mr. Childs points out, five percent or less of the population had voted in the midterm elections of 1942, only one percent in South Carolina. By comparison, in Illinois, 36 percent had voted, in Indiana, 38 percent.

He faults for this charade the system of seniority which allowed Southerners to place Senators in key committee position after re-electing them again and again long enough, regardless of their true merit, resulting in power to determine in committee the rules implemented to control what bills would ever reach a floor vote. In this regard, he makes mention of Senator McKellar having ridden seniority to the chairmanship of the patronage producing post office and post roads committee and to the acting chairmanship of the powerful Appropriations Committee while Senator Carter Glass of Virginia was ill. Senator McKellar and his like in the Senate could laugh off the poll tax fight as a fait accompli.

The entire theatrical performance, governed by seniority as the deus ex machina, posed the real danger to the republic, more so than did the poll tax itself, opines Mr. Childs, for its tendency to deceive the public into believing routinely that something actually might occur from the rigged battle.

This piece by Mr. Childs and the Grin and Bear It, no doubt, should have given more fodder to Senator McKellar for another harangue at the press, enabling him to call Drew Pearson a lying liar of lying skunkish heritage for appearing on the same page with such scurrilous content.

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