Monday, May 22, 1944

The Charlotte News

Monday, May 22, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that, while 250 American heavy bombers struck at the German submarine base at Kiel, another American group of 250 medium bombers again hit Pas-de-Calais.

The night before, 750 RAF bombers had dropped 2,800 tons of bombs on Duisburg and Hannover in Germany, as well as hitting airfields in Belgium. Duisburg was the major inland port of Germany and had not been struck with a major blow in a year. The force lost thirty planes.

In Italy, American troops of the Fifth Army had entered Terracina, 24 miles across the Pontine Marshes from the Anzio beachhead, after advancing nine miles to that newly formed western tip of the Adolf Hitler Line. The forces then withdrew and continued their advance toward joinder with the forces on the Anzio beachhead, clearing territory of Nazis as they went. Three hills northeast of Terracina, Monte Marino, Monte Autone, and Monte Capiccio, were captured by the Allies.


Inland of those positions, French troops closed on Pico.

On the northern flank of the Hitler Line, Polish troops entered Piedimonte at the northern edge of the Liri Valley. The Eighth Army meanwhile held under siege Pontecorvo, on the lower side of the valley. Canadians had breached the Hitler Line northeast of Pontecorvo, while French troops took, lost, and recaptured Monte Leucio, west of Pico.

On the Anzio beachhead, a Fifth Army force struck on the right flank, five miles into territory southwest of Cisterna, meeting a fierce German counter-attack.

Allied losses were reported as high but not extremely so, given the results achieved against the German lines.

The Nazis rushed troops into sagging coastline defenses. (That, we understand, was referred to as the Jane Russell Line.) A hundred Nazis were captured as prisoners by the Fifth Army forces.

The Nazis were now so decimated that they had no reserves south of Rome.

A communique from the Italian Patriots, the first, indicated that six divisions of the 28 German divisions in Italy had been moved to the north to fight against the Patriots, and Yugoslav Partisans along the border in the Trieste area.

The Patriots claimed responsibility, probably originating from at least two gentlemen, for having in two places cut the railroad near Verona, resulting in two derailments of trains carrying supplies to the Nazis, as well as for other action at Lecco, Vicenza, Piedmont, and at a location 22 miles northwest of Florence.

A military council had been formed in Naples under the command of General Sir Harold Alexander, Allied Commander in Italy, to guide the Patriots in their underground operations in the North.

The forces of General Joseph Stilwell, who had just surrounded and captured the central area of Myitkyina in Northern Burma, were now reported to have gained control of the junction of the roads west and north to Mogaung, the other vital Japanese base in the region, cutting the enemy supply lanes to the forces still in Myitkyina and at Fort Hertz to the north. The Chinese and American forces had yet only gained control of a third of Myitkyina, albeit its primary sector, and fighting still continued in the streets as Japanese attempted to flee across the Irrawaddy River, their only remaining means of escape.

The monsoon season, normally beginning in mid-May, still had not hit, affording the Allies, fortuitously, additional time to strengthen their positions and secure the vital junction of the Ledo Road and the northern section of the Burma Road to supply China once again by land for the first time in two years. The monsoon season would turn the land to seas of impassable mud with downpours in the Kohima-Imphal areas along the India-Burma border reaching 400 inches during the months of May through August, while the upper Irrawaddy Valley in North Burma received only 100 inches, still substantial. The Arakan front to the south in Burma got 250 inches of rain per season.

From Yunnan Province in China, it was reported that the Chinese forces fighting west of the Salween River, had completed the first phase of their planned operations, without detailing precisely what that entailed. They had reportedly repulsed a Japanese counter-attack Friday at Mamien Pass, north of the Burma Road.

No change was reported to the siege at Loyang, where Chinese defenders of the city in Honan Province were last reported surrounded by the Japanese insurgents.

American medium bombers under General Stilwell's command struck Pratas Island in the South China Sea, 190 miles west of Hong Kong and 275 miles west of the Philippines.

Tokyo radio announced that, in Indo-China, the Japanese were undertaking decentralization of their forces of occupation, placing barracks and hospitals within the rubber plantation facilities of the mountains to protect themselves better from Allied bombing raids to come.

During the previous month, enemy casualties on the northern coast of New Guinea, in the areas of Hollandia and Aitape, as well as on newly acquired Wakde Island, had totaled 3,829, of whom 3,343 had been killed. Of those, a fifth, or 676, had been killed on Wakde. At Hollandia and Aitape, 436 Japanese had been dispatched during the previous week. By contrast, American casualties at Hollandia and Aitape amounted to 28 killed and 95 wounded; at Wakde, 16 killed and 83 wounded.

President Roosevelt, in New York, spoke on Sunday before a group assembled for the 49th annual Jewish War Veterans of America, stressing the resolve to eliminate from the United States all hatreds and bigotry. Representative Harold Cooley of North Carolina also spoke, advocating the need to follow the leadership of President Roosevelt as the only commander-in-chief, on whose shoulders rested the fate of representative government.

Hal Boyle told of reaching land in Scotland after his voyage from the United States, seeing topography "as fresh as a page out of Bobby Burns." All the sailors, most of whom had never seen Scotland, were impressed by the rolling green hills. But one lad from Big Stone Gap, Va., thought it was much ado of little by comparison to the Blue Ridge of home, where, he said, on them, the sun only shone for two hours per day.

That isn't anything, sailor. Come west and you will see mountains which tower right up to the edge of the atmosphere, the very carapace of the earth's canopy, where there appears no sun, no moon, no stars, blotted out all by the big stone towers tall.

A passenger aboard was dumbstruck to find that he had to pay $15 in duty costs to bring Scotch into Scotland--that is, unless he wanted to drink it all right there on the dock, said the customs agent, and then stagger into Scotland, land ho, to find Tam with Cutty-sarks rinnin in his mind.

As they approached Edinburgh, a Scottish school teacher loaned four passengers, including Mr. Boyle, each a penny to toss into the Firth of Forth, (not "Fifth of Forth" as it is printed by some devil perhaps nipping a bit at the Scotch), and, promptly, said one of their number, four Scotchmen jumped in after the pennies. The beneficent Scots woman thought that funny. Ha-ha-he-he.

A cab driver took the entourage on a tour past Edinburgh Castle, Holyrood Palace, including a bathhouse used by Mary Queen of Scots, cold as her toes might have been during the winter when making the trot, the memorials to Sir Walter Scott, Robert Burns, and the home of John Knox; Robert L. Stevenson's home was omitted for it being on the other side of toon.

He caught a train from Edinburgh to London, passing the Scottish countryside still dotted with wooden poles to prevent Nazi fliers, such as Rudolf Hess three years earlier, from taking similar notions to land. No food, no drink aboard, no sleeper, they rood all night and arrived in Lunnen in the moorning.

John Daly reports the grisly story of a man connected to a prominent Charlotte family who may have been contaminated by some white trash elements within the genetic train. Edward Martin, 24, had stored an automobile discovered by Durham officers to be infested with maggots, after the garage owner reported a foul odor emanating from within.

The officers then, on a tip, discovered a rowboat utilized by Mr. Martin at Eastwood Lake in Chapel Hill, from which came the same odor, thought possibly to be that of decomposing human flesh, thought possibly to be that of his missing grandmother from Boonville, Mo.

Both boat and car had bits of flesh and the same sort of maggots dragging about their interior spaces. The car held bloodstains as well. Right.

Mr. Martin had been deemed "physically unfit" for the Army. Whether that, in his case, was the new euphemism to mask the discarded use of "psychoneurotic" was not, for reasons of discretion, no doubt, told. No charges had yet been filed as the investigating officers were still weaving, that is sifting, the evidence.

Mr. Martin had told officers that he went swimming in Eastwood Lake and so the officers began dragging the lake in search of "'the body'". They found a foul-smelling box which they brought to the surface. The opening of the box was delayed while additional officers and a medical examiner were called to witness it.

We must await the opening of the box to determine its contents. It may, after all, have simply contained another foul-smelling car, a small one.

The officers also searched the hotel room of Mr. Martin and found bloodstains there as well.

Consistent, no doubt, with a small shaving accident that morning.

Well, as they say these days on the tv, everyone is entitled to a presumption of innocence and thus, until both "'the body'" has appeared as the corpus of the case, a confession is duly and properly extracted in accordance with the Fifth Amendment, after all evidence has been duly acquired by strict adherence to the Fourth Amendment, or, by the same meticulous methods of accumulation of copious evidence, a compelling case beyond a reasonable doubt and to a moral certainty has been presented showing that Mr. Martin committed a crime, we must not jump to conclusions. It might well be that the elder Mrs. Martin would soon reappear healthy, or that she had simply unfortunately passed away of natural causes and, in accordance with a peculiar family tradition of burial, had to be privately laid to rest at the bottom of a lake.

In some sort of non-denial denial form, the State Department issued a list of eleven companies from Sweden not being investigated for possible blacklisting because of trade with Germany. SKF, the principal ball-bearings company of Sweden, the industry of most concern to the Allies for its dealings with Germany, was not on the list of companies not being investigated.

Invasion weather at Dover looked good. The supreme commander's voice gave instructions further, via proxy, to the underground forces in France to maintain their watch of German troop movements to the minutest detail. Additional instructions were soon to come from the supreme commander, His Master's Voice.

On the editorial page, "Our Hope" takes from a quote of Fred Vinson, Economic Stabilization Director and future Chief Justice, to be appointed by President Truman in mid-1946, advocating realization that plenty was relative, to argue that the better position on post-war international trade was openness and equality of opportunity rather than to impose restrictive tariffs to avoid competition from cheap labor abroad. For the American export market depended for sustenance on the ability of consumers in foreign countries to pay and, without allowing free trade of imports, the economies of recovering countries after the war would dramatically suffer, cutting off reciprocal trade in American exports.

The position was favored by the Director of the Office of Price Administration, Chester Bowles, by the former president of the National Association of Manufacturers, William Witherow, and by Assistant Secretary of State, Adolph Berle.

"New Threat" comments on the German propaganda released in the wake of the breach of the Adolph Hitler Line in Italy, after the fall of the Gustav Line the previous week, the German reports having stated that the Hitler Line was illusory.

Of course, everybody always knew that the Hitler Line was illusory, just as there ain't no Sanity Clause in any contract. But that’s another issue.

The piece takes from the protestation that the Germans were trying desperately to shore up fading morale at home while the truth of the extant situation was that Germany was now threatened from the South through Italy, as well as from the West through France and the East from Russia. For, if the Hitler Line soon crumbled, as it appeared with celerity to be doing, and the Fifth Army was able to break out of its position, into which it had been pinned since landing on the Anzio-Nettuno beachhead January 22, then Rome would soon fall as the Nazis would have to evacuate. Once Rome fell, then all of Northern Italy, the piece ventured, would be tipped behind it in domino fashion, as the Nazis would fear being cut off from supplies and thus would take whatever avenue of escape was left open, just as had been the case in Tunisia a year earlier.

"Optimist" finds irrepressible senatorial candidate Marvin Ritch going about the state furiously shaking hands and giving speeches from the hustings, touring fully 80 counties, four -fifths of the counties in the State, in a mere 80 days. Though not receiving much in the way of press coverage, compared to his opponents, Cameron Morrison and the eventual winner, Clyde Hoey, both former Governors, Mr. Ritch said that he didn't care, that he preferred to shake the hands directly of the people, and that he anticipated a major surprise come election day.

Samuel Grafton remarks that every time the press began to carp about the lack of a consistent foreign policy, the Administration would haul out one of its surrogates, Cordell Hull or Tom Connally or someone else, to explain that it really did have a policy.

Yet, despite Mr. Hull's statement in March, General Eisenhower appeared to be the coordinator now of foreign policy in Europe, from a military and not a political perspective, having been provided carte blanche authority to determine who would lead the provisional government of France after liberation and having signed for the United States agreements with the governments-in-exile of Belgium, Norway, and the Netherlands, alongside the signature of British Foreign Secretary Sir Anthony Eden. Such, contends Mr. Grafton, was not a foreign policy, simply a military ramrod.

Yet, the State Department liked to defend both positions, its own pronouncements of foreign policy as well as the military form of what it considered implementation by force of a foreign policy. The whole of it was simply ad hoc in its effect.

Marquis Childs writes of a conference of military leaders which had taken place to discuss why it was that 3,000 striking foremen in Detroit could significantly hamper war production, cut manufacture of the P-51 as well as curtail available parts for Flying Fortresses and the new Superfortress, the B-29, soon to enter combat.

He points out that men in service had written him complaining of the many perquisites enjoyed by civilians compared to their lives in the military, that when they came home on leave, they were provided pats on the back and free sandwiches and the like. But no one painted their houses or repaired their broken down automobiles. They felt that they were falling behind the civilian population in advancement financially.

And, indeed, as Mr. Childs further relates, there had been an increase from 8.5 million to 13.5 million members of unions during he period from 1940 through 1943, the percentage of workers being organized having jumped from 30 percent in 1942 to 45 percent at the beginning of 1944. After-tax profits of business had risen from 4.2 billion dollars in 1939 to 8.9 billion in 1943.

To equalize this discrepancy between what the civilian worker enjoyed and what the soldier resented for want of its enjoyment, there was a proposed plan to provide $3.50 per day for every day spent in service at home and $5 per day for each day abroad. Mr. Childs thought this a reasonable proposal.

A news piece on the page indicates that flying ace, Don Gentile, current holder of the largest number of kills in the history of American warfare, albeit including ground kills, totaling 30, returned to a homecoming in Piqua, Ohio, home from the war on 30-day furlough.

In an article in Bruesseler Zeitung, a Nazi military expert counted Denmark as the most logical point of landing for the Allied forces, providing a land bridge to Germany.

Drew Pearson discusses the clearance by the White House, superseding the State Department, in issuing promptly a passport to Father Orlemanski to visit Moscow at the invitation of Stalin in an effort to settle the post-war border issue with Poland.

He next tells of the calling home of U.S. Ambassador to the Court of St. James, John Winant, and suggests it might have ulterior implications beyond mere discussions of foreign policy. The President was rumored to be considering a Republican for the second spot on the ticket based on his reading of Lincoln's decision to do so in 1864 when he chose Andrew Johnson and dubbed their ticket to be representative of the Union Party. Mr. Winant appeared a likely candidate. Other Republicans mentioned as being considered were Undersecretary of State Edward Stettinius and War Production Board chair Charles Wilson.

Finally, Mr. Pearson relates of General Patton's latest faux pas, the speech a few weeks earlier in London, in which he had proclaimed that the United States and Great Britain were destined to rule the world after the war. The fault for the leak to the press of the improvident remark was laid to the failure of General Eisenhower's press aid, Col. Jock Lawrence, to interdict it. The only remedy was to add to it, once the cat was out of the portmanteau, by adding Russia to the list of destined nations in train.

Now, says Mr. Pearson, General Patton was under orders by his superiors to remain mum publicly at all times.

It would not be very many more days though until, thus stifled, he would uncork himself by delivering his memorable speech to the men of the Third Army who he would lead in combat across Europe in the coming ten months, to get the little paper-hanging son-of-a-bitch in Berlin. It was laced with quite a bit of less than ordinary language to motivate the men under his command.

We note that some sources have it down as having occurred on May 17 while the general consensus of opinion appears to be that it occurred June 5.

We note that Shackleford won the Preakness on Saturday, another accurate prediction which we made on which you could have made some money had you understood our predictive powers. Wherefore say you? you may ask.

Well, we are glad that you did.

We shall impart the way of it, smart aleck: Shackleton, South Pole; Franklin, Northwest Passage through Baffin Bay out of Greenland; Train going west, look out the window, dream, row, row, row; Ford, Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.; and, finally, our posting of the link to certain music on Saturday, just a few hours before post time. Voila!

You may say that this plain prediction was much too abstruse and inscrutably recondite, catlike, for anyone of any ordinary rational sense to have discerned. But, if you are betting on horses…

Which is why, after thorough cogitation on the matter in earlier years, we do not bet.

But, stay tuned, and if you are sufficiently astute, you could probably win a considerable bundle on the Belmont.

Incidentally, we should impart that there is an apparent hoax going about online, suggesting that William Blake wrote a poem called "The Liar" in 1810, from which supposedly derived the phrase, "liar, liar, pants on fire", by way of the opening lines of the poem which read, "Deceiver, dissembler/ Your trousers are alight/ From what pole or gallows/ Shall they dangle in the night?"

Having researched all of the collections of William Blake which are available online, we found not one listing this poem, either by title or opening line. Moreover, it contains the cant line, "From what pit of foul deceit/ Are all these whoppers sprung?" According to the O.E.D., whopper was not in use until 1870, even if whapper was used in 1791 by Nairne: Some do affirm--sure 'tis a Whapper! Thou'rt silver plated upon copper. The latter, in spoken language, likely gave rise to the mispelled "whopper", pronounced the same, apparently, as "whapper". But had "whopper" been used by such a well-known poet as Blake in 1810, certainly Oxford would so make note of the earlier reference than 1870. True, "whopper" might have started life as "whapper" and simply been conformed to modern spelling, but we doubt it; again, Oxford would likely have it, not being an ordinary word of the time. They had no Burger Kings then. But you have it your way.

Further, the poem has other cant phrases which suggest that it is not the work of Blake, but rather that of a rude imposter, impostumaceous in the bargain: "When I asked of your career/ Why did you kick me in the rear?" That, we posit, is not the work of William Blake, unless he decided to turn to Vaudeville comedy one day. It rhymes the same sounding syllables; no poet worth his or her salt would so lower themselves thusly into the dirt of hopeless drivel.

Finally, the lines, more akin to doggerel than poetry, appear as a parody of "The Tiger", following the same rhythm and meter: Tiger, tiger, burning bright/ In the forests of the night/ What immortal hand or eye/ Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

Thus, until we see it proved, we regard "The Liar" as a Lie, and the author as having his or her pants on fire, burning bright in the night. Strike it, as match to fiery Lake, from the supposed oeuvre of William Blake. Speak no more, prosthetic whore, thou who doth deceive the commonplace.

Incidentally, the reason we looked up the putative origin of the phrase, "liar, liar, pants on fire" was because of the litany of lie-language which Senator Kenneth McKellar had used, according to Drew Pearson the previous week, in reference to Mr. Pearson's column about Senator McKellar. That, and the question our papa asked round about 1998 when some idiots abroad the country were going about with their "Liar, Liar" signs, which some of them still disport, no matter how adolescent they appear to anyone with mind and maturity advanced beyond high school. We would like to ask any one of them how they think that they got here: perhaps by immaculate conception? Nobody's pants on fire; a miracle of science.

In any event, our response to our papa was to shrug and say that we supposed that it came from the song. But our papa then asked, "Yes, but what does it mean?" We had no response. And, candidly, we still do not. Pinnochio and some phallic imagery born thereof, we suppose, likely dreamed up by little schoolchildren bored with Pinnochio, wanting to get home to watch another episode of "Leave It to Beaver".

But, apparently, the song derived from Salvador Dali, not William Blake. Bet you don't know how we ferreted out that latter point. Took about two minutes, after seeing that fender yesterday being hit by the sledge-hammer.

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