Saturday, May 27, 1944

The Charlotte News

Saturday, May 27, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that soldiers of the Fifth Army had taken Sezze, with a population of 20,000, the largest town captured during the current offensive, thirteen miles northwest of Terracina, already seized earlier in the week. The capture of Sezze had brought American forces in confrontation with two German divisions north and east of the Pontine Marshes, protecting the flank of the Nazi retreat north through the Liri Valley.

The drive beyond the old Anzio beachhead had now progressed to within 2.5 miles of the Via Casilina below Valmontone, the town affording the primary escape route for about eight of the seventeen divisions of the German Tenth Army below Rome. Other escape routes were problematic as they were narrow and easily blocked by the Allies.

The British engaged a column of German tanks in the Liri Valley west of the Melia River and were victorious, knocking out twelve of the tanks.

Vichy radio claimed that Rome had been evacuated by the Germans and that no defense would be made of the city. The Allies viewed the report skeptically, assessing it to be the product of attempts to inveigle belief in Germans that there was no defeat or shame when the city finally fell to the Allies, and to place responsibility on the Allies for damage done to Rome.

Another report from Vichy stated that fortifications around Paris had been modernized and strengthened.

As many as 5,000 Allied planes, 2,000 of them American, struck from England against targets in France and Germany, following a day's rest for bad weather. A thousand heavy bombers struck across the channel against rail centers at Karlsruhe, Mannheim, Ludwigshafen, and Sarrbrucken, as well as at aircraft facilities at Metz and Strasbourg. The night before, the RAF struck Ludwigshafen and Aachen.

Bombers out of Italy struck at Marseille and Nimes, as well as other targets in the area. Other forces from Italy struck targets in Yugoslavia.

From the Salween front in Yunnan Province in China, it was indicated that, as rain became ice and sleet, Japanese troops were fleeing in fleet a trap at Tatangtzu, 29 miles northeast of Tengchung, north of the Burma Road.

Robert Johnson, whose 27 bags in the air over Europe matched the record of Captain Richard Bong in the Pacific, making him the top flying ace in Europe, was promoted from captain to major.

The body of the dead grandmother of young Mr. Martin of Charlotte was finally discovered, weighted down by cinderblocks, in Eastwood Lake in Chapel Hill, 400 yards from the mooring from which had been cut the maggot-infested rowboat discovered on Monday. The woman's face had been so badly mutilated as to be unrecognizable. She had fourteen stab wounds in her back. Young Mr. Martin, 24, linked to the crime by maggots and bits of flesh found in his car, bloodstains in his apartment, an eyewitness who stated that he had taken a rowboat onto Eastwood Lake, the rowboat being found containing bits of flesh and maggots, and Mr. Martin's own admission to police that he had gone swimming in the lake, was charged with murder in the case.

No word was provided as to the contents of the foul-smelling box taken from the lake on Monday. We shall, with ghoulish diamonds on our soles, have to await the trial for unraveling the remaining mystery of the box contained.

Hal Boyle tells of the "slanguage" of American troops in German prisoner-of-war camps, as conveyed to Associated Press reporter Wes Gallagher by Lt. Joe Klaas, an American Spitfire pilot shot down in Tunisia the year before. Lt. Klaas, a former Seattle journalist, described life in the camp as the "Battle of Barbed Wire Bend". Hundreds of "Uncle Sam's Fallen Angels", for instance, had been participating in a snowball fight on the parade ground until commanded to fall in, whereupon they were counted off by two of their captains, five by five.

He then lists the vocabulary supplied by Lt. Klaas. Since the words are a bit fuzzy on the page, we supply them to you as a service: "Chenit"--a walk, "purers"--new arrivals, "hash"--banquets, "gash"--extra issue of anything, "cooler"--punishment, and "round-the-bend"--stir crazy.

He turns to a description of the English countryside as spring weather had slowly crept its way into blinking winter. Couples strode or rode bicycles along the ways strewn with rhododendron. Rural England held few reminders that a war was ongoing, save an occasional military plane flying overhead.

Southerners found the weather unaccommodating, wondered when summer would finally come, were informed that they had already experienced it that one morning during which they were only sleeping an hour late.

Imparts Mr. Boyle, a Nazi pilot shot down and dying was asked by an attending American officer whether he would like a minister or priest. He responded that Hitler was his priest. Said the officer, "If you'll just hold on, we'll get him for you."

On the editorial page, "Our Allies" addresses some of the same ground covered by Samuel Grafton this date, the fighting spirit of some of the new Allied troops, especially the Italians. It recognizes that many of the Italian soldiers caused uneasiness among the other Allied troops.

Moreover, other strange bedfellows dogged the alliance: Russia remained friendly with Japan; the U.S. remained friendly with Finland; Russia, until the past week, had maintained good relations with Bulgaria; France was split between Vichy on the Continent and the forces of De Gaulle in Algeria and England.

"Nazi Plan" finds it not alarming that the handbook of the German High Command, a copy of which had recently been seized by the Allies, was urging procreation by Germans. The compounding of the German birthrate would not enable Germany to make war on the Allies in 1963, says the piece, but the Allied policy toward Germany and its reconstruction after the war would so impact the military capability of the historically bellicose land.

It adopts the position of Samuel Grafton taken recently that Germans must ultimately rebuild their own country from within. The Allies must act only as good stewards and policemen to insure that Germany would not again move toward aggression. Thus, the only thing communicated by the manual re birthrate was that the Prussians and Nazis had reached the realization that their defeat was inevitable in this war and that they were thus preparing themselves for another time down the road.

"Revolt" accurately predicts that the movement in South Carolina and Texas to withhold electoral votes from FDR in the fall might prove premonitory of a Dixie revolt in the Democratic fold in 1948.

Strom Thurmond indeed would lead the Dixiecrats in that year in the walkout of the Democratic convention for its adopting the first party platform plank dedicated to assurance of civil rights, viz.:

The Democratic Party is responsible for the great civil rights gains made in recent years in eliminating unfair and illegal discrimination based on race, creed or color.

The Democratic Party commits itself to continuing its efforts to eradicate all racial, religious and economic discrimination.

We again state our belief that racial and religious minorities must have the right to live, the right to work, the right to vote, the full and equal protection of the laws, on a basis of equality with all citizens as guaranteed by the Constitution.

We highly commend President Harry S. Truman for his courageous stand on the issue of civil rights.

We call upon the Congress to support our President in guaranteeing these basic and fundamental American Principles:

(1) the right of full and equal political participation;
(2) the right to equal opportunity of employment;
(3) the right of security of person;
(4) and the right of equal treatment in the service and defense of our nation.

To this plank, introduced by Mayor Hubert Humphrey of Minneapolis, running for the Senate, the Southern coalition of delegates had sought to put forward a states' rights plank. When it failed, exit Governor Thurmond and his fellow ragtag band of racists, fearful finally only of their own reflections in the mirror.

In any event, the editorial bears reading as it was completely accurate as to future events, being no stranger to Southern politics, being no stranger to the peculiar notions of Southern racism, built largely on pocketbook issues, fueled by stirred passions of prejudice born of superstition, cured, cultivated, and instilled by Machiavellian machinations insuring to the classes of whites rigid maintenance of the stratified order so that the lowest among them could always feel assured of having social superiority to someone, even if that person was so dehumanized as to become bestial, leading then to the anomaly that the lowest among them wound up little better than the beasts they whipped and hung, dissatisfied, then went hunting for white meat of higher order--to make themselves feel at last superior--finally, even to the President of the United States.

"State Duty" praises Governor Broughton for his perspicacity in assuring delivery of good health care to the state, citing the new facility in Wayne County as an example. The provision of quality health care at the state level, says the editorial, would act as fortress against the bogey of imposed Federal socialized medicine.

Of course, all of that sure was a good idea, until greed got in the way.

Drew Pearson provides a synopsis of the program under which all mail from the United States to foreign countries was opened, reviewed, and forwarded to various agencies for consideration and potential censorship. It was under this program that came to light the mail of Vivien Kellems, recently indicted for espionage for sending mail to a Nazi agent in Argentina. The censorship agencies themselves, all 21, were evenly divided on whether they wished to be rid of the program.

A prime problem was the British censorship office, in place since the 1930's, wanting to obtain economic information from mail to aid British companies in establishing and maintaining business cartels.

He next informs of Public Reports, an organization in New York which collected quotes of various Congressmen from the Congressional Record. He cites as example a series of thusly culled quotes of Representative Hamilton Fish of New York, in which he changed his position from being against Lend-Lease in 1941 to being in favor of it in February, 1943, only to sound once again his opposition a mere two weeks later in March.

Dorothy Thompson considers an article written by Forrest Davis, published in The Saturday Evening Post, anent the Tehran Conference. Mr. Davis was privileged among reporters to be provided some insight, a practice utilized to control press access and of questionable merit, suggests Ms. Thompson, but nevertheless not unduly detracting from the revelations he provided.

Among them were that President Roosevelt had played power politics in agreeing to tentative post-war spheres of influence by each of the Soviet Union, Great Britain, and the United States.

The President wanted to establish the Kiel Canal zone connecting the Baltic and North Seas as a Free Zone, governed by the United Nations, with all three powers having equal access.

The U.S. wanted to receive as mandates Dakar, other French possessions on the West Coast of Africa, and islands in the Pacific. Britain was desirous of solidifying its interest in the Near East and receiving mandates in the Italian possessions in North Africa. Russia desired a sphere of influence in Eastern Europe.

The President, however, insisted, in keeping with the Atlantic Charter, that mandates be considered trusteeships, not conveying possessory rights to the trustee nation. The U.N. flag would fly alongside the country with primary responsibilities over the mandate.

The future of Central Europe was not discussed. It was assumed that those countries would not exert power in the determination of the post-war environment but would gain influence only by attaching themselves as satellites to one of the Big Three nations.

Ms. Thompson concludes ominously that the creation of spheres of influence must take into account how those spheres would impact future international relations.

Marcus Childs informs of a bet placed by Ohio Senator Robert Taft, giving four to one odds, that Governor Dewey would not be nominated by the Republicans. His reasoning was that, as with Wendell Willkie, a large and powerful bloc of conservatives were disturbed that he was too liberal, would only be a better manager of the New Deal than FDR. The problem was that there was no ready alternative who had proved capable as a vote-getter.

Some were looking to Governor John Bricker of Ohio as an alternative. But Governor Bricker had run third in the recent Oregon primary with only a thousand votes, while Harold Stassen ran second with 2,500, as Governor Dewey received 25,000 write-in votes.

The piece probably explains why Governor Dewey's preference for a running mate, Governor Warren of California, was not the choice on the ticket this time, but rather Governor Bricker. Governor Warren had also stated that he was not interested in running on the ticket.

Mr. Childs concludes by indicating that neither party had a uniform base, that each was a big circus tent into which many varied interests had through time fit themselves.

The best news, he opines, for the Republicans was the defeat in Oregon of Senator Rufus Holman by Wayne Morse, professor at the University of Oregon law school and former member of the War Labor Board. Wayne Morse won that election in November, changed parties in 1952 after being kicked in the head by a horse in 1951, was an independent until 1955, and thereafter remained a Democrat through his defeat in 1968 by Republican Robert Packwood who ran a campaign critical of Senator Morse's opposition to the Vietnam War.

The horse was, of course, Mr. Ed.

Samuel Grafton remarks again on the problem of dealing with the French underground in a constructive manner when liberation was accomplished. The underground, with its organized press and police force, the only such institutions in France to be trusted as thoroughly anti-Fascist, would have to be turned to constructive employment when the Allies liberated the country. To be avoided was the result in Italy, where an initial wave of underground passion had welled, only to winnow under the weight of Allied policies, those which had set up the Badoglio Government and the King as the ostensibly legitimate governing body, despite widespread popular opposition; underground activity thrived in Northern Italy against the Nazis, but had waned in the South where the Allies held the ground.

Mr. Grafton, in relying on a New York Times writer for this observation, did not take into account the fact that the Allied control in the South obviated much of the need for underground paramilitary activity, at least to the extent it existed in the Nazi-occupied North. More specifically, the observation likely pertained to the diminution of political fervor of the underground in the South by the lack of a role afforded by the military occupation government, even if in March, assurances had been given by Secretary of State Hull that the Six-Party Coalition would be provided a role in governing Italy, at least once Rome had been taken by the Allies.

Mr. Grafton concludes that the overweening desire by the Allies for maintenance of order had effectively stunted the growth of underground movement, that which could prove an invaluable friend on their native soil.

The Reverend Herbert Spaugh tells of a Reader's Digest article of September, 1940 which suggested that if a person has stomach ulcers, they were likely the result of extreme emotions of fear or anger. He concludes with the words of Isaiah 26:3: "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee because he trusteth in thee."

They were words by which our papa lived, and often echoed; and he lived to be 92, so they are probably well worth remembering, unless of course you have destroyed someone else's life or contributed substantially thereto, in which case, you will receive no solace from the recitation of any words. In that event, it is best to begin to make amends for the damage done.

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