Monday, May 29, 1944

The Charlotte News

Monday, May 29, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that American tanks had reached the slopes of the Alban Hills in Italy, sixteen miles below Rome. The Fifth Army was moving toward Campoleone and Lanuvio, having taken Aprilia. Troops also advanced to within a mile and a quarter of Valmontone, after the Nazis had been driven from Sermoneta and Bassanio, below Norma, the latter having fallen Sunday to the Fifth Army. Whether that operation involved Baker company was not indicated. Whatever the case, Portia was not yet in Allied hands, would not be until Stuttgart would be captured.

Daniel De Luce reports in compelling detail of the taking of Aprilia at 3:00 p.m. Sunday, with the red stone Christ looking down from its ruined church "on fresh blood spilled at this milestone on the Allied road to Rome." Aprilia had changed hands five times since the landings at Anzio and Nettuno on January 22 and had cost thousands of lives on both sides. But this time, the occupation took place without the necessity of hand-to-hand combat.

The French had seized Villa Santo Stefano and Monte Siserno, moving northward through the hills toward the Liri Valley.

The Eighth Army had on Sunday captured Ceprano on Highway 6 and bridged the Liri River, moving west and north, as other troops attacked in the area of Arce, at the junction of Highways 6 and 82.

Three of the eighteen German divisions along the front were said to have been completely wiped out, with a total of 15,000 prisoners having been taken since the offensive began May 11.

A day of large air raids, comprised perhaps of 8,000 planes, principally American, equaling the record number which had flown Sunday, struck in France, Belgium, Germany, Poland, and Austria. A raid of a thousand American bombers and twelve hundred fighter escorts attacked Leipzig, Tutow, Cottbus, and Sorau in Germany, and at Poznan and Kreisling in Poland, as other forces out of Italy, numbering 500 to 750 bombers, attacked Vienna and Weiner Neustadt.

Good weather, with temperatures reaching 100 degrees off Dover Strait in England, German speculation out of Brussels radio was that the Allies had already once postponed D-Day to await fresh American troops to counter the greater defenses in France than the Allies had originally contemplated.

A Swiss newspaper indicated that there was general concern among the Nazis in France of a possible rail strike at the time of the Allied invasion. They had moved personnel into France to run the railroads in such an event.

In Hunan Province in China, the Japanese were reported attacking southward along the Hankow-Changsha railway, 425 miles inland from the Chinese coast, moving to within 80 miles of Changsha. The main thrust of the drive was toward Yoyang, (not to be confused with Loyang in Honan Province), a hundred miles north of Changsha, in the Tungting Lake area. The effort was to clear the railroad of Chinese defenders and prevent future Allied landings along the Chinese coast.

In the last phase of operations in and around New Guinea, the Sixth Army, under the command of Lt.-General Walter Krueger, had advanced on Biak Island, 200 miles north of New Guinea in the Schouten group, having landed there Saturday. They captured the town of Bosnek; the objective was Mokmer airfield and two others, capture of which would place the Allies only 880 miles from the southern Philippines and 600 miles south of Palau.

Battle continued on the mainland of New Guinea for Maffin airfield.

In Northern Burma, the Chinese and American troops moved further into Myitkyina, while, 35 miles to the west, Chindit forces of British and Indian troops withdrew from their positions established in March on the Japanese communications lines from the south to Mogaung, the other primary enemy base in Northern Burma, along the Mandalay to Myitkyina railway. The Chindit retreat followed five days of heavy engagement with a reinforced Japanese contingent.

Strikes in Detroit's Chrysler plant and at Saginaw, Michigan, GM plants, involving 7,300 workers protesting a ban on smoking, had subsided with workers returning to the job. But, other strikes had begun, of bakery truck drivers in Detroit and pharmaceutical workers at the Parke, Davis, & Co., involving 4,300 people.

The House Rules Committee approved a bill to extend until June 7, 1945 the time for bringing court martial proceedings against Admiral Husband Kimmel and General Walter Short for their actions at Pearl Harbor. The Senate Judiciary Committee had before it a resolution to set September 8 as the deadline for taking the actions. Admiral Kimmel had asked for an open trial soon.

In the North Carolina Democratic primary--for all intents and purposes, the general election--former Governor Clyde R. Hoey of Shelby was overwhelmingly victorious in the Senate race over former Governor Cameron Morrison. Gregg Cherry substantially defeated Dr. Ralph McDonald in the gubernatorial race.

Mr. Cherry's campaign manager, incidentally, William B. Umstead, would also subsequently become Governor in 1953, dying after less than two years in office; he would also succeed Senator Josiah W. Bailey upon his death in office in 1946 and serve out his Senate term for two years, being defeated by present Governor Melville Broughton, who then died two months after taking office, succeeded by University of North Carolina president, Frank Porter Graham, defeated in 1950 by Raleigh attorney Willis Smith, whose campaign manager was Jesse Helms. Senator Smith then also died in office.

In the Congressional seat vacated by Cameron Morrison, covering Mecklenburg County, Joe W. Ervin won. Mr. Ervin, a lawyer, was the younger brother of Sam J. Ervin. When Joe Ervin committed suicide on Christmas Day, 1945, Sam Ervin won a special election to succeed him in 1946 and served out the remainder of the term for one year, not seeking re-election. Sam Ervin would be appointed from his subsequent position on the North Carolina Supreme Court to fill the shoes of Senator Hoey upon his death in 1954, and, as they say…

Hal Boyle reports of night life in London, as soldiers would take in an early play, which began at 6:00 or 6:30, or a film, which began at 7:00 or 7:30, then late dinner, then a moonlit stroll to take the date home, after which would transpire a perilous return to base via blacked out streets. In that, says Mr. Boyle, one was likely to bump into what appeared as a lamppost, only to be remonstrated by a lady likewise out for a stroll in the moonlight: "'Ere, don't get so fresh, young man. Mind your step."

Pubs closed at 10 or 11, but small neighborhood drinking clubs remained open for trade until later hours, charging fees of 50 cents to $2 for admission. The clubs usually had a piano player and a singer. Drinks were costly, a double Scotch running 80 cents.

After the clubs closed, only the nightclubs, patterned after Manhattan's smoke-filled lounges, remained. Their prices ranged even higher than the private clubs, and the liquor was watered down to boot. Some charged membership fees as high as $4.20, added to which was the per person per entry fee of $2. Officers often wound up spending $25 to $75 in a given night at these nightclubs. Champagne cost $30 per bottle.

Said one officer, "It's a better idea to stay at home and read a good long book."

He next relates of a couple of British jokes floating about, which you may read on the editorial page, and concludes with the newest award given any soldier who had completed 200 hours of service in the Chairborne Troops: the Order of the Purple Bottom.

If you have been reading this stuff daily along with us for awhile, you are due one of those. We hereby award it. But, so as not to confuse the newer ones with the World War II honorees, we shall dub it, instead, the O.P.D.

On the editorial page, "Decisive Victories" reviews the Democratic primary results, gives praise for the choices of Gregg Cherry and Clyde R. Hoey, expresses the belief that both would serve well in the post-war times to come.

"Objection" finds it selfish for a committee of the Board of Trustees of the University of North Carolina to request that the University president, Dr. Frank Porter Graham, resign his post with the War Labor Board in Washington and devote fulltime to his University duties. The editorial expresses the belief that, while the University was of utmost importance to the State, Dr. Graham had a much higher calling at present in Washington as the work of the War Labor Board to avert strikes was crucial to maintenance of steady war production. It hoped therefore that the committee would first properly consult the President before taking any action to demand that Dr. Graham return fulltime to the University.

"Basic Law" reports on the resolution put forth by the Federal Bar Associations of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, seeking that public schools institute a course, beginning in the fourth grade, devoted to teaching the history and meaning of the Bill of Rights and the Constitution generally.

The resolution arose in the wake of a Pulitzer Prize winning study by the New York Times revealing an appalling paucity of knowledge of basic United States history, a recent National Opinion Research Center poll out of the University of Chicago which showed, as explained April 20, that three-fifths of the population had either never heard of the Bill of Rights or did not know its meaning or where to find it.

The editorial agrees wholeheartedly with the resolution.

We think it apropos to our present times and that school boards ought be insisting that such a course be taught. It is certainly a far more important course in instructing good citizenship and behavior consistent with Christian principles than any course which would seek to teach the Bible in public schools, a wholly unsuited forum for such teaching.

We regularly observe today citizens, young and old, who obviously haven't the slightest idea what freedom of speech means, what the rest of the First Amendment means, what the Fourth Amendment means, how all the amendments interrelate, and, least of all, that we have all liberties, not just those specifically enumerated in the Constitution, merely the focus at the time of the Founders because of the abuses of them by the Crown.

Indeed, we see young lawyers aplenty in the same boat, somewhere stuck way up river, thinking that representing a corporation or large business in doing whatever might through money, obtained by acts foul or fair, from sources foreign or domestic, usually foreign, be capable of realization, including the rendering of good people homeless for the sake of mere greed, is consistent entirely with sound ethics. It isn't. These are lawyers who obviously took the mandatory single course in constitutional law, slept through it, and promptly forgot all of its teachings after the bar exam.

--Hey, whar do it say that you got any right to have any property just cause you pay your bills? We say wharther you got that right. Our Arab oil money talks louder than you can. Try to prove in court that we're crooks. We own the courts. Didn't anybody tell you that?

Their single raison d'etre is to pad their bank account.

If they were held to account under the law, strictly under the law as they require so strictly their customers to account under their adhesion contracts, by a public reasonably knowledgeable of the precepts in the Constitution and in their state statutes, things would improve quickly. But the average person rarely deals with corporate lawyers. And, they are well insulated by their large law firms from oversight by state bars which make a practice of picking on small firms and sole practitioners, and not for the types of things which the public generally is led to believe is wrong with the legal profession, and brandish that before the public as policing of ethics, while the true shysters of the profession get away with virtual murder and in fact give it a bad name with the public. The truth is that you will likely never meet your local shyster for his being in the marble sanctums of a skyscraper representing only the corporate interests and those of the wealthy.

--Ho, ho, ho, let us find out who this is saying that and make sure that they get theirs, yeah. You cannot say that. Not here, not in this country, where we believe in freedom as long as we determine what "freedom" means. We'll find you and make sure you have no rights whatsoever. You just wait. You'll regret those words. Ho, hoo, hoo. Contract? What contract? Are you threatening me?

Our country is obviously quite ill. Start with the idea of re-education anent the Constitution, giving far less attention to the wholly fascist notions of limiting what people say in private, or to the demand for apologies for mere exercise of freedom of speech, or the banning of modes of free speech, as if the networks, not the Constitution, were the arbiters of free speech, and the country will begin to heal and get well of its fascist tendencies, increasing arithmetically, the further the dumbing down of our schools turn out virtual idiots who cannot even read or write the English language. If a person cannot read or write the English language, they cannot possibly understand our Constitution and how it works. They will not, generally, prove very good citizens, and they become a burden to the rest of us for constantly having to explain their complete lack of understanding of basic concepts.

The Bill of Rights, incidentally, may be found here, along with the rest of the Constitution. It belongs to you, as an American citizen, and was paid for in blood. The least we can do is read it and understand it, bearing in mind that the first and foremost rule to be borne in mind is integration from start to finish of the entire document, not one word or sentence at a time, though building blocks they be, but rather, as an end within which to begin, the whole of it, all at once. Then, then, then, shalt thou understand and thine eyes oped to the land of the free.

"Dr. Spaugh" gives praise to the award by Davidson College of a Doctor of Divinity degree to the Reverend Herbert Spaugh, a Charlotte resident for 20 years, active in the community, member of the school board, chaplain to the American Legion, World War veteran, Moravian minister, and, of course, columnist whose advice appeared daily in The News, as well as in the Winston-Salem Journal or Sentinel.

Samuel Grafton compares the Allied approach to General De Gaulle as the Allies prepared to enter France with that of the Russians as they prepared to take the further offensive in Poland, finds the attitude toward France lacking in a cohesive focal point as the Russians sought audience with the National Council of Poland, representing several Polish poles of opinion. That General Eisenhower had been given authority to determine who would lead the French had caused disunity within France, spawned various groups vying for the approbation of General Eisenhower.

Marquis Childs also observes the situation with respect to France, questions President Roosevelt's decision to wait until the invasion takes place to determine who among the anti-Fascists of France would demonstrate legitimate support by the people, De Gaulle or someone else.

Some had opined that the reason for this deference was the President's adverse reaction to General De Gaulle when the two had met at Casablanca in January, 1943, the President having reportedly found the General insufferably pompous and punctilious.

Mr. Childs, however, debates this perception as unduly presumptive of a petty motive, suggests that it was a sincere determination by the President to see that the French were led by the will of the vox populi. Nevertheless, concludes Mr. Childs, it was difficult to discern who, other than General De Gaulle and Vichy, were vying for leadership with any support at all from the people.

Drew Pearson reports of the Capitol Police in Washington turning away the Yugoslav and Greek Ambassadors to the United States as they sought entry to the Rotunda to witness the centennial of the first telegraphed message by Samuel F. B. Morse, originating from the same historic locus. The ceremony saw the president of the Southern Railroad tap out the message, "What hath God wrought?"

He next discusses the alleged State Department preference provided large rum importer Schenley over smaller rum importers, despite the fact that Schenley had been indicted for black-marketing. The underlying issue which restricted import of rum until quotas were established, had centered on the fact that molasses and alcohol from the Caribbean were not being imported at the rates necessary for military usage, while rum was arriving on the shores without difficulty.

Finally, he discloses a trick being employed by Army and Navy officers to obtain full retirement pay, based on disability at retirement, rather than the ordinary two-thirds retirement pay. The officers would simply enter the hospital a month before retirement and proclaim disability. The practice had started with a change in legislation designed to benefit lieutenants and lesser ranking officers who were likely to be wounded in battle, affording them full retirement pay.

A woman letter writer takes sensible issue with the hired cars sent out by the campaigns to transport voters to their local precincts in the Saturday primary, finding the practice wasteful of precious rationed gas.

The Reverend Herbert Spaugh reports that, in response to numerous requests, the church bells of Charlotte would be rung in a call for prayer everyday at noon, in anticipation of D-Day.

As of this Memorial Day, 1944, they had to wait but another week until the long-anticipated moment would finally arrive, invasion of France, and the inception of the last phase of the war in Europe.

It is noteworthy that the pages contained not one mention of Memorial Day; perhaps there was some note of it on an inside page. Nor were there any elaborate speeches and proclamations of patriotism. By this time, two and a half years into a cruel war which had pervaded Europe for nearly five years, no one any longer needed reminders of what patriotism and sacrifice meant.

Perhaps the most succinct and apropos address of the day was that of the president of the Southern Railway, inquiring from the Rotunda of the Nation's Capitol, "What hath God wrought."

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