Tuesday, May 9, 1944

The Charlotte News

Tuesday, May 9, 1944


Site Ed. Note: Another 2,000-plane American raid, reports the front page, struck rail and airdrome targets at Liege, Belgium, Thionville, France, near Metz, and in Luxembourg during the day. The RAF had struck rail targets in Belgium, France, and Germany the night before.

In the Crimea, the Red Army was closing in on the remaining trapped Germans in Sevastopol, pressing their backs to the Black Sea, as the final offensive for the city entered its third day, with its fall appearing imminent.

In Central Italy, the Allies had advanced nine miles after the Germans withdrew from Palena, 25 miles inland from the Adriatic front of the Eighth Army. In Cassino, the Germans increased their artillery shelling south of the railway station.

In the Pacific, Admiral Nimitz announced that Army and Navy bombers had, on Saturday during the day, carried out the second land-based raid of the war on Guam, 1,600 miles east of Manila. There were no losses in the raid. The first land-based raid had taken place on April 24. Carrier-based planes had attacked Guam on February 22. Both Truk and Ponape in the Carolines were also attacked on Saturday night. Paramushiro in the Kurile Islands, north of the Japanese main islands, also on Saturday was again bombed.

In the Honan Province of China, two attempts by the Japanese to encircle and capture the town of Loyang had been repulsed by the Chinese, pushing the Japanese back across the Yi River and preventing an attempted crossing of the Yellow River. The object of the drive to take Loyang was to make a stab into the heart of China.

The Japanese were reported on the defensive in the Manipur Hills area around Kohima, correcting a report from the previous day which had stated that the Japanese were on the offensive.

In Northern Burma, however, the Japanese were on the offensive against Fort Hertz Valley, northwest of Nsopzup, 35 miles northeast of the Japanese stronghold at Myitkyina.

Stanton Grifts, a businessman representing the U.S. Foreign Economic Administration, sought to negotiate with Swedish ball-bearings manufacturers to halt the export to Germany of the crucial component for the Wehrmacht war machine. The informal negotiations came after Sweden rejected meeting on the matter with diplomatic representatives of the Allies.

Los Angeles evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson was reported ill with tropical fever, with no prospect of immediate recovery. Her followers were said to be in prayer for her improved health.

She would nevertheless die in September in Oakland from an overdose of sleeping pills.

The B-26 Marauder "Mild and Bitter" became the first B-26 out of England to fly a hundred missions. The plane had carried 31 crews consisting of 166 men, none of whom had suffered any injury while aboard.

Sid Feder, in the "Reporter's Notebook" column, tells of Campo Morto, a small town on the edge of No Man's Land along the Anzio beachhead, an area where the artillery shells regularly rained down. A monastery, mostly demolished, which had stood for seven hundred years, served as shelter for half a dozen adults and eight children, who had come from the town of Anzio and from Aprillia to seek rudimentary habitation, the while dependent on the largesse of the American soldiers for food and other necessities.

Mr. Feder writes in some detail of the juxtaposition between the 13th century edifice and the 20th century tanks and artillery rolling by its ruin. The Italians inside nevertheless remained cheerful.

On the editorial page, "New Angle" comments on the two rosy reports which had suddenly surfaced, one from the reporter recently released from internment in Germany, who told of the weakness of Germany's much discussed Atlantic Wall and Fortress Europe, and the other from a journalist recently back from the Pacific who told of the likelihood that the Philippines would soon be the object of Allied conquest and that attacks on the Japanese home islands would follow shortly thereafter.

The editorial posits that, after two and a half years of steady insistence by the War and Navy Departments that a long, bloody fight lay ahead in both theaters of the war, there was little cause to doubt the premise at this juncture and so any celebration that the end was near appeared quite premature. The piece cautions readers therefore to let events determine optimism, rather than journalistic predictions, no matter how ostensibly well-informed. For the motivation of the commanders underlying the reports from the Pacific may well have been simply to try to obtain greater concentration of resources on the Pacific war.

One significant improvement for the Allies in the Pacific war, however, was about to occur, the deployment of the long-rumored Superfortress, the B-29, which flew further, higher, and faster than any other bomber in history, capable of eluding the Japanese fighters while striking Japan proper from Chinese bases. The first such mission would take place June 15, after its initial missions in the war would be flown June 5. Its last missions of the war would be the delivery of the two atomic bombs, on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

"Soft Peace?" asserts that the opinion of the International Labor Organization at its recent conference, absent any representative from Russia, showed wisdom in insisting that Germany be treated harshly after the war, that any decision on German trade unions be deferred until such time as Russia could participate in the determination. The piece offers hope that the Allied leaders would, after the war, follow this sound advice, as the German people had willingly started and participated in two successive wars, and thus deserved some retributive treatment which would deter them and others from starting a third.

"The Oracle" comments on the state Democratic convention endorsement of Gregg Cherry for governor, finding it not necessarily predictive of victory in the primary race over his opponent Dr. Ralph McDonald. Dr. McDonald could point to the fact that the convention was made up of professional politicians and thus its confidence placed in Mr. Cherry might backfire with the people to the advantage of Dr. McDonald. Both scenarios, prediction of success and backfire, had been the result in elections during the previous 25 years following such an endorsement.

"Revelation" finds disingenuous the Byrd-For-President movement, now that its initiator, New Orleans businessman John U. Barr, had come out for the Republicans. The movement was better called therefore Anyone-But-Roosevelt. Senator Byrd had simply been a handy nameplate to place on the movement stirred, at its base, by anti-New Deal and anti-fourth term sentiments rather than any demonstrated passion for the fiscally conservative Senator from Virginia.

Mr. Barr had predicted that the Republicans would defeat the President in the South, would capture 60% of the vote in Florida.

The piece finds the prediction not only unlikely of achievement but that the horse on which the movement now sought to ride, the Republican Party, was, in the South, no horse at all. "He whistles a pretty tune in the dark."

Drew Pearson reports that the forces behind Thomas Dewey had calculated that they could win the election with electoral votes to spare in November against the President by taking California. They expected to sweep New England and the Midwest, as well as carrying Pennsylvania. But, they acknowledged that California posed a challenge. Governor Earl Warren was being promoted for the second spot on the ticket to assist in the process of capturing its electoral votes. It was said, however, that he had lost favor with the California electorate and thus would lend too little help to overcome the acknowledged personal popularity of FDR in the Golden State, a state at the time said to have so much crossover voting from one party to the other that there was scarcely recognizable any two-party system. Governor Warren had been elected in 1942 by a sizable number of crossover votes from Democrats.

So it was; so it still is. The reason, we posit, is that about a third of the electorate generally in the country, increasingly so in the tv age, respond to candidates and issues more on the basis of the cult of personality than on the substance of that which is being said or on the basis of party platform. The focus is more on how it is said, the cut of the speaker's jib, than whether the particular candidate or issue makes any sense. It is also why there is inevitable disappointment in most leaders not long after they attain the office for which they ran with great support.

It has been said before: Abraham Lincoln likely could not be elected dogcatcher in the modern era in most parts of the country. The ability to give a good speech makes a difference in the ability to lead, but the speech ultimately must make sense or there is no basis on which the leadership is premised, save what the spare majority might wish to hear of the moment to make them feel better. That is demagoguery, not democracy.

Regardless, none of the scenarios would transpire in 1944. Governor Dewey would not take Pennsylvania, the bulk of New England, or do better than split the Midwest. He would also lose California by eleven percentage points.

Mr. Pearson next discusses the reported conflict between Chief Justice Harlan Stone and Justice Felix Frankfurter on the Supreme Court. The trouble had been stirred by the supposed complaint of the Chief regarding Justice Frankfurter taking too much time to write his assigned opinions, thus causing the Chief to cut him down to five assigned opinions compared to nine the previous term. Meanwhile, Justice Frankfurter was busy writing dissents, having contributed ten the previous term and, thus far, in 1943-44, eleven, with still over a month left in the term.

The column then turns to Kentucky Senator Alben Barkley's defense of the President's takeover of Montgomery Ward by way of pointing out that even the anti-New Deal, Republican-controlled Philadelphia Bulletin had discouraged labeling the act as totalitarian, as other commentators opposed to FDR had carped.

Finally, Mr. Pearson lauds, for his consistent fairness and equanimity, the presiding U.S. District Court Judge in the Washington trial of 30 defendants accused of sedition. Judge Edward Eicher, says Mr. Pearson, had been constantly faced with delaying and harassing tactics of the defendants, acting in open defiance of courtroom decorum, and yet had maintained his composure throughout the prolonged proceeding.

Such antics as one of the defendants yelling to the press, "Railroad! Railroad! Toot-toot-toot!" whenever a defense motion was denied, were consistently practiced. The defendants bragged to the press that they were "monkey wrenches from heaven".

Judge Eicher would die of a heart attack in late November, prior to the end of the trial, causing a mistrial to be declared. The charges were then subsequently dismissed after the war ended.

The defendants were not monkey wrenches, of course, except in their own minds, and perhaps within the context of the "hidden word" code, the "south, SOUTH--southward matter", as discussed November 27, 1941, between Japanese special envoy to the United States, Saburo Kurusu, and Kumaichi Yamamoto, chief of the American Bureau of the Japanese Embassy.

The utilitarian objective, however, for which a monkey wrench is normally deployed did appear well to fit them.

Marquis Childs examines post-war planning, finds it on the one hand too optimistic of the future while on the other too dark in its suggestions of massive unemployment at war's end. He thus gives praise to the Senate for foresight in just having passed a bill which would provide for termination of war contracts and transitioning of workers and industry back to peacetime production.

Dorothy Thompson discusses the need for planning of post-war resettlement of displaced populations as well as for absorbing the Jewish refugees currently seeking asylum from the occupied countries. Palestine had an immigration quota of only 22,000. Once it was exhausted, there would be no ready place of asylum for the thousands of refugees still trying to escape the sure fate of death inside the Reich.

She supports the Grafton Plan, proposed during April by Samuel Grafton in his column, to establish in the United States free ports in which refugees could be temporarily settled without admission to the country. Ms. Thompson suggests that, in addition to such a plan, skills of farming and associated trades and crafts might be taught the refugees by way of equipping them for transition from an urban existence in pre-war Europe to the agrarian lifestyle they would ultimately need adopt for life in Palestine and elsewhere after the war.

She implicitly suggests also that the wide open spaces within the British Empire, in Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, the total area of which amounted to two and a half times that of the United States while supporting only a fourth the population, could be utilized for receiving refugees from war-torn Europe at war's end.

Samuel Grafton finds the results of the Florida and Alabama Democratic primary victories for New Deal Senators Claude Pepper and Lister Hill to have signaled a great rejection by the people of the private in-jokes of Washington re the alphabet agencies and rubber stamps said to characterize the New Deal bureaucracy, often to loud guffaws, and the bigoted snickers triggered by photographs of Eleanor Roosevelt meeting with blacks, both sets of anti-Roosevelt propaganda having been distributed freely in the Florida and Alabama campaigns by the opposition.

Not only that, Mr. Grafton reports the failure of re-election of anti-New Deal Congressman Joe Starnes of Alabama, who, as a member of the Dies Committee five years earlier, had become convinced of the emergent necessity, for the security and salvation of the Republic, to call before the Committee Kit Marlowe on account of his Red writings of which Mr. Starnes had become aware from a source not read.

Even if the New Deal was, by the President's own announcement to the press in December after return from Tehran and Cairo, dead as a doornail, Marlowe was still quite alive.

Or, maybe that's Marley. Let us checků

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