Tuesday, June 20, 1944

The Charlotte News

Tuesday, June 20, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the U.S. Ninth Division had advanced to within four miles of Cherbourg at St. Martin Le-Greard, capturing that town, as other American troops captured Valognes ten miles to the southeast of the port. The forces were within the outer rim of Cherbourg fortress, as naval guns offshore pounded the port and heavy bombers attacked the fortress. The Germans failed to make any stand at Valognes. Along the east coast, the Americans moved two miles north of Quineville. After changing hands with the enemy, Montebourg was reported completely occupied by Americans. Yet other forces moved against light enemy opposition north of Barneville on the west coast of the Peninsula.

Reports from civilians evacuating Cherbourg indicated that the Nazis were blowing up the harbor facilities.

On the eastern flank of the 116-mile front, the British captured Hottot-Les-Bagues, near Tilly-sur-Seulles.

German big guns were reported to have opened fire, beginning at 2:00 a.m., across Dover Strait from Gris Nez. No damage report was provided.

More than 1,500 American heavy bombers, possibly the largest single force in history, attacked the rocket-gun installations, that is the V-1 launching facilities, at Pas-de-Calais, as well as synthetic oil facilities and refineries at Hannover, Hamburg, Magdeburg, and Politz, plus a tank depot at Mandeburg and an aircraft repair works at Brunswick. Sixteen of the American bombers had made forced landings in Sweden. The armada appeared to exceed a similar-sized raid on Wednesday against the Emmerich Oil Refinery in Germany.

It was reported that the Resistance had managed to switch their files as listed Partisans with those of Vichy collaborationists, resulting in the Germans taking to concentration camps on D-Day many Vichyites loyal to the Reich.

Off Saipan in the Marianas, American carrier-based airplanes won the largest Pacific air battle since Midway by destroying 300 Japanese planes seeking to defend the island. A dispatch from Tokyo recognized the great importance of the island, just 1,550 miles from Tokyo, and that it afforded a perfect base from which the new B-29 could launch raids against Japan.

Meanwhile, American land forces captured an airbase at the southern end of Saipan.

An inside page provides the vital statistics on the B-29 Superfortress, comparing it to the B-17, theretofore in the war the workhorse of the Air Forces.

Another inside page shows a map of Saipan and Tinian and the distances from them to Tokyo, Truk, Marcus Island, Wake Island, and Kwajalein in the Marshalls. Only Kwajalein was presently in Allied hands. An inset map shows the distances to Hawaii, Midway, and other Allied bases in the Solomons.

In Italy, the Eighth Army took Perugia, 72 miles southeast of Florence. The Fifth Army advanced nine miles north, about 31 miles north of Orbetello.

The French completed their capture of Elba, after an offensive begun Friday night. Capture of Porto Longone on the eastern shore effectively ended German resistance, which had been surprisingly strong on the island. The French, comprised of Senegalese and Goumiers, captured 1,800 prisoners, nearly the entire enemy complement. Portoferraio, the capital, had fallen to the French on Sunday.

On the above-linked map page, a report of Stephen Barber, accompanying the French forces, provides more detail of the invasion of Elba.

On the Karelian Isthmus in Finland, reported Swedish sources, not yet confirmed by Moscow, Viipuri had been captured by the Red Army.

In Commons, Prime Minister Churchill revealed for the first time, in response to questioning by members, that the British had foiled a German plot to invade Britain in 1940. They had massed ships and troops in French ports for the invasion and then "changed their minds" under British military pressure. They had never begun the Channel crossing.

Vice-President Wallace, arriving in Chungking to visit with Chiang Kai-shek, urged close cooperation between China and Siberia, likening the preferred attitude to that extant between Canada and the United States, for the mutual benefit of both Russia and China.

On the editorial page, "A Lesson" comments on a statement by author Pierre von Paassen, that Hitler could not have occurred but for the indifference of the Allies and so they could not claim innocence completely in the war. He does not thereby excuse the Nazis from starting the war but seeks, by the charge of passive complicity in its derivations, to instruct the Allies of lessons to be learned in constructing the peace so that the same mistakes which had occurred between the wars would not be repeated.

That paramount lesson was that the death of democracy anywhere in the world threatened democracy at home.

Of course, it must always be borne in mind that "extremism in defense of liberty", as Barry Goldwater proclaimed in his speech accepting the 1964 Republican presidential nomination, is, in fact, contrary to Senator Goldwater, a vice destructive of liberty itself at home, especially when that extremism takes the form of deprivation of liberty of others in the name of the claim of preserving liberty for a willful majority, or, as the case usually manifests itself, a particularly bold and vocal minority.

The Constitution is not a limiting instrument, except in relation to the powers of government. It does not purport to enumerate the freedoms interference with which is forbidden to the government as the only freedoms inherent in life, but merely those deemed of sufficient importance at the time of adoption and ratification to specify as particularly sacrosanct given their routinized abuse by the British overlords. Privacy is most certainly among them, though not specified in expressed language, notwithstanding the great failing of understanding of the fundamental conception of our Constitution by a large minority of people in the country bent on intruding and imposing their collective will on the privacy of others, including their private speech, hence beliefs and thoughts, just as Nazis did in Germany, leading ultimately to the Final Solution.

We have rights; thou has rights; all are equal before the law. It is a difficult concept of implementation and takes practice to achieve with aplomb.

"Transformed" looks on amazedly at the Republican outpouring of praise all of a sudden for the formerly demonized Democratic kingmaker, Jim Farley, the man who was most singularly responsible, together with Louis Howe, of getting Franklin Roosevelt first elected Governor of New York in 1928 and then President four years later. Republican Representative Noah Mason of Illinois had spoken glowingly of Mr. Farley on the House floor, as quoted in the piece.

The Congressman had described Mr. Farley as a political martyr and a Constitutionalist who, because of his opposition to the FDR fourth term, had quit his post as head of the New York Democratic Committee. Mr. Mason thought Mr. Farley thus to be a good match as a vice-presidential candidate with Governor Bricker of Ohio, should the latter become the Republican nominee.

The piece asserts that it was becoming the easiest thing imaginable to become a Republican. All comers were welcome now in the big tent.

Less than a week before the start of the Republican convention in Chicago, however, it was far too late to be talking of a Bricker candidacy, except in the case of a brokered convention. Governor Dewey, by all accounts, though not officially a candidate, had wrapped up the nomination. And so it would be, with Governor Bricker, whom Governor Dewey did not know, becoming the choice of the convention as the vice-presidential nominee over Governor Dewey's preferred running mate, keynote speaker Governor Earl Warren of California.

"The Press" comments on the statement by John P. Lewis, managing editor of PM, a daily newspaper in New York, to the effect that, as Secretary of Interior Harold Ickes had lamented, the press was disconnected from American public opinion, as supposedly borne out by the wide divergence between press opinion and the results in each of the elections since 1932, the majority of newspapers having been against FDR each time, increasing in percentage since his first campaign for the presidency.

The editorial, however, begs to differ despite the recognized gulf between editorial endorsements and the demonstrated vox populi at the polling booths. Historically, the trend had been the same with other Presidents, and it only showed the stubborn independence of mind of the American people, not that the newspapers were necessarily the handmaidens to corporate interests opposed to the New Deal, as charged by Mr. Lewis and Secretary Ickes.

Newspapers presented a broad tent of opinion, and for every conservative writer, there appeared a liberal. The argument therefore simply did not prove itself. Newspapers were not at odds with American opinion; Americans were simply not dependent on newspapers for formulation of their political judgments.

Dorothy Thompson discusses again the great reluctance of the United States, with Churchill following the lead of Roosevelt, to recognize the French Committee of Liberation. The reasons asserted were the disagreeable personality of General De Gaulle and that it could not yet be ascertained whom the French people desired as their leader.

Yet, Belgium, Luxembourg, Czechoslovakia, and Poland had all come aboard in support of the Committee. Poland and Czechoslovakia were at odds between themselves anent Russia, as the Czechs were friendly with the Russians and the Poles were in disagreement regarding the post-war border issue. Yet, both countries had recognized the Committee. And for similar reasons to those of France's neighbors, Belgium and Luxembourg, those being that France would be, after the war, the central power in Europe outside Germany and Russia. The four countries thus providing recognition to the Committee, seeking amity with that nation to which their affinity would naturally gravitate, had spoken in a unified voice as to their preference for the government of France.

It remained incumbent upon the U.S. and Britain to get onboard the train finally.

Samuel Grafton also addresses the issue of lack of U.S. support for De Gaulle, that the matter, though having devolved in the country to such a repeated topic as to cause eyes to glaze at its mention, had eroded respect for the United States in France and other European countries. The more the U.S. sought to undermine the reputation of General De Gaulle, the more it undermined its own. The further the troops advanced in Normandy, the more glaring the power vacuum for the French had begun to become. The issue would need to be faced squarely and not put off any longer.

Marquis Childs urges the giving of blood, that projections were that, by the end of 1944, the Red Cross would collect over 10.5 million pints of blood, a pint for very soldier in the service, two for every one abroad.

He stresses his disturbance, however, at the fact that the Red Cross still segregated the blood, as the Navy and Army had insisted it be done, to maintain morale among the soldiers, especially those of the South. The war could not take time to educate the soldiers cut from the cloth of prejudice as to the folly of their absurd superstitions, that "black blood" somehow was different from "white blood".

Congressman John Rankin of Mississippi, and those of his ilk, though not named by Mr. Childs, had seen to the perpetuation of this stupidity two years earlier, a mise en scene rehearsed for generations.

To object to interracial mixing of blood was tantamount to a man shunning a transfusion from a woman, thinking that it might contain cooties or cause him to start lactating. (But, come now, John Lennon. The song was not written by "Yoko and I", but rather by "Yoko and me", you Liverpudlian swine. "I" may be he, as you are "me", but I and me, nevertheless, though routinely done, are not interchangeable within the proper constructs of the English language. It drives us batty to hear it. If you had grown up in the Sea of Verrazzano as we did, and heard the butchery of the language committed daily until it simply lay there writhing to moribundity in the hold, staked in the heart by bloodthirsty groundlings of a murderous stripe, you would perhaps better understand. Rule of thumb: drop the companion of the conjunctive phrase confusing thou and then say the sentence aloud, until, by Jove, you've got it. For one would not say, wouldst thou? "The song was written by I." Yet, one could say, "The song was written by eye." And so, Mr. Lennon, we shall excuse the apparent faux pas as merely an artistic expression freighted, interlaced, and underlain with double-entendre, the result of the craft preponderating within your oeuvre. And, as for you, Mr. Cavett: "...[T]here's a bit of hassling going on as to whether or not it can be sung, or not..."? Yale?)

Drew Pearson explains why, during December, General George C. Marshall had returned from the Tehran Conference to issue a broadside against labor, with a rail strike in the offing. He understood at that point that the movement of men and supplies for the Normandy operation would need to begin and that crippling the nation's railroads at such a crucial juncture could impede the invasion. Thus, seeming harsh to the public, General Marshall was only giving the swift kick necessary to prevent a critical delay in the war, to abort aborning the rail strike.

Mr. Pearson next tells of the phone call by Economic Stabilizer Fred Vinson to fellow Kentuckian, Senator Happy Chandler, seeking to obtain his opposition to the Bankhead Amendment to the bill perpetuating the Office of Price Administration, the amendment designed, as he saw it, to eviscerate price controls. Senator Chandler previously had told Judge Vinson, future Supreme Court Chief Justice, that he should give a call to his fellow Kentuckian if ever he needed a favor. Nevertheless, on this occasion, Senator Chandler refused to budge and was going to vote for the amendment.

Finally, the column reports of Senator Bob Taft of Ohio taking on the issue of dodges to taxation by corporations via the means of executive pensions, affording deductions for large annual pension salaries set aside for executives while the executives deferred payment of taxes on them until their actual receipt upon retirement. As many of these corporations had war contracts, effectively the practice saddled the Government with paying for these large pensions, often reaching $50,000 per year. Senator Taft wanted to impose a limit of $10,000 per year for pensions, beyond which the corporations could not take a deduction.

John Moroso, III, reports from a British port on June 16, anent the arrival of actress Gertrude Lawrence in Britain two days before D-Day to be with her husband, Lt. Commander Richard Aldrich, himself a playwright in civilian life. She was not informed by her husband of the impending invasion and went from camp to camp entertaining the troops, not realizing that she would be the last entertainment they would see before leaving for Normandy.

Mr. Moroso tells of being singed by machinegun fire and knocked off his feet by an 88mm shell, but remained unhurt. He wore his lucky shirt from Sicily, had worn it for ten days.

He further relates of NBC Blue Network reporter George Hicks, who, exhausted after the invasion, returned to the beach, borrowed a blanket and went fast asleep. Along came a truck picking up the dead and nearly threw him aboard before being stopped by Lt. Sam Byrd, an actor.

Remindful of the anecdote told by General Patton to his men of the Third Army, Mr. Moroso tells also of the dauntless courage displayed by Lt. W. W. Royson and the soldiers of his signal construction battalion, maintaining the telephone lines in operation despite persistent shelling and bombing by the enemy to knock them down again. They ignored the battle in their midst and kept stringing wire.

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