Wednesday, June 21, 1944

The Charlotte News

Wednesday, June 21, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports from Normandy that the Americans, pushing north from captured St. Martin Le-Greard, had advanced over three miles to within 1,500 yards of Cherbourg's waterfront, the fall of the port appearing imminent. The offensive had penetrated along the inland road between the suburbs protected by Fort Du Roule, a fort atop a 450-foot hill a mile from the docks of the port, and Fort Octeville, two miles in front of the harbor. The Germans had made a stand at these forts before being pushed back.

Another force on the right flank moved beyond Valognes after its capture the previous day. Forces on the left flank captured Acqueville at the base of Cape De La Hague, four miles southwest of Cherbourg, cutting off one means of German escape by sea.

Leaflets were dropped counseling the Germans to follow the path of surrender chosen by their own armies at Cap Bon in Tunisia in May, 1943, and in the Crimea just 45 days earlier. It had been estimated that some 50,000 Germans were trapped in the area. It appeared that the Nazis were preparing for a house-to-house fight, similar to the long siege at Cassino. The Nazis continued to destroy the port facilities to prevent their immediate use by the Allies. American troops were closing in from three sides, leaving the sea as the only escape route, covered by Allied Naval guns and planes.

Another American force moved to within two miles of St. Lo.

On the eastern side of the front, the British remained engaged in heavy fighting at Tilly-sur-Seulles.

Field Marshal Karl von Rundstedt was said to be forced to bring his panzer divisions to bear on the Normandy front, resultant of the need for maintaining infantry positions at Pas-de-Calais and in the southwest area of France, thus affording inadequate reinforcements for the infantry fighting in Normandy. The result had thus far been disastrous, as the Nazis had lost 78 tanks, including 27 Tigers and 18 Panthers.

More than a thousand American heavy bombers and another thousand fighter escorts attacked Berlin, and, according to German reports, also Hannover and Brunswick. Some of the bombers were reported headed eastward after accomplishing the mission, suggesting that, for the first time, shuttle bombing was being initiated from England such that the planes would land in Russia.

Other American planes struck again at Pas-de-Calais.

RAF Mosquitos the night before struck rail yards at Chartres and near Caen, on the battle front.

Military observers in Britain continued to report that the V-1 had proved ineffective as a weapon, not living up to the claims of Nazi propaganda regarding their "secret weapon" touted for months before its deployment June 15.

In Finland, the Red Army, having taken Viipuri on the Karelian Isthmus, now was moving toward Helsinki. Reports were that the Finns were considering surrender, as the Karelian defenses had been their best hope of resistance.

In Italy, the Eighth Army continued its drive north of Rome, advancing four miles beyond captured Perugia, itself 85 miles from Rome. The Fifth Army reported taking prisoners from a division of Germans transferred from Belgium four days after D-Day, the second such encountered division displaced from the Western front.

In the Pacific, the Navy appeared to have located at last the hidden Japanese Fleet, and the two forces were reported likely headed for a showdown somewhere in the waters between the Marianas and the Philippines.

From Saipan, it was indicated that Americans were now in possession of the southern half of the island, from the southern outskirts of Garapan, the largest town with a population of 10,000, across to the center of the western shore at Magicienne Bay.

Since the beginning of the operations, fully 600 enemy planes had been destroyed, including the 300 reported the day before in the attempt at a grand assault on the island. From this latter operation, the Navy believed that it had been able to locate the Japanese Fleet which had delivered the bombers.

On the editorial page, "O'Daniel" reports of the meeting in Chicago of anti-fourth term Democrats, led by former Governor Gene Talmadge of Georgia and Lee Pappy O'Daniel, Senator from Texas. Senator O'Daniel had charged that the New Deal was led by a gang of labor racketeers and was Communist. The evidence for the latter charge, he contended, was that the Communist Party in the United States had recently dissolved and was now supporting the New Deal.

The editorial finds the reasoning specious and absurd in the premises.

"Wheeler" observes that Senator Burton Wheeler of Montana had not changed his stripes, still was anti-British and anti-Russian, still, as after Pearl Harbor, contended that President Roosevelt had gotten America into the war, a war in which Americans did not want to be involved. His latest diatribe was aimed at the supposed unholy alliance between Roosevelt and Churchill, that FDR had promised Churchill help before the latter became Prime Minister in May, 1940, wanted the Senate to investigate.

Says the piece, Senator Wheeler could not admit his pre-war stance was wrong and so persisted in believing in his world of isolation, not any longer appertaining, if it ever did at all.

"Showdown" expresses expectation at the news that, in the wake of American control of the southern half of Saipan, the Japanese Fleet appeared to be emerging finally to do battle with the American Navy somewhere between the Marianas and the Philippines. The Japanese admirals had finally been pressed to the issue as the American forces were now within 1,300 miles of Tokyo and had a new airplane to span that distance with facility. What was shaping up, the piece predicts, was the largest naval battle in history.

"The Hope" finds Prime Minister Churchill's optimistic words re the possibility of victory by fall in Europe to be informed well with precognition, in light of his knowledge of the battle plans. The optimism suggested that plans were in place, not only for a strong Russian move from the East, but also an Allied move from the South.

The editorial concludes that, indeed, fall might very well see the end of the war in Europe.

Drew Pearson reports of the confusing dress codes of the Navy, at variance depending on which command the sailor or officer found himself under, either khakis or grays being required for summer wear, and the standard blues for winter. But officers had to carry two sets of blues, one for work and one for evening wear, cumbersome for packing into scant luggage space. And in Washington, whites were required dress. The confusion had developed from Admiral King's decision the previous year to change summer wear to grays, while some of the Pacific commanders still preferred khakis, even if Admiral Nimitz also demanded grays. Then there was the issue of the various accouterments of the uniform, such as the extent of the gold braid for officers.

He next turns to his "Capital Chaff", among which is the item that former Justice James Byrnes had assured the President that his native South Carolina would be safe in November for delivering its electoral votes according to the popular vote determination, notwithstanding the threatened revolt of electors to switch to another candidate, such as Senator Harry Byrd. In Texas, Senator Tom Connally and House Speaker Sam Rayburn had likewise assured the President, but both also had assured no revolt in the state party convention, already occurring.

Finally, Mr. Pearson reports of the Senate Military Affairs Committee taking a hard look at the number of promotions to general being recommended by the Executive Branch, for positions which were desk jobs in Washington. In one such case, War Production Board Vice-Chairman Charles Wilson, former head of General Electric, had recommended promotion to brigadier general for his Army liaison, Col. E.F. Jeffe, who was executive vice-president of Consolidated Edison in private life, a utility which purchased many products of G.E.

Samuel Grafton finds the new terror weapon of Hitler, the V-1, to be revelatory of Hitler's desperation, that he had to resort to Buck Rogers tactics to try to win the war, indicative that its loss was a fait accompli.

Meanwhile, as the Allies advanced through France, more German discontent at home would follow, more French underground activity would bear on both the Germans and Vichy, until, at some point, the arithmetic pace of war would cause the Reich to collapse.

Perhaps, had it not been for that fateful movement of the briefcase bearing the bomb with Hitler's name on it, such that a table leg saved his hide 29 days hence on July 20, a quick peace might have been effectuated. But, would it have been, at that point, as conclusive in thwarting future build-up of the German war machine? With the pressure off the scientists at Los Alamos to develop the atomic bomb ahead of the Germans, would the war in the Pacific have dragged on substantially longer? Would atomic weaponry never have been introduced to the world? Would such a world have collapsed into yet another world war within another couple of decades? All, of course, hypothetical questions which have no definitive answers.

Marquis Childs discusses what he terms "the gunpowder plot", an allusion to the Guy Fawkes conspiracy to blow up the House of Lords, November 5, 1605, in this case being in reference to the Southern Democrats of Texas, South Carolina, Mississippi, and Georgia, contending that, unless their demands were met for the Democratic convention to adopt a states' rights plank and eschew civil rights planks, they would shift their states' electoral votes in November to a candidate other than FDR.

Mr. Childs finds the plot to be wholly irresponsible in this time of war, that it would produce complete chaos in November, lead to payment of political patronage or even bribes to obtain favor. The election, thrown into the House by a failure of any candidate to receive an electoral majority, would be left to a calculation of the states, each having one vote based on a majority of each state's delegation. Delaware, with one Representative, would have the same voice as New York with 45, 22 Republicans, 22 Democrats, and a single Labor Party member. The Labor Party member could determine the New York vote.

Moreover, should the House not gravitate to one candidate and thus not elect a President, the Senate, responsible for electing the Vice-President, would be charged with essentially electing the President, as the Vice-President would assume the office.

Nothing but uncertainty and turmoil could result, counsels Mr. Childs, leading potentially to undermining of both the war effort and the establishment of a lasting peace in its aftermath. The selfish motives of the Fawkesers would be simply to supervene the will of the American people, exercised constitutionally at the ballot box, by substituting for it, royally, their own subjectively held doctrine.

Remember the 5th of November--also, the 7th.

George Tucker writes from Italy of two opera stars prior to the war, Giuseppe De Luca, who had sung at the Metropolitan Opera last in 1940, and Beniamino Gigli, who had last performed at the Met in 1939, singing in "Rigoletto".

De Luca lived next door to the bombed-out former residence of Virginio Gayda, the former mouthpiece for Mussolini and his Fascist Government, killed in the bomb blast along with members of his family.

Both opera singers now lived in seclusion, awaiting the end of the war to resume public performances.

A letter writer responds to the letter of two days earlier counseling a labor draft. This author suggests that such a compulsory draft of labor would be violative of the Thirteenth Amendment abolishing involuntary servitude.

If so, one might ask, why, then, would a draft of the armed forces not so violate the Thirteenth Amendment? The quick and easy answer is simply that the Constitution provides power to the Congress under Article I, Section 8, to raise and support armies and a navy. Then, query why, pursuant to that power, could not the Congress provide for drafting labor under its additional power to enact all laws "necessary and proper" to carry into effect its enumerated powers. Undoubtedly, in time of world war as the country found itself, such a contest, had it ever become ripe to bring before the courts, would have been thusly decided in favor of the Government's right to do so, just as the military draft has been held not to violate the Thirteenth Amendment for the reason that there was no expressed intent of that Amendment to abrogate the powers of Congress set forth in Article I.

Another letter writer responds to Dave Clark's indictment of The News and the Raleigh News & Observer as Communist organs, chronicled by a News editorial of June 9. The correspondent finds Dave all wet, that Tory Winston Churchill had understood the practical need to have liberal social programs in Britain and so had endorsed the Beveridge Plan, more comprehensive than the New Deal in providing for social services. President Roosevelt was simply a realist, not a Communist. The author concludes that perhaps Dave had a plan to take the country to Mars where his conservatism could thrive.

We counsel the so-called "Conservative" Republicans, sympathetic with Dave, antithetical to our Constitution, thinking it a quaint but unnecessarily cumbersome binding to their freedom to tell the rest of us what to do, those who once, about 20 years ago, promoted the idea of going to Mars by 2010, to go ahead, belatedly, and take off for that planet in their rocket ships, the ones which they can readily afford to purchase privately after stealing everyone's real property, leaving the rest of us the hell alone. Then we might finally arrest global warming, achieve stability in the economy, have universal health care, live happily, free from their royal self-images, and save the planet for another day--until, that is, they were to get tired of each other and return to spoil our Utopian Eden once again. Was it not their first rocket ships drawn by early man in those cave drawings by us faithful aboriginals?

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