Thursday, June 22, 1944

The Charlotte News

Thursday, June 22, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the anticipated naval battle between the Americans and Japanese in the Pacific had materialized in the area of the Philippines, with the U.S. Fifth Fleet, under the command of Admiral Raymond Spruance, having sunk a Japanese carrier, three tankers, possibly a destroyer, as well as seriously damaging nine or ten other ships, including a battleship and a cruiser. Because of the heavy losses of planes in the engagement near Saipan on Sunday, in which the Japanese had attempted to attack American forces invading the island costing them 353 planes, previously reported as 300, the enemy had but a few fighters to send in pursuit of the American attack planes. The Americans shot down 15 to 20 of the planes and lost 49 of their own. They had lost 21 planes in the action on Sunday. There were no American Naval losses.

The Japanese Fleet fled into the China Sea and were saved from further losses by cover of night. The action left the Fleet in a diminished state but still with sufficient strength to fight another day.

On the Cherbourg Peninsula in Normandy, the American forces had now separated the Germans into three segments at Cherbourg, while air and artillery bombardment struck hard at the port during the morning. British and American planes swept down to within a 100 feet of the Germans to bombard the port, followed by the artillery barrage.

Associated Press correspondent Don Whitehead described the action as the "Singapore Trap", in reference to the Japanese trap of the British in January, 1942. The infantry captured St. Pierre Eglise, not to be confused with Ste. Mere Eglise, eight and a half miles east of Cherbourg, affording the last road into Cherbourg from Cape Barfleur. From the southeast, troops entered Quettebou, about thirteen miles from the port. On the west, other troops moved to within half a mile of Beaumont-Hague, on the road to Cap De La Hague.

A map shows the previous day's position reported, with the Americans approaching from 1,500 yards away at Fort Du Roule and Fort Octeville.

Little activity was reported elsewhere on the beachhead.

In addition to the bombing action on Cherbourg, more American raids took place on Pas-de-Calais. The V-1's being launched by the Germans from that area were said now to be packing incendiary bombs.

Losses from the previous day's raid on Berlin had amounted to 43 American bombers and 15 fighters, with an additional three bombers and two fighters lost on the shuttle leg into Russia, the first such shuttle flight from England. Forty-nine German planes were shot down. During the entire previous 24 hours, the Allies had lost 119 planes while shooting down 62 Luftwaffe planes.

The night before, RAF Mosquitos struck Berlin and the Ruhr and Rhine Valleys.

In Italy, where misty weather somewhat hampered operations, the Eighth Army, supported by Italian troops, moved to within 32 miles of the prized port of Ancona on the Adriatic front. These forces were 65 miles below Rimini, the eastern anchor of the Pisa-Florence-Rimini line, along which it was believed the Germans would attempt a stand. To the west, the Eighth Army moved toward Camerino, a little north and 35 miles east of captured Perugia. They were also approaching Noccio Umbra, 14 miles west of Camerino.

The Fifth Army meanwhile had pushed fifteen miles northwest of Grosseto.

On the third anniversary of the German invasion of Russia, the Red Army was mounting a strong offensive to the north of Lake Ladoga in Finland, setting the stage for the final push toward Helsinki to obtain surrender. Troops had moved to within 20 miles of the 1939-40 Finnish-Russian border, established following the December-March war.

Indications were that the Finnish Government had selected a new cabinet, to seek and capitulate to peace terms.

On the editorial page, "Attention" urges that eyes and ears look to the Republican Convention platform to be drawn in the ensuing few days at Chicago, as an indicator of the general direction the Party would intend to take the country, recognizing the while that convention platforms for the previous fifty years had been less indicative of the stands of the presidential candidate than his own pronouncements from the hustings.

It recommends scrutinizing the foreign policy plank to see whether it would be general or specific, as well as the domestic planks to determine whether, as in 1936 and 1940, there would be general endorsement of the New Deal, coupled only with a guarantee of more efficient administration of its social programs, or whether some departure from the policy might be in the wings.

"Rolling" commends the rapid progress in the war achieved just in the previous two weeks, the culmination of two years of preparation. The victories on the Cherbourg Peninsula and the imminent capture of Cherbourg spelled quick accession to inland France via captured roads and rail routes, with the port facilities to afford accelerated supply and reinforcements, no longer forcing dependence on the beaches. In Italy, the Allies steadily moved north of Rome following its capture June 4. On Saipan, the Marines and Army had successfully captured the southern half of the island and, in the process, lured out part of the Japanese Navy from its hiding positions held for the previous year and a half. From Saipan, B-29 bombers could easily reach the Philippines and the mainland of Japan. In Russia, the offensive on Finland suggested its incipient surrender.

There was ample room for hope that the war in Europe might end by the completion of summer, that the war in the Pacific might find conclusion not long afterward.

"Bang, Bang!" discusses Secretary Hull's quick rejoinder to the assertion by British Minister of Production Oliver Lyttelton, that the United States had provoked the war with Japan by providing Lend-Lease aid to Britain, with its Pacific interests at stake. Mr. Lyttelton amended his statement to clarify that he was in fact praising the aid from the U.S. and not meaning to suggest provocation in any invidious sense.

Nevertheless, Secretary Hull wished it understood that Japan had, since the 1931 incursion into Manchuria, made their aggressive intentions known without respite, regardless of the policy followed by the United States.

The piece finds the Lyttelton statement ill-advised, notwithstanding the possible innocence of its meaning. Secretary Hull acted well, therefore, in clarifying the record, that the United States had acted only to support Britain against Germany and to arrest the aggression of Japan in the period between the start of the war and Pearl Harbor.

"Veterans" remarks of the favorable reception by the North Carolina American Legion of the statement by Gregg Cherry, to become the next Governor, that the surplus in the state budget would be devoted first to supplementing Federal aid to returning veterans.

Samuel Grafton finds Thomas Dewey's candidacy for the presidency remarkable, that it had thus far been a non-campaign, by which every person could simultaneously invest in the Governor their own interests, assuming them to be identical with those of the Governor, creating in the end a cut-out figure to stand for whatever anyone interested desired--the figure of the man on the wedding cake.

That would be alright for winning the nomination, but for actual governance of the country and winning the war and solving the issues surrounding the peace, it left much to be determined.

Drew Pearson first notes that War Production Board Vice-Chairman Charles Wilson had announced the policy that the Government would provide only those war contractors whose reductions amounted to at least twelve million dollars with aid in readjusting to peacetime production. That meant that the larger companies, which had received the bulk of the war contracts, would obtain aid, while the smaller companies, already ailing, would receive none.

He reminds that seven companies, G.M., Du Pont, Bethlehem Steel, Newport News Ship, New York Ship, Curtiss-Wright, and Standard Oil, had received fifty percent of the war contracts.

He next turns to Secretary of Commerce Jesse Jones being in hot water with the President for having first refused to write a Reconstruction Finance Corporation check to subsidize the Texas stripper oil wells, and, moreover, resultant of the political revolt out of Texas, led by the nephew of Mr. Jones. Not treating the matter as burlesque, the President had called upon him to explain.

Whereupon, after agreeing to reverse himself as to the subsidy, he indicated that he had not known beforehand about the political revolt, the intention expressed to turn the electoral votes to another candidate in November regardless of the election outcome, unless states' rights demands were met by the Democratic Party at the convention. He read of it only in the newspapers. It was questionable whether the President had accepted his explanation, but, in any event, the check had now been written in the wake of the conference. The strippers out in Texas now had their subsidy.

So we glean from the Merry-Go-Round.

He next follows on his report of the previous day re new scrutiny of military promotions by Congress, with the note that a general who was being recommended for promotion to major general had cracked up on the Normandy beachhead during the invasion, after which point, General Marshall quickly withdrew his name from the promotion list.

Mr. Pearson recommends for promotion a fighter pilot, Lt. Fred Binder, son of Chicago Daily News foreign editor Caroll Binder. Lt. Binder, while protecting a squadron of 60 Flying Fortresses, had been shot down over Berlin during his 26th mission.

He then remarks of the careless redecorating undertaken by the Army for General Eisenhower's headquarters, relocated to an old residence in a fashionable section near London. The owner returned agape to find that a tapestry wallpaper which had been on one of the walls had been covered with white paint to brighten the room. It had been there a mere 300 years, since the days of Oliver Cromwell.

Among his final collection of snippets, Mr. Pearson tells of an application for Office of Price Administration price regulation on a perfume styled, "Savage Love--distilled by cabalistic incantations at the quarter of the moon when the sap is running full."

So we glean from the Merry-Go-Round.

Dorothy Thompson first discusses the notion of secret weapons, that they were typically developed on either side from standing principles of science, based entirely on necessity. Thus had come the B-29; thus had come the V-1.

Neither side had a monopoly on the ability to produce new weaponry; neither side had a monopoly on accessing the basic principles of physics.

She then turns to the issue of European unity after the war. Even the Nazis, for the previous year, had been inviting pan-European unity. But the United States, despite the President's recent statement indicating that smaller nations would have a voice at the peace table, had still not come forth with a policy advocating European unity. Without it, especially one led by France, there could be no stability in Europe after the war. Germany could not be admitted into any such union unless there were strong member nations already in place, led by France.

Senator Burton Wheeler, the staunch isolationist, ironically, had called for a European union. The Administration, despite the pleas of Europe to take up the call, had thus far remained mute.

Marquis Childs writes prophetically of the concept of mutually assured destruction in an atomic age being the principle by which world wars could be deterred. He makes allusion to Mark Twain's late expression of pessimism on humanity--examples of which may be found in "The Mysterious Stranger" or "What Is Man?"--as he tells of there being no secret that the German scientists were busy developing weapons powered by atomic energy. The "rocket-bomb" being launched against England, he asserts, that reminding of an H. G. Wells story come to life, was simply a toy, an experiment, ushering in more sophisticated weaponry, just as had the bombers of 1940 planted the seeds for the new B-29.

The expediency of war, as a coefficient of progress, had forced the stresses of invention to develop these new, evermore powerful and efficient destructive devices. He concludes that, while Woodrow Wilson had sought too much in the way of peace machinery at the end of World War I, President Roosevelt was not thus far seeking enough.

Ominously, he admonishes that the pilotless plane, however unguided it might be, wending willy-nilly its drunken way to the neighborhoods of Southern England, set into motion conditional imperatives which had to act as a reminder of what was at stake in the war, what was to come down the road should Germany not be thoroughly defeated.

Little did anyone reckon, however, at least daring not so to say in print, that the United States had quite a bit more secret weaponry of its own in development out in New Mexico and in labs throughout the country, a mere year and a month from initial detonation.

Clyde A. Farnsworth tells of a C-47 transport in China with the Fourteenth Air Force having been whirligigged by a thunderbolt and an updraft into becoming possibly the world's first recorded Vomit-Comet. But, harrowing though the adventure was, as meticulously described by the pilot, all, including the fourteen passengers, returned safely to the field, albeit with buckled wings and three holes in the ceiling of the plane where heads had bumped in the semi-weightlessness of free fall.

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