Wednesday, June 28, 1944

The Charlotte News

Wednesday, June 28, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Republican Convention, not surprisingly, nominated Governor Thomas Dewey of New York for the presidency, falling short of unanimity by a single vote cast symbolically for General Douglas MacArthur. Governor John W. Bricker of Ohio had withdrawn his name from nomination, saying that it was more important to him to defeat the "absolutism" of the New Deal than to wage a fight which could wind up in a brokered convention.

Shortly afterward, a representative of the campaign of former Governor of Minnesota Harold Stassen also withdrew his name, followed by Representative Everett Dirksen of Illinois, removing his own name from consideration as a favorite-son candidate. Agreement on the move for acclamation had been reached the previous night.

A short time after the nomination, following Governor Earl Warren's withdrawal of his name from consideration for the vice-presidential nomination, the convention nominated Governor Bricker to that position, despite his earlier having indicated lack of interest in the second spot on the ticket.

Governor Dewey was scheduled to arrive at the hall that night at 9:00 to address the assembly.

Wendell Willkie had sent a telegram of congratulations to Governor Dewey, albeit one which could not be delivered for war restrictions. The gesture was significant for the fact that Mr. Willkie had thus far not provided any hint of endorsement of Governor Dewey.

A floor fight between the Willkie forces and the rest of the convention on the wording of the foreign policy plank of the platform had been averted and the plank, as proposed by the platform committee, adopted, favoring membership of the United States in a post-war international organization and the creation of a "peace force" as adjunct to it. The Willkie preference had been for the words to read instead "military force" and to delete an expressed objection to the U.S. belonging to a "world state".

Governor Dewey was 42 years old and, had he been elected, would have been the youngest president to be elected in the country's history, being the same age as Theodore Roosevelt when he assumed the presidency in the wake of the assassination of President McKinley in 1901. John F. Kennedy, the youngest person ever elected President, was, when he was inaugurated, ten months older than Governor Dewey was in January, 1945. Dewey, of course, would also be nominated by the Republicans for the presidency in 1948, running in that instance with Governor Warren. He again lost, this time to President Truman--at least everywhere except in Chicago.

The native of Michigan, transplanted to New York when he attended Columbia for law school, was the only Republican ever to be nominated twice by the party and lose both times. Richard Nixon was the only other Republican to lose and then be re-nominated by the Republicans, albeit eight years after the loss. The two men somewhat resembled each other in speaking style, and, by 1948, their fervent anti-Communist sentiment, stronger, however, in the case of Mr. Nixon. Governor Dewey never engaged publicly in the sort of personal smear tactics which Richard Nixon made the hallmark of his political career, ultimately proving his undoing.

On Normandy, the British engaged in the largest tank battle yet of the campaign, occurring four miles from Caen. Four German armored divisions were involved. General Montgomery's forces opened a six-mile wide breach in the Nazi-held Odon River line and advanced two miles further, to a point northeast of Esquay. The penetration cut off the road from Caen to Evrecy and placed in jeopardy the other roads into Caen, from the south and southeast.

Allied Headquarters announced that between 30,000 and 40,000 German prisoners had been captured on the Cherbourg Peninsula. About 10,000 more prisoners had been taken elsewhere in Normandy.

Headquarters also announced that the first two weeks of the Normandy campaign had cost the Allies 40,549 casualties, of whom 24,162 were Americans. Of the total Allied casualties, 5,287 were killed, of whom 3,082 were American, 1,842 British, and 363 Canadian. The figures did not include casualties from the previous week of fighting. A large portion of the American casualties had occurred during the first two days of operations. These totals stood against an estimated 70,000 casualties inflicted on the Germans, including the above figures for prisoners, albeit through the fall of Cherbourg, thus including an additional week of fighting.

American bombers, striking from both Russia and Italy, participating in triple-shuttle bombing, attacked targets in France, Bulgaria, and at the Rumanian oil fields. Allied commanders indicated that, before the raid, the Nazis were suffering "acute shortages" of oil. That deficit probably explained why the troops on Cherbourg and in other parts of Normandy had been using horse-drawn transportation as well as bicycles.

Triple-shuttle bombing, the first of the war, had also been used to attack Germany a week earlier and in a strike on a Polish oil refinery on Monday. Mustangs from both Russia and Italy accompanied the bombers on the raid against the targets in Poland.

The President, Premier, and Foreign Minister of Finland had acquiesced to the demands of the Nazis to allow German troops to secure Helsinki against the Russian advance to the capital. German troops were now firmly entrenched as occupation forces of the city. The move threatened a final diplomatic break between Finland and the United States, the Finnish Ambassador to the United States and his legation having already been expelled from the country.

In White Russia, Mogilev had been captured by the Red Army. The way was now open to proceed toward Minsk, being accomplished from three directions.

On the editorial page, "See-Saw" sets forth the various foreign policy stands taken by Thomas Dewey since 1940. In 1940, he had advocated staying out of the war, had opposed Lend-Lease as late as January, 1941, though switching the following month to favor it. He had also challenged as naïve and unwise the diplomatic recognition of Russia provided by the Roosevelt Administration in 1933.

Since Pearl Harbor, however, he had greatly modified his positions, favoring an international post-war organization and continued alliance with Great Britain into the future.

The piece finds the vacillation troubling and dares anyone to predict how Mr. Dewey might behave in an international crisis.

"Some Advice" ventures to suggest to the Republicans that they not follow the lead of Minority Leader Joe Martin of Massachusetts in his quoted attack at the convention on the Administration and the New Deal, suggesting some Democrats as prisoners to its tenets trying to become liberated. A positive message with plausible alternatives and specific criticisms would be better suited to winning over the many disaffected Democrats seeking a change in domestic policy.

"Gene's Ghost" mocks former and future Georgia Governor Gene Talmadge for his statement that Thomas Dewey was just another shill for the New Deal, whom the Democrats had managed cleverly to put forth within the guise of the Republican Party. The editorial finds the motivation for the silly theory to be that Governor Dewey was not on board with those principles of fire held sacred by Governor Talmadge: states' rights; white supremacy; the poll tax; and protection of Southern womanhood from you know Who.

Samuel Grafton reports of the individual candidates' exhibits at the Stevens Hotel in Chicago. Governor Dewey sported a professional, slick looking array of female model-types to promote his candidacy, button-holing any delegate or potential voter they could spot. Governor Bricker, by contrast, hired a dour-looking three-piece women's ensemble to play violin music to a mostly empty hall, even if the largest in the hostelry. Governor Stassen had his headquarters in the basement next to the barbershop, with few custodians and fewer patrons, but promoting a sincere, serious message, dedicated to world organization. Somehow, the varying approaches spoke to Mr. Grafton of the way in which the convention and ultimate candidacies out of it would proceed toward the election.

Marquis Childs looks across the street from the Stevens into the Blackstone Hotel, to find the wealthy of the party holding fort. Among them was Ruth Hanna McCormick Simms, daughter of deceased Senator Marcus Hanna of Ohio, who had made William McKinley President. She was also the previous wife of Medill McCormick, brother of Chicago Tribune publisher Robert McCormick. She had been attending conventions since 1896 and so knew the process well. Since Mr. Dewey's 1940 run for the nomination, she had been a solid supporter and had gone a long way toward making his nomination this time a reality.

Also at the Blackstone was Joseph Pew, Jr., of Philadelphia, another kingmaker, yet not so powerful as his myth made him out to be, with his fortune from his family's controlling share in Sunoco behind him.

While these wealthy members of the party held some political sway in the choice of the nominee, it ultimately rested in the hands of the rank and file across the street at the Stevens. And, says Mr. Childs, those delegates were going to nominate Governor Dewey.

Drew Pearson addresses the effort which the backers of Dewey had expended in seeking to win the election, stressing California as the prize electoral plum. They had put $12,000 into the Congressional elections in the Golden State while spending only $3,000 throughout the rest of the country. He lists the primary contributors and their contributions.

They had also courted heavily Governor Warren for the second spot, figuring that a Dewey-Warren ticket would win over the California voters. But Governor Warren was reticent because of the recent Congressional primaries which showed the anti-New Deal sentiment on the wane in California. Should he run on the ticket, his advisers warned, and not carry his home state, he would be finished in politics. Which was why he chose not to run.

A rift appeared to have erupted between the Dewey and Bricker forces regarding the latter group's distribution of a reprint of an unflattering article on Governor Dewey, "The Man in the Blue Serge Suit", appearing in Harper's. The magazine first informed the Dewey people that the reprint had been purchased by the Democrats, but a call to their headquarters, while confirming the purchase, indicated that they had not yet distributed it, that the Bricker backers had been the culprits.

Nevertheless, the attempt to sabotage Governor Dewey's nomination did not prevent the delegates from finally coming together to nominate Governor Bricker as the vice-presidential candidate.

Mr. Pearson then provides brief sketches of the Republican vice-presidential timber, Governor Warren, Eric Johnston, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Illinois Governor Dwight Green, and Massachusetts Governor Lev Saltonstall. He notes that Governor Warren got along well with both Democrats and Republicans, had run in California as a non-partisan, appearing on both party ballots.

Hal Boyle, still in England, discusses the tattered velvet chair, leaking its stuffing of horsehair, residing in Winchester Cathedral. The chair had served as the wedding seat for Queen "Bloody" Mary Tudor, predecessor of Queen Elizabeth I, when she married Philip of Spain in the sixteenth century. Mr. Boyle requested of the verger who served as his tour guide to touch the velvet, which, upon permission, he then did, finding it to feel as horsehair. The verger appeared never to have touched the fabric, expressing some surprise at the texture described by his guest. He would not accommodate, however, the additional request of Mr. Boyle to see inside an ornate wooden box containing the bones of two Saxon kings, insisting that they were packed safely away inside a lead box contained within the wooden one. The verger, however, assured that they were there.

The hallowed church contained the last remains of Canute of Denmark, of William Rufus, the son of William the Conqueror, of Jane Austen and Izaak Walton. Sir Walter Raleigh had once been imprisoned within its walls. And it was rumored to have been King Arthur's Camelot, assuming its existence.

But of all the famous last resting places among the crypts, informs Mr. Boyle as the Compleat Reporter of R.I.P.'s, one stood forth above the rest to the many American servicemen who visited Winchester Cathedral in silence, across the Channel from the front at Brest. It was that of one Thomas Thetcher. Read his stone, eye to eye, lecher:

Here sleeps in peace a Hampshire Grenadier
Who caught his death by drinking cold small Beer.
Soldiers be wise from his untimely fall,
And when yere hot drink Strong or none at all.

Subsequently, after the decay'd 1781 second tombstone demised, the words were re-carved into another replacement erected in 1802 by officers of the garrison, farewell and adieu, (since replaced again in 1966). It added, for good measure, this couplet postscript:

An honest soldier never is forgot,
Whether he die by Musket or by Pot.

Well, Mr. Boyle did not dissemble, as evidenced by the photograph below; 'twill make you tremble, or more sow or pinken sew. But to the South African lunatic who wants to dig the bones of Shakespeare to test scientifically the idiotically derived premise of use of marijuana or cocaine as the muse for his views of Venice or conception of Hamnet, son of the poacher, Agincourt bilbo Inn's tennis, we feel compelled to append:

If ye dig bones of any manor,
Start yere digs beside the Tanner,
Lest ye be considered by the verger
To be the jester of Winchester
When the ghost of the bier, its
Animating force, walk afoot in merger.
Quest first, as the seeded barley catcher,
Upon the stone in the weeded plot
Of Thomas Thetcher, whom, rinnin with
Maggie's sarks, soused and hot,
Athirst, awry with John-a-corn's quencher,
His last candle, laggard in the dark,
Doused by pot, less shout or spark,
And whose spadesmen, should you tinker,
With his last resting spot,
Shall accurse yere Wee Willie Winker,
And from out the Domesday Book
Will yere name forever black-strike and blot,
Ye, lowdown, dirty Cutty-Sot,
Dog-flirty, cony-fetcher
Of the Birdie in the Park.

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