Saturday, June 3, 1944

The Charlotte News

Saturday, June 3, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that American forces of the Fifth Army had penetrated Lanuvio west of Velletri as other troops moved north two miles along the Via Casilina from Valmontone into Labico. Yet another contingent took Monte Castellacio 14 miles southeast of Rome. These moves placed most of the Alban Hills south of Rome in possession of the Allies, putting at risk the entire German line to the coast. The enemy forces guarding the Appian Way were left with the alternative of fight or flight, in case of the former choice, faced with being cut off from the line of retreat. The units which had taken Valmontone branched out in three directions, one along the Via Casilina to Rome, another to link with French troops driving the Nazis from the south side of the Sacco River, and the third toward Cave along a secondary road.

The Eighth Army captured Anagni to the southeast in the Sacco Valley, seven miles northwest of already captured Ferentino and a mile and a half north of the Via Casilina.

The French, under the command of General Alphonse Juin, approached from the south toward Cole Ferro, 4.5 miles east of Valmontone, "within pistol shot of Highway 6 and the [Sacco] River."

The Nazis were retreating so fast along Highway 6 that the area was littered with abandoned equipment, including operable Panther tanks, the 45-ton behemoths which were the new pride of the panzer divisions. General Sir Oliver Leese inspected one such tank captured by the Canadians and rode in it for a short distance through nearby fields.

The Allied Command assured that Rome would be spared from attack, provided the enemy made no attempt to defend it, and that all precautions to protect religious and historical edifices and relics would be undertaken in the event attack was necessary. The statements were in response to Pope Pius's declaration the day before to the College of Cardinals asking that the Allies spare the city.

An unconfirmed German broadcast contended that Rome was free of armed forces.

American heavy bombers, numbering 250, struck the invasion coast of France in two separate raids, dropping 1,500 tons of bombs, following the Friday raid on West Wall defenses by the heaviest daylight concentration of bombers yet during the war.

Fully 500 RAF bombers struck the same fortifications during the night. Other targets struck by the RAF included an airfield near Paris and on Leverkusen in Germany. Seventeen planes were missing from the night raid. The total bombs dropped in the combined raids during the previous 24 hours amounted to 4,500 tons.

From Italy, American planes attacked Giurgiu in Rumania on the Danube, the most important port for shipment of oil from the Ploesti fields to supply the Wehrmacht. Five planes were missing from 2,700 sorties flown the previous day from Italy. The bombing raids from Italy on Rumania were accomplished via a new shuttle system whereby the planes landed at secret airbases in Russia.

In Northern Burma, Chinese troops cut off, from the north and south, Kumaing, 40 miles west of Myitkyina. Kumaing was a third important enemy base in the region after Myitkyina and Mogaung.

In Yunnan Province in China, despite heavy rains, the Chinese forces west of the Salween River had driven to the outskirts of Chiaotou, while other forces moved toward Watien, six miles to the southwest.

On Biak Island in the Schoutens off northern New Guinea, operations, curtailed since Monday for weather problems prohibiting air cover, resumed.

Dr. Ramon Grau San Martin won a presidential election in Cuba, beating the candidate backed by President Fulgencio Batista, in office for a decade. The elections were hailed as the fairest in many years and earned Sr. Batista the respect of the people who greeted him with the loudest cheers of his entire tenure in office. The well-respected Sr. Batista would return to office in 1952 and remain until his overthrow by the forces led by Che Guevara and Fidel Castro on January 1, 1959.

An attempt by Nazi troops, said to be under the command of Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, failed in an operation which had as an objective the capture of Yugoslav Partisan leader Marshal Tito at his headquarters near Drvar. Tito and Major Randolph Churchill, son of the Prime Minister, fighting with the Partisans, escaped into the hills along with other Partisan staff members.

Labor strikes which had kept 50,000 people out of work earlier during the week had now diminished to leave on the pickets but 11,000, the largest single group of which, 3,600, came from the American Steel & Wire Company of Worcester, Mass. Another large strike of 2,500 white workers had occurred at the Riverside and Dan River Cotton Mills in Danville, Virginia, the strike being in protest of employment of black workers, with the absence of yarn causing another 2,000 workers to be without tasks.

By way of remembrance of the brave efforts of the Rangers and soldiers of the First, Third, and 34th Infantry Divisions and the First Armored Division fighting in the early stages of the campaign for Anzio and Cassino, Hal Boyle recounts of an Iowa farm boy engaged in the fighting for Cassino during February. He had been in Tunisia a year earlier, fighting for 45 consecutive days and now had been fighting in Southern Italy for 75 consecutive days. He had complained that in France in World War I, men were pulled from the front lines after two to three weeks of steady fighting. Only five of his company remained. He had believed his own days were numbered.

Now that the celebration was on for having taken Cassino and joined the forces of the Cassino and Anzio fronts, Mr. Boyle expressed the hope that the men who had performed the arduous early fighting would at long last be relieved and sent home.

On the editorial page, "Of Liberty" discusses the recent speech of Secretary of State Hull announcing the U.S. commitment to a United Nations organization after the war, underscoring that liberty and democracy needed to be recognized in all the nations, and that post-war determinations of governments and disputed boundaries would remain an open question until after the peace.

The editorial takes the speech to mean that there was an ever widening gulf between the opinion of Great Britain as expressed by Prime Minister Churchill, that the British Empire would not be dissolved at the end of the war, and the notion embraced by America that imperialism must end and pervasive democracy be established. The notion, says the piece, was inherent in American values, thus explaining the source of the rift with the British over this issue.

"A Strategy" reports of a proposed new church policy propounded by a local Baptist minister, Dr. George D. Heaton, speaking before North Carolina ministers, a strategy aimed at active church involvement within the social fabric of each community, as opposed to the more traditional approach of stressing conversion and encyclicals on particular social issues, pontificate in attitude.

The piece opines that if the church wished to remain relevant to the times, then it would need to so adjust after the war.

"Lost Cause" comments on the failure in the House of the Senate bill rammed through by Senator Kenneth McKellar of Tennessee, seeking to place such limits on TVA, by making it accountable to the Congress and by making all employees earning in excess of $4,500 per year subject to Senate confirmation, as to render TVA's efficient operation a thing of the past. The vindictive attitude displayed by Senator McKellar with respect to TVA head David Lilienthal had backfired and the House plainly saw through the charade, an attempt to obtain political patronage and sway over day to day operations of TVA.

"The Eight" commends the independence of the eight states including North Carolina which had eschewed Federal aid in unemployment relief after the war, with the proviso added that it was only so if the states were committing themselves to carry the full burden of aid. If, on the other hand, it was merely a strike at the Federal government and in furtherance of the policy of states' rights, it would do nothing but create harm to the society.

Dorothy Thompson discusses three significant events for organized labor: R. J. Thomas, head of the United Automobile Workers, had suggested that if wildcat strikes continued, resultant civilian and military animosity might dissolve the entire union movement after the war; the statement of Harry Bridges, head of the West Coast ILWU, the Longshoremen's Union, that the union should accept a no-strike pledge for the duration of the war, a position then adopted by the union; and the sit-in demonstration at the Brewster Aeronautical Corporation plant in Long Island in consequence of the massive layoffs from the cancellation of a Navy contract with the company.

Each of the three positions suggested a major issue for post-war readjustment of the labor force to peacetime conditions. Should there be massive layoffs and no re-employment, then the labor movement would disintegrate regardless of public opinion as to its wartime cooperation, consequent of the availability of cheap labor which was so desperate of employment as to be without need for collective bargaining.

Many labor leaders of both the CIO and AFL unions disapproved of the Bridges no-strike pledge as being conducive to destruction of collective bargaining and creating an atmosphere of rigidity in wages after the war, even one tending toward Communism.

Ms. Thompson finds the UAW president's position and that of Mr. Bridges to be placing too much stress on formal pledges and formal rights, ignoring the conditions prevailing in labor, in terms of supply and demand, which would ultimately affect the ability of labor to negotiate for better wages and working conditions.

Samuel Grafton examines the tendency of the United States foreign policy to recognize such persons as Franco in Spain and Badoglio in Italy while leaving General De Gaulle out in the cold with respect to leadership of the French, despite his overwhelming popular support.

We won't belabor this point further because, in very short order, General Eisenhower would place General De Gaulle in the position of leadership of the French, both militarily during the invasion, and, in the aftermath of the fall of Paris in August, politically as head of the interim liberation government.

Marquis Childs reports that the stop-Dewey movement had evaporated at its inception, leaving the way open for Governor Dewey to be nominated for the presidency by the Republicans, with the Chicago convention now just 25 days away.

The general election campaign itself promised, he predicts, to be one of the strangest on record. FDR was pledged to a high road campaign of limited duration in the fall, with the stress continuing on the war through the summer. Governor Dewey likewise was seeking a high road campaign, might even take a visit to England to tour the USO facilities for which he had helped to raise funds.

Drew Pearson discusses the effort of Senator Styles Bridges of New Hampshire to probe a perceived weak spot in the President's case for re-election for a fourth term, that being the perception that he was not any longer seeking an enduring peace, only one for the present generation. Senator Bridges, who had generally supported the President on foreign policy even before Pearl Harbor, was possessed of greater authority to criticize than his other Republican colleagues more prone to isolationist stances prior to Pearl Harbor.

He next reports of the dinner held for Harvard's Nieman Fellowship awards, attended by Life, Time, and Fortune publisher Henry Luce, at which Mr. Luce had asserted, paraphrasing a remark made in 1936 by Henry Mencken, that President Roosevelt could be defeated by "a one-armed Chinaman". A few days later, his prophecy was shown to be remarkably inept as Senators Claude Pepper of Florida and Lister Hill of Alabama, both pro-New Deal, won re-nomination in their primaries. Likewise, House Un-American Activities Committee members, Joe Starnes of Alabama and John Costello of California, lost their bids for re-nomination, while Chairman Martin Dies of Texas announced his intention not to run again. Then, pro-New Deal Republican Wayne Morse won his primary election in Oregon.

The one-armed Chinaman Mr. Luce had in mind for the Republicans would not prove formidable against the President, after all.

Finally, Mr. Pearson tells of future New York Governor, presidential candidate, and Vice-President, Nelson Rockefeller, then the Administration's Coordinator of Inter-American Relations for the State Department, having held a Pan-American conference in New York and taken its representatives to his ancestral home near Tarrytown on the Hudson. The Rockefeller family traditionally were teetotalers but Nelson broke with that tradition so as to please his non-teetotaling Latin American guests. He served cocktails, thoroughly enjoyed by his guests.

A representative from Mexico was so appreciative that he went outside and rolled head over heels down a hill to express his pleasure at the good hospitality of his host, an apparent Latin American tradition, similar to the piñata.

Incidentally, having mentioned British commander of the Eighth Army in Italy, General Sir Oliver Leese, and since a theme running through this week seems to have developed regarding varied meanings to be attached to ordinary words, a rather common misapprehension besetting those with limited imaginations through time, resulting in everything untoward from fistfights to wars, we set forth the commendation for gallantry provided General Leese in 1916 during World War I when he was a lieutenant: "For conspicuous gallantry in action. He led the assault against a strongly held part of the enemy's line, which was stopping the whole attack. He personally accounted for many of the enemy and enabled the attack to proceed. He was wounded during the fight." If read literally, it would appear that Lieutenant Leese produced personal animosity from the enemy, causing the battle, perhaps even the war.

Anyway, we have a yarn. In spring, 1973 'twas, we of the fraternal order, having been dispatched improperly from one position to another on the night of the Academy Awards, such that we had determined not to take any more of the disrespect to our superior position, took possession bodily of two of the novitiates, drove them north from Pulpit Hill to the Dan River and deposited them thereon, one being a Sailor and the other codenamed "Castle Knight". Both were blindfolded during the ride north, of course, and thus had no perspective as to what place in time and space they were being transported via the blue ieat.

Finally, we broke silence and informed them that they were going 60 miles north to the Dan River, at which point Castle Knight laughed in the face of true fact imparted, believing us in jest.

Then, we crossed the Dan River Bridge and suggested to Castle Knight that peel the ears should thou to the rushing river below. At which point, Castle Knight said something unrepeatable here, but paraphrased, was, "Oh, no."

We then left the Sailor and Castle Knight on the shores of the Dan, all alone at midnight. We then drove with our companions of the fraternal order the blue ieat back to Pulpit Hill, went to beddy-bye, slept soundly.

Next morning, after duly attending lectures studiously, we dropped by the complexities of the social club of the fraternal order. There was Sailor and Castle Knight, looking a bit bedraggled, but no worse the wear for the tour. They informed, smilingly and exuberantly, of a night on the sea, from which return was effected to Pulpit Hill that morn having, after awhile rowing, been picked up by a gentleman in a fishing boat, heading south toward Pulpit Hill, who informed them of too personal a tale, that he was going to the beachhead, eclipsing both the sun and moon, in a torturous gargoylismatic blink of braille, to drown his sorrows for the departure of his beloved, the brake-down chorus for his too melodious tune in solitude's sail, Ida. Into the surf he said he would go driving, driving, driving his fishing boat to sea no more.

Well, perhaps it was fate, for, we trust, the good offices of Sailor and Castle Knight that night talked out of an idiomatically desperate departure, unduly dramatic, the gentleman in the fishing boat. That, after all, was probably us, too, if not YOU.

Thus endeth, for today, our fractured, desultory philippic in dithyrambic.

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