Saturday, July 1, 1944

The Charlotte News

Saturday, July 1, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Americans on Cherbourg had taken most of Cap De La Hague to the northwest of the port, having captured the German stronghold at Greville and reached Omonville La Rogue and Omonville La Petite.

Other American forces drove to within 2.5 miles of St. Lo, reaching La Forge.

During a twelve-hour period, the British repulsed four small attacks by the Germans against the Odon River bridgehead in the area of Caen on the west flank of the British lines, the fourth of the attacks hitting Grainville-sur-Odon. The Germans were probing the British lines for weak spots before committing large numbers of troops, but the actions had proved costly. Eleven German tanks were destroyed in both ground and air operations, bringing the total to 153 knocked out by the British since D-Day. The Americans had eliminated another 180.

An unusual RAF attack, dropping 1,100 tons of bombs in a concentrated area, leveled the village of Villers Bocage, from which the Nazis had been launching attacks on the British left flank approaching Caen.

Reports had it that Field Marshal Rommel had taken personal command at the Normandy front after it had been announced the previous day that Col. General Friedrich Dollman, commander of the German Seventh Army, had been killed.

More deadly V-1's indiscriminately struck Southern England, occurring in increased frequency following dawn.

Bad weather had curtailed air activity since the previous night, but RAF bombers struck rail centers at Vierzon in France, 48 miles south of Orleans. Other forces supported the fighting front on Normandy, as Mosquitos again attacked Homberg's synthetic oil plant in Germany, as earlier in the week. Sixteen planes in all were lost in these raids.

The day before, American bombers had struck airfields in France while the RAF attacked the area around Pas-de-Calais.

In Italy, the Fifth Army advanced, to within 17 miles of Leghorn after repulsing a German attack near Cecina, taking Guardistallo, six miles to the east, and Casale, five miles southeast. The French moved forward another mile, to within six miles of Siena from the south, capturing Buonconvento and San Giovanni in the Lake Trasimeno area.

On the Adriatic front, the Eighth Army had crossed the Chienti River at several points, as the Germans retreated to the Musone River, ten miles south of Ancona.

Admiral Nimitz reported that American casualties on Saipan, since the landings June 12, had reached 9,752, of whom 1,474 had been killed, 7,400 wounded, and 878 missing, the largest number of American casualties suffered yet of any force in the Pacific in one operation. The Japanese had suffered at least 4,951 soldiers killed in the fighting.

Still, less than half the island was in American possession. The Americans had captured a fourth of Garapan, the largest town, and had patrols operating in its other sectors not yet under Allied control. The Japanese were fighting especially hard to protect this vital area from use by the Americans as a bombing base from which to strike the Philippines and the Japanese mainland.

In China, the Japanese had begun on June 28 their advance northward from Canton to join the forces advancing southward of Hengyang on the Hankow-Canton railway. Fighting for Hengyang was underway. The joining of these forces would seal off from American landings on the Chinese coast an area stretching a thousand miles inland and would also neutralize several American air bases being used in China.

In Russia, the stragglers of a retreating and demoralized Wehrmacht were entering Minsk, outflanked by the Russians from the northwest, as the battle reached the outskirts of the city. Hundreds of Germans surrendered before reaching the city. The Russians were approaching from three directions, the northeast, east, and southeast. The Germans appeared to be forming a stand in the heavily fortified White Russian capital.

Street fighting was taking place between the Russians and Germans in Borisov, northeast of Minsk.

In Denmark, as Nazis tried to break a two-day general strike, rioting broke out in the streets of Copenhagen. One report indicated that German planes had strafed the strikers. At least 700 people had been killed, with another 400 hospitalized, most having been hurt in the street fighting. The strike was said to have virtually shut down the city. The Germans closed the harbor to exclude foreign traffic.

And, striking, no doubt, stultifying fear into the ears of millions of New Yorkers, all seven of whom immediately moved to St. Louis, a Berlin correspondent for Ya, a German newspaper in Madrid, warned that the Nazis would soon be launching V-1's upon New York either from submarines parked off the coast or by sending robotic submarines containing explosives into New York Harbor. (Yeah, the British answer to the newspaper, called it rubbish.)

What someone said in the Bronx was unprintable, but sounded as "faux queue".

On the editorial page, "Satisfactory" finds from Raleigh the Democrats of North Carolina happy with the Republican convention, speaking as it had in vapid generalities in its foreign policy plank and essentially echoing the New Deal in domestic policy, vowing only to administer it more efficiently. They bet that the performance would leave the country cold and that FDR would roll to a fourth term.

They expressed also, however, a desire to dump Vice-President Wallace from the ticket, that doing so would improve FDR's chances of being re-elected, especially in the South.

But, generally, they were relieved that the Republicans had not set forth an agenda of liberal policies which might have eclipsed the New Deal and garnered thereby the support of disaffected Democrats.

"The Women" discusses the assertion of Emily Taft Douglas, Democratic candidate for Congress from Illinois, that women, comprising 60% of the eligible voters in the country, had within their power the majority control of the commonweal, to determine the structure of the peace.

She stressed that there would be no passing of the buck onto men this time, with the always previous assumption in tow that men determined wars and peace. No longer was it so.

Ms. Douglas, wife of Senator Paul Douglas, would win the seat and serve for one term. She defeated Republican Stephen A. Day, the incumbent, isolationist darling of the Chicago Tribune.

"Shrines" remarks that, with $100,000 earmarked by the State to restore Tryon Palace, the royal digs of Governor Tryon in New Bern, calls from other parts of the state were being heard to save and repair some of its many historic buildings, the Bath church, Salem Tavern, where George Washington spent the night, and Governor Zebulon Vance's home.

Yet Charlotte, contending its place as the seat of American independence, albeit a seat contested by historians as apocryphal, appeared not very interested in preserving its past. The Phifer House, where the Confederacy had dissolved at the end of the Civil War, was gone. The spot where Jefferson Davis stood and read the telegram aloud announcing the death of President Lincoln was largely forgotten, the sidewalk-embedded marker trod to near obliteration. The place where the Mecklenburg Resolves had been signed, reputed to have declared independence from the Crown, was no more, marked only by a simple plaque.

Only the Mint had been saved, to become an art museum.

Since, about a decade or so ago, some of the citizens did get together and save from the wrecking ball the old Frederick, where Cash wrote and edited a bunch of the final text for The Mind of the South, between early 1938 and July, 1940, not to mention formulated the basis in his mind for many of his brilliant and perspicacious editorials for The News in the same period and through May, 1941. So, generationally, perhaps, Mecklenburgers are improving in the department of historic preservation, even if posited at the time on saving a local exemplar of art-deco architecture as much or more than anent any special preservation of Cash's writing nook. No one, after all, would wish, by so stressing, to offend the Neanderthalics.

They also have the NASCAR museum, now.

"Miracles" gives praise to the advances in medical science made since World War I, citing the statistic provided by the Navy that by June 22, of the 1,500 men of the Navy who had been wounded during the invasions of Normandy, only 13 had died from those wounds.

"Of Ohio" tells of the Republicans pinning their hopes on the home state of Governor Bricker, hence his nomination for the second spot on the ticket. The electoral rich state, with 25 votes, as many as California, fourth largest in size of delegation, behind only New York with 45, Pennsylvania with 35, and Illinois with 28, (omitting Texas with 26), would be a prize plum for the Republicans, one which would go a long way in deciding the election, especially given that Ohio had always been a bellwether state; as it had gone, so had the nation.

And, Ohio had been leaning Republican in its elections for Governor and Congressmen for the previous several years, with FDR having received a smaller majority in 1940 than in 1936.

"Henriot" finds in the assassination by the Resistance of Philippe Henriot, Vichy Minister of Information who had helped to sell out France to the Germans, a warning to other such Vichy officials that their time was growing short should they be caught by the Resistance before surrendering to the Allies. The French Partisans were impatient to exact their vengeance after four years of despotism.

In this instance, they had accomplished their swift and certain justice with machineguns, fired in the presence of M. Henriot's wife in their bedroom at the Ministry of Information.

More such episodes, the piece predicts, would follow.

Samuel Grafton expresses considerable misgivings as to how Tom Dewey became the Republican nominee, given that he did not campaign, and especially given that the vote was accomplished in the end by near unanimity, save for one delegate who had cast his lot with General MacArthur.

The process, soporific in its effect, was seemingly accomplished in an hypnotic trance, with all other candidates in the field having dropped from the contest, only Governor Bricker having conducted a traditional campaign prior to the convention.

The Democrats undoubtedly would be equally dry and strictly about business but there was reason for it in that instance, given FDR's vast appeal among Democrats and the fact of his 11 years in office.

By contrast, the Republicans were blasé about Governor Dewey, had taken him only as a practical vehicle by which victory might be achieved in November.

"[T]here is something slightly unnatural here, something a little bizarre."

Kid, you ain't seen nothin' yet.

Marquis Childs finds Governor Earl Warren's timing of the announcement of his withdrawal of his name from consideration for the vice-presidential nomination, occurring only on Wednesday, not on Monday at his initial press conference, to have been less than artfully handled. The fact that he did not want the nomination was more understandable, as his advisors had instructed that should he run and lose, he would be finished in politics. Finishing the remaining two years of his first term as Governor of California would enable him to aid the utilization of the great economic empire which had accumulated in the state during the war, and resist competition from the East to dissolve some of this new wealth and redistribute it throughout the country.

In the end, Governor Bricker was a more natural choice for the delegates anyway, even more so than Governor Dewey, the slick Easterner. Governor Bricker was a more traditional Republican candidate, staid, conservative, Midwestern.

Drew Pearson writes another open letter to his sister, the third since the previous fall, this time providing his observations of the Republican convention, dull, prosaic, unable to fill the seats even for the keynote address the opening day by Governor Warren. The party would have benefited, he offers, from more open dissent. Opposition is good for the democracy; the New Deal would have benefited from more opposition during its early years.

He had hooked up with his brother-in-law, in Army training in Illinois, and expressed the hope that the evasive language of the Republican foreign policy plank would prove more decisive as time went on in the campaign. For, as things stood, he wondered whether the old men who had informed this plank, some of whom had served in neither of the World Wars, really grasped the gravity of their task, to see to it that the children would not have to grow up only to fight another such war somewhere down the road--not just whether they could draft a plank enough lacking in specificity that it might be neutralized in time by a Senate rejection of membership in a post-war international organization, a rejection carefully engineered by a Republican President, as President Harding had stage-managed in 1921.

Dick Young once again appears on the Saturday editorial page, telling of the new policy of the Charlotte Police Department, urged by the City Manager, to follow up on crime reports, providing victims routine progress statements, whether anything of note had occurred in the investigation or not.

Tom Jimison writes of the old time mountain celebration of July Fourth during his early years in the hills of North Carolina. Then, he tells, it was a true celebration of liberty and independence, usually begun with a concoction of mountain dew, consumed straight, no chaser. Then came the rolling out of the Confederate memorabilia, then Old Glory and speeches galore, causing everyone to whoop and holler so loud as to make the welkin ring.

He didn't care much for the Four Freedoms, because Freedom was Freedom, whole or nothing. Dividing it into four parts, he had determined, was somehow suggestive of limiting the notion and he just couldn't cotton to it.

Well, we don't think that President Roosevelt had parsing in mind when he coined the phrase in his address to the Congress in January, 1941, or that the Allies meant quite that in adopting the language for the Atlantic Charter in August, 1941. And, we would lay odds that Bishop Jimison likewise understood it that way.

But, he makes a valid point nevertheless. Start parsing freedom, analyzing it, as our courts have done, especially when directed to limit the most precious of our freedoms, that protected by the First Amendment, and you sure enough will lose it. For to parse it and say that, in certain situations, we have freedom, while in others, not quite so much, that we have to be polite and civil, when civility is determined only subjectively by some red-eyed predatory birds out to stifle democracy in action for their own avarice, monetary or political, or because they don't like someone's hair, is to cause one to have to stop and think before exercising that freedom. And then it is not truly free expression, is it now?

So, we wholeheartedly agree with Mr. Jimison, even if the President was only asserting a broader concept of Freedom than most people of the time considered the ideal to embrace, and stretching the concept to be inclusive of the world, not just the nation.

As Chief Justice Harlan Stone was quoted on the page as saying, "Above and beyond the expedients of military and political arrangements for policing a disorderly world, we must place our ultimate reliance upon our capacity to teach men the truth and their willingness to seek truth wherever the truth may lead."

Without freedom freely practiced, there can be no such truth seeking or finding, only an attenuated version, edited for television. But we do not live in or for or by the rules of commercial television, appealing ultimately only to selling us cornflakes and making certain the lowest common denominator among the viewers are appeased. If we did, we would, indeed, be considered a Fascist country.

Have a safe and happy Fourth of July, exercise your freedom freely, but, in so doing, consume no mountain dew, or any other thing of which, upon consuming, you could not read the label afterward for another twelve hours or so. Remember Thomas Thetcher's tombstone.

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