Friday, July 14, 1944

The Charlotte News

Friday, July 14, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that American infantry had been halted in their advance toward St. Lo by heavy German self-propelled mobile artillery fire, but were holding their positions two miles from the town. From the west of St. Lo to the sea, the Americans had moved to within just over a mile of Lessay, from which the Germans were withdrawing in orderly fashion. Between St. Lo and Lessay, the bulge in the American line toward Carentan had been nearly eliminated and straightened, as the troops took Auxais, Les Champs de Losque, Ex-Aubris, and La Vincenterle. All of the ground was being taken from the Germans grudgingly against strong resistance.

On Bastille Day, French troops in Italy led a drive which captured Poggibonsi, 21 miles from Florence, in the Elsa River Valley, in between Leghorn and Arezzo.

American forces to the west captured the villages of Pastina and San Luce, 13 miles southwest of Leghorn. Pastina was taken only after street fighting. Hand to hand bayonet fighting and grenade exchanges had repulsed a German counter-attack north of Pastina. Japanese-American troops of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team threatened to outflank enemy positions along both major routes to Leghorn between the coast and Era Valley. The town of Terricciola was now threatened, by way of flanking Leghorn.

In British New Guinea, the trapped 45,000 Japanese troops seeking to break out had been stopped 21 miles from Aitape, but only after particularly brutal fighting with heavy casualties likely on both sides, though no details were yet available. A large-scale battle appeared in the offing, with the Japanese moving strategically, not in banzai fashion.

Admiral Nimitz announced that, among the 15,000 Japanese dead on Saipan, was Vice-Admiral Chuichi Nagumo, who died July 7. Admiral Nagumo had directed the attack on Pearl Harbor. Admiral Nimitz also announced the ninth straight day of Navy Task Force 58 attacks on Guam, while planes attacked enemy positions on Tinian.

In Russia, the Germans announced the abandonment of Pinsk, 200 miles from Warsaw, and the Russians proclaimed that they had twice broken through into Grodno, 20 miles from the Suwalki Triangle of East Prussia. Several Russian forces were within 20 miles of Kaunas in Lithuania. The Russians had captured Wilno the previous day, finding there 8,000 dead Germans. Five thousand more were taken as prisoners.

About 500 American bombers attacked Budapest and four oil refineries in Hungary. Bad weather hindered bombing operations in support of the Normandy front.

Lt. General Ben Lear replaced Lt. General Lesley McNair as commander of Army Ground Forces at Army headquarters at the Pentagon.

Indications out of Turkey were that the formerly neutral country would sever all ties with Germany. Turkey had already ceased trading with the Nazis in chrome, and about 50 percent of its overall trade, but still supplied some oil, silk, wool, seeds, food, and other war essentials.

Representative Charles Halleck of Illinois, who had delivered the nominating speech for Wendell Willkie at the 1940 Republican convention, stated his belief that Mr. Willkie would endorse Governor Dewey. Mr. Willkie, for his part, laughed at the statement, indicating that he had not spoken to Mr. Halleck in over two years.

Former Governor O. Max Gardner of Shelby was designated the floor manager for the coordination of the effort to obtain for Governor J. Melville Broughton the vice-presidential nomination at the Democratic convention the ensuing week. He would be assisted by Raleigh attorney Willis Smith, who would in 1950 defeat University of North Carolina president Frank Porter Graham for the Senate, with Mr. Smith's campaign managed by Jesse Helms in a particularly outrageous race-baiting manner.

Former Governor Clyde R. Hoey, also of Shelby, Democratic nominee for the Senate, would place Governor Broughton's name into nomination. General arrangements for the nomination would be under the direction of Monroe Redden.

On the editorial page, "Fish" tells of the Hawaiian tourism department having sent out a pamphlet which contained the name of the world's smallest fish: humuhumunukunukuapua'a. (Warning to the squeamish: the link may be too much to handle for those over age 12. If so, you can cut the li'l pilchard's corrupter of words with this herring. "Dismount thy tuck. Be yare in thy preparation." The riddle solved seems to be, by Jove, L-L-O-V, malevolently omitted in errant peroration, or, perhaps, L-O-V-L, trying to get to the Little Big Horn, June, 1977--be there. It'll do you no harm.)

Spell it correctly after looking at it for five seconds and win the prize: one free humuhumunukunukuapua'a.

"Liberation" reports of the withdrawal of German forces from Norway to fight on other European fronts while Russian forces were reported to be moving into Northern Norway to take out the remaining German forces there. It appeared therefore that at least one country in Europe might be liberated with relatively little effort and loss of life.

"Living Green" comments favorably on the suggestion of a North Carolina forester that the state name forests as living memorials for the veterans coming back from the war.

You could call one Northern Songs and the other, Norwegian Wood. At least that is what the humuhumunukunukuapua'a suggested.

"Discretion" remarks on the fact of political life among Southerners as exampled by the worst fire-eaters among them, the South Carolinians, who had at their last meeting, before departing as a delegation for the Chicago Democratic convention, voted to support a fourth term for President Roosevelt, setting aside finally all differences and threats to revolt the party in the wake of the Allwright Supreme Court decision of April, mandating black voting in state-sponsored primaries.

For these atavists on race questions had one thing in common, worse than fear of the black man, fear of the power of the Yankee Republican.

So they had merely resolved to "stay and fight" against any undesirable demands by blacks while generally being prepared to support the Administration for re-election.

1798, Canning, Ballynahinch v, in Anti-Jacobin, 9 July, "Tho' they still took an ell when we gave them an inch."

"No Change" finds the Republicans, as in the previous two elections, alienating anti-New Deal Republicans with vague foreign policy statements, this time appearing to so hamstring the process of approving post-war membership in an international peace organization, by requiring approval by two-thirds of the Senate, that, as after World War I, there would ultimately be rejection of the idea and, with it, the seeds of another world war planted for twenty years down the road.

"China" writes prophetically of whether the liberation of China from the grip of Japan would lead to civil war in China. It was time, says the piece, with the Japanese defenses beginning to crumble, to gauge the mettle of Chiang's leadership and whether he could build and maintain a respected government in the country after the war.

The editorial picks up on a similar theme addressed the prior Monday by Drew Pearson.

Marquis Childs comments on the foreordained draft by the Democratic Convention of FDR and the skillful handling of the announcement on Tuesday. Now, the only challenge ahead for Robert Hannegan, Democratic National Chairman, was to avoid a bloody scrap at the convention for the choice of vice-presidential nominee, to be left to the convention. That which was to be avoided was the floor fight which divided Democrats fatally in 1924, taking then 103 ballots to nominate the dark horse candidate John W. Davis, whose strong stands for civil rights for blacks had alienated much of the South.

The President's daughter Anna, reports Mr. Childs, staying at the White House, had been instrumental in the decision of her father to accept the draft. Supporters of Vice-President Wallace were making entreaties of her to intervene with her father to keep the Vice-President on the ticket.

Dorothy Thompson writes critically of the amendment to the Hatch Act sponsored by Senator Robert Taft of Ohio, which had forbade providing at Government expense any sort of political literature to soldiers which might influence them in the upcoming Federal election. Among the books banned were The Republic by historian Charles Beard and a study of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Yankee from Olympus, by Catherine Drinker Bowen. Ms. Thompson concludes that only the most docile, non-controversial work, such as comic books, could be distributed by the base libraries to soldiers. Such censorship smacked of Goebbels and constituted an absurd insult to the American soldier's ability to think independently for himself.

Drew Pearson tells of the efforts behind the scenes to obtain soundings among the Democratic Party faithful anent placing Wendell Willkie on the Democratic ticket. Southerners approved the move. It would swing many moderate Republican votes to the Democratic column and thus appeared astute politically. It also would, in wartime, suggest a unified bipartisan government, similar to that of President Lincoln in choosing in 1864 Andrew Johnson, a Democrat from Tennessee, as his running mate on the Union ticket, replacing incumbent Vice-President Hannibal Hamlin.

It was circulating that Governor Dewey's handlers had made a serious mistake at the Republican convention by excluding Wendell Willkie, who had wanted to participate and help shape the platform. His absence was conspicuous, breaking with tradition to have the previous party nominee provide an address.

Mr. Pearson next turns to the "brave sons" of Senator W. Lee O'Daniel, so described by their father and stated, during one of his recent speeches inaugurating his third-party campaign for the presidency, as being away from home fighting in the war. Son Pat, it turned out, was stationed near Washington, often visited his father at his luxurious apartment in the Hotel Washington. Pat had been given, mysteriously, an unusual three opportunities to pass officers candidate school, the third time being the charm. Most were excluded after failing on the first try. The other son, Mike, was also stationed near Washington and had just been transferred to an undisclosed location. Both sons headed the Senator's new newspaper which attacked without restraint the Administration.

Among the concluding "Merry-Go-Round" items in the column is that the end of shoe rationing was not a welcome prospect for shoe dealers at this juncture because they had invested in a stock of cheap, non-rationed shoes which they were afraid of being unable to sell at war's end.

Hal Boyle reports from St. Sauveur Le Vicomte in France of five French youths, age 20 and 21, who had, rather than submit to being compelled into labor camps in Germany, hid in the Bois De Limors, the woods nearby the village, staying there for four months before the Allied invasion, camping out in a woodcutter's abandoned cabin. German soldiers came by several times, but the young men convinced them that they were cutting wood for the German Army and so were left alone.

When the invasion came, they headed back toward the town, meeting lost American paratroopers along the way, whom they guided to a rendezvous with the others of their outfit. The Americans were provided garlands of flowers by the French girls when they got to town, garlands which the soldiers, chary of offending their hosts, had to have removed from their necks by the French youths as they guided them in boats across the marshes.

These young Frenchmen were eager, themselves, to fight the Nazis and awaited only General De Gaulle's arrival before enlisting in the French Army.

And, today, we read on the front page of The New York Times two stories in juxtaposition, one on a former Beatle playing Yankee Stadium at age 69; the other on Ms. Bachmann, running for president. We don't what it means, but surely something it must.

Look with thine Era; and, also, to thy division, General Pickett, sirrah.

1837, Carlyle, The French Revolution, II, I, ix. 58 "...[T]earful women wetting whole ells of cambric in concert..."

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