Monday, July 17, 1944

The Charlotte News

Monday, July 17, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Americans in Normandy had advanced to within 1.25 miles of the heart of St. Lo, entering the suburb of St. Croix De-Lo, encountering increasingly stiff German resistance. Taking of the town promised several more days of difficult battle. Evidence had been discovered of a network of tunnels and underground fortresses which had been dug by the Germans during the previous two years to protect the strategic town, recognized as a key highway center since the days of Charlemagne.

To the north, the doughboys had crossed the Ay River and entered Lessay, described as being ready to fall whenever the American forces decided to take it. The forces also made frontal and slanting attacks on Periers.

The British delivered a two-pronged attack, one aiming southeast and the other southwest, to the southwest of Caen, hitting Evrecy, 7.5 miles southwest of Caen, and Noyers, 4 miles northwest of Evrecy, with the capture of Noyers imminent. In the same bloody triangle between the Odon and Orne Rivers, hand-to-hand fighting was reported in Vendes and Haut Des Forges, the latter of which points had been captured.

Up to 750 American bombers attacked seven river bridges leading to the Normandy front, the Belfort railroad yards in Eastern France, and a V-1 supply dump near Rheims. Clear skies permitted one of the largest support attacks on the front since D-Day.

The RAF the night before had struck a refinery in Homberg as well as railroad facilities in France.

In Italy, the Allies, advancing from captured Arezzo, crossed the Arno River, central barrier to the Gothic Line protecting Florence and Pisa. American forces east of Pisa and Leghorn moved forward through the Era Valley to within 5.5 miles of the Arno River. Other Americans of the Fifth Army captured Monte Maggiore, the heights before Leghorn, reaching Montenero, four miles from Leghorn.

In Russia, the Red Army captured Grodno, 45 miles from the East Prussian border. It was the last major barrier to East Prussia. The Germans fell back to the west bank of the Niemen River along the East Prussian border. Meanwhile, the Russians had already crossed the Niemen at two points, one near Grodno and the other to the north near Alytus. In that latter sector, the Red Army was within 50 miles of East Prussia.

Other Russian forces had moved to within ten miles of Kaunas in Lithuania, capturing Sarsuniskki.

Still other forces moved to within 45 miles of Bialystok and 50 miles of Brest-Litovsk.

In New Guinea, the Allies had firmly established their positions on the west bank of the Driniumor River, halting the attempted escape of the 45,000 Japanese at a position 21 miles east of Aitape. Two Japanese attacks against the line had been repulsed on Friday and Saturday.

Admiral Nimitz announced air and sea attacks on Guam and Rota Saturday for the twelfth straight day. The Admiral also provided details of the air and sea attack on Iwo Jima in the Bonin Islands 725 miles east of Saipan, which had taken place July 13.

Meanwhile, in response to the attack on Guam on Friday, Tokyo radio braodcast that the war situation permitted no moment of optimism.

The President had issued a letter to Democratic Convention Chairman Samuel Jackson, providing his full support for Vice-President Wallace, but it had not yet been made public or presented to the delegates gathering in Chicago for the Democratic Convention set to start Wednesday. Supporters of the Vice-President sought to have the President back up the letter with a public announcement of its contents. The letter endorsed Vice-President Wallace, but also stated that, because of wartime conditions, he would leave the choice finally to the convention.

Meanwhile, backers of War Mobilizer and former Supreme Court Justice James Byrnes, dubbed the "assistant president", were said to be organizing support among delegates for the South Carolinian's possible run for the nomination for vice-president. He had been instrumental in organizing delegates for then Secretary of Agriculture Wallace in 1940.

Mr. Byrnes's supporters would not place his name in nomination, however, unless it was certain that he would have the support of a majority of the delegates on the first ballot.

Senate Majority Leader Alben Barkley, to become the successful 1948 nominee for vice-president, also was being touted as a strong candidate, one who would definitely have his name placed in nomination.

There continued to be no mention of the eventual nominee, Senator Harry Truman.

A Civil Air Patrol parachutist putting on an exhibition to raise money for war bonds, fell 3,500 feet over Adrian, Michigan, and lived to tell the tale. His parachute failed to deploy completely after becoming entangled in its lines. Obviously, it deployed somewhat.

On the editorial page, "Double N" discusses the Nach Niederlage formed in Germany for perpetuating the ideals of Nazism after the war, under the slogan "Join the permanent fight for European freedom." It went by the shortened name "Double N". Their vow was to obtain venegeance on the conquering Allies, to commit sabotage, and find a new Hitler--to exalt and enable as the repository of all their individual consciences, suspending their own individual judgment robotically in favor of the puppetmaster, until, of course, the new Hitler would become as useless and emasculate as the old, thus to be destroyed from within if possible as no longer representative of the incarnation of the supreme deity, the insuperable Aryan Übermensch.

After the Downgoing had already announced that collaborators with the Allies would be given the death penalty.

The piece finds it foolhardy of them to have tipped their hand publicly, for it would only complicate post-war acceptance and trust of Germany.

Query whether the "Double N" persisted into the 1960's, into Dealey Plaza on November 22, 1963, and saw as their final evocation of victory the Triumph of the Will exerted by the entry before the lens of frame 314, making it then Triple N before the Triple Underpass.

"Republicans" expresses admiration for the stalwart quarter-million Republicans of North Carolina, who, come rain or shine, continued to organize and maintain the eternal hope of success, despite none within the state since the days of Reconstruction, if occasionally, as in 1928 when the anti-Catholic Democrats joined them in protest of Al Smith's candidacy, and in 1940, when the anti-FDR forces among Democrats campaigned for Wendell Willkie, obtaining some additional crossover vote in national elections. They were steel-willed, indomitable in spirit, suggests the piece, and thus, if doomed to fail, always respectable for their effort.

"Barbarity" finds it too bad that the Germans had slaughtered a whole French town in punitive retaliation for undergorund activities and that the Japanese had enunciated their intention to execute captured pilots in retaliation for B-29 raids on Japan, both actions just at a time when Americans were expressing a disposition to re-build both countries and disavowal of any intent to wreak vengeance after the war.

Such attitudes of the Axis would only inflame passions in America and make it harder to maintain such restrained attitudes in dealing with the robber nations when hostilities would finally cease.

"Argentina" explores the ramifications to the only remaining fascist country in Latin America at war's end, finds that, despite trends toward restoration of necessarily interdependent trrade relations between the U.S. and Argentina, the taint of its fascist leanings for so long into the war would carry over to its being ostracized within Latin America and within the Americas at large in the post-war world.

It was a reminder that, while it was unlikely Argentina's continued sustenance of such a regime would cause any future war, the prospect of a world completely free of fascism after the war was not going to be realized even within the Western Hemisphere.

"Cotton" explores the dreaded prospect brought on by developments in synthetic fibers of the elimination of a viable market for cotton and wool, but finds that, by equal strokes, the development also within the synthetic industry of a new process through which the life of wool could be extended and one which which enabled wool garments to hold a crease and not shrink, as well as a process to prevent the shine on serge, would lend themselves to cause cotton and wool after all to thrive in the era of synthetics and plastics.

Dorothy Thompson continues her discussion begun Saturday of the question of the form of the new Polish government to be determined soon by the the approach of the Red Army, set to ensue within the coming month, as soon as the Russians took Lublin and Lonzah. Three groups were vying for the leadership of the new Poland, the government-in-exile in London, the Polish underground, and the Union of Polish Patriots orgainzed in Moscow. The latter group was disfavored by Stalin to avoid any taint of a puppet government.

Stalin wanted a truly independent government, one that united all factions in Poland, and one which would immediately take control. He did not want an Allied Military Government as an interim authority. He also intended to provide Poland with an independent army, one already organized in Russia and fighting with the Russians under the leadership of General Berling, no Communist or socialist, having fought with the Poles in 1914.

As to whether the Polish underground would assume the leadership role or whether it would be the London government-in-exile would depend largely on how the latter behaved, as to whether it made too many demands for concessions from the Soviets, although some territorial concessions would likely be in the offing. The underground was said to be ready to assume authority.

Samuel Grafton assesses the concept of morale in military forces, finds it to mean the confident belief that there was still a way to conquer the given problem, that all was not lost. It had nothing to with courage. Cowardly men, dependent on their commanders for achieving their goals, could still have good morale; brave men could believe all was lost. The Japanese on northern Saipan who charged the American lines and were massacred wholesale had lost all morale; else, they would have remained in their foxholes and fought to the last. That they were brave was unquestionable; that they had no morale left was equally undeniable.

So, he asks rhetorically the question of whether the Germans still had high morale. It was not yet known. The way to insure its loss, however, lay in the destruction finally of belief that Hitler could solve the problems of the German soldiers.

Drew Pearson indciates that the anti-FDR forces engaged in the Texas revolt had their seeds in 1936 in Macon, Gerogia, in a group dubbing itself the Southern Committee to Uphold the Constitution, a states' rights organization which was heavily racist and anti-Semitic, led at the time by Governor Gene Talmadge of Georgia and reactionary America Firster Gerald L. K. Smith.

The money for the earlier organization, as revealed at the time in hearings before a committee chaired by then Senator Hugo Black of Alabama, in October, 1937 to become FDR's first appointment to the Supreme Court, had come from Pierre du Pont, Henry du Pont, and Alfred Sloan, chairman of General Motors, with facilitation worked through John J. Raskob. The Du Pont family provided $356,000 in 1936 to various anti-New Deal organizations. Pennsylvania political boss, Joseph Pew, of Sun Oil Co., contributed $37,000 to such causes. Lamar Fleming, head of the Texas cotton partnership, Anderson, Clayton, and co., the partnership of Will Clayton, had also been a heavy contributor to the 1936 movement.

Vance Muse of Houston had acted as the primary arranger of funding for the 1936 revolt, and had gone to the Du Ponts and to General Motors after collecting the money in Houston but finding it insufficient to accomplish the group's purposes.

Will Clayton, until recently in the Administration as the chief post-war liquidator, was among the primary planners of the Texas revolt in 1944, together with the nephew of Commerce Secretary Jesse Jones.

The commonality of playeres involved in each of these two movements, in 1936 and 1944, especially Will Clayton and the Houston oil and cotton interests, indicated the common roots to each movement.

Mr. Pearson speculates as to the role also of the large amount provided Jim Farley by the Coca-Cola Bottling Co. to do ostensibly a promotional tour of the country for Coca-Cola during the winter. Former Postmaster General Farley was one of the chief opponents of a fourth term for the man he was instrumental in helping to achieve both the Governnor's Mansion in New York in 1928 and the White House in 1932, just as he had led a fight against a third term in 1940.

A.B. Freeman, head of the Coca-Cola Bottling Co., which had offices in New Orleans and Chicago, was one of the most virulent Roosevelt haters of the country, indicates Mr. Pearson, and was head of the Byrd-for-President committee.

It was charcteristic of the anti-New Deal movements to provide money to causes which would penetrate the framework of the Democratic Party itself, to seek to undermine FDR from within.

It is important to maintain these movements in mind as having extended in time to the Kennedy years in the early 1960's. Harry Flood Byrd was again promoted as an alternative Democrat in the 1960 election and was the focus of an attempted electoral coup in the South after the close popular vote of the November election.

And, of course, the same issues, race and states' rights, were on the front burner boiling in the South already when President Kennedy assumed office in January, 1961, seething over the 1954 Brown v. Board decision, a consequent perception of a too-liberal U.S. Supreme Court and Federal judiciary generally, the 1956 Montgomery, Ala., bus boycott ignited by the refusal of Rosa Parks to move to the back of the bus to make way for white passengers in accordance with an ordinance, a protest intitiated by Ms. Parks after reading of the brutal slaying by white supremacists in Money, Mississippi of 14-year old Emmett Till for whistling at a white woman, and the 1957 deployment by Presiden Eisenhower of the Army to enforce school desegregation in Little Rock, Arkaasas, highlighting a general perturbation centering around integration of society and social equality finally being recognized by the Federal courts and the Congress as every bit as inherent for blacks as for whites.

Hal Boyle tells of an Austrian immigrant to the U.S. in 1931 fighting with the Americans in Normandy, with five brothers in the German Army. He regularly shouted epithets in German at the Nazis crouching behind the hedgerows. His job was to carry a bazooka and he was an accurate shot with it, had spotted a German in between two hedges and got him with his first attempt.

Mr. Boyle also relates of "Hedgerow Charlie", a German soldier so dubbed by the Americans for his habit of routinely firing several shots at American lines every morning promptly at 4:30, disturbing the soldiers' sleep. He had become a prize quarry therefore of the Americans and, as one remarked, was unlikely to survive much longer.

A news piece on the page indicates that Field Marshal Von Kluge had stated during a Berlin broadcast that the Allies were taxing the strength of the German command structure by the method of war they were employing, that which he dubbed the "security method", meaning that they bombed positions thoroughly before their troops advanced, to minimize losses.

He reiterated Hitler's statement of September 30, 1942, that if he had an enemy who would attack in a predictable manner, he could defeat them. Instead, he was confronted with "military idiots".

The Allies, in other words, were supposed to do what the Germans wanted them to do. Failing that, they were idiots.

The words of Hitler, echoed by Von Kluge remind, more or less, of the words of the rabidly race-baiting Southerners of the 1960's, George Wallace, Lester Maddox, Orval Faubus, Ross Barnett, and their like. They, too, needed a Federal Government which was much more predictable, given to moves towhich their tiny legal minds could make readily boxed response to afford continued circumvention of the Constitution and its plain language insuring in the Fourteeenth Amendment equal rights to all citizens of the United States, an assurance extant since the end of 1865. For the last thing these boxed idiots wanted to do was to think. It was far too painful for their paltry minds.

On the night immediately following the shooting of George Wallace in June 1972, we were listening to a North Carolina country music station broadcasting caller reaction to the event. A man called in, sounding thoroughly liquored-up, hostile, and, after delivering his monologue extolling the righteous virtues of Mr. Wallace and how the lib'rals was all to blame for this here communizing of ever'thing, he said, "There's gonna be a risin' up one these days, ye know?"

The reader may not credit this fact, but the Dorman Smith of the day mentions this song, which was the song on which the theme in 1959 for the original 1960 Ford Falcon, "Hey, Look Me Over", was based, we posit. Regardless, they are similar songs. And per our most usual practice, we did not look ahead to today's page. We did not overlook it, however, obviously, either. There you are: Q.E.D.. Why deny the obvious, child?

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