Monday, July 24, 1944

The Charlotte News

Monday, July 24, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that American forces of the Second and Fourth Marines of the Fifth Amphibious Corps, led by Major General Harry Schmidt, had invaded Tinian in the Marianas at dawn on Sunday, to go along with the proceeding invasion of Guam, 130 miles to the south. Tinian, from which the Enola Gay would take off a little over a year hence with its fateful load bound for Hiroshima, was only three to four miles south of Saipan. The invasion had been supported by a carrier task force, presumably Task Force 58, as well as by planes flying from Saipan. Tinian was not rugged and mountainous as Guam and Saipan, but had plateaus which would allow strong Japanese resistance.

On Guam, American casualties had reached 1,958 in three days of fighting, as the forces closed in on Port Apra.

General MacArthur earlier had announced the sinking of an hundred-foot Japanese vessel, 70 miles off Mindanao by the Navy on Saturday, the first mention of the Philippines in any of his communiques since the fall of Corregidor, May 6, 1942. It appeared to be a prelude to more important news of airstrikes to come on the Philippines.

The Russians had advanced twenty miles since midnight to capture abandoned Siedlice and Jaraslaw in Poland, placing them east of Warsaw by a mere 50 miles. On Saturday, the reports had indicated they were still 90 miles from the Polish capital.

Fighting was ongoing inside Lwow and Lublin. The Russians had bypassed both Lwow and Brest-Litovsk, with only surrounded German remnants in each doomed city.

The Germans claimed to be counter-attacking between Brest-Litovsk and Kaunas, losing two more generals in the process. The Russians announced the capture of a third and the killing of a fourth general since the previous midnight.

Other Russian forces were within 25 miles of the Vistula River, 115 miles from Krakow, 74 miles from Riga, 10 miles from Bialystok, 15 miles from Stanislawow in the Carpathian foothill approaches to Czechoslovakia, 150 miles from Silesia, 125 miles from Memel, and two hours marching time from East Prussia, the border of which was roughly eight miles distant.

In Italy, the Fifth Army had taken the southern portion of Pisa on the southern banks of the Arno River, albeit not yet crossing the Arno, encountering some German resistance along the river line. Other columns pushed north from captured Poggibonsi to take Strada, twelve miles from Florence. Still other units crossed the Arno Canal to occupy Cascina, ten miles to the east of Pisa.

In the upper Arno Valley, the Eighth Army gained territory north of the river, clearing Terranuova and coming close to Mount Marciano. The British moved three miles in the upper Tiber Valley after capturing Citta Di Castello. East of the Tiber Valley, the Germans still held the Saint Ubaldo Monastery at Gubbio, with its claimed hostages of 300 women and children, previously described by one report the previous week as a hoax.

From Normandy, Lloyd Stratton, who had covered World War I for the Associated Press, the overseas branch of which he was now president, and had received the Croix de Guerre in the earlier war, reported that the equipment massed on each side of the lines in Normandy far exceeded that which he had observed at any point during World War I. Nevertheless, the infantry remained the most important fighting force in the war.

The French section of the town of St. Gingolph along the border with Switzerland had been razed by the Nazis, as 350 women, children, and elderly men fled across the Swiss border via a stream running by the town. Some were seriously injured by the S.S. firing upon them as they flung themselves into the stream. The action was in retaliation for alleged Resistance activity.

Some 500 American bombers attacked from both England and Italy targets in southern Germany, southern France, northern Italy, and Yugoslavia, dropping 2,800 tons of bombs on Kiel on the Baltic in Germany and bombing Bucharest in Rumania.

The RAF struck targets in northern France, as cloud cover continued to hamper operations over Normandy.

In Normandy itself, where the weather was not only wet but cold, only two actions took place. The British pressed into the western side of Troarn, meeting stiff resistance before falling back to the railway station, and also took ground west of newly recaptured Maltot, south of Caen. Emieville to the east of Caen was also captured on Sunday.

On the Lessay to St. Lo front, the American forces were pushed back to the north bank of the Seves River in the vicinity of Periers, after having driven across it on Saturday to within two miles of the only remaining Nazi-held point on the salient.

Allied staff officers estimated that Rommel had lost some 150,000 soldiers thus far in Normandy, 60,000 of whom were Allied prisoners, 50,549 of whom were captured by the Americans. The Americans had killed a few more than 9,000 German soldiers, with another approximately 45,000 wounded.

A piece reports that relative distances to Berlin from the three fronts were 365 miles from the Russian front, 610 miles from the Italian front, and 630 miles from Troarn in Normandy.

A report identified Maj. General Heinz Brandt and Col. General Guenther Korten, a chief of the Luftwaffe general staff, as having died from Thursday's attempt on Hitler's life at the Wolf's Lair near Rastenburg in East Prussia, still not identified as the locus of the attack. The Associated Press reported that the Himmler purge had thus far not touched the principals of the conspiracy. The Nazis had eliminated one of the principal collaborators whose purpose was to act as a double for the Fuehrer and whose name initially had been given as "Berger", now identified as Heinrich Bergher.

Hitler had ordered that the German Army salute, the traditional armed services salute, be replaced with the Nazi salute henceforth to insure loyalty. The standard salute to the helmet was now replaced by the limp wrist in the air.

On the editorial page, "Unthoughtful" criticizes parents of children from polio stricken communities during one of the worst summers for the epidemic on record, with most of its cases having arisen in North Carolina, most in the vicinity of Hickory. The parents were sending their children out of the infected communities to spend time in other areas of the state not infected. The problem was that by doing so, the parents were neglecting to consider that their own children might be carriers and infect with the virus other communities which might otherwise remain healthy.

The week's issue of Life carried a story of the outbreak and its need for quarantine of the infected children, showing the pitiful victims in the area of Hickory, most of whom, however, fortunately were expected with treatment to regain their health without the most deleterious effects from the disease which could, in its worst forms, attack the central nervous system and cause muscular paralysis, just as it had to Franklin Roosevelt in the summer of 1921.

The Salk vaccine, developed in 1955 and administered to about two-thirds of the country by 1957, virtually eradicated the disease in the United States.

Because the Roosevelt dime has for decades been taken for granted as the 1946 replacement for the old Mercury dimes, it is not readily realized that the reason for the placement of President Roosevelt's likeness on the dime--which we have always thought looks more like that of President Truman--was because he had been a principal mover in initiating the March of Dimes to aid in research and treatment of Polio.

"Free Press" remarks on the fact published by the American Newspaper Publishers' Association that Americans spent over half a billion dollars annually on the purchase of newspapers, indicative of its centrality to American life.

Now, however, of course, with the combined forces of 24-hour news channels during the past thirty years, expanded to several networks during the previous 18 or so, plus the internet, gradually coming into greater usage during the past fifteen years, daily newsprint on the kitchen table increasingly is no longer a staple of American households. There is very little reason to hold a newspaper if one has access to a computer and the internet where there is a variety of newspaper and other periodical sources from around the world at one's beck—no pun meant.

Whether the print medium will disappear entirely in another twenty-five years is a question, which more probably than not has an affirmative answer.

Of course, there is also the concomitant that the more "informed" the society has become, the dumber it has inevitably and indubitably gotten, that is, assuming we equate fascism with stupidity, which we do and hopefully you do, too. That sometimes can happen when morons obtain more information than they can process and thus conclude each day thinking that they are mental giants when in fact they are dumber than when they started the day, vested as they are only on the meat of tv news, getting fatter in the head, leaner in the mind, as they do so. It is always best not to allow one's brain to run faster than one's ability to process data. Take home tests on news programs after each viewing, we suggest. Then keep the results, have family contests, and try to remember beyond yesterday's news, and concentrate on stories which do not involve other people's underwear or who murdered who, when, where. You will be happier and feel much safer. You will also realize that it is not us who are threatening you, but you.

"Snake Shiver" suggests that the saw that a rattlesnake, if probed long enough with a pole, would become so agitated as to bite itself and die, whether true or apocryphal, nevertheless appeared to be manifesting itself within Germany.

And so it was.

"Subsidy" discusses the future of railroads as set forth in an article appearing in Railway Age, the trade journal of the railroads, which had plumped for the notion of either subsidies for the railroads, with which to build stations and terminals, similar to the publicly financed airports and bus and truck terminals, or the termination of the public funding for these facilities of the competitors of the railroads. The railroads were not desirous of the subsidies but could foresee no other option by which to achieve parity of competition.

Of course, insofar as passenger rail traffic, the government would have to take over the failing railroad system by means of the establishment of Amtrak in 1971. (You have to figure that if they can't even spell their name correctly, there is something likely off the tracks. Is it any wonder that about half the country or more can barely spell monosyllabic words correctly, even sometimes those who have been to four years of college?)

One of these days, the country might get wise and divest itself, by necessity, of its courtship of the individual automobile and do what Japan has pioneered, development of a bullet train which travels at 200 mph or more—one of these days, when the tides come in to St. Louis from each coast, in about thirty or forty years.

"Face Slap" suggests that the slaps to the various minority interests within the Democratic tent at the convention, orchestrated by Bosses Hague of Jersey City, Flynn of New York, and Kelly of Chicago, keeping the Southerners from obtaining their goals, blacks from obtaining theirs, and the CIO Political Action Committee from obtaining theirs, with the nomination of Harry Truman instead of Henry Wallace, would likely go far to unify the party, rather than to disintegrate it. That each of these key groups did not have their wishlists fulfilled and yet did not come away from the convention pouting about the privation was signal of a party likely to come together in the fall to re-elect President Roosevelt to a fourth term.

Of course, the apparent failing of these interests to achieve their desires would not be so clear as was conventionally thought. As President, Harry Truman would be more liberal in expanding the New Deal into the Fair Deal and expanding civil rights between the races than any of his predecessors, including FDR, even if President Roosevelt had laid the groundwork in a recalcitrant country, unwilling to understand its most simple and basic founding principles, equal justice and opportunity and rights for all, every citizen, not just those who fancy themselves, quite insanely, to be descended of royalty.

Drew Pearson discusses the role of the big city bosses at the Democratic convention in their ultimate swaying of the delegates to Harry Truman after they let it be known that FDR had stated his preference for Senator Truman even over Vice-President Wallace. The fact that Senator Truman was, himself, a product of Tom Pendergast's Kansas City machine, was irritating to many delegates who had come to town believing that the convention would select the vice-presidential nominee. Senate Majority Leader Alben Barkley, who wanted the nomination for himself and who nominated FDR for the fourth term, threatened to withdraw his nomination, but eventually was cajoled by Democratic National Committee chairman Robert Hannegan back into the fold.

Despite Senator Truman's reputation for scrupulous honesty, he was still seen by many as a potential problem, a perfect foil for Thomas Dewey, who had made his political reputation on organized crime busting, to exploit during the general campaign.

Mr. Pearson next indicates that, should the President win, there would be numerous resignations in the Cabinet by the older members, Secretary of State Cordell Hull, Secretary of War Henry Stimson, and Secretary of Commerce Jesse Jones, each at least 70 years old. Likely also to go were Labor Secretary Frances Perkins, who had wished to resign at the beginning of term three, Treasury Secretary Robert Morgenthau, who had been in poor health, and newly appointed Navy Secretary James Forrestal.

He concludes with the report that Representative Adolph Sabath of Illinois had maintained as secret since May the President's private indication to him that he would run for the fourth term, the Congressman having urged him to do so to maintain continuity of leadership at the war and peace tables.

Samuel Grafton reflects on the two party conventions just ended in Chicago after four weeks and finds it remarkably American in tradition, that parties in Europe met privately as clubs and were not the big-tent shows of America.

The Republicans, however, needed to check themselves, he thought, against becoming too exclusive. Many Republican newspapers had suggested that the Democrats should have been dismissive of the CIO Political Action Committee. Mr. Grafton instead suggests that the Republicans should be more receptive to labor and other such important organizations and movements within the society.

Marquis Childs also looks at the Democratic convention, from the perspective of the disappointed vice-presidential candidates, especially James Byrnes, having come to Chicago with high hopes of being the nominee for the second spot. Quickly, those hopes had been dashed by the President's statement of his second choice to Vice-President Wallace being Harry Truman and his third choice being Justice William O. Douglas, whereupon Mr. Byrnes got the message and promptly withdrew his name from consideration.

The whole affair could have been handled with greater political etiquette and dexterity, suggests Mr. Childs. Many blamed Robert Hannegan, Democratic National Committee chairman. The President had shown complete indifference to the whole affair, but it was unclear whether it was the result of a true lack of interest or whether simply because of the pressing daily duties of attention to the war. It was possible to be cynical about the attitude and posit that the President merely had taken the posture most likely to achieve victory, that of the unconcerned, unambitious, drafted warrior. But, he adds, that would be to overlook the President's demonstrated greatness during the war.

Regardless, Mr. Childs predicts that the President inexorably would have to direct the orchestra as maestro at some point during the campaign and retreat from his lofty perch on Mount Olympus.

Hal Boyle reports from Normandy on an ongoing tank battle between a unit of American Sherman tanks and German tanks. The Germans were so low on gas, reported prisoners, that the soldiers were using their immobilized tanks as pillboxes. The outfit from which he reported had destroyed nine tanks in one day, with other units in the sector adding another seven by nightfall. The Nazis finally went to bed. But not before making a third counter-offensive effort. The German troops were seasoned veterans of the Russian front and did not give up easily.

The hero to the Americans was Lt. Alfred Williams of Kentucky, a young tank commander who would move right down the road toward a German 88, as it was flanked from both sides, and destroy it. He kept the road clear. The Nazis did not get past Williams.

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