Tuesday, July 25, 1944

The Charlotte News

Tuesday, July 25, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that, under the cover of 4,000 planes, the British and American forces began a massive push against the German lines in Normandy in the greatest combined ground effort since D-Day. The location of the American drive was withheld in communiques. The British Second Army, heading for open ground good for tank fighting, moved along a four-mile front on the road to Falaise, taking St. Martin De Fontenay and Verrieres, five miles below Caen, encountering stiff German resistance as they went, neverthless gaining between 700 and 1,500 yards. There was fighting ongoing as well for May-sur-Orne and Tilly-La-Campagne.

The air cover included more than 1,500 American heavy bombers, the greatest number of any single mission yet of the war, breaking the record of June 14 when 1,500 heavy bombers attacked targets in Germany and France. The overall force, comprised exclusively of American planes, was also the largest yet assembled for one mission, surpassing the 3,000 planes which had dropped 6,000 tons of bombs on Normandy on July 18.

Russian forces led by tanks and Kuban Cossacks had moved to within less than 50 miles of Warsaw after capturing Lublin and Lukow. The Soviets were less than twenty miles from the Vistula River, the last natural barrier between Poland and Germany. Chaos reportedly had begun to reign inside Poland as steady streams of refugees were now crowding the roads to the west.

Heavy fighting continued inside Lwow, sixty miles to the rear of the van of the Red Army.

The Russians continued their steady advance all along the 400-mile front.

In the wake of the previous Thursday's attempted coup, Hitler announced that Herr Doktor Goebbels would be made commissar of a total war effort in Germany, to complement Herr Himmler's new appointment as commander in chief of the Home Army. Reichsmarshal Hermann Goering would supervise German railways, the postal service, and all public institutions and industries, maintaining order within the non-military sector of the Reich.

This new setup was to replace the old in which all three were assigned to accomplish the same goals, that is total control of German life.

The rattlesnakes were starting to commit suicide.

The Americans had advanced a mile inland on Tinian in the Marianas. The nine landings had occurred with little Japanese resistance, light compared to that encountered on Saipan in mid-June. The Marines had moved 600 yards during the first two hours of operations on Sunday morning. The civilian population had apparently disappeared underground, as had been the case on Saipan.

The forces on Guam meanwhile had isolated another enemy airstrip. American casualties, the day before reported as 1,958, were broken down as 348 killed, 110 missing, and 1,500 wounded through Saturday.

Admiral Ernest King, Navy commander-in-chief, stated that the shake-up in the Japanese Cabinet and removal of Tojo in favor of the new Premier Koiso, signaled a change in strategy by the enemy, that the war effort would either turn more defensive or more aggressive.

In Baltimore, an alert police sergeant spotted some bright new safety pins in a garbage can, knocked on a nearby residence with the intent of returning them, found inside two contrite young women, ages 20 and 22, who admitted that they had stolen suits and dresses worth $400, that the loot was both upstairs and down.

--Safety pins, ladies?

--There's no use denying it.

--What's that?

--They're upstairs and down.


--Well, you caught us.


--Suits and dresses, all $400 worth. Yeah, we stole 'em.

--Yeah. Just one thing.


--Next time, leave in the safety pins. They might save you a long stretch.

On the editorial page, "The Crisis" expresses optimism that Churchill's previous prediction that the war might end in 1944 could come true, that his recent statements in the wake of the attempted coup in Germany, that the Germans were in a state of revolt and that the war could reach a quick climax, might equally any day come true. It was impossible to gauge morale in Germany, to calculate to what degree the revolt had been squelched. But that there was revolt was obvious. That there was a purge was equally obvious, and that the replacement officers were green and devoted Nazis, not the professional military men who no longer had Hitler's trust.

There were differences between the conditions extant in Germany in 1944 and those present in the fall of 1918 when peace suddenly broke out in October and November. The Reichstag was still in session in Germany and there was some degree of freedom of press. The iron grip, by contrast, of Hitler's totalitarian regime could so control the Nazi mindset as to prevent a general uprising among the people and the soldiers, as had occurred with the Kaiser's Navy in generally conducting a mutiny in 1918. So, that there would continue to be war, was probable, even if now under increasingly labored conditions for Germany. Yet, the end was not far away.

"Watchdog" compares the fall from the grace of the Democrats of Vice-President Wallace with that of the fall from the grace of the Republicans of 1940 nominee Wendell Willkie. Both were political idealists, both impractical as politicians, and both had wound up rejected by elements of their respective parties who desired the practical more than the ideal.

Harry Truman, to the Democrats, represented the practical. Vice-President Wallace, while having been an honest and sincere public servant, had not been enough a pragmatist.

The piece suggests that he might continue to be of service in government if he were not too embittered by the rejection of his party. He would indeed be appointed by President Roosevelt to replace his former arch-rival of the previous summer, Texan Jesse Jones, as Secretary of Commerce in March, 1945. He would so continue to serve under President Truman through September, 1946, until resigning to become editor of The New Republic. He would then, in 1948, form the Progressive Party and run for president as a grassroots populist, continuing to voice his idealism.

"Chiang Talks" looks at the controversial work of Chiang Kai-shek, China's Destiny, about to be published in the West in an unofficial translation. Chiang was said to be eager to have published a censored official version which would omit certain matter critical of the West, comparing Western imperialism to that of Japan.

The book was being compared to Mein Kampf for its extolling of the virtues of China over the West, finding it a superior society, giving praise to Chinese nationalism over internationalism, recommending the Kuomintang as a necessary dictatorship in China after the war, and criticizing Chinese society for being too permissive and too democratic in its past.

The book had all the earmarks of Hitler's personal thesis of 1923, finding eventually its audience by 1932, becoming compulsory reading in Germany by 1933.

The timing of publication of such an ill-advised work, opines the piece, was ill-omened, with the Russians moving steadily toward Warsaw and Berlin from the East and the Anglo-American Allies moving steadily toward Paris, if at a slower pace, from the West, while Japan found itself with a daily decreasing semi-circle of insular islands to ward off attack to its mainland. The book would likely not help in the West already suspect relations with the Chinese and Chiang.

"Rent Control" reports on the coming of Federal rent control to Charlotte on August 1 to meet the gouging during the war by a small group of unscrupulous landlords, mainly the large realtors of the area, which had sorely taxed the pocketbooks of families during a housing shortage brought on by the influx of soldiers being trained at Morris Field. The device, while full of red tape, was necessary and, indeed, had been late in coming to Charlotte after months of tenant complaints and public appeals to landlords to desist or face the prospect of control.

Drew Pearson comments on the betting on the November horse race for the presidency, that Mayor Fiorello La Guardia in New York, though a Repubican, had backed Roosevelt, and warned of a hard battle ahead in carrying the state. Likewise, the venerable Speaker of the House from Texas, Sam Rayburn, issued the cloud warning, hearkening back to 1918 when the country was winning the war and President Wilson had been at the top of his stride in popularity; yet, the Democrats had lost the House in the mid-term elections of November.

Many Democrats were unsettled by the notion that if the war in Europe ended by November, it might work to unseat the President, as the argument against changing horses in midstream would largely evaporate.

Mr. Pearson next turns to revelations by diplomats in Washington that the Germans had made entreaties of peace to Russia in both winter and summer 1943. The first offer was to provide Russia its pre-1939 territory except for the Ukraine. Tendered by the Japanese Ambassador to Moscow, Foreign Commissar Molotoff tore it up and threw it in the wastebasket. The second tender was made by Hans Thomsen, Hitler's personal interpreter, in Stockholm and was likewise rebuffed. Each time, the State Department had worried that Stalin might be tempted to accept the terms because of his frustration over the delay in opening a second front to relieve Russia by drawing off numerous German divisions to withstand an assault from the West. Churchill had dismissed this idea as poppycock, that the Russian people would never permit it, that Stalin would have to resign if he had accepted any separate peace with Germany. President Roosevelt was said to have expressed, however, that the second front promise made in 1942 should be fulfilled, and that it would bring an early end to the war by forcing Germany to defend on two fronts simultaneously.

Marquis Childs continues to recap the Democratic Convention of the previous week, finding that the events swirling around the meeting were so monumental, the attempted coup in Germany, the ouster of Tojo in Japan, as to have eclipsed the Republicans' complaints of three weeks earlier that the swirl of world events surrounding their own convention had so obnubilated its gloriful day in the sun that they must have been planned by the President. But, no doubt, he suggests, those seeing a conspiracy from the top would attribute that latter melange to be the covert behind which could be hidden the vice-presidential race and its accompanying threat of exposure of the party's tender underbelly of undigested old business.

The two conventions had something in common: the Republicans in the middle of the country were rebelling against the large city influences on either coast; the Democrats of the hinterlands were likewise rebelling against the big city bosses, as seen in the vice-presidential race where popular and Labor support had been behind Vice-President Wallace while the bosses and party regulars, especially in the South, backed an alternative, ultimately Senator Truman—as counter-intuitive as that concept might appear to those looking at the history of the time in hindsight and viewing Senator Truman as being as much a populist and man of the people as Vice-President Wallace.

A comic note, worthy of "Aida", says Mr. Childs, had been injected into the convention when Mayor Ed Kelly of Chicago nominated favorite son Senator Scott Lucas for the vice-presidency. On cue came a troupe of demonstrators in support of the candidacy, parading around the hall dutifully, perfectly well-scripted, worthy of Hollywood, if resembling a camp screwball comedy.

Samuel Grafton further illuminates the truly emotional character with which the delegates carried on the fight for the vice-presidency, causing it to transcend into the realm of moral struggle, casting good against evil, as it were, Wallace against Truman—even if, as Mr. Grafton allows, Truman was not properly the Demiurge.

Ironically, the South, opposed generally to Vice-President Wallace, provided the fieriest speeches in his behalf, those of Governor Ellis Arnall of Georgia and Senator Claude Pepper of Florida. Governor Arnall had gone so far as to urge the party not to "go to Munich" by compromising with someone else in replacement of the incumbent. Senator Pepper had voiced emotional umbrage at the personal attacks leveled at this "shy, good man", daggers meant for the President which Mr. Wallace had obligingly absorbed.

Through it all, the Vice-President had remained resolute and undaunted as he told the convention, with a sense of zealous determination, without hint of artifice or animus, that "the poll taxes must go."

Eventually, by Constitutional Amendment passed in August, 1962 and ratified in January, 1964, they would finally fall by the wayside, and during Mr. Wallace's lifetime, which lasted until 1965. It only took 94 years after the ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment in 1870, providing the right to vote to all citizens without regard to race, 96 years after ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment, insuring equal protection of the laws to all citizens, finally for poll taxes charging fees for the right to vote to be abolished in the remaining eight states of the South which continued the atavistic practice.

Dorothy Thompson tells of her days in 1934 when she regularly broadcast to the Germans via shortwave radio, after Hitler had kicked her out of Germany. She had addressed her messages, urging internal revolt, to a person named Hans in the Reichswehr.

If revolt was to come, she insists, it had to come from within the ranks of the Officers' Corps. The assassination attempt of the previous Thursday had come from within the Officers' Corps. Thus far, the identity of the principal was known only as Colonel Count von Stauffenberg, without a first name. But, nevertheless, the surname was one known in the tradition of German officers to exemplify honor and integrity.

The conspiracy was preceded by a few days by an argument said to have taken place between officers in Athens who disagreed so violently over strategy that five had been shot and killed by other officers while a sixth had been dispatched by the S.S.

It was obvious that the morale of the Officers' Corps was broken, had been steadily eroded since Hitler had come to power in 1933, ensued by a string of purges within the Officers' Corps, then followed by a series of resignations of chiefs of staff of the Army. Hitler and the Nazis had come to power as part of the Black Reichswehr, a cabal of Army officers below the rank of major who were bitter after the World War and who plotted against the Republic, including the established Officers' Corps. Now, after eleven years, and a losing war effort, the chickens were beginning to come home to roost.

The scene reminded Ms. Thompson of the film she had viewed in Berlin years earlier, "The Patriot", in which the story was recounted of Tsar Alexander having been killed by Count Palen, one of his trusted lieutenants.

The end was coming in Germany, she foresees, but the Gestapo would not be toppled by a coup, would fight to the last shell, probably in the Berchtesgaden, where they had stowed all the great artworks of Europe, likely to be their last hostages.

Germany was about to descend into darkness. Hans, she decides, should have listened to her appeals via radio in 1934.

Hal Boyle, reporting from the St. Lo sector in Normandy, tells of the American unit which outwitted the sly tactics of the Nazis, who were shuffling patrol forces back and forth along a 750-yard front to make it appear that they had larger contingents occupying the area than in fact they had. The Americans simply waited until regular transfer of troops from one spot to the other, transpiring with clockwork precision, moved into the evacuated position, then called up strength to hold the position, such that when the Nazis returned on their regular roundabout, they were met by a full force of American troops. They became so mad that they expended a week's regimen of ammunition, but only managing three American casualties.

When Hill 192 had been captured by the Americans, seven German soldiers, thinking their troops still held the position, started ambling toward the American lines. All seven were promptly felled by American bullets.

The German medics were reported to be bristling whenever they saw one unit of Americans. They were rumored to be Indians for they had taken to replacing the camouflage netting beneath their helmets with foxtails which the Germans mistook for scalps. Thus passed the rumor that these Indians scalped the prisoners, wore their pelts hanging from their helmets.

The Nazis perhaps were responding to stories which went something like this.

--One more thing, Sergeant, before you take us down.


--We were also the ones who stole the knockers.


I'd like to leave it, I must avow;
I find these walls, these vaulted spaces
Are anything but pleasant places
Tis all so cramped and close and mean;
One sees no tree, no glimpse of green,
And when the lecture-halls receive me,
Seeing, hearing, and thinking leave me.


All that depends on habitude.
So from its mother's breasts a child
At first, reluctant, takes its food,
But soon to seek them is beguiled.
Thus, at the breasts of Wisdom clinging,
Thou'lt find each day a greater rapture bringing.


I'll hang thereon with joy, and freely drain them;
But tell me, pray, the proper means to gain them.


Explain, before you further speak,
The special faculty you seek.


I crave the highest erudition;
And fain would make my acquisition
All that there is in Earth and Heaven,
In Nature and in Science too.


Here is the genuine path for you;
Yet strict attention must be given.


Body and soul thereon I'll wreak;
Yet, truly, I've some inclination
On summer holidays to seek
A little freedom and recreation.


Use well your time!
It flies so swiftly from us;
But time through order may be won, I promise.
So, Friend (my views to briefly sum),
First, the collegium logicum.
There will your mind be drilled and braced,
As if in Spanish boots 'twere laced,
And thus, to graver paces brought,
'Twill plod along the path of thought,
Instead of shooting here and there,
A will-o'-the-wisp in murky air.
Days will be spent to bid you know,
What once you did at a single blow,
Like eating and drinking, free and strong,--
That one, two, three! thereto belong.
Truly the fabric of mental fleece
Resembles a weaver's masterpiece,
Where a thousand threads one treadle throws,
Where fly the shuttles hither and thither.
Unseen the threads are knit together.
And an infinite combination grows.
Then, the philosopher steps in
And shows, no otherwise it could have been:
The first was so, the second so,
Therefore the third and fourth are so;
Were not the first and second, then
The third and fourth had never been.
The scholars are everywhere believers,
But never succeed in being weavers.
He who would study organic existence,
First drives out the soul with rigid persistence;
Then the parts in his hand he may hold and class,
But the spiritual link is lost, alas!
Encheiresin natures, this Chemistry names,
Nor knows how herself she banters and blames!


I cannot understand you quite.


Your mind will shortly be set aright,
When you have learned, all things reducing,
To classify them for your using.


I feel as stupid, from all you've said,
As if a mill-wheel whirled in my head!

Framed Edition
[Return to Links-Page by Subject] [Return to Links-Page by Date] [Return to News<i><i><i>--</i></i></i>Framed Edition]
Links-Date -- Links-Subj.