Wednesday, July 5, 1944

The Charlotte News

Wednesday, July 5, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that American troops, having approached from three sides, had seized the railway station at La Haye Du Puits and were engaged in hand-to-hand fighting for the western anchor of the Cherbourg Peninsula. The Germans had counter-attacked, utilizing Tiger tanks for the first time in Normandy.

The formally quiet Carentan sector saw bloody fighting after the Americans attacked along the Carentan-Periers road, bordered by swampy terrain on both sides, limiting fighting to the road itself.

Battle erupted southwest of Caen as German forces attacked the British lines, while Canadians seeking the Carpiquet airfield were thrown back a few hundred yards by a force of 30 to 40 German tanks. The Canadians had already captured the town of Carpiquet.

General Eisenhower had just completed a five-day visit with the troops on Normandy, including two trips behind enemy lines, one by road on the western side of the Cherbourg Peninsula, placing the General within reach of enemy fire, and the second by air aboard a Mustang flying over German lines, enabling the Supreme Allied Commander to study the front aerially.

Shuttle bombing raids, following for the first time the sequence beginning in England, to Russia, to Italy, then back to England, were completed this day, as American planes struck the French port at Toulon. On the initial leg of the shuttle, on June 21, bombers from England had struck a synthetic oil plant near Berlin at Ruhland, then returned by way of Russia. On June 26, they had taken off for Italy, bombing a Polish oil plant at Drohobyes. The final leg back to England this date had included the bombing of Toulon.

About 500 bombers struck targets in Northern France, along the front in Normandy, and at airdromes in Holland and Belgium, encountering little opposition and suffering no losses.

In Italy, the Eighth Army, meeting stiff German resistance, had driven to within five miles of Arezzo, along the road to Florence.

On the Tyrrhenian coast, the Fifth Army, also encountering strong defensive efforts, moved to within less than 13 miles of Leghorn.

In Russia, two armies proceeded toward Latvia and Lithuania, each about three to four days away at the present rate of progress. General Bagramianís First Baltic Army moved up the Dvina valley toward Dvinsky, a principal rail junction in southeastern Latvia. To the south, General Cherniakhovsky led his Third White Russian Army toward Wilno in old Poland and Kaunas in Lithuania.

The armies were advancing so fast that the Germans were unable to retreat and wound up in the rear of Soviet lines.

The Russian forces were threatening the rail line between Warsaw and Leningrad, leading from Warsaw to Berlin, a key rail route which the Germans needed to protect in order to preserve their territory in the Baltic States and Eastern Poland. London observers indicated that fall of the line would force the Germans to retreat to East Prussia to avoid being trapped.

In China, Chinese troops repulsed a Japanese attack on Hengyang, killing a thousand of the enemy, after the Japanese had deployed a curtain of mustard gas which had poisoned many of the Chinese defenders of the key city on the Canton-Hankow railway, means of supply between Northern and Southern China.

In the Pacific, it was confirmed that the day before, Americans had bombed Iwo Jima as reported in the Japanese communiqué of the previous day. In a two-day operation, the American forces sunk three enemy destroyers, two other ships, and shot down 64 to 80 planes, against a loss of nine aircraft.

The total damage to the Japanese military apparatus since June 10, when the offensive in the Marianas had begun, had grown to 36 ships sunk and 826 planes destroyed. American forces had lost 160 planes and no ships sunk, with four damaged.

On Saipan, the American troops advanced toward the final battle for control of the island, on the northern tip, with nearly 90 percent of its land mass now in Allied hands.

On the editorial page, "A Threat" suggests that, in line with an American Mercury article by Vance Johnson, the South, with half the Democratic Senate seats, 24, and 46 percent of the House Democratic seats, 109, would sway power in the administration to come, even if, as anticipated, they would, despite party infighting, finally unite behind President Roosevelt at the convention and in the fall election to re-elect him for a fourth term.

The division and the power exerted by the South nonetheless spelled trouble ahead for domestic issues, just as it had spelled trouble behind during the previous four years, and especially during the 78th Congress currently serving. The Republicans would unite with the Southern Democrats to block legislation sponsored by the White House and could cause the Democrats in Congress to lose effective power despite maintaining at least nominal majorities in both chambers.

"Red Push" recaps the 150-mile advance by the Red Army in White Russia, taking Minsk, in a period of just 11 days. Two army groups lay in wait in the south for orders to begin advancing through Poland or into Rumania.

While the Soviets marched apace, pushing four armies into Poland, East Prussia, Lithuania, and Latvia, the Americans, Canadians, and British in Normandy moved forward in advance of schedule even if understandably more slowly than the Russians, the result of the need to supply and reinforce the original amphibious landing forces.

But, concludes the editorial, with such military strength being pressed from two directions toward Germany, the ensuing three months before the start of winter weather would be the most fateful in the history of warfare.

"E Bond" describes the sorry performance of war bond buyers up to the last week of the Fifth War Loan Drive, only 58 percent of the goal having been reached in North Carolina, according to state chairman Clarence T. Leinbach, "somewhat disturbed" at the lackadaisical result.

Chides the piece, it was not a performance boding well for the future of the nation, when incomes were burgeoning and luxury goods were being consumed as fast as they hit the shelves in stores. The goal would be met by corporations and institutional buyers, but nevertheless, the country needed to take stock of its patriotism.

There you are. Despite the origination of the drive in the immediate wake of the victory in Italy, after the taking of Rome June 4, and then D-Day in France, with the consequent heavy initial buying of bonds, the country had become laggard in just the course of a month.

In any event, we make note again that Mr. Leinbach's wife was on the board of the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association at the time W. J. Cash was awarded posthumously the Mayflower Literary Society cup on December 5, 1941.

"Argentina" suggests the recall of Ambassador Armour from the South American country as a significant turn in U.S. relations to the troubled Axis-leaning military dictatorship. With news carefully censored and regulated and bans in place of any positive information flowing from the United States with respect to Latin America, the prospects for rapprochement appeared dim.

Strongman behind the leadership, Colonel Juan Peron, had recently stated publicly the Army's preparation for war with other Latin American countries, even if he had attempted more recently to temper the statement somewhat to mollify harsh reactions.

The piece concludes that relations in Latin America might become in consequence the most tumultuous since the advent of the Good Neighbor policy in 1933.

Samuel Grafton insists that partisan politics be removed from the election campaign insofar as cheap appeals to foreign-born citizens based on the war effort. There should be no entreaty to Italian-Americans based on the success of the campaign in Italy. Likewise, there should be no criticism of the Administration for its withdrawing diplomatic recognition to Finland. Or, appeals to Polish-Americans based on failure of the Government to obtain all of the border lands desired by many Poles.

A strict, well-promulgated advertising campaign should transpire, he instructs, to promote a pledge not to use such issues in the campaign, one so widely disseminated that it would permeate through the layers of political operatives down to the grassroots where most such activity was spawned, among people "with low hair lines and amebic brains".

Marquis Childs comments upon the forgotten man of the Republican convention, Wendell Willkie. Alf Landon, the 1936 nominee, had headed an important committee; President Hoover had given a major speech to the convention. But not a single spare breath was used from the platform to utter even passing recognition of the 1940 nominee of the party.

John W. Hanes, former Democrat and Undersecretary of the Treasury under FDR, had been the chief proponent of the Willkie candidacy and became, at the convention, the chief architect of an attempt to obtain from Mr. Willkie an endorsement of Governor Dewey. As surely as Mr. Willkie, Mr. Hanes was persona non grata in the party and had sought his way back into grace thusly, as an intermediary. Yet, he failed in the attempt. There was no endorsement forthcoming.

Drew Pearson relates of O.P.A. head Chester Bowles being tempted from office by the Connecticut Democrats seeking that he run for governor. He indicated his consideration of the move to FDR, but coupled it with the request, as condition for his remaining in the post in which he had thus far distinguished himself, that he be relieved from any responsibility in conducting demobilization after the war.

Mr. Pearson next tells of the wife of the new Governor of Kentucky, Willis Sims, being headstrong when it came to protecting her husband. At a meeting after a dinner party at the mansion, she insisted on staying amid the men gathered to talk politics despite their traditional company being limited to males only. She was going to protect the Governor from the horde.

The column then provides the background at the Republican convention leading to the withdrawal of Governor John W. Bricker from the presidential race at 3:45 a.m. Wednesday morning and accepting, albeit preceded by truculently conveyed reluctance, the vice-presidential nomination.

So insistent had been his refusals during the day on Tuesday that, at one point, he had stated to the aides of Governor Dewey that he wanted to hear Governor Dewey himself make the pitch. Quoted Mr. Pearson, the words of Governor Bricker were: "If that little ____ has anything to say, let him call me himself."

Subsequently, despite Governor Bricker calling Governor Dewey a "little ____", which anyone would have to admit is baneful and cutting to the quick, better even to be called a "dirty little ____" than that, ruffled feathers were smoothed and the Ohio Governor finally capitulated to the terms being sought.

It was not unusual in the time for vice-presidential candidates and Vice-Presidents not to get along with the top of the ticket. Charles Curtis was at odds with President Hoover; Charles Dawes had major differences with Calvin Coolidge; Franklin Roosevelt and John Nance Garner were often poles apart politically during the thirties; Wendell Willkie and deceased Senator Charles McNary of Oregon never were warm to each other during the campaign of 1940.

But, to call your running mate, the day before accepting the nomination of the party, "that little ____", was not signal of a toasty-warm campaign ahead for the Republican ticket, especially given that the convention had provided far greater applause to Governor Bricker's acceptance speech than that of Governor Dewey.

A letter to the editor abhors the notion of public hangings favored by another letter writer, sets forth his theory that Draconian punishment of any type only embittered the criminal and made him more likely to return to a life of crime after punishment. The better system, he contends, in place in the Federal jurisdiction for several years, was one which stressed rehabilitation. He was also quite opposed to imposition of the death penalty, that certain heinous crimes required life imprisonment.

We agree with Mr. Farmer's astute analysis. A bloodthirsty society, as this one plainly is, only embarrasses itself before the world and demonstrates Fascist tendencies, bordering at times on Nazism. Learn to accept the system by which we all live or move to Argentina.

But, for goodness sake, stop crying foul over jury verdicts because some bunch of people on television tell you how to think until you are blathering idiots unable to understand fairly simple concepts. If every time someone is killed and someone is charged with murder, we simply took a poll and determined by majority will the guilt or innocence of that person based on what is imparted on television, undoubtedly, most of the people in the country would be in jail or in the death house. Please, get some reasonable grip on yourselves. When a jury says that someone is not guilty, they are not guilty. Accept it; move on. Or maybe you would like to serve the sentence.

When a substantial part of the country follows a trial of a death of a two-year old to the point of being fanatical lunatics about it, there is something seriously wrong with the mental state of the country. We don't mean to seem callous, but until about two weeks ago, we thought that the defendant's name was that of a basketball player in trouble with the law somewhere.

We do not kid.

Follow something else. Go play bridge. Follow the candidacy of Ms. Palin. Get your mind off of things you plainly cannot grasp and which do not affect you in the first place. We don't first make up our minds that someone is guilty before the evidence is presented and then cry as babies when the verdict comes in not guilty. Juries must follow the instructions of the court, prime among which is that evidence has been marshalled by the prosecution, with the burden of proof, to show beyond a reasonable doubt that the alleged crime, each and every element of it, has been committed. It is and should be a difficult task, given that life and liberty are at stake in criminal courtrooms. Those standards separate the society from the totalitarian regimes of the world. Don't like it; move to a dictatorship.

One can, however, and, indeed, one should, with the presumption of innocence firmly in mind, as required under American jurisprudence, adopt the view that a criminal defendant is innocent before hearing any evidence in court and proceed throughout the trial in that manner, with judgment stayed until the end of the case. Then, you may say to yourself that, rather than being a silly jackass like the people on tv, like the common rabble, you are a wise and judicious individual, a persona which tends to be example to others, unless of course the others are part of the mad rabble looking for new stories anent the misery of others by which to gain escape from their own miserably boring and uninformed lives, flitting from soap opera to soap opera without hitting pause on the remote control.

The jury in Florida acquitted itself well in that regard, the media circus surrounding a rather run of the mine case and trial notwithstanding.

By the way, the prosecution cannot under our system appeal an acquittal. We mention it for the fact of some people in Florida chanting "appeal" after the verdict of acquittal. The Fifth Amendment protects all of us against double jeopardy, that is twice being placed at risk of life or liberty for the same offense in the same jurisdiction. Think about it. You would not want it otherwise; if you do, move to Argentina.

A curt letter from a smart aleck woman suggested that The News save space each day by simply printing that it disfavored anything anti-Roosevelt and pro-Republican, leaving off its "cute editorials" to save scarce newsprint.

The editors got her back by simply responding with the admission that the Republicans were offering but a skimpy array of choices this election and that, indeed, they did favor the Democrats.

"[W]e're persuaded that it's more important to save the country than to save space."

Hal Boyle reports from Bayeux in France, a town of 10,000, the least damaged of the towns thus far seized by the Allies in Normandy. Initially it had served as a point of attraction for the soldiers seeking a warm meal and some night life, but now was declared off limits except for official business.

Dairy products were in plenty and stores of them existed in France while England had strict rationing of the same foodstuffs.

Attractions included the Bayeux Notre Dame Cathedral. The giant tapestry, three-quarters the length of a football field, depicting the Norman conquest of England, having hung in the Bishop's Palace since 1099, had been moved inland by the Nazis.

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