Saturday, July 8, 1944

The Charlotte News

Saturday, July 8, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the British Second Army had made a sudden thrust of a mile toward Caen, advancing to within half a mile of the heart of the town, along a seven-mile front, seizing eight towns guarding the Nazi bastion, including La Bijade, Lebisey, Galmanche, Buren, and Gruchy. British bombers had dropped 2,500 tons of bombs on the area in advance of the operation. An estimated 5,000 Germans guarded Caen with another 5,000 in reserve.

The Americans captured St. Jean De Daye while widening and deepening their Vire River bridgehead. Reported Don Whitehead, the only thing stirring amid the wreckage of St. Jean De Daye was a brown, forlorn looking kitten.

Other troops struck south across the Taute Canal to join the troops who had established the Vire River bridgehead.

The RAF the night before hit robot-bomb supply depots in France at St. Leu D'Esserent, 30 miles north of Paris.

Up to 500 American bombers attacked the launching facilities along the Pas-de-Calais coast.

In what was being labeled another massacre on the scale of Lidice in Czechoslovakia two years earlier, it was reported via Turkish communiques that a thousand residents, including babies, of the Greek village of Distomo had been murdered, after which the village was razed. The massacre was in revenge for the death of 30 German soldiers in an encounter with two Greek resistance groups, the EAM and Andarta, in an area near Distomo, 65 miles northwest of Athens and ten miles southeast of Delphi.

A London broadcast reported that another such atrocity had taken place in a village in France near Limoges, in which only a hundred of 1,200 residents survived the Nazi purge, also based on activity of the Resistance.

The Russians had started a new offensive along a wide front east of Lwow and west of captured Kowel in Poland, along the Czech border area with the Carpathians. (Kowel, incidentally, was the birthplace of Abraham Zapruder, whose family expatriated to the United States in 1920, when he was 15.)

To the north, the Red Army had penetrated to the outskirts of Wilno, as the Nazis abandoned Baranowicze, a principal rail and highway junction, opening the way for a drive toward Warsaw, 220 miles away, and a mere 530 miles from Berlin. During a period of seventeen days, the Russians had thus far advanced 217 miles, from Orsha to Wilno. A German report indicated that the Nazis were withdrawing to the Bug River, west of Kowel, 150 miles southwest of Baranowicze.

The Superfortresses which had attacked Japan Thursday night were reported to have encountered only weak fighter resistance and had returned to base without loss. The targets had included, in addition to the naval base at Sasebo and the war plants at Yawata, Omura, as well as Japanese supply bases at Laoyao and Hankow in China.

In Italy, the Fifth Army captured Rosignano and Castellina on the west coast roads to Leghorn, 13 miles to the north, and Pisa. Volterra was the only remaining anchor of the defensive line still in German hands. Capture of Castellina, six miles east of Leghorn, would allow flanking movements toward the town while other forces approached from the south.

Dr. George Truett of Dallas, Texas, prominent pastor of the Baptist Church, died at age 77. A native of Clay County, N.C., just across the border from Hiawassee High which he founded, the minister's family had moved to Whitewright, Texas, when he was still young.

The terrible circus fire in Hartford, Connecticut, on Thursday had claimed another eight lives, bringing the total dead to 154. Eventually, the toll would reach 169.

As would be reported subsequently, the Flying Wallendas were performing their high-wire act when the fire erupted; Emmett Kelly, as pictured in Life the following week, helped carry water to extinguish the conflagration.

On the editorial page, "Toughies" comments on the statement by Stalin during the week that he would not discuss post-war border issues until after the war; nor would he talk with Chiang Kai-shek until the problems were settled with Japan.

The refusal came as no surprise as it underscored a consistent policy of the Soviets. It merely served as another reminder that the Russians would not be easy bedfellows with whom to deal at war's end, would be tough negotiators at the peace table.

"An Error" finds a large manufacturer in Wheeling, W. Va., writing the Republican National Committee a less than complimentary letter of non-endorsement after being solicited for contributions. Archie Paul, remarks the piece, after quoting from his straightforward, scathing critique of the past Republican Administrations of Presidents Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover, could be set down, at least temporarily, as probably a Democrat.

"Glass Bomb" remarks on the endorsement of FDR for a fourth term by Senator Carter Glass of Virginia, occasional New Deal critic but generally a supporter of the Administration on foreign policy. His announcement at the Virginia Democratic State Convention in Roanoke came in stark contrast to the movement afoot in the South to make fellow Virginia Senator Harry Flood Byrd the party nominee. The two Senators were rumored not to get along, and Senator Glass reportedly told Senator Byrd that he should stick to the affairs of the Senate and forget about challenging for the presidency. The Glass endorsement of the President would aid considerably in healing rifts with the Southern delegation.

"Mr. Hall" gives praise to retiring member of the State Elections Board, Republican Warren Vines Hall, for his exemplary and even-handed service to the Board for several years. His efforts had been non-partisan in seeing to it that elections were administered fairly across the state.

"Big Money" indicates that the important conference taking place at Bretton Woods, N.H., regarding the proposed world bank to stabilize world currencies and aid in the re-building effort of war-scarred countries after the war through loans made from a fund internationally established, appeared on a path to non-resolution by its scheduled end on July 20.

The conference dealt with issues too arcane for the average citizen to grasp well and so had gone largely overlooked by the mass of the public. But in this conference lay the groundwork for insuring a peaceful future, as the unstable world currencies and resulting economic depressions had largely been responsible for the unrest in Europe during the 1920's, giving seed to the strident voices of Mussolini and Hitler to rouse the people of each country in Fascist revolts to the ruling orders.

There had been considerable isolationist sentiment expressed in the newspapers, objecting to the slated contribution of three billion dollars to the bank by the United States, with member nations set to provide proportionate shares to meet the slated initial ten-billion dollar asset base.

It remained a question mark whether the conference could overcome the opposition forces of opinion and achieve its goal. Reluctance had been expressed to resolve certain key issues such as the pro rata contributions among nations to the fund.

Drew Pearson looks again at the controversy surrounding Secretary of Commerce Jesse Jones with respect to the Texas revolt threatened against the Democratic Party should it not acquiesce at the convention to conform the platform to conservative states' rights planks.

Controversy had swirled around Mr. Jones a year earlier vis à vis Vice-President Wallace, regarding who had bungled management of the Board of Economic Warfare, whether the delays by Mr. Jones in procuring materials for synthetic rubber and quinine had caused shortages or whether it was the mismanagement by Board chair Mr. Wallace. The White House had supported Secretary Jones, despite the Senate Banking and Currency Committee finding him to have been negligent and clearing the Vice-President of responsibility.

Many had speculated that, given the latest attribution of blame to Mr. Jones's nephew for the Texas revolt, and the President's not accepting his Commerce Secretary's contention that he did not know of the revolt until he read of it in the newspapers, the President's continued support of the Texas power-broker was driven by some secret power the latter held as a Damocletian Sword over the President, perhaps guarding some sinister secret.

The better answer, suggests Mr. Pearson, was that Mr. Jones, being popular among Southern Democrats and holding a great deal of power in swaying them, gained favor from FDR for his ability to smooth ruffled feathers in the South, and thus maintained his position in the Cabinet despite clear tension between the two.

There was also speculation afoot that Mr. Jones had ambition to become the vice-presidential nominee of the party, as he had made overtures toward the position in 1940. Putting him on the ticket this time, it was thought, might tend to ease anti-New Deal tensions in the South.

Thus, perhaps, implictly suggests Mr. Pearson, the whole charade in Texas might have had its genesis in political ambition rather than any anti-FDR movement in fact, at least as envisioned by the movers of the movement, instead preying on known antecedent symptoms of the disease pandemic among the lesser lights of the masses, racism.

Samuel Grafton examines the problem of Congress taking a two-month recess to begin their campaigns and attend the party conventions, all while the critical need for war demobilization was beginning to be felt in many areas of the country as many employers found themselves stuck in the unhappy abyss between cancellation of war contracts and the need for re-allocation of the civilian workforce. Meanwhile, the Congressmen were stumping with promises to undertake assiduous effort to demobilize with the least pain possible to the country.

Marquis Childs comments on the damage done in the public perception, especially that of soldiers, with regard to labor strife in the country during the war. During July Fourth weekend, General Motors had deliberately shut down several Detroit plants, costing an estimated six million man-hours, more than in any month of strikes. The CIO sent a remonstrative letter to G.M.'s management, complaining of the shut-down. G.M. responded that it had only shut down plants which were producing far ahead of schedule, and in an effort to provide fatigued employees a break to enhance future efficiency. But, in the public mind, the damage had been done.

Both sides, labor and management, seemed incessantly to be jockeying for position to impress the public, with the end result that no one admired either side by the time the race was run.

Yet, the reality was that production in the country had been remarkable during the war. Thus, the perception of labor strife crippling industry at times was an unfortunate by-product of an overall sterling record of achievement.

Another positive sign of patriotism still at work in the society, despite some rude headlines to the contrary, was the prediction by the Treasury that the Fifth War Loan Drive would break all records and exceed its goal by three billion dollars, with individual contributions meeting their goal for the first time in any of the drives thus far, predicted to reach six billion dollars in bond purchases.

While Mr. Childs refrains from the inference, it appeared no problem for the country to express its patriotism through the war bond drive to fund in excess of 16 billion dollars in one month to support the war effort, but a problematic political hot potato to establish a world bank of a mere ten billion dollars to finance the rebuilding effort for the eggs broken by war and to stabilize currencies to avoid the onset of a third.

Dick Young tells the story of the outbreak of polio in the area, centered around Hickory and branching out in a circle of about 25 miles in diameter, Charlotte being on the outer fringes of the infected areas. The concentration was typical of the disease. The ban on children under 15 entering public areas in Charlotte had effectively arrested the potential for outbreak there.

The report provides stark reminder of the salutary benefits derived from the pioneering work of Jonas Salk and his vaccine, introduced in 1955 to combat the crippling disease, virtually eradicated within two years with the free vaccination being administered to two-thirds of the country's population by 1957. President Roosevelt, of course, had been the most famous victim of polio, acquired in 1921 when he was 39 years old, a year after he had been chosen as the Democratic nominee for vice-president.

And, in Washington, a 13-year old boy reported that he had collected fully $80,000 selling bonds door-to-door during the month-long Fifth War Loan Drive. His secret ploy seemed to lie in the fact that he took with him, alternatingly, one of four skunks, which, he reported, carried the appeal to his neighbors.

Whether it presented them with a stark comment on war or an offer they couldn't refuse for the implied threat should they, was unclear.

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