Tuesday, August 15, 1944

The Charlotte News

Tuesday, August 15, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Allies had landed some 14,000 men in Southern France, encountering little resistance along a 30-mile beachhead in the Raphael-Cap Camarat area between Toulon and Cannes on the French Riviera. The landings were preceded by a huge airborne assault of the German defense lines, as many of the German 19th and First Armies which had been in the area had apparently been removed to support the tattered German Seventh Army to the north. An armada of 800 ships was employed to effect the landings. British troops were also landed in gliders and air transports inland. The landings eventually stretched along a 125-mile front from Marseille to Nice. In advance of the landings, the Allied Air Forces had destroyed virtually every rail bridge in the Rhone Valley from Valence to Marseille, cutting enemy supply lines.

No major fighting was reported yet as troops had quickly penetrated inland.

The secret of the landings had not been well kept as word had leaked to the French underground who quickly spread the rumor days before.

Wes Gallagher reported optimism that the Battle for France might be won within weeks.

Meanwhile, General Eisenhower's headquarters finally disclosed that General Patton's Third Army had been active in France, in Normandy and Brittany, since August 1, and was now involved in the charge north from Le Mans to trap the German Seventh Army between Falaise and Argentan, the gap through which the Germans could escape now being narrowed to but ten miles, down from the twenty reported the day before. It was the first time General Patton had been in action in a year, since the slapping incident in Sicily.

The Third Army had moved to within eight miles of Falaise. Canadians moving southward toward this last German stronghold in Normandy were within two and a half miles of the town. The British Second Army had moved to within a mile of Conde-sur-Noireau, cutting off the Nazi escape route to the west of Falaise. The U.S. First Army, operating to the right of the British on a front extending beyond Mortain, also had made progress. Other American troops seized La Ferte Mace to the south of Falaise and thirteen miles east of Domfort.

At least 2,000 American and British heavy bombers attacked targets in Germany, Holland, Belgium, and France. At least nineteen German airbases were plastered with 8,000 tons of bombs.

The 38,000-ton British battleship Rodney fired tons of shells into German positions on the Channel island of Alderney. The Rodney had been involved in the sinking of the Bismarck in 1941.

The Russians had established a bridgehead before Grajewo, across the Biebrza River, two miles south of the East Prussian frontier. The Russians were also threatening Lyck, twelve miles to the north. Both Grajewo and Lyck were critical German communications links, the fall of both of which would force German withdrawal from the northeastern corner of East Prussia.

On the editorial page, "Once More" comments on the portent for quick victory provided by the invasion in the South of France. The forces now converging on the trapped Seventh Army would soon be joined by this new invasionary force moving from the south. When that occurred, the fall of France to the Allies would not be far away, predicts the piece, and the fall of Germany not far behind that eventuality.

"The FEPC" supports the critics of the President's Fair Employment Practices Committee who charged that it was promoting its own social agenda without restraint, not merely confining itself to its laudable purpose of promoting equal employment opportunity without regard to race or religious belief.

Senator Richard Russell of Georgia had spoken against it on that basis, finding it to have helped to stimulate the race riots of the previous couple of weeks in Philadelphia. Those riots had been in protest of the FEPC decision to mandate hiring of black drivers in public transportation.

We have great trouble, however, in perceiving the difference suggested by the piece and by the quoted speech of Senator Russell. What is the distinction in practicality between promotion of the laudable goals of equal employment without discrimination and promotion of social agendas which spawned allegedly the Philadelphia riots. Was it not the case that the riot in Philadelphia occurred only because bigots refused to accept the FEPC order, one made merely in furtherance of its laudable purpose, enabling equality of opportunity? It sounds as if the editorial and Senator Russell wanted to have the laudable purpose without any social upheaval created from it by the reactionaries of the country inveighing against implementation of such non-discriminatory policies. What good would have been the mere symbol of equal opportunity if in fact there had been no program by which it was actually implemented?

"A Danger" comments on the statement reported the previous day that Admiral Chester Nimitz believed that the United States might be able to win the war in the Pacific without invading Japan. While finding the prospect cheering, it also reads into it the possibility that by not invading the mainland, the Japanese would be permitted to surrender with their industrial might and military classes still intact, enabling it to wage war again in the future. That was unacceptable.

The point would become moot within a few months, however, when the intense bombing campaign of Japan finally began.

"Neglect?" points out that North Carolina had not amended its insurance code since it was created in 1899. That was becoming increasingly significant given the recent Supreme Court holding that insurance was subject to Federal regulation as affecting interstate commerce. The opponents of that view had argued that the states were capable of handling insurance matters. But the stagnation in North Carolina's laws for nearly half a century, through dramatically changing times, suggested that the state had not exercised careful control over this industry and that soon the Federal Government would therefore fill the void.

The column had, in recent months, applied the same logic to stagnant and seemingly immutable laws, written and unwritten, regarding racial segregation and denial of voting rights. Hence, the FEPC, to rectify at least some of the economic injustice. Thus, again, we question why the editorial on the FEPC opined as it did. But no one ever said that the editorial policy of a newspaper had to remain consistent even through the course of a single summer.

Not surprisingly, the 1964 Civil Rights Act would find its legislative justification within the powers of Congress to regulate interstate commerce, that is, as President Kennedy memorably stated the case succinctly to Mrs. Elizabeth May Craig, originally of North Carolina, concerning Mrs. Murphy and her boarding house.

Dorothy Thompson counsels common sense in the War Department in its strict interpretation of the Taft censorship act, restricting the distribution of materials to soldiers which contained any form of political message. She finds the attitude contrary to that for which the soldiers were fighting, basic freedom of thought and speech. It was nonsense, she suggests, with the President having won three times since 1932 with 90% of the press opposed to him, to think that press commentary on politics could sway the soldiers' vote. Moreover, Senator Taft, a Republican, had in mind, as he recently had affirmed, only restricting primarily blatant party propaganda messages, not general press commentary.

The strictures had also been placed on the soldiers seeing any form of political news in the British press, and that was even more nonsensical as the British press could not conceivably influence American soldiers.

Drew Pearson advises that the Japanese hierarchy in the military appeared ready to collapse internally, not unlike that which was occurring within Germany. It would likely start, he predicted, within the Navy.

He next turns to the praise heaped on women by Senator Chan Gurney of South Dakota for their extraordinary effort in the war, both in industry and in volunteering to serve in the military. The Senator's ultimate point, however, was that the pending unemployment compensation bill would cause women to wish to stay in industry, resulting in unwanted competition with returning servicemen.

Mr. Pearson next recounts that Ernest Cunco had pointed out three errors in Daryl F. Zanuck's film, "Wilson". First, the President was told that 112,000 Americans had been killed in World War I when only 50,000 had been killed. Second, he had carried supposedly 22 of New Jersey's 21 counties in 1912. Third, Senator Glass of Virginia supposedly had come to see President Wilson in 1913, at a time when Carter Glass was but a Representative.

Finally, he reports of the efforts of enlisted men over 38 to obtain separation from the service, almost impossible unless they had a civilian job in essential war industry to which to return, then only a 50-50 chance. The enlisted men were attempting to analogize their situation to that of over-age officers who could obtain separation.

The problem had been exacerbated by recent reports of Major Clark Gable and Coast Guard Lieutenant Rudy Vallee being permitted to retire from the service to return to non-essential jobs. Mr. Pearson is quick to add, however, that in each of those cases, the men had served their country well. Major Gable had flown several combat missions while compiling his documentary footage of the bombing of Europe, "Combat America". Lieutenant Vallee also had a designated job to do and he had done it.

Marquis Childs tells of the effort prior to the Democratic convention by Harold Ickes to convince President Roosevelt to back Justice William O. Douglas rather than Henry Wallace for the vice-presidential nomination. Mr. Ickes had been convinced by future Supreme Court Justice and controversial chief justice-designate in 1968, Abe Fortas, then Undersecretary of Labor, along with presidential adviser Tommy Corcaran, that Mr. Wallace had no chance to garner the nomination and that Justice Douglas was the horse to back.

But by the time of the convention, seeing that his old enemies, the political bosses, especially Mayor Ed Kelly of Chicago, were seeking to derail the nomination of Vice-President Wallace, Secretary Ickes switched his position and began fervently backing the Vice-President.

Hal Boyle writes of the demise of the German Seventh Army, that it was a sad thing to see an Army die, even one of the enemy. No longer were the German soldiers prideful as they marched into the prison camps, as they had been in May, 1943 in Bizerte and Tunis. No longer did they boast, as then, that the Allies would never land in Europe or breach the boundaries of the Fatherland. They were wearing the look of defeat and despair. They cowered when planes flew overhead because they knew they were not German planes. The woe begotten visages betrayed an implicit understanding that the war was lost.

Incidentally, speaking of Abram, just last night, we were listening to Mr. Colbert interview the current U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan E. Rice, no relation to the former Secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice.

During the interview, we noticed for the first time the inscription of the Latin phrase "Videri Quam Esse" on the faux mantelpiece of the set. We don't know how long this inscription has been there, but we, ourselves, have used herein the phrase on a couple of occasions since late 2005. Mr. Colbert is originally from South Carolina. We demand recognition therefore for our contribution to Mr. Colbert's set, which could be in the form of an inscription added to the mantelpiece, to the effect, "Wiev Nialp ni Neddih".

Just why that should present itself on a day when arises Hal Boyle to lament the demise of the German Seventh Army, we would not venture to comment.

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.