Saturday, August 19, 1944

The Charlotte News

Saturday, August 19, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that American forces of the Third Army had moved northwest of Paris to Mantes, five miles from the Seine, seeking a new trap for the fleeing German Seventh Army. It was the second time in ten days that the Third Army had swung westward to entrap the German forces rather than moving on to Paris.

The Germans continued in hurly-burly retreat from the Falaise sector toward the Seine, as elements of eighteen divisions had been captured the previous day. German losses were heavy and the roads were piled high with the dead. Allied commanders foresaw that the Germans could not beat back the Allies by merely crossing the Seine at the only remaining available bridge and would have to retreat yet further north.

RAF pilots observed German demolition of military installations in Paris. Swiss sources, in reports not yet confirmed by Allied headquarters, meanwhile stated that American armored columns were cutting into the Parisian suburbs. Officially, the forces were reported still twelve miles from the city.

Canadian and British troops of the Second Army were pushing toward the Seine in Normandy, gaining five miles from St. Pierre on the Dives River.

French Resistance forces liberated 70 villages 85 miles southeast of Paris, in the vicinity of Troyes. Other French Resistance fighters were operating near the Swiss border and had taken control of about half of Haute-Savoie. Holding a news conference in London, Col. Jean Drumont, a Resistance leader, told of the forces being larger than the pre-war French Army, consisting of half a million men.

Italian Partisans had won almost full control of Liguria and Piedmont in northwest Italy.

Meanwhile, General Patton emerged from his field headquarters with a broad smile on his face, as shown in a photograph on the page. Britons were said to be hailing the General as their new hero, relishing the derring-do of his tank columns as they slashed their way through German lines leaving them in shreds, faster than the communiques could convey the news. The London News Chronicle dubbed General Patton the "son-of-a-gun general" and named him "man of the week". The Evening Standard likewise lionized him and his Army's exploits.

The forward movement of the Seventh U.S. Army under General Alexander Patch also continued apace, moving westward to within 31 miles of Marseille, flanking Toulon, toward which American forces had advanced from the northeast to within six miles, leaving them 350 miles southeast of the Allied forces of Generals Patton and Montgomery. Other forces, bypassing Toulon and Marseille, were headed up Highway 7 toward the Rhone Valley in the north. Salernes, the point of deepest inland penetration at 32 miles, had been captured, along with La Roquebrussanne, 14 miles north of Toulon and 31 miles from Marseille. Also captured were Sollies-Pont, Gareoult, Vins, and Brignoles, towns north and northeast of Toulon. American infantry had spread out on both sides of the Argens Valley in the Maritime Alps.

American and RAF pilots flew about 5,000 sorties the day before in support of the ground effort, striking also in Germany and Belgium, with RAF Mosquitos hitting Berlin for the fourth time in five nights.

The Mosquitos attacking retreating German columns reported "the best hunting since D-Day," perhaps echoing a line of General Montgomery, reported November 14, 1942, shortly after the Allied invasion of Morocco and Algeria, as the Eighth Army was chasing Rommel from Tobruk in Libya back into Tunisia. On one road, the RAF doing the hunting had attacked a column of 700 vehicles and left about 120 of them burning. Fully 51 Allied planes were lost, albeit only three of them heavy bombers, plus eight RAF medium bombers. They had the while shot down 36 German planes and destroyed 51 more on the ground. British heavy bombers meantime struck Bremen and Cologne, Rieme in Belgium, and Connantre, east of Paris.

The Fifteenth Air Force out of Italy also bombed Ploesti in Rumania for the third consecutive day.

The Russians were reported moving on a hundred-mile front from Warsaw to the Lyso Mountains, the last natural barrier to German Silesia. Marshal Konstantin Rossokovsky's First White Russian Army, after a relative lull of two weeks while supplies and reinforcements were brought to the front, sought to regain the offensive four to seven miles east of Warsaw, smashing into the German flanks of the defense line extending from Praga to Ossow in the Warsaw suburbs.

The Germans had lost 750 tanks in just four days of counter-offensive thrusts in an effort to thwart the Russian drive into East Prussia, mounting an armored counter-attack from Siauliai in Lithuania. The fighting just over the border inside East Prussia was not reported in the day's communiques.

Marshal Ivan Konev's First Ukrainian Army, operating north of captured Sandomierz at the southern gate to German territory, sent forth armored columns along the west bank of the Vistula to the rear of the German defense lines. The Army drove into the region of Radom, lengthening its bridgehead to 75 miles, reaching the village of Laikava, 44 miles southeast of Warsaw and thirteen miles northeast of Radom.

In the Balkans, Bulgaria's Premier was making peace tenders to Britain and the United States, seeking a way of exit from the war and the clutches of the Nazis.

In the Pacific, bombing operations targeted Davao Gulf in Mindanao in the Philippines, Timor, Iwo Jima, and Truk, as well as targets in Dutch New Guinea. Also, new landings of Allied troops took place on the west side of besieged Biak Island, the eastern half of which having been in Allied possession since the landings there in May.

A censored piece by Franklin Banker provides pilot descriptions of the new Luftwaffe ME-163 rocket or jet-propelled "Flying Wing", of which three had been destroyed by American pilots three weeks earlier. The planes were so fast and could dive so swiftly, the fastest such capability on record at the time, that the Flying Fortress pilots at first could not even ascertain what these awkward new flying machines were.

The stubby little plane, dubbed the Komet by the Nazis, was in fact rocket-propelled, the only such fighter ever produced. But it proved ineffective as a fighter plane for its lack of maneuverability, resulting in only nine Allied kills, and was therefore abandoned.

It was a bird, maybe a plane, perhaps Übermensch. Unimpressed, an American pilot simply said, "They are ugly old things."

On the editorial page, "Conquest" finds the good news rolling off the typewriters of journalists on the scene in France and blistering from the teletypes so furiously was still unable to keep up with the even faster and more furious pace of the Allied Armies in their blitz of the German lines and entrapment of the Seventh Army. It had appeared only a couple of days earlier, as the column had then lamented, that the trap laid by the Allies had failed timely to close the gap, allowing escape by large remnants of the splintered, crumbling Seventh Army. But a second trap was now ensnaring those disparate elements at the Seine, and it appeared to be perhaps only days until all of Western France would fall to the Allies, especially after the U.S. Seventh Army in the South, moving fast against only two German divisions, wilting before them, would join with the forces in the north. The entirety of France might be rid of German forces in very short order, predicts the piece.

"The Madmen" comments on the column two days earlier indited by Dorothy Thompson on the "Mad" Colonel Andreas Von Aulock, whose men had chosen to fight nearly to the death at St. Malo before finally giving up the day before for want of food.

It determines it to be too facile, however, to take the approach of Ms. Thompson and view this act as a microcosm of the mental state of Nazi Germany, to look upon it as the act of puppets autonomically responding to the commands of the Fuehrer, to the exclusion of other fighting forces in the same predicament. For it calls to mind, as example of home-grown versions of these "madmen", the men of the Alamo, Custer at the Little Bighorn, the "Devil Dog" Marine brigade which held out for two weeks against vastly superior Japanese forces on Wake Island in December, 1941, and "Mad" Colonel Anthony Wayne of the American Revolution, all of whom also had adopted the same do-or-die mentality.

Such effort, therefore, as displayed at St. Malo could as easily be chalked up to a long history of military pride and discipline as to Nazi Pavlovian mind control.

"The Plaint" takes issue with Senator Carl Hatch of New Mexico in his statement that, in light of passage by the Senate of a demobilization bill favorable to states' rights interests, the Senate was controlled by Republicans and had been for two years.

Although there had been notable instances of coalitions formed between Southern conservative Democrats and the Republicans on certain bills, the overwhelming portion of the legislation of the current Congress, it contends, had been the result of only the Democratic majority. Anti-Administration sentiments were therefore not, as charged by Senator Hatch, driving the Congress.

Regardless, the hope, it asserts, of the American people at large was for bi-partisan cooperation in coming times to accomplish an effective and lasting peace.

"Two Tales" comments on the double whammy faced by the Roosevelt Administration on race relations. On the one hand, the perception, especially in the South, was that the Administration had been unrealistic in its approach to racial issues.

But on the other, to add to the Administration's woes in this regard, Tom Dewey's campaign manager, Herbert Brownell, future Attorney General under President Eisenhower, had announced an intention to take into court the issue of the refusal in Georgia to allow Republican blacks to vote. He had framed it as a failure of the New Deal, by its acquiescence at the Democratic convention to the Southern forces of recalcitrance.

Thus it was that the President was being attacked from both sides, by the South as too progressive on race relations, by the Republicans as being responsible for maintenance of retrograde race relations. One of the two mutually exclusive positions, says the piece, had to prove itself to be error.

Drew Pearson writes of the most heavily censored press accounts on any war front, those coming out of the Middle East, even though no military operations were any longer ongoing in those areas. The British had seen to it and the American military was following suit accordingly. Major General Barney Giles, commander of American forces in the area, had, without restraint, stated to American newsmen, "The American public has no goddamned right to know anything that is going on in this theater, gentlemen." That was notwithstanding the press complaint that, with the British gaining their prestige and wherewithal in the region through American largesse in Lend-Lease, the American people had a right to know what activities their taxpayer dollars were going to support.

Concern was that the Churchill Government intended to preserve the Dodecanese Islands, Crete, Sicily, and Pantellaria in the Mediterranean as bases to act as guardians for the Suez Canal, in an effort to maintain the British Empire interests in Egypt, Syria, and Lebanon, a British Empire, which Churchill had, since November, 1942, vowed to maintain, expressly stating he did not intend to be the first King's First Minister to preside over the dismantling of the Empire.

Despite the censorship now afoot in the Middle East, Mr. Pearson claims to have the inside story, at least as to Greece and the efforts of Britain to possess Crete, from uncensored American press accounts which had preceded the wall thrown up by General Giles and had eluded British censors, more strict than American military censors.

The British had 60% of the Greek Navy and 25% of the Greek Army as prisoners of war, as well as wealthy Greek businessmen, some from the United States, who had gone to Cairo to aid their country, causing the Greeks to believe that whether Germany or the Allies won the war meant little to the way they would be treated afterward, save that the British fed them better in the camps.

The problem had arisen when the British began training Greeks in Egypt to fight against the Greeks of Nazi-occupied Greece, even though the latter had been fighting in the underground against their occupiers. The Greek soldiers and sailors being trained by the British in Egypt then revolted against this effort by the British. Churchill had given support to King George as leader of the government-in-exile, despite widespread opposition to him among Greeks.

The result had been that there were two Greek governments, that of King George and the government of occupied Greece. But the latter had been so successful in stimulating revolt to the Nazis in the homeland that Allied ships could now enter Greek ports in daylight without opposition. With one division of Allied troops, it was believed that all Germans could be eliminated from Greece.

A meeting had taken place during the spring in Lebanon between the Greek government in Greece, represented by Premier Alexander Svolos, and the government-in-exile, represented by newly seated George Papandreou, (grandfather to the current Prime Minister of Greece). Premier Papandreou, however, was distrusted as a quisling by the government in Greece and so word was sent to Premier Svolos not to sign the proposed agreement to join the two governments in cooperation. The message, however, had been blocked by the British. Premier Svolos signed the agreement, but, when discovering the message had never been delivered, the government in Greece refused to abide by it. That, in turn, had caused Foreign Minister Sir Anthony Eden to state before Commons that the Greeks were refusing to honor their word.

While King George and the government-in-exile would likely allow the British to have possession of Crete, the government in Greece would not only oppose it, but had declared their intent to go to war regarding any attempt at accession to territory by the Anglo-Americans.

Thus, stood the thorny problem in Greece, emblematic of that generally in the Middle and Near East.

Dorothy Thompson again tackles the subject of the post-war division of Germany and the proposal to move millions of Germans from Czech and Polish territory into the Reich, one diminished by stripping it of territories to be ceded to Poland, France, and Belgium. No less a stern advocate of uncompromising peace without appeasement than The Economist in Britain was warning against such serious punitive sanctions, sanctions which could only lead to another war in the future.

Ms. Thompson agrees with this analysis and disagrees with the proposal of former Undersecretary of State Sumner Welles in his recent book Time for Decision, proposing division of post-war Germany into three sectors, to be maintained separately by the Allies, that such dismemberment would only give rise inexorably to strong nationalist movements as in the twenties.

Marquis Childs discusses the failed mission to Moscow undertaken by Premier Stanislaw Mikolajczyk of the Polish government-in-exile in London. He had sought to effect rapprochement with Stalin such that the Soviet-controlled Polish Committee of Liberation in Moscow would be meshed with a properly purged government-in-exile, freed of old guard members suspicious of Russia. But Stalin had only offered to him membership on the Committee, refused the coalition concept.

For Premier Mikolajczyk to have accepted the offer of Stalin would have been to betray the democratic forces of the government-in-exile, eager for a free Poland, not one under the thumb of the Soviet Union. So he refused, went home empty-handed.

Mr. Childs offers that, with the beginning the following week of the Dumbarton Oaks Conference in Georgetown, set to lay forth the plans for the United Nations organization, the Soviets needed to realize that their version of the post-war peace as thus far proposed needed amendment for there to be a true post-war period of peace.

While the Russians appeared on most counts to agree with the British and American concepts of the United Nations, with a Security Council dominated by the Big Four as permanent members while other smaller nations sat and rotated as members of the Council, the Russians were proposing, instead of an international police force to assure adherence to mandates of the Council, an international bomber force to be deployed to enforce the peace, one capable of deployment to any troubled spot within a couple of hours when made necessary by prospective aggression.

But it would take more than such measures employing stern force to bring about a peaceful world, Mr. Childs cautions. And puppets in Eastern Europe, subject to control by the Soviets, was not a situation acceptable to the West.

Hal Boyle tells of pet life on Brittany among the soldiers. Noted was the complete absence of cats, a glaring omission to the menagerie of critters otherwise tagging along with the Army on every front since North Africa. But no cats. One soldier theorized that it was because cats were oriented to localities, not people.

Without cats, we assume that there were no cathouses in Brittany either, with or without General Patton.

Regardless of the cat situation, there were monkeys, snakes, lizards, ferrets, parrots, skunks, mice, dogs aplenty and even rabbits. (Tweety-birds are notably absent.)

Examples of the latter two bestial categories were Major and Bugs, the former a mongrel mix of cocker spaniel and who knows what, and the latter a Belgian hare. The hare slept in the tent with the soldiers. Every time an artillery shell exploded in the vicinity, it jumped up and hit its head on the tent's ceiling. The bunny and the dog got on well, Bugs socking the dog in the nose whenever Major got out of line. The two regularly chased each other around the camp, taking turns at the lead in the chase, the appearance of Bugs chasing Major having caused changes in human perception of the animal world.

Lew Tenant II, writing in the Camp Davis Barrage, seeks to re-write some music for two renamed nations, Siam becoming Thailand, and Mesopotamia becoming Iraq. The latter change prompted, "I Wanna Go Baq to My Little Grass Shaq in Iraq".

A squib notes that the Japanese proclaimed that they had made a study of one of the downed B-29's and were in process of developing their own version which would soon be flying over Hawaii.

A Minnesota Republican Congressman was complaining, says a news piece on the page, anent the Office of Price Administration's failure thus far to respond to a gross shortage of black pepper, caused, he contended, by OPA's reluctance to raise the ceiling price on pepper, the present ceiling being one at which a few controlling importers had refused to sell some 30 million pounds of the sneeze powder, enough to supply all needs of the condiment through the end of 1945, instead stuck in storage.

We shall keep you apprised of Congressman Andersen's campaign to keep the country well-stocked in pepper.

Whether it had anything to do with the announcement a couple of days earlier, which we managed to omit, regarding the bombing by the Air Force of the Spice Islands, we don't know.

We do know, however, that in looking again for the Bugs Bunny cartoon from 1947, titled "A Hare Grows in Manhattan", to which we had linked you about 18 months ago, some reject of the Lenny convention has, true to their obscurantist mental state, having grown up in a world of home-grown disabilities and cottage industries built around maintenance of obscurantism, removed completely this very revealing cartoon from the internet, despite there being a plethora otherwise of Bugs Bunny cartoons available thereon. We do not regard this occurrence as a CIA or Government-sponsored plot, but rather that of some lone little orange-haired idiot punknik who thinks they are being very, very mysterious, while being transparent to all the adults among us, adults who were once, ourselves, children and teenagers, even if without the need after about age 7 to act out orange-haired behavior patterns.

Anyway, go look at that cartoon if you haven't and consider some eight-year old kid in New York City, for instance, viewing it, taking special note of it because of a complex developed from bullying other children mockish of his name, complicated the more by a funny Southern-sounding accent, wanting to fit in, but being channeled further from doing so by ill-advised parental and besieged guidance counselors' passing of the buck of rearing the child properly to funked-up child psychologists, for his being a soda-jerker; then winding up one day, some sixteen years later, after an intervening stint in the Marine Corps and a feigned or actual defection, to gain attention or otherwise, while having his lunch, hearing gunfire from within his immediate vicinity, realizing that he had been the object of FBI scrutiny until recently for that defection, suddenly dropped away for unknown reasons, by orders from the Director, and then becoming aware that the President of the United States had, according to eyewitnesses to the crime, just been shot in front of the building wherein he had worked as a warehouseman for a mere two months, having been recommended for the job through one George De Mohrenschildt. And, at age Four and Twenty, consider what you might have then done. Especially if you had been so stupid, in a stupid, funked-up Conservativized Society, as to have played with guns in front of others, others in that Society not very well Bordenized down to reality.

Stop removing, obscurantist, the damned cartoons because they reveal too much about YOU. We never liked them too much, either the still or moving variety, ourselves. They are not harmless as many erstwhile parents naively assume. One must, after being exposed to them for long, especially should one have a particularly retentive memory, work hard to ween one's self from their untoward impact. If you are a reject from the Lenny convention, you won't credit that because you are too stupid to realize it, having never looked hard into the Mirror. But think through that which we have suggested and, to your lasting humility and chagrin, you may find that we have ultimately more credit than YOU and your adolescent obscurantism, Orangy.

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