Monday, August 21, 1944

The Charlotte News

Monday, August 21, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that General Patton's Third Army had crossed the Seine River at two points, at Mantes, 25 miles northwest of Paris, while moving as far as Corbell, Melun, and Fontainebleau along a twenty-mile front a distance of between 15 and 35 miles southeast of the capital. Forces had reached the vicinity of Versailles on the outskirts of Paris, encountering only slight resistance.

Canadian troops crossed the Touques River in a two-mile advance south of Lisieux. The forces around Falaise and Argentan had entrapped an estimated 100,000 Germans of the Seventh Army, as 25,000 prisoners had been captured.

The pep talk by General Patton just before the Third Army had been deployed in Normandy on August 1 obviously had its impact. The Army had thus far in three weeks of fighting caused 109,575 enemy casualties, including 11,025 killed, 48,000 wounded, and 49,650 captured. The Army was said to be probing though France as the "arms of an octopus".

General Montgomery issued a statement praising all Allied troops in France for an heroic effort and predicting, if a few months prematurely, "The end of the war is in sight."

Meanwhile, demonstrating the depleted manpower of the German forces, a dead woman was found among a dead tank crew following the battle of the Normandy Bulge in the Vire sector between Viessoix and Burcy. It was Women's Liberation—Nazi-style.

RAF Mosquitos had hit Nazi defense lines all along the Seine the previous night, flying at flare-lit treetop levels, hitting barges and makeshift pontoon bridges designed to carry troops away from the trap set by the Allies. The primary areas of crossing, where the focus of attention of the RAF was concentrated, were Elbeuf, Duclair, Caudebec, and Quillebeuf. Another attack west of the Seine knocked out 130 German vehicles and 16 tanks in the Falaise area.

French troops in the South had nearly encircled Toulon, coming to within three miles of the port city, fifteen miles from Marseille. American forces of the Seventh Army moved rapidly forward on both sides of Pertuis, eleven miles north of Aix-en-Provence across the Durance River. There was no sign of any concerted attempt by the Germans to make a stand within the Rhone Valley, the natural avenue of attack for the Allies to join the forces to the north in the Falaise sector. Thus far, the Seventh Army had captured at least 14,000 German prisoners.

The Russians continued to advance on Praga, Warsaw suburb. The First Ukrainian Army, moving up the west bank of the Vistula, killed all of the remaining trapped Germans north of captured Sandomierz. Counter-attacks to the north in the Jelgava area near the Gulf of Riga caused some minor setbacks for the Red Army. In Estonia, the Third Baltic Army drove to within seven miles of Tartu, capturing 130 populated places. In Latvia, General Andrei Yeremenko's Second Baltic Army captured more than 70 populated places, advancing to within 55 miles of Riga by capturing Erglin. The Germans had lost more than 1,500 tanks during just the previous nine days. There was still no new communique from the East Prussian sector.

An inside page shows a map of the week's progress on the European fronts.

The Dumbarton Oaks Conference, meeting to plan the United Nations organization, got underway in Georgetown, D.C. Contrary to previous reports, the Chinese were not represented, only Russia, Great Britain, and the United States. Russian Ambassador to the U.S., Andrei Gromyko, represented the Soviets; Secretary of State Cordell Hull represented the U.S., with Undersecretary Edward Stettinius as proxy; Sir Alexander Cadogan represented Great Britain.

On the editorial page, "Paper Day" congratulates the city and the Junior Chamber of Commerce for its successful scrap paper drive of the day before, collecting at least 600,000 pounds.

The drive was supposed to have taken place periodically during the summer, with collections by Charlotte youth, but the polio epidemic and resulting quarantine of all persons under 15 had necessitated that the Jaycees perform the drive only on one Sunday.

"New CCC?" finds it appropriate that Congress had inquired of the President as to what sort of organization he had in mind for the suggested one year of voluntary service to the country by young men 18 to 23, beginning after the war. If another Civilian Conservation Corps, de-funded by Congress in 1942 and ending the previous year, it would prove unpopular. Yet, there was plenty of sentiment in favor of some form of peacetime organization of the type which would provide both military training and civilian service to the country.

"Imperialist" remarks unfavorably on Tennessee Senator Kenneth McKellar's revival of the proposal that the British give to the United States its island possessions in the Western Hemisphere. He had provided the rationale that it would enable protection for British ships coursing through the Panama Canal to Australia. But, the same rationale, says the piece, could be used to ask Britain to give up its island possessions in the Mediterranean to enable protected passage through the Suez. The proposal was only likely to stir resentment.

"Doubletalk?" finds its answer in the Dewey appeal to Labor, asserting that wartime restrictions imposed by the Roosevelt Administration should, by Labor Day 1945, be removed, lest they destroy collective bargaining. The implication was that the Administration, if re-elected, would not remove wartime restrictions even after the war had ended. The piece states that Labor would not be so gullible as to fall for the lure, that it knew well where its friends were and were not. But the tactic was worth being noted as it was typical of the Dewey claptrap employed thus far in the campaign. The same sort of line was being used to bait management on the notion that the Administration had been overly tender to Labor.

"Last Straw" states, without reserve, that the American forces in the Pacific, while tremulous at the prospect, would nevertheless continue the good fight even in the face of diminishing odds, given the statement from Tokyo, published Saturday, that the Japanese had, from studying a downed B-29, developed plans for their own version which, they warned, soon would be menacing Hawaii.

There was one problem: the Japanese had lost so much territory in the Pacific since the previous fall that they no longer had any bases within striking distance of Hawaii, even with a B-29 in their stable.

It predicts that the Americans would continue the fight intrepid in the face of this threat, but instructs that morale had to be maintained at a high pitch "to parry the thrusts of the now-mighty enemy".

Drew Pearson looks at the opening of the Dumbarton Oaks Conference, finds that the Soviets were not too far from the British-American position on the structure of the United Nations, with a Security Council formed of the Big Four nations plus rotating smaller nations. The sticking point could prove to be, however, the Soviet desire for an international bombing force which could be deployed anywhere in Europe within two hours. President Roosevelt had expressed a desire only for there to be provisions for deployment of force to maintain peace by each sovereign nation acting with the unanimous consent of the Big Four, but also with each therefore having unilateral veto power.

With the Russians and Chinese sending only their U.S. Ambassadors to the conference, Secretary Hull, while giving his imprimatur to the conference at its beginning and scheduled to deliver another address at its close, would not be present day to day. Rather, Undersecretary of State Edward Stettinius would be the primary representative.

Mr. Pearson next turns to Mayor La Guardia of New York turning down FDR's request that he go to Italy to review the diplomatic situation, that is unless he could go as a part of the armed forces. Thus far, that request had been denied by the War Department on the ground that he was too valuable to New York City. The Mayor had ended his weekly radio addresses to the Italian people which he had delivered for the previous year. He had become popular thereby throughout Italy, the most popular radio speaker of the war and a hero to the Italian people.

Mr. Pearson next explains why the President's dry speech at Bremerton, Washington on Saturday a week earlier, simply for the most part a discussion of his travels through the Pacific, had proved so flat, lacking in the eloquence and substance usually marking his radio addresses. His speech writers were not along for the ride and rumor was that the President had drafted the address himself. It was so bad, reports Mr. Pearson, that one of FDR's friends remarked that General "Pa" Watson must have been its primary architect.

Finally, he tells of the glut of stock in costume jewelry at the stateside military post exchanges. So much was on hand that orders for it had been stopped. Someone had done a good sales job to the exchanges, far exceeding the demand. In North Carolina, Pope Field, with 400 men on duty, had $16,000 worth of costume jewelry available. Fort Bragg had a stock of $91,000 worth.

Marquis Childs gives praise to the job of the Eighth Air Force for its effort in France. On June 8, for instance, it had knocked out all nine of the bridges on the Loire River, preventing the Germans from bringing reinforcements for the Normandy front. It had completely destroyed the Luftwaffe during the previous two years, such that the expected German reserve of airplanes held back for the final stand never manifested itself over France, to the surprise even of General Hap Arnold, commander of the Army Air Forces.

The Navy liked to take credit for the battering of German shore defenses in advance of D-Day, but without the Air Force, the precision bombing, so crucial to defeat of the German Army, could not have taken place.

An article re-printed from The Christian Science Monitor discusses the high-wire act necessary to be performed by Price Administrator Chester Bowles in adjusting the economy from one carefully regulated as to prices during the war, back to the free-market model of supply and demand, inevitably to be restored gradually after the war.

A letter writer tells of the centennial of the YMCA, coinciding with D-Day.

Hal Boyle, remarking on close shaves by G.I.'s, tells of two American soldiers who had been run over by tanks and lived to tell the tale--whether in the vicinity of Dijon not being indicated. The first, a sergeant, was walking behind a tank when it became bogged down in mud. Communications with the tank crew were temporarily lost. The tank backed out of the mire, running over the sergeant. But he quickly sprang back to his feet, just a little muddied for the experience.

A private was occupying a foxhole during battle when a tank drove over his side of the hole, sheering off his long fingernails as he reached for a board. He, too, however, suffered no injury.

Producer-director Leo McCarey, according to a news piece, was struggling to find the right match for a part to complement or offset the huge success enjoyed by Bing Crosby in the McCarey-directed "Going My Way", in which Mr. Crosby was cast as a priest. Mr. McCarey thought another such casting would seem like a sequel and sequels tended not to do too well. And since no one would accept Mr. Crosby in the role of a gangster, he was stuck in a quandary to find the right fit.

The motion picture, a box-office success, would eventually win the Academy Award come March for Best Picture of 1944, as well as sweeping other categories, including Actor, Supporting Actor, Barry Fitzgerald, and Director.

In 1945, there would indeed be a sequel, "The Bells of St. Mary's", in which Mr. Crosby would reprise his role as Father O'Malley, and again would be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for the role, as the film also would be nominated for Best Picture, Mr. McCarey as Best Director, and co-star Ingrid Bergman for Best Actress as Sister Mary Benedict.

Ah yes, Mary Benedict. We remember her well, before... Or was it after? She photographed so well. And with such a nice smile. Just s' fresh, like the newborn, even in black and white.

It's quite elementary.

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