Tuesday, August 22, 1944

The Charlotte News

Tuesday, August 22, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Germans were frantically seeking egress from the push of the Third Army by trying to cross the Seine River. A large part of the trapped German forces between Argentan and Falaise were thought to have effected escape, but were still threatened by the Third Army drive from Mantes to the north.

To the South, French troops of the Seventh Army were reported to have fully encircled Toulon. A later report indicated that Allied troops had entered the city. The Americans were still driving westward, northwest of Toulon, to within less than a dozen miles of Marseille from the southwest and from the north, with encirclement of that city also nearly accomplished. French troops drove from the east to within eight miles of the city, having taken Aubagne. The Seventh Army now held 2,000 square miles of territory in Southern France as the German Army continued to flee northward through the Rhone Valley.

Two journalists, Tom Treanor of the Los Angeles Times, and William Stringer, an American correspondent for Reuters out of London, had both been killed in France during the previous eight days. Mr. Treanor had been fatally injured near Mantes when the jeep in which he had been riding was crushed by an onrushing tank. Undaunted initially, he remained conscious as medics took him to the hospital, and was urging that the surgeons get on with the surgery to his wounds so that he could file his story. Mr. Stringer had been killed by an artillery shell striking near Chartres. Two other newspapermen had been wounded, one of them near death. As reported the previous week, Galt MacGowan of The New York Sun had been captured by the Nazis.

The Ninth Air Force was reported to have caused three war correspondents and a graphic artist to have been shipped out of France because of alleged inferior work, not sufficiently covering the Ninth Air Force. The move came after repeated warnings for the journalists to cover only the Ninth.

On Sunday morning, the Gestapo had arrested Marshal Henri Petain, head of Vichy, along with other officials of the puppet government. The reason provided for the arrests was that Marshal Petain had refused to accompany the Chief of the Government, Pierre Laval, in a move to the new provisional government headquarters, designated to be Belfort.

The French Resistance meanwhile was taking control of the city of Vichy. Apparently, the Nazis, for propaganda reasons, did not want Marshal Petain, hero to the French in World War I, to be able to fall into the hands of the Resistance.

The Russians moved across the Bug River northeast of Warsaw, flanking the German forces protecting the capital. The Bug joined the Vistula 28 miles above Warsaw and thus crossing the Bug could enable crossing also of the Vistula. Marshal Rossokovsky's forces were moving toward the confluence of the Bug and Vistula. The Germans had managed to mount fierce counter-attacks in defense of Warsaw in the Praga suburb.

There had been another B-29 raid on Japan on Sunday, grabbing the focal point of attention of the new Japanese Cabinet of Premier Kuniaki Koiso. The Japanese press speculated that the night portion of the dual day and night raids had originated in India, and that the base at Chengdu in China, from which the initial June 15 B-29 raid on Yawata had originated, was now only being used as a shuttle base for the Twentieth Air Force to refuel before departing for the long leg to Japan. The story estimated that about a hundred B-29's had participated in the Sunday raids, indicative, it further speculated, of several hundred in the fleet. The number of planes, however, was not specified in the U.S. communique.

An inside page provides a map of the movement of the U.S. Third and Seventh Armies in France.

An article on the page also reports of defeated Senator Cotton Ed Smith of South Carolina having announced that he would oppose President Roosevelt for a fourth term and would support a slate of electors freed from the fetters of mere democratic will of the voters, come November, and favor sending a slate of electors nominated by the anti-New Deal Southern Democratic Party. The Democratic Convention, said the aging Senator, had offered nothing for the South. Indeed, he continued, a foreigner, Sidney Hillman of the CIO, had been consulted on whether South Carolinian James Byrnes could be nominated for the vice-presidency and had negated the prospect.

On the editorial page, "The Editor Returns", signed by J. E. Dowd, announces his return to The News after being absent as a lieutenant in the Navy Reserve for 20 months, since December, 1942, underscoring our note of last Friday noticing a change then in the masthead of the editorial page, with Mr. Dowd's name set again as Editor, with interim Editor Burke Davis returning to his position as Associate Editor, as again type-placed in Monday's masthead. Mr. Dowd expresses appreciation to Mr. Davis for his worthy stewardship of the newspaper in Mr. Dowd's absence.

We again second the motion and make note to those interested in the Civil War that Mr. Davis went on to have a prominent career as a writer of Civil War biographies, notably on J.E.B. Stuart and Stonewall Jackson, as well as other non-fiction and fiction works. He lived to be 93 and passed away in Greensboro only five years ago.

Noting that Mr. Davis was younger, at 31, than Mr. Dowd, in his latter forties by this point, and more progressive, he admits, Mr. Dowd expresses his looking forward to contesting the opinions of the younger man from time to time as they moved forward, having been for the interim period simply another reader, receiving the copy a few days after it was published, sometimes disagreeing over detail, but usually agreeing in overall substance with the editorials produced by Mr. Davis, always finding them erudite and informative.

Mr. Dowd states that the editorial column would largely be the work henceforth of Mr. Davis, with Mr. Dowd contributing occasionally when he felt the urge, as it had been prior to his departure, (as it had been with W. J. Cash, and presumably with his successor for a year, Stuart Rabb).

"________" is another editorial at least partially in the dark for now, but pertains to Falangist Spain under the dictatorship of Generalissimo Francisco Franco and its apparent immunity from any Allied effort to rid that country of its Fascist regime along with the other Fascists of Europe being toppled from power.

Fully half the money being raised by the Falangist Party in support of Fascist causes, observes the piece, was being funneled into Latin America to help bolster Fascist movements in those countries. If the Allies had not learned their lesson with the history of the Nazi Party and the history of Japanese aggression prior to the war, and allowed Franco to survive the war, as apparently he was going to be allowed to do, then, it warns, the seeds of a second Axis would be allowed to burgeon within Central and South America.

And so it was, often with the United States giving support to Fascist regimes in contest with the dratted Communists, even if Communism, in Latin America, was synonymous with land reform and undoing of feudalistic policies implemented by dictatorial Fascist regimes, and had little, if anything, to do with Soviet Communism, other than, on occasion, receiving from the Soviets some financial and military aid.

"Peacemakers" gives praise to the Big Four powers for recognizing the need to found the new United Nations organization on the stones of the Big Four, and the determination not to have power distributed equally among the nations as with the failed League of Nations. The Dumbarton Oaks Conference, begun Monday in Georgetown, was not just any other conference but one designed to set up the foundation of the United Nations, discussing it, making recommendations to the respective governments represented at the conference.

The basic tenets appeared resolved, without substantial disagreement: a general assembly of United Nations; a governing Security Council constituted by the Big Four and rotating smaller nations; and a World Court to settle disputes between nations and prevent war.

The stance of the nations coming into the conference, asserts the editorial, augured well for the future of a peaceful world, one not beleaguered by the emasculate past, beset by a League without teeth to enforce the post-war treaties and prevent the gradual aggression and military build-up in Germany and Japan which led inexorably to World War II.

"New Park" gives praise to the Charlotte Lions Club for its munificence in acquiring 110 acres off East Boulevard to be dedicated as a recreational park, remedying a deficit in the community.

Drew Pearson first looks at General Lucius Clay's testimony before the Senate committee, formerly chaired by Senator Truman, now investigating the abundance of supply of war materiel available to the military, to determine the extent to which civilian production might be re-established in certain sectors of the economy where arms and supplies for the military were in over-abundance.

The General had disputed reports that small arms were available in sufficient quantity to the military to have adequate supply for five years without further production. He stated that the term was actually 18 months to two years. But upon further questioning by the Senators, he could not definitely assert that this quantum included small arms already at the front, in transit, or in forward warehouses, as no figures existed on those quantities. He was solely relying on stored arms presently in the country.

There were previous reports, says Mr. Pearson, of whole warehouses being stocked to the gills with rolls of toilet paper, other storage facilities abounding in such profusion of materials as to be brimming beyond their capacity, in the case of lumber, additional land being reported bought by the government, necessary to warehouse it all.

He next turns briefly to Assistant Secretary of State Adolf Berle and his entertaining of Lord Beaverbrook of England. Mr. Berle wanted to make sure that he had a wine adequate to the taste of the connoisseur, "the Beaver", and so sent about the countryside to requisition several allotments of stored wines to achieve it. And, despite ordinary consumers not being able to obtain but cheap grades typically, he managed it.

Mr. Pearson then recounts that the Nazi prisoners-of-war waiting officers' tables at Fort Knox had brought their Nazism fully intact with them. They refused to serve Jewish officers. No steps had been taken to remedy the situation, the Army treating the snub as something of a joke.

Finally, he reports of Henry Fletcher being appointed recently by Secretary Hull as a special assistant. Mr. Fletcher had been the chair of the Republican National Committee in 1936 when Alf Landon was the party nominee for the presidency. Rumor was that Mr. Hull made the appointment to get back at Wendell Willkie, the 1940 nominee of the Republicans, as it was widely believed that Mr. Willkie would succeed Mr. Hull in the next Roosevelt Administration.

And perhaps, had Mr. Willkie not died two months hence of a heart attack at age 52, it would have been the case. Since 1941, FDR had sought assiduously to create a bi-partisan Executive Branch in matters dealing with foreign policy.

Marquis Childs comments on the problems of continuing military censorship of the news, delaying accurate reports, sometimes thereby misleading the public into accepting a rosier picture of the war than was properly justified by events on the fronts. It cites three recent examples: a delayed story of an ambush on the Seabees operating on the Normandy coast; the death of Lt. General Lesley McNair July 25 in Normandy by friendly fire, initially reported as if occurring from enemy fire; and the initially unreported dire straits of the Marines and Army infantry landing on Saipan, trapped by enemy forces and being cut to pieces in some places, while the reportage had it that all was proceeding with only a modicum of opposition.

Mr. Childs put the question to a general as to the reason for this disconnect in some circumstances between events as they were occurring and the way they wound up being reported contemporaneously. The general sought to lay the blame on the press itself, for not waiting long enough for stories to catch up with the action. Instead, often journalists removed from the front, he contended, were making up the stories from fragmentary accounts. He cited as example the press at Pearl Harbor having written about Saipan, though thousands of miles away from the Marianas Islands. Meanwhile, the reporters on the scene writing down stories of hell on earth were delayed in being able to send those stories along the wire. So, said the general, the newspapers were at fault for jumping the gun on printing stories containing at best only half the picture, sometimes a quite distorted half.

Mr. Childs opted to see the fault as equally distributed between the newspapers and the armed services, especially the War Department, for their censorship policies, making it hard at times for the newspapers to print accurate stories. The fighting men, facing harsh jungle warfare in the Pacific, deserved a better accounting than the facile picture of their seemingly simple victories and progress being provided to the home front.

Dorothy Thompson examines the recent statement of Thomas Dewey advocating a greater role in the United Nations organization for the smaller nations of the world, and less concentration of power in the Big Four. It was important as a viewpoint, she suggests, regardless of whether Mr. Dewey would be elected in November or not, for its being representative of a Republican view which could make or break confirmation of the post-war treaty subject to the two-thirds majority rule.

She finds his view probably not that much different from the one favored in actuality by Secretary of State Hull, but that often articulated principles had become far different than the standards actually practiced in foreign relations. The Atlantic Charter as signed in August, 1941 had been varied by Prime Minister Churchill when he recently had asserted that it did not apply to enemy nations, despite its words plainly referring to "all nations" in assuring establishment and preservation of the Four Freedoms in all peace-loving countries and renouncing any forms of post-war acquisitory intentions harbored by the Allies. Regardless, Belgium, France, and Poland all talked openly about acquiring parts of Germany. The Allies appeared onboard with these desires. The border questions of Russia also had to be settled.

Ultimately, she posits, while Mr. Dewey's stance was an admirable statement of principle, whether the smaller nations would be more strongly represented in the United Nations would likely have little impact on the resolution of these issues, likely to be at odds in the end with the enunciated principles of the Atlantic Charter.

She also again reminds that, without an international body of law as a standard of enforcement, any policing mechanism attempted by the Allies would in time miserably fail for lack of apparent legitimacy. To establish a credible authority, there had to be a legal basis by which the United Nations would oversee the world to prevent aggression. Otherwise, it would be simply an ad hoc application of force, without objective standards governing when and for what reasons it would be deployed.

A news piece reports that the furnishings from the United States Hotel, closed two years earlier in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., once the accommodations for Civil War generals, diplomats and representatives of foreign states, and Presidents of the United States, having opened in 1825, were now being sold at auction.

Another news piece states that Senator W. Lee O'Daniel of Texas had joined Cotton Ed Smith in railing against a fourth term for the President. Pass the Biscuits Pappy alleged that the Roosevelt Administration had steered the country toward communism and socialism with a dictatorial central government, which had to be stopped, power restored to the States. And the Southern Democrat Party was the party to do it.

Somehow, it rings all too familiar to this very day, only now, instead of the Southern Democrat Party, it is the rhetoric of choice voiced by a good portion of the Republican Party, especially its Tea Party wing. (Just say "No".)

Hal Boyle returns to his Saturday subject, rabbits on the front. One named Butch had started a battle all by his lonesome. Another, named Whiskers, had put in for the Purple Heart.

Butch, with only one eye to his name, was the champion patrol rabbit by virtue of his being in the pocket of his owner, a sergeant who had crept repeatedly behind enemy lines. Butch had gone AWOL one night, getting out of pocket during a patrol, exploring briefly a hedgerow before returning to his master. Far from relieved, however, the sergeant nearly jumped out of his skin when the rabbit, with no forewarning, hopped onto the back of his neck, causing him autonomically to fire his rifle repeatedly, in turn causing the Germans to sweep the area with machinegun and rifle fire, in turn causing the American lines to respond. All because of Butch's untimely foray and startlingly unceremonious return.

Whiskers had served eighteen days in the frontline trenches with his master and had been nicked on the ear by shrapnel, thus recommended for the Purple Heart.

Whether Whiskers was any kin to Rutherford B. Hayes, Mr. Boyle does not impart. But Butch was a bit of a hassle. And that Bugs, with two good eyes for his consistently ingested regimen of carotene, was still within the pink and white tent, may or may not have been the case.

Incidentally, we note that the 5.8 magnitude earthquake which struck in Virginia August 23, 2011 was the largest such event to strike the East Coast, by coincidence, since August 9, 1944 when the Weston Observatory in Boston recorded a similar sized event in New York, as chronicled on the front page of that date in a short story, largely obliterated unfortunately in our presently available copy. Two days earlier, Fordham University had recorded two fairly severe earthquakes 3,850 miles south of New York, thought to have been centered in Peru. A temblor, we recall, struck along the Appalachians in North Carolina in 1970, and it was explained at the time that though the fault in that region of the country remains for the most part dormant, there nevertheless is such a geologic feature, which from time to time may slip. But, until you have gone through one of at least 7.0 magnitude, you are not a true veteran of the earthquake experience, just one acquainted with the idea of what it is like.

The Washington Post reports that some of the animals at the National Zoo began acting abnormally before the quake occurred. That is consistent with animal behavior patterns we have noted prior to such events. The report does not state, however, what the rabbits did.

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