Wednesday, August 23, 1944

The Charlotte News

Wednesday, August 23, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports the big news of the day, the liberation of Paris by the Allies. The liberation was effected with the substantial support for four previous days of the Army of the Interior, a part of the Resistance, consisting of 50,000 fighting men, with hundreds of thousands of unarmed civilians. The Army had engaged in street fighting with the Nazis in advance of the Third Army's entry. The City of Light had been in darkness, under German occupation, since June 14, 1940.

Lt. General Joseph Pierre Koenig, military governor of Paris and head of the Army of the Interior, was slated to go to the city the following day, possibly to be accompanied by General Charles De Gaulle. The Committee of National Liberation was in Brittany at Rennes, visiting several of the liberated areas. General De Gaulle was expected to bring the Committee to Paris as soon as military and economic conditions permitted.

A U.S. armored column struck at Sens, 160 miles from the German frontier, 58 miles southeast of Paris. Between Sens and Paris, General Patton's Third Army was operating in the woods near Fontainebleau.

Canadian troops advanced ten to fifteen miles in the push of the Germans who had escaped the Falaise trap into the new trap on the Lower Seine, the jaws of which were said to be tightening on the remnants of the once proud German Seventh Army. A map on the inside page shows this entrapment, between the British and Canadian forces out of the Caen sector and the forces of the Third Army out of Dreux from the south, northwest of Paris.

In Freckleton in Lancashire, England, an American Liberator crashed into a school, killing at least 50 persons, including 34 children, some of whom had been evacuees from London to escape the V-1 attacks.

The U.S. Seventh Army, moving along a path once followed by Napoleon, cut a deep swath into Southern France, entering Grenoble, positioned on a river leading into the Rhone Valley, and 140 miles north of the Mediterranean, 240 miles south of the Third Army's most southerly forces. The Resistance forces, long active in the city and its surrounding Alpine territory, had played a major role in enabling the taking of Grenoble.

A third Allied invasion force was reported by the French to have landed near Bordeaux the previous night.

Russian troops continued to outflank Warsaw, splitting the German defenders from those in East Prussia.

On the Baltic front, the Germans stated that the Russians had reached the beaches at Riga in Latvia.

After being stalled on the Rumanian front for reinforcement re-supply since May, the Russians were moving forward along a 150-mile front beyond Iasi through Bessarabia, to within 51 miles of the Danube, 180 miles of Bucharest, and 155 miles from Ploesti's oilfields,. General Fedor Tolbukhin's Army was seeking to join at the Galati Gap with General Rodion Malinovsky's Army, a joinder which would make the territory indefensible for the Germans.

Bulgaria meanwhile continued to seek diplomatically a way to arrange peace with the U.S. and Great Britain, being not at war with Russia.

A piece on the inside page tells of perilous and valiant action in a Pacific foxhole, whereby a private, having just witnessed the co-occupant of the foxhole being shot in the head, peeped out to see an advancing Japanese soldier with sword drawn, grabbed the sword by the hilt, pulled the Japanese soldier into the foxhole, whereupon a grenade was tossed in behind him. The quick thinking private then threw the Japanese soldier on top of the grenade which exploded, killing the Japanese soldier, leaving the private unharmed.

Another piece tells of war workers in a Van Nuys, CA., Northrop Aircraft facility, a part of a veterans' hospital, being exclusively comprised of veterans with various disabilities, nevertheless engaged in building components for the new P-61 Black Widow night fighter plane.

After consulting with Thomas Dewey's foreign policy advisor, John Foster Dulles, Senator Warren Austin of Vermont, a Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, stated without hesitation that the Republican Party would be united with the Democrats on the question of the basic structure of post-war United Nations organization. The talks between Mr. Dulles and Senator Austin, as well as Senator Arthur Vandenburg, also of the Committee, had followed Governor Dewey's public statement of support for the Dumbarton Oaks Conference, meeting since Monday in Georgetown.

Meanwhile, Dewey campaign chairman Herbert Brownell had moved his headquarters temporarily to Washington so that he could better feel the pulse of the Republican members of Congress. House Minority Leader Joe Martin of Massachusetts had quoted Mr. Brownell, future Attorney General under President Eisenhower, as stating that he wanted "to meet the boys".

A Tulsa judge, says the inside page, found it necessary to issue an injunction to a man to desist from fulfilling his threat to cut off the head of his neighbor with a cane knife. That's a threat.

If the neighbor should have then responded, "Back off, Bugaloo," would that have been a threat?

On the editorial page, "Command" comments on recent flare-ups in the British press, indignant from having the American press insinuate that American General Omar Bradley had equal standing in France to General Montgomery and that both were under the command of General Eisenhower. The British had been quick to point out that General Montgomery was head of all ground forces in France.

Likewise was the problem that General Sir Henry Maitland Wilson, head of the Mediterranean operations and thus having command over the invasion of the South of France, was in fact on equal standing with General Eisenhower, Supreme Allied Commander in Europe.

The piece suggests that there was no room for such pettiness, as had entangled American forces under the command of General Pershing during World War I, not wishing to be commanded by French General Foch. The object was to defeat the Germans, not to engage in disunifying battles regarding who was superior to whom in the command structure.

"A Boner" cautions Attorney General Francis Biddle for his utterance that "No one man is indispensable to any cause." It asks what would he do should his subordinates at Justice use it against him.

"Mr. Nelson" wonders at conjecture surrounding Donald Nelson's trip to China to seek to iron out supply problems to that front. The Administration had indicated his expertise as head of the War Production Board to be ideally suited to such a mission. But others, on both sides of the political divide, had wondered whether it was prudent when the chief task of WPB at home was to iron out problems with adjustment to the post-war economy by smoothly bringing about demobilization.

The piece expresses consternation at the fact that it was becoming the case that the war fronts were being subordinated to politics at home.

"The Vision" finds persuasive the statement of General Sir Bernard Montgomery that the end of the war was in sight, given his long history of deft command in the field and being a keen observer of enemy strength and weakness. That he would sense that the enemy was nearing its breaking point and would be so bold as to utter it to the fighting men under his command suggested nothing less than a definitive statement of the situation in France and in Europe generally. The end, concludes the piece, had to be very near.

Unfortunately, the Germans had one more grand Bulge in them, come December, when the sledding would become difficult for the Allies, as it would in Eastern France, the closer to the Rhine the Allied forces came.

"Old Evil" assails the continued power of the Mecklenburg Coroner to act as magistrate and jury in exonerating persons committing homicide based on testimony affirming the circumstances as being justifiable. The outgoing former Coroner had stated that his office ought be abolished as antiquated and antithetical to the practice of decision on whether or not to institute criminal charges being the exclusive province of the Grand Jury and the court system.

The piece cites the case reported Monday of the taxi driver who was, he claimed, being robbed at knife point when he grabbed a pistol from his pocket and shot the assailant in the head. It turned out that the man was identified as having been the culprit in another taxi robbery just a few nights earlier.

The editorial, while finding that these circumstances would likely have convinced any Grand Jury or court that the homicide was in self defense and thus justifiable, it nevertheless remained the exclusive province of the courts to determine that legal finding, not that of the County Coroner.

Drew Pearson initially makes note of another directive of Maj. General Barney Giles, commanding American forces in the Middle East, having squelched any American troop July Fourth celebrations as being insulting to the British. One British soldier had then complained to an American of insult for not, as was the usual practice, being invited to their celebration.

The column on Saturday had reported General Giles's demand that American journalists refrain from writing anything critical of British policy in the Middle East.

An engineer at the Navy Department was surprised to find that the complaining party needing a rise in Fahrenheit from the chilly climes artificially induced by air conditioning was none other than Admiral Richard E. Byrd. Mr. Pearson notes that Washington air conditioning had apparently been the cause of several prominent cases of pneumonia, including that of Donald Nelson and the son of former Texas Senator Earle Mayfield.

He next notes that the pro-Administration, anti-isolationist sentiments of the voters which had led to the defeat or decision not to run for re-election of several political veterans in the Congress, the dominating trend in the 1944 elections, had apparently also infected the Louisiana Senate election. Senator Overton, against, in 1938 and subsequently, revision of the Neutrality Act to allow sending of arms to England, as well as having opposed early Lend-Lease, was suffering tough sledding in a state where he had no opponent in 1938.

Lastly, he informs of the loyalty of Prime Minister Churchill to both the Ambassador from England to the United States, Lord Halifax, and the representative of England to the Dumbarton Oaks Conference, Sir Alexander Cadogan, being premised on their 17th century ancestors' loyalty shown to Sir Winston's ancestor, the Duke of Marlborough, founder of the Churchill dynasty. The previous Earl of Cadogan had been the eyes and ears of Marlborough, one of Britain's most revered military leaders, in directing military strategy through ten campaigns. The earlier Lord Halifax had posted bail of 6,000 pounds, no mean sum, to obtain the release of Marlborough from the Tower of London to which he had been confined by King William of Orange for suspicion of treason for communication with exiled King James.

Marquis Childs examines the speech of Thomas Dewey which affirmed the concept of the United Nations organization as a peace-keeping force but criticized the proposed top-heavy power structure, dominated by the Big Four.

Mr. Childs finds his overall point well-taken, that power could only go so far and so long to enforce world peace, that without the consent of the people of all of the nations, especially the smaller nations, there could be no governance respectful of any governmental authority.

He finds lacking in Governor Dewey's statement, however, any allaying of concerns that the Republicans as a party were continuing to endorse protectionism in world trade. Expansive markets, as the Hull policy had fostered, were beneficial to small and large nations alike and would be as important to nurture as was the prevention of further aggression post-war. Prosperous nations were happy nations which tended not to wage aggressive war.

Canadian Prime Minister MacKenzie King had eloquently spoken to these points recently, points out Mr. Childs, and put in perspective the smaller nations' rightful claim to share in the peace. Belgium, Norway, and Holland had contributed substantially to the war and to defeat of the Nazis, had done so for longer than the United States, and yet were not appropriately being heard in the talks formative of the United Nations. Canada had provided men and materiel to the battle fronts and yet was not being proportionately heard at the peace table.

A letter to the editor, not very discernible, appears to take the idea from the editorial "Columbus" of August 14, remarking on Senator Robert Rice Reynolds having discovered at long last that it was the ordinary worker who paid the bulk of the taxes in the country, that only American business could lay the proverbial golden egg by paying taxes to support government programs. Neither government bureaucracy nor political parties, contends the writer, were such geese.

Sounding a bit like the later lines of Senator Barry Goldwater and his latter-day adherents to the small-government-cum-Big-Business ideal, with minimal, if any, regulation to strap the free enterprise concept, the notion was exactly the opposite of that which the editorial had advanced. Indeed, the letter sounds precisely as Texas Governor Rick Perry today.

The only problem with the concept is that it gave us the Great Depression in 1929, which took the extraordinary measures of the New Deal to extricate the society from its otherwise lasting grip and to provide oversight measures to insure against its happening again.

A limited hang-out version of it during the years between 2001 and 2009 produced a not dissimilar effect from which the society is still struggling by fits and starts to wrest itself.

Laissez-faire, while sounding good to the unstudied, thus winning plentiful votes, unfortunately, given its inevitable reliance on aspects of human nature which do not obtain save perhaps in the best of churches or in laboratory settings of experiments in high school, only works in fairy tales where all the good little boys and girls labor laboriously and efficiently to create widgets for the gentle, sweet master who, with the best interests of the dedicated labor force at heart, provides all the rewards perfectly measured, with undying largesse, in recompense proportionate to the work of the employee, well and efficiently accomplished for perfect motivation having been maintained without regard to profit of the company when inconsistent with the requisite compensation to the efficient laborers. If you know anyone like that in private business, large or small, who would still act accordingly without government oversight and regulation, let us know. We have never run across such an animal.

Just say "No."

Hal Boyle, largely obliterated, tells of four MP's having found, for 24 hours, their Xanadu, away from the travails and toils of warfare, in the French town of Mont St. Michel, in peacetime a prime tourist attraction.

We shall have to await another day, however, to understand more fully the whys and wherefores of this 24-hour furlough for the four military cops.

There are a couple of interesting quotes of the day on the page, but unfortunately the names of the quoted are excised at the bottom margin. We shall have to try again later.

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