Thursday, August 24, 1944

The Charlotte News

Thursday, August 24, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that General Eisenhower appeared to rescind the previous day's good news with respect to the liberation of Paris, stating that he did not yet consider the capital liberated, that the announcement was premature as fighting still continued within the city by rearguard German forces. The Resistance had obtained, without the required imprimatur of Supreme Allied Headquarters, an armistice from the Germans whereby they would evacuate Paris. Instead, some of the occupiers had turned and begun fighting. That prompted the Resistance to call upon the Allies to enter the city. General Eisenhower further reported that as yet the Allies were only within the suburbs of Paris.

Apparently not yet receiving word of General Eisenhower's report, War Department Secretary Henry Stimson issued a glowing statement regarding the previous day's news from France, including in it the fact of the liberation of Paris, as well as that of Grenoble in the South.

Regardless, the news remained good from the front in France generally. The Third Army otherwise was pushing fifteen miles beyond Sens, 62 miles southeast of Paris and 150 miles from the German frontier. They had also advanced beyond Montargis, thirty miles southwest of Sens, crossing the Loing River. Hal Boyle reports having driven 50 miles in a jeep to Sens and beyond without seeing a single dead German or burning vehicle or encountering any German resistance. The Germans were retreating so fast that their own officers were being taken by surprise at the swiftness of the Allied advance through Southern France. They were abandoning whole warehouses and train carloads of valuable foodstuff, ammunition, and items not essential to the war, such as French perfume, stockpiled by German officers from looted French supplies for shipment back to Germany on the black market.

Other forces of the Third Army captured Elbeuf in their move northwest of Paris along the south bank of the Seine, nine miles from Rouen and 30 miles from the mouth of the Seine, narrowing further the escape pocket of the remnants of the German Seventh and Fifteenth Armies. On the east side of the pocket, General Montgomery's forces captured Neubourg, nine miles southwest of Lebeuf and twelve miles beyond Conches. Other forces were moving close to Le Havre as RAF bombardment of that Normandy port cut off a Dunkerque-type attempt of the Germans to evacuate their trapped troops via the sea.

The Seventh Army, less than 200 miles from the southernmost forces of the Third, had reached the Swiss frontier. A combined force of the Seventh driving south from the Loire River and French Maquis of the Resistance moving north had captured Marseille, while another part of the Seventh moved north through the Rhone Valley, capturing Salon, 20 miles south of the Rhone at Arles.

The Resistance was reported in control of the entire Lyon region, as well as Perpignon, just north of the border with Spain.

A force of 3,300 American planes struck targets in Germany and along the Czech border. Of those, 2,300, including 1,300 heavy bombers, had hit synthetic oil facilities at Merseberg, Miaburg, and Ruhland, plus an oil refinery at Freital near Dresden, two airplane factories at Brunswick, plus other targets near Hannover and Kiel, as well as Brux along the Czech-Slovak border.

The Russians continued their drives north and south of Warsaw. To the south, Debiea was captured, seventeen miles from Tarnow, 35 miles from Krakow and 75 miles from German Silesia. North of Warsaw, the forces moved to within five miles of Lomza, twenty miles below the East Prussian frontier.

Meanwhile, Rumania had declared for the Allies and renounced ties with the Germans, surprising even the Nazis. Rumania was now attacking Nazi-occupied Hungary, marching into Transylvania, the former Rumanian territory ceded by the Nazis to Hungary in 1940 by the Vienna Dictate.

Further shrinking the Nazi position in Europe, Finland was reported to have redoubled its efforts, joining Bulgaria, to seek a way out of the Axis sphere.

In Washington, Charles Wilson of General Electric, vice-chair of the War Production Board, had resigned his position on the Board because of heavy criticism, contending that adverse reports had been spread about him in the press by chair Donald Nelson's men on the Board.

On the editorial page, "At The Tomb" reprints W. J. Cash's editorial of July 1, 1940, which had poetically found the sword of Jeanne and Charles Martel, that sword foretold by Merlin, no doubt stirring "momentarily from the evil spell that held it" at the sight of "the rat-like quality of the little man who leaned on the balustrade" above the tomb of Napoleon at the Hotel des Invalides.

The piece expresses that it had been "one of the finest editorials of [Cash's] distinguished career," thus worthy at this poignant juncture, at the liberation of Paris, of being once again set to print.

As we have previously noted herein, our former hypothesis when we originally posted that piece in 1998, that Cash had gathered his inspiration for the editorial from a photograph which appeared in Life, was not borne out. For the photograph did not appear until the August 5, 1940 issue. Cash obviously drew his inspiration from written press accounts of the visit, whether or not accompanied by the same photograph being at present not readily determinable.

"Censorship" comments with disdain on the front page report on Tuesday from France via the New York Herald-Tribune and the New York Post that three reporters and a cartoonist had been sent back to London on orders of the Ninth Air Force command, based on their having defied orders to cover only the Ninth and forgo any coverage of the infantry.

The piece asserts that if true, it placed the egocentric desires of the Army Air Force above their own infantry and was a matter to be deplored. It was to be hoped that there would be no repetition of such a tawdry and demoralizing episode, deliberately hampering the ability of journalists to cover the war objectively and without undue restriction and direction from the armed services, with sanctions imposed for variance. The editorial quickly adds, however, that the truth of the account would have to await some further confirmation.

"CIO's Dewey" defends the Political Action Committee of Sidney Hillman's CIO labor organization from charges of irresponsibility and Communist affiliation which had sought by association to drag the President into bad company for the CIO PAC's support of the Administration and its re-election to a fourth term. The PAC had also worked to defeat, with considerable success, various isolationist Congressmen and Senators across the country and for that alone, opines the piece, deserved high praise, especially as no other organization, not even the President in 1938, had achieved such a purge.

It should likewise not be missed, continues the editorial, that the PAC had given $5,000 to Thomas Dewey in his run for Manhattan District Attorney in 1937. While CIO clearly backed FDR in the presidential election of 1944 and had recently minimized its former support for Mr. Dewey as being premised only on the fact of a limited field of opposition at the time, nevertheless the PAC did not deserve the casting in ill repute which some Republicans and Southern Democrats, as South Carolina Senator Cotton Ed Smith and Texas Senator Pass the Biscuits Pappy O'Daniel, were seeking to do.

Drew Pearson discusses the President's denial to a press inquiry that a letter had been sent by him to Wendell Willkie inviting a conference. The President's press secretary Steve Early and adviser Judge Sam Rosenman had both insisted to the President that he had made a mistake in the response, one which could alienate Mr. Willkie. The President had admitted that the question had caught him by surprise and that he nevertheless still wanted a conference on foreign affairs with Mr. Willkie, leaving aside politics. He had only responded as he did to avoid appearance of placing any political pressure on Mr. Willkie to accept the invitation.

The letter had been sent, leaked apparently by White House Secretaries, giving to Mr. Willkie, when he was asked of its existence, the impression that the White House wanted news of the letter leaked.

Republicans had responded to the issue by warning Mr. Willkie that it was evidence that FDR could not be trusted, would always kick Mr. Willkie in the teeth, and that therefore his only safe horse to ride in the forthcoming election, now but two and a half months away, was that of Mr. Dewey.

Mr. Pearson next turns to the program announced by General Lewis Hershey, head of Selective Service, for demobilizing the Army after the defeat of Germany. It was to be a gradual demobilization of two million men, mustering them out at the rate of about a thousand a day, based on a points system set up to establish priorities for older men, men with children, medals and battle honors, married men without children, and amount of service overseas. It was not yet clear, however, how many points would be necessary to achieve discharge.

The Navy did not plan to release any of its men at war's end. Airmen would likely be transferred to the Pacific theater.

The President had stated recently at a press conference that the job of policing Germany and the occupied countries of Europe at war's end would ideally be accomplished initially by trained Army soldiers. And so this statement of intention appeared to fly in the face of the announced demobilization plans and it was unclear how the two positions could be reconciled.

Mr. Pearson concludes with the report of Senator Truman having strangely endorsed for re-election Nevada Senator Pat McCarran despite the Senator having been targeted by FDR's purge of disloyal Democrats in 1938, surviving which, Senator McCarran had continued his anti-Administration stands, especially on foreign policy, taking a consistently isolationist stance. The endorsement by FDR's new running mate thus had left questions on the minds of political observers.

Marquis Childs contrasts the varied backgrounds of Secretary of State Cordell Hull and Thomas Dewey's foreign policy adviser and future Secretary of State from 1953 to his death in 1959 under President Eisenhower, John Foster Dulles. Whereas Mr. Hull had been on the payroll of the government throughout his adult life, first as a Representative, then Senator, then Secretary of State since 1933, born to a relatively poor farm background in Tennessee, Mr. Dulles had acceded by birthright to the realm of relative aristocracy, his grandfather, John W. Foster, having been Secretary of State to Benjamin Harrison, and his uncle, Robert Lansing, to whom he had been close, having been Secretary of State to Woodrow Wilson. Mr. Dulles headed the prominent New York law firm of Sullivan & Cromwell, representing a host of foreign corporations.

Mr. Dulles had denied to Mr. Childs any reputed prior association with America First, the notorious isolationist organization which courted the Nazis as necessary bulwarks in Europe to Communism, as it was reported he had prior to Pearl Harbor been a prominent member. He contended that the report originated from the fact of his name appearing on America First stationery for a time as their counsel, deriving from the happenstance that his law firm had, through a young associate, given legal advice to a long and valued client as to how America First could obtain their incorporation papers. He firmly denied, however, any association or sympathy with America First.

He was being untruthful, as former war correspondent Leonard Mosley reported in his 1978 biography of the Dulles family, Dulles. Indeed, Mr. Dulles had given speeches in 1939 stating implicitly his support for the necessary evil of Nazism as a "dynamic force", in contraposition to the "static forces" of Britain and France, to ward off Communism in Europe and thereby act as a stabilizing bulwark, the precise line endorsed by America First and that which had made the organization so detestable and controversial. His own brother, future Director of the CIA, Allen Dulles, expressed chagrin at these stands of his elder brother.

In any event, Mr. Childs remarks that both Secretary Hull and Mr. Dulles appeared, despite their differences of background, the pauper and the patrician, to see eye to eye on the future structure of the United Nations organization, speaking well for bipartisan commitment to such an organization.

Mr. Dulles would play a large role in the San Francisco Conference of spring 1945, one covered as a journalist by recently discharged veteran John F. Kennedy, which finally founded the United Nations.

Dorothy Thompson writes of the ultimate psychological blow to the Nazi mentality caused by the liberation of Paris. She recounts the black mood of the world in 1940 at its fall to the Germans, leaving Britain a doomed island, and America the last remaining unthreatened bulwark of freedom in a world gone seemingly mad under the Nazi boot heel and the Hitler jig danced before the railroad car at Compiegne where Germany had signed the armistice in 1918, the French forced to capitulate 22 years later to their former vanquished enemy.

But as time had worn on, the Parisians, even those initially willing to go along with the game, saw their occupiers up close, warts and all, and found them wanting of superman status, more at buffoons. The character and spirit of the Germans chafed with that of the Parisians, replete with plentiful incongruities in their constitution. In Paris, remarks Ms. Thompson, "the satyr is a satirist."

Eventually, she predicts, a new Moliere would write up the years of occupation as High Comedy, cast in deep irony, not tragedy. For it was ultimately ridiculous for this self-anointed superman to waver between "presenting bouquets and battering down the door."

And, of course, it would be so.

Hal Boyle tells of the mixed feelings observed among the French people at the practice by the Resistance of shaving the heads of women who had been collaborationists with the Nazis, taking Nazi boyfriends. There was widespread approval of the practice but many also found it deplorable.

Mr. Boyle personally had witnessed the shearing of 30 women, led by jeering mobs through the streets. Most were "lumpy, ugly creatures who certainly conferred no great distinction on the Nazis by consorting with enemy occupation troops." Nevertheless, they were hated for reportedly having caused the death of members of the Resistance through their gossip.

Others, however, believed that trial instead of public humiliation was the proper course by which to mete justice to alleged traitors. One young woman, standing near the thirty shorn women, had spent a month in a German prison for having befriended an Allied airman and yet also thought it wrong to treat these women in such a degrading manner. Shaking her own long locks in derision, she expressed more sorrow for the people cutting the women's hair than for the women themselves, whom, she agreed, had been traitors. The action nonetheless ran contrary to the tradition respecting liberty in France.

Though shorn of hair, the collaborationists were in a deeper-do, fugitives henceforth, personae non gratae, of the state.

A squib reports that in Bethany, Connecticut, a man stopped along a roadway, swiped the bike of an eight-year old being treated for injuries after he had fallen from the bike and had to abandon it temporarily.

It was thus not only in Italy where, during and after the war, bicycle thievery thrived.

Apt quote of the day from Tokyo radio: "Japanese forces which were advancing northward have adjusted their lines southward, and now have consolidated their positions in the rear."

Where is comfort? in division of the records of the mind?
Can I part her from herself, and love her, as I knew her, kind?

I remember one that perish'd; sweetly did she speak and move;
Such a one do I remember, whom to look at was to love.

Can I think of her as dead, and love her for the love she bore?
No--she never loved me truly; love is love for evermore.

Comfort? comfort scorn'd of devils! this is truth the poet sings,
That a sorrow's crown of sorrow is remembering happier things.

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