Friday, August 25, 1944

The Charlotte News

Friday, August 25, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that, finally, there was official surrender of Paris by the German High Command to Brig. General Jacques Le Clerc, commander of the French Second Armored Division, and Lt. General Joseph Pierre Koenig, commander of the French Forces of the Interior, that is the Resistance. The Second Armored Division, 30,000 strong, had firmly entrenched within the City of Light, albeit with some fighting still ongoing in certain areas. American troops of the Third Army had also entered Paris from Versailles in the west and from the south along the Paris-Etamps Road. At 6:02 p.m., the official announcement by General Koenig had come that the Allies held all of the official buildings and that Allied tanks were guarding the city center. The bulk of the French armor had entered the city during the morning after armored patrols had entered at 10:00 p.m. the night before.

The heaviest encounter between the Resistance troops and the Germans had occurred near the Arc de Triomphe and the Palais Luxembourg.

Field Marshal Guenther Von Kluge was removing his Armies quickly across the Seine to the Somme and the Marne, the areas of fierce fighting in World War I, abandoning the area around Paris and a large portion of the Channel coast, save for the rocket coast along Pas-de-Calais.

The pocket entrapment of the remnants of the German Seventh Army in the area of the Lower Seine had been reduced to a size of 20 by 15 miles and that battle appeared headed toward conclusion within another day, the last of the Nazis in the area being surrounded by the British, Canadian, and American forces. The roads were littered with dead Nazis, destroyed tanks and vehicles, all of a piece, cream of tomato soup. The Nazis were piled, draped, wrapped, and creped.

So devoid of armor were the Nazis that an RAF officer foresaw them retreating fully back into Germany rather than trying to forge a stand on the other side of the Seine.

In the area of Le Havre, the Canadians captured Honfleur, across the Seine Bay from the Normandy port. In a late report, it was disclosed that Canadian forces had linked with the Americans at Louviers, south of Rouen.

A 24-hour blackout of news had been imposed on the progress of General Patton's Third Army moving southeast of Paris from Sens. But German broadcasts indicated that the Army was heading into the elbow of the Seine between Troyes and Romilly.

The Ninth Air Force had attacked in nine waves, consisting of a total of 300 planes, the besieged port of Brest on the western tip of the Breton Peninsula.

More than 1,100 American heavy bombers hit ten north German targets, including the rocket research and testing facility at Peenemunde, as well as Wismar, Lubeck, Rostock, Politz, Rechlin, Anklam, Schwerin, and Neubrandenburg, the latter three targets being west of Stettin.

The report for the first time discloses publicly the existence of the V-2, so dubbing it, indicative of intelligence gathering by the Allies on the subject. It was said to be a rocket, carrying a 60 to 90-ton warhead. No such publicly disclosed intelligence had preceded the first V-1 attacks, and indeed, the flying buzz bomb had never been labeled in the press as a "V-1". The V-2 was now only a matter of days from its first launch.

German oil production, said a joint U.S. and British Air Force statement, had been reduced by 49 percent by the Allied air attacks between May 1 and the end of July. A number of the damaged synthetic oil facilities, however, had been put back into operating condition, and so it was believed that the Nazis would have some additional oil production by the end of August.

The Seventh Army's American forces seized Cannes on the French Riviera, as well as nearby Grasse. Resistance fighters entered Lyon. Fighting continued against stubborn rearguard forces defending Marseille. Another column moving westward from Salon had advanced to within eight miles of Arles on the lower Rhone River. There was no news of further advances by the Americans above Grenoble, though Swiss reports had them at the Swiss border, 70 miles north. French troops meanwhile tightened their encirclement of Toulon.

A map on the inside page shows the 14 departments of Southern France which had been completely liberated by French Resistance fighters, the area extending over 50,000 square miles.

Rumania officially declared war on Germany and the government broadcast an appeal for the people to take part in liberation of the country from the Nazi yoke, while urging the Army to turn its weapons on the Germans. Part of the terms of armistice delivered by the Soviets to King Mihai was that the Rumanians fight side by side with the Russians. The move was considered a key to the fall of the Balkans to the Allies, probably soon to be followed by Bulgaria, Greece, Yugoslavia, and, to the north, Finland.

The cessation of hostilities between the Rumanians and the advancing Russians had cleared the way for the Red Army to move with lightning speed to within 35 miles of the Galati Gap between the Carpathian Mountains and the Danube delta.

Brigadier General Frank D. Merrill reported that his Marauders in Burma had suffered a temporary break in morale for ten days when some among their number convalescing in the hospital were sent back to the front, following 100 straight days of frontline duty, engaging in three campaigns, culminating in the taking of Myitkyina, after 750 miles of marching, five major battles, and 32 minor engagements. The call up was the result of a misinterpreted order issued by General Joseph Stilwell calling for all able-bodied men to be brought to the Burmese front to meet reinforcements reported to be in process of transfer by the Japanese. General Merrill said that calm had been restored when the order was eventually clarified and the convalescing men shipped immediately back to the hospital.

The furniture was returned to Jordan Marsh.

In Jacksonville, Fla., five men kidnaped a county patrolman and drove to the county arsenal in the patrol car where they then armed themselves with submachine guns and took more hostages, four in all, at the county jail. They finally gave up after being informed that an armored vehicle would otherwise intrude upon their secure haven. Sheriff Rex Sweat had yet to determine a motive for the jail break-in. Perhaps they were being sentimental, but speculation ran that they were seeking to break a prisoner out of the jail, though which one of the 120 present could not yet be ascertained.

The five were led by an hombre on crutches who declared that they would not surrender only to receive 20 years or the chair. He wanted to walk.

Perhaps they were there to visit the faith healer, newly arrived with rattlesnakes.

Father Joseph Lynch of Fordham, the resident seismologist at the University, reported recordations on the seismograph of two sharp earthquakes centered 1,750 miles south of New York, probably occurring in the Caribbean.

President Roosevelt confirmed that he had been in contact with Wendell Willkie after Mr. Willkie acknowledged receipt of a letter inviting a conference.

A report on the inside page relates that the President refused to confirm or deny House Post-War Military Policy Committee Chairman Woodrum's statement that it was expected by the military that the war in Europe would be over by October 1. Rear Admiral James Irish told the Committee that he expected the Navy to be fighting in the Pacific through 1945. The President stated that all such predictions were based entirely on speculation; he could not venture any such guesses, any more than anyone else could with certainty.

Newsflash: Senator Tom Connally was selected to deliver the news to Senator Truman that he was the official choice of the Democratic Party to be the vice-presidential nominee, the message to be delivered in person at Lamar, Mo., on August 31.

The world, standing still for weeks on edge in high anxiety, could now relax. Senator Reynolds was said to have expressed disappointment, was sure that his Party would have a change of heart after the convention and nominate him instead.

A Nazi killer was being sent to Camp Butner.

And Judy Canova and her husband, Private Chester England, had a child.

On the editorial page, "The Schism" writes of the division evident in the Democratic Party, supportive generally of President Roosevelt and his election to a fourth term, but also in Congress voting to deliver up a considerably emasculated version of the demobilization and reconversion bill, stripping it of its considerable benefits to have been conferred upon war workers laid off from their jobs as war production wound down.

While the President had remained aloof from the fight over the bill, his clear stance had been that unemployment compensation was the province of the Federal Government, not to be left to the states to determine, as the final Senate version of the reconversion bill had done.

The 13 Southern state attorneys general were getting ready to meet in Memphis and on the agenda was the consideration of whether the states had the right to regulate insurance, labor relations, discriminatory freight rates, and the rights of black citizens to vote. The appearance was that the meeting was by design to circumvent orders of the President and a recent pair of decisions of the Supreme Court.

"These gentry are open to the charge of running with the hare while hunting with the hounds..." The reason for it, offers the editorial, was that, as with many in the country, the Southern Democrats were cool to some of the social programs and bureaucratic inefficiency of the New Deal while being wholly supportive of the President's performance on foreign policy and prosecution of the war effort.

"Crack of Doom" finds that Rumania's change of sides to the Allies, with Bulgaria and Hungary likely soon to follow, evidenced further the crumbling nature of the Reich and its being ready at any moment to topple. It would not be long before it was reduced again to the borders of pre-war Germany. With the shrinkage also had gone much of its war production capability. The fall of the buffer states had presaged the end of the War in 1918; it was likely to be a repeat harbinger in 1944. With the remainder of France on the verge of falling to the Allies, the prediction from London that the war would be over by October 1 appeared not unduly optimistic.

"Bombshell" finds surprise in the announcement that Charles Wilson had resigned as vice-chair of the War Production Board, at a time when all appeared to be running smoothly with that entity. It was notable that the President accepted the resignation when he had at times refused such tenders from key men in the Administration, Secretary Hull, for instance, being one.

All differences between Mr. Wilson and WPB chair Donald Nelson had apparently been mended after a "love feast" with the President. The resignation demonstrated that the feud had, however, grown too hot to handle, with Mr. Nelson being in favor of gradual return to civilian production while, as further explored by Drew Pearson, Mr. Wilson had sided with the Army and Navy to continue exclusively with war production. It evidenced the first major division in the area of domestic production since the early days of the war two years before, and called for immediate action by the President to effect a remedy.

"The Ideel" reports, with celebratory spirit, the wholehearted endorsement by the American Democratic Party, or as a report a couple of days earlier had labeled it, "Southern Democrat Party", of Senator W. Lee O'Daniel as their presidential nominee. He, said the Party, was "a clear-cut expression of the character, philosophy, and ability that our next President should have." That, said the report, referred to "Pass them biscuits, Pappy".

He, like Dave Clark, was one of them flour children. Maybe we said that already. We forget. Anyway, them flour children got together and produced some other flour children later on. We don't talk about 'em too much, just keep 'em on a chain tied to a post down 'ere in the cellar. Don't go down 'ere whatever ye do. They don't have no idee as how to behave. We just call 'em all "Butch" or "Sons of Butch" with one eye. They reproduce like rabbits.

Drew Pearson discusses, prior to the report of the resignation of Charles Wilson from the War Production Board, the trouble between chair Donald Nelson and the Army, long brewing, leading to speculation that his being sent to study the supply issues on the China war front was a way of getting him out of Washington for a time. Everyone liked Mr. Nelson and he had done a miraculous job in achieving record war production of arms, especially airplanes. His major fault was that he was too nice and mild-mannered. The President was wont to tap lightly his fingers on his desk and mock that it was the way Mr. Nelson demanded production.

He had grown up in the Mississippi River country of Missouri and became head of Sears, Roebuck, but never in the meantime lost touch with his simple background.

The Army's General Breton Somervell had clashed with Mr. Nelson, as had Undersecretary of War Patterson, regarding the striking of a balance between a gradual return to civilian production and continued exclusive military production. Undersecretary Patterson, for instance, had waged a battle for a time with Mr. Nelson to order discontinuance of the production of 7-Up and comic books. No one understood why he had picked on 7-Up to the exclusion of other soft drinks. But Mr. Nelson found the effort counter-productive, that taking away all recreation from the civilian work force would do no good, on balance, for morale. So 7-Up and comic books were going to remain on the store shelves.

Damn right, Jack.

Et tu?

Mr. Nelson had begun his stint with the WPB inviting and receiving extensive cooperation from World War I production coordinator Bernard Baruch. But as time had gone on, he sought the advice less, to the great insult of Mr. Baruch. As relations in consequence became tense between the two men, Mr. Baruch began to side with the Army which wanted Mr. Nelson off the Board.

Then came as vice-chair Charles Wilson, who at first got on well with Mr. Nelson. But as time had worn on, the two had reached loggerheads and Mr. Wilson also had come to side more closely with the Army's position than with Mr. Nelson.

So things stood as Mr. Nelson headed to China, and as Mr. Wilson headed out the door, back to his job as head of General Electric.

Marquis Childs discusses the limited goal of the Dumbarton Oaks Conference in Georgetown, to obtain a basic framework for a working agreement which could later be finalized. The large number of newsreel cameras at the opening ceremony thus outweighed the actual importance of the conference. The primary focus would be on incorporating the smaller nations into the arrangement, as well as the details surrounding the operating rules and procedures of the Security Council and the determination of its membership. Great Britain, the United States, and Russia essentially agreed on the overall concept.

Soviet Ambassador to the United States Andrei Gromyko, representing the Soviet delegation, would speak with the authority of Josef Stalin. British delegation head Sir Alexander Cadogan, likewise, had the authority of his Government behind him, as did, for the United States, Undersecretary of State Edward Stettinius, slated to become Secretary at the beginning of December after Mr. Hull's resignation following the election.

Mr. Childs believes it sound wisdom that the conference was to be closed to the press, with the fighting fronts still raging in battle. Without such confidentiality, press accounts during the conference which might chronicle minor differences among the delegates which could eventually be ironed out could spread like wildfire as rumors and create morale problems among the Allies.

Apparently, Dorothy Thompson, or someone else, was eliminated in the white-out of the right side of the page. Our apologies.

Hal Boyle, also mostly lost again today, tells of the "bogie wheel" going around in his head after riding several hundred miles with the rapidly advancing American armored columns, riding behind tanks. We shall have to await another day, however, to glean a fuller understanding of his experience.

"It's been Reznick's for records for years." Don't forget that.

The New York State Thruway's closed, man. Never mind.

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