Saturday, August 26, 1944

The Charlotte News

Saturday, August 26, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Allies were moving toward Germany and Belgium as Supreme Allied Headquarters warned the populace of Alsace-Lorraine and Luxembourg that the war might soon be in their midst, that they should remove to the countryside and stay away from the Germans and any earthworks or other fortified positions which would soon become the object of bombing raids.

West of Paris, the Allies continued to press the trap on perhaps 40,000 Nazis near the mouth of the Seine, as the pocket had been narrowed to a mere ten miles in depth. Allied planes continued their sorties in support of the entrapment, wrecking trucks, tanks, and 61 barges designed to take troops across the Seine.

Canadians drove twenty miles eastward to the banks of the Seine beyond Louviers, joining the American forces at Elbeuf below Rouen.

Advances toward Le Havre were slowed by stiffened German resistance.

Southeast of Paris, mopping-up operations continued, the Third Army taking Melun after a hard fight. Bridgeheads over the Seine were established at Corbell, 15 miles below Paris, and at Fontainebleau and Montereau, 32 and 40 miles southeast of the city. Armored columns captured Marigny Le Chatel, 15 miles northwest of Troyes, and moved into Troyes itself, 130 miles from the Saar, a part of Germany annexed in 1935.

The final order of surrender of Paris by the Germans was signed at 6:00 p.m. in Montparnasse rail station. The German commander of Paris, Dietrich Von Cholitz, signed the papers presented by General Jacques Leclerc. General Charles De Gaulle visited the station after the signing.

This day would see the celebration of Liberation with Generals De Gaulle and Leclerc riding triumphantly through the crowded Champs-Elysees to endorse the long-awaited time as a reality for Parisians.

The first American to enter Paris was Captain Sachal Bollas of Los Angeles, liaison officer for the press. He had been born in Paris and had not been back since 1927. At age 36 he found himself crying like a baby at its sight, as Parisians cheered him along the way.

Photographs on the page, a little dimmed down, show clearly the gaiety of the crowds greeting the Allies. Adjust your lens.

Ground, sea, and air forces combined to try to finish the siege at Brest on the Breton Peninsula. The RAF dropped 1,350 tons of bombs and American planes followed up during the day. The British battleship Warspite made the most concentrated artillery barrage of the war in its bombardment of Brest during the previous day.

As the Germans appeared to be withdrawing forces from Pas-de-Calais, the V-1 attacks subsided during the day.

Nearly 750 U.S. heavy bombers attacked northwest and southwest Germany, hitting the Scholvan-Buer and Nordstern synthetic oil facilities at Gelsenkirchen, another synthetic oil plant at Ludwigshafen, plus an oil refinery at Emmerich and an oil finishing plant at Salzbergen. Those attacks followed RAF operations by 1,400 bombers the night before, dropping 1,700 tons of bombs on the Opel Motor Works at Russelsheim, between Mainz and Frankfurt.

French troops in Toulon had captured the forts of D'Artigues and Malbousquet, the only remaining Nazi resistance being in the "six-fours" district.

Americans of the Seventh Army occupied Briancon and Avignon in the South of France.

Rumanian troops had seized all of Bucharest, as well the Carpathian Mountain passes. Marshal Ion Antonescu, who had been Premier of Rumania and sold it out to the Nazis, had been arrested. The German military mission in Bucharest had been interned as well.

At Ploesti, the vital oil facility for the Reich, the German soldiers appeared attempting to destroy the oil wells rather than defend them. The German positions in Moldavia and Walachia provinces of Rumania, the latter being where Bucharest and Ploesti are located, were being overrun by the Allied forces, as the Russians drove through the Galati Gap between the Carpathians and Danube delta, heading toward Bucharest. The Russians were a hundred miles from the capital but moving at a pace which promised their entry the following night.

An inside page shows a map of the Russian move toward Bucharest and Ploesti.

Bulgaria gave assurances to Russia that it was neutral in the war and would oppose any further attempt at German occupation. German occupation troops had evacuated Sofia.

In Italy, the Germans had been backed up to the Gothic Line above Florence.

The inside page carries a story of several hotels to be used for convalescing veterans. Included in their number were four in Asheville, including the Grove Park Inn. The hotels were in locations from Santa Barbara to Miami, with fully 35 such hotels reserved for veterans, as well as in Lake Placid, N.Y., and Hot Springs, Ark.

Bandleader Glenn Miller was promoted to major.

The State Department denounced as false the rumors which had circulated that Special Envoy to the United States from Japan in the weeks prior to Pearl Harbor, Suburo Kurusu, had successfully inveigled the U.S. Government into calling off all air and naval operations, thereby tying all ships in port at Pearl Harbor to make them sitting ducks for the attack, on the excuse that air and naval operations in the Pacific were making tough sledding for negotiations, that Tokyo was not being agreeable to terms of compromise as long as military operations continued.

The report made no sense in any event, as the bulk of the Fleet was at sea at the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor, made known to anyone who could read the newspapers at the time. Democratic Representative Magnuson of Seattle, spreading the rumor, apparently could not read a newspaper or maintain what he did read very long in memory.

With Donald Nelson on his way to China, a new set of criticisms were hurled at him by outgoing rubber chief Bradley Dewey. It seems that Mr. Nelson had stated publicly that Mr. Dewey's contention that he was resigning his position because his job was finished was not accurate. Mr. Nelson stated that the job was finished except for the tires to be manufactured from the synthetic rubber. Mr. Dewey responded that he had never contended anything more than that he had established the synthetic rubber manufacturing facilities from which the tires could be produced. Mr. Dewey described Mr. Nelson's comments as "typical Washington sniping".

Acting chair of the War Production Board would be, in Mr. Nelson's absence, J. A. Krug, who announced a "new deal from here on out", that he had broader powers than assumed and would be doing some hiring and firing. It was unclear whether he was onboard with Mr. Nelson's goal of returning the economy slowly back to civilian production. The President had remarked that he was not sure whether Mr. Nelson would be returning to the job as chair, fueling speculation that Mr. Krug would become permanent chairman.

On the editorial page, "Seniority" favors the Truman plan to enable veterans to resume their pre-war jobs in industry by having the Selective Service establish job priorities, with veterans receiving precedence over civilian war workers, despite the latter having accumulated more seniority during the war. He had let CIO head Sidney Hillman know of that position and his disagreement with Mr. Hillman's stance that the unions would establish a plan for re-assimilation of veterans by seniority, giving credit for time in service. But Senator Truman was insisting on a plan under which veterans would receive absolute priority.

The editorial favors the Truman plan, while recognizing that the unions had performed admirably thus far in giving seniority credit to veterans for their time in service. But it should be the Government who set forth the plan, not the unions, lest the result be the resentment of the veterans toward both the unions and the civilian workers who would nevertheless have seniority.

"All the Same" sticks by its guns regarding the story of the taxi driver who shot his assailant after the latter had sought to rob him at knife point, notwithstanding the erroneous assumption made by the newspaper that the Coroner had decided the case as one involving justifiable homicide rather than self-defense. The editorial points out that there was only a shade of difference under the law in the two verdicts, an accurate statement, as justifiable homicide usually is applied most strictly to such scenarios as law enforcement taking the life of a person suspected of crime, even though usually involving self-defense or defense of others. War is regarded as justification for homicide, for instance; a fire department bombing of a city block, which winds up taking human life, to arrest the advance of a rampaging fire under emergent circumstances, would likewise be so.

In any event, the original editorial earlier in the week related to the antiquated nature of allowing the Coroner to sit as magistrate and prosecutor in determining, not just cause of death, but who would be charged with murder or manslaughter and who would not be in homicide cases. Thus, whether the taxi driver was set free on the basis of justification or on the basis of a more strict form of justification, self-defense, requiring reasonable belief in the need for lethal force to meet lethal force, made no difference to the argument being presented.

"Back Home" finds Georgia Governor Ellis Arnall playing the same two-faced politics which characterized many of his Southern brethren in the state houses. Though having solidly backed progressive Henry Wallace for the vice-presidency in Chicago at the convention, he had now asked his state attorney general to resist an effort to have blacks vote in the Democratic primary on the basis that the Democrats were conducting their own primary, apart from the auspices of the State. The contention was that the Allwright decision of April did not reach private activity, only state-sponsored primaries.

The editorial states that Georgia could learn a lesson from North Carolina where blacks had been voting more or less without stricture for twenty years, that the argument posed in Georgia sounded logical on paper but in reality fell apart. For it was the case that the public coffers supported always the elections, whether primary or general. If Georgia wanted to have the Democratic Party be a kind of exclusive club under which it set rules for membership and voting, then it should conduct its own elections without public support, print its own ballots and pay for the manning of the polls.

There is an idea for you, Republicans and Tea Partiers, who seem consistently intent on bucking the entire second half of the Twentieth Century, let alone the first decade of the Twenty-First.

"Finn Hopes" tells of the advice to the Finnish Parliament by former minister to the United States, Hjalmer Procope, that, given time, there was enough pro-Finnish and anti-Soviet sentiment in the United States that it might make itself felt despite the official policy of the U.S. Government.

The editorial cautions Finland not to hold its breath, that it was ultimately relying on the speeches of support for Mr. Procope when he departed the United States in the spring, as delivered by Senator Arthur Vandenberg and Senator Robert Rice Reynolds. Neither of those Senators could be relied upon to convey more than a fringe attitude of the American people and Finland should therefore not expect anytime soon such a vast readjustment of opinion in its favor.

"Prescription" finds tantalizing but dissatisfying in its ultimate lack of specificity the recommendation of U.N.C. Kenan professor of education Dr. Edgar W. Knight. Dr. Knight had asserted at Atlantic Christian College that North Carolina teachers should be trained more for quality than quantity, that "broad general knowledge" needed to be the foundation of prospective teachers' education rather than so much stress on pedagogical methodologies.

The editorial struggles for precise meaning from the professor's generalized assessment, recognizing deficiencies in the quality of education in the state.

We would venture that the meaning was that less reliance be placed on learning by rote through particular formulas and more on acquiring in undergraduate studies an understanding of the practical world in which we live, a determination of how to think about that practical world, not what to think about it. As we have stated before, while it may seem less than practical to many, we recommend the study of philosophy as enabling that broad general understanding. For once a student learns how to think, which few if any high school graduates do, then the world becomes understandable on a daily basis in a broad sense, and one does not stumble in the darkness, nor even sometimes need a candle to light the way. Indeed, feeling in the dark, we think, is precisely what the professor likely had in mind. Once you don't need the candle, then you can be a teacher.

Stand aside, would you please?

If you missed in college your philosophy course, you can start with "Blow-Up" and work from there. We kid not. But, remember that it is not just a movie. It is a film, and not one about photography. It is about the nature of illusion and reality, and whether what we take everyday to be reality is any more than professed illusion commonly held as assumption without question.

We don't mean to pick on anyone in particular, but we once had a student teacher in English who was in her senior year at the University. She thought, to the giggles of high school sophomores, that "crafty" meant being adept at a craft. We don't think that she was being crafty either. Probably, in her case, it was too much familiarity with pre-Twentieth Century literature. But, not to condescend, one must realize that high school sophomores are not so crafty at it yet and have read little Shakespeare, for instance, beyond Julius Caesar, assuming it was read and not crafted, a substantial assumption to make when one is constantly viewing the world from the tip of the Breton Peninsula or, as the case may be, wishing to give one's kingdom for a horse.

Which brings us to the uneasy moment of uncomfortable pause when, many years ago, we entered a video store and asked the young person behind the counter, a male, whether they had "Looking for Richard" in stock.

If one assumes one understands the world by its sights and sounds, one has made the first mistake which will ultimately prove itself to undermine the first principles necessary to be a good professional in any endeavor. For one cannot do so by rote. One must think, and think out of the box. If one can't, then go somewhere and work on an assembly line in a factory and leave the rest of us the hell alone with your faux learning.

Anyway, study philosophy in college. At least one course ought be mandatory for graduation. Even more so, given that passing a swimming test is mandatory at the University of North Carolina. What the hell difference does it make if one can swim, if, once one obtains the shore, he or she cannot think of how to get off the island or why it should be desirous to do so?

Drew Pearson devotes his entire column to the fracas between Donald Nelson and the Army regarding the reconversion to civilian production. It largely recapitulates ground covered in recent days and so we shall resist any detailed analysis.

He tells of a two-part tale. The first was the desire of the Army that Bernard Baruch become War Production Board chairman to replace Mr. Nelson, Mr. Baruch having believed that Mr. Nelson had snubbed him after his long experience in World War I at the same job. The President had approved the replacement. But then Mr. Nelson fired the vice-chair Fred Eberstadt, suggesting his assertion of independent authority, admired by the President. And, after several Senators had appealed to the President to keep Mr. Nelson, the President tore up his letter and allowed Mr. Nelson to stay.

The second part of the tale began when the new vice-chair, Mr. Wilson, had cozied up to Mr. Baruch and then the Army, in opposition to the position adopted by Mr. Nelson to give small business a helping hand with a head start on reconversion to peacetime manufacture so that the six large firms who had grabbed the lion's share of war contracts would not wind up dominating the peacetime economy such that small businesses would be unable to compete economically, leaving many unemployed and the potential for a post-war depression.

The Army and most of the large manufacturing and investment firms still wanted to be rid of Mr. Nelson and replace him with Mr. Wilson. Then, the President, while in the Pacific, ordered Mr. Nelson to take the trip to China. The length of it was not yet determined but those at the White House who considered Mr. Nelson troublesome wanted it to be a long trip.

Marquis Childs finds the story of Donald Nelson's trip to China and its wake to be something out of Alice in Wonderland. It was unclear whether he would still have the job on return or whether he still wanted it. The White House had said that he would be gone for months; Mr. Nelson said that the trip, designed to study the civilian need for goods in China at the request of Chiang Kai-shek, would be completed in four weeks or he would resign.

Mr. Childs recounts the differences, covered already by Drew Pearson and the editorial column, between Mr. Nelson and Charles Wilson, just resigned, and Mr. Nelson and the Army. But, says Mr. Childs, while the Army had procured far more materiel than necessary for the war, Mr. Nelson had nevertheless exploited the issue of small versus big business for his own political advantage. It would take more than resumption of production of electric irons to save small business from the overwhelming competition of big business produced by the massive war effort.

The whole story of war production was, he concludes, getting curiouser and curiouser.

Dorothy Thompson first defends herself against a charge of being soft on Germany post-war for her repeated editorials disfavoring German Balkanization. She remained, she insists, in favor of tough treatment and policing of Germany to insure against recrudescent nationalism, while re-educating Germany to become a republic again.

She cites a joint report from both houses of Parliament in London favoring division of Germany into several states and parts of Prussia delivered from Prussian rule. But, she quickly rejoinders, Prussia had not ruled Germany for a generation and Nazism had found its origins in Bavaria, not Prussia.

The practical problem in any event with such analysis was having multiple German states to police, with duties for same spread among several Allied countries. Such a multiplicity of states would inevitably not only lead to the resurgence of nationalism with its inevitable momentum always tending toward unification, but would reduce Germany to colonial status, with Russia as its most powerful neighbor. Such conditions would eventuate, therefore, in Germany becoming likely a colony of Russia, upsetting the balance of power in Europe.

She warns against these probable consequences and instead favors making Germany into a larger version of Switzerland, demilitarized and yet able to sustain itself economically.

Of course, the argument may be made with perfect hindsight that the division of Germany nearly ended the world, despite the elimination of Hitler and the Nazis as an established party, the division producing as it did the tug-of-war at two ends of the rope, slackening and tightening as a nuclear pawn across the Brandenburg Gate in the game of Cold War, the force of pull seemingly being placed at whimsical test depending on the blowing of political winds in either the United States or the Soviet Union, that test being made not just by the Soviets but also on occasion by the United States, like the admission or not. It takes two to make a rope taut.

But, without it, one cannot say that the world, with nuclear power having been taught to it, would not have blown itself to kingdom come. Perhaps, it needed the pawn, the rope, the Wall, and the Gate, by which to learn the futility of war without having war in fact, just the everlasting threat.

Yet, that also ignores the notion that many in our world believe that Armageddon is a reality to be achieved by virtue of assumption of infallible prophecy not yet fulfilled en masse, all built on interpretation of poetry not well understood because of a failure to understand poetry very well at all, leading to activity by design to bring about the presumed Biblical prophecy, or its equivalent in most other religious credos outside the Judeo-Christian ethic. In that gestalt, the mind seeks an end to being, that rebirth may be had from the ashes, never stopping to consider whether the prophecy, if that is what it is, is poetic, not literal, heading thus headlong to the crash into the Wall. For all prophecy, well-motivated, including that in the Bible, is built on the past in an effort to make the future less susceptible to sway by the sophists and their dark portents of an end of the world imminent for the sake of exultation of their eminence.

Hal Boyle tells of riding for thirty miles to Chartres, seeing every 50 yards small bundles of straw tied to saplings to mark the positions of foxholes for German convoys to have used to avoid Allied raids. Mr. Boyle finds the empty foxholes emblematic of the German hopelessness: when they needed air cover, they got holes dug in the ground in which to try to avoid Allied bombardment from the air. It was the reverse of the situation in Tunisia in the winter of 1943 when it was the Allies who were living by the slogan "dig or die".

In Chartres, he was eating at a diner opposite a table occupied by a Frenchman who had been hunting all day with his rifle for German snipers, had failed to bag any. Disappointed, he was drinking too much wine and insisting on hugging everyone present and kissing them on both cheeks. The waitress brought cakes and he was asked to share one, which he did. The Americans then gave him plenty of cigarettes and matches, at which generosity he began to cry, and then proceeded to kiss everyone on both cheeks again.

A news piece tells of a man in Kinston who had been a failure at everything, including distilling moonshine. He tried undertaking but spent two months waiting for his first customer. Then he turned to farming, but his house caught on fire and burned down, catching his clothes afire, causing him to jump into the well to extinguish them, spending thereafter two months in the hospital recuperating. He then borrowed $200 to open his still. No sooner than he had done so, the Lenoir County Sheriff found it and busted it up, placed him under arrest.

Whether he would be a successful inmate was yet to be determined.

Anyway, with the Big Four playing the Parker Brothers, it all come down to this, we reckon.

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