Saturday, August 5, 1944

The Charlotte News

Saturday, August 5, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the American forces had moved to within a few miles, reported as eighteen by Vichy radio, of Nantes and St. Nazaire. Few details were provided. Vichy radio also indicated that American forces had reached Pontivny, 75 miles east of Brest.

A contingent of a hundred RAF bombers struck Brest, hitting U-boat facilities in an effort to prevent the U-boats maintained there from escaping. Other RAF planes struck V-1 facilities at St. Leu Desserent, 30 miles north of Paris, and the rocket launching facility at Watten, hidden within a dense forest.

The British were driving the Germans east from the Orne River, southwest of Caen, as the Germans gave up 50 square miles of ground in a general five-mile retreat along a ten-mile front. The British had captured Aunay-sur-Odon and driven the Germans from the territory east of Aunay, reaching Le Hom at the Orne River loop, near Thury Harcourt, 13 miles southwest of Caen. The Odon-Orne River Valley triangle had been, by day's end, cleared of all remaining German remnants.

American troops were now south of Caen, moving toward Domfront-sur-Orne in a box-like thrust. They had cleared the St. Sever forest southwest of Vire, a forest used as a large German munitions dump. The Americans had moved south toward Champ-du-Boult. Still further south of Vire, St. Pols was captured and troops were moving toward Le Mesnil Gilbert.

South and east of Mortain, in the drive from Avranches toward Paris, American reconnaissance troops had extended their operations to Barenton, Feugerolies, and Tilloni.

The First Army had captured 71,453 prisoners since D-Day.

The Allies had suffered since D-Day 116,148 casualties, of whom 70,009 were American. Of those, 11,156 had been killed, 52,710 wounded, and 6,143 missing. The British had suffered 5,646 killed, 27,766 wounded, and 6,182 missing. Canadians killed numbered 919, wounded, 4,354, and missing, 1,272.

A German broadcast contended that American prisoners of the Third Army had been captured in Brittany. Thus far, the presence of this Army in France, deployed under the command of General Patton since August 1, was not officially disclosed by General Sir Bernard Montgomery. Only the American First and Second Armies under the command of General Bradley were officially on French soil.

A report gave example of the great tragedy to American families resulting from the landings on Normandy in that Mr. and Mrs. Michael Niland of Tonawanda, N.Y., had received news from the War Department that two of their sons had been killed a day apart, on June 6 and 7, and a third son had been missing since June 6. A fourth son was also serving on the French front and was still well.

More than 1,100 American heavy bombers attacked Dollbergen, Hannover, and Brunswick in Germany, striking oil and aircraft facilities.

The Eighth Army had completely occupied the suburbs of Florence south of the Arno River in a 25-mile area. German paratroops were still positioned along the northern banks of the Arno, within the limits of Florence. No fighting was ongoing, but the Germans appeared determined to resist Allied crossing of the Arno. British units 2.5 miles east of Florence moved through Bango Agripoli to within a thousand yards of the Arno.

Russian troops were said by a Berlin broadcast to have crossed onto East Prussian territory in the area of Virbalis. Soviet reports did not yet confirm this claim, but appearances were that the Russian Army could enter East Prussia at their will, choosing instead first to bombard positions from three miles across the border.

Cossack cavalry units crossed two water barriers thirty miles from Krakow, the last major obstacle before German Silesia.

In Warsaw, the Polish underground was believed running short of ammunition and arms. Four bridges across the Vistula, which had changed hands several times, were now controlled by the Germans.

On Guam, the Americans had captured Mt. Barrigado, as the end of operations there approached, with the entrapment of 7,000 Japanese defenders on the northern section of the island, constituting less than one-third of its area.

It was also disclosed that on conquered Saipan, 130 miles north of Guam, mopping up operations continued, resulting in an average of 50 Japanese killed or captured daily since organized resistance had ceased July 8.

On New Guinea, the Japanese Second Army was reported to be in general retreat, opening to the Allies a 700-mile front along the coastline of Dutch New Guinea, abandoning Geelvink Bay, the air center at Nabire, the flanking airbases at Moemi and Waren, south of Manokwari, and the Vogelkop Peninsula, comprising a third of New Guinea. The Japanese evacuees, estimated to be 15,000 in number at Manokwari, were seeking evacuation from the west coast of New Guinea, but intervening rough terrain presented significant obstacles to accomplishing this goal. Allied losses in the attempted breakout by the Japanese were said to have been negligible.

A westbound Atlantic Coast Line train, the same line which operated the Tamiami trains which had collided at Rennert, N.C. in mid-December, jumped a broken rail and collided with a freight train parked on a siding at Stockton, Georgia, near Valdosta. Forty-seven passengers of the train, primarily black workers heading home to Alabama for the weekend, were killed in the collision. One man, bleeding profusely from his injuries, had walked to a nearby road, asked for a cigarette, lit it, and fell over dead.

In Philadelphia, the transportation strike entered its fifth day, prompting a report that two regiments of Army troops trained in transportation were on their way to the city to begin operating the transit facilities. It was reported that the CIO Transport Union had not supported the strike, instead stated that it had been instigated by enemy agents. Workers who had returned to the job were accompanied by police to ward off threats made against them.

Bandleader Tommy Dorsey and actor Jon Hall had become embroiled in a fisticuffian duel on a balcony of Mr. Dorsey's apartment in Hollywood. The scene attracted neighbors who observed the fight from a distance, as well as police and sheriff's deputies. Mr. Dorsey had taken off his shirt and glasses, invited the actor, for unstated reasons, to accompany him to the balcony for the boxing match. Mr. Hall's head was cut open when he struck a flower pot and Mr. Dorsey suffered a bloody nose and skinned knuckles. There was no indication of any charges being filed.

And, with cutbacks in electricity usage ongoing in Germany, it was reported that youths were being hired by theater owners to pedal bicycles attached to generators to provide power to run the reels.

On the editorial page, "Wanta Bet?" explores the betting odds on the presidential race, the President's edge having been diminished somewhat in recent weeks, but still generally favoring his re-election. Odds right after the Republican Convention five weeks earlier had been 2.5 to 1 that Dewey would win, but had gone to 9 to 5 currently. Right after the Democratic Convention, concluding two weeks earlier, the odds for Roosevelt to win were 1 to 3, now reduced to 2 to 5. But the fact that a $5 bet on Roosevelt to win would pay only $2, should he fulfill the prophecy, meant that the oddsmakers felt still that it was a virtual certainty that he would be re-elected.

For a long time, before the advent of pollsters, points out the piece, the oddsmakers were the means by which the country foresaw the outcome of elections. While the polls had proved faulty, the parimutuel windows had predicted outcomes successfully, with the exceptions of 1888, when the odds favored President Cleveland to defeat Benjamin Harrison, 1896 when they favored William Jennings Bryan to defeat William McKinley, and 1916 when they favored Supreme Court Justice Charles Evans Hughes to beat President Wilson.

"How's That?" queries the strange statistic that gasoline consumption, based on collection of gasoline tax revenue having increased by 36% in the prior fiscal year, was apparently substantially up, at a time when gasoline rationing had been tightened. It gropes for coherent explanation.

"The Burdens" urges that voters must consider the practical consequence of voting Republican in November, beyond the national ticket. For Representative Ham Fish, in a Republican House, if he were to be re-elected in November, would be, notwithstanding the protestations of Governor Dewey, the chairman of the powerful House Rules Committee. Rules of seniority so dictated. Minnesota's Harold Knutson, another staunch isolationist, would be chairman of the Ways & Means Committee. Speaker would be Joe Martin of Massachusetts. Thus, the voters needed to think twice before voting for a Republican House.

"The Fallen" finds the unfortunate lady who had lost her pink panties on the courthouse steps likely to have been a victim of wartime production shortages, resulting in an inferior grade of elastic or a failed hip clasp, as instructed by diligent inquiry of other ladies of Charlotte. Yet, no one had been able to identify the hapless lady whose panties gave way under the strain, though a diligent search was being conducted by two-thirds of the population, half of whom were males and half of whom were females.

Perhaps, news of the prospective rocket attacks from Watten forest in France simply had become too much for the panties any longer to withstand.

Or, perhaps induced by the previous day's editorial by Marquis Childs, the lady was merely emulating the image he had painted of the campaign of Governor Dewey, and so was performing a political statement, with sequels to follow, on the steps of the courthouse.

"Dark Glass" finds the Japanese situation, with the final fall of Myitkyina in Northern Burma, to be increasingly untenable in that theater, with the clearance of the enemy from all of Burma likely in the near future.

Moreover, the conquering of the Marianas, with Guam set to be completely captured in a matter of days, meant that there would be an unimpeded bombing pathway to the Philippines and the mainland of Japan. When the Philippines were retaken, a direct pathway could be achieved to China with the consequent cutting off of the southern forces of the Japanese from their supply lanes.

Time appeared growing short for Japan.

A year and a day hence, the first atomic bomb would be dropped on Hiroshima, after the B-29 carrying it had departed Tinian, through a glass, darkly.

Samuel Grafton looks at two new scenarios on the political landscape of the summer of 1944: one being the defeat of old line isolationists, most recently Missouri's Senator Bennett Champ Clark; the other being the self-proclaimed internationalist who yet adhered to isolationist actions while immersed in internationalist rhetoric.

It remained to be seen whether Governor Dewey fell into this latter category. He had done nothing thus far to prove his dedication to internationalism. The nomination of Governor Bricker as his running mate tended to support isolationist sympathy. He had recently criticized isolationist Ham Fish for his remarks anent Jews being too aligned with the New Deal and FDR for their own political good, but had not criticized him for his isolationism.

Mr. Grafton urges Mr. Dewey to do something positive to provide substance to his verbal alignment with the internationalist cause, such as endorsing the Bretton Woods conference statement favoring establishment of a world bank and an international currency stabilization fund.

Marquis Childs also observes the Dewey campaign as Mr. Dewey arrived in St. Louis for the Republican Governors' Conference. He did so at the very moment when a New Deal supporting Republican, Attorney General Roy McKittrick, had defeated isolationist Senator Clark. It appeared as a solid rejection of isolationism and opposition to the New Deal as the trend demonstrated embrace of FDR's policies.

With Senator D. Worth Clark of Idaho, another isolationist, having lost his Senate primary race, and Senator Gerald P. Nye of North Dakota having narrowly won his primary, there appeared to be a solid trend developing.

And with Congressman Ham Fish having won his primary race in New York, even after drawing public criticism from Thomas Dewey just before the primary election, less cohesion was apparent within the Republican Party.

Yet, it was too early to venture predictions. The war could end and, with it, exposure of the Administration's lack of preparedness for immediate peace. Such an event could have a dramatic and decisive impact on the November election.

Drew Pearson devotes his entire column to the defeat of Senator Hattie Caraway of Arkansas in a three-way primary in which she wound up third to Congressman William Fulbright, the eventual winner, and Governor Homer Adkins, the two set to vie in a runoff. Senator Caraway had come to the seat after the death in 1931 of her husband Thaddeus, who had been in the Senate since 1921, in Congress since 1913. To everyone's surprise, she became more than merely a temporary symbol of continuity, being re-elected twice by Arkansans. She acquired support by not stirring the waters of discontent but rather going down the line for all of the New Deal.

The only fly in the ointment was that both Congressman Fulbright and Governor Adkins had far exceeded the $25,000 spending limit on elections imposed by the state. The Congress was looking into the matter, as well the huge amount of third-party money injected to the campaign to defeat her.

If she had made a complaint, the Congress might refuse to seat the winner in the race, a deterrent used on other occasions when campaign spending limits had been violated, albeit a standard relaxed in recent years. Ms. Caraway, however, refused to make challenge, finding that her mere 20,000 votes made the statement that the people no longer desired her services and so it would not be sporting to challenge such a decisive outcome.

Dr. Herbert Spaugh provides the twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. Ourselves, we always wondered what happened to No. 9. Maybe, it's just one most reserve for fulfillment in the after-life.

Thank ye, thank ye very much.

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