Monday, August 7, 1944

The Charlotte News

Monday, August 7, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Germans had mounted their strongest counter-attack since D-Day, seeking to outflank four American spearheads moving in the direction of Paris. The Germans penetrated to a depth of three miles, recapturing Mortain, moving three miles northwest of the town and two miles further to Cherence-Le-Rousse while cutting the road behind the foremost American spearhead at Domfront. The attack was aimed at Avranches. Five hundred to 750 American heavy bombers struck in the area of the counter-attack, however, causing severe damage to German armor.

The Americans made some advancement, capturing Vire, in the vicinity of the British lines below Caen.

There was also further progress in Brittany where four more towns were captured, with control of Brest and the entire peninsula appearing imminent. On Saturday, the forces had advanced 31 miles west of Dinan to capture St. Brieuce along the north coast of Brittany and had also reached a point north of Nantes to the south. They encountered stiff opposition on the approach to St. Malo, but upon the distribution of leaflets urging surrender, many of the enemy forces were compliant. Germans were surrendering so fast along the peninsula that columns could not accept them as prisoners and told them to surrender to somebody else: they were busy.

The British developed a new thrust across the Orne River toward Paris.

More than 500 heavy American bombers from Italy struck Biechhamer, 75 miles southeast of Breslau, striking two key synthetic oil plants, one of which was the third largest still in operation. Other bomber groups struck an airfield and oil facilities in the area of Belgrade.

In Italy, the Germans were shelling Eighth Army positions to the south of the Arno River in Florence. South African troops had encountered enemy forces on the northern banks.

The Russians struck with heavy artillery bombardment at the German fortifications guarding Krakow, Warsaw, and the frontier of East Prussia, encountering the stiffest resistance in the 46-day old campaign.

To the south, the Red Army captured the oil and communications center at Drohobyez, as well as Sambog, 19 miles northwest of Drohobyez.

Moving to within 600 miles of Tokyo, a large American carrier task force, presumably Task Force 58, had, for two days, attacked the islands of Chichi, Haha (probably just for the hell of it), Muko, and Ane in the Bonin Islands, and Iwo in the Kazan Islands 150 miles to the south, sinking eleven enemy vessels, including five destroyers or destroyer escorts.

In Burma, the Allies captured Tamu without Japanese resistance and took prisoners described to be in an appalling condition, dying of stravation and untreated wounds.

The Dumbarton Oaks Conference between the foreign secretaries of the Big Four, to determine the framework of the United Nations organization, was postponed a week, until August 21, at the request of the Soviets, to have more time to prepare.

In Philadelphia, virtually all of the striking transport workers had returned to work after the Army had seized the transportation facilities on orders of the President. Four strike leaders were arrested for violating the Smith-Connally Act, forbidding the assistance or encouragement of a strike after a facility vital to defense had been taken over by the Government. The strike leaders were under investigation for being enemy agents. Maj. General Philip Hayes, who commanded the Army unit, had directed that any employee not returning to work by the set deadline would not receive a job for the duration of the war.

And in New York, two strong earth tremors were recorded.

On the editorial page, "Warning" relates the statement of Senator Tom Connally of Texas indicating that the fact that the Congress was passing a demobilization bill was no cause to believe that the war was won and that production could be reduced. He warned both labor and management that they were being closely observed by the American people and that they had to continue to perform at an efficient level.

"_______", an editorial mostly in the dark, tells of a study which found that 43% of college educated persons disfavored punitive actions against the Japanese people at the end of the war, while 48% favored such treatment. Favoring retribution was indirectly proportional to education, with 60% of those with a high school diploma favoring such sanctions, and 66% of those with less education so favoring them.

In the end, public opinion was unlikely to sway government policy on post-war treatment of the Japanese people. Rather, pre-war Ambassador to Japan, Joseph Grew, would be most influential in directing the course of that policy, in the end to be decided by the President and Congress.

"Phase Three" reports of the near conclusion of the second phase of the battle for France, the taking of the Brittany Peninsula. With the hedgerow country and swamps of Normandy now behind the American troops and the rolling hills of France ahead of them, there was promised swift movement of armor and infantry toward Paris. The geology of the area surrounding Paris, with its escarpments leading up to it and down from it on the other side, also favored the Allies. The Germans would be forced to retreat, while under artillery fire, down a steep slope into swampy terrain. The Perche Hills to the south of Paris would afford heights to the Allies from which they could pour fire down on German defenses.

Thus, soon, Americans likely once again, as in 1918, would be hearing the old familiar names of those once bloody battlefields, Marne, Soisson, Cambrai, Verdun, Lille, Chateau Thierry, Mons, and Belleau Wood, as the Germans would be chased back into Germany.

Dorothy Thompson observes that the law of nations did not prevent war, that, indeed, prior to World War II, it was recognized as the sovereign right of any nation to go to war. Thus, to punish Germany for going to war would render the Allies no better than the Nazis, lawless barbarians. To emasculate Germany as at the end of World War I would only serve to repeat the problem which led to World War II.

If the new League of Nations was to have any credibility in formulating a law of nations, that law should be made therefore to act only prospectively and not ex post facto, to punish Germany for starting the war.

Of course, Ms. Thompson was only discussing the issue of punishment for the war itself, not for the gross atrocities which were yet to be fully known to the world and which the War Crimes Tribunal at Nuremberg would address.

Incidentally, we have located online the missing Dorothy Thompson piece of August 3, the second installment of her two-part column questioning the credibility of the story of the July 20 plot to assassinate Hitler, finding it highly improbable. Ms. Thompson, we remind, spent time in Germany just after Hitler came to power in 1933 and, eventually, was expelled from the country by Hitler for her unrelenting criticism of the Nazis. So, if any American journalist should have had insight to the Nazi mentality, it was Ms. Thompson.

In this piece, having referred to Count von Stauffenberg as "Clint" in the first installment, his name becomes "Clunt". It appears, however, to be a misprint, as it appeared in the Milwaukee Sentinel on August 4 as "Curt". Again, his actual name was Claus.

In any event, we are glad that there was not a third installment.

Over to you, Shana.

Samuel Grafton seeks to demistify Hitler as having a direct conduit to the Norse gods and able, in some manner, to bring about Ragnarok in Europe, as the inevitability of defeat became clearer to him. Literally to "bring down the Continent" required as much diligent organization as to forge constructive ends. Such power was no longer available to Hitler and the Wehrmacht to do so. The Russians had shown the way to defeat Hitler, urges Mr. Grafton, the same way a pig was barbecued, methodically, one step at a time.

Drew Pearson discusses Gerald L. K. Smith's warning the previous fall to Thomas Dewey that he had better be nice to Mr. Smith or Mr. Smith would endorse him, the kiss of death. Nationalists, Mr. Smith predicted, would be in the forefront in 1948, as some young veteran of the war would run on such a platform and, with it likely that economic conditions would be ripe for nationalism, with inflation and high unemployment in a too slow readjustment to peacetime, such a candidate would win. Mr. Smith then would be in high cotton.

It was for this reason, says Mr. Pearson, that Mr. Smith was going about the country cultivating war mothers and veterans to his cause while plucking the emotional strings of anti-Semitism and anti-Communism.

Query whether Mr. Smith was predicting the coming of Richard Nixon.

Or was it Joe McCarthy?

Mr. Pearson next tells of a jurisdictional dispute between CIO and AFL having saved the Government time and money. A vice-president of a company which built barges had asked 25 men, all CIO shipbuilders being paid by the Government, to paint his new house, just before D-Day, at a time when the Navy had asked for increased production of ships. The AFL painters' union got wind of the fact, protested against the shipbuilders union being involved in such a job.

Finally, the column looks at the primary defeat in Kansas of Congressman Lambertson. Prime reason for the loss, says Mr. Pearson, was that a letter Mr. Lambertson had written to a mayor of a Kansas town August 15, 1940 had surfaced, stating that the Axis nations were more important economically to the United States than England, disfavoring aid to England. "I don't think we ought to do a thing further until England is leveled," said the Congressman.

To add insult to injury, he had also cast aspersions on the war records of President Roosevelt's sons. Even Kansas Republicans, none too disposed to support the President, looked askance at such tawdry speechifying.

Ironically, on the following Saturday, Elliott Roosevelt would nearly lose his life while trailing in a reconnaissance Mosquito the ill-fated B-24 flying-bomb piloted by Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr., in a secret and highly dangerous experimental bombing mission over France.

Marquis Childs observes that the chickens had only come home to roost to Governor Bricker when he had been nominated by the America Firsters as their vice-presidential candidate. For, a few days earlier, he had asserted that the Republicans welcomed all support, including expressly that of America First. That Mr. Dewey had repudiated both the nomination and Gerald L. K. Smith did not excise Mr. Dewey's problems as to such excess baggage on the Republican campaign train. For moderate isolationists, such as Illinois Governor Dwight Green, who had helped Dewey secure the nomination, would be far more problematic to the campaign as it went along.

Mr. Smith no longer appeared likely to lead any great movement in the country and so was negligible as a force in the election. The pols supported by the Chicago Tribune, however, would be more formidable in their pull on the electorate, harder for Mr. Dewey to shake loose, and thus more of a potential liability.

Reports a news piece on the page, Mr. Smith, speaking in Detroit, had indicated his solution for the race problem of the country: deportation of blacks back to Africa. It was a solution which echoed movements during and after the Civil War and as late as the 1920's and 1930's, in the latter case advocated by Marcus Garvey. Mr. Garvey had favored return to Africa for most, but not all, African-Americans. Malcolm X, for a time, was a devotee of Mr. Garvey's philosophy.

We have a solution for England's current race problem: install a new Government.

Hal Boyle discusses how the American infantry and tanks had forged their way through the nearly impenetrable hedgerow country of Normandy. The engineers would blow a gaping hole in the hedgerow to enable the tanks to proceed through, accompanied by the infantry to ward off attacks to the tanks by enemy bazookas. Then the tanks would clear the way to the next hedgerow. Eventually, large steel plates were attached to the tanks to push a way through the hedgerows, proving more efficient. The Germans had the same idea, however, but had only inferior steel with which to work and so scored less success.

American ingenuity was evident in large and small ways. A sergeant from Dallas, Texas, J. R. May, had utilized a spoon and part of an aluminum mess kit to fashion an aiming device for his grenade launcher, such that the ordnance would explode over the enemy's foxholes, raining shrapnel on their positions.

Anyway, speaking of American innovation, we were observing the current cover of Newsweek today and this one came to mind. So did this one.

For those who find helpful visual devices for metaphorical explanation, the science of providing government spending for the poor and encouragement to the middle class while allowing the eleemosynary privilege to corporations and their wealthiest employees, who are stinking, filthy rich, to fend for themselves and to pay, through high taxes, for the abject poverty and relative poverty, which the greed of the stinking, filthy rich created in the society rather than jobs, so that the society does not become loaded with stinking, filthy rich at the top and masses of abjectly poor and relatively poor people otherwise, tending thereby to fascism, is explained succinctly here.

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