Friday, SEPTEMBER 1, 1944

The Charlotte News

Friday, September 1, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the American Third Army had moved 65 miles in less than 24 hours to roll over Sedan and Verdun, to or beyond the Belgian border, heading through the Argonne Forest, through the Sedan Gap, across the Meuse River at Commercy, backdoor to the Maginot Line. The Germans put up only a slight fight for the World War I fortress at Verdun.

German radio stated that six to eight American divisions had surpassed Verdun and were overrunning the Lorraine Basin, a part of annexed Germany. The broadcast indicated that the motorized columns had cut off German troops in the Seine and Somme areas, reaching the vicinity of Vervins, 30 miles northwest of Bethel, 15 miles from the Belgian border.

The British meanwhile sealed off eighty miles of the rocket coast in Northern France, moving to within 65 miles of Calais. Another British column moved 22 miles north of captured Amiens to Hebuterme, twelve miles from Arras and 39 miles from Flanders in Belgium.

The Canadians, in poetic justice after the debacle of the Dieppe commando raid of August, 1942 led primarily by Canadians, took Dieppe in the "rocket pocket"—with or without Mae Wests—this time scarcely having to fire a shot. CBS reporter Bill Downs broadcast that the Canadians had advanced 15 miles during the previous night. The same Canadian units which had participated in the Dieppe raid two years earlier were selected for the taking of the town. A large crowd greeted them, having laid forth a Nazi flag in the roadway, and forming a funnel requiring every vehicle entering the town to drive over it. The town was found largely intact.

Another spearhead had reached Le Treport, two miles from Le Havre and three miles from Abbeville, congregating around Arras, 27 miles from the Belgian border.

The Allies were celebrating in London, indicating that the battle for Northern France was as good as complete.

In a desperation move, big German guns along the coast at Boulogne, 28 miles south of Dover, meanwhile hurled drum fire on the Channel invasion routes, inflicting damage on several coastal towns in England.

American medium bombers struck besieged Brest, as troops of the American First Army moved in to take the port on the western tip of the Breton Peninsula. The RAF bombed the Northern French coast and around Abbeville. Both air forces bombed targets in Belgium and Holland as well. None of the missions encountered any Luftwaffe resistance, completely absent from the skies since the liberation of Paris.

In the South of France, the U. S. Seventh Army had encountered the Germans escaping through the Rhone Valley north and northeast of Lyon, as well as between Tournon and Bourge De Peage, above Valence, 55 miles below Lyon, captured the previous day. The FFI had liberated the Loire Department by taking Montbrison, 37 miles southwest of Lyon.

In the Alpine region between France and Italy, the Americans entered Condamine Chatelard, burned previously by the Germans in retaliation for Resistance activity.

A French flying column had thrust from Narbonne around the southern Mediterranean to within 60 miles of the Spanish border, not encountering the enemy in the process.

In Italy, the Eighth Army had broken through the Gothic Line to a depth of a thousand yards, encountering heavy German resistance north of the Foglia River, west of Borgo Santa Maria. British and Polish troops were continuing to fight in Pesaro against the German First Parachute Division. The town was divided between the Germans and the Eighth Army. A key point on the Gothic Line, Monte Della Croce, had been occupied on Wednesday while British troops were engaged in close quarter fighting on Mount Cairo. In Belvedere Folgliense, 4.5 miles southwest of Montecchio, the Allies pushed to within a thousand yards of Monte Gridolf.

The Russians sent flying columns into the southern shoulder of the Transylvanian Alps, heading toward Serbia, 120 miles away, wherein Marshal Tito's Partisans were fighting. The Germans were reported to be mounting an defensive line along the Olt River, 75 miles from Serbia. The Germans remained in disorderly retreat up the Danube Valley out of Bucharest and Ploesti. General Odion Malinovsky paraded the Russian artillery through the streets of Bucharest. None of the infantry walked, reported Red Star; they all rode in motorized transport.

It was a double anniversary day for the Allies, five years since the beginning of the war when Germany rolled over the borders in Blitzkrieg into Poland, and five years also since General George C. Marshall had become a four-star general and Chief of Staff of the Army.

Bob Hope, having left Tarawa in the Gilberts, was now taking Kwajalein in the Marshalls by storm, much faster than had the American troops during the winter, proving, we suppose, once and for all, comedy to be a superior weapon to bullets. In any event, he described the airplane ride as one of the most pleasant on which he had ever fainted.

They passed over a bypassed island, still occupied by the Japanese. Taking pity on its starvelings, they dropped milk bottles, albeit empty--giving life to the milk for Hottentots credo, we suppose, hearkening back to the like practice of the RAF in the early days of bombing of Germany. The bottles made a terrible screeching sound like a bomb—probably goo-goo-goo-joooob.

Mr. Hope was met with loud applause, he informs, as he exited the plane on Kwajalein, with Frances Langford and Patty Thomas at his side. (We are still looking for a song by Patty Thomas, incidentally. So, if anyone has one, please post it soon.)

When the soldiers came to ogle the ladies, Mr. Hope became agitated and removed his sweater. He implies thereby, without expressing it, that the ladies had already removed their sweaters. Too bad Loretta Young was not along on this trip.

As they approached the fighting front, he had to wear a bullet-proof vest during the shows, in his case, he said, one in the back also.

A soldier from Texas admitted that other states also were taking part in the war. But Mr. Hope was sure that Texas would demand its own seat at the peace table, with a saddle ready to ride.

The USO Unit No. 130 had performed three shows, which included performers Jerry Colonna, Barney Dean, and Tony Romano. They made a hit record for the men on Saipan to be played over Armed Forces Radio. Col. Tom Lewis and his network were doing a splendid job of seeing to it that Armed Forces Radio was established as soon as possible after the landings on the islands.

One soldier had commented that, no matter how hard or fast they fought, however, they could not manage to escape Crosby.

Mr. Hope wanted to present that soldier with a Purple Heart.

On the editorial page, "Gas War?" warns the Nazis that if they were to begin, as rumored they would, use of poison gas to ward off the approaching Allied armies, then the Allies would surely retaliate in kind.

Even Hitler never was so dumb.

"Steady!" reminds the populace that war production must continue apace until the very last breath of the Axis, that watching the clock in anticipation of the peace, with anxiety concerning the post-war demobilization would be counter-productive to achieving the desired goal. The end would come militarily when it came, the planning for demobilization was being done, and so no undue loss of sleep should come in consequence of those contingent events.

"Monopoly" suggests that the suspicion of most Americans of the CIO PAC was overwrought, that other political organizations, the parties themselves, spent money aplenty in the campaigns, and thus there was no undue alarm to be rung in result of this single CIO organization. The more moderate Republicans, such as Governor Earl Warren of California, had toned down their rhetoric already in this regard, Governor Warren stating only that the Republicans did not intend to buy the election and that Sidney Hillman and CIO should not be allowed to do so through "lavish and uncontrolled expenditures".

"Alternates" offers up the third party choices afforded the American people: Gerald L. K. Smith of America First and Norman Thomas of the American Socialists. (It leaves out Senator Pass the Biscuits Pappy O'Daniel of the Southern Democrats.) Both of these alternative candidates lumped Roosevelt and Dewey together as being in aid of opposite causes, Mr. Smith finding them both unduly sympathetic to the Communists, Mr. Thomas finding them unduly imperialistic, to wind up in aid of a tug of war between Great Britain and the Soviets, one which the Soviets would win.

Despite these same interests surviving the war, along with the Southern Democrats, and having provided the stimulus to the Soviet Union's paranoia to bring about the self-fulfilling prophecy of Mr. Thomas by October, 1962, the tug of war, at least at that time, would stand down in a stand-off for 27 more years. Had one side or the other won that one, we would not be writing these words. There would no perceiver there on earth to receive them.

Drew Pearson tells of the speech by Thomas Dewey's foreign policy adviser, John Foster Dulles, to the Economic Club of New York in spring, 1939, when he stated that the United States need not fear attack from Germany, Italy, or Japan, justifying the existence of the dictators of the Axis, in the case of the Nazis and Fascists, as a bulwark against Josef Stalin and Communism, in the case of the Japanese, to get to China before the French and British did.

He had made other speeches of the same type even after the invasion of Poland. On October 29, 1939 in Detroit, Mr. Dulles told the National Council of the YMCA that he could not see "any affirmative reason for the United States to become a participant [in the war]. Were we to act, it would be merely to reaffirm an international order which, by its very nature, is self-destructive and a breeder of violent revolt." The latter referred to the Soviet Union.

These speeches occurred at a time when the Senate was debating the changes to the Neutrality Act to permit sending of arms and aid to England, a measure which subsequently passed despite heavy isolationist rhetoric in opposition.

Mr. Dulles, in the spring of 1939, had spoken against such aid to England, that England's own crisis had been precipitated by imposition of an economic quarantine on Italy for its invasion of Ethiopia in 1935-36, an action which, Mr. Dulles stressed, failed.

He disfavored Nevada Senator Key Pittman's proposal, first made in 1936, to impose an economic quarantine on Japan to cut off the trade of oil and scrap iron, the latter being that which, including the Sixth Avenue El, eventually wound up hurled back at U. S troops in the form of bullets and artillery shells and bombs in 1941-42. He thought it highly impolitic of Senator Pittman to have said anent Japan: "Why shoot a man when you can starve him to death?"—the precise strategy which was now being followed by General MacArthur in the Pacific to avoid having to fight island by island to Japan's mainland.

Mr. Dulles had also stated, "Only hysteria entertains the idea that Germany, Italy, or Japan contemplates war upon us." Mr. Pearson reminds that he made this incredibly myopic statement at a time after Munich the prior September, the breaking of the Pact by taking all of Czechoslovakia during the ensuing months, the annexation of Austria in March, 1938, and at a time when Poland was being threatened regarding the German desire to have the Danzig Corridor, on the ostensible excuse of needing to link East Prussia with the main part of Germany and, not coincidentally, to obtain Poland's prime port on the Baltic.

Mr. Pearson also quotes from the speech Mr. Dulles's reference to the dynamic forces of the Axis, who had undertaken the action they had because of failure to achieve change through peace, in contrast to the defenders of the status quo, France and Britain, static in their retrenchments in the past. He likens the effort of the Axis, in other words, to the concept of Manifest Destiny.

Japan had determined to dominate China because, otherwise, said Mr. Dulles, France and Britain would do so. Germany merely was seeking to redress some of the problems with the Versailles Treaty and subsequent treaties limiting Germany's military wherewithal. Italy only wanted to take territory which it needed for economic and historical necessity.

Mr. Dulles presents these quotes without comment. They are well worth reading and understanding thoroughly by anyone who wishes to understand fully the post-war era and the reasons for the Cold War. Mr. Dulles, of course, would become, until his death in 1959, the Secretary of State for President Eisenhower, and would have a decided impact on foreign policy from this point in time forward. His most dedicated premise during his years as Secretary of State, and most lasting legacy, was the advocacy of "brinksmanship", that is confrontation of the Communists and calling their bluff whenever was demonstrated any form of aggression, as was practiced with Quemoy and Matsu in the crisis of 1958, Quemoy and Matsu, buffer islands for Taiwan between Taiwan and mainland Red China, being then threatened by Red China, nearly leading to use of nuclear weapons by the United States.

Mr. Dulles, it seemed, had no problem with aggression by Fascists and feudalists in 1939, but Communists were not to be tolerated in any attempt at bulwarking or buffering or righting historical wrongs.

Mr. Dulles's brother, Allen, Director of the CIA under President Eisenhower, fired by President Kennedy in the wake of the disastrous Bay of Pigs attempted coup against Fidel Castro in Cuba in April, 1961, had, as reported by Leonard Mosley in his 1978 family biography, Dulles, cringed at his brother's politics of 1939, especially his referring to the "dynamic forces" of the Axis in contradistinction to the static forces of France and Great Britain.

Marquis Childs observes that the Congressional committee hearing testimony from Sidney Hillman regarding the CIO PAC, with its supposed inordinate impact on the election process, heard little to confirm that notion. Instead, the evidence was that the PAC only participated in eight state primaries and had little impact on them.

It had been likened to the Wayne Wheeler Anti-Saloon League of the teens and twenties, but it obviously had no such broad-sweeping effect on the people. Where it did have impact, there was already a predisposition to accept its credo.

Most of organized labor, not surprisingly, was going to vote for FDR, as in the prior three elections. The primary effect of the CIO PAC was to register displaced war workers, not to influence per se their vote. They were already friendly to the President, having been befriended by the President for his sound policies toward labor during his nearly twelve years in office.

Three letter writers express their opinions on the upcoming presidential election, two favoring Roosevelt and the third Dewey.

Hal Boyle relates of Shorty, in service of the Army for 27 years, a tough, salty, diminutive master sergeant who ate young "shavetails" for breakfast, and had come a long way to die in France. He had played a mean hand of poker, stood 5'4", was in poor health, but did not want out of the Army. He was Russian, hated the Germans, had fought them in 1918 with distinction and valor, won a Purple Heart for three wounds. But now, he had met his final fate.

After his company had taken a town, Shorty and two other men heard machinegun fire coming from a building. Shorty, armed only with a pistol, the other two with Carbines, moved out of position to draw fire, after instructing the other two men to open up on the nest once he had sufficiently distracted its inhabitants. It worked. But, as soon as he had drawn their attention, the Germans opened fire and killed him.

A major said he was the "best damned soldier" in the division.

His real name was Joe L. Plotnick of Baltimore. He never knew his exact age because he had no birth record.

So, that's the way it was on the double-day anniversary, five years from the start of the war, five years from General Marshall becoming Chief of Staff of the Army.

There was the "Grin and Bear It" also...

Dr. Herbert Spaugh was reminded that "evil" spelled backwards is "live". Ah, Juicy Fruit.

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