Tuesday, SEPTEMBER 12, 1944

The Charlotte News

Tuesday, September 12, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that two American columns continued toward the Siegfried Line, the First Army sending two spearheads, one from Luxembourg penetrating five miles inside Germany, northwest of Trier, another moving east of captured Eupen, ten miles below Aachen, in Belgium, an annexed part of the Reich, as well as taking Malmedy, 15 miles to the south of Eupen. As the troops entered German-speaking Eupen, a reporter on the scene observed that the people simply stared in silence, without the usual jubilant welcome which had accompanied entries by the Allies of such towns all across France and through Belgium.

The historic penetration for the first time into Reich territory came on the 26th anniversary of the American offensive at St. Mihiel in World War I.

North of these points of penetration, an American battalion comprised primarily of men from North and South Carolina, captured, without resistance, Fort Eban Emael, one of the strongest Belgian fortresses. The original taking by the Germans of the fort, thought at the beginning of the war to be impregnable, had been one of the first disasters for the Allies in the German drive through Belgium to France. The battalion continued to advance to within a mile of the Dutch frontier, four miles from Maastricht.

During the previous week, the American First Army had captured 15,000 prisoners, a total of 169,706 since D-Day. The total number of prisoners of the Allies in Northern France stood at over 300,000, with another 65,000 having been captured in Southern France.

The Third Army was reported to have reached the Our River between Germany and Luxembourg, and was within sight of the Siegfried Line. Further progress by the Third Army in the battle for Metz and Toul across the Moselle River was also reported, with forces moving through the Maginot Line to the German strongpoint at Thionville, pushing the Germans into withdrawal along the line from Pont-a-Mousson to just above Nancy. The Army had moved three to four miles under the command of General Patton during the first six hours after crossing the Moselle, effected pre-dawn by engineers standing neck-deep in icy waters holding footbridges while under enemy fire as the soldiers began crossing.

The Seventh Army in the South of France joined with the Third Army, meeting strong enemy resistance north of Vesoul, reaching Port-sur-Saone five miles to the northwest. Americans generally advanced north of the Saone River along a 30-mile front from Gray to Visoul.

The French advanced fourteen miles north of Dijon to Is-sur-Tille, capturing St. Seine-L'Abbaye, Val-Suzon, and Courtivron north and northwest of Dijon, encountering no German opposition.

Meanwhile, the British troops of the Canadian First Army captured the port of Le Havre in Normandy, vital now for enabling free flow of supplies to the front. Surrender of the fort was made 36 hours after the inception of the British assault on the fort.

A thousand American bombers again attacked oil facilities in central and eastern Germany, hitting synthetic oil plants at Ruhland, northeast of Dresden, Baolen, near Leipzig, Magdeburg, and Brux, the latter on the Czech border, and refineries at Hemmingstedt and Misburg. Other targets were also struck at Kiel, Magdeburg, and Friedrichstadt.

The record three-day bag for enemy aircraft had jumped to 398 for just the Eighth Air Force, 175 of those having been shot down the day before by both bombers and fighters. The previous day's raids, which had attracted considerable Luftwaffe opposition for the first time in weeks, had cost 48 American heavy bombers and 29 fighters, making it one of the most costly days of the war. As observers had commented, it appeared that the Germans were engaged in a last act of desperation.

The Allied bombing effort had cut German oil production by 61 percent since May 1.

An additional force of about 500 American bombers of the Fifteenth Air Force flying from Italy struck the Wasserburg factory at Ulm, site of manufacture of jet-propelled Messerschmitt-262's, as well as an airdrome at Lechfield, where the jet aircraft had been spotted.

In Italy, heavy fighting continued by Polish, Canadian, and British troops of the Eighth Army before Rimini on the Adriatic front. All along the 125-mile Gothic Line stretching across the Apennine Mountains, fighting was heavy by forces of both the Fifth and Eighth Armies. The greatest gains were into the high ground north of Florence. The mountains thin out in the vicinity of Rimini and an Allied breakthrough at that point would permit penetration into the Po Valley via the Emellan and Lombard Plains.

The Fifth Army cleared Pistola and Prato and moved further northeast, as a spearhead approached Bologna in the Po Valley.

The Red Army appeared on the verge of capturing Lomza, gateway to East Prussia, 20 miles from the border, along the Narew River.

German radio reported the beginning of a Russian assault on the eastern suburbs of Warsaw, with the Soviets reported ten miles from Praga.

A German broadcast also reported that to the south, the Russians had captured Krosno, 17 miles from Slovakia.

From the Pacific, it was confirmed by Allied sources that a carrier task force had on Friday launched planes against Mindanao in the southern Philippines, destroying 89 ships, including all of a 52-ship Japanese convoy, 68 planes, and five airfields. Tokyo radio reported a raid also on Saturday of the Central Philippines. The operations were 500 miles further west than any other American carrier-based activity to date during the war.

Bob Hope tells of arriving in Sydney, Australia, after 105 consecutive USO shows in the Central and Southwest Pacific. Singer Lanny Ross, a captain in the Navy, and Chicago Bears owner and coach George Hallas, a lieutenant commander in the Navy, showed the entertainers around friendly Sydney.

He intended to make "Road to Australia", replacing Bing Crosby with a kangaroo, so that he would have a chance to win Dorothy Lamour.

Next stop was New Guinea. They hated to leave Sydney because it had hot water. Out in the jungles, the men depended on rain water collected in barrels.

Arriving in Hollandia, he was struck by the large area hacked out of the jungle by the bulldozers.

He ran into amateur golf champion Bud Ward, in the Air Force, and actor Lew Ayres, Dr. Kildare, that is, a conscientious objector. Mr. Ayres had refused to join Mr. Hope on stage, even when cheered on by his outfit, not thinking it right to breach Army protocol.

An alert was on and Mr. Hope said that he had to find his pillbox, for an aspirin.

On the editorial page, "Our Taxes" states that any discussion of them would have two certain outcomes, that the subject would be boring, and that the average taxpayer would always be in favor of taxes, for someone else to pay.

Yet, it was a subject which had to be tackled, for the Federal Government in each of the previous 14 tax years since 1930 had not collected enough revenue to cover its annual expenses. Exacerbated by the huge war debt, the prospect of a balanced budget any time in the near future was not likely of realization. Even a tax burden sufficient to cover post-war government expenditures would not in all probability be a tax which would stimulate business investment and hiring.

So the question arose whether, with the necessity of high taxes on the horizon, the country would pay them while also thriving economically.

"Ward Threatt" eulogizes the passing of a local gentleman who had been a mail carrier for 27 years, always a pleasant conversationalist with the passersby, had run a night school for several years while writing for a decade a weekly column for The News. He was a solid pillar of the community who regularly contributed to charitable services.

All that he knew, he had said, he read on postcards.

"Easy, There" suggests lighter use of the phrase "States Rights" for its being overworked, lending to its speaker therefore a sense, similar to the excessive use of profanity, of having to rely on sound and fury rather than words which made sense to inform the phrase with any meaning whatsoever.

Moreover, the term had a shady past because of its association with intolerance, racial intolerance, and the rebellion associated with it which led to the Civil War. It stood for the concept of iron-willed intransigence against the spirit of compromise which characterized the founding of the United States.

The editorial states that it is in sympathy with many of the basic principles inherent in the notion of States Rights, but that they could not be obtained through firing a Civil War cannon.

"Abandoned" questions the Soviet sincerity in light of its failure of support for the Polish Partisans of Warsaw in their determined month-long stand against the Nazis, until they has run out of food and ammunition and had to withdraw from the city. The Soviets were reported to have refused landing strips in the Soviet Union sought by RAF supply planes seeking to bring food and ammunition to these Partisans. The reason given was that the uprising had been intitiated by the government-in-exile in London without proper preliminary coordination with the Soviet forces and so the Russians felt no obligation of cooperation with the effort.

This refusal aroused considerable suspicion as to the actual motives of the Russians, opines the piece. That they were willing to abandon this determined internal struggle which might have caused the German military presence in Warsaw, in combination with external military pressure, to collapse, and that they were loyal only to the pro-Soviet Poles in Moscow, suggested duality as plainly as had the attitude toward the Poles in 1939 when the Russians conspired with the Germans and turned their backs on the Poles when Russia invaded Poland.

The editorial suggests that the attitude, allowing an underground movement to winnow at the hands of the common enemy rather than help a struggling ally with whom there was mere political disagreement, would bear close scrutiny in the post-war environment, that Stalin appeared bent on control of all Eastern Europe, influencing its political choices, regardless of consequence to the people of those countries.

Drew Pearson tells of the most important Democratic meeting since the Chicago convention during the third week of July, that taking place in Dallas where Texas Democrats were kibitzing to determine whether to shift their electoral votes to Senator Harry Flood Byrd of Virginia regardless of the popular vote outcome, all in response to their disgust over the Administration's handling of certain domestic issues, galvanized by the Fair Employment Practices Committee stands on equal employment opportunity for African-Americans and on the April Supreme Court decision which had ordered Texas to allow African-Americans to vote in state Democratic primaries on the theory that the primaries were held under the auspices of state law and were thus open to all citizens by virtue of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution, guaranteeing Equal Protection of the laws and the right as a citizen to vote.

At present, reported Mr. Pearson, it appeared Texas would turn 15 of its 23 electoral votes over to Senator Byrd. It could prove determinative of the outcome of the election.

The final straw had been a visit paid by Vice-President Henry Wallace to Texas Governor Coke Stevenson the previous month. Mr. Wallace arrived at 5:30 a.m. for the meeting at the Governor's Mansion, but Governor Stevenson did not arise until 6:00. At that point, they had a pleasant chat over coffee.

Mr. Wallace reported to the President that Governor Stevenson had felt slighted when he was not visited by FDR during the President's visit to Mexico and had been ignored by the President during the Governor's trip to Washington. The Vice-President suggested that President Roosevelt invite to Washington Governor Stevenson to placate his ruffled feathers.

When the Governor was invited to Washington by the President, Secretary of Commerce Jesse Jones, a Texan, escorted him into the White House meeting. The President had suggested to the Governor that, with 710 of 1,350 delegates to the Dallas meeting in his corner, his forces woud be able to sustain the seating of a new slate of electors who would be loyal to the popular vote outcome, and so the Governor should voluntarily get rid of the old slate. The Governor disagreed, plumping for a compromise position, on which he said Vice-President Wallace had expressed agreement, whereby two sets of electors would be on the ballot, one for Roosevelt, one against, with the voter having the last say. The President did not press the issue further.

Governor Stevenson returned to Texas believing that he had the President's blessing therefore for the alternative plan. But when word got out of this plan, many pro-Roosevelt Texans were outraged, including Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn and 17 of 21 Texas Congressmen, including future President Lyndon Johnson. Speaker Rayburn tried to reach the President but was informed that he had gone to Hyde Park in New York. He eventually spoke with Jesse Jones who informed that the plan was an acceptable compromise.

It was the only thing, interjects Mr. Pearson, on which Jesse Jones and Vice-President Wallace ever agreed.

Samuel Grafton continues in a third piece his advocacy for not signing a formal peace treaty with Germany but rather having the Allies maintain a declared war for many years after the formal surrender had taken place. In that way, the Allies would not repeat the mistake of World War I in creating a set of conditions to define the peace which then Germany had set about trying to circumvent and defeat. It would enable flexibility and experiment in determining the peace as exigencies arose. It would also have the salutary ancillary purpose of keeping America alert to the possibility of future war.

Furthermore, a formal peace treaty would permit isolationism once again to rear its head in the atmosphere of downy comfort produced, albeit falsely, of the seeming security and sanctity afforded by such a document.

The American people had faced the realization that Germany would have to be watched closely after the war to assure that it would not re-arm itself, but by calling the peace an armistice and not a formal peace treaty, the reminder would constantly be present.

As indicated, such a "hard and bitter peace", as President Kennedy called it in his inaugural address in 1961, did temper the lives of those who grew up or lived as adults during the Cold War years. But it was a peace defined very differently from that suggested by Mr. Grafton. It was one defined by the presence on the world stage of nuclear weaponry ultimately capable, with the proliferation of the 1950's and early 1960's, of ending mankind within an hour. It was defined by mutal fear of exchange of those vast and powerful forces being unleashed in response and, in turn, retalitaory response, to some line crossed in the sand somewhere on the globe, East encroaching on West, West encroaching on East, or some precipitate cause such as the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand having supplied in 1914 the initial spark for World War I, this time, however, to be a war in fact to end all wars by the certainty of pre-determined mutally assured destruction.

Marquis Childs laments the re-entry to the public stage of former United States Ambassador to the Soviet Union and, subsequently, to France, William C. Bullitt, who had authored a piece in Life contending that the Soviet Union harbored post-war intentions to spread Communism throughout Europe. Mr. Bullitt based his beliefs on interviews he had with Italians in Rome.

Everything he had said, suggests Mr. Childs, had to be filtered through his bitter experience as Ambassador to the U.S.S.R., his disillusionment with Stalinist Russia during the purge period of the mid-Thirties, his ensuing transfer to France where he became part of the morally bankrupt social scene which led to the fall of France to Germany in 1940.

His anti-Soviet prejudices had colored his attitude toward the Spanish Civil War between 1936 and 1939. The Loyalists were comprised primarily of Communists and so, in the facile world view of Mr. Bullitt, had to be wrong; that meant that Franco and the Insurgents had to be right. He had been reinforced in this attitude by his wealthy Parisian friends with whom he regularly socialized.

After the fall of France, Mr. Bullitt slipped from view, holding a couple of unimportant government positions and running unsuccessfully for mayor of Philadelphia.

Dorothy Thompson writes of her trip to London three years earlier during which she made the observation while riding through the city in the darkened night, with the lights out from the compulsory blackout, that the darkness carried with it a foreboding gloom. She could see in the faint glow of the moonlight that the facades of buildings often had no structure behind them, that spires of churches were sometimes disposssessed of the brick and mortar and stone which had formed the naves beneath the spires.

But through and since the chaos of eight months of bombing which had ended the previous May of 1941, the spirit of the city had remained, even though cast into darkness.

As she had toured the streets of London then three years earlier, an Englishman stated, "Did you ever think that all the darkness in the world cannot put out the light of a single candle?" The light in Britain had been the enduring faith of its people, she remarks.

But all of that was now past, just as were the robot bombs of the summer of 1944. The lights were back on in London, and with them came the spirit renewed, the reward to its inhabitants and habitues of endurance of struggle and the promise of freedom and peace imminent.

Charles Foltz reports on September 3 from Madrid, having talked to German soldiers and officers who had deserted the German Army and fled to the Spanish frontier. They had all agreed that Germany was not yet beaten, that defeatism was spreading but was not yet pervasive, some expressing that the determinative battle was yet to be fought. They believed that if the Germans were to hold the Siegfried Line and the line before Warsaw for another three months, the United Nations would split regarding disputes in post-war planning, while new German weaponry would allow an offensive. The time would afford opportunity for a negotiated peace.

The soldiers were of the inscrutable belief that the Atlantic Wall had failed only because of the treachery of their military commanders, demonstrated by the July 20 plot to assassinate Hitler. The German High Command was, they were as equally convinced, now leading the Allies into a decisive confrontationóRagnarok made manifest.

The Luftwaffe still had enough planes, they contended, to defend Germany. The Russians had reached the limits of their striking power because of their extended supply lines.

It was undisputed among unbiased observers returning from Germany that the Siegfried Line had been shored up by Todt organization workers, numbering as many as a half million, during August. It was believed by the Germans in Spain that a new type of rocket platform awaited deployment behind these renewed fortifications. Neutral German sources had reported, however, that work on the line was only designed to restore it to its 1940 strength, replacing guns which had been removed to positions on the Atlantic Wall. Those sources had reported the Line to be weaker than in 1940 because the Allies had captured or destroyed a substantial number of the guns along the Atlantic Wall.

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