Friday, SEPTEMBER 15, 1944

The Charlotte News

Friday, September 15, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that American forces landed on Palau and Morotai, converging from the south and east on the Philippines. Marines and Army assault troops from the command of Admiral Nimitz, under the immediate command of Vice Admiral T. S. Wilkinson of the Third Amphibious Force and Major General Julian Smith of the Marine Corps, landed on an unnamed island of the Palau group, identified by the Japanese as Peleliu, representing an 825-mile advance from Guam.

At the same time, forces under General MacArthur's command landed on Morotai, 300 miles south of Mindanao, encountering only ten Japanese soldiers, advancing General MacArthur's position 300 miles from Dutch New Guinea. Because of recent air attacks, the Japanese had concentrated forces on nearby Halmahera Island, thinking that the Americans would land there. The Navy bombarded Halmahera during the landings on Morotai, a part of the Molucca group. Morotai was ideally suited for an airfield and light naval base, allowing daily attacks to begin soon against the Philippines.

Both commanders announced the initial success of the landings.

The landing on Morotai had the purpose, in addition to bringing planes and ships to within 300 miles of the Philippines the severance of supply lines to the two Japanese armies consisting of 200,000 troops defending the East Indies.

American air attacks on the Philippines during the preceding four days, destroying 501 planes and 173 ships and small craft, prevented attempts of the Japanese to aid the islands.

General MacArthur, after the landings, made a statement in which he proclaimed that Japan's defeat was now imminent and that, while the fighting resolve of the ordinary Japanese soldier was strong, their leadership, based on a feudal caste system rather than merit, was weak.

On the Siegfried Line front, the First Army captured Aachen while 180 miles southeast, the Third Army took Nancy and Maastricht. The forces advanced ten miles into Germany, penetrating the Siegfried Line completely at two places, and denting the defenses at a third.

On the western tip of the Breton Peninsula in France, the Allied siege of Brest, ongoing for a month, was appearing to near its end as the Nazi commander gave signs of surrendering.

In Italy, the Fifth Army took two towns four miles north of Lucca and fifteen miles from the Tyrrhenian coast in the area of the Gothic Line. Being 16 miles beyond the Arno River, it was the deepest penetration north for the Fifth Army.

In the Adriatic sector, Canadian troops crossed the Marano River with tanks and infantry after hard fighting within a mile of the Rimini airfield.

Air reconnaissance had reported that the neutral republic of San Marino in eastern Italy was being used by the Nazis for supplies, gun areas, and troop transport.

The Russian and Polish forces were reported to be advancing into Warsaw for the first time after crossing the Vistula River from the suburb of Praga, a distance of 500 to 600 yards. Four bridges were still intact across the Vistula. Another force 30 miles to the south also crossed the Vistula, threatening to outflank Warsaw.

A map on the inside page shows the Balkan offensive, and explains in brief how the Russians cracked the German defenses which had been set up to shield the Ploesti oilfields in Rumania, now completely under Russian control.

White House press secretary Steve Early announced that the Quebec Conference between President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill was in its final phase and would likely conclude on Saturday, though additional talks between the two would likely take place before the Prime Minister returned home. British Foreign Minister Sir Anthony Eden had arrived on Thursday night to participate in the last sessions of the conference.

The London Daily Mail speculated that the Conference might determine that General Eisenhower would be named to coordinate and lead the offensive on Japan, but added that the war in Europe would take priority and until it was completed, he would be needed in that theater.

The UMW issued a proclamation condemning President Roosevelt and giving praise, while falling short of endorsement, to Governor Dewey. The action was based on the union's dislike of the President's action in seizing coal mines under strike or threatened strike.

The hurricane, before hurricanes were named by the National Weather Service, which had hit the East Coast left behind in its wake 20 dead and extensive property damage in the Northeast, from Maryland to Maine. Long Branch, N.J., reported two million dollars in damage from the storm, packing 80 to 100 mph winds. Atlantic City and areas nearby were the hardest hit. Damage to Long Island was exceeded only by the Long Island Express hurricane of September 21, 1938. That storm had caused the deaths of 600 people and damage estimated at a half billion dollars.

Bob Hope is today completely in the black, not even the dim print. We daresay that no one could read that, without vivid imagination. It is perhaps a treatment for the "Road to the Heart of Darkness".

On the editorial page, "Take It Away" comments on the onerous burden to the citizenry of the bureaucratic framework built and regulations issued in triplicate during the war years. It would be one of the first things which the people would demand be dismantled. But it quickly adds the caveat that, once instituted, bureaucracy was a devil of which to be shed.

"Desertions" comments on the statement by Dr. Clyde Erwin that North Carolina's educational system faced its most serious crisis since the Depression. The state had lost 1,300 white teachers with prime teaching certificates. Dr. Erwin refused to blame war conditions, instead blaming, for its long-term trend, North Carolina for the exodus. The state needed, he opined, to create incentives to hold onto its teachers, a minimum salary of $125 per month for a teacher with a prime certificate and $200 per month for a teacher with a graduate degree.

The editorial agrees with the position while cautioning that raising salaries alone would not insure a better educational system. But presently, the average teacher, principal, and assistant pay was $946 per year, pitted against a national average of $1,441 per year. That pay scale was inadequate, says the piece, to maintain an efficacious teaching force desirous of staying within the state.

"Dollar Derby" indicates that The New York Times had predicted that the President would shortly instruct the War Labor Board to increase the Little Steel formula, holding wages steady at 15 percent over January, 1941 levels. The formula had worked to the advantage of the better paid at the beginning of 1941 while holding the lower paid worker at artificially low wages. Overtime wages widened the gap. The differential tended to adversely impact inflation for the fact that higher paid worker had to start more surplus income to spend than the lower paid, and that differential was only exacerbated by the formula.

"GOP Generals" remarks on the comments of Thomas Dewey regarding reshuffling the military command structure should he be elected president. For someone who had advocated a small role for the Commander-in-Chief, he was talking as though he intended to enlarge its authority beyond its present status.

He had criticized General Hershey for equating the cost to the Government of keeping men in service with that of men on relief and had used the problem to launch into a full-scale campaign to change the roles of generals conducting the war.

During a campaign stop earlier in the week in Nebraska, he had favored giving General MacArthur a larger role in the war based on the fact that he was no longer a political threat to the President, implying thereby that FDR had refused him further authority and troops for purely political reasons, to keep him from making too big a splash in the headlines. It was tantamount, says the piece, to accusing the President of treason.

Were Mr. Dewey to become president, suggests the editorial, he might start assigning generals to the battle fronts in accordance with the recommendations of the isolationist Chicago Tribune—which had a year or so earlier been campaigning to turn attention away from the European war and direct men and supplies to the Pacific, potentially disastrous to the European war.

Drew Pearson looks at the motion picture "Wilson", with Geraldine Fitzgerald playing the role of the second Mrs. Wilson, the former Widow Galt, originally Edith Bolling, still living in 1944. The movie was greeted as a critical success, but many of the social whirl in Washington thought it too kind to Mrs. Wilson II, that it portrayed her as too generous and too beautiful. She was recalled as the overbearing principal of the White House whose strong temperament caused dissension with the Senate and was seen as a principal cause for the failure of approval of the Versailles Treaty and membership in the League of Nations.

He next turns to the ongoing Quebec Conference and the President's having confided in his confidantes before leaving that he would broach with Churchill the problems in the Far Eastern theater, with respect to the slow campaign in Burma to clear the Burma Road and retake Singapore and the Malay Peninsula.

The previous Quebec Conference of August, 1943, remarks Mr. Pearson, had involved the same question. At the time, the British indicated a need to have their ships in the Mediterranean return to Great Britain to have their hulls scraped and to provide the men a rest before going to the Far East to assist in the war there. They could not do so, said the British, before March or April, which coincided with the beginning of the monsoon season. General Marshall accused the late First Sea Lord, Sir Dudley Pound, of deliberately delaying in that manner the war effort in the Far Eastern theater. Sir Dudley Pound took umbrage at the remark, but it was underscored by Admiral Leahy while Admiral Ernest King remained mum.

Mr. Pearson suggests that such confrontations among top military men was typical in war, that they had occurred frequently during World War I among the Allied leaders.

Dorothy Thompson responds to a report printed by Izvestia in Moscow, misquoting her as having been urging softness towards the Germans to avoid the ire of the German people. She responds that she was not in favor of any such position, believed that the Gestapo, the Nazi leaders, and war criminals had to be treated decisively at war's end. She had only advocated not harshly treating the German people lest the Nazi ruling clique escape punishment or live on beyond death as martyrs to the people.

She stresses that her belief was that the war had to eradicate Fascism. She had provided strong support for the Free German Committee in Moscow, as it was in furtherance of the goal of having a cooperative arrangement in post-war Germany with Germans who favored democracy and were strong anti-Nazis. She suggests that Izvestia would provide a service were it to promote such a constructive policy.

Samuel Grafton, on the inside page, discusses the Republican campaign to attach a type of city-slicker, foreign patina to President Roosevelt, while casting Thomas Dewey in the light of the small-town every-man. They associated the President with the Stork Club and Twenty-One in New York, with Sidney Hillman in Labor, which was as much to say in the company of a Communist. These Republicans were placing more emphasis on these negative associations than they were any positive argument for Governor Dewey's positions, apparently in the hope of soliciting support from small-town America. Concomitant with this approach was a form of anti-intellectualism. They joked about college professors and mumbled of a palace guard of revolutionaries surrounding President Roosevelt.

Stanley Walker, a New York editor who had written a biography on Thomas Dewey and was solidly in his corner, had stated that the anti-Dewey intellectuals gathered at the Algonquin Hotel before heading to the Stork Club and Twenty-One. Mr. Grafton comments that he had been at the Algonquin for lunch the previous Saturday and saw eighteen-year old blonde females among the patrons. So, he concludes, they must be the anti-Dewey intellectuals.

Anti-intellectualism, he warns, was a dangerous tactic for it eschewed planning and encouraged class resentment while nurturing inferiority complexes.

Marquis Childs again, as the previous day, writes of General Marshall, stressing his self-effacing attitude, devoid of political ambition.

He was a prime advocate of uniting the Army and Navy, and, in 1950, would become the third Secretary of Defense, serving for a year after appointment by President Truman.

His recommendation recently that universal military training of one year duration be instituted with a small professional army was one which demonstrated his great sapience and foresight, suggests Mr. Childs. It did not portend, as the critics contended, a "thickening toward imperialism".

He concludes that, in America's hour of greatest need, a soldier had emerged from the shadows who was able to meet that exigency.

The letters to the editor continue to run heavily for President Roosevelt, this day's grouping being four to one in his corner, the only dissenter contending that Governor Dewey was not too young for the job and that six years in office was enough for any President, thus twelve being twice as much as ought be endured.

Dr. Herbert Spaugh tells of an experiment reported recently in Life, as undertaken by Perry Hayden with the aid of Henry Ford donating land. Mr. Hayden planted a cubic inch of wheat and promised to provide a tenth of its resulting harvest to the church. He began the experiment in 1941 and by the fourth year, his compounded wheat had produced enough to cover fourteen acres, a yield of 150 bushels. By the time he would complete the six year cycle before, in accordance with the Biblical instruction, allowing the land to lie fallow for a season, he anticipated having in 1946 a harvest of 90,000 bushels on 2,000 acres.

Roger D. Greene, reporting from the Western front with British troops, tells of passing the old World War I cemeteries along the Amiens-Arras road to Belgium. From Amiens, they crossed the Somme to Picardy, famed for its red roses, moving at a pace of 20 to 30 miles per day, leaving little time for sight-seeing. There were no trenches and lice-ridden dugouts as in the prior war. Nor were there any kites being launched aloft at dawn from which to shoot with shotguns the Flying Circus.

Though the trenches were gone from the earlier war, the smell of death in the air was reminiscent of it. But, this time, virtually all of the stench emanated from the rotting corpses of the enemy lining the roads and lying in the adjacent wheatfields. These German corpses enjoyed now only the bit of lebensraum which their last resting places afforded. Mr. Greene suggests that their grotesque figures on the landscape had something vital to say to the German people, a quarter century after having tried and failed this same quest previously.

Then, they had proclaimed themselves "salt of the earth". Now, they were dust.

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