Saturday, SEPTEMBER 16, 1944

The Charlotte News

Saturday, September 16, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the First Army had penetrated the Siegfried Line at several points below Aachen, advancing to as much as twelve miles into Germany. The advance was beyond both systems of defenses, the first and second lines. Patrols had entered Aachen and the surrounded fortress town appeared ready to fall. The front was widened to fifteen miles with the capture of Lammersdorf to the southeast of Aachen. The First Army had now entered Hitler's Autobahn, stretching the last thirty straight and nicely paved miles into Cologne.

Another spearhead of the First Army moved north eight miles from captured Maastricht to Mechelen in Holland and crossed the Meuse-Scheide Canal.

Reports from Berlin stated that the Third Army was nearing the Rhine, east of Nancy. Allied reports indicated that the Army had captured a section of the Maginot Line, taking Fort Gingringen, on the west side of the Moselle River, turning the German Krup-manufactured 105-mm. guns on the Germans occupying the section of Thionville east of the river. The section of the German strongpoint town on the west side was now occupied by the Americans.

Associated Press correspondent James M. Long reported that the First Army had undertaken in the village of Wallendorf a strategy of burning all buildings in which they located sniper's nests, requring in that instance that the entire village be razed. The report was quick to distinguish this strategy from that of the punitive strategy followed by the Germans of burning French, Italian, Polish, and Czech villages after murdering all of their inhabitants in retaliation for underground activity.

Paris radio reported that Brest had been captured, with 12,000 Germans taken prisoner. An earlier Berlin broadcast had reported that Brest was in flames from German explosions in anticipation of evacuation, but that the German defenders continued to battle American units within a mile of German naval headquarters.

More than 800 Canadian and RAF heavy bombers struck at Kiel, Berlin, and Lubeck the night before. Eleven planes were lost. It was the fifth night in a row in which Berlin was attacked. RAF planes also flew sorties against the Northern French coast, hitting the area around Dunkerque.

The U.S. Ninth Air Force flew 363 sorties in support of the Siegfried Line offensive, concentrating on the area between Strasbourg and Cologne, as well that between Nancy and Metz. They encountered no enemy opposition and lost only one fighter plane.

Red Army patrols had crossed the Vistula River from the captured Warsaw suburb of Praga and scouted German positions in Warsaw, but no word had yet come to Moscow as to whether concerted forces of the Army had crossed the river from the city, which could be seen ablaze from Praga. Most of Warsaw lay in ruins.

Russian and Polish troops meanwhile resisted the first German counter-offensive against Praga, with tank warfare becoming the fiercest yet of the Eastern front war. The Russians reported destroying 110 Nazi tanks in the area of the suburb.

Other Russian forces captured eleven poplated areas north of Warsaw.

The Germans had not met the September 15 deadline, provided September 2, for clearing German troops from Finland. In consequence, the Russians were engaging the German troops in battle. Germany complained that the deadline had been unrealistic, that it would have taken at least four weeks to accomplish the evacuation and that this fact was known when the deadline was provided by Finland, in cooperation with its terms of surrender to Russia. Finland was also preparing to undertake military action against the remaining Germans.

Marines who had fought on Guadalcanal pushed against 8,000 Japanese defenders of Peleliu in the Palau Islands, as the invading forces sought to capture a large airdrome 515 miles from Davao in Mindanao. Marine First Division forces under Major General William H. Rupertus advanced 1.5 miles against strong enemy resistance to secure a beachhead on the island, which stood as a key to capturing all of the Palaus. Admiral Nimitz reported that casualties among the landing forces thus had been slight, despite the beaches having been under sporadic mortar and artillery fire.

On Morotai, General MacArthur announced that all objectives were won within hours of the landings. Engineers and assault forces were expected to have Pitoe, an airfield on the island, ready for use by American planes shortly.

The Quebec Conference between President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill formally ended. The Prime Minister was said to be returning forthwith to London rather than staying to engage in further informal talks with the President.

The latest Roper poll, for the week ending August 26, had the race for the presidency narrowing substantially from the 14 point gap reported the previous week. The President had lost 5.3 points and Governor Dewey had gained 3.5 points to trail by a margin of only 49.3 to 44.4. Undecided voters had increased from 4.5 to 6.3 percent.

Republican Congresswoman Edith Nourse Rogers of Massachusetts, member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, was pressing for an investigation into why the war in Europe was transpiring so slowly, with an eye to whether politics was playing a role. "There should be no politics in war," said Representative Rogers.

Not reported was the cloakroom sneering by Democrats to the effect, "Go win it yourself, you old battleaxe, if you think it's so easy."

All the Western Allies had done in a hundred days since D-Day, after all, was to land in France, establish a beachhead, bring in a million men, supplies, guns, vehicles and tanks, move forward through dense hedgerows for a month and a half, then proceed in the ensuing month and a half to liberate about 80% of France, most of Belgium, and were beginning to make headway into Holland, moving now twelve miles into Germany itself, having fully breached the heavily fortified Siegfried Line at four points.

If President Roosevelt was a traitor and deliberately conspiring to delay the war to better insure re-election, he was doing a pretty lousy job of it, as it appeared at this juncture that Berlin would certainly fall prior to election day and that Tokyo might not be far behind. Among his co-conspirators would have been General Eisenhower, General Bradley, and General Patton, not to mention Prime Minister Churchill and General Montgomery.

They should have all been hanged and terms of peaceful coexistence with Hitler promptly provided.

Bob Hope reports that the enemy was so close to his position at Aitpee that they were doing the Americans' laundry. (He may have had them confused with the Chinese.)

The shows had been spiced up by a snappy band, the lead singer of which rivaled Sinatra and used to to sing with Henry Busse.

He ran into jockey Smoky Saunders who had won the Kentucky Derby, not to mention the Preakness and Belmont, astride Omaha in 1935. The ex-jockey had joined the cavalry so that he might continue to ride horses, instead found himself astride a jeep.

He also bumped into Monk Meyers, sports writer, who was now regular Army, in for a thirty-year hitch, of which he had served seven. Recently he had remarked to a companion, stuck in a muddy foxhole during a pouring rain while the Japanese counter-attacked, that he only had twenty-three more years to go.

Mr. Hope had to get under his mosquito net early and retire, so bids his adieu and devoirs. He had a date the next morning with the native chieftain who wanted him to explain Dorothy Lamour and to publish a couple of songs for him.

On the editorial page, "Perennials" discusses the fact that loafers, regardless of war, still persisted among the populace of the land, causing the hard-working to leer "in the manner of the ant beholding the grasshopper" as the indolent committed only the crime that "they emulate the lilies of the field".

The Mayor of Columbia, S.C., had not been amused at the spectacle in his fair city, thus had taken to having the malingering lolligaggers arrested, including the ladies "'painted up in the late afternoon and ready for the night's roundup'".

Loafing was a plague of civilization which had been extant for time immemorial and even preserved in the most laudable of sanctums, concludes the piece.

"Lee Shore" tells of the protection North Carolina receives from harsh weather patterns, first by the Appalachians protecting from the chilly winds blowing out of the Northwest, and from hurricanes and tropical storms out of the Caribbean, by the Gulf Stream off the coast. It examples the storm which had just whirled itself up the East Coast, glancing off Cape Hatteras and then moving heavily northward, impacting Long Island and New England. It points out that Cape Cod is 300 miles eastward of Cape Hatteras and so by that extent projects into the Atlantic, acting thus as a hook to catch storms which do not make landfall south of that point.

Of course, many a furious hurricane, Hazel in 1954, Hugo in 1989, just to name two which come to mind, have struck hard at North Carolina, Hugo reaching inland and doing extensive damage even into the Piedmont area of the state, around Greensboro, High Point, and Winston-Salem. So, the premise of the piece lacks some further experience with hurricanes through time.

Those of the myopic among us, please take note that weather patterns and global tendencies occur long-term, not from season to season. The Industrial Revolution got going in strength around 1850 and the level of hydrofluorocarbons creating the Greenhouse Effect and producing global warming has been slowly building since that time, not just in the last 10 or 20 or 30 or 50 years. Increasing frequency and intensity of hurricanes since the 1950's therefore ought be examined in calculating the effects of global warming on the warming of the waters which create the intensity of the whorling hurricanes arising out of the Gulf and Caribbean, generating often from the waters off West Africa.

"Gas Supply" finds little sympathy for two convicted gasoline rationing coupon counterfeiters who had supplied some 90,000 gallons worth of the forged coupons to consumers.

But, moreover, it gave rise to the question of whether, if there was enough gasoline to serve these phony coupons, there was not enough to allow expanded rationing.

"A Hitch" thinks it paradoxical for the Texas rebels among the Democrats to be complaining on the one hand of strong-armed tactics by the national Democratic Party and the Administration while at the same time, it was planning to revolt in November and have 15 of its 23 electors cast their ballots for Senator Harry Flood Byrd of Virginia regardless of the popular outcome of the election in Texas. The Dallas meeting during the week had apparently reached the decision to do so, despite appeals by Roosevelt forces to let the voters decide whether to seat Roosevelt electors or another slate. The Texas Secretary of State had refused acceptance of the proposed Roosevelt slate of electors.

In a close election, as it appeared it was going to be at this stage, 15 electors, the piece suggests, might be determinative of the outcome. It appeared at this juncture that the outcome of the Texas election and its pledged electors would be resolved finally only by the Texas Supreme Court.

In the end, the revolt did not materialize and it would not have affected the lopsided result had it been so.

Drew Pearson addresses the story circulating that the Ford Willow Run bomber factory was going to be used for constructive post-war peace, to produce agricultural implements, including tractors, beating swords to ploughshares as it wereŚconsistent with the Life piece of July 3, of which Dr. Herbert Spaugh had made mention a couple of days earlier, re Henry Ford's sponsorship of the cubic-inch wheat growing experiment over a period of six years.

Mr. Pearson suggests that the new use of the plant could revolutionize small farming, giving the farmer more leisure time by mechanizing his labor. Mr. Ford had been in discussions with Scotch tractor builder, Harry Ferguson, ultimately of Massey-Ferguson, regarding building a Ford tractor on his design, to be sold at a cheap price.

Willow Run had just produced its 8,000th Liberator bomber and operations were being scaled back now at the plant. Mr. Ford wanted to be able to start reconversion, but, thus far, the War Department had nixed the idea.

Ford was planning a whole new automobile, notes Mr. Pearson, to be introduced at war's end, with a six-cylinder engine, to sell for $600, and achieve 30 to 35 miles per gallon in gas.

Of course, when production did resume in early 1946, it was the 1942 Fords which came off the assembly line as the 1946 model, just as with the other manufacturers. Ford would not materially alter its car until the 1949 model, with its streamlined new look and chassis.

Don't miss out. Order yours now before they are all gone.

Mr. Pearson next reveals that one of the major goals of President Roosevelt in attending the Quebec Conference was to convince Prime Minister Churchill to call home Lord Louis Mountbatten from his command post in Ceylon, directing the India-Burma theater. United States officers had repeatedly complained of Lord Mountbatten's sloth in the direction of operations in the theater.

The column reports also that when Lord Mountbatten had been appointed to the command post at the previous year's Quebec Conference in August, General Marshall had sought strenuously to keep the news under wraps, only to have British Information Minister Brendan Bracken announce it to the world. General Marshall complained to the British generals of this leak, that it revealed strategy to the enemy, to which the British took offense, calling it a "charge of bad faith against His Majesty's Army". General Marshall was said to have replied that it was that which he intended.

Prime Minister Churchill, Mr. Pearson parenthetically states, had the previous year advocated the appointment of General Marshall to be Supreme Allied Commander over the troops in Europe, the position ultimately held by General Eisenhower. But since that role would have taken General Marshall, as Chief-of-Staff of the Army, away from supervising the U.S. Army deployments to the other theaters, the other American military chiefs objected to the proposed re-assignment.

Samuel Grafton discusses the "mobilization of the discontent" which characterizes the out-party in any election. Mr. Dewey was focusing on an emotional issue, demobilization and bringing home the soldiers faster than would the plan of the President after war's conclusion. Mr. Grafton asserts that the appeal was simply one to make voters with sons overseas feel better, that there would, practically, be no way of bringing the men home any faster than was being proposed under the plan which had been orchestrated by the Army commanders themselves, not without causing havoc to the peace when it was won.

A different type of sowing of the seeds of discontent was evident in the appeal of John L. Lewis to his UMW members to vote against Roosevelt because of his having seized the mines to avoid strikes. But the Republicans, being traditionally against strikes, were in support of the President in his handling of the mine strikes, if anything had thought that the President had been too slow in effecting the seizures, should have acted more precipitously, exacting jail sentences from the strike leaders, as he was authorized to do under the Smith-Connally Act. The Republicans also wanted, unabashedly, to keep wages restrained.

Thus, the paradoxical scenario had been created whereby Mr. Lewis was asking miners implicitly to vote for the Republicans who were against the policies which, favored generally by Roosevelt and the Democrats, the UMW was ultimately seeking to have implemented, higher wages, better hours and working conditions.

Marquis Childs find that events of the previous ten days had significantly increased Governor Dewey's chances for election. The polls were reflecting this trend, despite their having been taken during the period August 20-26, the week that Paris was liberated by the Allies. The same week, Governor Dewey had sent his foreign policy adviser John Foster Dulles to confer with Secretary of State Hull at the Dumbarton Oaks Conference in Georgetown on the planning of the United Nations organization. By that astute political gesture, Governor Dewey had become identified with the coming peace.

Mr. Childs asks the question, in presumptive explanation of these rapidly changing polls, more favorable to Dewey than those of the prior week, whether the voters had identified the liberation of Paris with the end of the war in Europe and thus believed that with its end in sight, there was no longer any compelling reason to retain the President in office. If the answers to both questions were in the affirmative, he suggests, then the election odds shifted to Dewey.

In a recent election in Maine, the Democrats had polled fewer votes than at any time since the Civil War.

The key factor would be the size of the vote, whether displaced war workers would register in their new districts, and to what degree the soldiers would receive their absentee ballots. If the total of the voting electorate would fall below 42 million, then, Mr. Childs predicts, Mr. Dewey would win.

Thus, Mr. Dewey's best strategy, one he seemed to be following, was to cultivate voter apathy to hold down the turnout. He was deliberately avoiding crowds as he traveled by train across the country, bypassing major cities, maintaining secrecy of his route. He was concentrating his attention on professional politicians and was giving speeches phrased in generalities, designed to offend as few as possible.

A perennial letter writer indicates firmly his intent to cast his ballot for Mr. Dewey in the upcoming election. He would not vote for a third or fourth term for anyone. But moreover, he opines, the New Deal had choked off American ingenuity, had paid people not to work, and had regulated the country to death, threatening democracy in the process for twelve long years.

Mr. Dewey was going to return business to the people--as in the good old days of Presidents Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover.

Another past letter writer would cast her ballot proudly for the President, indicating that it would be unimaginable to have anyone other than Franklin Roosevelt at the peace table when the United Nations met at war's end. She predicts that he would go down in American history as one of the greatest of the country's citizens.

Six other letter writers each wholeheartedly endorsed the President. One woman, an African-American, indicated that she would gladly cast her ballot for him to be President the rest of his natural life, and wished that he would live to the age of Moses, 999.

Read it and weep, Republicans: only 937 more years of Roosevelt.

To supply a bookend to the first letter, a woman gives her vote just as dedicatedly to Governor Dewey. She would not vote for a man who had, just to please Churchill, sent gas to Spain when they were manufacturing goods for Germany. Nor would she vote for a man who had taken a campaign trip, a "political joy-ride", around the Pacific, calling it "military reconnaissance", at twenty million dollars in cost to the taxpayers, all for his Navy escort so that he would not be "hurt or frightened", and then "boast when he [came] home how tenderly the soldiers looked after his welfare".

"How proud the soldiers would be of him, their great general! He won't help frame an Atlantic Charter by which England keeps a large portion of the world's surface and America gets nothing for winning the war."

We read that last statement three or four times. That's what it says, verbatim. It is good to be an informed voter who makes plenty of sense.

She neglects, however, to mention the story which was being circulated among Republicans, in Congress and out, that the President had sent a destroyer, at a cost of millions of dollars to the taxpayer, to retrieve Fala from the Aleutian Islands where he had been inadvertently left behind. The President would address that rumor directly and put it firmly to rest before the Teamsters in Washington a week hence. In the process, incidentally, he would not cool the moment by insisting that Mrs. Roosevelt had only a cloth coat to wear.

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