Wednesday, September 20, 1944

The Charlotte News

Wednesday, September 20, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the British Second Army and supporting airborne troops of the Seventh Army had crossed the Lower Rhine at captured Nijmejen, heading toward Arnheim ten miles north where, nearby, other paratroops had landed. Other forces of the Second Army were seeking to cross the Rhine east of Aachen where Allied artillery struck Duren. The Allies were within 55 miles of Essen.

The First Army held its ground below Aachen, knocking out 36 German tanks, while the Third Army advanced eight miles in the vicinity of Baccarat, 29 miles southeast of Nancy, capturing Chatel on the east side of the Moselle River between Charmes and Epinal.

For the third straight day, Walter Cronkite of CBS radio reports from Holland, now in Eindhoven, stating that the Germans had been cleared from the captured town following an intense fight with British armor and the might of the Allied airborne troops. The armor could advance north another 12 to 20 miles unmolested along roads now held by the airborne forces. No word had yet reached Eindhoven of the situation in the north.

In Italy, the Fifth Army, albeit having suffered heavy losses, had broken through the Gothic Line, the strongest defense line yet encountered in Italy, along a six-mile front, 22 miles northeast of Florence, and were within three miles of Firenzuola after capturing the heights of Castel Guerrino and Lacroce.

On the Adriatic front, the British Eighth Army had moved to within rifle range of Rimini.

It was confirmed that Finland had signed an armistice with Britain and the Soviet Union, among the terms of which required that Finland clear the country of all German military presence.

The Russians had pushed the Germans back on the Latvian front and were approaching on three sides of Riga, capturing Kekava on the west bank of the Daugava River, six miles from Riga, the fall of which appeared imminent. Russian troops had also broken through German defenses at Tartu in Estonia, capturing more than 1,500 communities. The Red Army had moved forward 43 miles along a 75-mile front.

East of Riga, the Third Baltic Army operating in Latvia had captured, in addition to Valga already announced the previous day, the communications center at Plavinas.

To the south, Rumanian and Russian forces had captured Timisoara, 20 miles from the Yugoslav border, 73 miles northeast of Belgrade.

In the Pacific, bombers from Morotai airfield were already in action, hitting targets in Mindanao, just 300 miles away.

Admiral Nimitz reported that the First Marines held two-thirds of the island of Angaur.

On nearby Pelelieu in the Palaus, the Marines had captured as of Monday most of the eastern half of the island but had encountered heavy enemy pillboxes and entrenchments on the western side. By Tuesday, they had captured all but the northern tip of the island.

In Paris, the Marquise de Polignac, the former Nina Crosby of New York who had married into French champagne aristocracy, was in jail awaiting trial for allegedly being a collaborationist. She stated that she looked forward to the opportunity to clear her name of the scurrilous charge. Despite her incarceration, she was not roughing it too badly, having most of the accouterments of home in her corner of a second floor barracks, formerly of the gendarmerie.

Lend-Lease shipments of food in August, 1944 were only about half, at half a billion pounds, what they had been a year earlier. Half the shipments had gone to Britain and its possessions, while 41 percent had been shipped to the Soviet Union.

John L. Lewis had found an insult to every coal miner from the inquiry of Secretary of Interior Harold Ickes when he had asked Mr. Lewis whether the UMW intended to honor its contracts. Mr. Ickes had stated that, because of the repeated strikes, the miners had not been producing that of which they were capable.

The American Legion, meeting in Chicago, urged Congress to adopt compulsory universal service in the military to require young men to train for one year. The Legion also gave its support for the United States joining the planned United Nations organization.

A poll had been taken to determine what Chicagoans longed for most among items made scarce by the war. First on the wish-list were nylon stockings, second, girdles, and third, unrationed shoes. The rationed shoes were of poor quality.

Meanwhile, at the Chicago Zoo, a baby rhinoceros had been born, only the second ever to be born in captivity. The Zoo director said it was ugly. A baby zebra, gazelle, and kudu had also hatched from their eggs.

Bob Hope, still Somewhere in Southern California, back home from the USO tour of the Pacific, reports of a major scandal brewing in North Hollywood because, upon landing, he had rushed to kiss his maid before his wife Dolores and their children. It was in the maid's contract that she receive the first kiss. (He spells his wife's name, incidentally, "Delores", but the recent reports this week of Mrs. Hope's death at age 102 spell her name "Dolores". So, what does he know? They had only been married ten years at the time of his report.)

His sidekick Jerry Colonna was detained awhile in customs as they searched through his mustache for the presence of Japanese beetles—which is better than being a Beatle being searched by the Japanese for something else, we suppose.

The gophers, says Mr. Hope, had cleared the shrubbery. Whether next stop was Boston, he does not tell.

So accustomed to the jungle had he become that after arriving home, the children had given him a shower by pouring water over him while his wife prodded him with vines of poison ivy.

He recounts of the postage-stamp size of some of the islands, so small that the gophers had to take turns coming up. Whether there was an added islet with Mr. Colonna along, he does not impart.

He was showing his children a souvenir Japanese pistol he brought back with him and explaining the dangers of playing even with an unloaded gun, when the thing suddenly expended a shell and left a hole in one of his doors. A moth peeked through and asked whether he was on the wrong side of the war. At least it wasn't Mustardseed.

He recounts that the forced landing in Australian waters of his transport plane at one point of the trip by Lt. Ferguson had caused an eagle to follow one of his goose pimples for two miles while singing, "Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Baby?"

Yeah, but what did the Crosby Albatross do?

On the editorial page, "Two Miles" indicates that the Road to Berlin was for the first time shorter for the Allies by the distance of two miles, 310 to 312, than for the Russian forces before Warsaw, a vastly changed situation from that presented just two months earlier when American soldiers, still slugging through the hedgerows of Normandy, were heard to joke that the Allies would reach St. Lo and Caen by Christmas, in time to meet the Russians moving into Paris. Berlin was still 581 miles away from the position in Italy of the Eighth Army before Rimini.

"Turn About" advocates that war workers should have to shoulder the burden of transition to a peacetime economy for having benefited greatly from flush times. Priorities favored first the soldiers who had fought the war, then the farmer, then the industrialist who had to have the means for reconversion, and lastly the war worker. The piece opined that this ordering of priorities was likely shared by much of the population.

"Two Facts" lauds Burke Davis for his study of high school athletics in Charlotte, finding that the high school principals determined the extent to which each school stressed competitive athletics, and that the schools did not afford an intramural program for the students at large. The parents now understood the facts, thanks to Mr. Davis's efforts.

"Fishy Story" finds the Japanese Domei news agency account questionable when it contended that, while their Navy remained strong and ready to pounce on the American Navy, their air force had become weak. The editorial finds it typical Japanese propaganda, attempting futilely to lure the American fighting forces into a sense of complacency so that a trap might be sprung from which would pounce air strength held in reserve in the home islands. The piece reminds that as the Japanese home islands were approached, some of the hardest fighting lay ahead in the Pacific.

Drew Pearson reports that the War Department had completed its plans for the post-war occupation of Germany. It would be policed by roughly equal forces from the U.S., Great Britain, and the Soviet Union. Unlike at the end of World War I when, after the armistice, generals allowed their soldiers to throw down their arms and carouse at will, military discipline would be maintained at the end of this war.

There would, however, be opportunities provided for guided tours of Europe for the soldiers before they returned home. They would also be given the chance to study at leading institutions, such as Oxford, Cambridge, or the Sorbonne.

Mr. Pearson next relates of Undersecretary of State Edward Stettinius still being treated by State Department officials as callow youth, unable to comment with due discretion at press conferences and the like. Mr. Stettinius recently had stated that if the Dumbarton Oaks Conference were a completely American meeting, then there would not have been such a tight lid on press coverage. The State Department press relations chief then quickly added that the State Department was not trying to blame the British for censorship at the conference.

Within a little more than two months, Mr. Stettinius would become Secretary of State.

Finally, Mr. Pearson indicates that Allied leaders were now of the opinion that there was little chance of an internal revolt in Germany to Hitler, that all such attempts from within the military ranks had been thoroughly squelched since the July 20 plot had gone awry. The Socialist, Social Democratic, and Communists parties had all been eliminated and thus there was no likelihood of a people's revolt. The only vestige of hope lay in the millions of enslaved laborers brought into Germany from the occupied countries. But they were being treated much better now than previously, with an eye by the Germans of receiving some lenience post-war from the Allied war crimes tribunals. Some of the enforced laborers could even pay their way out of bondage and escape Germany completely by paying police officers off who were looking to accumulate some wealth for the post-war period.

Marquis Childs writes of the effort of the CIO PAC to register displaced war workers in the cities for the upcoming November election. The cities had varying deadlines for registration. Philadelphia's deadline had passed September 16 and when the figures were in on registration, it would act as a fair signal of how many likely voters would be turning out for the election. A high turnout was favorable to the President; a low turnout, favorable to Governor Dewey. In some cities, the effort to register was going better than in others, such as Detroit where the UAW was split on right-to-strike issues.

Samuel Grafton discusses the plan afoot in the country, favorably editorialized in Life, to eliminate the corporate income tax for the purpose of enabling supply-side economics, stimulating growth in industry and thereby creating more investment in infrastructure and jobs.

It was another side of the use of tax policy to accomplish social engineering, that to which the free marketeers had loudly objected when Roosevelt had sought to implement a special tax on undistributed corporate profits to encourage re-investment.

So, concludes Mr. Grafton, it was alright to engage in social engineering with tax laws when the result was to reduce taxes, but not so when the result was to increase taxes. But, lest the ordinary taxpayer forget, the policy must be maintained assiduously across the board with consistency, regardless of outcome, once employed to the advantage of the wealthy captains of industry, or it would simply be regarded as opportunistic greed.

Hal Boyle returns to the page for the first time since being hit by a police motorcycle during the Liberation Day parade in Paris on the Champs Elysee. He reports from Romorantin in France on September 16 of the last 20,000 Germans in the South surrendering behind their general. Some were resigned to their fate, looking forward to square meals again, while others felt that their general had sold them out. Many spoke of a future war in which Germany would be the victor, that the only reason the Allies had won was because of superior materiel.

The local farmers came out to stare at their former oppressors, gladdened by the spectacle of their forlorn expressions after four of years of mistreatment at their hands.

As they moved slowly in procession along the roads to the camp, some limping from the arduous journey by foot from as far away as the Spanish border, they paused to feign their best smile, at the suggestion of their general, for the photographer from the Philadelphia Inquirer.

One Nazi had summed the entire spectacle: "Kaput!"

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