Saturday, September 23, 1944

The Charlotte News

Saturday, September 23, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that American paratroops and British armor had reached the south bank of the Neder Rhine, the branch running through Holland, and that the two forces had joined in an effort to free the "Lost Division" of British paratroops surrounded on the other side of the Rhine near Arnhem.

Stanley Maxted reported from inside the trapped pocket, indicating the fierce determination being shown by the airborne troops on their sixth day of being in the trap. They had captured 943 German prisoners just on Thursday. They were being bombarded from all sides and the sound finally of the artillery of the British Second Army had been a welcome one.

The Germans were fiercely fighting all along the Rhine from Holland to France and were feverishly building up their defenses east of the Rhine in anticipation of collapse of the West Wall. They were mining the bridges and ferries as German troops were being issued new arms when they reached the Rhine, replacing those lost during their furious retreat through France and Belgium. Police units were being used for defense as well.

Wes Gallagher, with the Third Army, reports that the Germans had now stiffened their backs with shorter supply lines and fighting in familiar home territory, defending now their own homes. They intended to do to the Allies what the Russians had done to them beginning with the Stalingrad counter-offensive of November, 1942. They were utilizing every house and natural barrier to resist the Allied push across their western border. While aware that the war was lost, the German soldiers fought on determinedly, convinced by Hitler that there was no other way, that unconditional surrender would mean annihilation in any event.

During the previous week, he reports, the Third Army had been attacking an estimated 2,000 Germans in a wood west of Nancy in some of the heaviest small-scale fighting of the war.

In Italy, the Fifth Army had widened the gap it had forged through the Gothic Line by taking Monte Citerna and Monte Tronale, west of captured Firenzuola, placing the forces at Futa Pass, strategic way to Bologna, 29 miles to the north.

Brazilian troops on the West Coast continued their advance from captured Piet Pasanta toward La Spezia, 23 miles distant.

The Eighth Army drove northwest on the Adriatic front from captured Rimini, moving also in the direction of Bologna. Other Eighth Army units advanced north toward Ravenna, 35 miles north of Rimini and 45 miles east of Bologna. The bridgehead across the Mareccchio River had been widened to three miles and extended to a depth of two miles.

Russian troops had captured Tallinn, the capital and chief port of Estonia on the Baltic, enabling the Red Fleet to make their first combat cruise in the Baltic since 1941.

Other Soviet forces battled within the outskirts of Riga in Latvia.

To the south, the Red Army began its campaign to capture Budapest, moving to within 29 miles of Szeged.

In the Pacific, Tokyo radio continued its chatter about the air raids on Manila of Wednesday and, it contended, Thursday, though no Allied confirmation had yet been made of a Thursday raid.

The battle on the west coast of Peleliu continued to rage for the fourth successive day as the First Marines Division was stalled by the Japanese defenders at a point which the Marines had dubbed "Bloody Nose Ridge". The east coast of the island was already in American possession.

On Morotai, Private Joe Atello had fallen 3,000 feet after his parachute failed to deploy but escaped serious injury. He was part of a crew which had been ordered to bail out when his Liberator developed engine trouble. Tree tops had broken his fall. He lost consciousness before falling into them, which medics theorized had enabled his body to relax and likely saved his life.

The private was afraid, he said, to open his eyes for fear that he might see angels.

His first words, however, after regaining consciousness were not: "Thank God I'm alive," but rather: "The goddamn Air Corps. I should have stayed in the Medics." Private Atello hailed from, where else? the Bronx.

Bob Hope, in his penultimate communique, tells of his delight in being back in Hollywood, with the Brown Derby to nurture his culinary desires.

He was getting ready to take a domestic tour of military camps, starting with a Marine camp in the Mojave Desert, then to an air force base in Toronto, then to Fort Sheridan, near Chicago, and finally to Topeka. It was the only way a civilian, he says, could obtain chewing gum.

Skinny Funtz had returned to the troupe after a long hitch in the Army, aided by siphoning blood.

Sinatra had move into new digs, renting a larger incubator. Sinatra, says Mr. Hope, was Crosby dehydrated.

On the editorial page, "Open Hands" reports of the intention of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration to provide fifty million dollars in aid to Italy. Europe had been opposed to the move, mainly initiated by the United States. The Allies were now onboard but some, such as Norway, wanted assurances that scarce commodities would not be provided to Italians.

The editorial expresses general support for the UNRRA but does so with reservations when it came to providing aid to former enemies. It suggests that doing so would eventually create disillusion.

"A Critic" finds Sidney Hillman criticizing Governor Dewey for various inconsistencies in his campaign rhetoric and indicating that he was too young to recall the Hoover Depression, that his promise to appoint a Secretary of Labor sympathetic with labor did not accord with his practice as Governor where he named a non-union man, and that he had not formally repudiated the debacle of the Harding-Coolidge-Hoover years while stating his support for New Deal programs.

The editorial finds Mr. Hillman's commentary lacklustre and insubstantial, hardly befitting a reputed Communist.

"Sneak Peace" offers that the Russians' pre-fabricated armistice plans, quickly put in place with respect to Rumania and Finland, were removing much of the post-war peace table uncertainty and haggling, settling the border issues without much of a fight. The United States and Great Britain were aboard on these armistice terms and so they would become the permanent arrangements.

When the shooting finally would stop, only Germany and Japan likely would remain unresolved as to how they would be treated post-war. Thus whether the peace would be hard or soft appeared gradually becoming a moot issue.

"Odyssey" honors the single-crew task force led by Winston-Salem native Commander Norman (Buzz) Miller, Navy bomber pilot, who, with his crew, during an eight-month period in the Central and Western Pacific had logged more than 500 hours of combat time, establishing a record, accomplished repeated bombings of the Marshall and Bonin Islands, conducted seven solo raids on Truk, and sunk twenty Japanese ships, damaging 46 more.

"The Seer" reports on the House committee investigation into campaign finance expenditures of Earl Browder, head of the Communist Political Association. Representative Brown of Ohio had become so intrigued by the difference between Fascism and Communism that the session had turned into an ideological discussion.

Mr. Bowder had informed the committee that China's war effort was going downhill until the Communists in China were recognized as the strongest force against Japan, that Communism sprouted wherever liberated peoples were freed from the yoke of Fascism, and that Communists were about equally divided in their political efforts between CIO's PAC, AFL, Democrats and Republicans.

The piece remarks that the committee, no doubt, had been unprepared for such elucidation of Communism.

Samuel Grafton discusses the George bill which had sought to provide travel allowances for war workers returning to their homes during reconversion. The House had rejected it, along with the companion proposal to provide unemployment insurance to displaced war workers employed by the government. There was no sense to this rejection, argues Mr. Grafton, as it would only impede reassimilation into the peacetime economy of these workers and retard their ability to contribute to the post-war economy, necessary for the industrial boom created by the war to continue afterward.

The workers in private industry with war contracts would not fare much better, as they would be reliant upon inadequate state unemployment insurance to tide them through the period of reconversion.

Marquis Childs looks at the proposal of Paul Hoffman, president of Studebaker, for insuring jobs after the war. As chair of the Committee for Economic Development, he was asking tough questions as to how full employment would be sustained in peacetime.

The central theme being promoted was that, with labor, industry, and government working in concert, there would be needed huge peacetime expansion, well beyond the pre-war economy. At Studebaler, they were planning, said Mr. Hoffman, to employ twice as many people as in 1940 and to turn out twice as many cars per day.

Some of the adherents to the free market philosophy of Adam Smith would hear none of it, believed that the free market was sacrosanct and not to be tampered with by deliberate expansion. But, said Mr. Hoffman in response, Adam Smith was dead.

Dorothy Thompson comments on the fact that, with the exception of Hungary, all of Germany's satellites were knocked from the war. It was yet unclear what the conditions to be imposed on Bulgaria and Finland would be. Treatment of Rumania was the example by which the likely armistices with the other countries would be informed.

The Soviets had published the terms of the Rumanaian armistice. They included the loss of Bessarabia and part of Bukovina to Russia. They would pay reparations in the sum of 300 million dollars within a period of six years through in-kind trade. Despite the loss of territory, Rumania would remain larger than at the beginning of World War I, would keep most of Transylvania which the Nazis had ripped from it. The remainder would remain with Hungary.

In addition, Rumania was to place all of its resources at Allied disposal. It had also to rid itself of all vestiges of Fascism and free all political prisoners who were anti-Fascists or pro-Allied. It was futhermore required to provide food, clothing, and medical supplies to refugees interned in Rumania by the Fascist regime. It also could not treat German and Austrian Jews as enemy aliens, regardless of citizenship, a first among the Allies.

The publication of these terms a mere three weeks after they were subscribed was in dramatic contrast to the armistice with Italy, now a year old but still unpublished. The fair inference to draw from this fact was that the terms were strict.

The Soviet policy of making the terms public so that the Allies and the people subject to the terms could know what was required of them made much better sense, says Ms. Thompson, than the American-British policy of secrecy.

Drew Pearson speaks of the official opening of the President's fall campaign and that he was less confident of winning than in 1940. He had recently confided to a White House visitor that they would know when the Democrats were winning the campaign. Wall Street power brokers would begin to contribute to the Roosevelt coffers.

The President was most concerned about the Dewey attack on FDR's handling of labor during the war, on his delayed plan for discharge of men in service, and the attack on Sidney Hillman and the CIO PAC and the Republican attempts to associate it with the President. The latter attack was having an adverse impact on FDR's support among farmers.

His advisers had counseled that he stress domestic issues as well as the war and reaffirm the New Deal as viable after the war. The President was basically in agreement that, once the war was won, "Dr. New Deal", buried officially the previous December after the President's return from the Tehran and Cairo conferences, would be resurrected.

But he was unconvinced of the necessity, as also counseled by his advisers, of a cross-country trip to the West Coast.

The President this night spoke to the Teamsters in Washington, in his kickoff speech of the campaign, a speech long remembered for its reference to the ruffled Scotch temperament of Fala, in light of the contention by Republicans, in and out of Congress, that several million dollars had been expended for a destroyer to return to the Aleutians during the President's July-August Pacific trip to pick up Fala, inadvertently left behind. Fala did not like it, said the President. And neither would the President tolerate the Republicans picking on his dog that way.

The speech, in its entirety, may be read and heard here.

Mr. Pearson concludes by including a censored stanza of a poem recited by Pennsylvania Senator Joe Guffey in honor of deceased former Senator George Norris of Nebraska. The censored verse had an odd rhythm and rhyme to it, especially in the last lines. You may read it for yourself and determine what the poet, John Beecher, had in mind as to his negative impressions conveyed of the new Senator from Nebraska, the undertaker Kenneth Wherry. But we think it probably had something to do with a "ten-dollar cheap store".

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