Monday, September 25, 1944

The Charlotte News

Monday, September 25, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that two British and one American drives had pushed across the German border toward Kleve on the Siegfried Line. On the right flank, British airborne troops were fighting on a thirteen-mile front from Deurne east of Eindhoven to the vicinity of Volkel, sixteen miles from the German frontier.

American parachutists of the Second Army had taken the village of Beck on the Dutch border, three miles southeast of Nijmejen and eight miles northwest of Kleve. Beck was five or six miles from where the Second Army had entered the Reichswald, a dense forest six miles from Kleve at the Dutch border.

The British Second Army put more troops across the upper branch of the Rhine near Arnhem, attempting to free the "Lost Division", now dubbed the "Red Devils" for their red berets, the British airborne troops surrounded by enemy on the north bank of the river. At one point, the 8,000 to 9,000 troops had been pressed by the Germans into an area of only one square mile. The crossing of the upper Rhine was accomplished in the face of intense German artillery fire.

Canadians and British troops to the west of the drive to Arnhem advanced ten miles along a 30-mile front to the Antwerp-Turnhout Canal and entered Turnhout, 25 miles northeast of Antwerp.

German broadcasts indicated that new airborne troops had been dropped south of 'S Hertogenbosch, threatening to cut off Germans retreating in western Holland.

General Eisenhower's headquarters issued a statement urging the 1.2 million foreign workers inside the Reich to begin insurrection activities per pre-arranged plans, but to be wary of the Gestapo in the process. "The hour for action has come," said the spokesman.

Up to 2,000 American heavy bombers attacked Ludwigshafen, Coblenz, and Frankfurt, each supply cities for the Siegfried Line. Nine bombers and three fighters were lost in the raids, each hit by ground fire. No Luftwaffe fighters were encountered.

About 300 RAF bombers hit Calais with 1,120 tons of bombs.

In Italy, the Fifth Army had advanced to within twelve miles of the Bologna-Rimini highway, one of the ancient ways of the Roman Empire. General Mark Clark stated that it had taken nine days to destroy that which it took the Germans nine months to build along the Gothic Line.

Russian forces closed in on Riga in Latvia from the north and east. The German defenders still had a narrow escape route. The mopping up of Estonia was nearly complete.

To the south, the offensive drive on Hungary continued apace.

In the Pacific, the previous week's Japanese reports received Allied confirmation that carrier-borne bombers had struck again at Manila on Thursday for the second day in a row, destroying 200 enemy airplanes and 20 additional ships, damaging 20 more ships, and sinking or damaging 16 small craft. The Japanese reported additional attacks on Friday and Saturday. The forces had destroyed 968 enemy planes and sunk or damaged 140 ships since the beginning of bombing of the Philippines on September 8.

Admiral Nimitz indicated that the operations had forced the Japanese Navy to withdraw its forces from the former anchorages of the Philippines and had broken the air defenses of the islands.

From the Philippines came word that the Japanese were going to attempt to obtain the cooperation of the Filipinos to fight against the Americans at the point they would land in the islands. The Japanese puppet Government of the Philippines had already issued a declaration of war on the United States and Britain.

A news piece on the editorial page reports that the Ledo Road out of Eastern India was now open and could be placed into service to supply Chinese Armies, provided the Yunan feeder roads could be cleared of Japanese. The road had been under construction since December, 1942. It extended from the Ledo railhead through the jungles of northern Burma, joining roads into China's Yunan Province at Trunghka in Burma.

President Roosevelt's personal physician, Vice Admiral Ross McIntire, declared the President's health to be very good, that he had recovered from his bout of the flu which had weakened him through the winter following his return from Tehran and Cairo in December. Of course, in fact, the President only had six and two-thirds months left to live.

Bob "Join the Peace Corps" Hope, in his last communique after reporting of his Pacific USO trip during September, reports of his leaving for Toronto to entertain air force troops stationed there, leaving Albuquerque and its nice weather behind.

He tells of having met a Marine on Saipan who was going on leave for the first time after duty for eighteen months in the Pacific. Mr. Hope had asked him whether he was excited. He responded, "What do you think? I haven't slept in three nights, last night, tonight, or tomorrow night."

A good friend of Mr. Hope, a member of the Lakeside Golf Club in Hollywood, Private Dick Griffin, had just written to him saying that he was sending him a souvenir from Guadalcanal, the wing of one of the South Pacific mosquitoes—presumably the insect and not the RAF form.

The mosquitoes he had seen while there, says Mr. Hope, were so big that he saw one sitting on a runway in Guadalcanal, looking at a B-29, while singing, "Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby?"

Anyway, we say again to Mr. Hope, thanks for the memories. Keep up the good work. Semper Fi.

On the editorial page, "First Gun" comments on President Roosevelt's speech on Saturday night to the Teamsters in Washington, that it was a speech packed with salvos against the Republican attempts to discredit his performance in office, defeating any speculation that the President might rest on his laurels and sit at home during the campaign. While the public was so inured to his delivery and style, the speech was unlikely, despite its grabbing of fire from the impassioned Roosevelt of old, to greet voters with much encouragement to change their opinions.

But he had scotched the rhetoric of Governor Dewey, blunting his attacks on FDR for mishandling Labor during the war and for allegedly planning to maintain millions of American servicemen in the armed forces after the war to solve potential unemployment problems.

The piece mentions the light touch provided in the comment, residing long in the annals of political humor, about Fala being upset anent his having supposedly to be rescued by destroyer in the Aleutians at a cost to the taxpayers of millions of dollars.

Even while noting it, the piece may have underestimated the eventual impact of the comment. It may well have turned what might have been a close election into a moderate landslide for the President.

Yet, on the whole, the editorial credits the speech as likely to go down as one of his most masterful performances, even while lacking some of the drama of his earlier speeches delivered during history's tale-telling hours.

"...[W]e believe that he was never more the master, never more devastating in his dignity, than in his return of fire to the snipers."

Ye Fala?

"Benefactors" speaks of Frank Patton of Morganton, little known Republican candidate for governor, preparing to open his campaign in Salisbury. Though not having a chance to win, Mr. Patton, says the piece, was waging the good fight and benefiting thereby the quality of State Government by holding the Democrats accountable. Moreover, in so putting forth candidates for state office, the Republicans maintained a structure for providing Federal political patronage in the state when they would be returned to power in Washington.

Moreover, it was important to have some vestige of a two-party system to provide checks on the party in power. So, the piece concludes that, while not planning to endorse Mr. Patton, he had a right to run and be heard and was altruistically performing a public service in so doing.

"Fresh Start" comments on the Mecklenburg Grand Jury's complaint against prevailing conditions in the county's law enforcement, a report which had been filed away and forgotten. The report included old complaints, the haphazard investigation of murder cases and lack of proper preparation for court, a matter which the police chief had admitted while insuring that officers were properly trained in the investigation of crimes and that he was insisting upon their careful attention to such serious cases as murder.

But the piece asks why, if the chief knew of the deficiency, it had not been received more attention and rectified much earlier in time.

"Encore" finds the efforts of the Republicans to conduct an investigation prior to the election into the attack on Pearl Harbor to be not without some merit, even if plainly motivated by political considerations. It was, after all, a substantial part of the President's war record and, since he was running on that record, it was fair game for his performance at the time and in the months preceding the attack to be openly investigated and challenged within the public forum. There was no longer any national security issue with respect to the attack to keep matters out of the public eye.

Furthermore, General Walter Short and Admiral Husband Kimmel, the scapegoats for the unpreparedness in the attack, had the right finally to be heard and try to clear their names. That was so, notwithstanding a comment recently made by Senator Truman disparaging the two men.

But, concludes the piece, no one need be so naive as to expect any more from such an investigation than a majority report strongly favoring the President's actions and an equally disapproving minority report. For if the Republicans were truly being bi-partisan in their efforts, they would, with equal fervor, seek an investigation of the attack on the Philippines, occurring with seven hours notice of the attack at Pearl Harbor, yet still catching General MacArthur flat-footed. But General MacArthur was a darling to Republicans.

In fairness to General MacArthur's position in December, 1941, however, he had virtually no aircraft at his disposal, only a few outdated P-38's and some parts, and only a handful of ships. He could not, therefore, have mounted much of a defense of the islands under the best of conditions given the same equipment.

Drew Pearson first examines again the refusal of vice-chair of the War Production Board, William Batt, to resign his post at SKF ball bearings company in protest of the parent company in Sweden continuing to ship ball bearings to the Nazis, enabling them to maintain their manufacture of airplanes which they could not build but for Sweden's shipment of ball bearings.

Several long-time employees of the American affiliate of the company had resigned in just such protest despite the affiliate having nothing to do with the parent and having no control over the supply of ball bearings to Germany.

If Mr. Batt were to resign, speculates Mr. Pearson, it would adversely impact the prestige of SKF, for it valued Mr. Batt's presence on WPB to neutralize the bad press which SKF had received for its sustained trade with Germany. Thus far, however, Mr. Batt insisted, despite urging to do so by former WPB chair Donald Nelson, that he could not live only on a government salary, and so refused to sever his connection with the tainted company.

Mr. Pearson next imparts of former Texas Governor Jimmy Allred expressing his determination not to have the nephew of Secretary of Commerce Jesse Jones appointed chair of the Texas State Democratic convention, despite the request of sitting Governor Coke Stevenson. Mr. Jones's nephew had chaired the May convention which had elected a set of electors pledged not to vote for Roosevelt. The former Governor said that he was thus more inclined to lynch Mr. Jones's nephew.

Finally, he reports of Wendell Willkie being laid up in a New York hospital for nervous exhaustion, trying to stay away from representatives of both camps in the presidential election seeking to elicit his endorsement. Mr. Willkie, assures Mr. Pearson, was not suffering from any physical ailment.

Regardless of imputed motives for the hospital stay, it was genuinely caused by Mr. Willkie's failing physical health. He would die of a series of heart attacks within a month.

Marquis Childs tells of the division in Labor between the CIO and AFL and even within the CIO PAC. Governor Dewey was seeking to exploit these differences to try to take some of the Labor vote away from the President. But present polling indicated that 63% of AFL membership and 72% of CIO membership would vote for FDR.

In Massachusetts, the CIO PAC was endorsing Representative Leverett Saltonstall for governor, an astute move as he was as good as elected. But in Maine, the PAC had placed Labor candidates against Republicans regardless of electability.

Samuel Grafton writes openly to Germans, expressing his disdain for their war, but counseling that with all hope lost of winning, they should give up at long last to save themselves from annihilation. In seeking to stand firm before the Allied Armies encroaching on their borders, they were now obedient to the will, not of Hitler, but of the Allies. Heretofore, they could retreat strategically, as they had been doing for two years since Stalingrad and since North Africa, then Sicily and Italy, now France, Belgium, Holland, Greece and the Balkans. But the jig was up with retreat. There was nowhere left now to go.

Their back was to the home wall and, in that condition, they made suitable cannon fodder for the final battle, the final destruction of the German Wehrmacht which the Allies had sought, not territory. He invites them therefore to confront reality and lay down their arms, as had their fathers in 1918.

Dorothy Thompson discusses an article by Walter Lippmann in which he had taken issue with Ms. Thompson on the question of division of post-war Germany versus taking advantage of the good Germans who wanted democracy and placing them in governing positions. Mr. Lippmann agreed with her that it would be a daunting task to divide Germany into sectors governed by the U.S., British, and Soviets. But he saw an insufficient foundation for a fledgling democracy to thrive and so viewed the proposed division as the only alternative.

Ms. Thompson clarifies that she, unlike Mr. Lippmann's ascription to her, did not believe that it was the fault of the West that Germany had no underground movement, such as France and Poland. But the Western perception of Germany as not being conducive to fostering of a democratic underground movement had contributed to the absence of one.

The problem, she says, facing the German desirous of a democratic future for Germany was the inevitable conflict between destroying the Nazis and then having to watch his country suffer the punitive sanctions which would surely follow from the Allies, which would divide and thus destroy Germany as it had existed. She recommends that the way around this complex would be to avoid the division and thus instill in the German democrat a sense of renewed hope for a future Germany self-determined, free from Nazism and yet also free from occupation by the Allies.

A quote of the day, from a German press officer fleeing France before the liberation of Paris, indicated that the Germans would return, that Hitler's secret weapons included the "refrigerator bomb" and "bacteria bomb".

Perhaps, in terms of the refrigerator bomb, governed in some respects by Hitler from the grave, the nuclear missile age, the press officer knew not the prescience with which he spoke.

Framed Edition
[Return to Links-Page by Subject] [Return to Links-Page by Date] [Return to News<i><i><i>--</i></i></i>Framed Edition]
Links-Date -- Links-Subj.