Monday, SEPTEMBER 4, 1944

The Charlotte News

Monday, September 4, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Netherlands official news agency, ANETA, reported that the Allies had crossed five miles beyond the border into Holland after a three-day crossing of Belgium, which included the capture of Brussels and the entry to Antwerp, reaching Breda, 28 miles north of Antwerp and 25 miles south of Rotterdam. An unconfirmed report stated that the British had advanced beyond Brussels to Mechelen and Boom. It was confirmed that two flying British columns had left Brussels at dawn and moved 15 miles by noon, reaching points to within seven miles of the Dutch frontier.

The entry to Antwerp had produced a trap of all Nazis in western France and Belgium. The British had closed off the entire 200-mile area of the Channel coast from Antwerp to Abbeville.

Unofficial foreign reports stated that American armor of the Third Army had penetrated the frontiers of Germany at two places a hundred miles apart, at the junction of Luxembourg, France, and Germany, and at Aachen, just below the Dutch province of Limburg.

Bad weather prevented more than minimal air activity over the front the previous night and this day, following 5,000 Allied sorties flown on Sunday, including 1,700 against Brest. Other raids on Sunday included RAF attacks on Gilzerijen, Venlo Einnhoven, Volkei, Soesterberg, and Deelen in the Netherlands. American bombers hit synthetic oil facilities at Ludwigshafen in Germany, and targets in Belgium. Italian-based planes of the Fifteenth Air Force struck at Belgrade.

In the South of France, American troops of the Seventh Army moved into Bourg, 35 miles northeast of captured Lyon, pushing seven miles further to an engagement with rearguard German forces at Montreval. French troops moved along both sides of the Saone River and reached Villefranche.

A German soldier, seeking escape from Americans in Lyon, jumped into the Rhone River and began swimming downstream, the while being fired upon by French civilians. When last seen, he had swum two miles downstream before disappearing under a bridge.

In Italy, British and Canadian troops of the Eighth Army on the Adriatic front were moving through a twenty-mile gap in the Germans' Gothic Line to advance at some points twelve miles, approaching to within artillery range of Rimini. Polish troops were conducting mopping-up operations in Pesaro, extending their lines to Gradara, ten miles north of Pesaro.

On the western side of the front, the Fifth Army had cleared the last enemy retrenchments from the high ground above the lateral road from Pisa to Florence.

The Russians had established bridgeheads, according to unconfirmed German reports, across the Danube into Bulgarian territory. It was confirmed that the remaining Germans to the south of Bucharest had been forced across the Danube into Bulgaria, as the Second and Third Ukrainian Armies were poised along a 150-mile stretch of the Bulgarian border. Moscow announced the capture of Basvadu, 24 miles beyond Ploesti in Rumania, 135 miles from the Yugoslav border.

In Warsaw, the Polish Resistance in an unconfirmed report were said to be evacuating the city after a five-week siege, famished and undersupplied with ammunition. Their intent was to reassemble outside the capital. It had been reported by the London press that the Soviets refused the use of their bases for attempted Allied supply runs to the rebels. The Russians had reportedly disclaimed the uprising as one authorized by the Polish government-in-exile in London without prior coordination with the Red Army.

President Mannerheim of Finland announced that the commander-in-chief of the Finnish Army had ordered a cease-fire with the Russians for the first time in the war since shortly after the Germans had entered Russia on June 22, 1941. The Soviet news agency Tass announced that Finland was quitting the war, that it had broken diplomatic relations with Germany, and that all German troops, estimated at seven divisions, would be out of the country by September 15, those failing to evacuate to be taken as prisoners.

General MacArthur reported from the Pacific that virtually all Japanese planes at Davao on Mindanao in the Philippines had been destroyed or had been evacuated to airdromes further north. Heavy bombers had flown raids two successive days against Davao without loss. Lightning fighter planes accompanying them encountered only three enemy fighters.

Other missions struck the Talaud Islands below Mindanao and at Celebes and Halmahera. Still other bombers hit Ceram Timor in southern Dutch New Guinea and at Palau.

Tokyo radio meanwhile broadcast warning to the Philippines that it appeared a combined air and naval operation with the Seventh Naval Fleet under Vice Admiral Thomas Kinkaid was soon to begin against Mindanao as well as against Formosa.

Tokyo had also broadcast news of a raid at Chichi Jima in the Bonin Islands, the fateful raid in which future President George H. W. Bush nearly lost his life at age 20. There was as yet, however, per the standard procedure of insuring first that all planes had returned from each mission or been counted as lost, no confirmation of this raid from the headquarters of Admiral Nimitz.

President Roosevelt authorized Secretary of Interior Harold Ickes to seize ten of 70 bituminous coal mines owned by four companies in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, and Kentucky, each of which had been beset by strikes.

Maurice Chevalier's manager reported that his client was likely still alive and that the premature statements that he was dead at the hands of the Maquis probably stemmed from the fact that the Resistance had killed a small town mayor of the same name. Max Ruppa, the manager, proclaimed that M. Chevalier was in fact a French patriot and the Maquis would have had no reason to kill him.

A map on the inside page provides a report of the week's progress in the war.

In Norton, Kansas, 37 soldiers and three trainmen were injured, only two of whom seriously, in a head-on collision of a troop train with a Rock Island freight train on the Rock Island main line between Denver and Chicago. Charles Peterson, the engineer, and Harry Long, the fireman, both of Goodland, Kansas, were the two critically injured persons. Two soldiers were burned by battery acid. Two baggage cars and a Pullman were derailed from the troop train while two freight cars of the Rock Island train were derailed and burned.

Bob Hope reports of the amazing tenacity of the soldiers holding down the forts in the various Pacific islands he and his entourage of entertainers were visiting. On Eniwetok, for instance, the soldiers had baked a cake large enough for Mr. Crosby's birthday candles. They had improvised washing machine apparati with American ingenuity, hand-made windmills which propelled long sticks agitating the clothes inside oil drums.

Scenery offered up variety: the soldiers never saw the same lizard more than twice during the same day.

On one island, they arrived in the afternoon to find soldiers who had been waiting for the show for over eight hours since early morning. Despite the wait, they feted their guests with lush cuisine which included turtle soup, sherry to cleanse the palate, filet mignon, green peas, salad, rice, and, to finish it off, ice cream, cake, and coffee. Mr. Hope then realized that the Allies were winning the war.

The troops, he hastily adds, did not eat so well all the time, that eggs were a luxury, usually powdered. The soldiers had made request that Dorothy Lamour and Lana Turner be powdered and made likewise available in ersatz form. He concludes, "It's a thought."

By 1953, someone in Chicago would oblige. Whether it included birthday cake for Mr. Crosby, we would not know.

If you're a lady, put on some rouge to hide your blush, and stop judging things you cannot possibly comprehend.

If you're a man, you probably understand.

On the editorial page, "Labor Day" voices general support for organized labor in its effort to make gains, stressing that it would have as a whole the support of the American people as long as it maintained fairness in its demands and followed democratic and not alien principles.

"Peace Army" finds most Americans supportive of General Marshall's call for a peacetime Army. The plan was for a small skeletal professional force to be supplemented by reserves. It would eliminate the peril of being caught, as at the time of Pearl Harbor, without an adequately trained Army in place to meet the immediate exigencies of war.

A model for this fighting force in readiness was that of Switzerland which had a reserve force in place based on three months of training per year. So successful was the program that every Swiss citizen had their own rifle issued permanently by the Government.

"A Slip" discusses a leaked report that the Republican National Committee was sending to the Governors canned speeches to give in support of Governor Dewey, charging the President with being in league with the CIO and the Communists. Not all the Governors, such as Governor Earl Warren of California, had been willing to utter the speeches verbatim, Governor Warren toning down the contentions of CIO and Communist connections.

The primary problem now was that the people would tend not to listen to the speeches of Republican surrogates stumping for Governor Dewey with as much rapt attention, now that they were aware that they were not necessarily hearing oratory expressive of the speakers' own views but rather only those provided by the puppeteer, the NRC.

"Third War" indicates that many observers thought it remote that the Nazis were planning a third world war, as their empire crumbled in the waning months of the second. The concept of Nazism being able to creep underground and await another day for resurgence, thought these observers, was an absurdity.

But, the piece warns, the fanaticism of the Nazi cause was such that it was not so fantastical as these critics suggested. They had failed to take into account the Mad Colonel of St. Malo, for instance, who withstood, until his troops were starving, the hopelessly lost cause of defending the fortress on the north coast of Brittany against the artillery shelling of the Allies. They overlooked the French collaborationists who sniped at the celebrating Parisians for several days after the Allies entered Paris. They overlooked the determined Nazi soldier who continued the desperate fight despite being surrounded.

The piece follows the instruction of Dorothy Thompson, that the war in France resembled a revolutionary struggle, as much between French forces as between the Allies and the Germans. That fact alone gave harbinger to an unending war in Europe between incompatible forces of the same country, operating as guerrillas, those favoring a democratic republic against the fascists.

It implied the prospect of a like struggle ongoing for many years hence within Germany as well. It cites the words of the Nazi commandant abandoning Brussels, that one day the Germans would return, and, in the meantime, would be watching the Belgians, would never give up their "principles".

As long as these fascist movements continued to hold out hope of new leadership down the line, there was definite threat of World War III.

The only conclusion to be reached, says the editorial, was to adopt a policy of obliteration.

Marquis Childs reviews the decision by the President to allow to proceed five of 33 Federal lawsuits against the railroads, previously halted by the War Department for their potential bad effect on the war effort. The lawsuits were directed against the Western railroads for supposed anti-trust violations in forming agreements without prior approval by the Interstate Commerce Commission as required by law.

The lawsuits had been held up for a year, making their sudden approval appear as a political move designed to appeal to the South with regard to its contentions of discriminatory freight rates. But the lawsuits did not, per se, have to do with the elimination of those discrepancies.

The Democrats meanwhile had discovered a statement by Governor Dewey from March, 1943 in which he had protested any change in the structure of the freight rates because New York had already felt the pinch from newly developed Southern industries with cheaper labor, drawing off industries from New York. The statement was going to be used against him in the campaign to show his favoring retention of the status quo in that controversial area.

A woman from Lumberton writes that President Roosevelt had been in office long enough and instead should be allowed to have Sidney Hillman of the CIO and the Russians rule him, for that was what he had been doing anyway. "It seems that he wants to be President as long as he lives," says she.

He had squandered the U. S. Treasury before the start of the war and now wanted the people to give it back. She did not like taxes or the regimentation of the ration book and believed that those devilish devices from the demiurgic deeps would be with the country so long as FDR was retained in office. The New Deal was with the CIO, with neither party. The settlers of America came to the continent to be rid of one-man rule.

Her vote, surprisingly enough, was to be for Governor Dewey.

In contrast, two other letter writers express their opinions in favor of the President.

Drew Pearson tells of AFL's William Green having difficulty convincing the rank-and-file union members of AFL unions to go along with his urging the endorsement of such rabid isolationists as Senator Pat McCarran of Nevada and Representative Stephen Day of Illinois, the latter having sent a telegram congratulating Hitler in 1933 when he became Chancellor of Germany, as well having had a book published by the Nazi-controlled Flanders Hall. In Nevada, the union members had booed the notion that Senator McCarran had during his long tenure been a friend to labor.

Mr. Pearson next tells of the President getting ready to announce a five percent rise in wages from the Little Steel formula which had kept wages frozen at September, 1942 levels, and had been a constant target of CIO, their pointing to the fact that the Bureau of Labor Statistics had reported a 25% increase in the cost of living during the war.

The Republicans, despite their platform's opposition to the freezing of wages, would likely try to assail the move as eve-of-election politics on the part of the White House and would further contend that the President lacked unilateral authority, without Congressional approval, to make the increase. But Senator Taft had made a speech during debate on the Smith-Connally Act that the President could change the Little Steel formula at will.

The proudest men of the Army, says Mr. Pearson, were the paratroops, whose boots were symbolic of their risky undertaking. Recently, however, as they queued up to receive their boots, they were told that the supply was depleted, and so were provided instead regular combat boots, the buckles of which had to be taped down to prevent snagging in the lines.

The reason for the short supply was that unauthorized personnel, including officers, were buying up the boots of the paratroops to appear, without the concomitant risk, as one of the proud and brave of this unit--charged with the dangerous job of taking to the skies and jumping into enemy fire behind enemy lines, without the means of being able immediately to fire back, and usually without ground cover.

A sad news piece on the page reports of two young children of a soldier at Leavenworth, Kansas, ages 7 and 6, brother and sister, having unfortunately found, to their mutual tragedy, a cigarette lighter, treating it as a toy. The sister lost her life, and the brother wound up seriously burned.

The lighter would not light. So they dipped it in a can of paint thinner, then flicked it, whereupon it exploded in flame, at which point the sister threw it into the can of paint thinner which then exploded, catching the clothes of both on fire, resulting in the sister's death. Tommy, the brother, was getting better, but had not yet been informed of his sister's fate.

Quote of the Day: "Transportation people are prepared to embark upon this new medium—the helicopter—and live with it through the experimental phases, such as the air transportation interests did through the twenties and thirties." –Agnew E. Larsen, president of Rota Wings, Inc.

Hal Boyle reports that a French mother, her 22-year old daughter and 14-year old son, had crossed the Loire River via bicycle and pedaled 12.25 miles to thank American troops for liberating Orleans, Joan of Arc's home town. It was one of the most memorable welcomes the troops had received in France.

T-3 Howard Irwin of Pasadena, home of the Rose Bowl, came to France as an interpreter but was quickly put to the task of being a chef when his culinary talents were discovered by his fellow troops. His specialties were onion soup and rabbit.

Two pet rabbits, one named Doc, the other Oswald, had to be sacrificed for a nice rabbit stew. Some of the men got a lump in their throats when Doc and Oswald hit the stove, having been jolly good friends with the soldiers. Nevertheless, once they had a taste of cooked Doc and Oswald, their buds were whetted and they asked for second helpings.

We once had rabbit, back in the fifties. A bit stringy. But we did not know its name.

American armor moved at such a fast pace in the area of Orleans that enemy aircraft could not keep up with its progress. One Luftwaffe pilot, not realizing his landing strip had been taken during flight, tried to land, right into the face of 50-caliber anti-aircraft guns. He never knew what hit him.

Corporal Don Cass of Waterloo, Iowa, had great respect for the Maquis. One of the American squads had three Germans cornered in a house when a carload of six Maquis rode up, promptly went into the house, brought out the three Germans.

The French children had learned to yell, "Got a franc, Yank?" borrowing from the rhyming requests of their compadres across the Channel who had coined the expressions, of which the French youngsters had apparently been informed through the cross-Channel network, "Got any gum, chum?" and "Got any candy handy?"

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