Wednesday, SEPTEMBER 6, 1944

The Charlotte News

Wednesday, September 6, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page and inside page provide a special report from Edward Kennedy of the Associated Press regarding the murder by the Nazis of virtually the entire population of a French village, Oradour-sur-Glane, near Limoges, on June 10. Reminiscent of the June, 1942 atrocity at Lidice in Czechoslovakia in retaliation for the killing of Gestapo leader Reinhard Heydrich, the people of the village had been rounded up and placed in a church and houses. The number of people, originally reported as 800, but in fact varying between 1,200 and 1,500, was not precisely known. The Nazi SS then set the buildings ablaze with all locked inside. Only seventeen persons escaped, ten of whom were presently confined to an asylum.

The remaining seven provided the account of what happened to the chief of the FFI forces in the area who in turn gave the details to Mr. Kennedy. He also spoke with farmers living just outside the village, one of whom had lost twelve members of his family. The farmer had been unable to help the villagers for the wall of machinegun fire from the Nazis.

The SS first appeared in the village, having blocked all means of egress and ingress. German soldiers then entered the town and ordered all women and children into the church and all men into certain houses and locked the doors. The people of the town at first were unconcerned, thinking that the Germans were searching for Maquis. There were some 600 women and children in the church, with the remainder being squeezed into an adjacent schoolhouse.

The soldiers then opened fire on the crowded inhabitants of the church and houses, mounting ladders to fire through the windows of the church. The Nazis then hurled phosphorous grenades into the buildings and the whole village was soon engulfed in flames.

The SS moved to the outskirts of the town, mowing down some of the men who had battered their way out of the burning houses.

Bloodstains still remained on the walls of the charred remains of the church and houses when Mr. Kennedy viewed them. The bodies had been removed and buried in common graves. The collection of the heat at the higher reaches of the church had melted crucifixes which spilled in rivulets along the floor. Statues in vestibules along the walls remained intact but were charred.

The farmer to whom Mr. Kennedy spoke, Pierre Milord, who lost a dozen of his family, stated that there had been no reason for the action by the Nazis, that foreign press accounts which stated that it was in reprisal for the killing of four German officers by the Resistance were incorrect. There had been no activity of the Maquis in the area. The order to burn the village had been given by a Gestapo general in plain clothes, not by the local SS commandant.

Mr. Kennedy concludes that the most plausible reason for the action was the disarray in communications of the Germans in the immediate wake of D-Day, and that the action was either simply in desperation or the result of some rumor which had arisen that German officers had been killed in the area.

In current news, the four-day blackout of news from the Third Army was lifted with a statement that its forces had crossed the Moselle River, midway between Metz and Nancy, forty miles from the German frontier, in preparation for an attack on the Siegfried Line. Third Army patrols were within four miles of Metz after breaking through stubborn German defense positions. General Eisenhower declared in a broadcast that the battle for Germany was about to begin and that battles on German soil would soon be fought. He instructed all workers in the Reich to flee into hiding in the rural areas to await the approach of the Allied Armies and, if unable to do so, to undertake whatever actions they could to prevent destruction by the Germans of facilities needed by the Allies.

Supreme Allied Headquarters indicated that the penetration of German frontiers by forward forces stretched about 25 to 30 miles ahead of the main contingents and that the first entry by parts of the Third Army into Germany had occurred Sunday.

There was still no confirmation of reports that American troops had moved into Luxembourg and eastward toward the Rhine or that they had, as unconfirmed French reports had it, captured Aachen and Saarbrucken in Germany and reached Strasbourg, but there was also no denial from Headquarters of these reports. The furthest point toward the Saar frontier confirmed by Headquarters was eighteen miles northeast of Verdun, 45 miles from Saarbrucken.

It was estimated that the British Second Army had trapped 50,000 Germans in the Pas-de-Calais pocket on the French coast, now described as "Hell's Corner", 5,000 of the trapped forces being in Boulogne and another 5,000 at Le Havre. Canadian troops had broken through to the Strait of Dover on both sides of Calais while other units approached to within a mile of Boulogne. Polish contingents moved into the outskirts of St. Omer, 28 miles east of Boulogne.

The British were said by Headquarters to be driving somewhere in the Netherlands, but no precise details were provided. Paris radio had reported the approach on Rotterdam, 50 miles north of captured Antwerp in Belgium.

The Dutch government-in-exile, in London for the previous four years, had taken its leave of Britain in anticipation of being able soon to resume its rightful place in Holland. Queen Wilhelmina was expected soon to name a new government.

The British had also pressed toward the southern outskirts of Gent, the largest Belgian city still in Nazi possession.

The U. S. First Army was confirmed to have captured Namur in Belgium, located at the confluence of the Meuse and Sambre Rivers, and crossed the Meuse at Givent against only slight opposition, moving on toward Liege.

Swiss radio reported that the U. S. Seventh Army of General Alexander Patch had linked with the Third Army somewhere in central France, not stating a precise location. The Third Army itself the day before had indicated that there was but 80 miles separating the two armies.

Lt. General Kurt Dittmar, German propaganda spokesman, stated that the strategic balance along the Western front would soon be righted with the shortening of supply lines and consolidation of scattered forces to a concentrated point on the front, that the Germans were not lying down.

Some 750 American bombers from Italy struck targets in support of the Russians along the Danube north of the boundary of Bulgaria, as well as targets in the area of Belgrade, and railyards 125 miles southeast of Budapest, while a smaller force supported the siege troops striking Brest in Brittany.

The previous night, RAF Mosquitos attacked Hannover in Germany, while other RAF forces supported the Second Army front in Holland, as well as striking at Brest.

In the South of France, the French were approaching Dijon, capital of Burgundy, after taking Chalon-sur-Saone, a strategic crossroads, without opposition. The French had also captured Cluny, famed for its lace, (as was Chantilly), Senneccey-Le-Grand, and Le Villars. American troops of the Seventh Army occupied St. Germain-du-Plain, between Chalon and the Swiss border. Latest reports were that the Germans were fleeing toward Dijon, 90 miles southwest of Belfort, the German escape route into southwest Germany. Unconfirmed reports indicated that Free French and American forces were fighting against the Germans at a point 30 miles southwest of Belfort at the last substantially fortified position prior to the Belfort Gap leading into Germany.

The Germans reported that Field Marshal General Johannes Blaskowitz had removed the bulk of the 19th Army from Southern France, leaving only rearguard forces in the Riviera to defend against the Allied push toward Northern Italy. Allied reports were that 65,000 of the German 19th had been captured.

The Russians had pushed across the Narew River north of Warsaw, striking toward East Prussia, capturing Ostroleka, 60 miles northeast of Warsaw, on the east bank of the river, 26 miles south of East Prussia. The move placed the Russians within 312 miles of Berlin, the closest approach of any Allied army to the German capital.

To the south, the Second Ukrainian Army had advanced in Rumania to within 50 miles of Yugoslavia, less than 55 miles from the Iron Gate where the Danube cuts through the Alps of Transylvania. The Germans were said to be offering considerable resistance in the area north and northwest of captured Pitesti. But, it was thought, by following the Crajova-Timipara railway, the Red Army would likely be able to bypass the enemy in the Carpathians and strike directly toward Budapest. The object was to cut off thousands of retreating Germans from the Aegean Islands, Greece, Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Hercegovina, and Bosnia.

German reports indicated that Soviet forces had invaded Bulgaria across the Danube, but the Soviet communiques did not confirm the statement. There appeared now little, if any, active resistance to the Russian approach to Bulgaria.

Bulgaria was reported to have appealed to Russia for an armistice within hours of the declaration of war by Moscow on the Balkan country for its continued insistence on neutrality in the war despite its having supported Germany during the previous three years. No reaction yet had come from the Allies.

General MacArthur announced that 37 more Japanese ships, including thirteen troop transports filled with troops, had been destroyed south of the Philippines in raids Sunday and Monday on Dutch Celebes, Halmahera, and Mindanao.

The submarine Robalo, under the command of Lt. Commander Manning Kimmel, son of Rear Admiral Husband Kimmel, was reported overdue and presumed to be lost. Commander Kimmel had been the recipient of the Silver Star for his part in sinking Japanese shipping.

Bishop James Cannon, Methodist churchman of Richmond, Va., and nationally known as a leader of the dry forces during prohibition, had died in Chicago of a cerebral hemorrhage after a heart attack the previous week. He was in Chicago for a meeting of the Anti-Saloon League.

Bishop Cannon had played a prominent role in the 1928 presidential campaign, leading the anti-Smith forces among the Democrats, based on his strong support of continued Prohibition. In that role, he had been a target of one of W. J. Cash's biting editorials at the Cleveland Press out of Shelby during the fall of 1928, albeit one more pointedly aimed at Bishop Mouzon of the same point of view. An editorial in July, 1939 had likewise found Bishop Cannon to be beating a dead horse. Senator Carter Glass of Virginia had described Bishop Cannon as the "Methodist Pope" and accused him of opposing Governor Al Smith for the presidency because of his Catholicism. Bishop Cannon countered such charges with the assertion that he opposed the candidacy because of his dedicated resolve to maintain Prohibition and that the Democrats were in partnership with the liquor interests--hearkening back to the Grover Cleveland era when the cry set up by the Republicans in 1884 against the Democrats had been "Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion".

Indicative of the times, Mrs. Roosevelt wrote an Alabama housewife to clarify what she deemed was a misunderstood position held by her and FDR, that she had never advocated "any social equality whatsoever" between the races. She further stated that she was not aware of any black leaders who advocated such a position. "In this country we are completely free to choose our companions and no one has any right to interfere."

"However," she added, "in a democracy we cannot have 12,000,000 people who are denied their rights as citizens." She asserted that African-Americans must be afforded the rights to equal opportunity for employment based on ability and at equal pay for the same work, equal opportunity for education, for justice, and to vote.

Thus, Mrs. Roosevelt was, in her disclaimer, speaking to the idea of compulsory integration on a purely social level, not "social equality" in terms of voting rights and the other panoply of rights guaranteed by the Constitution to all citizens and warranted against government intrusion.

She extended her reasoning to the world stage, that after the war, in order to preserve peace, the nations would have to cooperate with all peoples of all races. Thus, she asked her correspondent the question, "[I]f we are not fair and just to the colored people who live in our midst and are citizens, how can we expect other countries to trust us and believe in our good faith?"

She indicated that her grandmother had come from Georgia and that she had lived for a time in Georgia and Florida, and so, she believed, had an understanding of the South and its racial issues.

The letter was in response to an invitation to the First Lady to visit Evergreen, Ala., and view the racial problems firsthand, an invitation which Mrs. Roosevelt stated she would have to decline because of scheduling conflicts. The text of the letter is reprinted on the front and inside pages.

Despite electricity still being absent in Paris, theater owners were planning to resume operation Saturday provided there was no rain. They had ingeniously arranged mirrors to reflect light through the bombed-out roofs of the theaters, presumably directing it through the projector lens onto the screen. The film projector was presumably hand-cranked, or worked on spring action. Get ready for some rather jerky and intermittent onscreen movement, perhaps.

The famous cat, Buster, to whom lawyer Woodbury Rand of Brookline, Mass., had left $100,000 for his care and maintenance by Mr. Rand's housekeeper, to the exclusion of Mr. Rand's children and family, was said probably to be in need of some of his nine lives in order to endure the Timekeeper on the present one, given that cousins of Mr. Rand had filed objections to the Will in probate, such that legal proceedings pursuant thereto might very well extend to the Crack of Doom for Buster.

Bob Hope tells of fretfully leaving behind the Liberator "Seventh Heaven" which had transported his troupe through the Central Pacific. It had bunks, an icebox, and an accommodating crew. They were now headed in another Liberator to Guadalcanal.

Before departing the Marshalls, his sidekick Jerry Colonna had a tooth pulled. He would do anything for entertainment, said Mr. Hope. Whether that included a trip to Tuscaloosa, he did not relate. Only a jungle dentist could penetrate the foliage over Mr. Colonna's mouth.

The crew signed a lot of short snorters for the men in uniform and then took off.

When they arrived on Guadalcanal, they were greeted by a former actor's agent, now in service. He informed Mr. Hope of a former actor who had captured ten Japanese soldiers. He had to send Mr. Hope back to the William Morris Agency to collect the soldier-actor's ten percent.

The roads of Guadalcanal were wide, but unpaved, such that when the wains came, traffic traveled sideways. It was the only place you could stand knee-deep in mud and blast dust at the same time.

He encountered the Seabees who told him that they built roads not for the landing of Marines but rather for the retreat of the Japanese.

Mr. Hope states that they were preparing to take off for other destinations, asks the reader to contact Dr. Livingstone if he was not heard from within three weeks.

And, the inside page instructs that, among other desirable matter to be received through the mail, including razor blades, soap, and fruit cake, the word of choice to score a hit was "Love" in letters to the G.I.'s and sailors. The Navy agreed.

On the editorial page, "Finland" wonders, without condemnation, at the completely inconsistent American attitude toward Finland. Traditionally, Americans had looked upon the country favorably. It had done so in the first Russo-Finnish war of 1939-40 after the Russians attacked Finland. That was so despite the fact that the Russians did so because of reports of a pact between Mannerheim and Hitler to have Finland attack Russia on its northern flank while Germany invaded at the center.

One reason for the favorable treatment had been Finland's earnest attempt at repayment of its war debt following World War I, but that, points out the piece, was only because of a favorable trade balance, not its own dedication to principle.

Even after Russia became allied with the United States, the amity with Finland persisted, despite its support of the Nazis in the attack against Russia, and reported supplying of needed raw materials to Germany.

The affinity of Americans to the little Baltic country stood as an inexplicable paradox.

"_____", too dark to comprehend right now, reports of some disunifying talk, urging suspicion of the motives of Great Britain. The editorial reminds that unity among the Allies was needed now more than ever and that such expressions harmed the war effort and the chances for lasting post-war peace.

"Hard Guys" suggests the single-mindedness displayed by the Russians in insisting against a neutral stance of Bulgaria, that it would either come into the war with the Allies against Germany or would be considered an enemy, failing which, the Russians declared war while camped at its border, was to be admired and emulated by the Western Allies. The Russians had gone further in examining with a hostile eye the neutral stance of Turkey and the Axis-friendly position of Argentina. Both also needed, according to the Soviets, to correct their wayward paths.

This stubborn stance would likely be the post-war policy of the Russians. And, says the editorial, it should stand as example to the Allies that friends were friends and no halfway measures were to be treated as anything short of inimicality.

"Prospects" reports of the views of two leading economists that, no matter how inefficient the reconversion to peacetime economy in the country, there would be a great period of prosperity ahead in the post-war economic environment.

The steps, they predicted, would be, first, a short period of recession during reconversion, second, an economic boom of from five to ten years to fill pent-up demand coming out of the war. Third, without foresight and preventive measures undertaken by the Government, would occur a major depression at the end of this period of economic boom.

And, it would be thusly so in great part, save that the recession, not a depression, did not occur until 1958.

But, reminds the editorial, there would be some eight million war workers unemployed within the first months after the end of the war. The experts had assured that this contingency should not necessarily imperil the economy for long, provided adequate measures were undertaken to insure smooth transition to the peacetime economy. The problem was, however, that there was thus far no central agreement as to the measures which should be put in place to enable this smooth transition.

Drew Pearson first tells of the probable resignation soon of former New York Governor Herbert Lehman as Allied head of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, charged with providing relief to war-torn nations as the Allies occupied them. Though distracted by personal matters, he was primarily distressed over the lack of authority of UNRRA to act because of recalcitrant nations on its 44-member panel. In order to provide relief to former enemy nations, such as Italy, all 44 members had to agree. Yugoslavia and Greece did not want funds of the Administration to go to their former Italian oppressors and so had vetoed providing aid to Italy, a source of great consternation to Governor Lehman.

Next, Mr. Pearson reports of what became repartee between Congressman "Took" Gathings of Arkansas and Sidney Hillman, head of CIO, during hearings before the House. Mr. Gathings inquired of Mr. Hillman whether his Amalgamated Clothing Workers union had in 1937 provided $5,000 in contribution to Thomas Dewey's candidacy for District Attorney in New York City. Mr. Hillman responded affirmatively, whereupon Mr. Gathings asked further whether that suggested then a change of attitude by Mr. Hillman toward Governor Dewey in 1944. Mr. Hillman responded negatively, asserting that his union was still very much prepared to contribute another $5,000 to a Dewey campaign for District Attorney.

The column next reports of British Information Minister Brendan Bracken having imposed a news blackout on all reports of London's suffering occasioned by the V-1 attacks, attacks which Mr. Pearson indicates had left millions homeless and caused a mass exodus from the city. At least one British journalist had reported America's apparent indifference to the suffering for lack of reaction.

The real story, however, was that the American people, as with the British themselves, were being kept in the dark by Mr. Bracken as to the extent of the damage and displacement consequent of these attacks.

Col. William C. Menninger, head of the Army Medical Corps neuro-psychiatric division and brother of psychiatrist Karl Menninger, had recommended that soldiers discharged for psychiatric problems be given a lump-sum settlement as opposed to a life-long pension for the latter tending to cause the soldier to refuse to face his mental difficulties and correct them. The proposed change from the policy which had prevailed in the aftermath of World War I would save the Government money and would be more beneficial to the veterans.

That is, until one of them wound up in Holcomb, Kansas, on a chilly mid-November Saturday night in 1959, wearing the Cat's Paw.

Cranberry sauce.

Samuel Grafton remarks on the strategy being followed by Thomas Dewey, to appeal to both sides of the fence on various issues, most pointedly of late appeasing both internationalists and isolationists in foreign policy. On the one hand, he had on the ticket Governor John Bricker who had been associated with isolationism. He had for months before the nomination behaved in an isolationist manner with respect to associations while expressing internationalist rhetoric. He now was endorsing the overall goals of the Dumbarton Oaks Conference with respect to establishing the United Nations organization, with his foreign policy adviser John Foster Dulles having met with Secretary of State Hull and come away from the meeting with both expressing a mutual accord on foreign policy for the post-war period.

Thus, Mr. Dewey was presenting himself to the American public as acceptable to both isolationists, issuing the criticism parenthetically of Dumbarton Oaks for its not providing enough of a role to smaller nations, and to internationalists, for his general endorsement of the proposed international organization. It appeared to be the way he would continue to campaign.

A letter writer responds to the letter recently published by the head of the Charlotte chapter of the Club for Dewey, inquiring of his explanation for the recent report of Drew Pearson that Mr. Dewey's campaign manager Herbert Brownell had taken an automobile trip from Albany, N.Y., to Washington, taking an allotment of six months of gas rationing in the process, when he could have used the train. The letter writer said that he awaited response.

Marquis Childs finds the timing of Lt. General Kurt Dettmar's appeal for peace terms from the Allies to be not coincidental with the revelations by the Russians of the evidence of gross atrocities of the Nazis found in the death camp at Lublin in Poland. It was suggestive that the Germans knew that heavy retribution would be exacted for these crimes against humanity.

The failure of the Germans to destroy this evidence, says Mr. Childs, was a major blunder. The Nazis had to know now, in light of this gruesome revelation, that there would be no mercy provided them by the Western Allies, in whom they had once placed great faith of being able to obtain more sympathetic terms of surrender than with the Russians. The V-1 attacks, indiscriminately hitting civilian targets in southern England, had also gone a long way in ending any chance for the slightest sympathy.

At first, he relates, Germans did not believe the atrocities reported from Poland, rumors of which had been circulating through Sweden when he was visiting there during the spring of 1943. But when the German soldiers themselves came back from the Eastern front and, according to Germans with whom Mr. Childs had conversed, were reporting the atrocities, even committing suicide in response to their own participation in them, the Germans had suddenly been confronted with the unmistakable truth that the rumors reflected reality. Their own troops had confirmed it.

Now, with the stark and horrible evidence from Lublin before the world, the Nazis knew that their fate in the court of world opinion was sealed. They would receive no compassion for their criminality.

Roger Greene, reporting from allied positions east of the Seine on August 29, provides the things which the observant had to notice to survive when traveling by jeep in the vicinity of the front lines. First, the landscape, with heaps of black earth indicative of the front, had to be constantly scanned. The observer could not rely on hearing the enemy artillery because of the usual background noise of Allied shells. Second, the sky was important, particularly if there were low-hanging clouds, prized by the Luftwaffe as good strafing weather.

There were also other tell-tale signs of enemy activity nearby. The quiet, bucolic French village with no sole stirring easily hid sniper nests. Mr. Greene had once experienced such an untoward surprise in such a village. Crowded French villages could be equally dangerous. He and other journalists had entered one such town, to find the crowds of people cheering them as liberators. They were informed that the British tanks had gone through so quickly, bypassing numerous German contingents, that enemy persisted in the area. The journalists quickly donned their helmets and drove away as fast as possible to try to find the main road back to the lines. The front was so confused by this point that it was easy to become lost, as Allied forces punched through and moved on in a hurry to get to Germany.

Dr. Herbert Spaugh quotes the inspirational words from the Sanskrit:

"Listen to the Exhortation of the Dawn! Look to this Day! For it is Life, the very Life of Life. In its brief course lie all the Verities and Realities of your Existence! The Glory of Action, the Bliss of Growth, the Splendor of Beauty. For Yesterday is but a Dream and Tomorrow is only a Vision. But Today well lived makes every Yesterday a Dream of Happiness and every Tomorrow a Vision of Hope. Look well therefore to this Day! Such is the Salutation of the Dawn."

It all sounds well and good, until Today one is Attacked by Feudalists, Fascists, and Nazis, or just by Economic Royalists, also greeting the Dawn, as they perceived it to announce their Sunrise. Then, Tomorrow does not look so Hot as a Vision. And Yesterday is filled with Regretted, Apathetic Inaction in Inadequate Preparation for Today.

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