Friday, SEPTEMBER 8, 1944

The Charlotte News

Friday, September 8, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Third Army, pushing past 6,000 Germans and 35 tanks, had established three more bridgeheads across the Moselle River, to bring the total to five, the previously established pair having been enlarged. Two of the new crossings were accomplished south of Metz in France and the third in the Toul area to the south. The Germans were mounting their strongest resistance along the Moselle since the Normandy campaign of June and July. Patrols which had been reported to have entered Nancy had been forced to withdraw.

Four Allied armies, the British Second, the American First, Third, and Seventh, broke through the German Albert Canal defense line at four points along a 200-mile front facing the Siegfried Line, moving to within 25 miles of the German border at three of those points. The Second Army struck north of the canal at Beeringen, 27 miles northeast of Leuven, moving five miles further to Bourg-Leopold, 40 miles east of Antwerp. The First Army captured Huy on the Meuse River in the area of Liege in Belgium, and the Third Army moved on Metz. General Patton's forces at the latter position were within twenty miles of the Siegfried Line.

The Seventh Army reached Besancon, 50 miles from Belfort Gap, north of Switzerland, after moving quickly from Arbois. The forces moved into the western, southern, and eastern sections of the town after several engagements with the Germans. To the west, other Allied troops cut through German lines along the Loue River south of Foret De Chaux, between Paray and Quigey. Between Besancon and the Swiss border, French troops occupied Pontarlier in the Jura foothills. The forces advancing up the Saone Valley made substantial progress following an encounter with the Germans at Chaion-sur-Saone.

Fully 2,000 American and British bombers struck targets along the Siegfried Line and at Le Havre in Normandy. American bombers hit Ludwigshafen, Kastel de Mainz, and Gustavsburg, southwest of Frankfurt. The RAF, in addition to striking Le Havre, hit Karlsruhe opposite the Siegfried Line, and enemy positions north of Antwerp and Gent in Belgium.

The First Army issued reports coming from German prisoners of their disgust with being forced to continue the war with inadequate weapons. Such was the statement of Lt. General Seyffert, commander of the 348th Infantry Division, the remaining whole of which had been captured north of Antwerp the previous day. German prisoners expressed a dread of returning to Germany.

Not yet reported, the world this date entered the rocket age as the first V-2's were launched from mobile launching platforms by the Nazis, one striking near Paris, doing little damage, and the other two striking southern England. It would yet be some time before these rocket attacks were disclosed to the public. Apparently, the British, having the day before announced the end of the Battle of London, the Second Blitz, with the elimination of all of the rocket coast installations in the area of Pas-de-Calais, did not think it wise for morale to lose face so quickly and have to announce a new, more powerful secret weapon aimed their way. Drew Pearson had earlier in the week inveighed against this secrecy of the British and its Information Minister Brendan Bracken with regard to the extent of the damage and death caused by the V-1 attacks. Both the British and Americans were being kept in the dark until the previous day as to the full extent of their impact. Now, the curtain of secrecy appears to have been erected on the V-2 attacks.

A map on the inside page tells of Allied progress in France, showing the advances of the British Second Army, the Canadian First Army, laying siege to the Calais coast, and the American First and Third Armies.

The Red Army moved northeast of Warsaw advancing toward the southern border of East Prussia.

In the Balkans, the Russians continued their advance in a three-pronged offensive, one moving to join with Marshal Tito's forces in Yugoslavia, while others moved toward Sibiu in Transylvania.

The primary overall objective of the Balkans campaign was to seal the Germans between the Dalmatian Coast of Yugoslavia and the Black Sea, entrapping thereby several thousand Nazi troops.

No further word had come from the Bulgarian front where previous reports had stated the Russians to have moved into Greece to take Demotika. Bulgars and Germans were fighting each other along the Serbian border, albeit on a small scale. The Serbs were reported to be in general revolt against the Nazis. Marshal Tito's forces had tripled in size during the previous few days at the approach of the Russians to join in arms.

The Fifteenth Air Force announced that all principal supply and escape routes from Vienna and Budapest to Bulgaria and Greece had been severed. The Air Force attacked anew at various targets in Serbia and Yugoslavia. Both air offensives, fully 8,000 tons of bombs having been dropped on Hungary, Yugoslavia, and Rumania since August 23, and Marshal Tito's forces were jointly given credit for breaking these lines.

In Italy, the Eighth Army gained a mile on the Adriatic front, reaching the Marano River, four miles from Rimini, facing strong German rearguards. Thirteen miles inland, German tanks brought the Allied offensive to a halt.

The Fifth Army, a year after the landings at Salerno to initiate the Italian campaign, advanced to within two miles of Pistola, the last important city below the Gothic Line. To the west, the U.S. 92nd Infantry Division pushed north of captured Lucca. The Germans had stiffened their resistance in the region, to prevent the armies from breaking through into France to join their forces with the offensives striking at Germany.

In the Pacific, another B-29 raid of the Twentieth Air Force took place against Manchuria, hitting the steel center of Anshan and the coal producing center of Penhsihu near Mukden. About a hundred planes took part in the raid. No other details were provided.

Planes from a carrier task force struck Palau for the first time in a month, encountering no air or naval opposition.

A piece on the inside page tells of the valiant and vital service which had been performed by the members of the Troop Carrier Command which had supplied first the troops in Southern China and then the Burma forces of General Joseph Stilwell and General Merrill's Marauders, piloting over the "Hump" through the "W Pass" of the Himalayas, delivering fuel and necessary supplies to keep the offensives rolling, in an effort to reopen the Lido and Burma Road between India and China, the more efficient land supply route, closed since early 1942. They had completed 1,176 trips between February 12 and June 30, 1943, suffering no losses of personnel or equipment. They were flying 60 percent of the supplies with only ten percent of the transports in the area during April and May, 1943. In February, 1944, they had delivered 5.6 million pounds of supplies. Some of the pilots had flown a hundred supply missions.

Important to the future foreign policy of the United States between 1956 and 1973, the French under General De Gaulle had asked to have a role in the Pacific war for the purpose of reacquiring French Indo-China and other French possessions in the Pacific, as well as a basis for continuing to receive Lend-Lease after the defeat of Germany. American policy appeared in support of France's reacquisition of its Pacific territorial interests, but nothing as yet had been determined as to the Lend-Lease component of the sought accord.

A brief story reports that General Patton had objected to General Marshall regarding a press story which had indicated that General Patton had arrived on Normandy waving a thousand-dollar bill and making bets that he would beat General Montgomery to Paris. He said that he had arrived instead incognito and had never laid eyes on a thousand-dollar bill.

Bob Hope reports of being awakened by a new alarm clock on Bougainville in the northern Solomons. American artillery was blasting shells at the Japanese lines some six miles from his tent. He found it restful.

Bougainville had a volcano, Mount Bagana, near Allied lines. There was one theater, Loew's Bougainville. Mr. Hope insisted that they change the name to Paramount or he would refuse to entertain. The soldiers agreed. They were starved for entertainment.

He played for an infantry division from his home state of Ohio, a number of whom knew him from Cleveland. Mr. Hope made sure they did not talk.

They had fast laundry service, four hours turn around. He figured he could make a killing by importing dirty laundry.

Mr. Hope and his entourage performed nine shows in two days, rain besetting four of them. During one, it rained so hard that he asked the soldiers whether they wanted to call off the show. They yelled in response, "Keep going, sissy."

On Treasury Island, he bumped into Lighthorse Harry Wilson of Army football fame. Mr. Wilson took Mr. Hope on a ride in a makeshift canoe, fashioned from two P-38 bellytanks fastened together, with a hole cut into each tank to enable passenger entrance. It was a nice swim.

He performed three shows on Treasury, aided by a black band. The war had developed some nice orchestras.

Trader Corn, as the soldiers called him, then donned his pith helmet and headed to another island.

And, don't miss Katherine Hepburn and Walter Huston in "Dragon Seed", now playing at the Carolina Theater, having played a record eight weeks at Radio City Music Hall. Don't worry if you have to use a little imagination to see Ms. Hepburn and Mr. Huston as Chinese. Ars Gratia Ars.

On the editorial page, "First Round" asserts that Governor Dewey had to wage an aggressive campaign to be successful against the President. But, his opening salvo the previous night likely did him no service. For he had gone beyond the typical line of attack which stated that the Administration was old and tired, assailing the President instead for having supposedly prolonged the war, allegedly being afraid that its end would reveal the weaknesses of his Administration's inadequacy in dealing with domestic problems. Mr. Dewey had stated that it was the reason why the Administration intended to keep men in service after the end of the war.

The editorial finds it unpersuasive and believes that few would agree, that it would likely alienate most men in service, even Republicans. Regardless, its timing was inartful given that the Administration had just announced a plan for demobilization after the end of the war in Europe under which 60% of the country would be returned to civilian production. It left the listener to conclude that Mr. Dewey was placing politics ahead of winning the war.

Furthermore, his painting the New Deal as an utter failure during all of the years since 1933 was so obviously dissembling of the true picture as to warrant rejection on its face, would further alienate voters.

The piece expresses disappointment, having expected more substance from Mr. Dewey.

It might be added that the statement of Mr. Dewey anent prolonging the war was obviously intended subliminally to suggest to the suspicious voter that the reason the war in Europe was not being drawn to a conclusion more quickly, despite months of speculation that victory was just around the corner, with the Russians having been advancing with such celerity toward East Prussia and Warsaw until suddenly faltering in July, and, to the south, against Ploesti and Bucharest in Rumania, with the Western Allies having landed in Normandy June 6, was the President's own political scheme to prolong his power. Indeed, the isolationist, long suspicious of Perfidious Albion, would inevitably make the case along similar lines that Churchill had the same motive, in furtherance of the prolongation conspiracy. The inattentive student of history might very well thus be tempted to find confirmation of such an imagined scenario in the fact that, with Roosevelt out of the way April 12, 1945, the war then was quickly concluded in both Europe and the Pacific. And, post hac, ergo propter hoc, the further addition of the fact that the British public rejected Churchill immediately at war's conclusion, prompting his resignation in July, 1945, would naturally lend further corroboration to the attention-defiant deficit of this thesis.

Of course, such fanciful thinking would find a giant blockade in its logical furtherance by factoring into the scenario the additional facts that such a conclusion must subsume logically the idea that Roosevelt entered this international conspiracy with Stalin.

What? Why, all the better, my friend, quickly interjects the advocate of the theory. Are you daft? Roosevelt and Stalin were in bed together. Any fool may see that. Ergo, Roosevelt was Red. And that woman, his wife, in favor of social equality between the races. Huh, have you no scholarship or understanding of history? Why, Woodrow Wilson was the worst President in history, responsible for both World War I and, therefore, World War II. Have you no learning?

But, to counter Mr. or Ms. Stark Weather, the greater problem is that armies in the field making quick advances, as were the Russians, and, ultimately, beginning in August, the Third Army under General Patton, as well the American First Army under General Miles Dempsey, must stop after awhile to allow their supply and reinforcement lines to catch up with their progress. Else, the army would chase the enemy long enough until, with the enemy's lines consequently shortened, the closer his back was to the homeland, the Allies would have been caught flat-footed, running out of food and ammunition and depleted of men. That would be an incautious lesson in defeat. General Patton knew better; General Bradley, his superior, knew better. General Eisenhower, Supreme Allied Commander, knew better.

Moreover, the evidence is that the President, while overseeing the joint overall strategy with the Allies and imparting that to the military commanders, or, in the case of Tehran, having it imparted in conference directly from the Allied leaders, was largely leaving the day-to-day operational commands to the military command structure to execute, based on rapidly changing circumstance and the unpredictable reactions of a theretofore incalculably unpredictable enemy. It would be foolhardy to think that President Roosevelt could have gotten away with directing General Eisenhower to stop the advancing Allied forces on a dime, just to accommodate political machinations in the United States, even more so to imagine that General MacArthur would have received such orders and not communicated them to his Republican friends in Congress. Nor is there the slightest bit of evidence that the offensive in the Pacific was slowed at any point during the summer and fall of 1944. To the contrary, it was accelerated.

The war was not won in Europe as quickly as thought for months that it would be for the simple reasons of, first, natural over-optimism on the part of war-weary peoples of the Allied nations; second, the necessity to catch up supply lines with fast-moving armies, giving time for Hitler, with ever shorter supply lines along the West Wall to stiffen his resistance, the story being likewise in Poland, at the border with East Prussia, and at the border with Rumania where the Russians remained for over three months before making the move through the Carpathians to take the Ploesti oilfields and Bucharest, triggering the beginning of the end for the Nazi occupation of all the Balkan countries; and, third, the stubborn insistence of Hitler and his minions, knowing they faced the hangman's rope at the end of the war, to continue to prosecute it for as long as possible in the vain hope, ever so for the death row inmate, either of more favorable terms of surrender to save their own hides, as with the Kaiser obtained at the end of World War I, or to effect physical escape from the final fate of Ragnarok.

The only conspiracy at work was the practical need to re-supply and reinforce armies increasingly far from their supply depots, to establish airdromes within recently liberated territory, especially important given the decreasing length of supply lines of the enemy as they retreated back into German territory, and the stubborn resistance to recognition of the Allies' Final Solution: the Defeat of the Will of the Nazi through a confluence of superior forces surrounding him.

"A Creed" lends its support to Mrs. Roosevelt's basic statement in reply to the Alabama woman who had expressed concern regarding her perception that the Roosevelts desired social equality between the races. As reprinted on the front and inside pages Wednesday, Mrs. Roosevelt, while disavowing support of social equality as a goal, enunciated support for equal opportunity for employment, education, justice, and participation in government, i.e., the unfettered exercise of the franchise.

The piece believes that most Americans would support those basic principles. But, in focusing on North Carolina, it finds that the state was making substantial progress in these areas, but not yet fully adhering to the standards set forth. The State did not provide either equal employment opportunities or equal pay to blacks, even if blacks enjoyed better opportunities in North Carolina than in other Southern states, some African-Americans having been able to build their own businesses of considerable size and profit.

There was, likewise, absent equal opportunity of education, though advances were occurring. Of the 18 four-year black institutions of higher education, 16 were in the South, 11 of which were in North Carolina. Teacher pay discrepancies between the races were also being eliminated in the state.

It was debatable, says the piece, whether there was, in practice, equal justice, even if North Carolina, in principle, accepted the concept.

Removal of the poll tax had occurred in the state more than twenty years earlier and participation of blacks in the electoral process was high relative to other Southern states.

"Lights Up" comments on the prospect of the end of London's blackout of five years duration, set to expire September 17. It comments that many children born since 1939 had never seen the lights of the city. For a city which had suffered horrors and intermittent attacks during the previous four years, it would be a welcome sign that the war was nearing its conclusion.

"Bearings" disparages a six-day strike shutting down a bearings plant in Cleveland which produced bearings for B-29's, necessitating a government takeover of the plant. Management asserted that it was stuck in a situation where either management or labor would run the company, while labor contended it had vindicated its position in obtaining a government takeover.

The source of the dispute lay in the company's discharge of a single worker for allegedly breaking a lock on a locker, the worker demanding reinstatement. This single incident had not only provoked the six-day strike but threatened a 64-company sympathy strike.

A society in which manifold effects to war production could take place regarding such picayune matters, says the editorial, gave question to whether it deserved to win the war.

The editorial cartoon of the day by Doug. succinctly echos the notion.

Gerald W. Johnson, in a piece from the Atlantic Monthly, writes an open letter to Governor Thomas Dewey inquiring why the average voter should cast his or her ballot for him as opposed to the President. The President had nearly 12 years of experience at the job and, while acknowledged mistakes had been made, had done a creditable job.

While Mr. Dewey was honorable, young, vigorous, had demonstrated his toughness by going after organized crime figures while New York City District Attorney, and had shown himself in his first two years as Governor of New York to be an able administrator, he was also hemmed in by the Republican platform and its drafting committee's chairman Senator Robert Taft of Ohio. For the platform had a plank which required adhesion to its tenets by the eventual nominee, the convention fully aware at the point of adoption that the nominee would be Governor Dewey. And the platform itself was quite vague, especially as to its stand on foreign policy and the construction of the future peace.

Would, if Governor Dewey became president, the result wind up much the same as that after Warren G. Harding became President in 1921, just as the peace from World War I was being implemented and the decision had to be made whether the country would join the League of Nations? While Mr. Johnson expressly distinguishes Governor Dewey from President Harding, still he questions whether the more conservative forces at work in the Republican Party would dictate policy to a Dewey administration.

Three more letters to the editor express unanimously their support for the re-election of President Roosevelt.

Drew Pearson reports of the faux pas committed with respect to the newly elected Minister of Public Works in Cuba, Senator Gustavo Moreno, inadvertently omitted from the guest list at a White House luncheon. When Secretary of State Hull gave a state dinner for President-elect Grau San Martin of Cuba, Senator Moreno failed to show, in demonstration of his ruffled feathers at the White House snub. Secretary Hull phoned the next day to apologize.

Next, Mr. Pearson comments on the Dewey campaign's attempt to control the stump speeches of various surrogates on the campaign trail, by providing canned speeches given to the press before the speeches had been delivered. There had been at least four such instances, that of Governor Earl Warren of California, Governor Baldwin of Connecticut, Governor Green of Illinois, and Representative Everett Dirksen of Illinois.

Governor Warren had set aside the prepared text and amended certain sections, especially those attacking the President and CIO as being affiliated with the Communists. He had been irked by the Dewey headquarters having released the prepared speech before he gave his own version.

Representative Dirksen made a point on the House floor of correcting accounts that he had supposedly criticized the President for using the Navy for campaign purposes during his Pacific trip in July and August and, upon his return, his speech to the Bremerton Navy Ship Yard. Mr. Dirksen, future Senate Minority Leader of the Republicans during the 1960's, made it clear that the published version was not the speech he actually gave.

Marquis Childs reports of the plight of the injured veterans sent to recover stateside in Atlantic City. Once they had sufficiently recovered from injuries, they were gradually reoriented to their duties and eventually sent to train troops for combat. Formerly, the injured had been provided the choice of participating in that service or receiving an honorable discharge. They resented the change of policy, figuring that they had done their fair share and should, if desired, be able to receive their walking papers.

Part of the resentment arose, they told Mr. Childs, from that which they observed in their midst while recovering. They saw able-bodied persons with the time to wander leisurely the beaches of Atlantic City, while the soldiers tried to wipe from their memories the horrible scenes they had witnessed in battle, whether in the Pacific or in France or Italy.

For some vicarious understanding of that experience, Mr. Childs imparts that he went to see the U.S. Signal Corps production "Attack", regarding the taking of Arawe Peninsula on New Britain, the landing on which had begun December 15.

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