The Charlotte News

Saturday, September 9, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Third Army successfully beat back the strongest counter-attack to be waged by the Germans since the battle for Normandy. The Germans had attacked one of the bridgeheads across the Moselle River south of Metz, after driving from Luxembourg through the German strrongpoint at Thionville, seeking to flank General Patton's forces and push behind them to the west side of the Moselle. The Third Army knocked out 30 to 40 tanks and took more than 700 prisoners in resisting the effort.

The British Second Army also had to repel an attempt by the Germans to break from their trap between Lille and Gent in Belgium.

The Germans were bringing all of their reserves to bolster the defenses of the Siegfried Line, reducing remaining enforcements on the interior of Germany to an estimated five divisions.

More than a thousand American bombers struck targets in the German Ruhr and Rhine Valleys, hitting Mainz, Mannheim, and Dusseldorf. The night before, RAF Mosquitos struck Rurenberg as well as Brest, Le Havre and Boulogne, the latter three targets in support of the sieges of those areas by the Allies.

In the South of France, the Seventh Army moved quickly through the Douhe River Valley from Besancon, reaching to within less than 25 miles of the Belfort Gap, covering half the distance from Besancon to Belfort, advancing to the area of Roulans-Le-Grand. An Associated Press report indicated that the forces were within ten miles of Belfort. Allied artillery fire was now pouring into the city against determined German opposition.

French troops to the west drove through a coal and industrial area which had for the previous four years supplied the Reich, taking Le Creusat, Chagny, and Montehanin-Les-Mines, which included the Schneider Metallurgical Works, having a capacity of 30,000 tons of steel per year. West of the Saone River, other French forces continued their movement toward Dijon, taking Beaune, 18 miles north of Chalon. Still other French troops took the Jura Mountain towns of Pierre-Fontaine and Maiche, the latter 25 miles south of the gap at the end of the Vosges Mountains, 30 miles from the German border.

In Italy, the Germans also began counter-attacking the Eighth Army, fighting before Rimini, the gateway to the Po Valley, last line of defense for the Nazis in Northern Italy. The Germans established a line from the Adriatic Coast to the village of Croce, 6.5 miles inland, nine miles southwest of Rimini. The British repelled the attacks without losing ground and seized and held Croce.

The Red Army appeared on a track within less than a week to close off the Balkans, entrapping as many as 250,000 Germans. The object was to open the Black Sea to the Mediterranean and avoid the cumbersome overland supply route through Iran from the Persian Gulf heretofore required to supply the Russians, freeing large numbers of American troops from the Persians Gulf Command. A key to completion of this goal still lay in obtaining the agreement of Turkey, with its control of the Dardanelles.

A map on the inside page shows the various steadily encroaching fronts to seal the fate of Germany, from the west, east, and south.

From the Pacific, it was reported that only one of the hundred B-29's of the Twentieth Air Force which had the day before struck Manchuria was missing. A Japanese broadcast had contended that six had been heavily damaged.

A piece on the inside page tells of a snag at the Dumbarton Oaks Conference, ongoing in Georgetown since August 21. The Russians had refused to compromise with the position favored by the United States and Britain with regard to disallowing a country on the Security Council of the planned United Nations organization to vote on use of force to counter aggressive action when the aggressor was the nation itself. The Soviets favored the ability of each nation on the Council to vote in all circumstances.

The report states that the Security Council would have authority to use force only on a majority vote, but the significance of the Soviet position was that the Security Council vote would be required to be unanimous to authorize force, enabling each member to veto use of force when it was the aggressor nation. It left each of the Big Four plus France, presumed to be allowed a permanent seat on the Council, in a position of permanently being able to participate in aggression with impunity, defeating a great part of the organizational concept.

Bob Hope reports of being engaged in a new type of show business. Their troupe was accompanied by four P-38's to insure against attack as they flew to another island. One of Crosby's pilots, he swore, was aboard one of the planes he had observed, a swayback P-38.

They stopped for a day at Munda in the Solomons, performing three shows, meeting Paul Whiteman's former tenor, Clark Dennis, and Billy Sherman, previously of the Abe Lyman Orchestra. They performed with the show.

One of the best shows they had yet done was for the Marine division which two years earlier had been the first American troops to land on Guadalcanal. They performed August 8, on the second anniversary of the landing. The Marines had no airstrip on the island and so the entertainers had to fly in by Piper cubs and land on a roadway. The 15,000 servicemen in the audience cheered every plane loudly as it landed.

The Marines had been on this island for six months and had accumulated so many pictures of pinup girls on the walls that the termites were drooling. One Marine had a picture of Betty Grable. Mr. Hope reminded him that she was married to Harry James. He replied that he didn't care, that they were going to kill all the buglers after the war. Absolutely...

Mr. Hope says that he had to take his leave to do his laundry.

On the editorial page, "Er, Ahem!" again addresses Governor Thomas Dewey's campaign speech of two nights earlier in which he had berated the Administration for ruining the country, even asserting that the President and his tired old men were holding up the end of the war to prevent the flaws in the Administration's domestic program from becoming apparent.

But, at the same time, Mr. Dewey had stated that it was "of course" the case that the country needed regulation of stocks and securities, Federal Deposit Insurance, price supports for agriculture, unemployment insurance, old age pensions, relief, control of exports in competition with domestic product, and protection of the rights of labor to bargain collectively for better wages and conditions of employment.

In other words, Mr. Dewey had stated that the President had done everything right in establishing the programs necessary for the country, but had ruined the country by administering those programs inefficiently.

"_______" is completely in the dark and we shall have to await another day to divine its mystery. We cannot even hazard a guess from its only discernible phrase, "....hazard the guess that a good many of the allies will not share Washington's enthusiasm therefor." For what, we do not know at this point. Take your guesses. The Telefunken H-bomb?

"The Senate" warns that if Thomas Dewey were to be elected president he would find likely the same sort of trap in the Senate which beset Woodrow Wilson in 1918 in trying to effect his Fourteen Points. While the Senate Democrats appeared presently in favor of membership of the United States in a United Nations organization, they would likely cause problems for a Dewey administration in effectuating its goals.

There was a mathematical chance of the Republicans taking the Senate, but it would be unlikely, as they would have to win 24 of 27 Senate races outside the South and Southwest just to obtain a one vote majority. Moreover, the Republicans, if precedent held true, could not gain control of the House without winning the presidency. Their hope was that many people would split their tickets, voting for FDR for a fourth term but also for individual Republican candidates for the House and Senate.

"Power Game" asserts that, in order to prevent future wars, there would have to be accorded to the Big Four substantial power in the future United Nations organization.

The Dumbarton Oaks Conference thus far appeared to have reached agreement on certain basic principles: that the proposed Security Council would be comprised four permanent members, the U.S., Great Britain, China, and the Soviet Union, plus France; that the smaller nations would be on the Council, rotating periodically; and that each of the Big Four would have power to guarantee security within its own separate sphere of influence, for instance, Russia over Eastern Europe.

Drew Pearson tells of a lecture which President Roosevelt gave to his Cabinet to remind them to get along at this critical phase of the war, using as a whipping-boy the recent resignation of Charles Wilson as vice-chair of the War Production Board, resulting from his chafing at criticism received from Board members who he fancied were in league with chair Donald Nelson, himself about to resign from his post.

He next turns to the issue of India, previously the subject of a report to the President by Ambassador William Phillips, recommending that the United States become an active supporter of Indian independence from Great Britain to instill morale in the Indian troops fighting in Burma and Northeast India, that the slowdown in that theater was attributable to the problem.

The British, reported John P. Davies of the State Department, liaison to General Joseph Stilwell in Burma, had deliberately held up some of the supplies to the Burma theater because they did not want Burma liberated by a coalition of American, Chinese, and Indian troops, complicating their future position in that area. Moreover, he had asserted that the British were deliberately maintaining and exacerbating the divide between the Muslims and Hindus on the premise that such tension provided excuse not to provide sovereign independence to India.

The situation was causing anxiety in the State Department for holding up the conclusion of the war in the Pacific, six months ahead of schedule in the Central Pacific, but months behind in the India-Burma-China theater.

The entire problem, suggests Mr. Pearson, hearkened back to the foresight of Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau, Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes, Secretary of War Henry Stimson, and deceased Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox, each of whom had for some time prior to Pearl Harbor recommended to Secretary of State Hull that shipments of oil and scrap iron be cut off to Japan. Likewise, was such foresight being now counseled with respect to India, a future potential flashpoint for conflict.

Of course, as to the advice on Japan, while appearing to be a simple panacea to avoid war in 20-20 hindsight, at the time, the fear of cutting off these exports was that it would have the exact effect it eventually did have when it was done in the wake of Japan's military occupation of French Indo-China at the end of July, 1941, that is causing Japan to seek its oil, tin, manganese, mercury, and other necessary ingredients to run its war machine, by undertaking the Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere program, driving into the Philippines, into Malaysia, and the Dutch East Indies, with the attack on Pearl Harbor intended to cripple the United States Navy for six months to enable these movements without interference. The State Department had trod the tricky course of trying to induce Japan to withdraw from Indo-China and China in order to resume this necessary trade of oil and scrap iron. The truth is, of course, that there was no way to avoid the war with Japan. It was set on its course by those military masters bent on Empire, to counter-balance that which Japan saw as encroachment by the West, the U.S., Britain, Holland, and France, in Asian territory, seeking to sell the concept to other Asian peoples based on racial unity.

Thus, the application of this study in hindsight to India, resisting the British Empire but not seeking its own empire interests, was not one precisely analogous.

Marquis Childs writes of the food crisis likely to occur in the country after the war because of the need to feed millions of people in Europe. Fats, protein, and sugar were going to be in serious shortage, at least until the sugar crop of the Philippines was restored to access by America. Powdered milk would be plentiful, but evaporated milk, important for feeding children, would be scarce.

Part of the problem lay in inefficiency of the War Food Administration. Millions of eggs were rotting, for instance, for want of storage space. Prices had not been maintained at a level which had satisfied farmers and so the WFA had bought up surplus eggs to keep the farmers happy. But the price of these eggs was so high that the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration could not afford them to feed the hungry of Europe and so the eggs consigned to the Government rotted.

The WFA was aware that when the war ended and the soldiers no longer needed to be fed, the surpluses on farms would again begin to build rapidly as after World War I, when wheat, corn, and cotton crops burst their markets, necessitating bureaucratic regulation. The promise of that repetition of plenty was fueling the momentum to remove rationing. But doing so could create again the concomitant problems of overabundant supply. England had told its population that rationing must continue for some time after the war. Mr. Childs believes the better policy would be likewise in the United States and that using rationing in the political campaign to embarrass the Administration was counterproductive to avoid future problems with respect to food.

For years post-war, it should be noted, it was one of the anomalies of plenty in the country that people in Appalachia were starving while farmers in the Midwest and elsewhere complained of not having enough profits for the maintenance of low food prices. Senator Robert F. Kennedy campaigned in 1968 in part on the premise that a sensible remedy to this problem was to take the surpluses the farmers were producing and use them to feed the poor at Government expense, thereby enabling farmers to have higher food prices without gouging the public at large at the market.

Samuel Grafton proposes that the Allies, instead of making a formal treaty with Germany to end the war, should extend the war indefinitely after the shooting ceased, without treaty. That way, the Allies could remain in cohesion after the formal period of warfare, to arrest any further German aggression. It would, he suggests, avoid the problems ensuing the Versailles Treaty on which Germany promptly spat and proceeded to violate as soon as it had the opportunity.

This non-shooting war, he posits, would go on indefinitely until such time as it was plain that Germany had rectified itself and freed its society of all vestiges of aggression.

In many respects, what he proposed became the Cold War, except that the Cold War was defined in terms of the balance of power between East and West, primarily between the United States and the Soviet Union, with the rest of Europe as the fulcrum on which the balance tottered for four and a half decades, eventually expanding into the Middle East and Southeast and Central Asia. That fulcrum was built on the remnants of Germany and the point on which the seesaw whipped back and forth was at the Brandenburg Gate.

Thus, was Mr. Grafton's notion a good one or one which simply fomented another conflict which nearly erupted into world conflagration on more than one occasion? In fairness to his thinking at this moment in history, he did not, of course, reckon with the terrible forces to be generated by the rocket age which had quietly begun the day before and which would potentially, after another few short years of experimentation, be able to carry on its tip the script for the Atomic Age, nuclear warheads able to course the span of oceans and continents, within fifteen minutes of any spot on the globe, with fair accuracy in the bargain.

Dorothy Thompson describes two colliding worlds, that of the Allied nations joining together in an increasing people's revolt among the occupied nations of Europe, Romans by the thousands gathering to cheer the liberation of Paris, Slovaks revolting against their Nazi overlords to join Czechs, historically at odds, all juxtaposed to a shortwave radio broadcast which Ms. Thompson had heard the previous Sunday from East Prussia, celebrating a congregation of Hitler Youth led by their Chef der Heeresleitung, Col. General Heinz Guderian. General Guderian, who had to know the war was lost, was heaping praise on the thousands of blonde, Aryan, tanned young boys of ages 14 to 17, bare-chested, those 15 and over getting ready to be sent off to battle for the Fatherland. It resembled, she said, a pagan ritual celebrating mass sacrifice and was emblematic of that which had to be stamped out of German society to assure world peace in the future.

"The world must return to reason and realism, in which alone freedom and civilization can develop. What must be extirpated in Germany is the romantic spirit—that builds an imaginary world that never was on land or sea, and destroys everything that will not fit into its macabre dream."

It fit precisely the definition W. J. Cash had given for the Old South during the plantation era and the period of Thorough following the Civil War, dwelling in Cloud-Cuckoo Land.

A news piece informs of a woman from the Hamptons in New York, daughter of a bishop, wife of an attorney in the service, who had been arrested for stealing $37,000 worth of jewelry from her wealthy friends while a guest in their homes. She counted among her ancestors Presidents William Henry Harrison and Benjamin Harrison. She was being held without bail.

It would have been better understandable had she been related to President Rutherford B. Hayes.

In Chicago, a judge urged a husband to think over reconciling with his wife. She wanted to reconcile; he didn't. She had put sugar in his gas tank and reconciliation, he said, was out of the question. She said that her reason was in retaliation for the fact that he had wanted the car to socialize with another woman.

Infidelity is one thing, but don't ever put sugar in the gas tank. That is the one Unpardonable Sin, in marriage or out.

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