Saturday, January 13, 1945

The Charlotte News

Saturday, January 13, 1945


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the First Army had advanced more than a mile along a 30-mile front to move to within 4.5 miles of Houffalize on the northern flank of the Bulge and to within a bit more than a mile of the Houffalize-St. Vith road, the only remaining means of escape for the Nazis seeking exit from the Bulge. The gap between the First and Third Armies was now reduced to eleven miles, in some areas to seven.

The offensive had begun before dawn, led by the 30th Infantry Division, striking first between Malmedy and Stavelot, advancing 150 yards before encountering resistance.

The Third Armored and 83rd Infantry Divisions struck along a front flanking the highway northwest from Houffalize.

To the west, the Second Armored and 84th infantry Divisions penetrated the woods between La Roche and Fraiture.

The Third Army had moved to within three miles of the British Second Army in the area of Champion, as the British gained four miles across the La Roche-Champion road while the Third Army gained two miles during the nighttime. Both armies were slowed considerably by rearguard enemy action and mines.

Nearly 1,300 American planes, 900 bombers and 400 fighters, struck along the front from Bingen to Karlsruhe, seeking to seal off Germans west of the Rhine. The targets were Rudesheim, Worms, Mannheim, Germersheim, Karlsruhe, and Mainz. Freight yards at Bischoffsheim and Kaiserslautern were also bombed.

A report tells of an American company of soldiers positioned near Rimling in France holding off repeated enemy attacks for six days. One of its members, Private Leon Outlaw, Jr., of Mount Olive, N.C., had, alone, killed a hundred Germans. The men were limited to one K-ration per day and melted snow for drinking water.

Military analyst Max Werner assays the fault in the American and British response to the German Ardennes offensive, finds that it was not lack of supplies or men, but rather ineffective deployment, lack of effective fighting forces dispersed all along the front and deeply echeloned. Despite not being hampered by the same problems which had beset the Russians in 1941 and 1942 until the breakout from Stalingrad in November of that year, unlike the Germans whose factories and production base not placed underground lay largely in ruin, the Americans and British had all of the benefits, but simply did not utilize them with proper efficiency.

In Italy, patrols of the Fifth Army encountered fierce resistance south of Bologna. One patrol had reached Canovetta, just west of Highway 65 and nine miles south of the town, in the gateway to the Po Valley. Another patrol had attacked south of San Ansano, a mile southwest of Canovetta.

In the Adriatic sector, the Eighth Army fought German resistance on the Comachio Spit north of Ravenna, as German patrols continued to cross the Senio River ten miles north of Allied-captured Faenza, near Fusignano. South of Highway 9, the British repulsed another German counter-attack.

In the new winter offensive of the First Ukrainian Army west of Baranow out of the Vistula bridgehead in Southern Poland, the Russians had moved 25 miles on a 40-mile front in two days. The action was now confirmed by Stalin, after German radio had already announced the drive. The advance immediately threatened Kielce, a rail junction 93 miles southwest of Warsaw, linking Warsaw to Krakow. Some 350 towns had been captured in two days without benefit of air cover, grounded because of bad weather.

Berlin radio described the Russian offensive as "the biggest of all time," involving three Russian armies, two tank corps, and other independent units.

Another 30-mile front was launched in East Prussia on both sides of Rominten Heath along the border with Poland. To the south, on the Hungarian-Slovakian border between Lucenee and Kassa, seven or eight Russian divisions hit German lines.

Within Budapest, Hungarian patriots were taking to the rooftops and crouching in basements to fire upon the remaining German defenders, and many of Budapest's civilians were being systematically killed by the Nazis.

In the fourth day of the Luzon offensive since landing at 9:00 a.m. Tuesday, the Sixth Army continued its steady advance toward Manila, progressing twelve miles, covering half the distance to the Agno River. The forces encountered no enemy opposition. The only substantial resistance thus far had been found in the eastern sector of the bridgehead within the southern spurs of the Benguet Mountains. Eventually, the gunfire from those enemy positions was silenced by both air support and artillery barrages called in from warships.

The battle ongoing in the South China Sea to the east of Saigon and Camranh Bay in Japanese-occupied French Indo-China continued, with American Navy planes having destroyed 38 enemy ships, 25 of which had been sunk on Thursday, the first day of the attack. The largest ship sunk had been a cruiser, no larger ships being found in the area. No damage had been incurred to the Third Fleet.

American planes attacked Saigon, a thousand miles west of Manila. Six loaded enemy transports had been sunk at Saigon and another six at Qui-Nhon Harbor, 250 miles northeast of Saigon. These ships had been headed to the Philippines to reinforce the Japanese defenders of Luzon. Little land-based air defense had been encountered, only eighteen Japanese planes having been sent aloft to defend Saigon. Ten of these planes were knocked out by Navy fighters. Fifty enemy planes, eight of which were destroyed, were observed on the ground at Thanh Son Nhut airbase north of Saigon.

Admiral Nimitz confirmed the sinking on October 24, during the Second Battle of the Philippine Sea, of the 45,000-ton Musashi, one of two of Japan's largest battleships in its Fleet. The other large ship, the Yamato, was damaged in the action.

The movement into the area had taken out an additional hundred enemy ships and 98 planes at Formosa on Monday, a thousand miles from Saigon.

Troops of the 15th Indian Corps had landed on Myebon Peninsula in Hunters Bay, 32 miles from Akyab in Burma, encountering some Japanese opposition, but establishing a beachhead nonetheless.

The Army took over the Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company in Cleveland, Ohio, after a walkout by 400 coal passers threatened to halt the utility's operation.

Actress Donna Reed had obtained a Mexican divorce from her husband of two years.

On the editorial page, "Planners All" recounts a couple of moves by the City Council, the appointment of the new planning board and the...

Apparently, the editors truncated the piece or forgot that they had made room for a second item of business.

Or, maybe we skipped it.

"Comrades in Blood" comments on the apparent settlement of differences for the time being among the Allies, so prevalent during the summer and fall. The Bulge offensive had placed the war back on the front burner.

The piece reminds of the heavy toll in lives paid by the Soviet Union in the war, estimated to be at 30 million, including many who had died of starvation. The country's workers labored at 70-hour shifts to produce the materiel for the fight.

Likewise, Britain had suffered enormously, with its troops spread out in Greece, India, and the Near East, supplying more troops per capita to the war effort than any other nation. Britain was the only one of the Allies which drafted women into service and ninety percent of its single women between ages 18 and 40 were engaged in war work. Seventy-five percent of the British between ages 14 and 17 were working.

Rationing was strict, one suit of clothes every two and a half years, one shirt or one dress every nine months, one pair of socks every five months, one pair of pajamas or one nightgown every four and a half years, one item of underwear every four months.

"The Gallup Probe" recounts the investigation by the House Corrupt Practices Committee into the polling methodology of Dr. George Gallup, finding that he had consistently underestimated the President's strength in two-thirds of the states and had used inadequate methods of sampling.

The piece comments that the findings should undermine public confidence in the Gallup Poll forever, but likely would not have that impact. For he had made plentiful missteps in 1940 and his poll only became the more popular.

And, in the end, the House did not reprimand him but found that he was sincere in his analysis of his sample. They did not mention the skewing consistently against Roosevelt in both 1940 and 1944 or the fact that Dr. Gallup had been a campaign adviser to Thomas Dewey.

The piece points out that the danger of such polling data was that it would become a political device, not serving the utilitarian purpose for which it was intended, informing of the public.

Againójust wait until 1948.

"A Local Job" comments on Senator Robert Taft's opposition to the notion of having the Federal Government intervene to rebuild American cities to eliminate urban blight and inner city poverty. Beyond insuring decent housing, he argued, the Federal Government should have no role in local affairs of cities.

The editorial agrees. Bad areas of cities were local problems to be worked out locally.

"Tell Them of America" is a piece from Belgium which advocates informing Europeans of the better side of America than its reputation in Europe as provincial and unacculturated.

Among its recommendations was that Belgians and Europeans be told that Americans do not sit around from eight in the morning until midnight listening to jazz but gathered, sometimes 30,000 strong, in stadiums to appreciate the music of the world's greatest composers.

Drew Pearson discusses Georgia Governor Ellis Arnall's case against the railroads on behalf of Georgia, seeking to eliminate before the Supreme Court discriminatory freight rates which traditionally benefited Northern states vis à vis the South. The rate differential implemented by the Pennsylvania Railroad and others, it was contended, prevented industrial development in Georgia and South Carolina.

The Governor also argued that the pending Interstate Commerce Commission decision to order reduction of Southern freight rates would not act as sufficient remedy to the problem. Mr. Pearson agrees. Eventually, the rates would be increased again as the railroads would agree not to compete among themselves and would eventually justify the higher rates.

The Justice Department had submitted an amicus curiae brief favoring Georgia's position.

The Governor insisted that the South had to help itself if it was going to progress and not depend on outside help. To make that step, Georgia had to industrialize, said the Governor. And that was the reason for his lawsuit against the railroads. The State could not have industrialization without elimination of discriminatory freight rates, costing the shipper 40 percent more to ship via Southern rails than in the North. Companies did not therefore want to relocate to the South.

Governor Arnall had personally presented the oral argument on January 2 to the Supreme Court and had asked the Court to undertake the unusual move of hearing evidence. The Court was considering the request.

Ultimately, on March 26, the Court, in State of Georgia v. Pennsylvania R. Co., et al., 324 U.S. 439, would rule 5 to 4, in an opinion delivered by Justice William O. Douglas, in favor of the State of Georgia's right to invoke the original jurisdiction of the Court to have it hear the lawsuit alleging conspiracy by the defendant railroads to fix freight rates. The Court determined that, while Federal district courts would be competent to handle many of the issues raised by the lawsuit, the State of Georgia faced difficulty in being able to locate all of the defendants in one Federal judicial district of Georgia, and so, pursuant to the provisions of Clause 1 of Section 2 of Article III of the Constitution, providing jurisdiction of the Federal courts over any case or controversy between a State and citizens of another State, and of Clause 2 of Section 2 of Article III, allowing concurrent but not exclusive jurisdiction of the Supreme Court over any case involving a State as a party, the Court accepted jurisdiction.

The dissent authored by Chief Justice Harlan Stone, and joined by Justices Frankfurter, Jackson, and Roberts, argued that if Georgia were so allowed to sue on behalf of its citizens, then anyone who showed standing by reason of injury from the freight rate structure could sue, inviting the chaos designed to be eliminated by the remedies afforded under the Interstate Commerce Act, establishing the Interstate Commerce Commission for the purpose of determining such rate structures.

Mr. Pearson then recounts an exchange between Secretary of State Stettinius and the press in which the Secretary explained that lend-lease goods were still under the ownership of the United States and could theoretically be re-called if it was determined they were being misused. A journalist then asked him whether that principle could be applied to Sherman tanks being used by the British against the ELAS in Greece. Mr. Stettinius smiled without response.

Marquis Childs looks at the proposed budget for fiscal year 1945-46, with its estimated 88 billion dollars in expenditure, with focus on the State Department. The State Department had increased its budget by over 50 percent to 75 million dollars, to enable the modernization proposed by Edward Stettinius. Most of the increase of 28 million would go to foreign service.

Mr. Childs explains that he had been provided a view of the Department by those who regularly worked there, found that stenographic help was lacking, that the filing system was antiquated, and that the State Department Building was slowly being reduced of space by the White House moving in staffers. While seeming trivial, these problems were, he suggests, important to the day-to-day operation of the Department.

As the President prepared for his trip to meet with Churchill and Stalin in Yalta, the destination not yet announced, the Department had to be able to furnish accurate data to assist the President in his negotiations with Stalin regarding the Balkans, with Churchill regarding the Middle East. Thus, how the basic operations of the Department were run could dramatically impact these key negotiations on the remainder of the war and the structure of the post-war peace.

Samuel Grafton speaks to the notion that the Administration appeared to seek to buck up morale in the country by use of shock on a periodic basis. Meats were being placed back into rationing status; shoes again were said to be scarce. It had been announced by a general that New York might be hit by German robot bombs. Horse racing had been banned at the request of War Mobilizer James Byrnes. Such announcements amounted to dripping fear steadily into the public mind, day by day.

Yet, insists Mr. Grafton, instilling trepidation in the American people would not improve morale. As the previous day, he defines morale by confidence in the ability to solve problems. Voodoo masks were not the answer.

The best step undertaken by the Administration toward building morale, he opines, was to recommend the passage by the Congress of a national service act. The isolationist press had already denounced it as giving too much power to the President over the labor force of the nation and how it was to be utilized. But the act would enable the soldier to know that everyone back home was pulling their fair load in the war effort, and the war workers, tempted to leave to get a beat on the civilian job market before the stampede would come at the end of the fighting, would be encouraged to remain in their essential war jobs. For, otherwise, under the proposed plan, they would then be drafted either for war work or active service, depending on fitness and age.

The country could not build morale with fear any more than one could bake bread with only yeast as an ingredient.

Dorothy Thompson assesses the President's State of the Union message a week earlier, finds it to have been a message aimed at easing tensions between the United States and its Allies, as well as a prudent statement of American foreign policy. He had stated that power on the world stage entailed responsibility in its exercise.

He reaffirmed the principles of the Atlantic Charter and aspiration to their implementation, but also warned against insistence on perfectionism and that the Charter could not be made applicable to each and every situation, though America's influence would be exerted toward its realization through time. During the interim period after liberation, until such time as the liberated peoples could elect their own government, provisional governments inevitably had to be put in place. But, said the President, it was imperative that no such provisional government be allowed to block the people's right to choose eventually their own government.

He had also implored the European countries to abandon their traditional internecine rivalries and recognize their common interests.

Dick Young mentions a Detective L. W. Bowlin of Charlotte whose son was in the Marines, had been in the South Pacific for two and a half years. Detective Bowlin had received from his son a gift of a full Japanese uniform. Whether Detective Bowlin was relation of or the same as "Officer Bowlin" who, in 1937, eventually was cleared of wrongdoing in shooting and killing a black man fleeing from him on foot from a misdemeanor charge, we don't know.

Nor do we know what Detective Bowlin was going to do with his Japanese uniform. Perhaps, wear it during the next murder investigation.

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