Monday, May 14, 1945

The Charlotte News

Monday, May 14, 1945


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that a record 500 B-29's raided Nagoya this date, dropping 3,500 tons of a new type of incendiary bomb, a gasoline jelly bomb—presumably napalm, reported as being used the previous late July and early August. It was the first daylight raid on Japan of its type. There were so many waves of B-29's that by the time the first of the planes had returned from their missions, the last planes were just taking off on the 3,000-mile roundtrip from the Marianas.

Losses were reported light, little opposition encountered, damage extensive. Smoke rose 17,000 feet from all parts of the city.


Tokyo radio reported that two Navy task forces had launched a two-day, 900-plane attack on southern Japan. Each task force reportedly had two or three carriers and battleships. The broadcast also indicated new Third Fleet attacks on the Ryukyus.

Premier Suzuki called upon the 46 prefectural governors of Japan to rally the people to the defense of the homeland.

On Okinawa, the Japanese had moved up fresh reinforcements and let loose artillery barrages to stop the American offensive which had reached the outskirts of Naha. The Marines moved into the business district, assaulting a hill position occupied by the enemy near the center of the Okinawa line. An increasing number of one-man suicide charges were occurring as the city, mined and booby-trapped, had been reduced mainly to rubble.

Marines of the Sixth Division moving down the west coast of the island fought to the northern bank of the Asato River, running through Naha. The Japanese poured artillery, mortar fire, and small-arms fire into the tank-led column to try to prevent the American forces from crossing the river.

Assistant commander, Brig. General William Clement told A. P. correspondent Vern Haugland that he believed the Marines could swarm through the center of the capital this day.

The Tenth Army quickly landed on and occupied Tori Shima, 55 miles west of Okinawa, finding it mostly unoccupied. The island was useful only as an observation post.

The 24th Infantry Division continued its assault on Davao on Mindanao. The Japanese were pouring troops and rocket fire into the area northwest of Davao to try to pin the 24th near Davao Gulf, to halt the advance between the Talomo and Davao Rivers.

The 40th Division, newly landed on Thursday at Macalajar Bay, was speeding toward juncture with the 31st Division, less than 60 miles away at captured Maramag airfield, in an attempt to bisect the island. The 40th captured Del Monte and its three airfields and advanced two miles beyond the point.

In northeastern New Guinea, the Sixth Division Australians captured Wewak, previously by-passed by the Americans. The island, having held out for over two years, was taken following a landing on Friday. There was still strong enemy resistance in the western section of the island. Aussie troops approached from both west and east to trap the remaining defenders.

On Tarakan off Borneo, the Dutch and Australian troops, having captured the island's oil fields, sent out patrols but encountered few enemy defenders.

On Luzon, the Sixth Army maintained pressure on Balete Pass leading to the Cagayan Valley in the north, and tightened pincers on the Ipo Dam area east of Manila.

In Europe, four Russian armies were overrunning the last pockets of German resistance in the woods of Czechoslovakia and Alpine regions of Austria, as 360,000 German prisoners had been taken in the previous 24 hours. The Germans were commanded by Field Marshal Ferdinand Schoerner, accused war criminal, and Col. General Otto Woehler. The Third SS "Death's Head" Panzer Division was among those surrendering. Some 1,060,000 Germans had been captured since V-E Day on May 8. The Russians counted 2,860,000 killed or captured since their final offensive had begun January 12 and 12,600,000 since the beginning of the war with Russia, June 22, 1941.

Prime Minister Churchill gave a worldwide radio address Sunday night in which he stated that the job was not done for Britain in the war until Japan would be defeated. He stressed also that the job still lay ahead of creating the world organization at San Francisco. Until both of those tasks were completed, he indicated, he did not intend voluntarily to relinquish his position as Prime Minister.

General Eisenhower announced that there would no more chicken and peas or other luxuries offered to captured Hermann Goering and other high Nazis. Reports from the Seventh Army the previous Wednesday had it that he had been provided lunch consisting of chicken and peas at the headquarters of Maj. General John E. Dahlquist, commander of the 36th (Texas) Division. General Dahlquist posed for pictures with Herr Goering and Brigadier General Robert Stack of Schenectady.

The London News Chronicle had reacted with disdain at the report, stating, "Because he is fat he is not kind." (The meaning of that statement, if read too quickly, could have applied also to the Prime Minister. But that was not the intent, we gather. One has to inflect it with a British accent to give it proper sense.)

The London Evening Star demanded that Admiral Karl Doenitz, still acting Fuehrer, and other high Nazis still at large be taken prisoner and placed in concentration camps. Among the others named by the newspaper was Field Marshal Ernest Busch, claiming to be commander of the northern area already surrendered to the British. The London Evening News likewise was appalled by the continued claim of power of these Nazis, reporting that a Flensburg radio broadcast had stated that Busch had asserted control of Schleswig-Holstein, occupied by Field Marshal Sir Bernard Montgomery's forces.

Supreme Allied Headquarters in Paris announced that, following its week-long investigation into the early release of the story of the German surrender the previous Monday, Associated Press correspondent Edward Kennedy was being sent back to the United States with his press credential for further coverage of the war disaccredited. Morton Gudebrand, also of the A. P., was likewise disaccredited and ordered to leave for his part in the release of the story. Robert Bunnelle, managing executive of the United Kingdom bureau of the A.P., was cleared of any wrongdoing in the matter and had his credential reinstated.

Charlotte City Attorney C. W. Tillett had decided to attend on his own the San Francisco Conference and The News had asked him to send back reports if he would, supplied him with a press credential when he obliged. His first installment appears on the page, giving his impression of a press conference held by the Baltic States at the St. Francis Hotel—the hotel in front of which President Ford would be fired upon by Sara Jane Moore in 1975.

It turned out that the sponsors were not, per se, the Baltic States but U. S. citizens of Lithuanian, Latvian, and Estonian descent. They complained of the countries being taken over by the Russians and not being represented at the San Francisco Conference.

Mr. Tillett inquired of what the spokesperson, a judge from Maryland, would propose with regard to a representative government, since to invite the three present Soviet-dominated governments would effectively increase the votes of the Soviet Union by three. His response had been that they did not wish to invite the current governments. Mr. Tillett, however, came away from the press conference confused as to what precisely was being proposed.

While on the subject of special reports on the San Francisco Conference, we note again that 27-year old John F. Kennedy was specially covering the conference for the Hearst newspapers, specifically the New York Journal-American. His reports also appeared in the Chicago Herald-American. His eleven pieces may be read at the JFK Library site, in their original page format. Most of the pieces appeared with Lt. Kennedy's photograph, most in uniform, with a short biographical sketch prefacing each piece, explaining that he recently had been discharged from the Navy, had been decorated for his heroism in the August 2, 1943 PT-109 incident, was the son of former Ambassador to Great Britain Joseph P. Kennedy, and had been the author of the 1940 best-seller Why England Slept, his Harvard senior honors thesis expanded to book form, anent the reasons and consequences for Britain ignoring Germany's rearmament during the Thirties.

The articles varied in topics pertinent to the conference, spanning the dates from May 2 to May 23, with an additional piece datelined London on June 23. They are navigable on the same basis as our maps, from one article to the next via the side arrows which appear when moused-over.

This experience, walking in the near company of top world officials and officials of the State Department, Congress and the Senate, no doubt proved beneficial in Mr. Kennedy's run the following year for Congress out of Boston.

On May 18, he wrote:

There is growing discouragement among people concerning our chances of winning any lasting peace from this war. There is talk of fighting the Russians in the next 10 to 15 years. We have indeed gone a long way since those hopeful days early in the war when we talked of union now and one world.

It is understandable that some people should feel this way. They have seen in the last two months a growing friction between the Big Three, which has resulted in a sharp deterioration in their relationship.

The incidents causing this friction have been numerous—the composition of the Polish government, the arrest of the 16 Poles, the disagreement over the new Austrian government, the unauthorized seizure of Triest by Tito—the list is long and is growing.

What these disagreements have demonstrated clearly is that there is a fundamental distrust between Great Britain and the United States on the one hand, and Russia on the other. It is this distrust—which is becoming deeper—that is causing grave concern and considerable discouragement.

We note that on May 21, the future Congressman, Senator, and President appeared incognito, probably the result of some secret undercover operation being performed for the Government—or a bad hair day. Perhaps, it contributed to Dave Powers and Kenneth O'Donnell having later titled their portrait of the late President, Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye.

Probably not.

Whether "the other JFK", as that one came to be known, regularly rode the Hyde Street Line during the conference was not indicated, probably classified.

In any event, should you bump into him in San Francisco someday when you least expect it, then you will know the Truth. San Francisco is an intellectual sort of town.

The Office of Price Administration announced an increase of half a million tires to the civilian marketplace, representing a 50 percent increase in quotas.

V-rrroooom. Hot dang. Let's peel some rubber.

On the editorial page, "Statesmen's Hire" advocated the proposed allotment of $2,500 per year in expenses for members of Congress. The present system allotted only $700 per year for secretarial supplies, free telegraph service, clerk hire, mailing privileges, 20 cents per mile for one roundtrip in each session, and ten long distance calls per month for Senators, none for Representatives. To attract better members to Congress, it was urged that allowing higher expenses would help.

Just ask Checkers.

"Repeat Clients" discusses the Kilgore-Walter Bill before Congress which sought to have individual consideration of punishment in Federal criminal cases rather than the blanket treatment presently in operation. During an indeterminate six-month interval following initial sentencing, the prisoner would undergo analysis by psychiatrists to determine his proper length of sentence.

Something of the same sort is recommended by the editorial for the state system. It cites a case in which a man awaiting trial on a charge of murder for beating another man's head in with a hammer had a lengthy adult record, from 1935, including two convictions and several arrests for theft or breaking and entering. On the last conviction in 1938, he had been sentenced to prison for four to seven years on larceny. It was example of how the prison system failed to rehabilitate.

"As Amended" approves, with one amendment, the proposal by Congressman Joe Ervin, Sam Ervin's older brother, serving in his first four months in office, regarding the bill to make permanent the Fair Employment Practices Committee. He wanted to assemble 25 select representatives from each Congressional district to act as a sounding board on the proposed commission before it was created.

The editorial expressed its apprehension regarding the bill, that it would inevitably create damage in the regions where it was designed to be ameliorative of racial discrimination, that is, in the South. But, the piece also recognizes that the bill's defeat would spell no progress for blacks in either human or economic relations within the society.

So, the editorial suggests an amendment whereby, should the 25 representatives decline approval of the bill, then each Congressman should inquire of them: "Well, now, what in its place shall we propose in order to improve the job opportunities and the living standards of the American Negro?"

Good question. Ask Timahoe.

"Demonstration" remarks that the City Council and School Board had refused to act on the recommendation of the Optimists Club that public grounds be denied to Jehovah's Witnesses and similar organizations for assembly. But, rather than feeling put down, the Optimists ought look on the bright side, it suggests, and see that they had performed a kind of public service by allowing the community to be reminded that the First Amendment was designed to protect not just the orthodox view but most especially the radicals and non-conformists. Only by protecting the least popular and savory in the society can the freedom be assured of being maintained for everyone. As long as the Witnesses broke no laws of the community, then they should not be treated any differently, regardless of their pacifist stands on the war and refusal to enter the service of their country.

The excerpt from the Congressional Record has Representative Clare Boothe Luce responding to a question put by Representative George Dondero of Michigan, asking how she had found, on her recent tour of the Western Front, the German people to be responding to Britain and the United States. She stated that in her limited conversations in broken German she had gleaned that they demonstrated neither remorse nor regret for the war they had started and that both America and Britain had been very stupid to intercede in a war in which their own interests were not directly at stake and the real enemy had been Bolshevism.

Ms. Luce found, by contrast, that the attitude of the Italian people was that they had been wrong to have entered the war on the side of the Axis.

Mr. Dondero then asked whether it was not true that when she and the delegation from Congress had toured the liberated concentration camps, they had been considerably cleaned up by the time the delegation arrived.

Ms. Luce responded that Buchenwald and Nordhausen had been considerably cleaned up by the time of her arrival, but that still many bodies remained piled up in wagons and in courtyards, and evidence remained of great suffering having transpired in these places. Most of the dead, however, had been removed and all of those in need of immediate medical care had been taken by the Red Cross and the military to hospitals. Yet, at Buchenwald, there were a hundred or so men too weak to be moved, lying on the floor in wooden barracks, being spoon fed very carefully.

She added that the debate on a hard peace versus a soft peace for Germany was greatly an academic question for the fact that virtually all of Germany lay in ruins, its largest cities utterly destroyed. If the Allies did nothing to make the conditions more severe for Germans than they already were, the peace would be a "hard peace".

Drew Pearson discusses the plan of Admiral William Leahy in 1937-38, then Chief of Naval Operations, which might have prevented the war against Japan. It was now being examined afresh on Capitol Hill as a means of finishing the Pacific war. The plan was believed to be able to save thousands of lives of Americans and demonstrate how wars could be won or prevented through use of naval blockade.

His plan, at the outset of Japan's war against China in Manchuria in 1937, had been to erect a naval blockade of Japan in cooperation with the British Fleet, to be performed under the auspices of the League of Nations and the Nine-Power Pact. He advocated keeping the Navy in the Philippines and, with the British Navy at Singapore, thereby to cut off the supply of oil, scrap iron, copper, cotton, and other vital war materials to Japan. Without those supplies, he had argued, the Japanese war machine would dry up in six months.

President Roosevelt had agreed with the plan and so had the British. But just as the British, in late summer, 1937, dispatched for Singapore six battleships, twelve cruisers, and twenty destroyers, Italy, having gotten wind of what was happening, began submarine warfare off the coast of Spain and caused the British ships to be bottled up at Gibraltar.

In October, FDR had revived the idea and sent Norman Davis, head of the Red Cross to Brussels to meet with the Nine-Power Pact nations considering actions to stop the Sino-Japanese war. The President gave his Chicago speech at that time, warning of a quarantine were not the unnamed "outlaw nations" to desist in their aggression.

But the Brussels conference fizzled, in large part because of efforts from within the State Department seeking to undermine its success, as many of the career diplomats believed the Axis should be provided more room to work, not less, out of the notion that the real menace was Communist Russia. The isolationist press, led by the Chicago Tribune and the New York News, had also undermined the policy by launching editorial campaigns that President Roosevelt was attempting to drag the country into war. Mr. Pearson notes that after Pearl Harbor, the same newspapers yelled about foot-dragging of the Administration.

The plan was dropped but brought forth again sometime later, in the wake of the sinking in December, 1937, (not December, 1938 as Mr. Pearson states), of the U.S. gunboat Panay and the British gunboat Ladybird. Admiral Leahy had urged in December, 1937 to Cordell Hull that the quarantine plan be put into effect, but former Ambassador to Germany Hugh Wilson disagreed with the proposed policy and eventually convinced Mr. Hull that quarantine was too aggressive as a remedy, that appeasement of Japan at this juncture would be the better course.

With Mr. Pearson's timetable off a year, he states that then came Hitler's move into Poland, less than two years later, not one. That tied down the British Fleet and the prospect of quarantine was automatically thereby removed from the table.

No one had ever understood, he says, why the United States thereafter increased the shipments of scrap iron and oil to Japan, a policy primarily the responsibility of Ambassador to Japan Joseph Grew, now Undersecretary of State.

Now, says Mr. Pearson, for the first time since September, 1939, the British Navy was released from its duties in Europe and could be used to construct a blockade of Japan. Russian submarines were also freed for Pacific duty. And the U.S. Navy operating in Atlantic and Mediterranean waters could now see service in the Pacific.

So the Senators brushing off the Leahy quarantine plan viewed it as a means of saving potentially thousands of American lives, to avoid having to wage a costly invasion of the Japanese mainland. They argued instead for intensification of the B-29 raids and establishing a naval blockade thusly on all shipping into Japan. They estimated that Japan could hold out under those conditions only for a few months. The Navy, however, opposed the idea at this stage.

On the other side of the coin, not explored by Mr. Pearson, the primary reason against blockade in 1937 was that it was believed that it would have the effect of hastening the stimulation of war by the Japanese against the weaker American Fleet, inviting attack should the Fleet be moved from Pearl Harbor to the Philippines, much closer to Japan. Pearl Harbor was considered insulated from attack by virtue of 4,000 miles of ocean, at the time thought vulnerable only to isolated submarine attacks, a distance from Japan not traversible by a fleet sufficient to carry an air armada within range of Oahu, the improbablility of which being that enabling the attack in 1941 to succeed. It was for this same reason that the supplies of oil and scrap iron to Japan were increased, premised on the idea that a supplied Japan would stem the tide of quest for empire in the south, Malaysia and the Dutch East Indies. It was only when the Japanese occupied, with the blessings of Vichy, French Indo-China in July, 1941 as a base of operations that the flow of oil and scrap iron, and all other vital war goods, was finally cut off with embargo. That became the quid pro quo, the re-establishment of that trade only upon agreement to withdraw from Indo-China and desist from further aggression in China, of negotiations between Cordell Hull and Japanese Ambassador Kichisiburo Nomura, joined eventually by special envoy Saburo Kurusu in November, ongoing for the months preceding the attack.

Quarantine, to be effective, required a superior Navy to that of the enemy, one closer to supply lines than the enemy. Both factors worked against the idea in 1937, with ranges of aircraft short and extendable only by carrier-borne operations, based on an American Fleet stripped after World War I, outdated in what was still afloat, with little prospect of great improvement for a couple of years, and the Congress stuck in an isolationist mold, unwilling to appropriate the vast sums necessary to build an effective air force and modernize the Navy, both steps believed, prior to Pearl Harbor, to be invitations to warfare with both Germany and Japan.

In a different era, however, the plan of naval quarantine would be dusted off in October, 1962 by the Kennedy Administration during the thirteen-day Cuban Missile Crisis and used to great effect to avert exchange of thermonuclear weapons and probably to save not just thousands but literally millions of lives, perhaps even Western civilization.

Samuel Grafton writes of the continuing power of certain Nazis, notably Admiral Doenitz and Von Krosigk, the foreign minister appointed during the last week of the Reich before surrender. The failure to cut off the power of these men and put them in prisoner-of-war camps was increasingly portraying a policy to the Germans of lack of resolve by the Allies that "unconditional surrender" meant complete dissolution of the former German State and the prospect of creation of a new one based on democratic principles.

He cites as example the surrender of the German 82nd Corps in Berchtesgaden, performed in haughty fashion, bringing stocks of champagne and cognac along with them, mounting their own guards over the supplies, retaining keys to their vehicles, demanding accommodations for their women. The G.I.'s did not know how to respond, were irritated but not reactive to the situation.

In this manner, suggests Mr. Grafton, the Germans were subtly seeking to maintain a semblance of the Nazi past. Doenitz had called for "unity" of the German people and "discipline" in the peace, but that call appeared now as being solicitous of German forgiveness of the Nazi Party, urging, in effect, Germans to remain one with it. He had called for disbanding of the Werewolves, the young Nazi guerillas of the mountains, in the West, but had not mentioned anything of the guerillas in the East, implying that they should remain active against the Russians.

"Our ends in Germany will not be served by Doenitz's kind of 'unity' and 'discipline;' we need a period in which leading Nazis are cut away from the body of the German Reich as by a knife, cut clean and quick, to permit the later reintegration of the German people."

Marquis Childs reports of the clarification of the problems surrounding the domestic food shortage, to help ultimately alleviate the problems of liberated Europe.

Samuel I. Rosenman had released a report, as summarized by the White House, stating that the future of Europe depended on restoration of the economies of France, Belgium, and Holland. Coal was one of the most important keys to that recovery, coal from German mines in need of coal mining equipment.

Then President Truman rebuked the critics of OPA, as controls needed to be maintained post-war to enable feeding of Europe to prevent chaos and pestilence.

The House special committee investigating the food shortage, headed by Representative Clinton Anderson, had issued a set of recommendations to help alleviate the food shortage, proposing that farmers produce more food and that food production be coordinated. Chiselers in one line of production could throw out of balance the entire food production economy. Beef in the hands of black marketeers had disrupted the chain of production, causing the public to turn to poultry, potentially disrupting egg production. A black marketeer had gone to an owner of 3,000 laying hens and offered $9,000 for the lot, a good way to start a shortage in eggs.

Mr. Childs concludes by saying that, like it or not, the world was bound together as one, as the late Wendell Willkie had argued in his 1943 work, and when individuals went against the rules designed to protect all, then all suffered.

Dorothy Thompson describes V-E Day in Jerusalem. The Palestine Symphony Orchestra, formed by Arturo Toscanini and Bronislaw Huberman, had just finished playing Sir Edward Elgar's "Variation on an Original Theme". The audience stood to leave during an intermission when suddenly the flags of the United States, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union were unfurled. The guest conductor from Liverpool stepped forward and stated, "The London radio has just announced we no longer are at war with Germany." Following a brief pause, applause and cheers erupted, though without the atmosphere of carnival. Tears came from the eyes of the audience as they applauded, reports Ms. Thompson, as if each was seeing before his or her mind's eye the loss of a loved one either in the camps or in battle.

The orchestra then played the national anthems. One man sang in solo the Russian anthem through to its end. Then came the Jewish anthem, "Hatikvah".

As she stepped outside the concert hall into the cool evening air of Jerusalem, the words of Isaiah "seemed whispered on the wind—Wonderful Counselor—Everlasting Father—Prince of Peace."

She shares her thoughts at the time and says that those who passed her on the street uttered simply "Shalom."

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