America at war! (1941–) – Part 3

2,000 planes blast German oil refinery

U.S. raid follows RAF blow at Hamburg
By Walter Cronkite, United Press staff writer

30,000 Japs die in Marianas drive

Yanks push ahead on Guam, Tinian
By Frank Tremaine, United Press staff writer

Leading Yank ace missing in action

Oil City flier failed to return July 20

British tighten arc on Florence

Allies only five miles from Italian city
By Reynolds Packard, United Press staff writer

‘Lives of great men…’

By Florence Fisher Parry

Alcoa strike taken over by U.S. agencies

Workers face loss of jobs, union warns

Miss Farmer, ex-film star, fined $10 as vagrant

But friendly justice provides the money

Planes sink 2 Jap ships, damage third

Enemy seeks escape from New Guinea trap
By William B. Dickinson, United Press staff writer

Japs claim destruction of 105 U.S. planes

By the United Press

Wolfert: Nazi divisions demoralized as American trap closes

Germans travel in disjointed units trying to hook up with main force
By Ira Wolfert

With U.S. forces, south of Coutances, France – (July 128, delayed)
A string 18 miles long has been drawn around the throats of remnants of perhaps seven German divisions trapped in a triangle whose southernmost point was below Notre-Dame-de-Cenilly when I left the front after 6 o’clock tonight. This string is expected to be the hangman’s rope in another few hours. U.S. armored forces fought through these 18 miles of Germans in exactly 56 hours, once they were shaken loose by the infantry.

The fighting is going on sporadically almost all along the roads running southwest from Canisy to the sea. And the fighting indicates demoralization among the German divisions caught in the triangle

Broken from divisions

The Germans are traveling in disjointed units, some equipped with mobile artillery and mortars and others being merely medical companies or rifle platoons. They seemed to have been broken from their divisions and to be wandering generally in a southeast direction from Coutances trying to join up with the main German forces in the southeastern corner of the Cherbourg Peninsula. The dead of seven German divisions was identified by their insignia in the fighting along the edges of the triangle today.

The only fighting I saw today came when bands of Germans tried to sneak across our line running southwest of Canisy. They were an odd mixture of troops, but were commanded by canny Nazi officers who waited until our column, rumbling past them, offered a soft spot; then they hir with all they had to break through and scoot southeast to safety.

Lie in hiding

These bands of desperate, very frightened men lay in hiding until a segment of our column arrived which offered them the chance of local superiority, then they turned loose their mortars, mobile artillery, machine guns and whatever else they had and tried to force their way through.

As a result, the part of the front I toured, making a circle within view of twin church spires that dominate Coutances, was a series of briefly flaring hotspots, with large, tranquil spaces in between with nobody of lesser rank that of general exactly sure what lay to the right or left or ahead or behind.

The Germans are sharing this confusion. The demoralization of German troops was illustrated by one encounter when howitzers, moving up to support our armor, were attacked by the Germans in force. Rifle fire killed an American riding on the top of a truck and as he fell sideways to the ground Nazi machine guns opened up.

Wreck two tanks

Lt. John Staples of Ardmore, Pennsylvania, led a reconnaissance party down a county lane, saw a German suddenly pop up from behind a hedge and open fire on his party with a bazooka. More Germans with bazookas then opened up, destroying two or three Yank tanks in the party and clipping the rack off the back of the third tank; it wads very fine and very firm-nerved shooting. Lt. Staples cut loose with all his machine guns, while those who could dismount from their vehicles and deployed as infantry and destroyed the bazooka positions.

Then German mortars and machine guns started their brisk fire. Our artillerymen took up rifles and ducked through the fields looking for the Nazis. Florentino Castillo of Hatch, New Mexico; Clayton Long of Niles, Michigan, and Edgar Hess of St. Mary’s West Virginia, were looking along cautiously together. Pvt. Castillo saw a little white dog frisking down the road from a chateau, then saw a German officer strolling casually along behind it, as if out for an afternoon walk. He and the German pointed rifles at each other simultaneously, by Pvt. Castillo shot first and the German was dead before he could pull the trigger, one bullet piercing his heart and two going in his stomach.

Before the echo of Pvt. Castillo’s shots died out, 11 Nazi soldiers climbed out of holes on the chateau grounds and came forward waving upraised arms and shouting, “Kamerad!” They were all that were left of a platoon that had been forced to continue the fighting by the officer holding a gun to their backs. When the officer was killed, they jumped at the chance to surrender.

Nazis demoralized

These German troops were demoralized completely. When I asked one of them what effect the bombing of July 25 had on him, he began to cry. He cried in a broken, helpless fashion, and it was impossible for him to answer my question with words.

For several hours after that, the area was quiet. Then suddenly the firing began again with American cars having to run a gantlet of bullets on high ground just beyond the village. Among the cars manning the gantlet was one bearing senior officers who huddled down low in their jeep and let the bullets clip the hedges alongside them as they passed about their duties. Two lieutenants in a car with a senior officer took up rifles and wanted to go after the German machine guns, and they had to be shouted down by the senior officer.

The officer told me after he finished shouting:

I know exactly how they feel. They had to shout me back to my maps when I took up a Tommy gun to chase some Heinies this morning.

The Luftwaffe made a brief appearance overhead while I was talking with the officer. Eighteen Messerschmitts started strafing but four of our Thunderbolts got on their tails and chased them out of sight. I saw one Messerschmitt nose-diving toward the earth from a thousand feet, with glycol streaming from it.

‘Significant’ survey made in U.S. –
No wonder women drop their shoes in public

Actually corns, flat feet, and arthritis bother them more than dainty shoes reveal

WACs and WAVES near their quota

U.S. minesweeper sunk in the Mediterranean


Dies charges collusion between New Deal and CIO

72 federal officials accused of being ‘in frequent communication’ with union

Washington (UP) –
Charges of collusion between high-ranking government officials and the CIO in promoting the candidacies of New Deal office seekers were under scrutiny today by the House Un-American Activities Committee.

HUAC Chairman Martin Dies (D-TX) yesterday made public a preliminary report charging 72 federal employees with being “in frequent communication” with CIO Political Action Committee officials in recent campaigns. The report included a statement by the committee’s chief investigator, Robert E. Stripling, who said:

From evidence gathered I am of the opinion that the CIO Political Action Committee is in reality not so much of a labor political committee as it is the political arm of the New Deal administration.

While it is true the top officials of the PAC are identified with labor, yet the people who are actually running the organization seem to have no background with labor, but are fresh out of the government.

Among those listed in this category are C. B. Baldwin (former Farm Security Administrator, now assistant PAC chairman), and C. A. McPeak (former employee of the War Production Board), Raymond S. McKeough (former Illinois Congressman), Charlotte Carr (former War Manpower Commission employee) and George S. Mitchell (former Assistant Federal Security Administrator – all now with the PAC).

The report implicated Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt through alleged telephone calls to her from Mr. Baldwin and PAC Chairman Sidney Hillman, and through alleged communications and White House visits by Verga Barnes, head of the CIO Women’s Division who was charged with “influencing” the recent defeat of Senator D. Worth Clark (D-ID).

Starnes defeat cited

The report also said the PAC might have engineered the defeat of Rep. Joe Starnes (D-AL), Dies Committee vice chairman.

The report said:

Since he was only defeated by a few hundred votes it might well be that the influence and interference of L. S. Morgan, director of the Federal Security Administration, might have been the determining factor.

Mr. Morgan was one of those listed as being in “frequent communication” with the PAC.

Among high-ranking government officials accused in the report are Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins, David K. Niles and Jonathan Daniels (administrative assistants to President Roosevelt), Lowell Mellett (a former administrative assistant), Chairman Maury Maverick of the Smaller War Plants Corporation, Samuel Rosenman (special counsel to the President), Price Administrator Chester Bowles and Director Elmer Davis of the Office of War Information.

Phone calls cited

Mr. Stripling’s report was made public by Dies’ Washington office after the committee chairman sent copies together with a 39-page supplement containing names and dates of alleged telephone calls between government employees and PAC officials, to each committee member.

The report did not explain how Mr. Stripling got his information, which caused considerable agitation a few weeks ago when columnist Westbrook Pegler revealed some of the purported details.

Mr. Dies asked the members to study the material and report whether they preferred to turn it over to Attorney General Francis Biddle or to make a fuller investigation themselves.

Eberharter objects

Rep, J. Parnell Thomas (R-NJ), Fred E. Busbey (R-IL) and Karl E. Mundt (R-SD) replied immediately that there should be an immediate and more thorough investigation.

Rep. Herman P. Eberharter (D-PA) said a meeting should be called as soon as Mr. Dies was able to attend. He added that he didn’t like “remote control” from Mr. Dies’ home in Jasper, Texas.

Mr. Dies, who has been the target for many PAC attacks, did not seek reelection this year because of a throat ailment and will cease to hold office at the close of the present term of Congress. He has been recuperating at his home.

Will study charges

Assistant Attorney General James P. McGranary said his office had received no information from the Dies Committee in regard to the charges, but that “if and when any was turned over, it would be studied carefully.”

He said:

We’ll weigh it out carefully and if there appears to be any evidence of Hatch Act violations, we’ll make a thorough investigation.

Editorial: Strength and versatility

Editorial: Back to Guam


Editorial: Nepotism in high places

Putting one’s kinfolk on the public payroll is a common practice among politicians.

It has been indulged since the Roman Empire and probably will go on until Doomsday.

Oh, it goes on in private business, too. And likewise rankles the other payrollers, especially if the favored son or brother or uncle happens to be averse to work and gets special breaks over the heads of the common slaves.

But the politicians seem to have an extra weakness for the practice. Every so often a political adversary or the newspapers will list the nepotic beneficiaries and their benefactors – and it creates a great one-day sensation. But the practice keeps going.

Some of the politicians do it to get their poor relatives off their back, some to keep peace in the family and some just because they can’t resist looking out for their kinfolk. Occasionally, of course, there is real merit in those appointments.

Senator Truman, the vice-presidential nominee, explains that his wife is on the Congressional payroll at $4,500 a year because “she is my chief adviser,” who also takes care of his personal mail and helps him with his speeches. It can be said in rebuttal, of course, that she needn’t be on the payroll to do all those things.

In any case, nepotism is one of those phenomena of political life which never fail to stir up interest but don’t amount to much, either.

The public seems to regard it as a sort of snide practice. For this reason, the politicians generally agree it is not smart politics – but even the smartest fall for it.


Editorial: ‘Dangerous’ documents

Congress has a law which says that books which contain political opinion must not be mailed to our fighting men overseas.

In attempting to enforce this law, the War Department has issued a prohibition against such “dangerous” works as Catherine Drinker Bowen’s biography of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Charles A. Beard’s The Republic and the Atlantic Monthly and Harper’s.

The War Department is doubtless acting in strict accordance with the law. But if it keeps on along this line, as it is presumed to do, it has its work cut out.

Potential political controversy can be found beneath the covers of many an innocent-looking book.

Here, for example, are a few bits of perilous propaganda that come immediately to mind. We pass them along to the War Department with best wishes:

  • The Collected Works of Horatio Alger Jr. – These, of course, are out-and-out glorification of free enterprise, a strong Republican selling point in 1944.

  • The Novels of Charles Dickens – Full of substantial wage scales, long hours with no overtime, and other examples of exploitation; many of these books attack capitalists as powerfully as anything Henry Wallace ever wrote.

  • Robinson Crusoe – Unblushing argument for isolationism.

  • Browning’s “Rabbi ben Ezra” – With its invitation to “Grow old along with me,” and its statement that “Youth shows but half,” this poem is clearly a pro-Roosevelt rebuttal to charges of an aging administration.

  • “Jack and the Beanstalk” – A subtle allegory about the triumph of a smaller and younger adversary over a big, tough opponent, strictly pro-Dewey (David and Goliath will have to go too, of course). And that song, “Fe-fi-fo-fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman,” is fiercely anti-British.

  • “Mother Goose” – These verses are particularly insidious, and must be thoroughly purged. “Old Mother Hubbard” plays up the food shortage; “Little Tommy Tucker,” who sang for his supper and fared so badly, is a thinly veiled prediction that a similar fate awaits Tommy Dewey, one-time baritone; “A Dillar, a Dollar” and “Little Boy Blue” emphasize absenteeism, are definitely anti-labor.

This list must be carried on and on if our servicemen are to be isolated completely from all printed political opinion. The only alternative is to change or repeal the law and treat the soldiers as if they were mature, thinking humans who did not lose all power of independent judgment when they put on a uniform.


Heath: GOP waits for Willkie to hop on bandwagon

By S. Burton Heath

While Peter Edson is absent from Washington, Mr. Heath’s series from Albany is being substituted.

Albany, New York –
Apparently, Governor Dewey is either impervious or oblivious to the strain, if any. Perhaps Wendell Willkie is, too. But a lot of lay Republicans and probably some Democrats wish something would break the existing impasse and disclose what part the 1940 standard-bearer is going to play in the 1944 election.

Polls, primaries and the party convention appeared to demonstrate that the Republican electorate preferred Governor Dewey to Mr. Willkie. Nevertheless, there is a very large segment that respects the latter highly, and a substantial body of voters with whom his stand, if not compelling, might be influential.

Governor Dewey shies away from any attempt to get him to discuss the Willkie situation. It should be noted, however, that he does so without prejudice, leaving the door open for Mr. Willkie to do this year what Mr. Dewey did in 1940.

Then, it will be recalled, Mr. Dewey appeared to have the nomination pretty well sewed up. At the last minute, an almost evangelical wave swept Mr. Willkie into the candidacy and left Mr. Dewey gasping on the shore.

Among politicians and newspapermen, it was no secret that Mr. Dewey was burned to a crisp. For a few days he sizzled, off the record except for one betrayal of confidence. Then he calmed down and went to work for the man who had done him out of the nomination.

Lent advisers

When Mr. Willkie’s early campaign threatened to explode from the lack of management, like a tanker of aviation gasoline hit by a torpedo, Mr. Dewey gave leave of absence to his personal publicity man, Lemoyne Jones, to help out. He lent the services of his personal adviser on government finance, Elliott V. Bell, now his superintendent of banks.

He took to the stump for the Willkie ticket, making two speeches near New York City and two midwestern trips in the course of which he spoke in Saginaw, Pittsburgh, Peoria, Caldwell (Idaho), Kansas City and Cleveland.

The grounds for personal bitterness between the two men were no less then than they are now; the bases of their philosophical disagreement were probably greater inasmuch as Mr. Willkie was a foremost interventionist while Mr. Dewey at that time leaned against intervention.

Therefore Republicans, including many of Mr. Willkie’s more ardent adherents in 1940 and up to the time he stepped out of this year’s race, wonder what formula can be found for bringing the two men together now, for the good of the party, and, as they see it, for the good of the country.

Democrats want breach

Democrats and other Roosevelt supporters hope that the present breach can be kept open or even widened. They would like to see Mr. Willkie bolt back to his old party or take an ostentatious walk for the duration of the campaign.

Realists doubt that this will occur. Conceding that Mr. Willkie is utterly sincere and would subordinate personal advantage to principles, they insist that he would lose every possibility of putting across his beliefs if he were either to bolt or to walk. They point, as evidence, to the innocuous desuetude in which Al Smith and John W. Davis now stagnate politically.

The difficulty appears to be in finding a way to establish the first contact without embarrassment to either man. Deweyites appear to feel that their leader went as far as he well could when, at his first press conference after the nomination, he was asked: “Will Mr. Willkie be invited into conference on campaign strategy?”

He replied:

I certainly hope to consult all leaders of the Republican Party and receive the benefit of their advice.

“Including Willkie?”

“Certainly,” said Mr. Dewey.



Ferguson: Drafted candidates

By Mrs. Walter Ferguson

I’m sick of the use of the word “draft” when applied to politicians. Mr. Dewey, we hear, was drafted by the Republicans. Going them one better, the Democrats say Mr. Roosevelt was “drafted” by the people.

Neither statement is true. Everybody knows that both men planned their campaigns far ahead and through their party emissaries strengthened their political fences.

For years, our candidates have connived for voting supremacy, have taken full advantage of every mistake made by the opposition, and have never for a moment considered leaving undone anything that might get them into the White House.

Applied to their case, the word “draft” is misused. In its military connotation, the word means a person is selected to perform military service. When he is placed in a position for action, if he dodges that duty, he may be shot.

But nobody would have gone gunning for Mr. Roosevelt or Mr. Dewey if either gentleman had said firmly that he did not choose to serve. On the contrary, many people would have been relieved at the news. The parties would have found other candidates and no doubt would have gone to the same extravagant lengths in ballyhooing them.

Since it is generally conceded that the 1944 campaign will be a hard-fought battle, it is rather farfetched to say that President Roosevelt has been drafted for his fourth term. The people aren’t nitwits and so it’s time they raised their voices to repudiate all such ridiculous claims.

No matter who wins, his election will constitute neither a draft nor a unified will of the voters. It’s going to be the same old nip-and-tuck fight until November, which is our way of doing things – and a way that suits us. But in respect for the precise language, let’s use the right words.

Soldiers are drafted for military service. Candidates run for political office.


Background of news –
Politics four years ago

By Bertram Benedict

A political lull has set in following the two national conventions. It was not so four years ago.

Immediately after the close of the 1940 Democratic Convention, various eminent Democrats announced that they would support Wendell Willkie; Senator Burke, defeated for renomination in the Nebraska primaries several months previously; former Senator James A. Reed of Missouri, who called a meeting of anti-Roosevelt Democrats to map plans to defeat President Roosevelt; former Budget Director Lewis Douglas; former Under Secretaries of the Treasury John W. Hanes and Thomas J. Coolidge; former Democratic National Chairman John J. Raskob; Mrs. Al Smith.

President Roosevelt paid his respects to some of these bolters at a press conference at Hyde Park. He said the Democrats had repudiated Senator Burke rather than the other way around. He charged that Messrs. Douglas and Hanes while in government service had been found to be more interested in “dollars than in humanity.”

Pointing out that Mr. Reed had bolted the Democratic Party also in 1932, 1936 and 1938, the President intimated that by acting as legal counsel for a Kansas City garment factory owned by his wife and contesting a National Labor Relations Board order, Mr. Reed had tried to perpetuate sweatshop conditions.

President wrong on Farley

James A. Farley announced he would resign as DNC Chairman within a month. President Roosevelt called the rumor that Mr. Farley would also resign as Postmaster General “just another story out of Chicago.” Mr. Farley resigned as Postmaster General in the following month.

Wendell Willkie was vacationing in Colorado and writing his acceptance address to be delivered in mid-August. He journeyed to Cheyenne, Wyoming, to make a speech, and pledged that a Republican administration would hold down big government as well as big business. Mr. Willkie predicted that he would carry some Southern states. “Jeffersonian” Democrats set up a pro-Willkie organization in the South.

An American Institute of Public Opinion poll showed that 59 percent of the voters opposed, 41 percent favored, an amendment limiting a President to two terms. Another poll from the same source showed that 73 percent of American farmers thought that Henry A. Wallace had done a “good job” as Secretary of Agriculture. Congress was in session. There was talk of investigating alleged wiretapping by the office of District Attorney Thomas E. Dewey.

The Senate Military Affairs Committee was preparing to report out the conscription bill. President Roosevelt laid an embargo on exports of petroleum products and scrap metal. He was making plans to exchange 50 overage destroyers with Great Britain for leases on air and naval bases. He signed a bill to expand the Navy.

Just after Dunkirk

Americans were sobered by the recent surrender of France and the British evacuation at Dunkirk. In a radio address, Hitler called on Britain to surrender or be ruined. Lord Halifax, then the British Foreign Secretary, replied that the British would fight on; the Nazi press charged that the British had been encouraged by promises of support from President Roosevelt.

Germany launched the Battle of Britain, intended to crush Great Britain from the air.

Ambassador William C. Bullitt, returning from France, praised Marshal Pétain. He denied that the new French state was a Fascist one and that it was dominated by Pierre Laval.

The Soviet Union absorbed Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia; Under Secretary of State Welles denounced the move as “annihilating” the three Baltic states by “devious processes.”

Editorial: Churches face problem of returning vets