America at war! (1941–) – Part 4

White House Statement on Labor Day
September 2, 1944

American workers can observe this Labor Day in the proud knowledge that in the battle of production their free labor is triumphing over slave labor. It was their determination to safeguard liberty and to preserve their American heritage for coming generations that made possible the greatest production achievement in the world’s history.

Our soldiers, sailors, and marines are carrying on an amazing offensive all over the world. They are doing it with the finest weapons in the world – weapons which have been made possible only by the unwavering loyalty and unflagging resolution of the workers and managers of our industries.

The position of our battle lines in Italy, in France, and in the Pacific zone today is greatly dependent on the production miracle which labor and management and farmers have accomplished.

We now have the enemy on the run. Yet we must face the prospect that the hardest fighting and the biggest job of supply are still ahead of us. Our needs for the products of our industries, mines, and farms – weapons, raw materials, transportation, and food – are as urgent as ever.

Our immediate job is victory. To attain it quickly will require the fullest utilization of our manpower and woman power in the production of the necessary weapons of war. American labor can be depended on, I know, to continue to devote itself primarily to that task.

Once the forces of tyranny have been overcome, we shall be faced with difficult problems of transition from war to peace. There will be matters of international arrangements as well as questions of internal economic policy. What we do in both spheres will affect our success in attaining a durable world peace – a peace which will contribute to the progress of mankind, and will give to all who work and produce, an opportunity constantly to better their own lives.

In the solution of these problems, we will need the cooperation of free American workers, free American employers, and free American farmers. I am confident that we shall have it in days of peace as we have had it in days of war.

Supreme HQ Allied Expeditionary Force (September 3, 1944)

Communiqué No. 148

Allied forces expanding their drive north from ARRAS have crossed VIMY RIDGE and occupied LENS and BULLY-GRENAY. To the east, we have taken DOUAI and a thrust westward has brought us to the area of SAINT-POL.

On the Channel coast SAINT-VALERY-EN-CAUX is in our hands. We have reached ABBEVILLE and closed on the SOMME between there and the sea.

In the area of the FORÊT DE COMPIÈGNE, northeast of PARIS, advances were made against varying resistance. The AISNE River was crossed west of SOISSONS.

A thrust northeast of MONTCORNET has put us across the BELGIAN frontier.

Further south, progress continues east of VERDUN.

Bad weather again hindered air operations over northeastern FRANCE. A force of heavy bombers attacked shipping at BREST.

The Pittsburgh Press (September 3, 1944)

Forts in Maginot Line captured

Radio Atlantic reports Yanks also in Reich; British sweep ahead

Battle of Belgium begins as front dispatches say U.S. forces drove across the Belgium border after capturing the Maginot Line forts of Sedan and Hirson. The U.S. 3rd Army was reported to have crossed the German border near Thionville, close to Luxembourg. To the northwest, British forces smashed toward Lille. The Canadians opened a frontal attack on Le Havre and drove to within two miles of the city from the north after clearing sections of the coast to Dieppe. In southern France, Allied forces were within 14 miles of Lyon, having captured Vienne, in the Rhône Valley. Other U.S. forces reached Beaurepaire, 20 miles from Lyon. Broken lines on the map show the positions of Allied forces at various dates since the invasions.

SHAEF, London, England –
U.S. armored columns have driven across the Belgian border, front dispatches said early today, as Berlin reported another U.S. tank force has speared to Thionville on the Moselle River, only 11 miles from the German frontier.

The mystery radio station Atlantic said that Allied troops had crossed the German and Luxembourg frontiers as well as into Belgium, but there was no substantiation of the report.

The Yanks swept into Belgium after seizing the frontier forts of Hirson, Sedan and Charleville in the Maginot Line, front reports said, and other Allied columns were driving up to the border on a 100-mile front.

Front dispatches to the Exchange Telegraph reported that the Americans had crossed the Belgian border at Maubeuge, France, and near Tournai, 45 miles southeast of Brussels, and that the enemy retreat northward was completely disorganized.

Abbeville, the channel port where German armor burst through to the sea in 1940, fell to a Canadian column which had mopped up almost half of the robot bomb coast, and U.S. troops entered Compiègne after fighting through the “armistice forest” to the south.

Lt. Gen. Courtney Hodges’ 1st Army also captured the famous World War landmark of Saint-Quentin, 37 miles southeast of Arras, where the Germans launched their last great juggernaut offensive in the spring of 1918.

German broadcasts said that still another U.S. spearhead had reached Longwy, two miles from the frontier of the tiny Duchy of Luxembourg and 16 miles from Luxembourg City.

The Allies were punching relentlessly at the retreating remnants of the German armies in France along a 250-mile front and the British Army, swiftly bringing up the left flank to within 15 miles of Belgium, pounded forward in four powerful columns in gains up to 21 miles.

Overrunning Vimy Ridge, where Canadian troops fought one of their bloodiest battles in the last war, the British captured Douai, Lens, Pernes and Cambligneul and drove to within 14 miles of the great textile center of Lille, 39 miles of Calais and 35 miles of Dunkerque’s historic beaches.

One column shot out 21 miles west of Arras and captured Saint-Pol, only 320 miles from the Pas-de-Calais coast at Étaples.

Canadian 1st Army troops launched a frontal attack on the prize harbor of Le Havre, France’s second port, and crashed through its outer defenses after reaching the coast to the north, driving to within two miles of the city.

The Canucks also occupied the ports of Étretat (12 miles north of Le Havre) and Saint-Valery-en-Caux (midway between Étretat and Dieppe).

Climaxing a 60-mile march up the Rouen, the Canadian 1st Army seized three Somme River bridges at Abbeville which the Germans in their rushed retreat had left intact, completing the isolation of German garrisons and robot bomb crews in the Le Havre and other areas by passed in the advance.

With the British advance on Calais threatening to shear off the rest of the Channel coast, several small convoys attempted to evacuate key German personnel from the Pas-de-Calais Friday night, but were intercepted by British and Dutch naval craft which sank at least three vessels.

Despite a roaring gale, British Channel residents late Saturday heard a terrific explosion originating in the Boulogne area, resembling the sounds that reverberated across the strait in 1940 when the British blew up installations in the French ports. It was believed the Germans were destroying the Boulogne dock area.

Front reports said that a U.S. spearhead had reached Sedan and Charleville, respectively six and five miles from the Belgian border, while another had driven 10 miles above captured Vervins to Hirson, five miles from the border and 28 miles northwest of Charleville.

Thus, cracking the old Maginot Line at Sedan and its 1939-40 extension at Hirson and Charleville, the Yanks had battled into the head of the Ardennes Gap, reversing the invasion route into France that the Germans took in 1871, 1914, 1940.

Another significant “security blackout” overtook Lt. Gen. George S. Patton’s 3rd Army in its eastward drive, but authoritative quarters gave credibility to German reports of its progress.

Lorraine residents are being evacuated from villages in the old Maginot Line along the route of Lt. Gen. George S. Patton’s 3rd Army advance, a Berlin broadcast said.

If the Yanks had reached Thionville, which has been called Diedenhofen during its various stages of German occupancy throughout the centuries, they have penetrated German-annexed Lorraine to within 11 miles of the “pure German” frontier at Sierck, where the borders of France and Luxembourg converge with those of the Reich.

It was in this corner that the so-called “Phony War” of 1939-40 was fought between the Maginot and Siegfried Lines as the people of Luxembourg watched through their telescopes as if it were a sideshow.

An advance to Thionville would extend Gen. Patton’s front 36 miles northeast from Verdun in 24 hours, a pace that if it were maintained would put his spearheads well inside Germany by Saturday night and in front of the Siegfried or West Wall forts which lie 20 miles beyond Thionville.

More than 450 miles to the west, U.S. troops opened the second week of a grim siege of the Breton port of Brest, where a German garrison of 20,000 men was fighting to delay our use of the fine harbor.

Berlin broadcasts reported the evacuation of the Armorique Peninsula south of Brest and said the German commander of the fortress has rejected a third surrender ultimatum.

Another 20,000 Germans were reported entrenched in Lorient and Saint-Nazaire in Brittany and 2,000 others were still fighting at Le Havre, although sounds of demolitions from the latter port indicated that it would not be defended much longer.

Storms and high winds cut down on air support Saturday after a field day against jammed German retreat columns and troop trains in North France, Belgium and Holland on Friday.

Paris attacked with robots; ‘pick-a-back’ raids failure

New German weapon ‘sitting duck’ for Allied fighters and easy ack-ack target

With four spearheads –
Allied troops only 14 miles from Lyon

Gain of 34 miles made in 24 hours

Germans hint they’ll flee all Italy

Big guns being sent back to Reich

Yanks seize Pisa, push on in Italy

By Eleanor Packard, United Press staff writer


Small shift needed, GOP chairman says

Chicago, Illinois (UP) – (Sept. 2)
Herbert Brownell Jr., chairman of the Republican National Committee, believes that a switch of only about four percent of the vote cast in 1940 will be necessary to elect Governor Thomas E. Dewey Nov. 7.

The GOP chairman said:

There is a much greater defection for the New Deal, particularly in Texas and the border states than is indicated on the surface.

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George W. Norris dies at age of 83

Stroke proves fatal to ‘father of TVA’

George Norris

McCook, Nebraska (UP) – (Sept. 2)
Former Senator George William Norris, one of the nation’s most distinguished statesmen, died tonight after suffering a cerebral hemorrhage and paralytic stroke Tuesday. He was 83.

Mr. Norris, known as “father of the TVA” and the “great insurgent,” was stricken in the little stucco home, where he had lived since he was defeated in his bid for a sixth term in the Senate to which he was elected after having served earlier in the House – a total of 40 years in Congress.

Funeral tomorrow

He was the last of six Senators who voted against American entry into World War I.

Funeral services will be held Monday at the McCook Congregational Church. The rites will be conducted by the Masonic Lodge.

In Washington, President Roosevelt described the death of Mr. Norris as “a national bereavement” and said that “a grand old champion of popular rights has made his journey.”

First elected in 1902

Mr. Norris had a record of 40 years of continuous service on Congress, beginning in 1902 when he was elected to the House and ending in 1942 when he was defeated for reelection to the Senate by Kenneth S. Wherry.

For 33 years, he was a Republican, but for the last six he was an Independent. He achieved his first national prominence in his fight against what he claimed was the one-man rule of the House by Speaker Joe Cannon, a battle he won in 1910.

His battle against “Cannonism” led to his election to the Senate in 1912.

With La Follette Sr.

In the Senate, Mr. Norris aligned himself with Senator Robert M. La Follette Sr., and became one of President Wilson’s “little group of willful men” who defeated the war President’s bill to arm American merchant ships.

He also sided with Mr. La Follette in voting against American entry into the war, a vote that almost cost him his seat in the Senate.

During his long years in Congress., he attained a high record for constructive, liberal legislation, the most notable of which was the Tennessee Valley Authority Bill, which he sponsored. His greatest monument is Norris Dam, the first to be constructed by the TVA. A town near the dam site was also named Norris.

Champion of labor

An advocate of cheap electric power for the public, Mr. Norris also sponsored the Rural Electrification Act designed to bring power to farm homes. The bill was passed in 1937.

A champion of labor legislation, he backed the Norris Act of 1932 which restricted the use of injunctions in labor disputes, outlawed “yellow dog” labor contracts, and guaranteed labor the right to organize and bargain collectively.

Mr. Norris also waged and won a one-man fight to liberalize state government and was instrumental in the establishment of a unicameral legislature in Nebraska.

Abandoned ‘lame ducks’

He also sponsored the “lame duck” amendment to the Constitution which changed the date of inauguration of the President from March 4 to Jan. 20.

The amendment, which abolished the “lame duck” session of Congress was adopted in 1933.

Although Mr. Norris opposed America’s entry into World War I and into the League of Nations, his views on international affairs changed before the present war and in 1941, he voted for a declaration of war against Japan.

He also changed his mind about international cooperation. He approved membership in an international society for peace and cooperation.

Explains change

“Changed circumstances demanded a changed attitude,” he said.

Warren G. Harding was the last Republican Mr. Norris supported for President. In 1924, he campaigned for Senator La Follette Sr., who ran on a third-party ticket. He supported Democrat Alfred E. Smith in 1928 and after 1932 he was an outspoken supporter of President Roosevelt. Shortly before his death, he said he would support the President for a fourth term.

Mr. Roosevelt also admired Mr. Norris and in 1936, he said Nebraska should keep Mr. Norris in the Senate as long as he lived. He reiterated his endorsement in 1942 when Mr. Norris was running unsuccessfully for his sixth term.

‘Never told lie’

Mr. Norris said that throughout his long Congressional career his “lips have never told a lie and my hands never touched a bribe.”

He was born July 11, 1861, at Clyde, Ohio, and attended Baldwin University, Northern Indiana Normal School and Valparaiso University. He was admitted to the bar in 1883. He was married to Pluma Lashley at Beaver City, Nebraska, in 1890. She died in 1901 and two years later, he married Ella Leonard of San Jose, California. His widow and three daughters survive.

Steel pay baby to be laid smack in President’s lap

WLB fact-finding panel, after lengthy hearings, favors raising wages
By Edwin A. Lahey

It started five years ago today…

After five years of global warfare, the sun now never sets on U.S. troops. They are scattered over the face of the Earth.

It was exactly five years ago today (Sept. 3, 1939, also a Sunday) that England and France declared war on Germany. The Germans had invaded Poland on Sept. 1, officially calling their action a “counterattack with pursuit.” Britain and France, finally abandoning their policy of appeasement, sent an ultimatum to Hitler that if he did not recall his forces they would go to war in her defense.

War seemed far away to Americans when, on Sunday, Prime Minister Chamberlain announced to Commons that Great Britain was at war with Germany and then France later in the day followed suit. That night, the steamship Athenia, bound for Montréal with refugees from war zones, was sunk by an explosion 200 miles northwest of Ireland, with a loss of 112 lives. Three hundred of the passengers were Americans.

Americans felt secure under a neutrality law which provided a “cash-and-carry” system for sale of war supplies to belligerents. We had a standing army smaller than the forces that invaded Normandy and it was not uncommon for troops in maneuvers to use broomsticks and trucks to simulate guns and tanks. We were little armed than the French Maquis now coming to the assistance of two invading U.S. armies.

On Sept. 4, Japan announced that “Japan does not intend to be involved in it” and the next day President Roosevelt issued two proclamations announcing neutrality and putting an embargo on shipments of arms to the belligerent countries.

Most Americans had never heard of such strange places as Guadalcanal and Saipan or dreamed that their sons and brothers would soon be stationed in Greenland and the Aleutians and Burma and Iraq and fighting bitter battles in Italy, France, New Guinea, Bougainville and North Africa.

Yet by April 20, 1941, nearly eight months before Pearl Harbor, U.S. troops were in Bermuda and the next June, they were in Greenland, as this map by the National Geographic Society shows. For war was inexorably moving toward America and we were advancing to protect ourselves.

Japan struck us on Dec. 7, 1941, and Germany and Italy promptly declared war against the United States.

This map shows how our forces have spread throughout the world, giving the location and landing date of the various troop concentrations.

British official quoted in fight against envoy

Can’t ‘receive him,’ aide in India says

Spy’s activity revealed by U.S.

‘Stay on job’ is the theme for Labor Day

Workers cite gains, losses during year
By William Forrester

Desperate and fear-maddened –
Gorrell: Nazis burn whole villages, mutilate, murder hundreds

By Henry T. Gorrell, United Press staff writer

Philippines hit in first heavy raid since 1942

38 Jap planes blasted in attack on Davao

British exacting revenge for Dunkerque’s dark days

High road to Belgium path of flowers, tears and blood; drive 60 miles in 24 hours
By Richard D. McMillan, United Press staff writer

175,000 tons of bombs hit Nazis in month

Both war plants and troops destroyed


Presidential election may hinge on service ballot – Pennsylvania’s

Politicians agree Gallup figures for state, 52% Roosevelt, 48% Dewey, are about right
By Kermit McFarland

70,000 Army tires for civilian use

Poll: Businessmen drawing close to Roosevelt as workers pull away

Political gap between ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ narrowing in 1944 presidential campaign
By George Gallup, Director, American Institute of Public Opinion


Post-war plans bump into politics

Main session marked for October review

Notes on Chevalier, B. Davis, other folks in the limelight

By Florence Fisher Parry