The Pittsburgh Press (December 15, 1943)
Allies and Axis clearing away obstacles to titanic clashes
By Robert Musel, United Press staff writer
London, England –
Military and political developments indicated today that the next 100 days will see the Allies and Germany poised for, if not engaged in, the battles that will decide the European war.
Both sides appeared equally intent on clearing away all obstacles barring the war to the titanic clashes that will be touched off by the climatic Allied offensives promised by the Tehran Conference “from the east, west and south.”
Among the developments were:
Germany was replacing Junkers generals with political generals pledged to support Adolf Hitler to the end to guard against any repetition of the Prussian military clique’s surrender of 1918.
Germany reportedly dispatched 40,000 reserves from Austria and Finland and an air squadron intended for Italy to the Balkans in an attempt to wipe out Partisan forces in advance of an Allied invasion.
The Bulgarian Cabinet held a seven-hour meeting on “current affairs” yesterday.
Radio Vichy said the Romanian government was considering moving from Bucharest to Brașov, 90 miles to the north, because of the growing danger of air raids.
King Peter of Yugoslavia was reported ready to make peace with Marshal Josip “Tito” Broz, Partisan leader.
British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden was believed about to take over the job of convincing the Polish government-in-exile of the wisdom of resuming relations with Russia.
A Hungarian MTI Agency dispatch said Count Anton Sigray told the Hungarian Parliament that Hungary had always pursued a “democratic policy” and “invoked Providence in securing an honorable peace.”
The German tendency to replace Junkers generals with those known to be loyal to Hitler was first seen in the replacement of Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt, commander in France, by Marshal Erwin Rommel as chief of the defense of Western Europe against invasion.
Peace moves rumored
Later reports reaching London said Gen. Richard Jungclaus, an SS leader and intimate friend of Gestapo chief Heinrich Himmler, had taken over the Belgian command from Gen. Alexander von Falkenhausen, a career officer.
The London Daily News relayed a rumor that Rundstedt had gone to Lisbon in an attempt to establish contact with Allied diplomats for peace feeler purposes while reports were published elsewhere that Falkenhausen’s aide-de-camp, Maj. Hertzberg-Harbou, had gone to Portugal on a similar mission.
None of the peace feeler rumors were confirmed and it appeared certain that Germany would disown the peace feelers and that the Allies would hold out for unconditional surrender.