Taking Prisoners In Aachen

Aachen - no easy road, but a road nonetheless.

October 8, 1944 – Encircling Aachen – Russians Attack Belgrade – Wendell Willkie, Dead At 52 –

Taking Prisoners In Aachen
Aachen – no easy road, but a road nonetheless.

October 8, 1944 – CBS – World News Today – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –

October 8, 1944 a busy news day on all the war fronts. With word that the German town of Aachen was surrounded by Allied troops and that General Patton’s 3rd Army was moving east between Metz and Nancy. Also word coming from the Eastern front Russian and Yugoslav forces were getting ready to take Belgrade. Also news that British Troops were advancing to the outskirts of the Greek town of Corinth and Allied troops were poised to take Bologna in Italy. Also came news that former Republican Presidential candidate Wendell Willkie died in a New York hospital earlier in the day. He was 52.

If all was going according to plan, the allied front along the Siegfried Line would extend some 23 miles. It was only a matter of time before Aachen fell to the Allies. Meanwhile, the Canadian Army was encountering stiff resistance in their bridgehead across the Leopold Canal in Belgium. Powerful German artillery fire was delaying the building of a bridge across the canal, lending further evidence everything won will be hard fought for.

On the Italian front – Allied forces edged some five miles closer to Bologna, but still had thirteen more miles to go. Further concern was the coming winter and feeding the Italian population. Scheduled to arrive from the U.S.were some 150 tons of wheat and flour – still, the issue of cutting bread rations was looking like a done-deal since retreating Germans destroyed most wheat crops in the Po valley.

And Republican Presidential hopeful Wendell Willkie died in a New York Hospital earlier this day. Willkie had long been neglectful of his health and diet, smoking heavily and rarely exercising. His heavy drinking had charmed the reporters in Philadelphia in 1940, but by 1944 it was becoming a problem. In August 1944, Willkie felt weak while traveling by train to his Rushville home. There, he suffered a heart attack, but he had to be persuaded to see a doctor and he refused to be admitted to a hospital. Roosevelt released a statement applauding Willkie’s “tremendous courage” which “prompted him more than once to stand alone … In this hour of grave crisis the nation loses a great citizen.”

And that’s a little of what happened, this October 8th in 1944 as reported by CBS Radio and The World Today.

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