No war in February 1938 - but a  lot of chaos. Spanish fleeing Civil War, heading to France.
No war in February 1938 – but a lot of chaos. Spanish fleeing Civil War, heading to France.

. . . or click on the link here for Audio Player – Mutual – John Steele, Reporting From London – Feb. 21, 1938 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection.

1938 started out with War jitters. With the German issues over the situation in Austria and a general purge of Hitler‘s Generals. In France there were shifts in military leaders as well and a general disfavor of Germany’s advances toward Austria, which Hitler considered an ally and was estimated that at least half of Austrians wanted to align with Berlin. By week’s end, Austria had joined Germany and the Anschluss was accomplished. Concern was spread around that Czechoslovakia would become the next hotspot, since a considerable number of Germans lived in the northern section near the Czech/German border and the matter was addressed by Hitler the previous night in a dramatic speech before the Reichstag.

Britain seemed unconcerned over the Austrian and Czech situations. But what they were concerned about were the Totalitarian methods Germany went about to get Austria in the fold. But no one, it seemed; either France or Britain had any desire to go to war.

Spain was another issue of concern, with vicious fighting going on and waves of Spanish refugees flooding the French border or attempting to sail to England.

The big news, as far as Britain and the U.S. was concerned, was the sudden resignation of Foreign Secretary Captain Anthony Eden. Speculation ran rife over who would be Eden’s replacement.

But this report, given by Mutual Radio correspondent John Steele, goes out of his way to stress there was no war on the horizon; that all the talk of impending war was just that, and not based on any fact, at least for the time anyway.

A few months later, things would bubble over once again, and the prediction regarding the Czech question would put Britain and France on the edge.

For this February 21st in 1938, things were tense, but assurances all around there would be much feared World War 2.

Here is John Steele’s Report from London.

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