Dachau - amid optimism; horror.
Dachau – amid optimism; horror.

. . . or click on the link here for Audio Player – News for April 29, 1945 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection

This day, April 30, 1945 was filled with reports of a rumored surrender of Germany to the Allies. But fighting was continuing, and amid cautious optimism, the reality was a different story.

American troops liberated the Death Camp at Dachau just outside of Munich, uncovering mass scenes of horror and atrocity. Italy’s Benito Mussolini, along with his mistress and several close aides were executed Italian Partisans and put on display in Rome.

It was officially announced the German Air Force no longer existed and the skies were now free of German planes. Count Bernadotte, the Swedish diplomat who was acting as intermediary between the Allies and Germany was reported to have received a conditional surrender offer from Heinrich Himmler, acting head of the German government, which stipulated the surrender only applied to Britain and the U.S. and not include the Soviet Union. The offer was immediately rejected. Himmler then sent a revised surrender offer to Bernadotte which was reported to have corrected the “error”. It was feared that surrender rumors would once again run rampant and that a competition would begin to see who would be the first to report it.

Russian troops were advancing in Berlin and poised to take the Reich Chancellery, further fueling reports that the fall of Berlin was imminent. Reports too of mass suicides and defections of German troops were weakening the ranks of the remaining defenders, as the Soviet army squeezed the last German troops into an 18 square mile pocket.

Meanwhile in San Francisco, where the United Nations were holding their first meetings, a feeling that a lot needed to be done and be done fast, as news of a Nazi capitulation was felt to be imminent. Commissions and committees were being set up, conference seats were to be authorized for two Soviet republics, and attempt to answer claims of the smaller nations who will, among other things, seek to demand the Security Council be enlarged from 11 members to 14. All of the meetings were being held, starting early in the morning. Another indication that speed was of the essence.

But all the news about Europe wasn’t diminishing news from the Pacific. The assault on Okinawa was continuing with a reported 11,413 U.S. troops killed so far in the fighting. A suicide attack on the U.S. hospital ship USS Comfort claimed the lives of 5 Medical officers and 6 Army nurses along with 29 others when the plane made a direct hit on the ship’s Operating Room. Allied troops were advancing in Mindanao and U.S. and Philippine flags were raised over Baguio.

And that’s a small slice of what went on this April 30, 1945 as reported by NBC Radio the Alka-Seltzer News of The World.

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