The Slow Road Home – August 1, 1945

The end of World War 2 was days away, but the slow return to civilian life was starting for many.

The end of World War 2 was days away, but the slow return to civilian life was starting for many.

London Column – August 1, 1945 – BBC World Service – Gordon Skene Sound Collection

Here we are – first day of August. In 1945, August marked the end of World War 2. In 1965, it marked one of the worst riots in America – it has been, for a long time, a significant month.

On August 1st 1945 it signified the slow return to civilian life for many who fought in Europe. And even though the war was not over in the Pacific, there was still the possibility it could drag on and an eventual invasion of Japan would be taking place.

But in Europe it was over and the process of rebuilding had begun. It was also the gradual withdrawal of troops, the replacement of forces to peace-keepers and the shutting of once-busy military installations and airfields and converting the deserted areas into peacetime uses.

This episode of the BBC World Service program London Column, aired on August 1, 1945, focuses on the departure of Americans from towns and villages all over England, the closing down of a radio service aimed at U.S. troops, and the slow conversion back to peace.

70 years ago today, they were talking about peace and rebuilding for the future. Within days it would be the bigger picture, a picture brought about by the introduction of something new and more menacing than anything that had gone on before. But on August 1st in 1945, it was about the possibilities and a brief look back.

Here is that episode of London Column via the BBC World Service, as it was broadcast on August 1, 1945.

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