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That Ominous Familiarity – August 27, 1939

All in less than 20 years after the "War to end all Wars".

All in less than 20 years after the “War to end all Wars”.

BBC World Service – Berlin Radio – News Broadcasts for August 27, 1939

76 years ago today, they were gearing up for another war. It was looking inevitable and precautions were being taken. Volunteers were called up for active duty in the services. Children were being readied for a trip to the country, for however long it would be before the crisis was over. Rationing was coming into effect – and less than 20 years after the end of “The War To End All Wars”, Europe found themselves facing the abyss – one more time.

The news was filled with ominous words – of non-aggression pacts between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. At issue was Poland and a piece of land German said was theirs. As German troops began massing on the Polish border, negotiations and last-ditch attempts at preventing a war were still going on. Fruitless, maybe – but anything to prevent a repeat of 1914, and the millions who lost their lives.

And the newscasts were longer and more detailed in goings on. Instead of a quick recap of the days events, it was now in-depth. Even news gathering was changing. Ever since the Crisis at Munich the year before, broadcast Journalism was taking a more prominent role in the rapid gathering and dispersal of information. In what had taken days to be delivered and absorbed, was now taking hours. If it was going to be a war, it would be a technologically advanced one over the one from 1914.

In any event, the world stopped and listened and waited – all the while, glued to their shortwave receivers (those who had one, since they were a bit expensive at the time), hanging on to every word spoken, every analysis made.

And for a little over an hour, this was what it sounded like. News from The BBC in London and Radio Berlin (In English) for August 27, 1939.

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