Pro-Communist Demonstrations in Europe

Pro-Communist Demonstrations in Eastern Europe. The Specter of Uncle Joe loomed large.

Pro-Communist Demonstrations in Europe
Pro-Communist Demonstrations in Eastern Europe. The Specter of Uncle Joe spreading over Europe loomed large.

March 15, 1948 – Alka-Seltzer News Of The World – March 15, 1948 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –

March 15, 1948 – A day where news was happening in Europe, and the growing influence of Communism in the East was causing many in Western Europe to become alarmed.

President Truman was slated to give an address to Congress regarding the situation many felt was spiraling out of control. He was expected to point toward preliminary mobilization of American resources, human and material to resist the threat from Moscow. The reason for this was the disclosure from the State Department that it had conclusive information The Soviet Russia had decided not to stop at the Iron Curtain, but to try to flank that imaginary dividing line between East and Western Europe. The Flank was not only being aimed at Italy on the south, but has been expanded beyond Finland toward Denmark. The move caused Sweden to become alarmed – only a few hours before this broadcast, the Swedish Defense staff made public a letter to King Gustav which said, in effect “evidently the Soviet union is very consistently working to weld together its own security system in Eastern Europe. Apparently, it does not hesitate to resort to very brusque methods in its work. Contradictions between the East and the West do not seem to diminish, but on the contrary, to be gradually aggravating. A general conflict however, does not seem to be imminent, as the Western powers are hardly prepared, and Russian is probably still too weak”. Nonetheless, it sparked demonstrations throughout Western Europe, protesting the Soviet threat. New pressures on Greece were becoming apparent, as was Turkey. It was all cause for Secretary of State Marshall to tell the Senate that, by intimation or intimidation, fraud and terror, Communist regimes have been fastened on Hungary and Czechoslovakia. Totalitarian control had been tightened in other countries of Eastern Europe, and those states had been linked in a network of alliances. Other European counties were facing a similar threat of being drawn against their will into the Communist orbit.

And it was this series of events which prompted President Truman to address Congress the following day. He was expected to draw attention to the fixed American policy of giving aid and comfort to nations that resisted totalitarian aggression. It was not going to be necessary for the President to go beyond his previous recommendations to Congress for Universal Military training for American youth and more aid to Greece and Turkey as well as billions for European recovery. All of this was viewed as a demand for preliminary mobilization of American resources to meet whatever crisis was in store.

And that’s only a small portion of what was going on this day, as presented by NBC Radio’s Alka-Selter News Of The World for March 15, 1948.

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