August 30, 1939 – As Europe hung in the balance, as news of hostile overtures went on between Germany and Poland – with accusations and counter-accusations, the hope for some sort of peace settlement was continuing. But with each passing minute, the odds that a sudden change of heart, an agreement could be reached, diplomatic attempts would find a solution, were growing dimmer. It was no longer a case of where or how war would break out, but when.
And since the Munich Crisis of 1938, where radio broadcasting as a news gathering device was first introduced, every radio outlet in Europe was reporting and every radio station in America was eagerly listening.
This group of broadcasts are different from the ones I posted two years ago. Those were news reports which took place in the late morning/early evening. This group of reports comes from later in the evening and it features news and commentary in English from Paris Radio, Radio Berlin, EIAR Radio in Rome, Radio Warsaw and one of the American reporters, reading a dispatch from Warsaw to the New York headquarters of Mutual Broadcasting.
This was the equivalent of “news as it happens”, which became so prevalent in future decades. This was relatively new, as was the nature of War this time; a far cry from the days of 1914. This promised to be a new kind of war, one with lightning speed and devastating consequence – one which would be reported as it was happening and broadcast to the world.
1939 was a pivotal year, it was a year that saw the change in so many parts of life throughout the world – from War to communication to travel. It was the Brave New World, and it was faced with terrified uncertainty.
Here is an hour of news and commentary from Europe, exactly as it was heard on the evening of August 30, 1939.
Since it’s Shortwave, the sound goes in and out and achieves varying degrees of listenability. But it’s of extreme historic importance, nonetheless.