October 5, 1939 – News from Berlin. With war only days old, and America safely on the sidelines, we were able to look at both sides with reasonable balance, although we were clearly on the side of the allies, much to Germany‘s annoyance. But our media was still tolerated around Berlin, and our news services regularly delivered news and commentary on the situation, as it was viewed in Berlin. As time went on, stricter censorship came into play, and German censors would routinely have microphones cut-off in the midst of an offending comment, or cut an entire broadcast off, claiming “atmospheric disturbances” (since it was Shortwave and at times, unreliable). But on October 5, 1939 the war was still fresh and Germany had marched into Poland. And we were still trying to wrap our heads around Adolf Hitler and this New Germany that was unfolding before our eyes.
All of the American networks had correspondents in Berlin, routinely reporting news and events as this war developed. One of those networks, Mutual Broadcasting, had a few correspondents, among them Sigrid Schultz who also reported for the Chicago Tribute as well as filed regular reports for Mutual, and Raymond Gram Swing who was a well known commentator from the earliest days of Radio.
This report, more of a commentary than an actual news broadcast, finds Swing discussing Hitler as Germany’s leader. His rise to power, his ability to stir crowds to almost hysteria. His techniques to incite his audience – all skillfully used tools in order to further the Nazi cause. He discusses what was going to be Hitler’s most important address coming up the following day. He also talks about the Russian alliance and late news that Latvia was supporting Russia in offering assistance and the use of the port at Riga.
The unfolding story in the early days of World War 2, when it was still the War in Europe as reported by Raymond Gram Swing and Mutual Broadcasting on October 5, 1939.