November 30, 1939 – with the War in Europe now three months old, the anticipation of a long, drawn out series of battles and maneuvers was causing many to feel this was The Great War (1914-1918) all over again. Trenches were dug. France had The Maginot line, a series of impenetrable Forts and tunnels running north and south, facing Germany. Germany had The Siegfried Line, a series of impenetrable Forts and tunnels running north and sound, facing France.
The Polish situation was continuing, as German troops occupied Warsaw and began erecting barricades around the Jewish Ghetto. The Soviet Union was busy attacking Finland with some 800,000 troops crossing the Finnish frontier and Soviet aircraft bombing Helsinki.
And all along the French/German border, skirmishes, patrols and pot-shots took place with a general feeling this was a phony war, and not a real one. Although many were confident the Maginot Line would hold back a German invasion, if this was in fact a war just like the last one. But the reality was less emphatic. There had been talk about Blitzkrieg, this new “lighting War”. There was concern the Maginot Line would be rendered obsolete and ineffective, if the German Army decided to go around Eastern France, taking out countries along the North first. It was no longer a predictable War, it was destined to become a new kind of war – one that didn’t adhere to a rule book.
This report, by newspaper correspondent Victor Lusinchi from November 30, 1939, talks about France and their preparations for War and the conflict as it was unfolding. How the French people were reacting to this threat from Germany, once again. How the climate in Paris was handling it, or not handling it – pretending War was the furthest thing from anyone’s minds. With the exception of news from Finland and Poland, there was a surreal air about this new war – and only time would prove it otherwise.
Here is Victor Lusinchi’s broadcast from November 30, 1939 as picked up from Shortwave by the Mutual Broadcasting System.