July 10, 1948 – A world weary of war, strife and chaos. In Britain on this day, a report on life in the postwar climate. The overwhelming need for distraction – the abject denial of a world sliding into War, of the Cold kind – of the gradual loosening of the Colonial grip – the growing pains experienced by the new-found independence and the problems still entrenched in Europe.
The threat of Communism was an issue that wasn’t going away – nor was the issue of Palestine, the state of Israel, the potentially explosive Middle-East – Civil War in Greece, India going through deadly rioting between Hindus and Muslims – any one of a number or all combined to create one seemingly endless set of uproars guaranteed for lack of sleep.
But those issues didn’t concern the average Briton as much as the cost of living, the scarcity of food, the issue of shelter (Britain was actively rebuilding itself from the devastation caused by the War years) and how to make ends meet; those were the real issues facing Britain on this day. Retail sales were falling short, primarily because people didn’t have enough money to buy. It wasn’t so much an issue of food being scarce as much as the money to buy it was.
So the average Briton was turning to their great national pastimes for emotional support; Cricket – that, and American cinema; the current favorite being Forever Amber, which some critics in the UK dubbed “Forever Ambling”. The concerned Briton, on the other hand, was watching with a weary eye at the events in Palestine and elsewhere. Renewed fighting erupted and it put the Foreign Office on the spot. Officials warned that, now that the Arab states had unilaterally refused to extend the Palestine truce, the Foreign Office warned that if fighting continued, it would be forced to take the matter up before the UN Security Council and brand them as the aggressors and the U.S. could lift its arms embargo against Israel. Foreign Minister Ernest Bevan admitted in the House Of Commons that Arab Propaganda had been recently broadcast by a British radio station in Cyprus. And there was still that matter of the Russians blockading aid from Britain and the U.S. to the people of West Berlin.
All that, and a lot more – and little wonder why people were feeling overwhelmed, this July 10, 1948 as reported by CBS Radio’s “Report From Overseas”.