April 5, 1947 – News from Radio Moscow. Unless you had one of those Shortwave radios that could pick up every country in the world, you might not have been able to actually hear what was going on inside the Iron Curtain. And since Shortwave broadcasting was seen as one of the perfect tools in the use of propaganda, Radio Moscow regularly broadcast to the world in a variety of languages. This was the English service and the nightly broadcasts of news and cultural events were routinely beamed at Britain, Canada and the U.S. – for our part, we had The Voice of America, the BBC had their World Service and Radio Canada had their International service. All designed to wage a war of information and persuasion between East and West.
But because technology was not the best – even though at the time this was state-of-the-art, the broadcasts were nowhere near as clear as we would have with streaming audio today. In 1947 there were still atmospheric conditions to deal with as well as goodly amount of jamming from either side, so getting a clear signal was sometimes impossible depending on the issues of the day.
This broadcast, from April 5, 1947 discusses The Soviet Union’s position on Four Power talks over the fate of postwar Germany – and in this particular case, the issue of reparations between Germany and four Powers and Coal production and distribution. French Foreign Minister Bidault insisted the distribution of coal from the Ruhr area of Germany be in the hands of an International Organization. Soviet Foreign Minister Molotov suggested the issue of Coal distribution be held off until agreement had been reached on the whole issue of Germany’s economic unity. Molotov went on to point out that Germany’s coal output was less than half of what it had been before the war and what was more important was getting their production back up to pre-War levels. The idea being that the more coal Germany produced, the greater coal consumption would be in Germany, while at the same time more exports would go to the Allies and more reparations would be gotten.
Other issues included Austrian occupation and treaty proposals to establish Austria as an independent state. Also brought up was the second anniversary of the Treaty of Friendship and Mutual Assistance and Post War collaboration between Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union.
And that’s some of what was going on, this April 5, 1947 from Radio Moscow. Fascinating stuff with far-reaching repercussions in the future.