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October 13, 1939 – Today In Europe – CBS Radio – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
October 13th landed on a Friday in 1939. The war in Europe was slowly unfolding. On this day there was no military activity, some naval activity but much diplomatic activity, particularly with reference to the situation in Finland and reactions from neighboring countries. From Paris, it was reported that Denmark, Sweden and Norway informed the Helsinki government that they would not be counted upon for military help if the Red Army should move to enforce Moscow’s demands. The three Scandinavian states stressed that the so-called Oslo Group was merely an economic block without any military or political ties, and as a result Denmark, Sweden and Norway could not be expected to jeopardize their own neutrality by aiding Finland militarily. So the appeals the countries sent to Moscow to preserve friendly relations with Finland carried nothing more than moral weight. French quarters regarded Finland’s plight as a test case that may prove the extent of Russia’s expansionist ambitions that were tied up with Germany.
An attempt at getting a report from Geneva on the diplomatic maneuvers on this situation was stifled by atmospheric conditions making Shortwave reception impossible.
Meanwhile, reports from London told of the British Navy sinking two U-Boats and an updated reported saying an additional U-Boat was sunk later on. Rome Radio reported the Pope was expected to issue an encyclical on Sunday, October 29th which, it was believed, was to contain a last appeal to the nations to avert the scourge of war. In Britain, the radio reported from well-informed Nazi quarters in Berlin that there was “strong likelihood” that the Soviet Minister of Foreign Affairs and Count Ciano of Italy would be arriving in the Capitol soon to confer with the German government. Berlin also said the period for diplomatic discussion had passed and that any future consultation would be on “active measures”aimed at stopping the war as “quickly as possible”.
And that’s just a sample of what happened this October 13th as reported by CBS and Today In Europe.