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February 25, 1948 – Baukhage Talking – ABC Radio Network – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
February 25, 1948 – News and commentary from H.R. Baukhage, starting with news from Washington and the upcoming Presidential election on the horizon. Still months off, but already predictions were flooding in – none of them claimed Harry Truman would be President, come January 1949. But other news was happening around Washington – the issue of Rent Control and the debate over whether it should be ended or continued – with housing shortages still prevalent and a nation still slowly readjusting to peacetime. The Senate passed a stop-gap one month extension of Rent Control while debate continued on the 14 month extension the House had already passed.
The other issue was the raising of prices, most notably steel, and how this would ultimately affect the economy. Also on the books was the issue of raising the minimum wage, sure to stimulate lively debate on Capitol Hill. Still, speculation around Washington was whether the economy would be heading toward recession or if it would head anywhere in the direction of normal over the coming weeks/months.
The bigger picture – the world picture was taking center stage in the form of The Middle East and the issue of Partition in the area known as Palestine. This was a hotly contested issue which was growing more vocal land more violent each day.
Arab leaders and governments rejected the United Nations plan of partition in the resolution and indicated that they would reject any other plan of partition. The Arab states’ delegations declared immediately after the vote for partition that they would not be bound by the decision, and walked out accompanied by the Indian and Pakistani delegates.
They argued that it violated the principles of national self-determination in the UN charter which granted people the right to decide their own destiny. The Arab delegations to the UN issued a joint statement the day after that vote that stated: “the vote in regard to the Partition of Palestine has been given under great pressure and duress, and that this makes it doubly invalid.”
On 16 February 1948, the UN Palestine Commission reported to the Security Council that: “Powerful Arab interests, both inside and outside Palestine, are defying the resolution of the General Assembly and are engaged in a deliberate effort to alter by force the settlement envisaged therein.”
A few weeks after UNSCOP released its report, Azzam Pasha, the General Secretary of the Arab League, told an Egyptian newspaper “Personally I hope the Jews do not force us into this war because it will be a war of elimination and it will be a dangerous massacre which history will record similarly to the Mongol massacre or the wars of the Crusades.” (This statement from October 1947 has often been incorrectly reported as having been made much later on 15 May 1948.) Azzam told Alec Kirkbride “We will sweep them [the Jews] into the sea.” Syrian president Shukri al-Quwatli told his people: “We shall eradicate Zionism.”
King Farouk of Egypt told the American ambassador to Egypt that in the long run the Arabs would soundly defeat the Jews and drive them out of Palestine.
Needless to say, this day foretold of dramatic events taking shape in a volatile region that would be played out over the coming months and years.
All of that was happening, this February 25, 1948 as reported by H.R. Baukhage with his News And Commentary (Baukhage Talking) from the ABC Radio Network.