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NBC Radio – War Telescope – June 9, 1945 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection
News for this day 76 years ago was about transitions in Europe. The slow process of readjusting to peace, mindful there was still a war going on.
Britain was clearing out and cleaning up. Getting ready to offer official thanks to General Eisenhower with celebrations scheduled to take place in London within days. Next to Montgomery, Eisenhower was favorite among millions of Britons.
In London, signs the European war was over were multiplying – the blast walls in front of public buildings and Subway stations were being torn down, and entrances were clear for the first time since 1940. Emergency Water tanks used in fire-fighting were being torn down as well as the surface shelters around London. The Derby was run for the first time since before the war. Londoners by the thousands camped out at the track overnight in anticipation of the race, and drivers used up an entire months ration of gasoline to park around the track. Dandy the favorite won, paying 4-1 odds.
By the end of the war, the economy of the United Kingdom was one of severe privation. More than a quarter of its national wealth had been consumed. Until the introduction in 1941 of Lend-Lease aid from the US, the UK had been spending its assets to purchase American equipment including aircraft and ships—over £437 million on aircraft alone. Lend-Lease came just before its reserves were exhausted. Britain had placed 55% of its total labour force into war production.
Apparently, one of the big shortages in Britain, and the one creating the most outrage was Beer. Not a problem in Germany – but Britain had gone through a stage where watering it down in order to conserve hops had people up in arms. And pubs all over Britain were shutting in protest.
And it was soon to be election time in Britain with Prime Minister Churchill running for re-election – so now it was campaign season, along with cleaning up, readjusting and still fighting a war in the Pacific.
Certain not a dull day in the world 70 years ago, as reported over NBC Radio’s War Telescope wrap-up program for June 9, 1945.