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June 30, 1940 – Sigrid Schultz Reporting from Berlin – Mutual – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
June 30, 1940 – As Sigrid Schultz, Berlin correspondent for The Chicago Tribune commented, the map of Europe was changing with lightening-like rapidity in only ten days. German armies had advanced west and were now occupying the coast along the English Channel, within invasion distance of Britain. The map of Africa too was changing because with the number of treaties being signed, much of colonial Africa was now in German hands. Hitler was now in the process of erasing all traces of the Treaty at Versailles, which ended World War 1.
But further east, from the Baltic to the Black Sea, Russian armies were slowly advancing west. They were also erasing treaties as they went along, occupying the area known as Bessarabia. After securing the assent of Nazi Germany through the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, the Soviet Union pressured Romania, under threat of war, into withdrawing from Bessarabia, allowing the Red Army to annex the region. The area was formally integrated into the Soviet Union: the core joined parts of the Moldavian ASSR to form the Moldavian SSR, while territories inhabited by Slavic majorities in the north and the south of Bessarabia were transferred to the Ukrainian SSR. Still in place was the treaty between Russia and Germany, despite expressions of credulity that a Stalin/Hitler pact was still in place.
While Germany and Russia were moving their control westward on a large scale, Italy was making smaller moves; only some 31 miles westward into Southern France, but it was seen as a signal that Italy which claimed absolute leadership in the Mediterranean, would be increasing holdings in Asia Minor and North Africa.
The legendary old-world Spa, Weisbaden which had been a playground for the Royal and Wealthy was now in the political spotlight as site of detailed armistice negotiations with the French which had been initially signed and accepted 10 days earlier. General Huntzinger, who had signed the armistice for the French was now in talks with German and Italian military figures to iron out details over who got what – at the moment, any discussion over what the terms the Germans were indicating was strictly taboo.
And rumors were spreading that Britain was considering discussing a compromise with Germany in order to end hostilities. German officials retorted that this was the time the guns spoke and Chamberlain, in his address to the nation said anyone who was talking of peace was helping the enemy.
And that was the view of Europe from Berlin on this 30th day of June in 1940 as presented by Sigrid Schultz for Mutual.