October 1, 1937 – Associated Press Reports the news – NBC Radio – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
October 1, 1937. In retrospect, a day more prophetic than anything else – a day of war and turmoil around the planet; most all would be places figuring prominently in a World War some 2 years away.
In what may possibly be one of the first overseas live radio news reports via shortwave, Associated Press reporters, almost a year before the networks set up bureaus around the world during the Czech Crisis, gave a rundown on what was going on in the world, this particular October day.
The news wasn’t good. The Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945) was a military conflict that was primarily waged between the Republic of China and the Empire of Japan. The war made up the Chinese theater of the wider Pacific Theater of the Second World War. The beginning of the war is conventionally dated to the Marco Polo Bridge Incident on 7 July 1937, when a dispute between Japanese and Chinese troops in Peking escalated into a full-scale invasion. This full-scale war between the Chinese and the Empire of Japan is often regarded as the beginning of World War II in Asia. In 2017 the Ministry of Education in the People’s Republic of China decreed that the term “eight-year war” in all textbooks should be replaced by “fourteen-year war”, with a revised starting date of 18 September 1931 provided by the Japanese invasion of Manchuria. According to historian Rana Mitter, historians in China are unhappy with the blanket revision, and (despite sustained tensions) the Republic of China did not consider itself to be continuously at war with Japan over these six years. The Tanggu Truce of 1933 officially ended the earlier hostilities in Manchuria while the He-Umezu Agreement of 1935 acknowledged the Japanese demands to put an end to all anti-Japanese organizations in China.
China fought Japan with aid from the Soviet Union and the United States. Japan fought China with aid from Germany.
Meanwhile, over in Europe: The Spanish Civil War was a civil war in Spain fought from 1936 to 1939. Republicans loyal to the left-leaning Popular Front government of the Second Spanish Republic, in alliance with anarchists of the communist and syndicalist variety, fought against an insurrection by the Nationalists, an alliance of Falangists, monarchists, conservatives and traditionalists, led by a military group among whom General Francisco Franco soon achieved a preponderant role. Due to the international political climate at the time, the war had many facets and was variously viewed as class struggle, a religious struggle, a struggle between dictatorship and republican democracy, between revolution and counterrevolution, and between fascism and communism. According to Claude Bowers, U.S. ambassador to Spain during the war, it was the “dress rehearsal” for World War II.
In 1937, the Nationalists, under the leadership of Francisco Franco began to establish their dominance. An important element of support was their greater access to foreign aid, with their German and Italian allies helping considerably. This came just as the French ceased aid to the Republicans, who continued, however, to be able to buy arms from the Soviet Union. The Republican side suffered from serious divisions among the various communist and anarchist groupings within it, and the communists undermined much of the anarchists’ organization. On October 1st Nationalist forces occupied Covadonga. Bitter fighting followed and, despite determined Asturian resistance, Gijón fell in late October, effectively ending the war in the North. At the end of November, with the Nationalists closing in on Valencia, the government moved again, from Valencia to Barcelona.
With varying degrees of reception, here are reports from Geneva, Switzerland (League Of Nations meeting), Shanghai, Tokyo, and Madrid with a broadcast rapidly running out of time.
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