July 31, 2015

1944. Charles Shaw Spreads News of the Normandy Invasion to London

Charles Shaw from London on D-Day

Charles Shaw

CBS London

June 6, 1944

ROBERT TROUT: And now we've just had word that we're to hear further news direct from overseas. And so for another report of the pooled broadcasts, we take you now to London for the report of CBS correspondent Charles Shaw. Go ahead, London.

CHARLES SHAW: This is Charles Shaw in London. For an hour after the broadcast of Communique Number One [audio], I played town crier to a London generally unaware that France had been invaded. I rode and walked through the strand—Fleet Street, past St. Paul's, along the Thames embankment to the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey, out to Piccadilly Circus and other parts of so-called downtown London—asking people here and there what they thought of the news. In most cases I found out that I had to report the news before getting any comment.

It looked like London any morning between 9:30 and 10:30. The streets comparatively deserted, soldiers of all nations dancing about, street cleaners running their brushes along the curbs. I asked a taxi driver to take me around the city because I wanted to see how people were reacting to the news. Incidentally, I asked him, "Have you heard the news?"

"I heard something about it," he said, "But I don't know whether it's official." I assured him it was, because I had just returned from the studio where the communique was broadcast.

Waiting for a traffic light, we drew alongside a car driven by a girl wearing the uniform of France. I leaned out and said, "What do you think of the news?"

"What news?" she asked.

"The Allies have landed in France."

All she said was, "Thank God."

Fleet Street, headquarters of the press in London, was normal. A couple of men who might have been reporters were seen dashing into buildings and up to St. Paul's Cathedral to see whether there were worshipers inside. And the only person in the vast auditorium was a black robed guide to the crypt who hadn't heard the news. His comment after being informed was, "That's good."

And so it was all over London. Two RAF sergeants were sightseeing in Westminster Abbey. A couple of women were trying unsuccessfully to gain entrance to the Houses of Parliament. Downing Street was empty except for a street cleaner almost in front of Number 10. All over London women were selling flags for the benefit of the Red Cross. The girl I patronized hadn't heard the news, and her expression changed little when she was informed.

The next interviewee was a roly-poly woman, dressed about as broad as she was long, who had heard the broadcast. "It's gewd," she said. Not a newspaper extra appeared on the street. London this morning, for at least an hour after the broadcast of Communique Number One, was the same London that it was yesterday morning.

Earlier this morning, the telephone rang at 7 AM. It was Ed Murrow. He said, "Better get dressed and wait for a call from me." A new world speed record for getting dressed was promptly set. The dressing was accomplished against a background of heavy sky noise, the sound of great fleets of planes. They were too high to be seen, but their roar seemed to fill the sky, and the planes seemed to be everywhere.

At 7:45 the phone rang again. "Get to such and such a building as quickly as possible." It was a building from which the big communique was to be issued.
It was going-to-work time for London, and masses of shopgirls and businessmen jammed the sidewalks leading to that building. Almost bursting with what I felt was the big secret, I studied the faces of those people. Their expressions were the same as those of going-to-work people all over the world. Most of them looked sleepy. Quite a few of the girls were white-lipped, apparently having got up too late to put on lipstick and intending to do so at their offices. Some were neatly dressed, others had ties askew just like the eight o'clock crowd in Pittsburgh or San Francisco.

But there was one difference. The clothes they wore neatly or carelessly were mostly of 1939 and 1940 vintage. The lipstick the girls wore or forgot to wear was of a hard, chalky substance—war stuff. The tiredness in their faces came not from a bad night, but from almost five years of working in the front lines of war. You felt like shouting to those weary people, "It happened! The invasion has started!" Because that's what these people have been working and fighting for; fighting beside antiaircraft guns, fighting with fire hoses, fighting with industrial tools since one day exactly four years ago when the tattered fugitives from Dunkirk reached these shores. In a few hours they would know, and you wondered how they would take it.

The building was reached, and the way correspondents were converging on the gates from all directions reminded you of the old Toonerville Trolley animated cartoons in which an incomprehensible number of people would enter small apertures. They were all hurrying; some of them just moved their legs faster without seeming to cover much more ground. Practically every pass that you've been issued since arriving in London had to be produced. No one-eyed Connellys could get in here.

Bureau chiefs were herded into one big room. One person from each press association, major newspaper, and broadcasting network. All others were barred. And downstairs, outside of news special studios, the other broadcasters were waiting and typing out last minute pieces. And one of those studios had been locked tightly since its construction was completed. That was the studio that which the communique was to be read to a waiting world. Already the German radio was broadcasting reports of fighting in France. London was maintaining silence.

The broadcaster's workroom was filling with colonels, majors, lieutenants, and GIs of both the American and British armies. Nobody seemed quite sure of what so many soldiers were supposed to do in so small a room. White legging-ed, white belted MPs, their garrison caps banded with what looked like white bandages, took spaces inside and outside the doors.
In came the official Allied spokesman with retinue. He began calling New York network headquarters, informing them that the first communique would be broadcast at 9:32 London Time. 9:32 arrived. The communique was broadcast. The big secret was out.

This is Charles Shaw in London returning you to New York.

July 30, 2015

1957. Interview with Pakistan's Prime Minister Suhrawardy

An Interview with Prime Minister Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy

July 14, 1957

ANNOUNCER: Prime Minister Suhrawardy, "Face the Nation."

ANNOUNCER: You're about to see Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy, Prime Minister of Pakistan, face the nation and the questions from veteran correspondents representing the nation's press.
Chalmers Roberts, diplomatic correspondent for the Washington Post and Times Herald, Bill Downs of CBS News, and John Madigan of the Washington bureau of Newsweek. And now substituting for Stuart Novins from CBS News and Public Affairs, the moderator of "Face the Nation" George Herman.

GEORGE HERMAN: Insofar as Western policy is concerned, one nation forms the land bridge between the troubled Middle East and the potentially troublesome Far East. That nation is Pakistan, a Muslim republic which faces Iran and the Arab world on one frontier, and Burma and the Asian world on the other.
At the head of the pro-Western government of Pakistan is Prime Minister Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy, a lawyer with a background of working for labor organizations and a foreground of fondness for the broadest possible kind of democracy. He has a reputation for frank and unabashed speech. We'll see about that now as we get our first question from Mr. Madigan.

JOHN MADIGAN: Mr. Prime Minister, what have you and President Eisenhower accomplished in your conferences that could not have been effected at the ambassadorial level or through meetings of our State Department with your foreign office?

HUSEYN SHAHEED SUHRAWARDY: Well I think personal contacts have their value, and we understand something more about American doctrine and American politics by personal contacts, and I think that President Eisenhower and Secretary Dulles also understand more of my mind and what I propose to do.

BILL DOWNS: Mr. Suhrawardy, the communiqué makes no specific mention of military aid. Your nation is a bridge between SEATO and the Baghdad Pact. Did you get additional military aid?

SUHRAWARDY: Well I don't know, but it is obvious that all the time we are reviewing our military requirements, Mr. Downs. The position really is that we are not seeking military aid in such quantities as it will make it difficult for us to digest all the aid that we get. We want just enough military aid to save us from aggression.

ROBERTS: You did ask, sir, while speaking to the President and the Secretary for some additional military equipment. Is that correct?

SUHRAWARDY: We have assessed—all that I can say is that we are continuously assessing our requirements. At the present moment, my view is that we have not received sufficient military aid.

ROBERTS: The communiqué that you have issued with the president jointly speaks of serious financial pressures on your government due to maintaining your military forces, which are allied of course with American forces in two specific pacts out there in your part of the world. What do you mean by that? What are those financial pressures, and what are you asking us to help you do to relieve them?

SUHRAWARDY: Well Mr. Roberts, the position is that our revenue and our income is not sufficient to maintain our military equipment at a proper standard. When I mean a proper standard, it is not sufficient to save us from aggression. And all that we want is that America should come to our assistance to that extent that we shall be able, without fear, of being attacked from any quarter to carry on with our cooperative effort and our constructive efforts.

DOWNS: Mr. Prime Minister, speaking of aggression, the Indians say that they fear an attack from Pakistan in the area of Kashmir. Do you intend to use military force to enforce what you consider your rights in that area?

SUHRAWARDY: Obviously not. We are not fools. The Indians are tremendously very much stronger than we are. It was the Indians that moved their forces on the borders of Pakistan twice, once in 1950 and another in 1951. We never moved our forces at their borders against them.

ROBERTS: Mr. Prime Minister, you've just said in this communiqué with the president that you have pledged to try to solve this Kashmir question with your Indian neighbors peacefully. Yet in a speech which you made in your own parliament not long before you came here you said that you had reached, in your approach to the United Nations, "Our very last throw of the dice. We cannot continue to live under these conditions." You have been unable to solve this directly with the Indians. What do you mean by that? How are you going to solve it?

SUHRAWARDY: I am afraid, Mr. Roberts, you misunderstood me. I have said, that so far as our relationship with India is concerned and the Kashmir question, we have tried to resolve the question by mutual conversation and contacts but we have not reached any conclusion. Consequently we have approached the United Nations now, and we expect that the United Nations would do justice.

MADIGAN: Do you feel, Mr. Prime Minister, that President Eisenhower is going to give you, through the United States in the United Nations, strong backing to try and get the demands?

SUHRAWARDY: Well, I am certain about it. If he doesn't do so I shall be deeply disappointed because I expect from him a sense of justice that he will try and seek that the matters between us are adjusted.

MADIGAN: He has so said, and you have in the communiqué, that he hoped it would be solved on a just basis, and under United Nations "principles" I think was the term that you used.


MADIGAN: What action expressly will be taken by the United States in the United Nations in relation to the Kashmir issue?

SUHRAWARDY: Oh I think Mr. Madigan that the United States ought, in the Security Council, and later on in the General Assembly—which is necessary for us to go to the General Assembly—to use its weight and its influence and its persuasion to see that the other countries of the world also realize the justice of our case.

MADIGAN: You say that the United States ought to do that. Has the President said that we will do that?

SUHRAWARDY: Well, I expect that he will.

MADIGAN: He has said so?

SUHRAWARDY: And if he has said so—well, I am sure that he will.

DOWNS: Mr. Prime Minister, we in this country are familiar with fights over water. In Kashmir and the Indus Valley which your country comprises, the Indians have been threatening to build dams which would cut off a large part of your irrigation water. Now, we have had range wars over this question in the West in the past, and even in the present I think over California and the rest of it—would you go to war if India did build these dams and cut off your livelihood that way?

SUHRAWARDY: Oh let us not talk about these hypothetical matters. I don't—I cannot conceive that India would ever be so—I would like a word—so barbarous to stop the water flowing down our rivers.

DOWNS: Well what is the solution to this, then?

SUHRAWARDY: This. There are, as you know, six rivers. Most of them rise in Kashmir. One of the reasons why therefore Kashmir is so important for us is this water, these waters which irrigate our lands. They do not irrigate Indian lands.
Now, what India has done is not threatening it is actually it is building a dam today, and it is threatening to cut off the waters of the three rivers for the purpose of irrigating some of its lands. Now if it does so without replacement, it is obvious that we shall be starved out and our people will die of thirst.
Under those circumstances I hope that contingency will never arise. You can well realize that, rather than dying in that manner, people will die fighting. Because that will be the very worst form of aggression.
But I think that before any such situation can arise, those countries of the world that undertake and have undertaken to ensure that peace exists and that matters between countries of our type are adjusted will step in to see that India does not perform any such barbarous actions.

ROBERTS: Mr. Prime Minister, that's at least a future contingency you're discussing. I'd like to ask you this about the Kashmir dispute with India. The Indians claim that the United Nations resolution on this question said that first of all, you should pull you troops out of Kashmir, and that all the other steps in the UN resolution were contingent on that, including the idea of plebiscite, and that you have never done that. What is Pakistan's answer to that charge?

SUHRAWARDY: Pakistan's answer to that charge is the United Nations resolution, and the reaffirmation of that resolution not so long ago was January the 24th or 23rd, 1957. After all, this matter is raised by India before the Security Council, and this contention has been rejected. That is not the correct reading of the resolutions of the United Nations. These are nothing else but plausible excuses that are put forward by Mr. Nehru for the purpose of giving a semblance of some adequate, specious reason for his intransigence.

MADIGAN: On this very show last Sunday, Mr. Prime Minister, Mr. Nehru disagreed with your 100 percent.

SUHRAWARDY: Well I disagree with Mr. Nehru more than 100 percent, if that is possible.

DOWNS: Mr. Prime Minister, can there be real peace between Pakistan and India until you settle the religious question? When India was partitioned there was probably one of the greatest bloodbaths in civilization's history that took place. Several million people were slaughtered for religious reasons. Is there an answer to the dispute between the Hindu and the Muslim?

SUHRAWARDY: That matter is closed. India was partitioned on that ground. There were these tragedies that took place, particularly between the two wings of the Punjab, because passions were high. After that we have settled down to work.
There are—one eighth of the population of India is Muslim, one eighth of the population of Pakistan is non-Muslim. We are trying our level best to see that justice is done to the minorities. So far as we are concerned, we haven't had a single riot since 1950 when Nehru and the late Mr. Liaquat Ali Khan came to certain agreements regarding the treatment of the minorities. In India, I believe there have been as many as 402 from that time until now.

MADIGAN: Mr. Prime Minister, a few months ago when Mr Nehru was here in the United States, one of our colleagues referred to him as the "mystical man in the middle." He was referring to Mr. Nehru's stand on nonalignment and neutralism. What is your description of Mr. Nehru's position in the Cold War?
SUHRAWARDY: Well, I think that Mr. Nehru himself does not understand his position. Mr. Nehru occasionally leans on one side, occasionally on the other. The result is he gets the best of both worlds. That is to his advantage, and I think he continues to pursue that policy because up to now he has not been caught short on it.

MADIGAN: But you too, sir, up until a short time ago followed a policy of nonalignment.

SUHRAWARDY: No, I don't think so.

MADIGAN: You are interpreted as saying until 1953-54, not connecting yourself with either side, and I believe you have said recently that you have learned something since that time which had attached you solidly to the West. Am I correct?

SUHRAWARDY: Yes, the position was—if I can cast my mind back—it was some time in 1950, when I [inaudible] the question of these defensive pacts and alliances and so on. It not had been considered until some time in 1950 when I thought it desirable that we should remain aloof from the world conflict.
And still I would say this. That the policy which I have laid down to my country is goodwill towards all and malice towards none. There's no reason why we should start in a shining charger and start tilting against windmills. In 1953 or 1954 it was not—I do not think I ever stated that we should not ally ourselves with any countries.

ROBERTS: Mr Prime Minister—

SUHRAWARDY: But listen one minute. At that moment I had stated that I had not sufficient knowledge of the political situation and of our state of preparedness and so on, because the government did not take either the country or the opposition into confidence. Therefore, as I said, as I had not sufficient knowledge. I was not prepared to give a dictum as to what should be our policy. As I said that recently I have come to know more about the situation, and I am perfectly satisfied that the only manner in which Pakistan can be safe from aggression—and the security of the Middle East can be assured—is through these defensive pacts into which we have entered.

ROBERTS: Mr. Prime Minister, some of the cynics say that the reason Pakistan has joined these pacts with the Western countries, especially the United States, has to do in part at least with reasons other than military ones. That is, they have to do with economic reasons—that in in fact your budget is supported to some 40 percent by the United States. Is that correct?

SUHRAWARDY: Well our budget is supported to some extent, but that is not the reason why we have joined the United States. We were in the same boat as you know. We fought in the same manner. On account of the very religious fundamental principles that we profess.
Therefore this has nothing whatsoever to do with the economic situation. After all, the United Nations is assisting us as it is assisting forty other countries. That's an entirely different matter. But we are not selling our independence or our independence of thought or really even independence of action except for these economic reasons and political reasons.

DOWNS: Well Mr. Prime Minister—

SUHRAWARDY: But should the United States choose to cut it off, we shall still continue on the path which we have started down.

ROBERTS: Is 40 percent a correct figure of the amount of your budget which comes by one means or another in the form of American help?

SUHRAWARDY: Well I wouldn't—no, I don't think so. I think the great portion of the foreign exchange which is available to us for our development purposes—that comes from the United States because most of our foreign exchange is committed to meeting our own defense requirements.

DOWNS: Mr. Prime Minister, you are our bridge between the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and just north of you there is a big nation called China—Communist China—and you've been there recently I believe.


DOWNS: What is Pakistan's relationship and how do you feel about this colossus north of you?

SUHRAWARDY: Well I've told you that our policy is not to have malice against anyone, and so long as China does not interfere with us I see no reason why I should interfere with China. But China has got a very important place in world politics and you have to wait—it is trying to reconstruct itself.

DOWNS: Do you think that the United States should recognize China?

SUHRAWARDY: That is a matter of policy for the Unites States, and I think that only recently your Secretary of State Mr. Dulles has given what he considers to be very adequate reasons why China should not be recognized.

DOWNS: Do you agree with it?

SUHRAWARDY: To some extent I must say that—

ROBERTS: Mr. Prime Minister, you have diplomatic relations—does your government have diplomatic relations with Peking or with the Formosa government?

SUHRAWARDY: No, our government has diplomatic relations with the Peking government.

MADIGAN: Your communiqué—yours and President Eisenhower's—spoke of "exerting influence" in the Middle East to solve the problem there, the Israeli-Arab problem. What do you specifically mean? What type of influence, and how would you exert it?

SUHRAWARDY: Well I think that Palestinian question or the Israeli problem has got to be solved if we are ever going to be certain about peace in the Middle East. And I think that it is the duty of all persons of good will to do whatever they can in bringing about this peace.

MADIGAN: What specifically can Pakistan or the United States do?

SUHRAWARDY: Well, I think that they could bring the two parties together. They could try and reason with—

MADIGAN: Outside the United Nations?

SUHRAWARDY: Yes, outside the United Nations.

MADIGAN: In other words you're calling upon the United States to act as an individual mediator in this problem?


DOWNS: How about Pakistan? Would you be willing to be a mediator in this problem?

SUHRAWARDY: Yes, I think so.

DOWNS: There have been some speculations, Mr. Prime Minister, that you have ambitions to lead the Muslim world or at least pull it together. Mr. Nasser also has similar ambitions. Where do you stand on this struggle for the Muslim world, if there is one?

SUHRAWARDY: I think there is no struggle. If Mr. Nasser has got ambitions, well, let him pursue his ambitions. I have no such ambitions. All that I have been wanting to do is to bring the Muslim world together so that they can sit down at the same table, discuss matter amongst themselves. All these disputes which exist between the member nations may be resolved. International—with regard to international disputes—we may be able to put forward suggestions which may be able to resolve them. And so far as leadership is concerned, my view definitely is that if any country desires to get the leadership of the Muslim world then that combination, namely the Muslim world coming together, is bound to fail.

ROBERTS: Mr. Prime Minister, how is Pakistan in a position to exert any influence in the Middle East conflict between the Arabs and the Israelis when you have recently said of Israel, "We have never recognized it and we shall never recognize it." You are entirely on one side of that controversy are you not?

SUHRAWARDY: Well I'm afraid that is the position of Pakistan because I think that the creation of Israel was wrong. But after all there is Israel and everyone realizes that there must be an adjustment and an agreement between the Arab world—between the Arab nations that resent the existence of Israel, and Israel itself. An agreement of this nature connotes that they recognize the existence of Israel. That they recognize that, if there is an agreement between these two parties, then one of the parties is not exterminated.

ROBERTS: You would advise all the Muslim nations to accept Israel as a fact of life?

SUHRAWARDY: I'm afraid there is no other alternative. But there's no reason why Pakistan should recognize its existence as something that...it's a fact; it's a very unpleasant fact.

MADIGAN: Mr. Prime Minister, doesn't your discussion here regarding China, Israel, Egypt, all these countries, the United States, Russia—you say don't tilt at windmills, don't start a war. Does this not place you a little bit in the position of, similar to Nehru's, nonalignment and like everybody?

SUHRAWARDY: Oh no. No. On the other hand we say this, that if there is aggression in respect of any of the countries with which we have agreed, it will be the duty of Pakistan to enter into the fray.

MADIGAN: You're saying then that all these pacts are only defensive pacts...

SUHRAWARDY: They are defensive.

MADIGAN: ...and that no more economic pressure should be brought to bear on any of these parties in the communist sphere of the world

SUHRAWARDY: Well I'm sure that that must also be the policy of the United States...

MADIGAN: Is it your policy?

SUHRAWARDY: ...not to have aggression

MADIGAN: Is it your policy to bring other pressures to bear on these nations?

SUHRAWARDY: Well I think—as I do not believe in their ideology. I think that we should try and see that they conform more to the things that we believe in. And possibly there are internal pressures as you can see now visible in these countries from which one can hope that there is going to be a change in the internal policy of—

HERMAN: Mr. Prime Minister—excuse me, Bill—you personally are pushing for wide general elections in your own country, yet one of your neighbors to the South, another distinguished Muslim leader Mr. Sukarno, has said that he thinks that the people of Asia are not yet ready for this broad kind of democracy. What is your answer to that?

SUHRAWARDY: Well Mr. Sukarno might speak for his country but not for ours. I think that we are. I think that the British have given us sufficient background to have. They have brought us up in that—within that atmosphere of democracy.

HERMAN: If I may follow your line of thought then you do not feel that the Dutch people gave the Indonesians enough of that kind of background?

SUHRAWARDY: I wouldn't like to go into the internal history of Indonesia.

DOWNS: Well Mr. Prime Minister, do you fear in your own country an ideological invasion from the north? In other words, do you have a political threat of communism in Pakistan?

SUHRAWARDY: Well I must say that attempts have been made to infiltrate into our country and there has been a certain amount of spread of communism. And unfortunately communist countries themselves have not to that extent directly interfered with that, or have infiltrated but have utilized neutral countries.

ROBERTS: You're saying that, are you saying sir that this communist spread of subversion is coming through the Indian Communist Party rather than centering, say, at the embassies of the Soviet Union and Chinese communists?

SUHRAWARDY: Well that's rather an embarrassing question, but there is no question about it that there are Indian agents in our country that are preaching communism amongst our people.

DOWNS: Well Prime Minister, recently our ally Britain changed her mind or at least diverted from our policy to liberalize her trade with Red China. Are you also going to liberalize your trade with Red China?

SUHRAWARDY: Well we have been trading with Red China to some extent. We have been selling it cotton we have been taking from them coal, which we need. I do not think that our trade can be of such a nature as can be considered to be of strategic value to China.

ROBERTS: At the start of the program, Mr. Prime Minister, you spoke of personal contacts with President Eisenhower; said they're good because it dispelled certain doubts. What doubts did you have concerning the United Sates or President Eisenhower?

SUHRAWARDY: Did I use the word—

ROBERTS: You didn't use the word "doubt." You said, "not clear in each other's minds what you were thinking or what the United States was thinking."

SUHRAWARDY: No. On the other hand possibly we were more confirmed in our views as to our attitude, and—

ROBERTS: Did you get everything you wanted while you were in Washington?

SUHRAWARDY: No, I didn't come here for a anything—not everything That's something that's gone wrong with you all to think that anybody who comes here, comes here with the idea of wanting something. Surely coming here and talking to your leaders means that I can also contribute something in the matter of thought.

ROBERTS: That wasn't said in the term of derogation, Mr. Prime Minister. It meant the legitimate desires that you might have.

SUHRAWARDY: Well, we all know the position and the relationship that exists between us, and that's that. Certainly we come here in order to make friends and to know the people more and to have personal contacts [inaudible] about the civilization and culture of your country.

ROBERTS: You want a "meeting of minds" is what you're saying, not merely material things.

SUHRAWARDY: Well I should put it like that Mr. Roberts. That probably is correct. I mean it's true I don't place myself on the par of the United States by any means. The United States is a very great country, and it has given a certain moral philosophy which did not exist before. Namely the country helping other smaller countries is something which people did not realize could be done.

HERMAN: I'm afraid that's all the time we have Mr. Prime Minister. Thank you very much for coming here to face the nation. Our thanks also to our panel of distinguished newsmen, Chalmers Roberts of The Washington Post and Times Herald, Bill Downs of CBS News, and John Madigan of Newsweek. This is George Herman.

July 29, 2015

1943. The March to Bryansk

Major Red Army Advances Along the Eastern Front
Soviet sappers conducting clearance in Smolensk, September 1943 (source)
The parentheses indicate text that did not pass Soviet censors for military security or propaganda reasons.

(For more, see the complete 1943 Moscow reports.)
Bill Downs

CBS Moscow

September 12, 1943

The Russians cut off another three to six miles of German-held territory yesterday in a long, zigzagging slice extending from the Bryansk region six hundred miles southward to the Sea of Azov. There is no sign of slackening of the Soviet march westward. In fact, in some sectors in the northern Ukraine, the Red Army has speeded up its advance in the last several days. (The Germans are running for a line that they hope to hold throughout this winter. They have about forty-five miles to go before they reach the Dnieper, and another eighty miles or so before they get into the Kiev defensive zone.)

We are now beginning to get first reports of what the Nazi industrialists were able to achieve during their occupation of Russia's richest steel and coal area in the Donets Basin.

Preliminary reports indicate that would-be factory managers were so busy trying to get Russian labor to work that there was little time left for the production of coal or steel or anything else.

In Mariupol, particularly, was the effort to establish Germany a failure. Here the Nazi military authorities turned over a big steel plant to the Krupps work. Not much of the plant was left after the Russians shifted it eastward two years ago, but there were buildings and a plant layout.

The only signs of German industrial efficiency that the Red Army found when they took the city Friday was a poster put up by the Krupps management. It warned that all workers who did not report for their jobs would be sent to the company's concentration camp. People who went to this camp never came back. It is estimated that 40,000 people from the Mariupol region died in this camp.

The most striking illustration of the complete German failure in the Donbass is the fact that the Nazis were forced to ship coal from Poland into one of the richest mining regions in the world.
Bill Downs

CBS Moscow

September 12, 1943

The Red Army in the past ten months of its winter and summer offensive has almost completely wiped out the gains that the German army spent two years in achieving.

As the Russians drive for Kiev and the Dnieper bend, they soon will be on the same lines where they fought the Nazis in September 1941.

This morning's Red Star says that Germany now appears to be seriously preparing for a war of complete exhaustion as the only way to avoid a complete rout.

German engineers are building fortifications like mad along the Dnieper and Desna river districts. It's a Number One construction project, and one that must be completed within a month. It was reported several weeks ago that such fortifications were started around the Bryansk region southward along the Desna.

The task of the German engineers now is to complete these fortifications in time for the Nazi troops to fall back on them and hold throughout the winter. It's an extremely bad time of the year to have to build such a defense line. In the first place, the defense experts must visualize the terrain as it will appear under snow. That means making the present pillboxes and blindages several feet higher than summer constructions. It also means that literally hundreds of thousands of mines will have to be relaid when the first snows begin to fall.

On top of all this, the German quartermasters corps must prepare the beaten German armies for winter.

It's a tremendous job, and one that is going to tax the famous German "thoroughness" to the limit.

Front reports this morning again mention the capture of sixteen and seventeen-year-old youths among the new reserves in Nazis regiments. Sometimes they are part of what the Germans have called "army groups."

An army group is a hastily reformed unit made up of the survivors of a number of regiments who have been smashed or scattered with no leadership. These "army groups" number about forty to sixty men. Sometimes they will even have a single tank or heavy gun with them.

They are given separate defensive assignments, such as to hold a height or a river crossing. However, the basic construction of these hastily formed groups does not make the Germans' ersatz units particularly effective. They operate with little cooperation from their flanks. It is becoming more and more common to capture these groups intact.

(This great German retreat has started a general discussion about the war here in Russia. No one is fooling himself into thinking that the war is over, but it makes for some good conversation.)

(One can't help wondering what the people of Germany are thinking today.)
Bill Downs

CBS Moscow

September 13, 1943

Red Army guns tonight are booming at the gates of Bryansk, the key city in the German defense line in Central Russia. Tonight's communiqué reveals a sensational advance into the railroad knot on the eastern bank of the Desna river just across the river from Bryansk. The communiqué announces the capture of two railroad junctions, Bryansk One and Bryansk Two. These two junctions are within sight of the main portion of the city, which is on the western bank of the river.

Bryansk was first captured by the Germans in 1941. Since that time, it has been a major military objective for both the Russians and the Nazis. It is sort of the "Kansas City" of Central Russia—a combination farm distribution center and manufacturing district. The city is about the same size as Schenectady, New York, or Sioux City, Iowa, or Austin, Texas, or Pasadena, California.

Six railroads branch out from Bryansk, but only two of these, leading westward from the town, are open to German military traffic, and they are under constant attack from the Russian air force.

More importantly, Bryansk is the peg of the entire German defense line in Central Russia. It ranks with Leningrad in the north, Smolensk on the western front, and Kharkov in the Ukraine as a key to the line where the Germans hoped to hold this winter.

It must be pointed out that the city itself is not yet in Russian hands. There still is a wide and difficult river to cross. The Germans have blown all the highway and railroad bridges across this river. There undoubtedly will be a bitter fight for a position as important as this one.

The Red Army's breakthrough to within artillery range of Bryansk is a serious defeat for the Wehrmacht. (The fall of the city would be a minor disaster for them.)

The other sensational advance revealed by tonight's communiqué is in the Russian march in the direction of Kiev. Russian troops are tonight less than ten miles from Nizhyn. This puts them seventy-five miles from Kiev itself. These troops are well within the Kiev railroad network. The capture of the railroad junction of Nizhyn will mean that, on this particular right-of-way, the Russians will have no more railroad junctions on the road to Kiev.

The news continues to be tremendous here in Russia. There is no sign that it will cease in the next few weeks.
Bill Downs

CBS Moscow

September 13, 1943

There is no sensational news from the Russian front today—that is, if you discount the fact that the Red Army continues its western advance on a five hundred mile front. In the south, Soviet forces pushed westward as much as eighteen miles in twenty-four hours west and southwest of Stalino yesterday. However, the going is much tougher west and south of Kharkov where the Germans the other day tried a large-scale counterattack attempting to create a salient into the Russian flank striking toward Kiev. This counterattack failed.

Further north, the envelopment of Bryansk continues. Russian troops driving directly westward down the railroad into the city have fought their way within twelve miles of Bryansk. They are only some ten miles from the east bank of the Desna river where six railroads join. The city of Bryansk is on the west bank.

The communiqué also mentions a new direction today. It's the Roslavl direction, lying midway between Bryansk and Smolensk. The Russians are driving a wedge between these two German defense points which, if it succeeds, will create a vital base for flanking movements northward and southward of both these cities.

In the coming weeks I think you can expect much heavier fighting and stiffer German resistance all along the front. The rate of the Red Army's advance has not been slowed in the double drive for the Dnieper in the southern and central Ukraine. However, further north in the Bryansk region and in the Smolensk direction, the fighting has been exceptionally bitter. Here the battles have been staged on territory which the Nazis have built up as a winter defense line. This line has been broken in several places, such as the section southwest of Bryansk where Soviet units crossed the Desna river.

We haven't heard anything from this group for the past several days.

Also in the central Ukraine, Russian forces are approaching the Kiev defense zone. These defense zones are miniature Mannerheim lines extending as much as sixty miles in an arc around a vital point.

The defenses consist of acres of minefields, miles of barbed wire, and trenches all built into forests and slopes and river banks and villages.

Smolensk has such a defense zone. So does Bryansk. Breaking through one of these positions is a long and costly process, but it can be done and has been done in this summer offensive.
Bill Downs

CBS Moscow

September 14, 1943

The Battle for Bryansk is in its final and most difficult stages today. Russian artillery on the east bank of the river are lobbing shells into German positions in the city. Meanwhile the Nazis, dug into the high western bank of the river, are covering the opposite bank with a curtain of fire in an attempt to prevent the Red Army from establishing a bridgehead.

Down in the Ukraine the Russians are meeting more and more German reinforcements of men and tanks. In the northern Ukraine the Germans are even trying a series of counterattacks. However, in the southern sector west of Stalino, the Nazis have not slackened their high rate of retreat—trying to hold a defensive position in the daytime and running at night.
Bill Downs

CBS Moscow

September 17, 1943

If you want a thumbnail description of the German army in Russia tonight, it can be said to be a group of men in gray-green uniforms looking for a place to stay this winter. At least this is an accurate definition of those Nazis on the upper Desna river line.

The Red Army's capture of Bryansk has thrown the Germans out of the lynchpin in what was to be the link between the Nazis' northern and southern winter line.

When Hitler's summer offensive failed around Kursk and when the Russians started their breakthroughs, the Germans were forced into a fighting retreat toward the Desna. (In fact, one Russian division captured German high command documents telling of the preparation of the Desna for the winter. This document ordered that, if necessary, the German troops were to fall back on this line.)

They have fallen back, alright, but the Germans have lost their military balance. They're still falling.

The Bryansk victory and the routing of six Nazi infantry divisions means that a serious hole has been punched in this Desna line. Ninety miles down the river, another Russian breakthrough across the Desna is still making progress around Novgorod-Severskiy. We have yet to see how far the Russians intend to follow up on these breakthroughs, particularly this close to the fall rainy season, but the next natural defense lines behind the Desna are the upper reaches of the Dnieper river.

Meanwhile, all along the other sections of the front south to the Sea of Azov, the Russians are moving westward at the rate of three to nine miles. It may be significant that the Germans lost only eight planes on the entire Russian front yesterday. (The Nazis evidently have abandoned the air to the Soviet air force.)

Moscow is getting so used to victories these days that people almost think something is wrong if the siege guns and rockets don't salute another Red Army success by at least nine o'clock.

There were two salutes last night—and tonight. The story goes that Moscow mothers tell their daughters, "I want you home right after the victory salute tonight."

Now the daughters are answering, "You mean the first victory salute, or the second?"

July 28, 2015

1944. Murrow Reports from the Air During Operation Market Garden

Edward R. Murrow Accompanies Airborne Troops

Edward R. Murrow


September 17, 1944

EDWARD R. MURROW: We've been flying straight into Holland now for something like twenty minutes, so far without any opposition; at least none that I have been able to see. Our fighters are down, just almost nosing along the hedge rows, searching the little villages, and they're up above us and on both sides.

This is the real meaning of air power. And it seems that the Dutch realize it as well, because in a little village that we're just passing over I can see at least two dozen people standing along the narrow, winding streets. Some of them are children, and I can see that most of them seem to be wearing a white shirt or a white blouse of some kind.

There go the para-packs on the formation ahead of us. Yellow, brown, red. Drifting down gently, dropping the containers. I can't see the bodies of the men—yes I can. The chutes ahead of us are still going—and there's a burst of flak right there. I think it's coming from a railway embankment just down to the left. It was certainly considerably under us and just ahead of us. And it's the first flak we've seen...with one burst of light flak—there's another.

More tracers going across just in front of our nose. I think it's coming from that little village just beside the canal. More tracers coming up now, just cutting across in front of our nose. A lovely orange color, it is.

We're down just about to the drop altitude, now. In just about thirty seconds these nineteen men will walk out onto Dutch soil. You can probably hear the snap as they check the lashing on the static line. We're throttled back now.

There he goes! Do you hear him shout? Three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, eighteen...

There they go! Every man out—I can see their chutes going down now. Every man clear. They're dropping just beside a little windmill near a church; hanging there very gracefully. They seem to be completely relaxed like nothing so much as khaki dolls hanging beneath a green lampshade.

July 24, 2015

1957. The Rise and Fall of the Radio Commentator

"The Rise and Fall of the Radio Commentator"
John Daly (left) and Quincy Howe (right) covering the 1956 Democratic National Convention for ABC Television. August 12, 1956 (source)
From The Saturday Review, October 26, 1957:


LESS than twenty years have passed since the conjunction of the radio industry and the Second World War brought about the news analyst, or commentator, into sudden being. Now the conjunction of television, peace, and prosperity threatens him with gradual extinction.

Some news analysts, it is true, still remain in business at their old stands, but none who has dropped out has been replaced by a postwar product. Television has produced newscasters, interviewers, masters of ceremonies, and assorted experts, but no new name, face, or voice has appeared in the field of network news analysis. What happened?

In the 1920s Graham MacNamee and Floyd Gibbons pioneered the field of reporting news events by radio. Lowell Thomas and Boake Carter pioneered the field of newscasting; by the mid-1930s their names had become household words. And then came World War II, offering new challenges to a medium which rose to the occasion with a new kind of expert: the journalist who had learned to talk, the lecturer who had learned to write, the broadcaster who had learned to read—something more, that is, than the script before him.

H. V. Kaltenborn, Elmer Davis, and Raymond Swing—the first three radio news analysts to win and hold national reputations—all possessed the rare blend of talent, character, and experience that their new calling demanded. In 1899, before he had entered Harvard or come of age, Kaltenborn was already working for a newspaper. After graduation from Harvard he served as an American exchange professor in Germany and as tutor to young Vincent Astor on a round-the-world tour. Then began a twenty-year stint with the Brooklyn Eagle as a reporter, editorial writer, associate editor, and drama critic. Kaltenborn made frequent trips to Europe, built up a wide following as a lecturer on current events, and in 1922 delivered his first news broadcast. In 1929 the Columbia Broadcasting System set him up as the first news analyst in the business. Nine years later his round-the-clock coverage of the Munich crisis made him a national reputation.

Elmer Davis's proficiency in the classics helped him win a Rhodes scholarship at Queens College, Oxford, in 1911. He had already taught school for a year in his native Indiana. After returning to the United States he served as a staff member of The New York Times. But from the mid-1920s until the eve of war in Europe Elmer Davis spent most of his time writing short stories, essays, and humorous novels—"Friends of Mr. Sweeney," "I'll Show You The Town," and "White Pants Willie" among them. At national conventions and at occasional seasons of other years he also assumed, in The New York Times, the character of Geoffrey G. Gloom, the Indiana Democrat. In 1939 he became a full-time news analyst for CBS, where he performed with such distinction that his journalistic colleagues persuaded the Administration to put him in charge, in 1942, of its newly created Office of War Information.

Raymond Swing got his first newspaper job in Cleveland in 1906. Seven years later he was Berlin correspondent for the Chicago Daily News, remaining in Germany until 1917 and returning, in 1919, for the New York Herald. During the war he conveyed an important secret message from Lloyd George to the German Government. After the war he made Europe his news beat until 1936, when he returned to New York as correspondent for the London News Chronicle. Swing won fame on the radio reporting on the United States for the British Broadcasting Corporation. In 1935 he wrote "Forerunners of American Fascism." He appeared for a year on the "American School of the Air," over CBS. In 1939 he went over to Mutual.

THESE biographical items serve as reminders that three of the first men to establish wide and firm audiences for themselves as wartime American commentators had roots abroad as well as at home, and interests that ranged beyond the news of the day. Swing composed music as well as books. His first wife was a Frenchwoman. Kaltenborn married a German baroness. Elmer Davis was as much a man of letters as a journalist. But all three had come rapidly to the top as newspapermen. All had likewise gone beyond daily journalism to more lasting literary and artistic pursuits. All had savored the taste of Europe, as it used to be before the First World War. And they had seen enough of the twentieth century to be able to view the events of the 1920s and 1930s in perspective.

Two other wartime commentators, who made names for themselves shortly after Kaltenborn, Swing, and Davis made theirs, first saw the light of day just after the turn of the century. On graduation from Coe College, Iowa, in 1925 William L. Shirer went to Europe, where he landed a job with the Paris bureau of the Chicago Tribune. And at the same time John W. Vandercook, who had spent a single year at Yale, was turning from newspaper work to exploration and authorship. For the next fifteen years Shirer devoted himself to foreign correspondence, living in France, Germany, and Austria and visiting India, from which he returned deeply impressed, like many others before and since, by Mahatma Gandhi. But Shirer's interests, like Elmer Davis's and Raymond Swing's, always extended beyond the daily journalism at which he made his living. He experimented as a novelist and a playwright. He spent as much time with authors as with politicians. He belonged to the Lost Generation, which had come through the First World War only to find a Second already on its way.

But it was not until this war came that Shirer, covering Germany for CBS, and Vandercook, commenting on world news from NBC's New York headquarters, found themselves caught up in the same kind of fame that had already come to Kaltenborn, Davis, and Swing. Indeed, it was not as a radio commentator but as the author of "Berlin Diary" that Shirer first won the popular recognition that his radio broadcasts later enhanced.

America's outstanding wartime commentator did not graduate from college until 1930 and had never worked in any medium except radio. In 1932 Edward R. Murrow began visiting Europe, first as president of the National Student Foundation, later as assistant director of the Carnegie Corporation's Institute of International Education. In 1935 he was appointed head of the Columbia Broadcasting System's department of talks and education; in 1938 he again returned to Europe as chief correspondent for CBS. During the 1940 Blitz his London broadcasts seized the interest of American listeners. His coverage of other wartime stories held that interest, and he has proved himself not only a great reporter, but a sensitive interpreter of world news. In 1945 his radio colleagues did him an honor no radio commentator ever won before, when they elected him president of the American Correspondents Association of London. By this time Murrow had gathered, organized, and developed an outstanding team of young war correspondents: Eric Sevareid, Howard K. Smith, Charles Collingwood, Larry LeSueur, Bill Downs, Richard C. Hottelet. These men belonged to a later generation than Shirer and Vandercook. Most of them had done some newspaper work. All of them knew Europe as well as the United States. And all of them who first made names for themselves with Murrow in Europe during the war continued to function in postwar radio and television, at home and abroad.

In addition to developing the outstanding wartime radio news staff, CBS also developed the bulk of commentators who, during the war or afterward, transferred their talents to other networks: H. V. Kaltenborn, Elmer Davis, Raymond Swing, John Daly, Chet Huntley, Bill Henry, Cecil Brown, Edward P. Morgan, Joseph C. Harsh. All these men received their basic radio news training at CBS. It is a record no other network can duplicate or even approach.

IN ONE respect at least, the radio and television industries have developed along familiar American lines. The same trend toward bigness and concentrated control that has become so marked in the automobile industry operates in radio and television as well. Network broadcasting on both radio and television can absorb certain costs, both of production and transmission, that individual stations cannot bear. These costs are far greater in television than in radio, but even before the postwar, mushroom growth of television, the government had ordered the National Broadcasting Company to divest itself of one of the two radio networks—the Red and the Blue—it then owned. The Blue Network became the American Broadcasting Company, but the radio interests that acquired it could not meet the skyrocketing costs of postwar television, and Paramount Theatres Corporation purchased control. This made the American Broadcasting Company, in effect, a subsidiary of a chain of motion-picture houses, just as the National Broadcasting Company had always been a subsidiary of the Radio Corporation of America.

The Columbia Broadcasting System, on the other hand, came into being and continued to exist as an independent corporation which sought to make profits from broadcasting only. William S. Paley, whose well-to-do father set him up in the business, retained control and gradually expanded his operation and his holdings. CBS sold stock to the general public, but the Paley family always held a controlling interest. It likewise so happened that William S. Paley himself possessed a social conscience as well as business ability and a keen interest in news, education, and public affairs as well as in entertainment and the popular arts. He regarded the news department at CBS as something more than a means of fulfilling certain minimum obligations to the FCC. He saw it as a source of pride, prestige, and perhaps eventual profit. Even before the Munich crisis he had hired Edward Klauber, one of the top executives of The New York Times, to set up a comparable news-gathering organization in the radio field. Whatever superiority the CBS news department may still enjoy over the news departments of NBC and ABC goes back to the head-start it gained during those prewar years.

Since then the rapid growth of television, some of it at the expense of radio, and changes in public taste, some of them engineered by the industries that cater to that taste, have brought radio and television news commentary to a state of uniform confusion. In the case of television news, production costs far exceed what any sponsor can pay for the audience such programs attract. In the case of commentary, fifteen minutes of a radio news analyst plus a camera add up to something less than television—and it has taken a dozen years for some television news presentations to find a place for even a few minutes of straight commentary. But local radio stations, including those that carry network programs, can still find audiences and sponsors for news, sports, and music all around the clock. There are also many hours of the day when network radio news can still find audiences and sponsors.

THE news analyst, however, faces two handicaps. First, if he is worth his salt and goes in for controversy most local sponsors and stations will have none of him. Second, the news analyst who is worth his salt will not voice his own commercial.

Few postwar commentators, I must add, have had to grapple with the temptation to read their own commercials, for the simple reason that few sponsors wanted them on any terms. The news itself had lost its wartime urgency and flowed less abundantly. And there was an oversupply of wartime and prewar commentators to cope with it. John Daly, who had begun covering Roosevelt in 1936, came to the 1948 conventions and campaign with a background that no newcomer possessed. Radio's Bob Trout, who has earned for himself the title of "Mr. Convention" over the years, still covers those political rituals in the medium which made him famous, imparting a sense of continuity to the proceedings. And when war suddenly broke out in Korea Edward R. Murrow—who had reported the Battle of Britain from housetops of London and the bombing of Berlin from the belly of an American bomber—reported the Korean War from the cockpits of American jets. The familiar and trusted figures of Murrow and Davis again exerted powerful influences at the height of the McCarthy madness. Night after night on radio Davis waged a tireless war of words on the Wisconsin Senator. Murrow delivered his most effective attack by way of television. But no new Murrows, Davises, or Dalys have come to the fore during the postwar years, with the single exception of Walter Cronkite, who came to CBS television news with long newspaper experience plus a rare natural talent for the new medium. And though Murrow has kept up his program of radio commentary, he owes much of his present prestige to television.

But why no younger men? For one thing, the new shape of the postwar world and the changing shape of the radio and television industries have narrowed the range of news analysis. Nor have the postwar years witnessed any such outpouring of intellectual, artistic, and literary creations as occurred during the first dozen years after the First World War. Criticism, scholarship, and the sciences have recently come of age in the United States—and that is much. But the Beat Generation has produced no Hemingways, Fitzgeralds, or Thomas Wolfes; no H. L. Menckens or Walter Lippmanns. The new mass media of motion pictures, radio, and television have reached new heights of technical excellence, but the "seven lively arts," as Gilbert Seldes called them, have produced no such men and women of talent as Seldes admired thirty years ago. Every radio or television news analyst with a national reputation today still draws inspiration from the earlier decades of this century—and it's the same story in other fields of journalistic effort. Whether there is no longer and room at the top, or whether the young men and women of talent prefer more secure or highly paid work, I do not know. Perhaps, in the case of television, so much has to be learned so fast that its greatest opportunities lie in the technical rather than the creative sphere. But a career in radio, with its declining audiences, profits, and influence, has lost much of its former allure. All of which makes the way of the news analyst harder and harder, no matter where he turns.

This applies even to the CBS organization. When the war ended and television overtook and overwhelmed radio NBC entered the competition with most of the top-rating shows of radio entertainment under its banner. Whereupon CBS, with smaller financial resources and greater financial daring, borrowed enough money to buy away half a dozen of NBC's top stars and outdistance NBC in entertainment as it had already outdistanced NBC in news. And this impetus carried over into television, where CBS went to the top almost at once. NBC presently hit back by putting Sylvester L. Weaver in effective charge of programming, and within a few years Weaver stood the whole industry, including NBC, on its collective head. For Weaver, single-handed, broke down two taboos that had straitjacketed radio since its inception and that hamstrung television even more severely. The weekend radio program "Monitor" shattered the pattern of programming all radio time in fifteen-minute units. "Monitor" adopted the revolutionary practice of giving each feature as much or as little time as that feature might be worth, without regard to sponsorship and time-breaks. It proved an immediate success—financially and every other way—and nowhere did this innovation make for so many improvements as in the field of news reports and news analysis.

In television, Weaver shattered the thirteen-week cycle under which individual programs not only ran to uniform lengths but had to be scheduled and sold in thirteen-week periods. He achieved this revolution by scheduling a variety of so-called television spectaculars, running one, two, and even three hours. Some of these spectaculars appeared only once. Others appeared at irregular intervals. Some of them found sponsors. Others did not. All cost NBC prodigious sums of money. In any event, Weaver and NBC parted company after six years—not long enough for Weaver to remold CBS nearer to his heart's desire but long enough to leave a lasting mark on the industry. The news analyst, in particular, has felt the consequences of the Weaver touch. On the one hand, Weaver's innovations promised to liberate some news analysts from the necessity of having to fill the same time period at the same hour of every day, no matter how much or little there might be to talk about at that moment. On the other hand, these same innovations threatened to liberate other news analysts from their jobs by opening the door to assorted experts to cover special situations as they arose. But Weaver's innovations also liberated from NBC before any news analyst found himself at liberty.

WHILE Weaver had been shaking up NBC's competitors as well as NBC, a former newspaperman was reorganizing the American Broadcasting Company. When Robert E. Kintner came to ABC as its president in 1948, its financial stringencies forced him to make bricks without straw. (When he left, in 1956, Paramount Theatres had purchased control and proceeded to make bricks without Kintner, who had performed miracles of economy and ingenuity, especially in the news field.) Instead of seeking and claiming an ideal of objectivity of which human nature is incapable, ABC is the one network that maintains a staff of commentators of widely varying political views and gives each member of this staff his head. The weakness of this policy is that ABC has had to gather in most of its commentators from other networks or from the newspaper and magazine field, since it gives such freedom only to newsmen with established reputations. Most of the CBS commentators, on the other hand, notably its younger correspondents in Washington and various foreign capitals, have worked their way up through the CBS organization. And though CBS has several times taken strong public stands against editorialized news commentary and in favor of objective news interpretation, the public record tells a different story. Murrow, Sevareid, and Howard K. Smith owe their high reputations to the frankly opinionated views they have repeatedly expressed over the CBS network. But the candor compels this further admission. While no two CBS news analysts agree on every subject, the CBS news staff includes only those commentators whose views follow liberal patterns in domestic affairs and internationalist views in foreign affairs. Not since H. V. Kaltenborn moved to NBC in 1940 has the CBS network featured a news analyst with a frankly conservative outlook, and it has never given regular time to such nationalistic views as Paul Harvey expressed regularly over ABC or to such reactionary views as Fulton Lewis expresses regularly over Mutual.

For this record, CBS deserves nothing but praise. It merits criticism only for the occasional statements some of its executives issue on the subject of objective news analysis. Nor does CBS performance violate the rulings of the Federal Communications Commission which declared ten years ago in its famous Mayflower decision that the networks have a right to editorialize—provided they present both sides. Only CBS has ever taken this ruling at its word—and only on exceptional occasions at that. Its great merit, as compared with any other network, is the consistent effort its management has made over the years to spend time, money, and talent on news coverage and news interpretation. ABC, on the other hand, merits special commendation for having given the American listening public a wide spectrum of political opinion expressed freely, fully, and regularly by men of such differing views as George E. Sokolsky, Paul Harvey, Erwin N. Canham, Edward P. Morgan, John W. Vandercook, and Cecil Brown. Now that Kintner has moved to NBC and Paramount Theatres has taken active control of ABC's operations, what may happen next at those two networks will depend on the actions, reactions, and interactions of so many personalities as to rule out prediction.

CONCERNING the present status and immediate future of the news analyst, in radio or television, this much can be said: The wonder is not that he plays a diminishing role on radio and barely exists on TV. The wonder is that he survives and exists at all, anywhere. This is due more to the durability than to the adaptability of the analyst and more to the inflexibility than to the enterprise of the industry for which he works. In some capitals, especially Washington, the new radio or television news analyst now plays the same role as newspaper and magazine correspondents and bureau chiefs in those same cities. Sometimes he must function only as a stringer, finding his main source of income elsewhere. Sometimes he functions on a part-time basis and has time for other work on the side. But he tends to become a specialist in his own neck of the woods; not the all-purpose expert who analyzed the wartime news. Only local and regional stations and networks, whose audiences have a high common denominator of interest, still hold out opportunities to the traditional commentator.

In this connection a personal word may be in order. Of the four news-commentator jobs I have held during the past nineteen years none brought me so wide and warm an audience response as the one I received from the comparatively highbrow listeners to New York's Station WQXR. As a news analyst for CBS, during and after the war, I received more helpful editorial guidance than anywhere else. It is this kind of guidance that all working journalists require; as a former book and magazine editor myself I know whereof I speak. In my four years as news analyst for Station WILL, operated as an outlet for educational radio by the University of Illinois, my freedom of expression was far more narrowly circumscribed than it ever has been on any commercial station or network. Which—I hasten to add— is only right and proper. A tax-supported state university, supervised by an elected board of trustees, dare not offend any substantial group of its constituents. In my present capacity as news analyst for the American Broadcasting Network, I have never felt so free to speak my mind or had so much time in which to speak it.

But the breed to which I belong is vanishing. The generation to which I belong has passed its prime. We have seen William Jennings Bryan, Theodore Roosevelt, and Woodrow Wilson as plain as the young people of today have seen Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, and John Foster Dulles. Franklin Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin still seem as real and alive as Sir Winston Churchill. We cannot forget the marks they left upon our lives. We think and read about them more than we do about the present leaders of the world—and we talk about them almost as much. These thoughts and words mean more to our contemporaries—than to our juniors. But how large a place have these juniors yet earned in interpreting today's events—and tomorrow's? And when all of those who have come to the top of any field belong to the middle or elder generation, it means that something has happened at the roots.

Whether that something is good or bad depends upon your point of view. The younger generation either cannot see or cannot find opportunities in a type of journalism that now seems to have gone into a decline. To the extent that the popularizer, in any medium, has abused his privilege or worn out his welcome, this is all the good. It is also a healthy sign when, in a more specialized field, a George Gallup challenged the election forecasts of the Literary Digest just as Samuel Lubell now challenges Dr. Gallup's. And just as televisions "Meet the Press" has suspended radio's "Town Meeting of the Air" so the televised interviews conducted by Martin Agronsky and Mike Wallace break new, rich ground. But these innovations supplement, they do not replace the commentator with a wider view. The root of the matter may well be that only under exceptional pressures will a mass medium carry and a mass audience respond to such wide and searching interpretations of world affairs as a few dozen radio commentators brought to a vast public during World War II.

WHY has not the challenge of the postwar crisis brought forth a similar response? The blame cannot be laid at any single door—if, indeed, it is even a question of blame in the first place. As one laborer in the vineyard sees it, there has never been so great a demand as now exists for an integrated interpretation of the day's news and its wider meaning. If the public now turns more and more to experts and specialists, it is because they seem to speak some part of the truth with some authority. But a different and greater opportunity beckons. No single individual can hope to meet it. One industry—which need not necessarily be the radio or television industry—can. But perhaps some new and greater crisis must break upon us first. The history of the radio industry and the Second World War cannot repeat itself. Such histories never do. But tomorrow's history goes on from where yesterday's left off, and some patterns of the recent past may repeat themselves in the near future. Events have speeded up so rapidly in recent years that some of the same men who played outstanding parts in the First World War lived to apply the lessons they had learned twenty years on. The same thing could happen again.
QUINCY HOWE'S flat, Yankee tones constitute one of the most familiar voices in America. In part of this article, which is the elaboration of remarks he recently delivered in Boston to the Association for Education in Journalism, he gives us his own commentator-biography. At present he has a daily (and Sunday) broadcast on ABC and is serving as president of the Association of Radio-Television News Analysts. He also is a prolific author; his latest work is the monumental "A World History of Our Times."

1945. The British Use Japanese Soldiers to Fight Vietnamese Revolt

The Vietnamese Uprising
"The uprising in Hanoi capital on August 19, 1945" (source)
From the Kansas City Kansan, September 26, 1945:
British Use Japanese to Fight Indo-China Revolt

5000 Enemy Troops Join Allies To Battle Natives in Saigon Streets

The colonial fuse in Asia, lit by war, has now exploded a bomb. At least one great colonial territory, Indo-China, is in a state of actual revolt against return to rule from overseas—in this case, France.

Java, in the Netherlands East Indies, appears to be in a state of latent rebellion against a return to Dutch rule, judging by fragmentary dispatches from every viewpoint. To repress what CBS correspondent Bill Downs, on the spot, calls an Annamese "war of independence," the British commander at Saigon is using 5000 armed Japanese troops, as well as his 2500 British Indian troops and about 2000 French soldiers released from prison camps.

James McGlincy of United Press reports from Saigon that "throughout southern Indo-China the Japanese seem to be enjoying the same prestige and authority they had before the war ended."

'Not Enough Troops'

The excuse given by Maj. Gen. D. D. Gracey, British commander at Saigon, for using the Japanese troops against the Annamese is that there aren't enough Allied troops in Indo-China to "maintain order."

Eyewitness reports from Saigon say the Japanese are cruising the streets in heavily armed trucks and guarding public buildings. Bill Downs says "they are fighting side by side with the British and the French."

The revolutionary crisis, which has been building up with Annamese-French clashes throughout Indo-China for the past two weeks, was precipitated by French troops.

On Sunday, about 300 French soldiers released from Japanese prison camps surrounded the Saigon town hall and demanded the surrender of the Government set up by the Vietminh, the Annamese nationalist party.

When the Annamese officials rejected the ultimatum, the French stormed the building, then chased the Annamese through the streets. About 300 Annamese were arrested. The French then took over other public buildings, including the police station. But their forces were not large enough. Vietminh irregulars attacked, and barricades went up in the streets. Finally, the British decided to intervene.

100 Casualties

Fighting has been going on since Sunday.

Downs says about 100 persons have been killed and wounded on both sides.

French officials in Saigon have been blaming the Japanese for the Annamese revolt. In one sense, that may be true. Last March, the Japanese shrewdly gave the Annamese their "independence" and allowed them to set up their own government.

When the British arrived, it became clear that they were committed to restoration of French colonial rule, which meant the end of any Annamese hope for real independence.

The surrender gave the Annamese a chance to demonstrate their dislike for the French, and there were sporadic attacks on French residents in Saigon and other parts of the country. The British intervened to stop the riots, but left the Annamese government in office, if not in power. The French attack on the Town Hall, and the arrest of the Annamese officials, touched off the real revolt.

UP says British military strength is expected to keep order in Saigon until the main French occupation forces arrive, but Downs says armed bands of thousands of Annamese irregulars are moving toward Saigon.

"Some," Downs reports, "are armed with Japanese rifles and revolvers, but most have only sticks and clubs and bamboo poles tipped with knife blades. Some of the raiding parties are infiltrating toward the center of Saigon.

Other trouble in Southeast Asia and the Indies:

Reports from Java say that disorders inspired by Indonesian nationalists have broken out in various parts of the island.

A UP dispatch from Batavia says that 10 "extremists" were arrested at Soerabaja after street demonstrations and a Dutch Government Representative, C. H. O. Vander Plas, was stoned while driving a car through Batavia. One Dutchman was killed at Soerabaja when a native mob of some 2000 attacked a group of Europeans, the dispatch said. Order was restored by Japanese troops.

An article in the Southeast Asia Command Newspaper, Senc, said that British "reinforcements were being sent to Java to deal with "what Japanese secret police called possible disorders by Indonesian nationalists."

At Bangkok, Thailand, a battle has been going on for four days between Thai (Siamese) troops and police and armed Chinese civilians in the Chinatown area. Seven persons have been reported killed. This fight apparently is the outgrowth of bad feeling between the Thais and the Chinese minority in Bangkok, which reached a head when the Thais refused to let the Chinese hoist Chungking flags to celebrate the Allied victory.

July 23, 2015

1949. The Soviets to End the Berlin Blockade

Strategic Failure for Communism in Europe
Bill Downs filming "We Went Back" in Germany in 1947
Bill Downs

CBS Berlin

May 7, 1949

Berlin must have looked like a cinch to the Communists when the Russians clamped on their blockade off this city eleven months ago.

Here it was—the American, British, and French sectors of the city a capitalist island 120 miles inside the Soviet zone. From a prestige viewpoint, the stakes were high—complete Communist control of the former German capital, a sizable industrial prize, and the banishing once and for all of the disruptive political influences of the Western democracies.

According to the Marxist revolutionary texts, here was a chance for a classic operation by the Comrades; a chance to put into practice the dynamic principles of Stalinism.

I have been studying this problem in Marxist political warfare for the past eight months. Here was what was supposed to have happened.

The blockade would be slapped on. A tremendous propaganda campaign would start simultaneously to discredit the Western Powers. The shortage of food and supplies, of coal and fuel, would paralyze the basic public services. American, British, and French garrisons here would be forced to evacuate all but skeleton staffs. At this time, the German Communists would hail the abandonment of the people of Berlin as a capitalist defeat.

As the winter wore on, more and more West Berliners would be forced to register in the Soviet sector of the city to get food and fuel. And as more and more of them registered, the more pressure that could be exerted to join the movement to oust the three Western administrations.

Then, when conditions became hard, or when the German Communists reckoned they had an effective core of support in the British and American and French sectors, then it would be time to move in. The so-called "People's Police" had been trained and armed in the meantime. Activist bullyboys would be ready to move in for rioting and street fighting.

At this point, the Russian military government of Berlin would announce that these disturbances were threatening the peace of their occupation and take over the administration of the western part of the city.

From the Communist viewpoint it must have looked a simple operation; much less complex than, say, the seizure of the Czech government.

But it didn't happen, and today we know why. The Western Powers stood up on their hind legs and said no. The miracle of the airlift defeated the blockade. And most importantly, America, Britain, and France demonstrated to a confused and conquered people that democracy is no sissy-prissy lace-pants ideal, but a working formula for free government with muscles as tough as any Communist. The defeated people of West Berlin who had enough of totalitarianism took the cue and stood by us.

In the sense that we have defeated the Communist strategy and frustrated their attempts to capture all Berlin in these past eleven months, the lifting of the blockade means a victory for the West in Berlin.

But it by no means can be interpreted as a conclusive one. The struggle for Germany continues.

With the lifting of the siege only five days away, and with the important conference of Foreign Ministers impending shortly after that, the big international mystery today is: "What is the new strategy? Why this reversal of policy at this time?"

Experts here give four possible reasons for the change in the Communist line in Germany.

First, they say, it could be that the decision to abandon the blockade was made simply because it failed. If you remember, during these eleven months of siege the Communist parties of France and Italy last fall made an all out effort to wreck the economies of those nations. Thus, it is reasoned, the big 1948-1949 offensive of the party in Western Europe didn't come off; it is time to stop and try a new line.

Secondly, although the offensive of the Left is making giant strides in the Far East, a really serious situation is developing in the Western nations through formation of the Atlantic Pact. As long as crises such as the Berlin Blockade persist, the North Atlantic alliance will be solidified. Therefore remove this international irritant and remove the urgency of the Atlantic Pact organization.

Another reason that observers here give for the lifting of the Russian blockade is the success of our own counter-blockade halting trade with the East. East German officials themselves admit the critical state of industry in the Soviet zone of Germany. The Russian satellite nations such as Poland and Hungary were once big customers of German industry. Consequently the counter-blockade provides a serious disruption of the balance of trade in Eastern Europe.

And finally, the Communists have an eye on the American Congress, which is now considering the United States military appropriations. By removing the Berlin Blockade as a major international irritant, they could hope to prevent expansion of American armed forces and armed aid under the Atlantic alliance.

What is going to happen now?

If one is to believe the current Communist Party line being spread in this city, then the Russians at the Foreign Ministers' conference will press for a quick peace treaty with Germany and the withdrawal of occupation troops. The question of German unity will arise, and since both the East and Western Powers are committed to a unified Germany, then there should be extensive debate on that.

But there is another school of thought here that predicts a new shift in Soviet policy is a radical one; that the Russians are willing to go to almost any lengths to bring about settlement in Germany. In other words, establish a unified Germany in which the Communists would participate; let this unified Germany become a play form for the East-West struggle, and thus give the Communists a chance to capture the entire administration.

An interim West German government was established yesterday in Bonn. A similar government will be established in the Soviet zone.

But the question of whether these two German governments will ever assume power depends upon the meeting this month in Paris.

In fact, so much depends upon this conference of Foreign Ministers. Berlin is praying that it will be a step towards peace.

July 21, 2015

1944. Downs Says USSR Will Make Nazis Pay for Every Atrocity

"Downs Says USSR Will Make Nazis Pay for Every Atrocity"
"Babi Yar," where the Germans carried out mass executions. [The photograph is of the press party being taken through the site].
Photograph by A. Ioselevich
No. 8717 Siberia Photo Service

[Original caption]: "Бабий яр", где проводились немцами массовые расстрелы мирыых жителей.
Фото А. Иоселевич
№ 8717 Сибфотосарвис

From the Kansas City Kansan, January 26, 1944:
Standing in back of the Allied conferees at the peace table will be the shadows of 10 to 15 million Russians—tortured, maimed, killed by the Nazi invaders—said Bill Downs, CBS correspondent just back from Moscow.

At a luncheon yesterday, Downs said that in viewing this war we are missing an important point—that the atrocities committed by the enemy are actually happening and are not just the propaganda of World War I.

And they are going to be used by the Russians to exact retributions "for every single thing" the Nazis have done in Europe.

Downs revealed that the Soviet Union is keeping a complete and precise dossier of atrocities. Well known doctors are on the Atrocity Commission and they are examining every body found for causes of death and giving each an honored place in the black book.

300 Bodies in Grave

Here is what Downs saw:
  • Bodies of Russian prisoners of war brutally killed in Stalingrad.
  • An entire family—a grandmother, two young boys and a girl—machine-gunned in a house in Rzhev.
  • One-third of a re-opened grave in Orel that alone contained more than 300 bodies.
"We have to understand that side of the war in order to understand how and why the Russians are fighting," he said.

"My guess is that after the war there will be no unemployment in Germany. The Germans will be in Kharkov, Kiev and other cities they have destroyed, paying for every bestial thing they did."

At Kiev, where he saw evidence of 50,000 to 100,000 Jews slain by the Nazis in the Baba [sic] Yar ravine, he spoke with one of the 100 Russians who had been forced to act as grave diggers.

The victims were thrown into the vast, shallow grave. Some were not yet dead. As the dirt was piled on the bodies, it kept moving from the struggles underneath.

At this point in the recital, the Russian broke down and cried:

"I can't stand it! I can't stand it! The earth is moving."

Russia's role in the postwar world was also discussed by Downs. He said:

"Russia will play an important part in the post-war world. We can do business with her—if we want to. We can co-operate or we can compete. If we want co-operation, we can have it; if we want competition, we can have it."