October 19, 2015

1940. The Nazis Vow Revenge for British Air Raids Over Germany

William L. Shirer's News Update from Nazi Germany

William L. Shirer

CBS Berlin

September 20, 1940

: And next, the report from the German capital. Go ahead Berlin.

WILLIAM L. SHIRER: This is Berlin. Again last night we had no air raids here. Where the British bombers attacked other places in Germany last evening has not yet been made known, but they did not visit Berlin. Though it was a fairly clear moonlit night—one of those nights when there's nothing you can do to hide a great city from enemy air raids.

Everyone I know in Berlin has now caught up with their sleep. For about a fortnight the British did come over almost every night, and you did lose sleep. But there have been no alarms since Sunday, so everyone is feeling normal again.

Two weeks ago the Chief Air Warden suggested that the population of Berlin set their alarm clocks for around midnight. Then when the bombers arrived and you had to make for the cellar, you didn't feel as bad as when the screaming siren suddenly awakened you, and you had to hurry or the British would blow away your rooftop. But the last few days as one evening after another has passed peacefully, most people I think have given up the idea of that midnight alarm clock and have simply slept at night clothed.

The German press this morning is still full of indignant headlines and articles against the British for the bombing of the children's hospital at Bethel the night before last when nine children were killed and twelve injured. The official party newspaper, the Völkischer Beobachter, has this banner headline this morning: "WE WILL PAY BACK WITHOUT PITY."

The Berliner Mittag carries this front page headline this noon: "IT WILL BE MERCILESSLY REVENGED. CHURCHILL'S NIGHT OF MURDER IN BETHEL WAS CAREFULLY PLANNED." This paper, in an editorial, calls the British flyers "barbarians" and their deed "a shameful act of murder," and warns that the reprisal of the German air force will be a hard one.

The [inaudible] remarks this morning that it is well known that there are many more important objectives in the West End shopping district of London. It says, quote: "The shopping district of London's West End in which, as it is well known, there are many more important objectives, is being continually hit with bombs. A bomb crashed through several stories of the West London hotel," unquote.

The German radio this morning says that H.R. Knickerbocker, whom it calls "a notorious German-hater," had to report from London that the English were gradually losing their cheerfulness as a result of the German bombings.

I guess I'll have to refer you to Rome for concrete news of the results of Herr Von Ribbentrop's visit. We have no concrete news of it here. But the Berlin press still looks as though enough this morning to indicate that two subjects were paramount in the talks. Völkischer Beobachter, for instance, tells us that "the talks are only concerned with discussing the problems which will arise in Europe and Africa after Great Britain is beaten." And also the reconstruction of what it terms the "New Order," which the Axis Powers plan on setting up. The Völkischer Beobachter also tells us in connection with Ribbentrop's talks with Mussolini that the attitude of the Spanish people in the decisive phase of the struggles of England amounts to a Spanish declaration of solidarity with the Axis Powers.

News of last night's Channel air attacks is scanty here this morning. We're told that London was again bombed, and that German attacks were also made on the armament factories and industrial works in southern and central Britain last night.

This is William L. Shirer in Berlin. I return you now to CBS New York.