June 13, 2016

1945. News at Home and Abroad on the Fourth of July

The World Today
"The Australian 7th Division lands on Balikpapan, Borneo in July 1945" (source)
This transcript of CBS News Radio's July 4, 1945 broadcast of The World Today is taken from Bill Downs' papers.

The World Today

6:45-6:55 PM

Wednesday, July 4, 1945

JOHN DALY: In Antwerp and Luxembourg, in Norway and Berlin, in the Holy Land and in Greece, wherever America's fighting men have carried our flag, this July 4, 1945 is being celebrated. There were fireworks and dances, and parades.

On Okinawa, Nakagusuku Bay was renamed Buckner Bay in honor of the gallant commander of the 10th Army killed in the final stages of the Okinawa campaign. Far away in Bremen, Germany the former Weserstadion was renamed Eisenhower Stadium. Americans in Italy held a bathing beauty contest replete with fireworks, and a half a world away, for the first time in history, the 4th of July was celebrated aboard a British battleship as the American flag flew from the Duke of York in Sydney harbor in Australia. In Paris, one of the city's proudest streets, the Avenue Victor Emmanuel III, was renamed the Avenue President Roosevelt, while far away in Chungking, America's Ambassador Hurley and General Wedemeyer were hosts at a reception for Chinese government leaders.

Everywhere that war is finished and done, the men and women of America's fighting forces were joined in Independence Day celebrations by liberated peoples and by their Allies. In the little town of (?) in England, American and British soldiers marched together and guns roared out in friendship. British artillery fired a 48 gun salute for the 48 states. But on the Pacific battlefield, the guns roared out in anger. They spoke a job still to be done.

That war deprived our Allied Australians tonight of one of the greatest fighting hearts that kept faith in the black days of 1941. Prime Minister John Curtain, long ill with a lung ailment and heart condition, died late this afternoon, 4 AM, July 5th, Australian time. Acting Prime Minister Francis Ford said that, like the late President Roosevelt, Mr. Curtain was a war casualty. He'd drawn heavily on his failing strength in prosecuting the war against Japan. A year ago, the Prime Minister was told by doctors that he must rest, but he stuck to his job to the very end. Mr. Curtain died as General MacArthur announced the end of one Pacific campaign and new victories in another.

The MacArthur's nightly communiqué which was received just an hour ago says that the entire Philippine islands are now liberated and the Philippines campaign can be regarded as virtually closed. Summarizing the campaign, which began last October at Leyte, MacArthur said the Japanese employed 25 divisions, approximately 450,000 men which were practically annihilated. The communiqué adds that, on Borneo, the blazing heat of Balikpapan's central town area, including seven waterfront pier installations and gasoline cracking plants, was captured by the Australians Tuesday, the third day of the invasion. More than 60 percent of the town was destroyed before the troops were put ashore. Hard fighting still is underway however, in the center of the eight mile long east Borneo beachhead. The Australians gained high ground 500 yards northeast of the Hill 99 and today fought off a savage enemy counterattack.

Now for news made in America this Independence Day. General Electric radio takes you to Washington, Cliff Allen reporting.

CLIFF ALLEN: Although federal workers including President Truman remained hard at work today, the 4th of July in the capital will have a traditional fireworks display tonight as the finishing touch of the 7th War Loan Drive here. Two set pieces will feature a picture of Present Truman and a reproduction of the raising of the American flag on Iwo Jima. In addition to a long roster of movie stars, two of the men who participated in the Iwo flag-raising will be present at the Cavalcade of Freedom tonight.

However, the fireworks tonight will be little more than a curtain raiser for the verbal ones that are scheduled to break loose in the House tomorrow. The supporters of the legislation to continue the Fair Employment Practices Committee, although Congress is not in session today, are busy behind the scenes building up their case. At the present, there seems little chance that the FEPC will be granted any funds at all in the House. But Senator Chavez of New Mexico declares that if the bill comes back to the Senate minus the FEPC appropriation, he will insert the full amount asked by the agency. As the New Mexico Senator says, "If there's going to be a scrap, it might as well be over the whole amount." Although the bitter FEPC battle may go on indefinitely, the Senate is expected to give a speedy OK to the Bretton Woods agreement in the near future.

The general strikes situation over the country is not so good at the moment, but apparently does not have official Washington worried. Because workers remained on the job today, Labor Bureau spokesmen say they have made up all the time lost from the beginning of the war by strikers more than 31 million man days. The general expectation here is that the government will seize the Goodyear plant at Akron, although nothing has been said about seizure of the Firestone plant whose workers also are striking. As for the newspaper deliverymen in New York, Chairman George S. Taylor of the War Labor board says he is confident deliveries will be resumed shortly. His statement came after union and publisher representatives had met privately. Taylor says he believes the walkout will end when union members are informed of developments here.

I return you to General Electric radio in New York.

DALY: There is some 4th of July news from Britain also tonight as we told you. But the British are chiefly concerned with their general situation tomorrow. For details on these stories, General Electric radio takes you to London, Edward R. Murrow reporting.

EDWARD R. MURROW: This is London. On this 4th of July there were many speeches. In Chungking, Berlin, Oslo, Antwerp, London, and on islands in the far Pacific. It is even reported that the entire Spanish press, led by the Falangist newspapers, devoted all their main editorials to praising America. Reports reaching London fail to make it clear whether they were impressed by American power or by the philosophy of freedom.

Tonight in London the shouting is dying down. Six hours from now the first votes will be cast, in Britain's first general election in ten years. Mr. Churchill has made his last speech tours in the city. He was cheered and jeered. If the Conservatives win this election, they will owe it to Mr. Churchill. It has been a one man campaign, and if they lose, the Prime Minister cannot be blamed. He has worked hard and traveled far, and worn out some of the younger men who aspired to office. He has made four of his party's eight broadcasts, has carried candidates on his bare shoulders; his name has been the principal asset of the Conservative Party. The campaign has not been pretty—issues have been ignored. Mr. Churchill set the tone in his first broadcast when he accused his colleagues in the coalition government of planning a political gestapo.

Then came the argument about the executive committee in the Labour Party, its power over Professor Laski's authority. Letters were exchanged, but it is doubted that any considerable number of votes were changed. There had been rumors that Mr. Churchill might withdraw his invitation to Mr. Atlee, the leader of the Labour Party, to accompany him to the meeting of the Big Three. But I'm assured on good authority that no such action is anticipated. Both men will probably go to Potsdam. Both parties are confident tonight, but the votes won't be counted until July 26th. And the betting odds favor a Conservative victory by a narrow majority.

Whichever party wins will not lack for problems. Tomorrow's headlines in London will be "Churchill or Confusion;" and "Vote Early and Vote Labour." After tomorrow there may be space in the papers for the war against Japan.

I return you now to CBS in New York.

DALY: Across the English Channel, the American flag was raised over Berlin today beside the red flag of the Soviet Union to symbolize partial occupation of Berlin by the United States Army. And British forces have also rolled into Berlin to join the Russians and Americans. Now a short message from General Electric radio.