November 18, 2019

1944. Allied Forces Push Through Western Europe

Updates from the Western Front
"HQ Twelfth Army Group situation map," September 9, 1944 (source with full size)
United Press story printed in the Sweetwater Reporter, September 10, 1944, pp. 1, 8:
ALLIES HURL BACK DESPERATE TRAPPED GERMANS
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BRITISH TURN BACK FRANTIC MASTER MEN

PARIS (UP) — Allied Armies in Western Europe have hurled back a desperate breakout attempt by tens of thousands of Nazis trapped along the channel coast.

The frantic Germans threw everything they had into one last try at pile-driving through the British lines between Lille in France and Ghent in Belgium.

But the determined Tommies held fast. In a giant battle, raging along scores of miles of the front yesterday, the Germans were stopped cold. The Allies still have them cornered.

Supreme Headquarters still is close-mouthed about progress of the triple Allied armies deployed along the frontiers of Hitler's Germany.

A United Press front dispatch from General Patton's Third Army says the battle of the Moselle River should be settled within two days. [Illegible] smother German troops defending the hills behind the river, or the fight will settle down into a long slugging match.

The U.P.'s man with the Third Army—Robert Richards—reveals that even now Patton is gathering his forces in the valley for a great lunge at the Germans entrenched in the heights beyond the Moselle. Already, the Americans have thrown five bridgeheads across the stream to serve as springboards for their coming assault.

A great fleet of American planes also paved the way for the attack today by striking a mighty blow at Nazi west wall bases in the Rhine and Ruhr valley. Hurling the battle lines for the second straight day, one thousand heavy bombers—shepherded by half as many fighters—struck road and rail targets and the Rhineland cities of Düsseldorf, Mainz and Mannheim.

German supplies are reported streaming into the Siegfried line, barely 18 miles ahead of the American advance. And the great air fleet, plus America's deadly new Black Widow night fighter, worked them over with bombs and bullets. Twenty-three bombers and four fighters are missing from today's assault.

To the north, the American First Army still is battling its way through the dense Ardennes forest toward the German frontier. Front reports say the Germans are streaming back before tankmen under General Hodges, hounded every step of the way by American flying columns.

While the First Army's left wing fans out through the Ardennes, its right wing has pushed 13 miles southeast of captured Sedan to within 28 miles of a triangle formed by the Luxembourg, German and French frontiers.

As for the British Second Army, an unofficial front report says it had smashed across the Albert Canal a second time. The new bridgehead is at Geel, 12 miles from the old one, which is under heavy German attack. Far behind the front, Canadian troops have pushed to within eight miles of Dunkerque.

Incidentally, a front report (from Bill Downs of CBS), says British, American planes have begun to use airfields in Belgium. Soon, they're expected to establish themselves also in Holland.

Back in England, Queen Juliana, heiress to the throne of Holland, has arrived by plane—perhaps in preparation for a return to her homeland.

As Allied armies pushed through masses of disorganized Germans today, the Berlin radio (as heard by CBS) comforted the home folks with the thought:

"The large-scale disengaging movements, upon which the German commanders were forced to decide recently, may be considered virtually at an end."

But in almost the next breath, Berlin said that the American Seventh Army has stepped up considerable the intensity of its attacks on the Belfort Gap—chief escape route for the broken Nazi 18th Army coming up from the south of France. An Algiers broadcast says Allied troops are within only nine miles of Belfort. But the latest Rome communiqué places them 25 miles away. The Seventh Army also is only 22 miles southwest of Dijon and has overrun the site of the largest munitions plant in France.

Across from Southern France, in Italy, the Germans in the western sector of the front have been forced back behind their Gothic line defenses. American troops, capturing two dominating heights north of Florence, now are within only two thousand yards of the big communications center of Pistoia.

On the other side of the front violent rain storms are restricting the operations of the British Eighth Army, which already has punched through the Gothic line.

Incidentally, the Germans long have been preparing to sink the big Italian luxury liner Rex in the harbor of Trieste once the Allies neared the port. But today the 51,000-ton vessel was written off as a total loss after RAF planes left it two-thirds submerged and burning fiercely.

Big things soon may be coming up in Italy. It is the anniversary of the American landing at Salerno. And, to commemorate it, Lieutenant General Mark Clark issued a special order of the day, promising that his Fifth Army troops soon will deliver a blow from which the enemy will not recover.

When and where the blow will fall is, of course, a secret—like another secret in Washington. The British ambassador to the United States, the Earl of Halifax, had a long talk with President Roosevelt today. Afterwards, he says they'd made a little bet as to when the war would end.

What were the bets?

"That," said the Earl, "is a secret."

November 15, 2019

1934. Nazis Declare Absolute Power After Referendum Vote

Hitler Uses Vote to Justify Consolidation of Power
"German Chancellor Adolf Hitler, upper window, returns the salute of a dense crowd, in Wilhelmplatz, Berlin, Aug. 19, 1934, gathered to greet him." (source)
This article is part of a series of posts on how The New York Times covered the rise and fall of fascism in Europe.

From The New York Times, August 20, 1934:
HITLER ENDORSED BY 9 TO 1 POLL ON HIS DICTATORSHIP, BUT OPPOSITION IS DOUBLED
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ABSOLUTE POWER IS WON
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38,279,514 Vote Yes, 4,287,808 No on Uniting Offices
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871,056 BALLOTS SPOILED
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Negative Count Is Larger in Districts of Business Men and Intellectuals
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HAMBURG HAS 20% NOES
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Reich Bishop at Victory Fete Says Hitler's Anti-Semitism Is Fight for Christianity
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By FREDERICK T. BIRCHALL

BERLIN, Monday, Aug. 20 — Eighty-nine and nine-tenths per cent of the German voters endorsed in yesterday's plebiscite Chancellor Hitler's assumption of greater power than has ever been possessed by any other ruler in modern times. Nearly 10 per cent indicated their disapproval. The result was expected.

The German people were asked to vote whether they approved the consolidation of the offices of President and Chancellor in a single Leader-Chancellor personified by Adolf Hitler. By every appeal known to skillful politicians and with every argument to the contrary suppressed, they were asked to make their approval unanimous.

Nevertheless 10 per cent of the voters have admittedly braved possible consequences by answering "No" and nearly 1,000,000 made their answers ineffective by spoiling the simplest of ballots. There was a plain short question and two circles, one labeled "Yes" and the other "No," in one of which the voter had to make a cross. Yet there were nearly 1,000,000 spoiled ballots.

38,279,514 Vote "Yes"

The results given out by the Propaganda Ministry early this morning show that out of a total vote of 43,438,378, cast by a possible voting population of more than 45,000,000, there were 38,279,514 who answered "Yes," 4,287,808 who answered "No" and there were 871,056 defective ballots. Thus there is an affirmative vote of almost 90 per cent of the valid votes and a negative vote of nearly 10 per cent exclusive of the spoiled ballots which may or may not have been deliberately rendered defective.

How Chancellor Hitler's vote declined is shown by a comparison with the result of the Nov. 12 plebiscite on leaving the Disarmament Conference and the League of Nations. The tabulation follows:
                                Yesterday         Nov. 12
Yes ......................  38,279,514    40,600,243
No .......................    4,287,808      2,101,004
Invalid .................      871,056          750,282
Per cent of noes ...              9.8                 4.8
These results therefore show that the number of Germans discontented with Chancellor Hitler's course is increasing but is not yet seriously damaging to it. He is the Fuehrer [leader] of the Reich with absolute power by the vote of almost 90 per cent of the Germans in it but the number of dissentients has doubled since the last test.

It is not yet a matter for international concern but there are other considerations which may be.

Dictatorship Now Complete

The endorsement gives Chancellor Hitler, who four years ago was not even a German citizen, dictatorial powers unequaled in any other country, and probably unequaled in history since the days of Genghis Khan. He has more power than Joseph Stalin in Russia, who has a party machine to reckon with; more power than Premier Mussolini of Italy who shares his prerogative with the titular ruler; more than any American President ever dreamed of.

No other ruler has so widespread power nor so obedient and compliant subordinates. The question that interests the outside world now is what Chancellor Hitler will do with such unprecedented authority.

Nazi opinion is not disposed to be altogether cheerful about the result. When one high official was asked by this correspondent to comment on it he said:

"Obviously we feel the effects of June 30."

He referred to the execution of Ernst Roehm and other Storm Troop chiefs.

That is also the opinion of many other Germans, especially among the more substantial classes. They interpret the result as the beginning of a protest against the rule of arbitrary will and as an effort to force Chancellor Hitler back to the rule of law.

In their view the vote may induce the Fuehrer to steer henceforth a more moderate course and take account of the sensibilities of general opinion. Some of the more optimistic even hope it may induce him to get rid of some of his radical advisers to whom the opposition within Germany is great.

This view, however, is not shared generally and the dissent is borne out by the remark of a Nazi official who said bitterly, "We have become too soft."

Ex-Marxists Support Hitler

A feature of the election was that former Marxists cast a far heavier vote for Chancellor Hitler than the so-called bourgeoisie. In Berlin especially, judging by their vote, former Communists still are Leader Hitler's most loyal followers. In one voting district in Wedding, where a few years ago Communists fought from behind barricades against the police, the "yes" votes amounted to 949; the "no" votes and invalid ballots totaled 237.

In one district west of Berlin, inhabited mainly by business men and intellectuals, the "yes" vote was only 840 and the "no" votes and invalid ballots totaled 351. Other tests provided similar results.

In the Communist districts protest votes with Communist inscriptions were rare. In Western Berlin they were more frequent. In one district five ballots had the name "Thaelmann" written in. [Ernst Thaelmann is an imprisoned Communist leader.] One ballot contained this inscription, "Since nothing has happened to me so far I vote 'Yes.'" It was signed "Non-Aryan."

Interesting also are the following results: the hospital of the Jewish community in one district cast 168 "Yes" votes, 92 "Noes," and 46 ballots were invalid. The Jewish Home for Aged People in another district cast 94 "Yes" votes, four "Noes" and three invalid ballots. This vote is explainable, of course, by the fear of reprisals if the results from these Jewish institutions had been otherwise. It is paralleled by other results outside Berlin.

In all Bavaria Chancellor Hitler received the largest vote in his favor in the concentration camp at Dachau where 1,554 persons voted "Yes" and only eight "No" and there were only ten spoiled ballots.

Hamburg Leads Opposition

Hamburg, which only two days ago gave Herr Hitler the most enthusiastic reception he had ever received anywhere, led the country in the opposition vote. The official figures were: Total vote cast, 840,000; "Yes," 651,000; "No," 168,000; invalidated ballots, 21,000.

The "No" vote, in other words, was 20 per cent of the total vote. Counting the invalid ballots as negative in intent, the total opposition votes exceeded 22 per cent. The percentage of the electorate voting was 92.4.

Hamburg is the home city of Ernst Thaelmann and on his triumphant entry into the city on Friday, Herr Hitler made it a point to drive past Herr Thaelmann's former home.

As far as observers could ascertain, the election everywhere was conducted with perfect propriety, and secrecy of the ballot was safe-guarded. The ballots were marked in regular election booths and placed in envelopes and these were put in the ballot boxes. After the voting had ended the ballot box was emptied on a large table and the vote was counted publicly in the regular manner. Appraising of individual votes seemed impossible.

One check on possible non-voters, however, was exercised by instructions that the voting authorizations issued to those who for one reason or another planned to be outside their regular voting district on election day must be returned unless used. The number of such authorizations issued for this election exceeded anything known before.

Throughout the day Storm Troopers stood before each polling place with banners calling on the voters to vote "Yes." Otherwise voters remained unmolested. Inside the polling places uniforms and even party emblems had been forbidden, but the execution of this order was lax. In some apparently doubtful districts brown uniforms dominated the scene as a warning to would-be opponents.

Nazis Try for Record Vote

All past efforts in getting out the German vote were eclipsed in this election. During Saturday night a huge final poster was plastered on billboards everywhere. It said:

Your leader [Hitler] has traveled 1,500,000 kilometers by airplane, railway and motor car in the cause of Germany's rebirth. You have but to walk 100 meters to your voting booth to vote "yes."

All over Germany means were taken to get the Sunday late-sleeping population out of bed early. The polls opened at 8 o'clock, but in Berlin Storm Troops, Hitler Youth Troops and Nazi labor union groups took to the streets as early as 6 o'clock to wake the populace by shouting at them to do their duty. Many of these groups had bugles or drum corps and an occasional band was heard.

In Munich twenty-five brass bands started marching through the city about the same hour with the same object. At Frankfurt-am-Main Storm Troops' bands played at the most important street intersections all morning.

At Erfurt late Saturday night Storm Troopers with torches marched the streets, and soon after daybreak again were under way shouting to the citizens to get up and vote. In Bremen all the church bells rang for fifteen minutes before 8 o'clock. In Karlsruhe saluting cannon reinforced the brass bands.

Berlin Goes to Polls Early

The result was that at Berlin's twenty-seven polling places throughout the morning there were long lines before each, waiting to vote. In the working class districts crowds assembled before the polling places were opened. By 11 o'clock 40 per cent of the vote had been polled, but all day trucks equipped with buglers and cheering corps went through the city rallying the laggards.

Ambulances for the sick voters and volunteered private cars for the aged and infirm were busy all day. The polls were open until 6 o'clock, but in the late afternoon comparatively few votes were registered. The voting had been done.

An odd feature of the election was the large number of voters who voted outside their home districts. This is the holiday season, so 2,500,000 had special permission to vote away from home. Four Saxon cities granted 130,000 such permissions to vote in other parts of the Reich.

At the central railway station in Munich 10,000 travelers had voted in thirteen special booths set up there before 11 o'clock. Polling places were set up along the wall of the Kiel Canal for sailors on German ships.

In foreign ports German Consuls hired vessels and took voters out to the high seas, making a celebration of it. Lieut. Col. Franz von Papen, envoy to Vienna, came back to Berlin from Austria to vote.

In Berlin enthusiasm was skillfully maintained by every conceivably device. Around the chancellery, where Chancellor Hitler slept, there was a crowd from daybreak onward. By 8 o'clock the police had to rope off Wilhelmstrasse for through traffic.

A loud-speaker in an open window in the Propaganda Ministry across the street led the crowd in singing Nazi songs. During the day Chancellor Hitler appeared in a chancellery window about twelve times and was madly cheered.

At all important traffic centres in Cologne busts of Chancellor Hitler had been set up and at the polling places his picture was wreathed in evergreens hung over the entrances. All cities were beflagged as for triumph.

In Breslau the polling places were decked with flowers and there were long parades of Storm Troopers and war veterans through the streets all day. At Neudeck the ninety-six voters of the Hindenburg manor went to the polls in a body to vote "yes."

More to attain the universal "joyous affirmation" that all Nazis speakers demanded throughout the campaign could hardly have been done.
The New York Times, August 19, 1934:
Hitler Now World's Supreme Autocrat; Legally Answerable to Nobody for Acts

BERLIN, Aug. 19 — Powers greater than those held by any ruler in the modern world are put in the hands of Adolf Hitler as a result of today's plebiscite.

As Reich leader and Reich Chancellor he holds the powers that belonged to the late President von Hindenburg and he has in addition the enormous authority conferred on him as Chancellor by an act adopted when the Nazis obtained full power in the Reich. Under that act he has virtually supreme legislative authority. He now inherits any and all executive authority that he has not enjoyed previously. In short, Herr Hitler alone has the powers formerly exercised by the Kaiser, the President and Parliament. It must be realized that the Reichstag has become a mere rubber stamp for his decrees.

Herr Hitler has the power to declare war and to make peace. He inherits from the late President the exclusive right to make binding agreements with other nations. Hence he alone may sign treaties and make alliances. His consent is required to all diplomatic appointments, and all German diplomatic representatives must report to him at his request.

Moreover, Herr Hitler may annul existing legislation or call for new legislation. He employs and discharges all state employees unprotected by the complex civil-service law. He has the power to pardon any person sentenced by a Reich court, thus holding the power of setting aside a court decision.

Further, Herr Hitler is commander-in-chief of the army, the navy and the air force. Under Article XLVIII of the Weimar Constitution—which is now moribund but which can be invoked at Herr Hitler's will—he may employ force against any German Province that in his opinion fails in its duty toward the Reich.

Under the same article he has the widest dictatorial powers in times of national emergency, and under precedents set by the Bruening Government he may make virtually any internal difficulty the excuse for declaring a state of national emergency.

November 12, 2019

1953. "Korea Lesson: How Not to Cover a War" by George Herman

CBS Radio Correspondent George Herman on Covering the Korean War
"Tokyo, December, 1952: CBS commentator Edward R. Murrow, center, and Washington bureau chief Bill Downs, right, are welcomed to Tokyo by Japan-Korea bureau manager George Herman" (source)
Article by George Herman in Broadcasting magazine, December 7, 1953, pp. 97-100 [PDF]:
Considering the primitiveness of the equipment they had to work with, it is a wonder that radio correspondents who reported the Korean War ever got a broadcast out of that beleaguered country. The author of this article, now CBS Radio's White House correspondent, believes the planning of radio coverage of future combat should begin now. If he sounds somewhat embittered, it is because, as chief of his network's Far Eastern bureau, he learned at first hand the . . .

Korean Lesson: How Not to Cover a War

By GEORGE HERMAN

Now that the Korean War is over, those of us who covered it for radio can look back on our experiences with more objectivity than was possible while we were struggling with the absurdly inadequate radio facilities made available to us. We may be able to manage a weak little laugh at the hay-wire contraptions we had to lash up ourselves because the military flatly refused until the very end to make anything available to us except wire. And we can certainly offer some serious thoughts about what must be done in the event of any future wars or police actions which may, unhappily, erupt elsewhere.

It is my understanding that in World War II in the European Theatre of Operations radio news broadcasts originated largely in the mobile studios and vans of commercial radio outfits such as Press Wireless, RCA, and MacKay Radio. And in the Pacific, I am told, United States military facilities with studios and technicians were made available from island to island.

For some incomprehensible reason, the military ruled flatly against making any such facilities available in the Korean War. Commercial companies, after an abortive attempt by RCA, were deterred from installing facilities by the ephemeral nature of the war, which seemed continually about to end, either in victory, defeat, or Panmunjom.

What is incomprehensible to me is why, during the three years this Korean conflict dragged on, with news of incomparable interest and importance to every American, one of two things was not done. Either the American radio networks should have pointed out forcefully to the military its failure to accord fair and equal consideration to the needs of the radio medium, or the radio companies themselves should have supplied the technicians and equipment needed.

The Army and Air Force gave a good deal of thought to getting out the news, but somehow they always thought in terms of teletypes and never in terms of the faster on-the-spot listener coverage of radio. And the radio networks, content to leave the problem to their newsmen, non-technicians though they were, sent out only the equipment those newsmen requested and never brought the minds of their high-paid technical departments to bear on the problem. Consider our experiences:

When the North Koreans opened their unprovoked attack on South Korea the city of Seoul boasted one of the four really good commercial transmitters in the Far East capable of reaching San Francisco. (The others: Tokyo, Hongkong, Jakarta.) Which was fine for radio newsmen except that we didn't hold Seoul long enough to get much use out of it. And the only way a voice signal could be gotten out of the rest of South Korea was by means of an ancient and rickety telephone system built by the Japanese and maintained in rather desultory fashion by Korean technicians.

During the days of the Pusan Perimeter a sweating, steaming radio correspondent had to start out with an army field phone—and you know what kind of quality they have even for radiomen smart enough to keep a full pocket full of fresh batteries for them. This military phone connected by frayed string into the ancient Mukden cable which snakes its way under the water separating Japan from Korea plugs into the improbable long-distance telephone system of Japan. That brought a precious fraction of the sound into Tokyo where perspiring Japanese technicians under the command of a U.S. Army corporal fed it into the overseas shortwave hookup, and thus eventually to San Francisco.

It's easy to see from all this why such husky-voiced specimens as Edward R. Murrow, Bill Downs, Bill Dunn, and the like huffed and puffed and failed to get through with regularity. It's hard to know how many great classics of radio war reporting we missed during the darkest and most dramatic stages of the Pusan period. It's even more painful to think how needless all this waste of talent was.

We know now that a simple piece of equipment, costing less than $50 at the most, could have reversed the odds and jammed a signal through nine out of ten times. Just a line amplifier and a cheap microphone of any variety, plus a couple of leads with alligator clips to clip onto the phone wire where it comes out of the Army field phone. Any duffer of a hi-fi enthusiast could figure it out. And the first hi-fi fan to arrive in Korea immediately did so.

For two years almost every single broadcast which came out of Korea was punched out by a battered elderly CBS Magnecorder pressed into overtime service as a remote amplifier between recording jobs. From Taegu, from Suwon, from Seoul, all broadcasts after January 1951 until quite recently were made over this single piece of gear or over duplicate models later imported by the Army.

Only for one brief period, from Oct. 12, 1950, to Jan. 2, 1951, did we use anything which might be termed studio facilities. And I hesitate even to describe them. In the center of Seoul during this period was a small studio carefully hung with splendid oriental rugs used as sound proofing. From its control room a set of Army phone wires ran across the street to a tall building atop which a U.S. Army FM radio setup kept us in contact with the short wave receiving station 12 miles north of Seoul and the transmitter in a town called Poo'pyong, 16 miles west of Seoul.

The FM link was unsteady to say the least and the first hour before the broadcast was always entirely occupied by a Korean technician shouting despairingly into the phone "Hello Poo'pyong, Hello Poo'pyong," a sound I still occasionally hear in bad dreams after an overdose of apple strudel.

With Jeep and Carbine

For any really important or lengthy broadcast I usually jeeped out to Poo'pyong, with a GI driver who insisted on arming me with a carbine because of the prevalence of snipers, and did the broadcast from there. There was no studio, merely the Magnecorder set up on an overturned oil drum in the middle of a vast barn-like building. But the equipment, a mixture of RCA and Russian gear abandoned by the North Koreans, worked fine until the Chinese returned for it on Jan. 3, 1951. So, back again to the old Taegu-Pusan telephone line.

But by now we had the Magnecorder system to work with. The Army built me a small phone-booth kind of cubby in a corner of the correspondents' billets. The Army Signal Corps ran in a set of wires, handed over the bare ends and said, "Go ahead, broadcast." Although we held endless consultations with various colonels and even a brigadier general or two in the Signal Corps, the Army never furnished us with any technical equipment at all until the outbreak of the peace talks.

For future reference it should probably be noted that the Army also had strong objections to our doing broadcasts from any place but the correspondents' billets, mostly for censorship reasons. But in time we managed to argue our way out of that, and during the final stages of the retaking of Seoul, we moved our Magnecorder up to a wrecked airplane which served as a temporary correspondents' hangout at Suwon airfield. Turning up the gain jammed a usable signal down the miles of battered cable to Taegu, Pusan and across the straits to Tokyo. It also occasionally jammed the phone communications of irate generals who picked up our signal by induction along their regular command lines. But by keeping our circuit time to the barest minimum, we managed to avoid any restrictive action.

In due time, of course, the Eighth Army retook Seoul and we moved the CBS Radio Magnecorder into a special room in the correspondents' billets there, a room sound-proofed with slabs of compressed seaweed of the most unappetizing appearance. Again the Army ran in some wires, handed us the ends and said "Here you are; go ahead." And in the very next room they set up bank after bank of complex and expensive teletype installations for the newsmen who worked in the printed medium.

Again we queried the Signal Corps on the availability of the kind of radio gear used in the second World War. They said there wasn't any requisition number for any gear, that it would have to be sent from Washington, that it couldn't be authorized, and so forth far into the war. Also that it wasn't their duty to provide us with radio gear, even if they did provide all gear for teletype copy.

Eventually the peace talks developed and then everybody said it would all be over very soon anyhow, so why worry. That was, let me think, July 1951! The Public Information Office (not the Signal Corps) did, however, make available a series of several Magnecorders and a bright young radio hobbyist named Hugo Victor. Single-handed, and with his own money very largely, this enthusiast rescued American radio from its own inertia and that of the Pentagon. He built a studio, soundproofed it with Army blankets, and constructed an ingenious control room out of odds and ends which he scrounged or we bought for him in Tokyo.

But all this came about only after a bitter battle between radio and the press services which is better forgotten about. The Public Information Office of the UN Command under Brig. Gen. William P. Nuckols for a time sided with the press services, but eventually put in the lines which enabled us to do direct broadcasts from the news train at Munsan.

Which was all right until the news broke out at the other extreme of the stretch of Korean peninsula under our control. You may remember the riots at Koje-do when Communist-minded Chinese and Korean prisoners kicked up such a fuss? Quite a news story. And quite a long way to carry the CBS Magnecorder by train, plane and boat.

From Koje Island to the Korean mainland we had only one line of communications, the feeblest, leakiest phone line I have ever used. But once again the simple expedient of high-gain line amplification solved the problem. It even helped soothe relations between press associations and radio. We set up the Magnecorder in the press tent by day and briefed the newspapermen on microphone technique, and they used it to read their copy to Tokyo. It worked fine, but really there ought to be some kind of field amplifier lighter than the maggie. It was a lot of weight to carry back and forth from the press tent to the telephone shack where the commanding officer of signals had allowed us the use of his bedroom as a comparatively soundproof studio.

By this time everybody in the Far East Command had begun to catch on to the idea of line amplifiers. The lone CBS Magnecorder was joined in Korea by a brother job from NBC as the peace talks moved to a climax. Three more were provided by the Public Information Office and the Psychological Warfare division. Everybody in radio news in Korea had acquired packrat habits, and rolls of wire and spare connectors and odds and ends of equipment began to show up. The only thing we never seemed to have enough of was Cannon XL connectors.

By now you must have heard how we made certain connections at Big & Little Switch, the exchanges of prisoners. Enough mention has been made of how we stuck bare ends of mike wire into Cannon female sockets and braced them in with whittled matchsticks. But even as veteran an ad-libber as Ted Church, director of CBS Radio News, was shocked when he actually saw the broken match-ends sticking out of the sockets in the side of the amplifier.

More Makeshift Measures

By then we were using a Gates three-pot job provided by Psychological Warfare, and it took a lot of matches to set it up every day. Ted paled visibly when he first saw the contraption, placed precariously on an Army table in the middle of the prisoner reception center. We didn't tell him about the days during Little Switch, the preliminary exchange of sick and wounded prisoners, when one of us had held a pair of stiff Signal Corps wires tightly twisted together in his hand during an entire 20 minute broadcast, somewhat like the Dutch boy with his finger in the dike. We didn't get to solder that connection until late that evening. And since the broadcasters were also technicians, there's no telling what we said, it was a triumph just to hear that faint faraway voice in the earphones saying "We hear you loud and clear,—where've ya been—ya go ahead in 20 seconds from woof!"

Better Help for Radio

The point, I think, is this. If the American military is going to have its action in the field covered, it's got to stop thinking in terms of press services alone. The frustrating favoritism accorded to press service reporters is known to every radio newsman. That it should apply to facilities as well is intolerable.

Why there should be an order number and a supply item of teletypes for press men and not for an amplifier for radio men is absolutely beyond me. The cost of the radio gear is fractional.

There is no reason why the Army should make teletypes and teletype operators available to press men and flatly refuse to make radio gear and even one single technician regularly available to radiomen. And the radio industry had damn well better realize this and get on the ball before the next overseas fracas. Both the policy and technical departments of our industry can make better suggestions than this correspondent. Leave them do so PDQ or the next fight will again see the finest, high-priced radio news talent again shouting into unresponsive field phones in a "press" tent filled with other correspondents grinding out copy to go slowly but surely by teletype.

November 10, 2019

1933. Hitler Warns the World, Says His Regime Will Last

Nazis Compare Their Rule to Roosevelt's
An anti-American Nazi propaganda cartoon attacking President Roosevelt as he ran for a fourth presidential term in 1944. The captions read: "An ass remains an ass" and "Please tread on me for four more years, dictator!" (source)
This article is part of a series of posts on how The New York Times covered the rise and fall of fascism in Europe.

From The New York Times, May 8, 1933:
GERMANS BELITTLE OUR 'DICTATORSHIP'
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Enjoy Comparing Nazis' Rule With Roosevelt's, Wholly to American Disadvantage
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LASTING REGIME IS SEEN
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Hitler Warns World Not to Hope There is Another Germany Concealed Behind His Own
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By FREDERICK T. BIRCHALL

BERLIN, May 7 — The latest German indoor sport in the new era of popular enlightenment presided over by Dr. Paul Joseph Goebbels is to compare the Hitler dictatorship with the powers recently granted to President Roosevelt in the United States, entirely, of course, to the American disadvantage.

Americans here get a great kick out of the comparison. It starts with the premise that both governments are democratic in that the people elected both, and that being granted the rest is easy for the German proponents.

Any reference to the complete suppression of the opposition press and the stifling of opposition opinion is met with the retort that this is not democratic America but democratic Germany, where conditions are different.

But any mention of the array of barbed-wire concentration camps guarded by rifle-bearing storm troopers with orders to "shoot to kill" any of the politically differing prisoners within who try to escape is treated as a foul blow below the belt, so the argument is naturally somewhat one-sided. For that reason only the Germans initiate it.

See Régime Likely to Last

This German democratic government, created by bludgeoning democracy until it abdicated for four years, leaving all powers in the hands of the bludgeoners is now accepted by Americans in Germany as likely to last for a long time. There is nobody to put it out.

Chancellor Hitler himself daily proclaims that view in ever-stronger terms. Today he reviewed the Nazi storm troops of the Schleswig sector, adjoining the Danish border, at a great demonstration held by them at Kiel.

After the review the Chancellor made a speech in which, after commending the array before him as representative of "those 600,000 Brown Shirts who are the unswerving and steadfast phalanx guarding the disciplined will of the German people and with consistency carrying it to its ultimate conclusion," he said this:

"The world sees in us only what we are and will only respect that in us which it sees. The thought we want to demonstrate to this world is that the days of the November-Germany [Germany from the armistice until it was National-Socialized] have definitely ended.

Warns the World

"We want to make it clear to the world that it must not hope that there is another Germany than that Germany which presents itself today. There is only one. With this Germany the world must manage to get along. It must not deceive itself that there is a second Germany concealed somewhere.

"No, it is well to leave all such hopes behind. We and you [the storm troops] are the guarantee of the cause that this is not so."

It has been noted by the Chancellor's recent foreign callers that his custom of "telling" them rather than discussing with them any subject upon which he has granted them an audience is becoming more marked.

One if his latest callers, Sir John Foster Fraser, English lecturer and writer, noted after his interview with Herr Hitler last week that he had been addressed "as if I were a public meeting," at one time "feared that the Chancellor would be heard in the corridor" and left after an hour recording the impression that it had been "like spending an hour with a hurricane."

November 4, 2019

1943. The Moscow Reports

Bill Downs Reporting from the Soviet Union
From the documentary The Battle of Russia (1943), part of the American series "Why We Fight"

The Eastern Front, 1943

Bill Downs wrote stacks of articles and broadcast scripts while serving as the Moscow correspondent for CBS News and Newsweek in 1943. These reports, featured below, provided updates and analyses of the war on the Eastern Front as it happened. They tell the dramatic stories of civilians and Red Army soldiers on the front lines in Russia and Ukraine, from Leningrad to Stalingrad to Kiev.

Parentheses are used to indicate text that was censored by Soviet officials. While censorship was not unique to the Soviets, Moscow's censors were remarkably strict. Downs also dealt with significant technical difficulties broadcasting to New York. As a result many of these reports were never heard in the United States.

Reporters on the Eastern Front relied heavily on state-run newspapers (particularly Pravda, Izvestia, and Red Star) and government communiqués. Some of their military news updates reflected this. One example is Downs' report on the Katyn massacre, which he described as "the latest gory German propaganda" based off available information at the time from Pravda and the Soviet Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Russia did not officially acknowledge until 1990 that it was actually the NKVD who were responsible for the mass killings).

Part of the discrepancy was due to the heavy restrictions placed on war correspondents by government officials. Downs recalled in 1951:
"Within the scope of Soviet censorship, the resident correspondent can report accurately on government policy as announced by the Kremlin. However, the resident correspondent is not allowed to report such details as the living standards of the people he sees or the state of the national economy . . . He is not allowed to report on conversations, say, overheard on the subway or on the buses and streetcars. His isolation from the Russian people is manifold—first by the language barrier, second by the fact that he is restricted for the most part to Moscow, thirdly by government orders against association with foreigners, and fourthly by the atmosphere of fear and suspicion, which is part of the daily life of the people.

"Outside of a few officials, it is doubtful that even the Russians themselves know what transpires in their country . . . Only occasionally does rumor or a leak in the press break through these barriers which the government has inflicted on the people."
Reviewing the scripts was only part of the process, as Downs wrote:
"The correspondent could not find out what had been cut from his copy until he was advised by his home office . . . radio scripts were submitted and had to be returned to us for reading on the air. Thus we could see what the censors had cut, and we were able to assess the government's attitude on subjects of a sensitive nature. The government obviously felt that its censorship was not complete. There was a fear that the correspondent could, by intonation, change the meaning of his report . . . When reading your dispatch on the air, there was always an English-speaking Communist broadcaster sitting alongside with his hand on the cut-out switch. If you unintentionally changed the grammar of the sentence, as sometimes happens, down would go the switch and you'd be off the air."
Regarding the role of the press, he wrote:
"The Soviet government sees the press only as an arm of the government whose chief duty is to forward the Communist cause. They do not understand—or at least pretend not to understand—the role of the free press outside their country. The Soviet concept of news is that all information about Russia, no matter how trivial, comes under the heading of intelligence in the espionage meaning of the word. Consequently the foreign correspondent is tolerated as a kind of second-rate spy."
Some of his most chilling reports, such as those on Kharkov, Stalingrad, and Kiev, are firsthand accounts of what Downs witnessed in those cities, and he had more latitude to convey the absolute brutality on the Eastern Front rather than simply reciting official statements. In their book The Murrow Boys: Pioneers on the Front Lines of Broadcast Journalism, authors Lynne Olson and Stanley Cloud recount Downs' experience with the city of Rzhev (pp. 195-196):
"After the German occupation of Rzhev, only two hundred fifty people remained of the town's original forty thousand. Downs described how in one house he stepped over the body of an old woman, her face battered to a pulp. Near her were the bodies of her grandchildren—a nine-year-old boy and an eleven-year-old girl, both shot in the head. In another room lay the body of a second grandson, about fourteen years old, shot at least seven times. As Downs reconstructed it, the Germans had ordered all the women and children to go to the town's church. But the woman's older grandson was desperately ill with typhus, and she refused to move him. So the Germans killed them all on the spot, beating her to death for her disobedience and riddling the fourteen-year-old with bullets.

"Downs was haunted by what he had seen in Russia. He told friends that 'coming back . . . is something like stepping out of a St. Valentine's Day massacre into a Sunday school classroom.' Over and over he described what he had witnessed but soon discovered that not everyone shared his strong feelings for the Russian people and the horrors they had experienced. Some looked at him curiously. Others expressed pity. Still others said he was a liar. On a lecture tour of the United States before returning to London, he even received an anonymous postcard calling him a Russian agent and threatening his life."
The links to Bill Downs' full reports are featured along with excerpts below, with the censored text restored.

The Moscow Reports

January 1943: Drinks with Red Army men back from Stalingrad
"I walked into the airport waiting room and saw Russian soldiers sitting around while a chess game progressed in one corner. Someone brought me a cup of tea—I had no Russian money and don't know who paid for it. The atmosphere about this place had the same sort of isolated comradeship you find in old-time village grocery stores. All it needed was a cracker-barrel and a potbellied stove.

"An army captain approached me without smiling and asked, 'Sprechen sie Deutsch?' I didn't know whether to say yes or no, since I am able to speak a sort of pidgin German from my college days. I looked around the room, which had sort of frozen up when it heard German, and I was the only foreigner around. I decided to chance it and replied, 'Ja, aber ich bin Amerikanischer korrespondent.' The room roared in laughter and I was immediately offered a flask."

January 1943: What drives the Russians to fight the way they do?
"The ability of Russia's John Q. Public to fight has endowed the people of Russia with almost legendary character—in the eyes of the world, and particularly Hitler."

January 6, 1943: Folks at home write to Red Army soldiers on the front lines
"Whole regiments will get letters addressed to the 'Liberators of Boguchar' from people they have never heard of before. Russian girls will write individual soldiers asking Private Ivanovich to 'kill just one German more today.'"

January 15, 1943: Russian civilians aid the war effort
"As the work progressed, the nearby townspeople also came in on the job. Then someone started a competition. The furnace became a sort of goal. Whole families, including the kids, helped carry fire bricks. Others dug pipelines. When the super-structure started going up, people got in each other's way trying to get things done."

January 20, 1943: The women doing the labor in Moscow
"By closely observing this daily battle against the snow, you can pretty well tell how all of Moscow feels about things. When the Red Army isn't doing so well, this army of women prod viciously at the ice. They glare at pedestrians and at each other. They don't do much talking, even when they stop for a breather."

January 22, 1943: Life in Leningrad
"No one knows what Leningrad is suffering tonight. It is not likely that the German command is letting Russia's greatest seaport city sleep while the Red Army continues its dirty job of throwing German soldiers out of pillbox after pillbox."

January 23 to May 13: The turning point of the war in Europe
"It is a cheering sign that there are no such foolish arguments or discussions going on in Moscow tonight such as those which arose in America after the last war—you know the old argument that 'we won the war for the Allies.' Russians simply don't think that way. After what the Soviet Union has suffered, the people of Russia don't care to waste time talking about who won what. It has become pretty clear over here that unless everyone puts every ounce of fight and energy into this war, no one is going to be able to talk about winning anything for a long, long time."

January 24, 1943: The Red Army pushes back at Leningrad
"During their sixteen month encirclement of Leningrad, the Germans built a three-to-five mile zone of concentrated Siegfried Line. It was a military nightmare. First there was row after row of coiled barbed wire. Then came the minefields."

January 26 to February 23, 1943: Decimating the Axis forces
"Hitler calls his great Russian winter retreat an 'elastic defense.' It is fairly certain he is going to try to put some snap into it this spring. But he's working with synthetic material that he can only stretch so far. Hitler's ersatz allies have already been badly broken under the strain."

January 1943: Comparing wartime Moscow and London
"You see in the people of Moscow the same determined, grim look that you could see in the brave citizens of London during their heaviest bombings. And when a Muscovite looks grim, I mean he really looks grim."

February 8, 1943: The aftermath in Stalingrad
"There was not a single manhole in Stalingrad's streets with a cover. Germans and Russians not only used the city's basements, housetops, and alleys for battlegrounds, but the sewers as well. Snipers were known to crawl through sewers and come out behind German positions to create panic . . .
"Veterans of the Stalingrad fight said it was not uncommon to find Russian and German soldiers locked in each other's death grip during the height of the fighting. That was the way these two armies locked in the city of Stalingrad fought until the Red Army proved itself more powerful and skilled and brought the Wehrmacht to its knees."

February 8 to February 9, 1943: Reports on Stalingrad
"There are sights and sounds and smells in and around Stalingrad that make you want to weep, and make you want to shout and make you just plain sick to your stomach."

February 8, 1943: "War Surgery for Sex"
"'Young soldiers brought here on the verge of suicide are as much mental cases as surgical. However, when they see other men undergoing plastic treatment and when they have talked with similarly wounded comrades, one can notice a psychological change within as little as one hour.'"

February 9, 1943: German Field Marshal Paulus in custody after Stalingrad
"Typical of the daring, devil-may-care spirit of these new Red Army forces was the almost comic capture of Field Marshal Von Paulus. Von Paulus, the only German field marshal ever to be made a prisoner of war, was taken after initial negotiations conducted by a 21-year-old Red Army first lieutenant."

February 9 to April 28, 1943: Stories from the Eastern Front
"At one point in the Stalingrad line, the German and Russian soldiers used to amuse themselves by shouting insults back and forth to each other. My Russian friend said that one German soldier shouted across the lines and offered to exchange his automatic rifle for a Red Army fur cap."

February 19 to February 20, 1943: Moscow schoolkids make predictions about a second front
"So I decided I would beat them to the draw. I asked the class just how and where they thought a second front should be started."

February 20, 1943: The Soviet government warns of Nazi spy tactics
"The Germans used local children, usually ages twelve to sixteen, and brought them before their trussed-up parents. They made them watch as their parents were severely beaten. The Germans then promised to stop the beatings if the children agreed to go to the Soviet rear and obtain the desired information. These kids were assured that if the information was not forthcoming, or if they failed to return, their parents would be shot. It is notable that Germans always keep these kinds of promises."

February 22, 1943: The 25th anniversary of Red Army Day
"The letters that the Russian kids write to the soldiers usually congratulate the men on the 25th anniversary and urge them to continue the stuffing out of the Germans. And often the letters end up with a promise that, as a token of appreciation, the schoolchildren will see that they make better grades and stop whispering in classrooms."

February 23, 1943: Russian reverence for the army
"Down in Stalingrad, in the fight for a tractor factory, one Red Army storm unit of a couple dozen troops were trying to outflank a pillbox which covered a vital communications area with murderous fire. Three times the storm group tried to outflank the German position. Each time they lost several more men. The group was led by a young lieutenant. He assayed the situation, took out a couple of grenades, and ordered the group to drive for the flank while he threw grenades. Under cover of the explosion, the lieutenant didn't run with comrades to flank. Instead he ran directly toward the aperture of the pillbox and blocked it with his body. His unit later picked up the body, half hung over a machine gun."

February 23, 1943: The fighting for Oryol and Donbass
"The Donbass is not an area of separate communities. In reality, it is one big suburb interconnected and intertwined with interurban lines, highways, and roads. It is the first complete frontal street fighting that any army in the world has encountered on such a large scale. The Germans are putting up a desperate defense. It is natural that the Donbass advance should progress more slowly than the Russian progress has been over the steppe-land to the north."

February 27 to March 16, 1943: The Nazi occupation of Kharkov and the colonization of Ukraine
"During the first days of the occupation about 18,000 people were executed. Bodies hanging from balconies were a common sight. Among these 18,000 executed were about 10,000 Jews—men, women, and children—who were taken nine miles out of the city, shot and buried in a big ditch."

March 1, 1943: General Belov discusses German tank tactics
"The only major change in tank warfare, as the Germans fight it, is in the number of tanks employed in a single battle. Early in the war, in the fighting around the Polish city of Lutsk, the Red Army and the Wehrmacht engaged in a gigantic tank battle in which four thousand tanks were used. Later, the tank engagements involved only one hundred tanks at a time. And now the Germans are using only thirty to fifty tanks in a single engagement."

March 1, 1943: The fall of the fortress of Demyansk
"Eleven thousand Germans have been killed or captured in these eight days of fighting. 302 population points have been taken, and tonight the 16th German Army is retreating westward."

March 2, 1943: The Soviet winter counteroffensive after Stalingrad
"The Germans didn't leave Rzhev voluntarily. This is shown by the great amount of equipment they left behind. They were kicked out of Rzhev in a blow that eliminated the main Axis threat to Moscow."

March 4, 1943: Blitzkrieg tempo
Marshal Timoshenko's troops are still advancing south of Lake Ilmen. The Red Army drive from Rzhev has assumed a blitzkrieg tempo, and there has been no halt in the march of the Soviet forces threatening Bryansk and Oryol.

March 5, 1943: The Red Army's tank desant tactics
"This is the formation of groups of 'hitchhike troops' specially trained to operate mobile tank forces which have acted as spearheads for the Russian drive westward."

March 7, 1943: Sappers get to work
"It was quiet at night and no nails could be pounded, so the engineers used screws instead. As dawn approached, the sappers had to cover up their work with snow so that the Germans wouldn't know what was going on."

March 7, 1943: Joseph Stalin names himself Marshal of the Soviet Union
"Premier Stalin now holds the position of Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the USSR. He also is Chairman of the State Defense Committee, the People's Commissar of Defense, and Chairman of the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party."

March 8, 1943: Lend-Lease to the USSR
"The Russian people also have no idea of the scope of such American and British organizations such as the Aid to Russia funds. They know virtually nothing of the tremendous personal interest the people of the United States and other Allied nations are taking in their problems."

March 8, 1943: Ambiguity in Russian-American relations
"As he said in his statement tonight, the American people realize and sympathize with the stupendous courage and effort with which the Russian people have met the Axis onslaught. But, he said, the Russian people have little idea of the American's feeling for them."

March 9 to March 12, 1943: Vyazma is liberated
"At nightfall, fresh Russian troops, who have been sleeping and resting all day, will take over the offensive and keep the Germans up all night. Then at dawn the day shift will take over again."

March 15 to March 17, 1943: The Germans retake Kharkov
"After the Red Army captured Kharkov last February 16th, the German command concentrated and reformed over 250,000 men for a counter blow. This was in addition to forces already fighting west of Kharkov and in the Donbass. The blow came two weeks later."

March 19, 1943: The Nazi offensive is bogged down by the weather in Ukraine
"They sent a group of tanks across to attack some Russian fortifications on the left bank. When the two loading tanks reached the middle of the stream, the ice suddenly gave way and they went through and were lost. The following tanks immediately retreated to safety."

March 21 to April 21, 1943: Soviet bombers fight for air supremacy
"The Soviet bombers have proved just how impressive they are to the citizens of Königsberg and Danzig. And a lot of other German cities are going to find out this summer when flying weather gets better. The Russian bombing force is growing."

March 21 to May 23, 1943: The advent of spring in Russia—two censored reports
"We are told it is almost a certainty that Hitler will start the fighting this spring. But he is hesitating because this time he feels he must not fail. He must get this campaign rolling before he has to organize another to protect his 'European fortress' from a second front."

March 23, 1943: The State Stalin Prize
"The occasion for even hinting that these things exist was the first annual list of Stalin science awards. These awards range from $18,000 to $5,000, and are given to engineers, professors, and scientists who have distinguished themselves in Soviet science and industry for the past year."

March 23 to April 12: Renewed heavy air fighting
"A lot of Lend-Lease aircraft from the United States this winter and more are coming every day. Hitler's aircraft industry already is overstrained by the Allied air offensive in Western Europe. It's going to be even heavier taxed this spring and summer as the Red Air Force increases its offensive in the East."

March 24, 1943: The Red Army's death toll thus far
"According to the comparative losses during the German counterattack, 2,936,000 Red Army men have died in defending their country during this fighting. But I must point out that this figure is based merely on one small fact from one small sector of the Russian front. But whether the figure is larger or smaller, 2,936,000 men lost in the cause of democracy gives the Allies of Russia something to think about—and throws new light on Russia's desire for a second front."

March 26, 1943: The Soviet Union waits for the Western Allies to open a second front in Europe
"When they learned that there was some Congressional opposition to extending the Lend-Lease agreement, they could not understand it. Their one question was always, 'If it helps to win the war, then why argue about it?'"

March 27 to March 29, 1943: Small-scale fighting as mud season hits
"Right now the Germans are confining their thrusts to small raiding parties. During the daytime, the Nazis carefully scout out the Russian positions. Then at night they send small groups of Tommy gunners—fifty or so at a time—across the river to attack the Red Army positions. These military jabs are designed to feel out the Russian defenses and might well be preliminary sparring preceding another German attempt to land a knockout blow."

March 28, 1943: Soviet engineers work a miracle as the Nazis retreat
"And when the Germans were chased from the area, they did one of their most complete jobs of earth scorching along the Velikiye Luki-Moscow railroad. Every bridge was blown up. Switches and sidings were destroyed. In some places the Germans even burned the forest around some vital bridges so that the Russian engineers would have no material with which to reconstruct them."

March 31, 1943: The looming Soviet summer offensive
"Hitler cannot afford to sit on his present battle lines and expand his diminishing military energy by defensive action. This would allow the Soviet command to a mass overwhelming strength against him. The experience at Stalingrad is a clear demonstration of what happens when he neglects the massing of Soviet reserves."

April 1, 1943: Alyosha and his pet pig
"Alyosha was raising a pet pig named Khrushka when the Germans came to the village. He loved his friend Khrushka and was very much afraid when the Germans started collecting all of the other pigs and cows and chickens in the village to send back to Germany."

April 2, 1943: The Nazis leave behind horrific booby traps
"He opened up the door and one cat jumped out. The second cat just started to leave the stove when the lieutenant pushed it back inside. On investigation, he found that the second cat had a string attached to one of its rear paws. The other end of the string was attached to the fuse in 25 pounds of high explosive."

April 3, 1943: The Red Army's massive winter offensive comes to an end
"In just 141 days of some of the bloodiest fighting that the world has ever witnessed, the Germans lost over 1,193,000 men in killed and captured."

April 6 to May 12, 1943: The Soviet commission on Nazi war crimes
"The report ends with the statement, 'These men must bear full responsibility and merited punishment for all these unprecedented atrocities.' And this morning's Izvestia editorial adds 'The Russian people will not forget.'"

April 8, 1943: Heroic Czechoslovak soldiers hold the line
"The Germans launched a counterattack. It was a big show, and sixty tanks appeared on one narrow sector opposite the dug-in Czech troops. A young lieutenant named Yarosh was in command on this sector. His field telephone rang, and Colonel Svoboda said the unit would have to hold out alone. There were no reinforcements to help the lieutenant stop the sixty tanks. The colonel's orders were 'it is impossible to retreat.'"

April 8, 1943: The German assault on Izium ends in defeat
"The Germans began their major assaults south of Izium five days ago. This local offensive was aimed at establishing a river crossing at Izium and at the same time cutting the important railroad running northwestward from the city."

April 9, 1943: The Free French squadron fighting in Russia
"Many of them are veterans of the Fighting French air force in Britain. Here they operate under Russian command and have a great respect for the fighting abilities of the Russian fliers. One of them told me he was learning how the Soviet pilots ram German planes in combat. He said the Russians had developed a technique in which a pilot could knock the tail or wing off an enemy plane and do very little damage to his own ship."

April 10, 1943: Cartoon Hitler
"One night a group of soldiers went out on a strategic clearing that formed the no-man's-land between the two trenches and put up two poles. Between these two poles they stretched a canvas cartoon of Hitler—it was not complimentary to the Führer. Under the cartoon was written in German in large letters: 'Shoot at me.' Then the unit waited until morning to see what would happen."

April 11, 1943 (by Quentin Reynolds): Revisiting Moscow, the city where Hitler's dream ended
"Every civilian in Moscow has made it his war. Perhaps New York can learn something from this city of courage."

April 14, 1943: The little news from Moscow
"All of us here, from the government leaders in the Kremlin down to the correspondents in the Metropol hotel, are waiting for developments from North Africa."

April 14, 1943: Optimism over decisive Allied victories in Tunisia
"The Soviet Union is expecting big things from the American, British and French forces now advancing in Tunisia. For many days now the Allied North African offensive has been the biggest military news in the Soviet press."

April 14, 1943: Convicts join the fight
"It seems that there are scores of men with criminal records serving in the Red Army. Some of them have completed terms and joined. Others are serving while under conviction and may have terms to finish after the war is over. And there are others who have joined the army who are waiting for conviction. Settlement of their cases will also be made after the war."

April 15, 1943: Soviet bombing campaign forces Nazis to change tactics
"The Germans have felt the damaging weight of the Russian bombs and have resorted to all kinds of trickery—it's an improved type of trickery which the Nazis started using during the early bombings of Germany by the Royal Air Force."

April 16, 1943: Kalinin signs martial law decree
"Upon conviction of a crime on the railroads, the worker is subject to dismissal from his job, after which he will be sent to the front to join special penalty brigades. In addition, executives of the railroad lines have the right to put a worker under 'administrative arrests' for minor infractions for up to a period of twenty days."

April 16, 1943: The German command's strategic missteps
"It would appear that the Nazis don't quite know what offensive to put on and where. They have alternated attacks between Chuguev, Izium, and then Balakleya. All of these attacks have failed, and apparently the German command is still 'shopping' for a front on the Donets line where they can gain a victory. And any choice the Germans make will be a dangerous one."

April 17 to May 28, 1943: The battle for the Kuban bridgehead
"It took forty minutes of inching forward through the mud on their stomachs before the Russian soldiers reached the first German lines. Then there was a period of furious and bitter hand-to-hand fighting before all the Germans were bayonetted out of their trenches."

April 19 to April 27, 1943: Soviet officials deny responsibility for the Katyn massacre
"The newspaper Pravda, organ of the Communist Party, this morning violently attacks the Polish government of General Sikorski for giving official cognizance to the German propaganda charges that the Soviet government allegedly murdered 10,000 Polish officers near Smolensk in 1940."

April 21, 1943: No time for fun in Moscow
"There are no nightclubs or dance halls or anything like that in the capital of the Soviet Union. There is only one cocktail bar, and you have to stand in line to get into it. Occasionally some of the artist's clubs or other such organizations will throw a dance, but it's not very often."

April 21, 1943: Russians civilians train for air raids
"Moscow has not had a bombing for a year. Quite naturally the city is relaxed. People have forgotten where they put their gas masks. Fire watchers and shelter wardens have been more lax than they should be with Nazi bombers only a half hour's flight from the city."

April 21 to July 6, 1943: Film and theater in wartime Moscow
"In an exclusive Variety interview, Krapchenko said the wartime Moscow theatre is tending toward serious drama and tragedy."

April 23 to April 24, 1943: The air war in Crimea
"The Germans more and more are putting Romanian troops into the vanguard of their local attacks. Thus the Romanians suffer the heaviest losses. The dispatch says that when the unlucky Romanians show a reluctance to attack, or when they appear on the verge of retreat, the German soldiers behind them liven their spirits with Tommy gun bullets. A good number of these Romanians have been killed by their own allies."

May 2, 1943: Stalin's cult of personality
"This week all over the Soviet Union, pictures of Josef Stalin are being displayed on every factory and office building in the country. It means that this week his picture is getting larger display and his name on more banners and posters and that he is getting more personal publicity than any man has ever received."

May 4, 1943: Axis setbacks in Russia and North Africa
"Last winter, while the Russian army was advancing westward, the Soviet people had a strong taste of victory in their mouths. That taste is beginning to return as they read of the continued American, British, and French successes in Tunisia."

May 5 to May 30, 1943: The fighting rages along the Central Front
"Germany is fighting on this front with the desperation of a nation who knows the loss of this war on her eastern front means the absolute end to everything that millions of Germans have died for since September 1939. On the other hand, Russia too has had a taste of just what a complete German victory would mean. The people who come from occupied Russia are enough to convince her that her cause is just. And that's the way things stand now, as both armies fret in their trenches awaiting the word to attack."

May 7, 1943: Red Army military deception tactics
"No one is fooling down in the Caucasus tonight as the Red Army presses the Axis forces back to the Black Sea coast. But on the rest of the front there is a real war of nerves that, in plain deception, provides the greatest mystery show on earth. And strangest of all, these mystery tactics are good military practice."

May 7, 1943: Strained Polish-Soviet relations
"Vyshinsky is a white-haired, neat-looking lawyer, and he read his two thousand word summary of Soviet-Polish relations like a person adding up a column of figures. And that is the tone of the whole long list of Russian accusations against the Polish government."

May 13, 1943: The Russians react to the Allied victories in Tunisia
"The American and British and French troops in North Africa don't know it, but their heroism and sacrifices and courage have achieved something here in Russia that a thousand diplomats and a million words could never have done."

May 16, 1943: Allied diplomats convene in Russia
"As the war approaches a climax and as victory becomes more and more of a reality, these two men are going to have more and more to do here in Moscow. There already are indications that the diplomatic front here in Russia is becoming more active."

May 18, 1943: Soviets warn of pending summer fighting
"This is the kind of talk we heard during the early days of the war and during the defense of Stalingrad. These warnings are designed to make the entire nation conscious of the situation at the front—a situation which, because of military security, cannot be described in detail. However, it is well to note that these press warnings make no mention of plans for the Red Army."

May 19, 1943: Former US ambassador to the Soviet Union visits the ruins of Stalingrad
"Mr. Davies said he wished every American fighting man could have a look at the tragedy of Stalingrad before he went into battle against the Germans."

May 24, 1943: Top dignitaries visit the Kremlin
"Stalin made only one toast last night, and it was a good one. He lifted his glass and simply said: 'To the armed forces of America and Britain.'"

May 25, 1943: The Soviets throw a goodwill banquet for the British
"They represent an exchange of ideas—not between governments, but between peoples. Neither America, Britain, nor the Soviet Union is trying to impose ideas in this campaign for better cultural relations. That's what got Germany into trouble. If there is one thing that this war has proved, it is that it's much better to exchange ideas than it is to exchange bullets."

May 27, 1943: Joseph Davies concludes his Moscow visit
"The Davies mission hit Moscow like a small whirlwind. It was exactly a week ago tonight that the former ambassador went to the Kremlin and delivered Mr. Roosevelt's letter to Stalin. At that time, Stalin said he would take the points raised in the President's letter under consideration and advise Mr. Davies later."

May 28, 1943: Immense stockpile of Nazi armament seized
"When the French were defending Verdun in 1916, they used some four million shells in the fourteen-day offensive. The Verdun fortress hurled six tons of metal on every yard of the front during the battle. With the shells that the Red Army captured this winter, it is calculated that the Russian troops could fight four Verduns."

May 30, 1943: Western Allied bombing of Germany threatens morale on the Eastern Front
"The Anglo-American bombing of Germany is having a very real effect on the German soldier, who has been given the impossible job of defeating Russia. When a Fortress or a Liberator or a Lancaster drops a bomb on Berlin or Duisburg or Essen, this bomb not only smashes Nazi war production, it also smashes just one more grain of confidence and resistance in the morale of the Fritz on the Russian front who sooner or later hears that his hometown has taken it in the neck again."

June 1, 1943: Nazi rockets provide light for Soviet troop shows
"Recently one group performed for a tank unit assigned to crack a river fortification. The artists reached the front late in the evening. They were held up picking their way through narrow trails in minefields. When they arrived, the soldiers insisted on seeing the entire program. The troupe performed in the open air; the illumination was furnished free by German rockets. The concert really got a big windup with artillery barrage. Before the troupers had packed, the first tanks had crossed the river."

June 7, 1943: "Red Justice"
"With the German attack of 1941 a decree was promulgated reclassifying murder, attempted murder, highway robbery, resistance to representatives of the government, and refusal to join the labor front as crimes subject to martial law."

June 8, 1943: The film "She Defends Her Country" debuts in Moscow
"Atrocity is brutally treated in this film, and if shown in America could give reaching confirmation of what every foreign correspondent has seen. The film's sincerity overcomes its shortcomings."

June 14, 1943: Stalin previews "Mission to Moscow"
"Stalin's poker face may have derived from the fact that the film's portrayal of the Soviet Premier was judged the least adequate in a roster of generally excellent characterizations. Playing Stalin for sweetness and light, Manart Kippen missed the strength and power and twinkling humor with which Stalin invariably impresses foreign visitors."

June 17, 1943: "Bogdan the Elusive" in Ukraine
"Once, the Germans thought they had Bogdan. They carefully threw a cordon around his camp. When they finally closed in on the camp they found warm campfires, empty tin cans—and a goat. Around the neck of the goat was a note saying 'A hurried good-bye—but I'll be back.'"

June 19, 1943: The Russian perspective on Japanese imperialism
"'In May 1943, a serious reverse befell Japan,' the Russian expert says. 'In the Northern Pacific, American troops drove the Japanese out of Attu Island which, incidentally, the Japanese militarists prematurely gave a Japanese name.'"

June 25, 1943: Summertime fashion in Moscow
"The most popular summer footwear are sandals. I've seen some made out of worn out automobile tires. The tire is simply cut into the shape of a show. Another thickness is nailed onto the heel—two straps are attached—and there you have a perfectly good pair of summer shoes."

June 27, 1943: The Wehrmacht's lice epidemic
"The German command is trying to combat the louse that infests the invincible, Aryan Nazi soldier. They are using all kinds of propaganda. Soap is scarce in the German army, and propaganda has not been a very good substitute."

July 11, 1943: What are Hitler's ultimate plans for the new offensive?
"The third theory is that this present attack is the beginning of an all-out attack on the Soviet Union, with Hitler ignoring the impending second front and setting out once and for all in an attempt to defeat the Red Army. In this event, he would depend on his European defenses to protect his rear."

July 14, 1943: Axis espionage in Russia
"The business of spying is no longer a glamorous job of pumping a victim full of champagne and getting him to talk. Axis agents have been discovered disguised as beggars, as wounded Russian soldiers, as government officials, and a number of other things."

July 27, 1943: Russian play features heroic American war correspondent
"The correspondent is depicted as about 40, grayish, with an intense interest in getting the story but with little interest in taking a personal part in the war. He is constantly taking notes and snapping pictures and making what are, to the Russian mind, wisecracks. The author allows the correspondent to jibe the Russians about their love for tragedy, maintaining that Tolstoy should have ended 'War and Peace' with 'everyone loving everyone else.'"

August 2, 1943: The "Orel Sweepstakes"
"The Orel sweepstakes is typical of the difficulties under which American and British reporters must compete for headlines and at the same time keep within reason in trying to interpret the progress of military movements in Russia. There is not one who had not been screaming at the press department for trips to the front or, second best, for conferences with reliable political and military authorities for guidance in covering this and other stories."

August 14, 1943: The Red Army's high spirits
"These campfires are a beautiful sight. I saw them from an army headquarters on a height overlooking the Oka river valley. These fires, spotting the ridges and slopes of the rolling steppe, make an unforgettable sight, particularly if you look to the horizon and see the reflection of the burning ruins of Nazi occupation. Those peaceful looking army campfires are flames of vengeance. The big light on the horizon is reflected fear."

August 15, 1943: The Bryansk partisans
"I sat next to Romashin during a lunch the Orel city government gave the correspondents. He told me that, if I wanted to turn him over to the Germans, I would be a rich man. The Germans know his home. To the person who can produce him dead or alive they will give 15,000 rubles, thirty acres of land, a house, one horse, and two cows."

August 16, 1943: "Revolution in Soviet School System Kills Coeducation for Youthful Reds"
"This statement represents a new conception of the Soviet woman and her place in family and national life. Sociologically it is a significant change from the early conceptions which simplified divorce processes, provided state contraceptive service, and put emphasis on the nursery instead of the family. In recent years the trend has been in the opposite direction; the Soviet Union is taking measures to increase the birth rate, which since the war has been declining because of the separation of families, improper feeding, and casualties. The new system is the first step in this direction."

August 21, 1943: "It Happens in Moscow" by Quentin Reynolds
"Two American correspondents, Bill Downs of the Columbia Broadcasting System, and David Nichol of the Chicago Daily News, were among the lucky ones to obtain tickets. They joined in the parade, jostling elbows with gold-epauletted Red army generals, with American and British generals, with ambassadors and with the beauty and culture of Moscow. But they wanted to smoke, and neither had a cigarette."

August 26, 1943: Downs tells of the curfew in Moscow
"While walking from the foreign office to the radio studio, a young soldier packing a very business-like rifle and bayonet stopped me and asked to see my documents. I handed him my official press card, the pass which allows me on the street during air raids, and my precious night pass. Everything was in order except for the night pass. It had run out and had to be replaced."

September 4, 1943: Tragedy on the Steppe Front
"We came to a little farm railroad called Maslova Pristan. Our convoy of jeeps stopped. An air raid had started someplace on the horizon. The ack-ack and bomb flashes lit up the skyline so brightly that it didn't seem real. If you saw it in the movies you would say it was too Hollywood; too overdone."

September 6, 1943: Ukrainians persevere in the wake of Nazi destruction
"The damage is so extensive that the occasional house that was new—unburned, without shell holes and not charred by fire—such scattered houses seemed almost to be showplaces. They stood out like the pyramids in a desert of destitution."

September 9, 1943: Italy falls as Donetsk is liberated
"'A victory for one of the United Nations is a victory for all the United Nations.'"

September 11, 1943: Salutes in Moscow as the Red Army advance continues
"What I'm trying to say is that, despite the apparent lack of what we call 'big' news, the Red Army's advance is continuing. A lot of these unknown inhabited points might be, for individual groups of Russian soldiers, battles as bitter and bloody as the fighting that separate units did for Stalingrad. You don't need a special communiqué to die—you also don't need a special communiqué to capture an inhabited point."

September 11 to September 27, 1943: The Nazis retreat from the Panther-Wotan defense line
"Adolf Hitler's dreary words to the German people will be of little comfort to the Nazi armies which now are running westward with their tails between their legs. The main job of the German command today is to keep this retreat from becoming a rout—which it is threatening to develop into on several sectors."

September 12 to September 17, 1943: The Red Army approaches Bryansk
"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."

September 14, 1943: The Young Guard in Ukraine
"These high school students played a lot of tricks on the Germans, such as taking empty mine cases and planting them like booby traps. The Germans would worry for days over such tricks. They wired officers' cars so that when they stepped on the starters, the car would blow up. They cut the telephone lines, and always they put out their daily bulletin, carefully written by hand and passed among the people."

September 16, 1943: Moscow urges Bulgaria to abandon the Axis
"An article in today's Pravda, organ of the Communist Party, calls on Bulgaria to abandon her collaboration with Germany before the Balkans are turned into a battlefield."

September 20, 1943: "Harvest of Death: Behind the Lines in Russia's Reconquered Villages"
"The jeep was blown a dozen feet off the road, turned over, and was almost torn in two. The driver escaped miraculously with only a wound in the back of his head. It was a freak mine that somehow hadn't gone off although hundreds of cars had driven over the spot on the road throughout the day."

September 20, 1943: Skyrockets over Moscow
"Then there is another brief wait for the fireworks. At the zero hour, the artillery battery at Moscow's western outskirts lights up the sky, and a few seconds later there is a low rumble like distant thunder."

September 23, 1943: The "Second" Battle of Poltava
"The German base of Poltava was one of the most powerful in the Ukraine. It was taken with much greater casualties for both sides than either the Russians or the Swedes suffered two centuries ago."

September 25, 1943: The Bolshoi Theatre reopens
"The entire diplomatic community was there—representatives of the United States embassy; Australians; the British ambassador; heads of military missions—and the Japanese."

September 26 to September 29, 1943: The massive Dnieper offensive continues
"An article in the Army journal, Red Star, today puts the question that is on everyone's lips here in Russia: 'Where is Hitler's army going to stop?' This same question must be on the lips of the people of Germany."

September 27, 1943: Suvorov schools
"Originally designed to 'aid the education of the children of the Red Army soldiers, partisans, workers, collective farmers, government, and party workers, whose parents perished at the hands of the invaders,' the schools will be replenished yearly by the application system.

November 1, 1943: The Third Moscow Conference
"The welcome accorded Secretary of State Cordell Hull and Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden on Oct. 18 set the tone for the meeting. At the very moment that Hull stepped down from his four-engined Douglas transport at the Moscow airport, a military band struck up 'The Stars and Stripes Forever' and quickly followed with the 'Internationale.'"

November 15, 1943: A new U.S. ambassador arrives in Russia
"The long time that Spaso House had been without an official hostess had turned the Ambassador's official residence into what was almost a super-luxurious fraternity house. The Mokhovaya House across the street from the Kremlin with embassy offices and apartments for military, naval, and Lend-Lease staffs was almost the same. No one had enough to do. Consequently the embassy military and naval staffs spent a lot of time chasing ballet and theater tickets."

December 6, 1943: The atrocities at Babi Yar
"The first foreign witnesses this week returned to Moscow from what are probably the most terrible two acres on earth—a series of desolate ravines in the Lukyanovka district three miles northwest of Kiev."

January 23, 1944: Retaking the Russian railways
"There are probably more American trucks and jeeps and weapon carriers in Russia than any other country outside the United States. Supplies for the Stalingrad victory were largely carried on American ten-wheelers which can negotiate the deep Russian snow. It was the same at Oryol and Belgorod last summer, and again at Kiev where these American trucks were able to cope with Ukrainian mud."

February 21, 1944: Bill Downs looks back on Russia
"When I entered Russia on Christmas Day, 1942, the country was in the midst of the Battle of Stalingrad. The strain was evident in Moscow. Tired, red-eyed officers from the southern front who were reporting to headquarters could be seen in Moscow hotels trying to snatch a few hours' sleep before rushing back to the battle. But the victory, although its cost was scores of thousands of Russian men, was the turning point of the United Nations war against the Axis. This victory was also a turning point for the Soviet. It marked the end of one era inside Russia and the beginning of another. Only today are we beginning to see manifestations of a new era."