December 28, 2020

1944. CBS Announces Unconfirmed Reports of an Allied Invasion of Europe

German Sources Report Allied Landings in France

Robert Trout

CBS New York

June 6, 1944 - 3:00 AM

ROBERT TROUT: CBS World News, Bob Trout speaking. And again we bring you the available reports, all of them from German sources, on what the Berlin Radio calls "the invasion."

There is still no Allied confirmation from any source. Correspondents who rushed to the War Department in Washington soon after the first German broadcast was heard were told that our War Department had no information on the German reports. There's been no announcement of any sort from Allied Headquarters in London.

The first news of the German announcement reached this country at 12:37 AM Eastern War Time. The Associated Press recorded this broadcast, and immediately pointed out that it could be one which Allied leaders have warned us to expect from the Germans.

Shortly after 1:00 AM Eastern War Time, the Berlin Radio opened its news program with a so-called "invasion announcement." Columbia's shortwave listening station here in New York heard the Berlin Radio say, and I quote: "Here is a special bulletin. Early this morning the long-awaited British and American invasion began when paratroops landed in the area of the Somme estuary. The harbor of Le Havre is being fiercely bombarded at the present moment. Naval forces of the German navy are off the coast fighting with enemy landing vessels. We've just brought you a special bulletin." End of the quotation. That is the invasion announcement as heard from the Berlin Radio by Columbia's shortwave listening station.

Now here's what Trans-Ocean, one of the German news agencies, says, and I quote: "Early Tuesday morning, landing craft and light warships were observed in the area between the mouth of the Somme and the eastern coast of Normandy. At the same time paratroops were dropped from numerous aircraft on the northern tip of the Normandy peninsula. It is believed that these paratroops have been given the task of capturing airfields in order to facilitate the landing of further troops. The harbor of Le Havre is at the moment being bombarded. And," continues the broadcast, "German naval forces have engaged enemy landing craft off the coast." The Trans-Ocean broadcast, still unconfirmed, concludes this way: "The long-expected Anglo-American invasion appears to have begun." This is the full text of the German Trans-Ocean broadcast as recorded by the Associated Press.

The German broadcasts on the long-expected invasion by the Allies were relayed both to North America and to Germans in the homeland. Germans at home were told by DNB's [Deutsches Nachrichtenbüro] domestic broadcast at dawn in Europe. At 1:30 in the morning Eastern War Time, the DNB agency repeated the items describing what it called the "invasion operations." This was a departure from the usual DNB practice of giving fresh information at that time.

The German-controlled Calais Radio came on the air today with this announcement in the English language, quote: "This is D-Day. We shall now bring music for the Allied invasion forces." So said the German-controlled Calais Radio across the Channel from England.

Up to this time, almost an hour and a half after the first German broadcast, the United States Office of War Information, whose facilities will be used by American press organizations when Allied armies enter Western Europe, has not transmitted any information at all to support the German claims. Director Elmer Davis of the OWI rushed to his headquarters immediately when OWI officials advised him of the broadcasts from Germany. He told the United Press, "We have no more information than you have. I'll stay here until I find out whether the story is true or not."

Last night, Elmer Davis addressed the National Press Club on psychological warfare, and showed three motion pictures illustrating how the OWI was propagandizing on the war front. He had just reached his home when his office called him to hurry down. By 1:45 in the morning Eastern War Time, almost the entire public relations staff over at the War Department in Washington also had reported for duty.

Now, it should be remembered of course that the Germans are quite capable of faking this entire series of reports. Their main reason for doing so, in addition to trying to smoke out Allied plans, would be to try to start a premature uprising by the resistance movement along the Channel coast. But the French and the Belgians and the Dutch have all been warned about this possibility repeatedly, and you will recall that Prime Minister Winston Churchill some time ago warned that we could expect false alarms or diversionary feints before the big show began.

The British Radio, which at 1:00 AM Eastern War Time sent a warning to residents of the Dutch coast to evacuate inland to a distance of at least eighteen miles, might really have been broadcasting the latest in the series of such warnings that have been given to the civilian populations all along the so-called invasion coast of Europe. No other British report that might indicate that the invasion is on has been released, unless we are to take as significant the report from London half an hour ago that the Royal Air Force was over enemy territory during the night.

Even on the enemy side, there are clear reasons for doubting the German report that the invasion has started. The Paris Radio, at 1:00 AM Eastern War Time, said nothing about any invasion operations in its regular news report. In fact, half an hour after the first German broadcast announcing the landings, one German-controlled Paris Radio spokesman said of the war situation, and this is a quotation: "It appears we have been given another month of grace before the invasion will start. A press report from Washington says Roosevelt will come to London at the end of June. Surely this indicates the event will not start before the end of June," said the Paris Radio.

Well, as I said, there is as yet no reason to believe the German story. Nevertheless, because of high public interest in this country, Columbia is planning to continue overtime operations tonight to all of its affiliate stations until such time as the enemy accounts are proved false, or official word from Allied sources is forthcoming. You may listen to this network with assurance that all sources of news will be properly labeled, and that we will interrupt programs only with news of exceptional importance and will bring you frequent summaries of all information available.

The Columbia shortwave listening station here in New York has heard the British Radio report the German announcement of paratroop landings and report the announcement without comment. Then BBC followed that German announcement, which I've already given you, with this, and I quote: "Early this morning, people in German-occupied Western Europe received an urgent warning broadcast by a spokesman of the Supreme Command of the Allied Expeditionary Force. It was that a new phase of the Allied air offensive has begun. People living within twenty-two miles of the coast are particularly affected. The German overseas news agency," BBC goes on, "has been putting out repeated flashes. Here is one of them, quote: 'We have just learned that numerous Allied landing craft and other Allied warships were seen in the area between the Seine estuary and the eastern coast of Normandy.'" And that was BBC quoting the German report.

And now here in the studio with me is Columbia's military analyst Major George Fielding Elliot, and here's Major Elliot now.

GEORGE FIELDING ELLIOT: We must begin by assuming the—or understanding the possibility of that these German reports may be an outright German lie. We must also take into account the possibility that they may be a series of feints intended to divert the German defense and to draw the German forces to other places around the nose of which we actually intend to make a serious attack.

The report that a new phase of the Allied air offensive has begun, and the consequent request to the inhabitants of Western Europe to clear an area twenty-two miles from the coast, may be nothing more than an intensification of bombing attacks, or it may indicate the use of paratroops, or it may be, again, a part of the Allied attempt to throw the Germans off their guard.

But if we are to accept these German reports as having any value at all, there seems to be some uncertainty as to the location of the Allied landings in France which they report. It is clear that the Germans are saying that landing craft have been observe approaching the French coast between the eastern shore of what they call the "Normandy peninsula" and the mouth of the River Seine, where the port of Le Havre is situated. The Germans are also asserting that this port, Le Havre, is being bombarded, and that Allied paratroops are being landed near the tip of the Normandy peninsula.

What is not clear is the reference made to an Allied landing near the estuary of the River Somme, which is some distance northeast of Le Havre. This may possibly be an error for the Seine estuary, though the actual German translation has been checked several times here in the CBS shortwave listening station.

But to analyze all these German statements, what the Germans call the "Normandy peninsula" is undoubtedly the Cotentin Peninsula, at the end of which stand the port of Cherbourg. Allied forces would certainly wish, if they were actually landing in France, to obtain a well-equipped seaport as soon as possible, as such a port is essential in order to keep up continuous landings of troops and heavy equipment. We learned at Anzio and at elsewhere that it is not safe to leave such matters to the mercy of the weather, as has to be done when dependence is had on open beaches, or even small but undeveloped bays. Hence a double Allied attempt against the two key ports of northern France, Cherbourg and Le Havre, is well within the possibility if we are to accept these German reports that landings are taking place at all.

From the strategic point of view, there is nothing inconsistent in the report of the landing at the Somme estuary. There is no seaport of importance there, but the Allies might well wish to land on a broad front in order to divert the German defense as much as possible, and to keep the Germans from finding out, as long as we could, where the main effort was being made. The landing of paratroops behind the big seaport of Cherbourg would likewise be probable if a landing was really in progress in order to cut off a movement of German reserves toward that port, and thus facilitate its capture by the Allies.

But any military analysis must remain fragmentary and uncertain as long as it is based only on German reports which have so frequently proved to be unreliable in the past.

TROUT: That was Columbia's military analyst Major George Fielding Elliot, and I think that brings us up to date to the moment.

I'd like to repeat that there is as yet no reason to believe this German story which you have now heard. Nevertheless, because of high public interest in this country, Columbia is planning to continue overtime operations tonight, and I should like to take this opportunity to inform not only you, our audience, but to inform also the staff on duty at our affiliate stations around the country, that Columbia is planning overtime operations until such time as the enemy accounts are proved false, or official word from Allied sources is forthcoming.

And so, ladies and gentlemen, you may listen to this network with assurance that all sources of news will be properly labeled, and that we will interrupt programs only with news of exceptional importance, and will bring you frequent summaries of all information available.

This is the Columbia Broadcasting System.

November 20, 2020

1943. The Air War in Crimea and East Prussia

The Fighting Rages on During Easter
Soviet fighters at an unfinished German bridge in Crimea, November 1943 (source)
(For more, see the complete 1943 Moscow reports.)
Bill Downs

CBS Moscow

April 23, 1943

This morning's communiqué says that there were no essential changes on the Russian front last night. However in the last 24 hours in the Kuban, 500 Germans and Romanians were killed in a series of attacks, after which they were forced to retreat in disorder.

This fighting in the Kuban, which the German command is throwing wave after wave of men and aircraft without regard to losses, still has not taken on any pattern. However, there are indications that the Nazis are gradually wearing themselves out. Front dispatches this morning say that 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.

It was revealed today that the Germans have moved hundreds of bombers and fighters into the high and dry airdromes of the Crimea to support the Nazi attacks across the Kerch Strait in the Kuban. These bombers are the ones that have been making mass attacks on the city of Krasnodar, the capital of the Kuban, and other military objectives west of the city.

But the transfer of new German bomber squadrons to the Crimea also means something else. Ever since the post-thaw fighting in the Kuban began we have heard of the strong Russian air attacks on the Nazi airdromes. The fact that many of these airdromes are in the Crimea means that the Soviet air force has carried its attack in force to this peninsula for the first time since the Russian forces were pushed out of the Crimea after the fall of Sebastopol.

Russian intelligence has collected some interesting facts about this new German bombing force in the Crimea. The pilots and bombardiers and navigators are all young, unseasoned flyers. Many who have been captured say that they were on their second and third fighting operations after graduation from the German training schools.

The Nazi flying command is attempting to give these kids flying experience by flying them over the Kuban battlefield in bombers that carry no bombs. They usually get only one such flight, however, and after that they are on their own.

The Russians say their bombing is pretty bad. They usually drop their bombs too soon in their hurry to get back to their bases, and they don't know much about taking evasive action. During two days of their mass raids on the Krasnodar District, 98 German planes were shot down. This totals almost an entire German air wing.

The Germans undoubtedly moved this strong bomber and fighter force into the Crimea in order to cover a German "Dunkirk" evacuation across the Kerch straits if such became necessary. These German and Romanian attacks in the Kuban appear to be Nazi attempts to postpone that necessity.
Bill Downs

CBS Moscow

April 24, 1943

The Red Army has won the first round of spring fighting in the Kuban. The official explanation in this morning's communiqué reads like this: It said "the enemy, as a result of the unsuccessful attacks of the past days, suffered such severe losses in manpower and equipment that they Hitlerian units have been bled white and could not launch active operations.

The communiqué went on to say that the Red Army last night put up an artillery barrage that destroyed two Nazi artillery batteries and blew up one ammunition dump.

This first round of victory in the Kuban was a victory on points for the Red Army. Russian forces absorbed all the punches that the German and Romanian troops could throw at them. Today both sides are catching their breath for the beginning of the second stage of the battle.

The Soviet air force again carried the air war to East Prussia, and first details of the two hour raid on Insterburg report fires and havoc among barracks of German reserve troops, as well as serious damage to the city's important railroad junction.

Insterburg forms the eastern apex of the important German communications triangle connecting Koenigsburg and Tilsit. This district not only connects Hitler's Baltic troops with their rear supplies, but is also a big base for reserve troops and quartermaster's stores. Pilots said that the first in Intsterburg were so fierce that they could smell the smoke from the height at which they bombed the city. The barracks district was set aflame, and bombs dropped on the railroad junction and warehouses. The weather was good.

Tonight at midnight, thousands—perhaps millions—of people will jam Russia's cathedrals to celebrate the holiest day of the Russian Orthodox church. The siege laws of Moscow and other cities which impose a midnight curfew will be relaxed tonight so that the faithful can worship from midnight through the long, four hour service celebrating the resurrection of Christ.

Moscow churches will be so jam-packed that people will not have room to kneel. At these services, such as the one I saw at Christmas, the people jam the churches so tightly that the faithful even have difficulty in crossing themselves.

The Russians celebrate the Easter season and the breaking of Lent by taking special buns and cakes to the church to be blessed. For the past week, the Moscow market has been jammed with women bargaining for eggs and flour and sugar. (There is quite a barter in these things.) And this year there will not be any light, fluffy cakes—and few raisins and frosting in these cakes—but there will be cakes to be blessed, and that's all that matters.

Another Russian Orthodox custom is that the worshipers take lighted candles with them after the service and walk three times around the church. This custom, however, will have to be omitted this year as it was last. The blackout bans such a display of light.

October 18, 2020

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:

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."

September 22, 2020

1969. Vice President Agnew Blasts Media Reaction to Nixon Speech

Network Commentators React to President Nixon's "Silent Majority" Speech
Top row: Bill Lawrence, Bill Downs, Bob Clark, John Scali, Tom Jarriel, Howard K. Smith, Frank Reynolds. Bottom row: Eric Sevareid, Dan Rather, Marvin Kalb, Richard Scammon, Herbert Kaplow, John Chancellor
From Broadcasting magazine [large PDF], November 24, 1969, pp. 50-52:

The analyses that touched it all off 

Here's what network newsmen said on the air after President Nixon gave his Vietnam speech
How abrasive were the network-TV commentaries that Vice President Spiro T. Agnew denounced as "instant analysis and querulous criticism" in his Nov. 13 blast at TV news?

The commentaries were presented by the ABC, CBS and NBC news organizations immediately following President Nixon's Nov. 3 speech on Vietnam, and Vice President Agnew charged that:

"One commentator twice contradicted the President's statement about the exchange of correspondence with Ho Chi Minh. Another challenged the President's abilities as a politician. A third asserted that the President was following a Pentagon line. Others, by the expression on their faces, the tone of their questions and the sarcasm of their responses, made clear their sharp disapproval."

Mr. Agnew identified none of the correspondents but a review of the transcripts last week, while telling nothing about facial expressions and tone of voice, showed that:

The references to the Ho Chi Minh letter were by Marvin Kalb of CBS News. In one reference he was quoting unnamed critics of Mr. Nixon's policies and added that the Ho Chi Minh letter seemed to contain uncommonly "accommodating" language. In the other he speculated that North Vietnamese reaction might be "somewhat negative in terms of the President's judgment" of the letter and said that "although Mr. Nixon called it a flat rejection of his own letter, it contained a number of statements . . . which suggest considerable flexibility in negotiating posture."

The challenge to the President as a politician was made by Bill Lawrence of ABC News. Two other panelists on the same program called Mr. Nixon an "extremely skillful" and "consummate" politician.

The reference to "Pentagon line" was by Bill Downs of ABC, who said it was reflected in statements that U.S. defeat or humiliation would promote recklessness among other world powers. As a reflection of the preceding administration's policy in that respect, he also said, it ought to allay any fears among nations that the Nixon administration is moving toward a neutralist or isolationist cause.

Mr. Agnew reserved special criticism for W. Averell Harriman, former chief U.S. negotiator at the Paris peace talks, who the Vice President said was "trotted out" by one network "to guarantee in advance that the President's plea for national unity would be challenged." Mr. Harriman, appearing on the ABC news wrap-up, did disagree with Mr. Nixon on many points. He also started and ended his comments by wishing the President well in his search for peace, and said Mr. Nixon had his support to that end.

Whatever the merits of the controversy, Mr. Nixon's speech scored well in the Nielsen multi-network area (MNA) ratings for the week of November 3-9, and the analysis, at least on NBC-TV, did not do badly either. NBC-TV's coverage of the speech ranked fifth with a 24.6 rating and a 35 share, and NBC's analysis ranked sixth (tied with FBI on ABC) with a 23.5 rating. CBS-TV's analysis was tied with NBC's Bill Cosby for 20th place with a 21.3 rating.

A report on the three wrap-up programs follows, based on transcripts supplied by the networks:

The ABC News wrap-up, anchored by Frank Reynolds, opened with Tom Jarriel, ABC White House correspondent, saying that Mr. Nixon had addressed himself to "the silent majority," had "offered no quick solutions" and perhaps had "polarized attitude in the country more than it ever has been into groups who are either for him or against him."

Asked why there was "nothing substantively new" in the speech, Mr. Jarriel said the President apparently felt "that the time had come to restate his position, and we were warned repeatedly against speculation at the White House, against going out on a limb saying there might be massive troop withdrawals or perhaps a stand-still cease-fire, and tonight after seeing the speech we certainly know why we were warned against speculation."

W. Averell Harriman, former chief U.S. negotiator at the Paris peace talks, was presented by Mr. Reynolds as "one of the men most qualified, certainly, the most qualified to speculate on North Vietnam's reaction to the speech."

At the outset Mr. Harriman appeared to disavow any intention to offer what the Vice President later called "instant analysis and querulous criticism."

"I wouldn't be presumptuous to give a complete analysis of a very carefully thought-out speech by the president of the United States," Mr. Harriman said. "I'm sure he wants to end this war and no one wishes him well any more than I do."

Mr. Harriman, interviewed by John Scali, ABC News State Department correspondent, presented several points of disagreement with Mr. Nixon's position, said his address contained important omissions, and asserted that "I think this should be very carefully debated by the Congress, particularly by the Foreign Relations Committee."

Mr. Harriman questioned whether the President's supporters represented "a silent majority" or "a silent minority," but then said "I think he's got the full support of the people. He certainly has got my support, in hoping we will develop a program for peace."

He concluded: "There are so many things we've got to know about this, but I want to end this by saying I wish the President well, I hope he can lead us to peace. But this is not the whole story that we've heard tonight."

ABC News National Affairs Editor Bill Lawrence suggested the Democrats had tried to "mouse-trap" the President by building people's hopes for an announcement of "some new move toward substantively winning the war sooner."

Bob Clark, ABC Capitol Hill correspondent, foresaw reopening of the Vietnam hearings by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and thought it "very clear tonight that the gauntlet will be flung down to the President at those new hearings."

Mr. Clark said, "there's a growing impatience in Congress, just as there is across the country. This cuts across party lines, there are many who have been moderates on the Vietnam war in the past who now feel more and more urgently about the need to set a termination date on the war. That, of course, is what the President failed tonight to do."

Bill Downs, ABC Pentagon correspondent, saw the speech as reflecting "the Pentagon viewpoint" and the previous administration's position that America cannot go back on a commitment. That, he said, "allays any fears that people might have had round the world that the Nixon administration might be heading us toward a neutralist or isolationist course, but it's certainly not in this speech."

Mr. Lawrence contended Mr. Nixon "hasn't used the powers of the Presidency," which he said "a good politician" would have done, and pointed out that during the campaign Mr. Nixon said—and said again in his speech that night—that "he had a plan that would end the war and win the peace."

As to Mr. Nixon's abilities as a politician, Mr. Reynolds had called him "extremely skillful" and Mr. Downs, taking issue with Mr. Lawrence, called him "a consummate politician."

Howard K. Smith said that "for the first time" he got "a strong impression" that Mr. Nixon is "not going to be hustled or yield to anything but a negotiated settlement involving free elections which probably the Communists couldn't win." He speculated that "by his speech tonight he's let himself in for some very rough handling in that next moratorium demonstration that's coming."

Mr. Nixon, he said, "got his messages across to the people he's counting on, called the silent majority, but what matters is whether he got his point across to Hanoi; that there will be no surrender in any guise, and that they will have to negotiate. And, as has been so often said tonight, we'll just have to wait and see."

Correspondent Dan Rather, anchoring the CBS News wrap-up, opened with a summary of speech highlights and prefaced the commentary "by saying, as always, this is a difficult bit of guesswork to immediately follow a presidential address."

One of the references to the Ho Chi Minh letter by Marvin Kalb, CBS diplomatic correspondent, was that critics of Mr. Nixon "may disagree with the President's judgment that the Ho Chi Minh letter was a flat rejection of his own letter. The Ho Chi Minh letter contained, it seems, some of the softest, most accommodating language found in a Communist document concerning the war in Vietnam in recent years."

This other reference to the letter was in assessing the effect of the speech on North Vietnam. The North Vietnamese, he said, might say "that the President has not given them anything terribly new to chew on." But, he added, "I don't really feel that the President was talking to them. As he pointed out, he was talking very much to the great silent majority of the American people. . . ." Mr. Kalb continued:

"It seems to me, if anything, it's [the North Vietnamese reaction] going to be somewhat negative in terms of the President's judgment of the Ho Chi Minh letter. Ho Chi Minh is now dead; he is a god in North Vietnam at least, and certainly has a good deal of strength elsewhere in the Communist world.

"The President defines this as a flat rejection, and yet you have a number of statements in here which suggest considerable flexibility in negotiating posture. This may not yet be apparent in Paris, but it certainly is there in the language of this Ho Chi Minh letter."

Eric Sevareid, CBS national correspondent, couldn't "escape the feeling—and it's only a feeling—that there may well be an announcement of a quite sizable troop withdrawal and fairly soon, possibly before these mid-November demonstrations. I have no evidence for this at all, except the feeling that it cannot rest where he has left it."

Mr. Sevareid said that philosophically Mr. Nixon "doesn't seem to be any different" from former President Johnson and former Secretary of State Dean Rusk in feeling that an American pull-out would collapse confidence in American leadership all over the world and set Communists into action in other areas.

"One would think if all that were true, if this war and our presence there was of this cosmic and universal importance, then the war should be won," Mr. Sevareid said. "But he has said that it is not to be—a military victory is not to be sought, and in that, it seems to me, there lies a profound illogic, that it's over the dam, he is trying to get us out."

Mr. Sevareid said he "hoped" the President could hold a majority of public opinion behind the policy of winding down the war slowly to an honorable end, but "I don't know that he can. I think this speech would have been effective last spring, but it's late in the day; and this is why I think something else is going to come and very soon. I do not believe it can rest here. But this is only my horseback opinion of one man. And I could be wrong"

The NBC News wrap-up, with John Chancellor as anchor man, opened with a summary of the President's speech by Mr. Chancellor, who was then joined in commentary by Herbert Kaplow, NBC White House correspondent, and Richard Scammon, consultant to NBC News on public opinion.

Mr. Chancellor felt that "the essence of the speech has been a defense of his [Mr. Nixon's] plan to end the war, which he thinks is working. His critics think it's not working and it's making the war go on longer, and they will be after him again."

Mr. Scammon, in response to questions, said he thought the President's speech "represented the viewpoint of the majority" of Americans, that there was also "a strong minority" in and outside of Congress that would oppose the President's proposals, but that "the polls would indicate he does have support, at least for the time being, for [his] policy." Since the Oct. 15 moratorium, he said, that support "has gone up, not down." Would it go up again after the demonstrations that critics had scheduled for Nov. 15? That, Mr. Scammon thought, "might depend a good deal" on the nature of the November demonstrations: "If they are as essentially decent as they were in October, I'm not sure. If they become violent, it's quite possible it would go up."

Mr. Scammon thought direct appeals to the public, such as Mr. Nixon had just made, "tend to bridge over whatever kind of a credibility gap there may be," but that in the long run the effect depends on the soundness of the arguments advanced because the people "are usually a good deal more perceptive about these things than many people give them credit for."

"If the argument is basically sound," he continued, "I think you'd find that there would be support for it, while there always will be a minority on both sides, you know, who will oppose any middle-of-the-road policy, which is what I think you would call this, which does not go either far to the left or far to the right."

Mr. Kaplow commented on the President's departure from his usual practice of not reading speeches: "Obviously, because of the delicacy of this issue, he chose not to take any chances. As a scripted performance, it was a pretty good Nixon performance . . . the image that came across tonight was that of a man who was familiar with what he was reading, obviously designed to counter the—activating the silent majority into support for him, maybe overwhelming, in a sense, by their expressions, the people who had been marching around the fences of the White House on Oct. 15 and are supposed to be back here on Nov. 15."

In response to another question Mr. Kaplow said it was his opinion that administration decisions on troop withdrawals are based less on progress in the Paris talks than on the strengthening of the Vietnamese army and the level of fighting, "and probably the level of fighting more than anything else."

The wrap-up concluded with Mr. Scammon noting that public opinion "has been very ambivalent about Vietnam.

"It has wanted to get out; it has wanted a Vietnamized war. On the other hand, it has wanted to get a settlement which did not permit the Communists to take over. And even though the American public says get out of Vietnam, Mr. President, they also say if you get out of Vietnam and lose, two-thirds of us are going to be against you."

Observed Mr. Chancellor: "It's not easy to have that job."

August 12, 2020

1944. American Foreign Correspondents on Stalingrad and Leningrad

Bill Downs and James Fleming Reflect on the Soviet Union
A woman walks past the wreckage of a German Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighter plane in Stalingrad in the summer of 1943 (source)
The Nazi Propaganda Ministry kept a file on Bill Downs mentioning this article, in which Downs recounts his experience reporting from the Soviet Union. An account by James Fleming, Downs' successor in Moscow, is also featured here.

From Newsweek, February 21, 1944, pp. 30-31:
A Departing Correspondent Looks Back on Russia

What does Russia look like to a correspondent who has just completed a long assignment there? Bill Downs, Newsweek and CBS correspondent, recently returned from the Soviet, Newsweek asked him to sum up his impressions of Russia. The story below tells how it seemed to Downs as viewed from the vantage point of New York.

Russia is a place that gets into your skin—despite wartime irritations of crowded subways, lack of taxicabs, of overworked and understaffed offices; despite the overly strict and self-conscious censorship; despite the grimness of the Moscow scene and the war weariness that makes people short-tempered; despite the pitiful sorrow of a people who have withstood terrible carnage.

After spending a year and two weeks in the Soviet, I find that already I miss the place. It's that kind of country and they're that kind of people.

And coming back to America after an absence of more than three years, I ached to show all the wonderful things that are America to the friends I made in Britain and Russia. For example, the young, good-looking cook in the headquarters dugout at Stalingrad. Her name was Vera. She handed me a drink of water, saying: "This is good water. Volga water. It has Russian blood in it."

The New Era: 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.

Our Questions: People have asked me: "Can we trust Russia? Will she make a separate peace?"

I found that when I left the Russian people were asking something of the same thing. They are tremendously appreciative of American and British aid to their country. But to a nation sacrificing millions of lives on the battlefields in the west, trucks and sugar and planes and meat seem pitifully small contributions to the victory. That is the basis for the insistent and sometimes bitter demands for the "second front." It is an understandable reaction.

Since the Moscow and Tehran conferences, however, the position of Russia's allies has been made more clear to the people. Our war in the Pacific and the bombings of the Continent have been more fully explained and their value more truly appreciated. But the Russian soldiers still call the cans of American meat they like so well "Second Front." It is a standard joke for a Red Army man to say: "Hand me a can of that Second Front, Ivan."

Total Russian casualties in the Soviet-German war today are estimated at between 10,000,000 and 15,000,000 men, women, and children. No one probably will ever know how many Russians have died and will die in this most terrible of all wars. Estimates of damage to Russian cities and towns and villages defy the imagination.

After what I have seen of the hatred in the faces of the people, after seeing areas so devastated that a house still intact startles the eye, and particularly after staring into mass graves where thousands of people died, it is not difficult for me to answer the question: "Will Russia make a separate peace with the Germans?"

Stalingrad: I left Moscow last Jan. 3. Our plane was grounded at Stalingrad for two days and nights by weather. As we flew over the city, there already were two thin streams of smoke from patched-up chimneys of the flattened tractor plant and the Red Barricades factory.

I had seen Stalingrad six days after the defeat of the German armies. Then the city was still stunned from the impact of battle. It was as if you had stepped into a giant bell shortly after it had been struck. There probably has never been such complete demolition over such a wide area. Bombing alone cannot reduce rubble to such small bits. Artillery is needed to break up the big chunks of masonry. And that was what Stalingrad was mostly, just a lot of little chunks of brick, mortar, wood—and bodies.

In flying over Stalingrad now, you could see the beginnings of streets and roads and of a new and better housing. And engineers, workers, and men, women, and children from all over Russia are walking along the downtown streets helping reconstruct the hero city of the Soviet Union. Part of this reconstruction was being engineered in the still-ruined factory buildings.

But the most startling thing in the city I found at the new airport. For two years I'd been looking for a central heating system outside the United States that worked. Warm radiators had become an obsession with me. I'd felt radiators in Lisbon, London, Dublin, Belfast, Manchester, Baku, and Moscow. All were more like ice-box coils than heating units. Until I got to Stalingrad.

My search ended in the waiting room of the new airport building. The heat in that room was enough to knock you over. It's one of the most pleasant memories of Russia that I have. And there are going to be a lot more of them when the rebuilding is finished.
Saint Isaac's Square in besieged Leningrad in March 1943. The monument to Emperor Nicholas I is concealed from German aircraft (source)
A Newcomer Takes a Trip to Battered Leningrad

. . . What does Russia look like to a correspondent just arriving there from the Western world? James Fleming, Newsweek and CBS correspondent, who recently replaced Downs in Russia, last week was permitted to visit the battle city of Leningrad and its long-besieged environs. Here is the story he cabled on his reactions.

Leningrad—the world's most shelled city today presents a tidy façade to a visitor. There are few leveled buildings in the London-Rotterdam style, though the interiors were burned out of perhaps every fifth structure. Indeed, Leningrad's chief architect Nicolai Baranoff, says there is no building in the city that has not suffered some damage, either by bombs or shells. But the work of restoration has been continuing all through the blockade.

The Winter Palace, which received only six bomb hits, stands nearly intact save for boarded windows, yet the adjoining Hermitage Galleries suffered a serious shell gutting. None of several bridges crossing the many-figured Neva River was hit, although they were constant German targets.

No estimate is available as to how many of Leningrad's original 3,000,000 are now in the city, but a good guess is perhaps one-fourth of that number. The normal routines of daily life are completely reestablished, and mornings and evenings the streetcars are crowded with factory workers and school children.

The work of cleaning up the city's wrecked buildings is largely performed by women and girls. Plans for rebuilding, which were begun at the height of the blockade in the winter of 1941-42, envisage no exact reconstruction of destroyed buildings, but instead a project of more modern structures and a series of great parks to break up the crowded center of the city. Today the famous Kirov Works, which cover 5 square kilometers, are working at high speed. Workers tell how the factories suffered 5,000 shell hits and reminisce of the grimmest days of January and February 1942, when the ration was down to 250 grams of bread and one bowl of soup for each worker daily. Then, they say it was not an uncommon sight to see a worker slump over in a factory, dead of hunger.

The Battleground: South and west of Leningrad stretches a broad plain where the recent battles which liberated the city took place. I stood at the spot on the road to Peterhof, scarcely a mile and a half from the city's center, where the Germans approached closest. If ever Hitler suffered carpet-chewing frustration, it must have been here. The city was literally within his grasp, and outlying buildings were within range of a .22 rifle. This was the spot where citizens threw up barricades across the roads and where women joined in the work of digging up trenches and tank traps.

It would be an exaggeration to call Leningrad's physical defenses around its suburbs impressive. Looking at them, you realize that it must have been the sheer spirit of defiance on the part of the citizens that saved Leningrad. There's a gold medal on bright blue ribbon which ever soldier and civilian who participated in the city's defense proudly wears. For example, the elderly woman who tidies my hotel room is never without that emblem pinned to her dress.

In contrast to their own light ground defense works, Leningrad's defenders were ringed by an extensive series of German fortifications no less powerful than those of the Maginot Line.

The battlefield a fortnight ago after the extermination of the Germans was still strewn with big German tanks and heavy artillery, as well as immense quantities of machine guns, anti-aircraft guns, and ammunition.

The Silent: Here and there a sprawled German body lies in the snow until sappers are able to clear the minefields and arrange for burial. Strewn around the German dugouts are empty bottles of Bordeaux wine and Hennessey cognac. Everywhere one sees German gas masks and felt boots in the Russian Valenki style which one Russian colonel scornfully called "ersatz Valenki."

The amount of booty left behind indicates an unplanned retreat and the fact that the Russian break-through came as a complete surprise.

Right in the midst of the battlefield are the ancient and magnificent palaces of Peterhof and Gatchina, while at nearby Pushkin is the palace of Catherine the Great. The Germans had used barracks and on retreating set fire to them. The third floor of the Pavel Palace at Gatchina was used as a brothel for the German Air Corps. The tremendous grounds of the Peterhof Palace, resembling those at Versailles, were plowed over with tank traps and the palace proper on the Gulf of Finland was used as an artillery station.

Special movies shown to correspondents in Leningrad revealed many new details of the "Summer Road" across Lake Ladoga, which was used at the height of the blockade when melting ice destroyed the winter route. Oil-carrying railway cars, half-filled in order to maintain buoyancy, were floated across the lake tied to boats, while strings of barges also brought vital supplies.

In the lobby of the Hotel Astoria is a big siren used to give artillery warnings—now not needed in view of the fact that the Finns have withdrawn their big guns and the Germans are a hundred miles away. But the custodian pats it affectionately and insists it must be ranked as an honored trophy.

July 2, 2020

1947. Food Scarcity in Countries Devastated by the War

A Hungry World
"Bikini islanders arrive on Rongerik Atoll and unload pandanus for thatching the roofs of their new buildings," March 7, 1946 (source)
From the "Special Issue: A Report to America Two Years After V-Day," This Week magazine, August 10, 1947, pp. 4-5:

It is the first concern of a hungry world. Trouble looms for the nations which cannot provide it
Correspondents Bill Downs and Dave Seymour were standing in front of a red-brick schoolhouse in Reims, France. It is now a trade school for 1,500 boys. On the seventh of May, 1945, it was the scene of the final surrender of the German forces to the Allied troops.

Downs was viciously interrupted by the shrill scream of a siren. Downs jumped. He hadn't heard that sound in two years. The teacher smiled.

"Don't worry," she said. "It's all right. You see, food is very scarce and meat is very scarce. And when we can have fish we're very glad to announce to the people that fish is coming. So, the siren that used to announce bombers is used to announce food."

In Paris, the woman who is wearing an American medal because she was a resistance leader said: "People are unhappy about the government. After two years the war is over and we're still starving. We have no bread, we have no meat, we have very few vegetables—and at extravagant prices. I have to buy some things at the black market. As little as possible, because I am absolutely, deadly against black markets—but I can't starve either."

AND this is strange: the French capital is only a four-and-a-half hour drive from Normandy where the countryside is rolling in meat and butter and vegetables. The food isn't getting through because of snarled distribution, valueless currency, lack of consumer goods.

The city dwellers in France are mad about that. So are the residents of Tokyo because the same thing is happening to them. The Japanese are more polite about it but, in the end, the government gets the blame.

Jack Jackson, the BBC engineer with the European crew, ate more meat and butter a day in Normandy than he could get in a week in Britain. The significant result was an upset stomach.

In England, the food is the same as in wartime. Adequate but dull. You still see the queues of housewives standing before the shops marked "Horsemeat—fit for human consumption." If a GI returned to a British home today, he would find that same powdered eggs, the same oatmeal-filled sausages, the same dark bread. The meat ration would last only two days of the week, as it did before. But the prices, the housewives say, "are a hundred per cent more than they were. Everything is going up. You try to cut down one week but what you cut down one week, you spend the next.

"What's our biggest problem in food? Well, it's getting something for dinner each day."

In Germany, where people don't quite connect the fact that they're hungry with the fact that they started and lost a war, "dinner" is almost out of the vocabulary. The town of Essen, in the Ruhr mining district, is half-alive. A family of five was still in bed in its tiny, rubble shack at 10 one morning. "We call this calorie sleeping, explained Frau Albert Schulze. "By sleeping in the morning you don't have to eat breakfast. It saves food."

She awakened her 30-year-old daughter, who has a child. The father was a French soldier passing through. The family doesn't know where he is now. The head of the family is a plumber with plenty of work. So far, Schulze has been able to feed them all because he works, not for money, but only for rations which he brings home. For lunch, the Schulzes were having ersatz coffee and a slice of bread apiece.

The German bakers have been receiving corn meal with which to bake bread. But for some reason, they don't know how to do it. The bread they have been making comes out as wet, soggy, flat cakes which have caused widespread sickness among people already suffering from malnutrition. The Germans seem to have no solution for the problem. As is the custom these days, they complain but do nothing about it. It is one of those questions which all the military governments in the world could not solve. But the Germans manage to give the impression that the fact that their bakers don't know and won't learn to bake corn bread is, somehow, the fault of the occupying forces.

The main meal for the Schulzes is corn-meal soup, that soggy bread and more ersatz coffee. They are bitter about the whole thing. And this work of rebuilding and mining isn't going as it should: hunger cuts down production.

Because coal is so important, miners like Johann Esser get extra rations. But the Essers, too, are caught in the conflict between city and country. Fats are the biggest shortage. Frau Esser and her husband make laborious trips to the farmers in their area to get bacon, butter or anything else. Frau Esser is just as bitter as everybody else:

"The farmers have everything. They have several fur coats apiece which they will never wear. They have three or four coffee services, silver plates and china. The city came to them and they took everything for food. They'll have our carpet for the cow in the stable. Then maybe this will end."

IN BERLIN, the once beautiful Tiergarten is cut up into jealously guarded little gardens in which each gardener suspects his neighbor of stealing his potatoes or onions.

Hate is riding along with hunger. So is bewilderment. Thousands of miles away, Chief Judah, hallup of the people of Bikini, understands even less than the Germans the connection between him and the war. He knows the Navy took them all away to Rongerik Atoll so that Bikini could become an atom-bomb guinea pig. But the people of Bikini want to go home.

"On Rongerik," said the Chief, "everything all right, except the trees are sickly. All trees. Breadfruit trees, coconut trees and pandanus trees are sickly. On account of the sickness, not enough food. The Navy brings rice, flour, sugar. But I think if we move to some other place, we can work hard and make new plantation, and it will be better for us in the future."

Money doesn't count for much on the Pacific atoll islands like Judah's or Kwajalein, in the Marshalls, or Okinawa. Bombs and shells destroyed the coconut and breadfruit trees. Until new groves can be planted, the military authorities—meaning you—must feed the natives.

Breadfruit in the atolls. Fats in Essen. Meat in England. They have the same result. Jean Lefevre, of the St. Lô City Council, said it: "We are not satisfied with the government. The main objection is lack of food. That is the objection—the objection."

Food is just as important now as bombs ever were. And everywhere on earth the testimony piles up: if food doesn't come, bombs—in one form or another—will.

June 17, 2020

1942. Soviet Leaflet for Nazi Soldiers Near the End of the Battle of Stalingrad

The Red Army's Message to German Soldiers at Stalingrad
"A wounded German soldier has a smoke with Luftwaffe pilots before being flown to a hospital. A German controlled airfield. Stalingrad. Winter. 1942." (source)

In late 1942, the Soviets created this German-language leaflet addressed to Wehrmacht soldiers in the late stages of the Battle of Stalingrad. It taunts them and calls for their surrender, stating that the German army has been routed and warning that those who continue to fight will receive no mercy.

Below is an English translation followed by the original German text. The text is formatted in the same manner as the leaflet.

December 23, 1942:

To the encircled officers and soldiers of the German Wehrmacht in the area of Stalingrad

Soldiers and officers of the encircled German Army in the area of Stalingrad!

You have been encircled for an entire month; a tight ring of Soviet troops has encompassed you.

You have been hoping for support from the troops, which Hitler has hastily gathered in the area north of Kotelnikowo.

So know, then, that we have devastatingly beaten them.

In the area of Wassilewka—Werchnje-Kumski—Klykow the Red Army has overrun and defeated six German divisions, including three tank divisions, and the remains of said troops have been thrown back 60—85 kilometers. During these fights 278 German planes, 427 tanks and 221 guns have been destroyed. Deaths alone have cost the Germans 17000 men. Your hope to receive aid from the direction of Kotelnikowo has hereby been wrecked.

You had hoped that the troops, which Hitler has hastily gathered in the area of Tormossin, would bail you out.

So know, then, that said troops have been devastatingly beaten and crushed.

The Red Army has also launched an offensive towards the middle Don, and during the battles between the 16th and 27th December, has obliterated 58000 German soldiers and officers, captured 56000 men, 305 tanks, 2128 guns, 310 ammunition and provisions depots have been captured or destroyed.

Our troops have captured the cities Millerowo, Tormossin, Tazinskaja and Morosowski.

During one month of fighting in the area of Stalingrad and during ten days of fighting at the middle Don, the German troops have lost

169000 men to death, 128000 men have been captured alongside 2663 tanks and 5356 guns.

Your hopes to receive help from the direction of Tormossin have also been crushed.

You did finally hope to receive help from transport planes.

So know, then, that the Soviet air force and artillery have already destroyed the majority of the transport planes that were designated to aid the encircled German troops near Stalingrad.

Between the 25th of November and the 27th of December 765 German planes, including 473 transport planes Ju 52, have been destroyed in the area around Stalingrad. Additionally Soviet troops have ruined 30 transport planes at the airfields near Tazinskaja.

Your situation is completely hopeless, and any further resistance is senseless. Do you still not see that all of your hopes to escape the pocket are irretrievably gone!

German officers and soldiers!

The Soviet leadership appeals and warns you one last time:


and you are released from the cold and the hunger. Your life and your personal belongings are safe.

German officers!

You know better than your soldiers that the situation of the encircled troops at Stalingrad is hopeless, and about the futility of your resistance. You know very well not to expect any more help.

You can save your soldiers and yourselves by laying down your weapons.

You can not lead the encircled soldiers into ruin. Think about the fact that, if you do not surrender into captivity, the responsibility for the demise of tens of thousands of German soldiers will fall on you.

Whoever does not surrender should expect no mercy. He will be wiped out by our troops. Just one thing is a sure bet during the next days—death!

Surrender before it is too late!

The Commander of the Stalingrad Front
Colonel-General Jeromenko

The Commander of the Don Front
Lieutenant-General Rokossowski

23 December 1942
This flyer acts as a pass for an unlimited number of German soldiers and officers who surrender to the Russian troops.
An die im Raum von Stalingrad eingekesselten Offiziere und Soldaten der deutschen Wehrmacht

Soldaten und Offiziere der im Raum von Stalingrad eingekesselten deutschen Armee!

Einen ganzen Monat seid Ihr jetzt schon umzingelt; ein dichter Ring von Sowjettruppen hält Euch umfasst.

Ihr habt auf die Hilfe der Truppen gehofft, die Hitler in aller Eile im Raum nördlich von Kotelnikowo zusammengezogen hat.

So weißt denn, daß wir diese deutschen Truppen vernichtend geschlagen haben.

Im Raum von Wassilewka—Werchnje-Kumski—Klykow hat die Rote Armee sechs deutsche Divisionen, darunter drei Panzerdivisionen, überrannt und zerschlagen, die Uberreste dieser Truppen um 60—85 Kilometer zurückgeworfen und in diesen Kämpfen 278 deutsche Flugzeuge, 427 Panzer und 221 Geschütze vernichtet. Allein on Toten haben die Deutschen hier 17000 Mann verloren. Eure Hoffnungen, aus der Richtung Kotelnikowo Hilfe zu bekommen, sind damit zuschanden geworden.

Ihr habt gehofft, daß Euch die Truppen heraushauen werden, die Hitler in aller Eile im Raum von Tormossin zusammengezogen hat.

So weißt denn, daß auch diese Truppen vernichtend geschlagen und aufgerieben sind.

Die Rote Armee ist auch am mittleren Don zur Offensive übergegangen und hat in den Kämpfen zwischen dem 16 und 27 Dezember 58000 deutsche Soldaten und Offiziere vernichtet, 56000 Mann gefangengenommen, 305 Panzer, 2128 Geschütze, 310 Munitions- und Lebensmittellager erbeutet bzw. zerstört.

Unsere Truppen haben die Städte Millerowo, Tormossin, Tazinskaja und Morosowski erobert.

Während eines Kampfmonats im Raum von Stalingrad und wahrend der zehntägigen Kämpfe am mittleren Don haben die deutschen Truppen
Insgesamt 169000 Mann an Toten und 128000 Mann an Gefangenen sowie 2663 Panzer und 5356 Geschütze verloren.

Eure Hoffnungen, aus der Richtung von Tormossin Hilfe zu bekommen, sind ebenfalls zunichte geworden.

Ihr habt schließlich gehofft, durch die Transportflieger Hilfe zu bekommen.

So weißt denn, daß die sowjetische Luftwaffe und Artillerie bereits den größten Teil jener Transportflugzeuge vernichtet haben, die dazu bestimmt waren, den bei Stalingrad eingekesselten deutschen Truppen Hilfe zu bringen.

Zwischen dem 25 November und 27 Dezember sind im Raum von Stalingrad 765 deutsche Flugzeuge, darunter 473 Transportflugzeuge Ju 52, vernichtet worden. Außerdem haben die Sowjettruppen auf den Flugplätzen bei Tazinskaja 30 deutsche Transportflugzeuge ist zuschanden geworden.

Eure Lage ist völlig hoffnungslos, und jeder weitere Widerstand ist sinnlos. Seht Ihr noch immer nicht ein, daß alle Eure Hoffnungen, aus dem Kessel herauszukommen, unwiederbringlich verflogen sind!

Deutsche Offiziere und Soldaten!

Das Sowjetkommando ruft Euch ein letztes Mal warnend zu: 


und Ihr seid erlöst von Kälte und Hunger. Euer Leben und Eure persönliche Habe ist Euch gesichert.

Deutsche Offiziere!

Ihr versteht besser als Eure Soldaten die ganze Aussichtslosigkeit der Lage der bei Stalingrad eingekesselten Truppen und die Sinnlosigkeit weiteren Widerstands. Ihr weißt ausgezeichnet, daß Ihr Hilfe nicht zu erwarten habt.

Ihr könnt Eure Soldaten und Euch retten, indem Ihr die Waffen streckt.

Ihr dürft die eingekesselten Soldaten nicht ins Verderben stoßen. Denkt daran, daß, wenn Ihr Euch nicht gefangengebt, die ganze Verantwortung für den Untergang Zehntausender deutscher Soldaten auf Euch fällt.

Wer sich jetzt nicht gefangengibt, hat keine Gnade zu erwarten. Er wird von unseren Truppen vernichtet werden. Nur eins ist ihm in den nächsten Tagen sicher—der Tod!

Gebt Euch gefangen, ehe es zu spät ist!
Der Kommandeur der Stalingrader Front
Generaloberst Jeromenko
Der Kommandeur der Donfront
Generalleutnant Rokossowski

23. Dezember 1942.


Dieses Flugblatt gilt als Passierschein für eine unbegrenzte Zahl von deutschen Soldaten und Offizieren, die sich den russischen Truppen gefangengeben.

Настоящая листовка служит пропускою для неограниченного количества немецких солдат и офицеро пря их сдаче в плен русским войскам.

May 19, 2020

1944. CBS War Correspondents Prepare for D-Day

Reporters Cover the War on All Fronts
CBS News' D-Day team of war correspondents in London on June 1, 1944. Clockwise from top left: Larry LeSueur, Edward R. Murrow, Richard C. Hottelet, Bill Shadel, Charles Shaw, Gene Ryder, Charles Collingwood, Bill Downs
From the Mason City Globe-Gazette, May 29, 1944:
15 Seasoned CBS Correspondents Stationed Abroad Poised for D-Day
Men on All Fronts for News Breaks

As D-Day draws near and Allied air forces step up their pounding of the continent, American radio listeners are kept posted by a top-notch corps of correspondents stationed in the strategic battle areas.

On battle fronts throughout the world, the Columbia Broadcasting System has 15 full-time correspondents reporting regularly. Nearly a score of other experienced newsmen stand ready to broadcast to KGLO and other CBS listeners from neutral capitals whenever an important story breaks.

Into the newsroom of CBS headquarters in New York pours a swift stream of accurate reports—aggregating 118,000 words a day—from sources all over the world—which are edited and broadcast to CBS listeners from coast to coast at frequent intervals, day and night.

Seven days a week, 24 hours a day, up-to-the-minute bulletins and detailed stories are flashed by 13 press association teletype machines, recorded by the CBS shortwave listening station, and cabled or radioed by CBS correspondents around the world. The shortwave listening station alone, with 8 expert linguists on the job, transcribes about 20,000 words daily in English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Russian.

The CBS New York news staff daily condenses these 118,000 words (approximately 2 full-sized novels) into about 22,000 words to make up its numerous regular daily news broadcasts.

Twice each day, and more frequently when occasion warrants, CBS correspondents are heard from widely scattered points around the world.

In England alone, CBS has a staff of 7 crack reporters, headed by Edward R. Murrow, ready to bring the on-the-spot story of the invasion. For months these correspondents have been waiting, watching, and reporting the colossal task of preparing for D-Day.

On other fronts, CBS correspondents are in the thick of fighting. They live in fox holes, they eat army rations, they rub shoulders with generals and non-commissioned men and they report what they see and what they hear to the people back home.

Farnsworth Fowle, for example, landed with the troops at Salerno, stayed with them as they advanced up the Italian mainland, and was the first correspondent to broadcast to America from Naples over the Allied-constructed station.

Many CBS reporters are familiar with more than one battle front and thus have an overall picture of the global war and an insight into the domestic problems of more than one people.

Eric Sevareid is at present broadcasting from Italy, but last year he covered the China-Burma-India front. It was there he almost lost his life when he and 19 others bailed out of their Chungking-bound transport planes over the Burma jungles.

George Moorad, now heard from Cairo and Ankara, was for many years a newspaperman in Shanghai and knows the Chinese-Japanese political situation as well as he does the present complicated problems of the Near East. Less than a year ago, Moorad was with General Douglas MacArthur's staff in Australia.

Ed Murrow's multitudinous duties as chief of CBS' European staff have kept him close to his base in London the past 2 years, but he has found time to accompany raiding missions over Europe. Last December, for instance, he rode a bomber in a raid on Berlin in which 2 of 5 correspondents failed to return. His report of that spectacular mission is one of the most graphic and thrilling accounts ever recorded, especially his description of the melee of flares and flak, bursting bombs and smoke which he termed an "orchestrated hell."

On Murrow's invasion staff are 6 other seasoned newsmen. Charles Collingwood followed close on Rommel's heels across Africa and kept CBS listeners informed on the rout of the Nazis from Africa. He was the first to report Darlan's assassination in December of '42 when he gave the first eye-witness account of the Allies' entrance into Tunis.

Larry LeSueur and Bill Downs of CBS' London staff are both experts on Russia. LeSueur lived in Russia during the dark days of retreat and witnessed the battle of Moscow and the siege of Stalingrad, while Downs reported the great Russian victories of last year.

Dick Hottelet, another of Murrow's men, knows the inside, as well as the outside of Germany—for he was held incommunicado by the Gestapo for several months, before we entered the war. Charles Shaw of the London staff is also an accomplished newsman and was one of a group of American editors invited by the British Ministry of Information to tour the United Kingdom last summer. Gene Ryder, newest London staff member, is a former technician of the CBS New York field engineering department.

From other European points, CBS correspondents come in regularly with their reports. Winston Burdett knows the African scene from Cairo to Casablanca; Howard K. Smith, whose best seller "Last Train From Berlin" describes Germany during the crucial months before Pearl Harbor, has a ringside seat in Bern, and James Fleming is reporting those brilliant Russian gains as the Red Army crashes into Hitler's Fortress Europa.

Over the Pacific area, Bill Dunn keeps CBS listeners informed on our progress against the Japs. He accompanies the troops on new landings whenever possible. Another CBS correspondent in the Pacific is Webley Edwards. He has covered the Pacific operations from Pearl Harbor and reports from headquarters in Honolulu.

The task of coordinating world-wide news roundups, frequently complicated by technical problems, falls upon the shoulders of Paul White, CBS Director of News Broadcasts.

In constant contact with his men all over the globe, he keeps his finger on the pulsating stream of world news, ever ready to call in correspondents from wherever news has just been broken or dispatch them to wherever he thinks it is in the making and will break next.

April 16, 2020

1947. Another World War?

Anxiety in the Atomic Age
"Hiroshima survivors look out over the city two years after the United States' August 1945 atomic attack." (Photo by Carl Mydanssource)
From the "Special Issue: A Report to America Two Years After V-Day," This Week magazine, August 10, 1947, p. 14-15:


Amid the ashes of the last one, drained and rudderless people wonder whether the peace will last
You must know about the blond boy sitting by the dragon-teeth of the Siegfried Line in that picture above. He's still in most of his Wehrmacht uniform. He's employed by his conquerors now as a guard on the peaceful border between Germany and Belgium at Aachen. He is 20. That gave him time for only two years of war—16 to 18. Horst Hinz his name is, and the customs building near where he sits has had its swastika shot off.

His father was killed two days before the end of the war. His home now belongs to Poland. His youth belonged to the Hitler Jugend from 1937 to 1943 and from then on, to the Wehrmacht. And because he is a smart boy and, perhaps, because he wants to please his conquerors, he says:

"Yes, I think the Reich can be a democracy. But I must see it first."

Another war?

"Yes, I should fight against the Russians to get back my home. To get back my home, I should fight against the Americans. But only to find my home, not to occupy other lands. Because I live here. We have no food, we have no dress—and no money. It's not good."

The 17-year-old Dutch university student, not so many miles away, says: "I don't think there'll be so soon another war again and I don't hope so. But in the paper I read that there'll be in 1948 another war to knock out Russia, but I don't suppose that will be true. And if the Americans and French and Englishmen and Russians are good and don't give the Germans too much things to start a war, it won't be very easy for them to make war."

In France, the grown-ups have had too much war and they are realists in the worst sense of the word. War has become so much a part of their lives that another one would be accepted with little surprise, no enthusiasm and the faintest of hopes for any kind of victory. Peace is regarded as a kind of political purgatory in which the world lives while awaiting the next armed deluge. The average citizen—in St. Lô, for example—is confused:

"Well, we don't know exactly about these things. You see, when we read the press—well, some press says that another war is inevitable and the other says that war can't be any more. People here think that the best thing to avoid a war would be that America and Russia would come to a better understanding.

"If a new war came, with the atomic bomb, then I think St. Lô would disappear in a few seconds. And I don't know whether it's very useful to rebuild St. Lô, if we are going to have another war. I think it would be better to live underground."

But the rebuilding doesn't stop. All over Europe, the hammers are going. In the English pub after more bricks have been laid: "A certain amount of people think there'll be another World War, but I don't think there will be. The nations have to learn to get together." The mug is put down, the hammer is picked up.

The hammers are going on in Hiroshima, too. There, on the proving grounds of any new war, resignation and despair fight with hope. The Japanese stopped near one of the new jerry-built houses: "We are wondering what to do when the war comes between Russia and the United States. If they use atomic bombs, we shall move to the mountains." He knows, of course, that it would be useless to move. He knows that there are no moves left. So does Mrs. Chiyoko Saiki, who's had too strong a smell of the future. Mrs. Saiki is from Honolulu but she came to visit Japan in 1941. She was in her house at Hiroshima when the atomic bomb came. That placed her about a mile from the center of the blast—but she was partly protected by the curve of the mountainside.

Mrs. Saiki is figuring on returning to Honolulu—"as soon as I regain my health." She says:

"We were affected by the rays. Whenever the thermometer drops we have what we call the itch on the skin. It's commonly called the atomic itch, and we run a very high temperature. It stays with us for about two weeks. It's very much like a rash—a heat rash or hives—that comes just when the temperature changes.

"The doctor says I'm about a million red blood cells minus the ordinary person. A number of my friends complain of the same condition. But it's so common here that the doctors don't record it.

"Even those who escaped being hurt when the bomb fell seem to be affected by the atomic rays. I just can't understand the whole thing.

"I thought I was lucky. All those who died died about three or four months later when their hair started falling off. I didn't have a mark, but then the itch came when autumn came.

"Nobody in Hiroshima wants to talk about the atomic bomb. Yes, I think there's not a family in Hiroshima that hasn't lost a member, so I think they don't want to discuss it."

Then—polite, mildly apologetic: "If that ended the war, I'm sure they're all glad. They don't mind that the bomb was dropped on the city."

Father Kleinsorge, the priest who was an important part of John Hersey's report, gets that feeling of resignation, too: "The feeling is that if there is a war, we have to bear such things as even the atomic bomb."

If there is a war, there is a war. The rhythm of that repeated phrase matches the rhythm of the rebuilding hammers. In Essen, Germany, where they don't have the atomic itch but only malnutrition, broken walls and despair, you hear: "Oh, I think it is simply ridiculous. None of us would even think of another war. Our only fear is that the Allies would tolerate another war."

Essen, you remember, is the home of the Krupp Works, the home for years and years of the German war potential. Today, Krupp is being destroyed, the war potential is being ripped apart, smashed into pieces, and the pieces are being used for reparations. In charge of the destruction is Hilary Simonovsky, British representative:

"Our job is really to see that the GI's will never have to come over here a second time. First of all, we're chopping up all the war material that was left in the shop. Then we're breaking up the machines that produced the war material. Thirdly, we're going to break up the shops that produced the machines that produced the shells that blew us to pieces.

"My father was over here as part of the Polish Controls after the last war, doing the same job. And here I am, back again, with my inheritance. Well, I am going to put a stop to it.

"I feel that if I ever have a son, I hope to Heaven that he'll never have to come over here and do this job. It isn't really the job. It's the thing behind the job that we never want to happen again. We want to do a proper job, and from our angle we're jolly well going to see that it is done this time.

"It's that name for making guns that we're here to stop. We're going to make the Germans make more of the tin-pot type of article, the pans and cooking stoves. We are going to smash Krupp—and there's no if's or but's!"

So Krupp is being destroyed. Hiroshima is being rebuilt. And people everywhere are walking around with the atomic itch of worry. War is being discussed as if it's a sweepstakes which might possibly come off next month. The resignation is what is so frightening. Out of it come the war rumors and the pathological fear. It adds up to a severe case of combat fatigue. You talk to the people of Europe about the horrors of Hiroshima and they look vacantly at the ruins of their city and shrug their shoulders. They try to dismiss the fear and go back to their hammers and the search for food.

But the despair won't go until hope displaces it. So far, no nation, no leaders have created that hope. They know that another war—an atomic war—might wipe out civilization. Their reaction is a cynical, fatalistic "so what?"