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Press Advisory

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  1. Press Advisory

    BBC Home Service Broadcast on VE Day President Truman Declares Victory in Europe
  2. * * * A Radio Broadcast from the BBC 26 September, 1944 * * * This is London Calling in the Home Service of the BBC. Mr. Churchill’s disclosure yesterday in the House of Commons makes it possible to reveal information more detailed information about the explosions witnessed in parts of Britain and France. Nazi Germany has deployed a long-range rocket, known simply as the “V-2”, against civilian targets in the United Kingdom and France. These rockets, launched from continental Europe, are capable of striking targets in Britain. The explosions in London, Paris, and elsewhere were the result of these rockets detonating. This marks a new stage in the Nazi campaign of terror against civilians. The Luftwaffe all but hamstrung, the Blitz of London is no longer practicable. In its place, Hitler has ordered these V-2 rockets launched against Allied cities. The deployment of these rockets seems a desperate attempt to instill fear on the Allied home front. The cost in damage and loss of life is much less compared to the Blitz, but this is perhaps little consolation to the residents grappling with the new dangers, with the destroyed homes and neighborhoods. Earlier in the week, Hitler announced the V-2 in a propaganda broadcast, necessitating Mr. Churchill’s disclosure of yesterday. Hitler ordered the start of the V-2 campaign ostensibly in retribution for the Allied bombing of Germany. But it seems a desperate response, a rather futile attempt to symbolically counter the rising tide of Allied victories and Axis setbacks. (The V-2 Rocket)
  3. The people of Eindhoven welcome the Allies at the beginning of the liberation campaign. * * * A Radio Broadcast from the BBC 26 September, 1944 * * * Monty’s bold offensive to liberate occupied Holland, bypass the Siegfried Line, and then strike into the heart of industry Germany, has failed. The War will not be over by Christmas. The offensive was a lightning strike northward, a thin slashing line from Eindhoven to Arnhem. Glider and paratroopers landed at key points in the line, holding bridges open for Monty’s advancing tanks. But at Nijmegen the Allied advance stymied under stiff - and unexpected - resistance from German SS units. Meanwhile, the British 1st Airborne at Arnhem struggled against the full force of the SS as they clung onto the John Frost Bridge - the northernmost bridge of the advance - and held it from the German panzers. The 1st Airborne fought gallantly at Arnhem and the John Frost, awaiting Monty’s relief force. But the John Frost was a bridge too far. Held at Nijmegen, the advance to Arnhem stalled. The City of Nijmegen after the Battle. The contested Waal Bridge in the background. The 1st Airborne at Arnhem was overrun on 21 September. Surviving elements evacuated with the rest of the Allied advance on 25 September. The War will not be over by Christmas. But the enemy is yet on the back foot. On all sides, the Allies are closing in on the Reich. The Japanese Empire is reeling from its shattering defeat in India and continues to fall back through Burma. Its stronghold in the Pacific are being dug out one by one. The failure to liberate Holland in 1944 is a tragic setback. The people of Holland, so stiff in their resistance to Nazi oppression, face again the terrible reprisals of their occupiers. We freedom-loving people of the world, failing in our earnest efforts of liberation, can only watch and weep for our friends in Holland and around the world. We will echo the words of an American general. When US General Douglas MacArthur was forced by incipient Japanese invasion to evacuate the Philippines in 1941, he made a promise: “I came through and I shall return.” We say to the people of Holland: We shall return.
  4. * * * A Radio Broadcast from the BBC 9 September, 1944 * * * Mysterious explosions rocked London last evening and Paris earlier in the day last: two in London, killing three, and one in Paris. The explosions reawakened memories of the Blitz. We had all hoped such days were ended. The explosions in London have been officially explained as gas main accidents. This explanation is complicated by the similar explosions in Paris earlier yesterday. But further inquiry must be put aside for the sake of the war effort. Eyewitnesses describe seeing a projectile flying through the air before the explosions. Residents of London have taken to calling the enigmas “flying gas pipes” in response to the government’s explanation. Yet the residents of London seem to remain unshaken. “This is nothing compared to what we’ve already been through,” said one Londoner. The will to strive onward is strong.
  5. * * * A Radio Broadcast from the BBC 26 August, 1944 * * * This is London Calling in the Home, Overseas, and European Services of the BBC. The great columns of the Axis powers are shaking under the blows of the Allies. But for every blow, there is a cost. This war still bears horror. Paris is liberated. On the 24 August, Free French Army forces held the city following civilian and French Resistance uprisings against the occupying Nazi forces. Yesterday, 25 August, 1944, the US Third Army under General George Patton marched beneath the Arc de Triomphe to meet General Philippe Leclerc’s Second Armored Division of the Free French Army. General de Gaulle, from the balcony of L’Hôtel de Ville, declared “Vive la France!” But one may turn one’s thoughts to the newest French “capital”: battered Saint-Lô, the Capital of Ruins. The city is unrecognizable today but as a monument to the tenacity of German resistance. * * * On the Eastern Front, the Soviets pressed the German military to the very gates of Warsaw. The Polish Home Guard rose up against the German occupiers and held the city open to the Allies. But the Soviet forces remain on the eastern bank of the River Vistula. The Soviets refused to aid the uprising in Warsaw. The Polish Home Guard was not communistic and hoped to assert itself ahead of the Soviet advance. Instead, despite the efforts of British and later American supply drops, the Home Guard has been obliterated. Little news has trickled from Warsaw since then, but whispers indicate new rounds of mass executions and reprisals from the Nazi occupiers upon the already war-torn population. And still Warsaw braces for the upcoming battle, for the Soviets to cross the Vistula and meet the Germans. * * * In Asia, the Japanese invasion of India was last month smashed at the battles of Imphal and Kohima - the latter now being called “the Stalingrad of the East.” The Japanese army has suffered an unprecedented defeat, almost unfathomable numbers of its soldiers lie strewn across land still held by the British Crown. On the back foot, Imperial Japanese Army remnants stumble back across Burma. Yet the Kuomintang forces in China continue to suffer from their recent defeats against the Japanese, whose hold over China remains strong. * * * And all over the world, despite the gains, despite the liberations, despite the victories - still we must turn our eyes to our silent friends, the freedom-loving people of the world, yet under the yolk of Axis domination. Though many are now freed, many are yet under the screw. But we may hope that we are approaching the day when the world may wake from this nightmare of war.
  6. American P-40 Mustangs over France * * * A Radio Broadcast from the BBC July 6, 1944 * * * This is London calling in the European News Service of the BBC. Here is a special report from the French Front presented by C. Sophist. The French city of St. Lô sits at a crossroads in Normandy. Roads converge in St. Lô from Brittany, from the occupied-French interior, and from the beachheads now held by the Allies. St. Lô is a critical corridor, a hand with fingers outstretched in all directions. If the Allies take this city, they can deny this corridor to the Enemy and isolate Brittany from German reinforcements in the interior. Recognizing this fact, enemy concentration in St. Lô has reportedly been immense. Since D-Day, St. Lô has been under bombardment from Allied aircraft. When the tanks began to roll off the beaches, when the first meters then acres then miles of French land were liberated, St. Lô was under bombardment. As the Allied forces have pushed further into the interior, the air raids have not abated. Now, the Allies approach near, and it seems this crucial artery of the Enemy must be soon severed. * * * One unit, at least, is eager to have at the Jerries in St. Lô. This reporter has been attached to the American 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 82nd Airborne Division - a group of Yanks who, despite being in the thick of battle, seem eager yet to show the Germans their mettle. My first encounter with the 505th came on June 7th, D+1, as I sought their Regimental HQ in the captured village of Sainte-Mère-Église In the early morning hours of D-Day, the 505th parachuted into Normandy and loosed chaos behind enemy lines. They captured and held Sainte-Mère-Église, at a vital crossroads near the beach landings, and denied German reinforcements access to the sea until the tanks rolled up from the beaches. My first encounter was of a number of jolly Yanks laughing and singing atop the wreck of a German Panzer. I introduced myself, and immediately one of their number announced to me, hand upon the twisted metal, that he was the one who had disabled this tank. Another scoffed at the man, unimpressed, saying that he himself would be the first one to Berlin. A third informed the second that he would have to get through St. Lô first. The destroyed German tank in the center of Sainte-Mère-Église. At this, the second replied: “Well then, what are we waiting for?” They group then informed me that they would indeed be taking St. Lô by supper, and that I should stick around for the show. Of course, all were simply having a lark. They knew how hard the coming days were to be. This was several weeks ago, after all. And since then they have had hard fighting all through Normandy - but have driven the Hun back at every swipe. Now, it seems, the Allies are now nearly in a position to begin the assault on St. Lô. Perhaps the 505th will get their chance after all. Sainte-Mère-Église, Sherman tanks holding the road. Dead German soldiers scatter the field.
  7. (Audio) * * * A Radio Broadcast from the BBC June 6, 1944 * * * This is the BBC Home Service, and here is a special Bulletin read by John Snagge. D-Day has Come. Early this morning the Allies began the assault on the Northwestern face of Hitler’s European Fortress. The first official news came just after half past nine when Supreme Headquarters of the Allied Expeditionary Force, usually called SHAEF from its initials, issued Communiqué Number One. This said: Under the Command of General Eisenhower, Allied naval forces, supported by strong air forces, began landing Allied armies this morning on the northern coast of France.
  8. (Audio) * * * A Radio Broadcast from the BBC June 5, 1944 This is London calling in the European New Service of the British Broadcasting Corporation. Here is the news, but first here are some messages for our friends in occupied countries. The Trojan War will not be held. John is growing a very long beard this week. The long sobs of the violins of autumn. Les sanglots longues des violons de l'automn. Wound my heart with a monotonous languor. * * *
  9. June 4, 1944 A Radio Broadcast from the BBC: