October 28, 2015

Senator Joseph McCarthy Responds to Edward R. Murrow

McCarthy's Response to Edward R. Murrow


This is the full April 6, 1954 episode of CBS' See It Now, in which Senator Joseph McCarthy responds to Edward R. Murrow's on-air critique of the Senator.

Murrow's broadcast, simply titled "A Report on Senator Joseph R. McCarthy," came after months of careful consideration within the CBS newsroom. At the height of McCarthy's influence, it was dangerous for one to challenge him so directly, lest they be accused of subversion. But with the 1951 debut of his See It Now program, Murrow was in a unique position. He was a household name, highly respected for his live radio reports from London during World War II. And now, through the still-nascent medium of television, he had a platform to speak to the whole country.

Some of Murrow's colleagues, particularly Bill Downs, urged him to denounce McCarthy. In her biography of Edward R. Murrow, A.M. Sperber writes: "Downs, one of the media's angry men, kept after Murrow, one of the rising chorus intoning, Do something about McCarthy. Not one of these clever let-the-audience-decide numbers. Hit him head-on. Hard. Forget radio; everybody bitched about McCarthy on radio. It had to be TV, and only he, Murrow, had the access."

Others, including the show's producer Fred Friendly, maintained that it would be better to wait. The CBS News team was especially concerned about reprisal in an industry plagued by witch-hunts and blacklisting. In 1950, CBS reporters Howard K. Smith and Alexander Kendrick —both of them Murrow Boys—were among the 151 news and entertainment figures named in the infamous Red Channels list of alleged "Red Fascists and their sympathizers" in the broadcast industry. Four years later, CBS employees were still anticipating backlash in the time leading up to McCarthy's response.

Thanks to Noah C. Cline for tracking down this broadcast footage. The text below is adapted from the transcript available on American Rhetoric, and the maps McCarthy refers to are taken from the broadcast.
April 6, 1954
EDWARD R. MURROW: One month ago tonight we presented a report on Senator Joseph R. McCarthy. We labeled it as controversial. Most of that report consisted of words and pictures of the Senator. At that time we said, "If the Senator believes we have done violence to his words or pictures, if he desires to speak to answer himself, an opportunity will be afforded him on this program." 

The Senator sought the opportunity; asked for a delay of three weeks because he said he was very busy and he wished adequate time to prepare his reply. We agreed. We supplied the Senator with a kinescope of that program of March 9, and with such scripts and recordings as he requested. We placed no restrictions upon the manner or method of the presentation of his reply, and we suggested that we would not take time to comment on this particular program. The Senator chose to make his reply on film. Here now is Senator Joseph R. McCarthy, Junior Senator from Wisconsin.

SENATOR JOSEPH MCCARTHY: Good evening. Mr. Edward R. Murrow, Educational Director of the Columbia Broadcasting System, devoted his program to an attack on the work of the United States Senate Investigating Committee, and on me personally as its chairman. Now over the past four years he has made repeated attacks upon me and those fighting communists.

Now, of course, neither Joe McCarthy nor Edward R. Murrow is of any great importance as individuals. We are only important in our relation to the great struggle to preserve our American liberties. The Senate Investigating Committee has forced out of government, and out of important defense plants, communists engaged in the Soviet conspiracy. And you know, it's interesting to note that the viciousness of Murrow's attacks is in direct ratio to our success in digging out communists.

Now, ordinarily I would not take time out from the important work at hand to answer Murrow. However, in this case I feel justified in doing so because Murrow is a symbol, the leader, and the cleverest of the jackal pack which is always found at the throat of anyone who dares to expose individual communists and traitors.

I am compelled by the facts to say to you that Mr. Edward R. Murrow, as far back as twenty years ago, was engaged in propaganda for communist causes. For example, the Institute of International Education, of which he was the acting director, was chosen to act as a representative by a Soviet agency to do a job which would normally be done by the Russian secret police. Mr. Murrow sponsored a communist school in Moscow. In the selection of American students and teachers who were to attend, Mr. Murrow's organization acted for the Russian espionage and propaganda organization known as VOKS (V-O-K-S). And many of those selected were later exposed as communists. Murrow's organization selected such notorious communists as Isadore Begun, David Zablodowsky—incidentally, Zablodowsky was forced out of the United Nations, when my chief counsel presented his case to the grand jury and gave a picture of his communist activities.

Now, Mr. Murrow, by his own admission, was a member of the IWW—that's the Industrial Workers of the Worlda terrorist organization cited as subversive by an attorney general of the United States, who stated that it was an organization which seeks, and I quote: "to alter the government of the United States by unconstitutional means." Now, other government committees have had before them actors, screenwriters, motion picture producers, and others, who admitted communist affiliations but pleaded youth or ignorance. Now, Mr. Murrow can hardly make the same plea.

On March 9 of this year, Mr. Murrow, a trained reporter who had traveled all over the world, who is the Educational Director of CBS, followed implicitly the communist line, as laid down in the last six months; laid down not only by the communist Daily Worker, but by the communist magazine Political Affairs and by the National Conference of the Communist Party of the United States of America.

Now the question: why is it important to you, the people of America, to know why the Educational Director and the Vice President of CBS so closely follow the Communist Party line? To answer that question we must turn back the pages of history.

A little over a hundred years ago, a little group of men in Europe conspired to deliver the world to a new system, to communism. Under their system, the individual was nothing, the family was nothing; God did not even exist. Their theory was that an all-powerful State should have the power of life or death over its citizens without even a trial; that everything and everybody belonged to the rulers of the states. They openly wrote—nothing's secret about it—that, in their efforts to gain power, they would be justified in doing anything. They would be justified in following the trail of deceit, lies, terror, murder, treason, blackmail. All these things were elevated to virtues in the communist rule book. If a convert to communism could be persuaded that he was a citizen of the world, it of course would be much easier to make him a traitor to his own country.

Now, for seventy years the communists made little progress. Let me show you a map of the world as it stood in the middle of the First World War in 1917, before the Russian Revolution. You will see there is not a single foot of ground on the face of the globe under the domination or control of the communists, and bear in mind that this was only thirty-six years ago.
In 1917 we were engaged in a great world war in defense of our way of life and in defense of American liberty. The Kaiser was obliged to divide his armies and fight in both the Eastern and the Western fronts. In the midst of the war, the Russian people overthrew their Czarist master and they set up a democratic form of government under the leadership of Alexander Kerensky. Now, Kerensky's government instantly pledged all-out support to the Allies. At this instant the Imperial German government secretly financed the return to Russia of seven communist exiles led by Nikolai Lenin, exiles who had been forced to flee the country. A rather important event in the history of the world.

Now once in Russia, by the same methods which the communists are employing in the United States today, they undermined the Army; they undermined the Navy; the civilian heads of the government. And in one hundred days those seven communists were literally the masters of Russia. Now, with all of the wealth of the nation at their command, they proceeded to finance communist parties in every country in the world. They sent to those countries trained propagandists and spies. In every country they of course had to find glib, clever men like Edward R. Murrow who would sponsor invitations to students and teachers to attend indoctrinational schools in Moscow, exactly as Murrow has done. They trained communists in every country in the world. Their sole purpose was to infiltrate the government, and once communists were in government they in turn brought others in.

Now let us look at the map of the world as it was twenty years ago. At that time there was one country with 180,000,000 people in communist chains.
Now let us look at a map of the world as of tonight, this sixth day of April, nineteen hundred and fifty-four. Over one-third of the earth's area under communist control and 800,000,000 people in communist chains, in addition to the 800,000,000 in communist chains in Europe and Asia. Finally, the communists have gained a foothold and a potential military base here in our half of the world, in Guatemala, with the communists seeping down into the Honduras.
My good friends, how much of this was achieved by military force and how much was achieved by traitors and communist-line propagandists in our own government and in other free governments?

Let's start in Europe, if we may. They took by military force a little piece of Finland. In the same way they took three small Baltic states: Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. They took half of Poland in the same way. They acquired the rest of Poland through Polish traitors and communists in our own government, who gave American dollars and American support to the communists in Poland. They took over Romania, Bulgaria, and Hungary without firing a single shot. They did this by the infiltration of communists in the key spots in the governments.

The communists took over Czechoslovakia without firing a shot. This they did by the infiltration of communists into the Czechoslovakian government also. And listen to what a high official in the anticommunist government of Czechoslovakia had to say about the communist enslavement of Czechoslovakia. Here's what he said. He said:

"In my country, the pattern was identical to what it is in the United States. If anyone, before the communists took over, dared to attack those communists who were preparing and shaping the policy of my governmentshaping the policy to betray my people—he was promptly attacked and destroyed by a combination of communists, fellow travelers, and those unthinking people who thought they were serving the cause of liberalism and progress, but who were actually serving the cause of the most reactionary credo of all times: communism."

Still quoting: "Because of those people, night has fallen upon my nation and slavery upon my people."

Now, shifting to another area of the world, to the East, how about this vast land area and the teeming masses of China? Let's just take a look at that map, if you please. Keep in mind that a few short years ago China was a free nation friendly to the United States. Now, were the—were—let's take a look at that map. Were those 400,000,000 Chinese captured by force of arms? Certainly not. They were delivered. Delivered to communist slave masters by the jackal pack of communist-line propagandists, including the friends of Mr. Edward R. Murrow, who day after day shouted to the world that the Chinese Communists were agrarian reformers, and that our ally, the Republic of China, represented everything that was evil and wicked.

Now, my good friends, if there were no communists in our government, would we have consented to and connived to turn over all of our Chinese friends to the Russians? Now, my good friends, if there had been no communists in our government, would we have rewarded them with all of Manchuria, half of the Kuril Islands, and one half of Korea? Now how many Americans—how many Americans have died and will die because of this sellout to Communist Russia? God only knows.

If there were no communists in our government, why did we delay—for eighteen months—delay our research on the hydrogen bomb, even though our intelligence agencies were reporting day after day that the Russians were feverishly pushing their development of the H-bomb? And may I say to America tonight that our nation may well die—our nation may well die—because of that eighteen-months deliberate delay. And I ask you, who caused it? Was it loyal Americans? Or was it traitors in our government?

It is often said by the left wing that it is sufficient to fight communism in Europe and Asia, but that communism is not a domestic American issue. But the record, my good friends, is that the damage has been done by cleverly calculated subversion at home, and not from abroad. It is this problem of subversion that our committee faces.

Now, let us very quickly glance at some of the work of our committee—some of the work it's done in slightly over a year's time. For example, 238 witnesses were examined in public session; 367 witnesses examined in executive session; 84 witnesses refused to testify as to communist activities on the ground that, if they told the truth, they might go to jail; 24 witnesses with communist backgrounds have been discharged from jobs in which they were handling secret, top secret, confidential material, individuals who were exposed before our committee.

Of course you can't measure the success of a committee by box score, based on the number of communist heads that have rolled from secret jobs. It is completely impossible to even estimate the effect on our government of the day-to-day plodding exposure of communists. And that is, of course, why the Murrows bleed.

For example, the exposure of only one Fifth Amendment communist in the Government Printing Office, an office having access to secret material from almost every government agency, resulted in an undisclosed number of suspensions. It resulted in the removal of the loyalty board, and the revamping of all the royal—of the loyalty rules, so that we do have apparently a good, tight loyalty set up in the Printing Office at this time. Also disclosure of communists in the military and the radar laboratories resulted in the abolition of the Pentagon board which had cleared and ordered reinstated communists who had for years been handling government secrets. Also, as a result of those hearings, Army orders have been issued to prevent a recurrence of the Major Peress scandal, which was exposed by the committee.

Now to attempt to evaluate the effect of the work of an investigating committee would be about as impossible as to attempt to evaluate the effect of well-trained watchdogs upon the activities of potential burglars.

We Americans live in a free world, a world where we can stand as individuals, where we can go to the church of our own choice and worship God as we please, each in his own fashion; where we can freely speak our opinions on any subject, or on any man. Now whether we shall continue to so live has come to issue now. We will soon know whether we are going to go on living that kind of life, or whether we are going to live the kind of life that 800,000,000 slaves live under communist domination. The issue is simple. It is the issue of life or death for our civilization.

Now, Mr. Murrow said on this program—and I quote—he said: "The actions of the Junior Senator from Wisconsin have given considerable comfort to the enemy." That is the language of our statute of treason—rather strong language.

If I am giving comfort to our enemies, I ought not to be in the Senate. If, on the other hand, Mr. Murrow is giving comfort to our enemies, he ought not to be brought into the homes of millions of Americans by the Columbia Broadcasting System.

Now, this is a question which can be resolved with very little difficulty. What do the communists think of me? And what do the communists think of Mr. Murrow? One of us is on the side of the communists; the other is against the communists, against communist slavery.

Now, the communists have three official publications in America, and these are not ordinary publications. They have been officially determined to be the transmission belts through which communists in America are instructed as to the party line, or the position which communist writers and playwrights must take—also, of course, telecasters, broadcasters.

The first of these is a booklet which I would like to show you, if I may. It's entitled "The Main Report," delivered at the National Conference of the Communist Party of the USA, published in New York in October 1953.

The report states, quote: "The struggle against McCarthyism is developing currently along the following main lines"—keep in mind this is the communist publication giving instructions to members of the party—"...along the following main lines: struggle against witch hunting, struggle against investigations of the McCarthy/McCarran type, and defense of the victims of McCarthyism such as Owen Lattimore, etc. In addition there is the direct attack on McCarthy." May I ask you, does that sound somewhat like the program of Edward R. Murrow of March 9 over this same station?

Now, in this report the communists do not hesitate to instruct the comrades that their fight on McCarthy is only a means to a larger end. Again, let me quote from the instructions from the Communist Party to its membership, from page thirty-three. I quote:

"Our main task is to mobilize the masses for the defeat of the foreign and domestic policy of the Eisenhower administration and for the defeat of the Eisenhower regime itself. The struggle against McCarthyism contributes to this general objective."

Just one more quotation, if I may, from page thirty-one of these instructions from the Communist Party to its members. I quote: "Since the elections, McCarthyism has emerged as a menace of major proportions." I think maybe we know what the Communist Party means by "a menace of major proportions." They mean a menace of major proportions to the Communist Party.

Now let's take thirty seconds or so, if we may, to look a little further to see who's giving comfort to our enemies. Here is a communist Daily Worker of March 9, containing seven articles and a principal editorial, all attacking McCarthy. And the same issue lists Mr. Murrow's program as—listen to this—"One of tonight's best bets on TV."

And then—just one more—here's the issue of March 17. Its principal front page article is an attack on McCarthy. It has three other articles attacking McCarthy. It has a special article by William Z. Foster, the head of the Communist Party in America—and now under indictment on charges of attempting to overthrow this government by force and violence—this article by Foster, praising Edward R. Murrow.

Just one more, if I may impose on your time: the issue of March 26. This issue has two articles attacking witch hunting, three articles attacking McCarthy, a cartoon of McCarthy, and an article in praise of Mr. Edward R. Murrow.

And now I would like to also show you the communist political organ, entitled Political Affairs. The lead article is a report dated November 21, 1953 of the National Committee of the Communist Party of the United States, attacking McCarthy and telling how the loyal members of the Communist Party can serve their cause by getting rid of this awful McCarthy.

Now, as you know, Owen Lattimore has been named as a conscious, articulate instrument of the communist conspiracy. He's been so named by the Senate Internal Security Committee. He is now under criminal indictment for perjury with respect to testimony in regard to his communist activities. In his book Ordeal by Slander he says, and I think I can quote him verbatim, he says: "I owe a very special debt to a man I have never met. I must mention at least Edward R. Murrow."

Then there's the book by Harold Laski, admittedly the greatest communist propagandist of our time in England. In his book Reflections on the Revolution of Our Times he dedicates the book to "my friends E.R. Murrow and Latham Tichener, with affection."

Now, I am perfectly willing to let the American people decide who's giving comfort to our enemies. Much of the documentation which we have here on the table tonight will not be available to the American people by way of television. However, this will all be made available to you within the next two weeks.

In conclusion, may I say that under the shadow of the most horrible and destructive weapons that man has ever devised, we fight to save our country, our homes, our churches, and our children. To this cause, ladies and gentlemen, I have dedicated and will continue to dedicate all that I have and all that I am. And I want to assure you that I will not be deterred by the attacks of the Murrows, the Lattimores, the Fosters, the Daily Worker, or the Communist Party itself.

Now, I make no claim to leadership. In complete humility, I do ask you and every American who loves this country to join with me.

MURROW: That was a film of Senator Joseph R. McCarthy, presented at our invitation. It was in response to a program we presented on March 9th. This reporter undertook to make no comment at this time, but naturally reserved his right to do so subsequently.

Good night, and good luck.

October 22, 2015

1939. Edward R. Murrow Reports on Wartime London

Murrow Reports from London


Edward R. Murrow

CBS London

November 27, 1939

The other afternoon I spent several hours underground studying the central control station of London's air raid precaution system. One man can sit in that room and move ambulances, stretcher parties, gas decontamination squads, and repair parties just as though he had them on the end of a string. The maps covering the walls resemble those in an army headquarters. The whole system is linked to local units by direct telephone, and if the telephones don't work, there are motorcycle dispatch riders standing by to carry messages.

If London is bombed, one could sit in that room, and by reading colored pins and discs on the maps, tell just where bridges have been blown up, where fire engines are needed, where additional ambulances are required, and the position of reserve units which might be needed.

It was quiet down there the other day. The elaborate maps on which one could follow the approach of enemy aircraft were clear. The bright little pins, which mean gas or a railroad destroyed or a serious fire, were sitting in a little box like toy soldiers.

The telephone operators, young girls who might have been college sophomores at home, sat at their instruments knitting or reading. One was reading The Life of Madame Curie. Another, Tolstoy's War and Peace. And the latest detective thrillers were also in evidence.

Occasionally they practice a little. The telephone rings, the operator takes down a message, passes it through a slot to the control officer, and in a few minutes time an ambulance brigade or a covey of fire engines go racing through the streets in a remote part of London on a practice trip. The whole scheme seemed to be efficient, and at the same time easy to operate.

The Minister of Food will announce in the House of Commons tomorrow the date for the introduction of rationing in Britain. And it is reported from Oslo that the Norwegian Nobel Committee has reached a decision on its annual peace award. It has decided not to award a Peace Prize for 1939.

I return you now to Columbia in New York.

October 19, 2015

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

William L. Shirer's News Update from Nazi Germany


William L. Shirer

CBS Berlin

September 20, 1940

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1943. Moscow, the City Where Hitler's Dream Ended

Quentin Reynolds from Moscow



This report was cabled to CBS New York by Quentin Reynolds, a war correspondent for Collier's magazine, in April 1943. Due to poor atmospheric conditions Reynolds' broadcast was unable to get through, and his report was read on air by Bob Trout on the CBS World News Roundup. The text is transcribed from the cablegram itself and has been reformatted from telegraph style. Because this has been taken directly from Reynolds' transcript as he wrote it, it differs slightly from the audio above.

Quentin Reynolds

Moscow

April 11, 1943
I am speaking from Moscow—the city where Hitler's dream ended.

Some day the historians will immortalize a small suburb of Moscow called Khimki. You can get on a streetcar in front of the Kremlin and be in Khimki within half an hour. Khimki sprawls there on the outskirts of Moscow; just another suburb like many others. But Khimki will live forever, because it was here in October 1941 that Hitler's dream ended. His army was battering at the gates of Moscow then, and one day a German tank penetrated as far as obscure Khimki. That tank and the German soldiers in the tank died, and the Nazi dream of Russian conquest died too. Hitler never was able to get that close to the Kremlin again.

I was in Moscow then, and the city was unafraid but grim, and no smiles were seen on the men and women who walked the streets of Moscow. Moscow was fighting with her back to the wall, and she knew it. But she fought back, just as London once fought back, and the faith and courage of her sons and daughters were rewarded. Now I have returned to this city of courage. The nearest German is two hundred miles away, and Moscow is confident that soon that distance will be increased.
Moscow is not overconfident or falsely optimistic, but Moscow is no longer the grim place it was in 1941. Today the streets are thronged with soldiers on leave. Each night the opera is crowded with men in uniform and with factory workers. The people of Moscow have been at war now for nearly two years, but they are neither weary nor have they been weakened.

When you come here directly from New York as I did, it is impossible not to notice the great contrast. A month ago I was annoyed because sometimes in New York I had to walk a few blocks before getting a taxi cab. Here in Moscow there are no taxi cabs, no private cars at all, and no transportation except streetcars and subway. Mostly we walk. Gasoline, oil, and rubber are too precious to use for anything except war purposes. The dim-out in New York annoyed us all a bit. Here in Moscow there is complete blackout, and you don't go out at night unless it is absolutely necessary.
When I left New York some people were grumbling because of the food rationing. Here in Moscow you can get one slice of butter a day, one lump of sugar a meal, and of course steaks, roast beef, and chops, as we know them at home, do not exist. When I left home people were worrying because whiskey and gin were scarce and it was difficult to obtain a vintage wine. Here in Moscow one is very lucky to get an occasional glass of vodka. There is nothing else. Moscow is making teetotalers out of even the American correspondents.
We have a midnight curfew in Moscow. The streets must be kept clear in the event that the German bombers come. Each of us has one electric light bulb in his room, no more. Electric power is needed for war purposes. We seldom have hot water in Moscow. The power and the fuel are needed to run factories. New York is really not so badly off after all.

But no matter what the privations, none here grumbles. Even now people at home have the tendency to let the army fight the war. Moscow knows that armies alone can't win wars. Here every civilian knows that this is his war, and he is doing something about it. Yesterday I stood on the embankment of the river. Spring has come to Moscow and opened the veins of the river, and the ice has been swept away by the swift current. Here on the embankment was a group of schoolchildren, about fifty of them. None was older than twelve, and a third of them were girls. They were drilling with wooden guns. A Red Army man marched them up and down the embankment giving crisp orders, and the youngsters marched smartly, went through the manual of arms skillfully. These children of Mars drilled for an hour and they were released. They went hurrying away—but not to baseball diamonds or playgrounds. Moscow is at war. Each child has a war job.

I've heard people in New York grumble about the servant problem. Here in Moscow only the very old and the very young can be released for domestic service. Housewives with husbands and sons at the front have to do their own marketing, cooking, and housework, and take care of the babies besides. When school is dismissed and the drilling is over these schoolkids help. They mind babies, they help with dishes, they run errands, they scrub floors. They are organized into what they call "The Pioneers," much like our Boy Scouts. They work hard, these children who have no time to play, but they are happy. Each child has heard his mother and father say a hundred times, "This is your war too." And each child makes it his war. Every civilian in Moscow has made it his war. Perhaps New York can learn something from this city of courage.

October 16, 2015

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." (Carl Mydans—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images) " (source)

From the "Special Issue: A Report to America Two Years After V-Day," This Week magazine, August 10, 1947, p. 14-15:

ANOTHER WAR?

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?"

October 13, 2015

1943. The Ruthless German Spies in Russia

Soviet Authorities Warn of Spies at Home
A still from the film The Battle of Russia (1943)
Bill Downs

CBS Moscow

February 20, 1943 (Cablegram to New York - reformatted from telegram style)

The importance of ordinary men and women keeping their mouths shut during wartime is no better demonstrated anywhere in the world than in Russia.

The Red Army's present offensive owes much of its success to the fact that those who knew about the preponderance of troops moving to the Stalingrad, Caucasian, and Southern fronts simply shut up like clams.

It is this policy that has made Russia the greatest military and economic mystery in the world to outsiders. This same policy also makes the Soviet Union the hardest nation in the world for reporters to cover.

It is also this policy which, in large measure, is helping Russia kick the hell out of the Axis.

Even before the war, Russia did very little boasting about its industrial-agricultural economy. And since the war began, things have really closed down.

Now, twenty months after Hitler's attack, the Department of Propaganda and Agitation of the Moscow City and Regional Party Committee issued another warning to the public.

The warning, which was published in a pamphlet called the Agitator's Notebook and distributed to newsstands nationwide, says, "The experience of nineteen months of war proved that fascists tried by all means to infiltrate the Soviet rear. To learn military secrets and collect information, fascist agents and their flunkies do not cease their attempts to organize diversions in the Russian rear. They still attempt by all means to destroy the work of Soviet industry transport, collective and state farms. They are at the same time trying to poison unwary civilians by all sorts of rumors and lies, and trying to spread uncertainty among them and strike panic."

Russia, like the United States government, has not forgotten any of the lessons of the last war. In the past, German spies have arranged such neat little disasters as the Black Tom explosion in the United States. And German spies, who I must admit are pretty good at their job, also had their inning in Russia. In the last war they set up a wide network of espionage through German commercial firms, resulting in such spectacular deeds as destroying two military ports at Arkhangelsk and blowing up what was at the time Russia's biggest warship, Empress Marie, in 1916.

The world's two largest and most powerful nations are Hitler's most potential enemies. It is logical that he would try to gain every scrap of information that could help his Nazi High Command.

He's tried, and is still trying, in both the United States and Russia.

His espionage organization was set up many years ago—although it is definitely under control in both the United States and Russia. Russia has learned through years of fighting that she must still take every precaution against German spies.

Here's why.

This occurred several years ago in the Caucasus—before Hitler attacked Poland, while he was still prating about Nazi Germany's peaceful intentions. Every summer, German "tourists" went deep into the Caucasus. These "alpinists'" intent: conquering Mount Elbrus. It so happened that big new molybdenum deposits were just being uncovered in the nearby Baksan valley. It was natural that "tourists" visited that valley.

Soviet commanders who were chasing Germans out of the Caucasus found the Axis forces well-equipped with maps of areas through which Axis troops moved. And undoubtedly molybdenum deposits were the objective, second only to Baku's oil.

However, this was where German spies were even more ingenious.

A civil militiamen—as Moscow's blue uniformed policemen are called—climbed a Moscow streetcar shortly after Hitler's attack. He jammed himself into the car and offered to pay the woman conductress the twenty kopecks fare. She was surprised and suspicious, and had him arrested at the next stop. It turned out he was a spy who had forgotten that Moscow cops, like most of those the world over, don't pay streetcar fare—they ride for free.

Other spies have been discovered on those dark nights when mysterious planes fly over the countryside. Some of them bear Soviet markings. Not long after, a strange civilian or Red Army soldier or railroad worker or locomotive engineer may turn up in the neighborhood. Usually they carry completely correct credentials.

But Germans have gone even greater lengths attempting to get spies into the Soviet rear. Here's another example of their ingenuity.

Stretcher bearers in the battlefield somewhere in Russia picked up a wounded Red Army soldier with a head injury. The soldier said he lost his unit. When they got to the hospital, they found he was suffering an artificial wound that had been performed by German surgeons.

Another spy arrested several days later parachuted into a forest. He was a slim, young blond soldier who hid out in the woods for several days. Locals in this village later noticed a new "girl" in the district and attempted to start conversation, but the "girl" was arrested when it was noticed that he needed a shave.

But this is tame stuff compared to the lengths Germans have gone to obtain information—particularly on troops holding occupied areas in Russia where Russian lines are stabilized nearby.

It has been confirmed here that Nazi commanders are desperate for knowledge about whether the Soviet reinforcements being brought up will do to his unit what the Red Army did to Paulus. 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.

The Moscow Party Committee issued a warning to military security and added, "Every new man who comes to a factory or collective farm should have his past examined and be tested by the results of his labor."

They warned that spies do not always cause sensational explosions or perform large-scale sabotage. A spy may work small things such as burning down grain stores, haystacks, or barns. Perhaps tools will disappear or a tractor will suddenly break down. Watching those small things may expose bigger plots.

Russians are a naturally curious and suspicious people. Besides defeating the Red Army, Hitler's toughest job must be getting behind-the-lines information through his agents on the Eastern Front.

There is admittedly a considerable number of agents trying to get information out of Russia. There is only one other nation believed to be targeted by even more agents—the United States.