Category Archives: World War II

6 June: D-Day On the Air—73 Years Later

Morgan Beatty. (Photo: NBC.)

Morgan Beatty. (Photo: NBC.)

Whether these were old-time radio’s finest hours should be left to those who are there to hear it—surely there remain many among us who were—and to those who will hear, remarkably enough, 73 years to the day later.

It would be remarkable, too, if I could present every last hour of broadcast on this day to that century that came, but the time and space constraints make it impossible at minimum. The entire broadcast days of NBC—6 and 7 June, 1944 (at least, from 0200 hours in NBC’s case)—will survive, miraculously, for the 21st Century listener. So will CBS’s complete coverage of the invasion.

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31 December: Here’s to the New Year

It could have been better . . . it certainly could have been worse . . .  but now let’s say goodbye to 2015 the auld-time radio way, beginning (perhaps this will become a tradition in this space, too) with a legendary New Year’s Eve music special for American and other troops still scattered ’round in the immediate wake of World War II . . .


Various Artists: New Year’s Radio Dancing Party (Armed Forces Radio Service, 31 December 1945)

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8 December: Immediate aftermath

FDR before Congress, the day after . . . (Photo: National Archives.)

FDR before Congress (and a small crowd of radio microphones), the day after . . . (Photo: National Archives.)


Many Americans have hoped to avoid it, and enough Americans were said to embrace the prospect, but now the United States begins rounding into shape enough to respond to the Pearl Harbour attacks, the reality of the Axis, and the arduous path of international war.

Again, we seek not to judge retroactively but merely to listen and analyse in the context of its own time and place.


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7 December: The date still lives in infamy

Pearl Harbor PEARL HARBOR: The News Breaks

Seventy-four years later, the questions still animate, intrigue, trouble, and inspire, from historians of all stripes to simple students who become fascinated with the era.

The debates will always continue as to whether Pearl Harbour was a genuine sneak attack or an act of retaliatory desperation following months of maneuvers and blockades. So will the debates as to whether the possibility was known in advance enough of its terrible actuality.

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22 September: Der Fuehrer could not have him

Helion's memoir made a sober radio drama.

Helion’s memoir made a sober radio drama.

Vichy France signed its 1940 armistice with Hitler’s Reich with stipulations that included, formally, French armed forces in German-occupied territory to be moved to unoccupied territory and discharged. The provision proved a dupe to the French soldiers, allowing them to allow the Nazis to surround and herd them into camps, where they only thought they were awaiting their discharges.

Good luck with that.

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