New Years Day in 1945 was pretty much “business as usual” during World War 2. Although the Allies were making substantial gains in their drive into Germany. The infamous Battle Of The Bulge that went on just before Christmas was now in the mopping up stages, with any gains the German Army made during that period of time now lost and regained by the Allies. And the war was continuing without let-up on all fronts.
But it was a general feeling that the war would be over sometime in 1945. At least it was hoped.
News for this September 27th in 1944 was about Allied advances around Belgium and Holland and the first troops to hit German soil. It was also about British airborne troops evacuating positions around Arnheim and hard-fought battles throughout the region. Reports on the capture of the Nijmegen Bridge and defusing the explosives set to destroy the bridge with reports heavy casualties on both sides. Also were Reports on the Balkan campaign with the Russian invasion of Hungary and the move on Rumania.
Despite moves and advances from both the east and west, Germany‘s von Ribbentrop issued a statement, confident the war would be won in Germany’s favor and even though Allied troops were now gaining ground in Western Germany, the advance was only “temporary”. The statement was issued in conjunction with the third anniversary of the Axis alliance signing. With allied planes now bombing islands leading to Tokyo and Mussolini in hiding, there didn’t seem to be a lot of cause for celebration, but they tried.
Even though the most horrific event of the 20th Century had taken place many hours earlier, no word of it having taken place was mentioned. August 6th, 1945 was seemingly just another day in World War 2 as far as this newscast was concerned.
With that in mind, the news seems chillingly ironic with reports from the Pacific of routine B-29 raids over Japan and speculation over an upcoming invasion of the Japanese mainland based on General MacArthur’s opinion that the Pacific war could never be won on Air strikes alone. That the news from Tokyo reported overnight raids by squadrons of Mustangs, but nothing else.
Reports from Europe talked about the continuing War Crimes trial of Marshall Petain in Paris and postwar conditions, including the British rail strike threatening to paralyze that country. Black market scandals surfacing with tea and canned milk supplies showing up in the streets of London and not with troops in France.
From Washington, news that controversial Senator Hiram Johnson had died. Debates on postwar policy and our role in the United Nations and mention of a peacetime draft.
And no mention of an Atomic Bomb in the news for this day in August, 1945, as broadcast by The CBS World News Roundup.
I posted both of these pieces a few years ago via my now-defunct Newstalgia site. Since I have realize there is a whole new audience here, I have decided to run these pieces again. They are works by a major American composer who has fallen slightly into obscurity over the years (his works aren’t performed much in the concert hall), but who demands a place among the very best the 20th Century had to offer in American Classical Music.
These are two works which, as far as I have been able to research, have never been available commercially, nor have I seen them recorded by anyone else in any other form. Their origin is a little vague, because they were issued on a radio Transcription disc for The State Department for use overseas, as a sort of promotion of Americana. From what I have been able to sort out – they were recorded by the short-lived American Broadcasting Co. Symphony Orchestra in around 1946, or late 1945. ABC Radio didn’t come into existence until 1945, being initially part of the larger NBC Radio conglomerate and known as “The Blue Network”.
At any rate, I don’t have information as to which program this came from, what the date is and no other information other than the first cut is Fantasy and the second cut is Folk Rhythms Of Today. Both pieces are conducted by the composer and both are works that could vastly benefit from new recordings, new performances and a new life with a new audience.
But for now, here are two neglected classics from the vast catalog of American music by one of America’s foremost composers of the 20th Century.
While the war in the Pacific continued, news of the Allies marking an official entry into Berlin provided a reminder that all would be over soon. News on this July 3rd in 1945 was highlighted by an extended report of American, British, French and Russian troops marching into the former seat of Nazi power and assuming the zones of Occupation. Some confusion, badly damaged roads and an all-but-ghost city greeted the Occupation armies. But a collective sigh of relief that this phase of the War was finally over.
Not so much on the Pacific side, as news of continuous B-29 raids over Tokyo continued to destroy Japan’s effort to wage war. Still, fighting was continuing, and accounts of horrific atrocities by retreating Japanese troops provided further grim evidence the War was not going to be over soon enough.
All this, and news from Capitol Hill of Cabinet shakeups and labor strikes for this July 3rd, 1945, as reported by the NBC News Of The World, Night edition.