CUP Faculty Research


Unity on the Air?: Foreign Language Radio Propaganda During World War II

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Amidst fears of sabotage and fifth columnism in the hectic months after Pearl Harbor, Variety opened its radio section of the May 20, 1942 edition with the sensational headline: "FOREIGN STATIONS 'CONFESS'." The article told of an "amazing recital" of abuses by foreign language radio stations over the past months and years, abuses which finally came to light at the annual conference of the National Association of Broadcasters in Cleveland the week before. The one story which especially aroused the tempers of the conference participants was the revelation by Griffith B. Thompson, manager of the New York City radio station WBNY, who had overheard one of his Italian announcers dedicating a musical number to a captain and a steamship to their departure from New York Harbor "that night." This was a flagrant violation of the voluntary wartime media code, as thousands of American sailors were falling victim to the German and Italian submarines lurking off the Atlantic Coast.


Full Citation:
Horten, G. (1993). Unity on the air?: Foreign language radio propaganda during World War II. Ethnic Forum, 13(1), 12-27.

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Ethnic Forum


CU Commons -- Global Studies and Culture Faculty Research

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