Skip to comments.BREAKING --- NEWSMAKERS REPORT ON THE SIGNING OF THE ARMISTICE (6/21/40)
Posted on 06/21/2010 6:20:40 PM PDT by Homer_J_Simpson
CBS Eric Sevareid On the Fall of Paris
NBC William C. Kirker On French Armistice at Compiègne
CBS William Shirer Coverage of the Surrender of France
RSH Lord Haw Haw The Fall of France
This is Paris at midnight. Its been a great day for the moving and packing industry in Paris. At the time of the battle of the Marne in 1914 the Germans were equally close to the city. I dont know how many more radio broadcasts can be made from the Paris... (transmission ends)
Hello CBS; hello NBC. This is William C. Kirker now carrying on. Hitler himself was the first one to arrive as soon as the French plenipotentiaries entered the dining car. By the by, the number of that car is D2604. And as soon as Adolf Hitler stood up to greet the French delegates, by giving the Nazi salute, Herr von Ribbentrop and Rudolf Hess followed suit while Field Marshal Göring and Grand Admiral von Raeder raised their baton, leaving Colonel General von Brauchitsch and von Keitel as the only ones to give the military salute. The French gentlemen themselves in kind, greeted with a military salute and all those present wore uniforms except monsieur Noel who was attired in smart civilian clothes. He, himself, was quite a contrast to the glittering uniforms which surrounded him. However, undeterredly he took his place almost facing Herr Hitler who was sitting at the opposite side of that long green table with his back towards the statue of General Foch. Well, it was 21 years and 8 months ago that Compiègne was the scene of the signing of an armistice, and today we are right here on the very same spot, it is the same car which was used that time, the same table, the same chairs, only this time everything is reversed. Where Marshall Foch sat that time, now Hitler sat. Where the German delegates had there place, the French plenipotentiaries are seated. Everything is reversed. Then it was Germany who was asking for an armistice, and now it is France.
Youll notice that this transcription does not exactly match up to the audio. This is taken from William L Shirers book This is Berlin which has some of the broadcast prior to the beginning of the audio file and also is not a perfect transcription within itself. I felt that this was a better one to use for two reasons though. First it takes me about 10 minutes to transcribe a minute of airtime, mostly due to audio garbling, digital noise and finding some of the places and people mentioned to ensure the spelling is correct. This audio is 25 minutes so it would take me over 6 hours to transcribe. Second, by taking the account from Shirers book, I think we also see some nuance of how Shirer, himself, recalls the events with I feel adds to the overall experience.
CBS William Shirer Coverage of the Surrender of France
Hello America. Hello NBC. Hello CBS. William C. Kirker and William L. Shirer calling NBC and CBS in New York. Calling NBC and CBS from Compiègne, France.
This is William L. Shirer of CBS and with me is William C. Kirker of NBC who will be speaking to you in a moment in this joint broadcast to CBS and NBC. Weve got our microphone at the edge of a little clearing in the Forest of Compiègne, four miles to the north of the town of Compiègne and about forty-five miles north of Paris, where the armistice in 1918 was signed. Theyre signing another armistice in the same old railroad coach now. Hello CBS. Hello NBC. We hope you are getting us, but since we have no feedback, we cant tell. Anyway, well keep modulating for another minute and a half, and then start with our broadcast from Compiègne, France, where theyre signing the armistice.
Hello America. Hello NBC. Hello CBS. This is William L. Shirer of CBS, and William C. Kirker of NBC is also here. Were broadcasting to you from a little clearing in the Forest of Compiègne, four miles to the north of the town of Compiègne, itself some forty-five miles north of Paris.
(audio file syncs here)
Here a few feet from where were standing, in the very same old wagon-lit railroad coach where the Armistice was signed on that chilly morning at 5 a.m. on November 11, 1918, negotiations for another armistice, the one to end the present war between France and Germany, began at 3:30 p.m., German summer time this afternoon.
What a turning back of the clock, what a reversing of history weve been watching here in the beautiful Compiègne forest this afternoon! What a contrast to that drama of twenty-two years ago! Yes, even the weather, for weve had one of those lovely, warm June days which you get in this part of France close to Paris at this time of year.
The railroad coach it was Marshal Fochs private car stands a few feet away from us here, at exactly the same spot where it stood on that gray morning twenty-two years ago.
Only and what an only it is, too Adolf Hitler sat in the seat occupied that day by Marshal Foch Hitler who, at that time, was only an unknown corporal in the German army.
And in the quaint old wartime wagon-lit car, another armistice is being drawn up as I speak to you. An armistice, designed, like the other that was signed on this spot, to bring armed hostilities to a halt between the ancient enemies, Germany and France.
Only everything - everything that weve been seeing here this afternoon in Compiègne Forest has been so reversed. The last time, the representatives of France sat in that car dictating the terms of the Armistice. This afternoon, we peered through the windows of the car and saw Adolf Hitler laying down the terms. Thus does history reverse itself, but seldom has it done so as today, on the very same spot.
The German leader, in the preamble of the conditions which were read to the French delegates by Colonel General Keitel, chief of the German Supreme Command, told the French that he had not chosen this spot at Compiègne out of revenge, but merely to right an old wrong.
The armistice negotiations here on the same spot where the last armistice was signed in 1918 her in Compiègne Forest began at 3:15 p.m. our time. A warm June sun beat down on the great elm and pine trees, and cast pleasant shadows on the wooded avenues, as Herr Hitler, with the German plenipotentiaries at his side, appeared. He alighted from his car in front of the French monument to Alsace-Lorraine which stands at the end of an avenue about 200 yards from the clearing here in front of us where the Armistice car stands.
That famous Alsace-Lorraine statue was covered with German war flags so that you could not see its sculptured work nor read its inscription. But I had seen it many times in the post war years. Doubtless many of you have seen it the large sword representing the sword of the Allies and its point sticking into a large, limp eagle, representing the old Empire of the Kaiser. And the inscription underneath in French saying; TO THE HEROIC SOLDIERS OF FRANCE DEFENDERS OF THE COUNTRY AND OF RIGHT GLORIOUS LIBERATOR OF ALSACE-LORRAINE.
Through our glasses, we saw the Führer stop, glance at the statue, observe the Reich war flags with their big Swastikas in the center. Then, he strode slowly toward us, toward the little clearing where the famous Armistice car stood. I thought he looked very solemn, his face was grave, but there was a certain spring in his step as he walked for the first time towards the spot where Germanys fate was sealed on the November day of 1918 a fate which, by reason of his own deeds, was now being radically changed.
And now if I may sort of go over my notes I made from the moment to moment during the next half hour now Hitler reaches the little opening in the Compiègne woods where the armistice was signed, and where another is about to be drawn up. He pauses and looks slowly around. The opening is in the form of a circle about 200 yards in diameter, and laid out like a park. Cypress trees line it in all round and behind them the great elms and oaks of the forest. This has been one of Frances national shrines for twenty-two year.
Hitler pauses, and gazes slowly around. In a group just behind him are the other German plenipotentiaries Field Marshal Göring, grasping his field marshals baton in one hand. He wears the blue uniform of the air force. All the Germans are in uniform, Hitler in a double-breasted gray uniform, with the Iron Cross hanging from his left breast pocket. Next to Göring are the two German army chiefs Colonel General Keitel, Chief of the Supreme Command, and Colonel General von Brauchitsch, Commander-in-Chief of the German army. Both are just approaching sixty, but look younger, especially General Keitel, who has a dapper appearance with appearance with his cap slightly cocked on one side.
Then, there is Erich Raeder, Grand Admiral of the German Fleet, in his blue naval uniform and the invariable up-turned stiff collar, which German naval officers usually wear. There are two non military men in Hitlers suite his foreign minister, Joachim von Ribbentrop, in the field gray uniform of the Foreign Office. And Rudolf Hess, Hitlers deputy, in the gray party uniform.
The time is now I see by my notes 3:18 p.m. in the Forest of Compiègne. Hitlers personal flag is run up on a small standard in the center of the circular opening in the woods.
Also in the center is a great granite block which stands some three feet above the ground. Hitler, followed by the others, walks slowly over to it steps up, and reads the inscription engraved in great high letters on that block. Many of you will remember the words of that inscription. The Führer slowly reads them. The inscription says: HERE ON THE ELEVENTH OF NOVERMBER, 1918, SUCCUMBED THE CRIMINAL PRIDE OF THE GERMAN EMPIRE VANQUISHED BY THE FREE PEOPLE WHICH IT TRIED TO ENSLAVE.
Hitler reads it and Göring reads it. They all read it, standing there in the June sun and the silence. We look for the expression on Hitlers face. But it does not change. Finally, he leads his party over to another granite stone, a smaller one some fifty yards to one side. Here it was that the railroad car in which the German plenipotentiaries stayed during the 1918 Armistice negotiations, stood from November 8th to 11th. Hitler looks down and reads the inscription which merely says: The German Plenipotentiaries. The stone itself, I notice, is set between a pair of rusty old railroad tracks, the ones that were there twenty-two years ago.
It is now 3:23 p.m., and the German leaders stride over to the armistice car. This car of course was not standing on this spot yesterday. It was standing seventy-five yards down the rusty track in the shelter of a tiny museum, built to house it by an American citizen, Mr. Arthur Henry Fleming of Pasadena, California. Yesterday, it was removed from the museum by German army engineers, and rolled back those seventy-five yards to the spot where it stood on the morning of November 11, 1918.
The Germans stand outside the car chatting in the sunlight. This goes on for two minutes. Then Hitler steps up into the car, followed by Göring and the others. We watch them entering the drawing room in Marshal Fochs car. We can see nicely through the car windows. Hitler enters first, and takes the place occupied by Marshal Foch the morning the first armistice was signed. At his sides are Göring and General Keitel. To his right and left at the ends of the table are General von Brauchitsch and Herr Hess at one end. At the other end, Grand Admiral Raeder and Herr von Ribbentrop.
The opposite side of the table is still empty. At it stand four vacant chairs. The French have not yet appeared. But we do not wait long. Exactly at 3:30 p.m., they alight from a car. They have flown up from Bordeaux to a nearby landing field, and then driven here by car. They glance at the Alsace-Lorraine memorial, now draped with Swastikas, but its a swift glance. Then they walk down the avenue, flanked by three German army officers. We see them now as they come into the sunlight of the clearing General Huntziger, wearing a bleached khaki uniform, Air-General Bergeret, and Vice-Admiral Le Luc, both in their respective dark blue uniforms. And then almost buried in the uniforms, the one single civilian of the day. M. Noël, French Ambassador to Poland when the present war broke out. The French plenipotentiaries pass the guard of honor drawn up at the entrance to the clearing. The guard snaps to attention for the French, but does not present arms.
The Frenchmen keep their eyes straight ahead. It is a grave hour in the life of France, and their faces, their bearing, show what a burden they feel on their shoulders. Their faces are solemn, drawn, but they are the picture of tragic dignity.
They walk stiffly to the car where theyre met by two German officers. Lieutenant-General Tippelskirch, quarter-master-general, and Colonel Thomas, chief of the Führers headquarters. The Germans salute. The French salute. The atmosphere is what Europeans call correct. But you get the picture when I say that we see no handshake. Not on occasions like this.
The historic moment is now approaching. It is 3:32 p.m. by my watch. The Frenchmen enter Marshal Fochs Pullman car standing there a few feet from us in Compiègne Forest.
Now we get our picture through the dusty windows of that historic old wagon-lit car. Hitler and the other German leaders rise to their feet as the French enter the drawing room. Hitler gives the Nazi salute, the arm raised. The German officers give the military salute. The French do the same. I cannot see M. Noël to see whether he salutes or how.
Hitler, so far as we can see through the windows just in front of us here does not say anything. He nods to General Keitel at his side. We see General Keitel adjusting his papers. Then, he starts to read. He is reading the preamble of the German armistice terms. The French sit there, with marble-like faces and listen intently. Hitler and Göring glance at the green table top.
This part of this historic act lasts but a few moments. At 3:42 p.m. that is twelve minutes after the French arrive we see Hitler stand up, salute stiffly with hand upraised. Then he strides out of the drawing room followed by Göring, General von Brauchitsch, Grand Admiral Raeder, Herr Hess and Herr von Ribbentrop. The French remain at the green topped table in the old Pullman car. General Keitel remains with them. He is going to read them the detailed conditions of the armistice. Hitler, Göring, and the others do not wait for this. They walk down the avenue back towards the Alsace-Lorraine monument. As they pass the guard of honor, the German band strikes up the two national anthems, Deutschland Uber Alles and Horst Wessel song.
The negotiations go on. They keep talking. Theyll undoubtedly take some time. But thats all for the moment. And William C. Kirker and William L. Shirer return you now to America.
The rest of the audio is William C. Kirker which is also briefed by him in the other audio file posted but only now there is more detail.
We should have transcript of the Lord Haw Haw broadcast before long.
It’s chilling to read that transcription.
Thank you for your posts.
RSH Lord Haw Haw The Fall of France
Its been an extremely eventful week. It will indeed go down in history as a decisive point in the world developments. All events have become subordinate in these days to the complete collapse of France. On Monday afternoon, I was several hundred miles away from Berlin in certain military headquarters. I had been learning certain facts from a group of officers who (undecipherable) was an old soldier who knew England well. It was a delightful afternoon bathed in sunshine. And we were taking a rest after some rather arduous exercise. Then we were suddenly surprised by the entry into the room of another officer, who informed us that (undecipherable) that is to say an announcement of special significance was to be expected over the radio in a short time. The senior officer present tuned in. I looked out on the beautiful countryside and the rich green and luxurious trees. The air was pure and invigorating and I felt as if I had a month holiday at the seaside. We went on in discussing our business, and then the music; it was I think the Overture to Rienzi, suddenly stopped. And we heard an announcement of far reaching importance was going to be made in a few minutes. We wondered what it could be. In our own minds, of course, the thought of France capitulation was insistent, but it seemed a little early. We knew that it would come soon, but to hope that the breakdown of French resistance would be announced in a few minutes seemed a little premature. Perhaps, some new and decisive victory had been won. Perhaps, (undecipherable) floated through the room, so it had to do with France after all. Again the motif sounded and again. We looked to the receiving set intently, as people will, quite unnecessary, but naturally. Then the message came: Marshall Petain has stated in a broadcast to the French people that France would lay down arms as the struggle could be no longer sustained. He had asked the head of the German state, to make known the conditions of an armistice. The Führer was to consult the Duchy of the answer which was to made to this request. Then the sacred German hymn Deutschland Uber Alles began. We all stood up reverently, and silently thank our God for this great victory. And the release it must bring to millions. There were several veterans present wearing the orders and decorations which they had won on the field of battle. They mastered their emotions like the strong men they were. And then, the famous Horst Wessel, the great National Socialist March cried out. I thought of all it had meant during the last painful years of German resurrection and the Nationalist Socialist fighters that had fallen so that Germany might once again be great. On the Führer own miraculous effort; on the meetings, the organization, the house to house work, the imprisonment, the ordeal, which had all contributed to the stating of a new and glorious (indecipherable). And above all I wish to the old campaigners who are being carried silently home, when their work was done, might be living to hear these words of history. The music stopped, we looked at each other for a moment in silence, yet, it was an experience never to be forgotten. I had intended to stay longer, but it was now necessary to finish the task at once. A rapid phone call to Berlin, a few hours of steady work, and I was rushing through the night back to the capital of great Deutschland. The people of Berlin took news with calm gratitude. They were happy and proud. But there was no exultation. Rather, there was a clear consciousness of a work to be completed. The general attitude was, yes, we are indeed thankful for this great victory, we want to celebrate, but there will come a time, for the celebration of our lives in the near future, when the war land over England is laid low and our gallant peace is safe forever. Great taste of enthusiasm is witnessed in Munich when the Führer and the Duchy met to discuss the answer of Marshall Petain. Munich, the birthplace of the Nationalist Socialist movement, the city, where the Führer had once set out with several men to unify and restore a nation of 80 million. The city, (undecipherable) unknown at that time. The city, in which Mr. Chamberlain had brought peace to England in September 1938. A peace which he undermined systematically. By substituting hostility for all his pledges of concord and amity. In those days, Munich had a special significance for England, the millions of Londoners who lined the streets and cheered Chamberlain on his return, then saw it as the city of peace. And so it would seem by its own citizens on this historic occasion. Had Chamberlain and his colleagues only been true to the spirit, of the welcome that the British people gave to the new rule which came on that famous Friday afternoon in the early English autumn, men would be living today who bones are now rotting. But it was not to be.
Meanwhile, there is no cessation of hostilities. Had the French desired one, they could have had it by unconditional surrender. That was the measure of Marshall Petain. Our armies left Paris far behind. With irresistible strength, theyve swept down south, one victory after another was announced Leon, Dijon, Cherbourg, and Brest was captured. The historic city of Strasburg became German once again. Success followed successes just as rapidly at times the whole thing seemed almost incomprehensible. One never new what fresh loss was to be handed by the achievement of our troops. On Thursday I was driving outside of Berlin with a friend when we heard the famous Macintyre March (?) on the radio of our car. This march is always associated with the personal strengths of appearance of the Führer. We wonder what it would be taken on this occasion. After a while we heard the news that Badenweiler and (cant locate this other city) had been captured. It was the place associated with the Führer personal march. On the next day the Führer went with the chiefs of the German forces and the foreign minister of the Reich into the forest of Compiègne and also into these woods the representatives of the French Republic. At approximately 3:30 on the afternoon of June the 21st, the discussions concerning the armistice began. It is here that in November 1918, the terms of disgrace and all the evil that instilled from them was imposed on Germany. It was here that Marshall Foch, curtly and sardonically asked the German delegates what they expected from him. It was in the very same railway carriage that would dictate oppression and conquest was made known to the Germans in flat violation of all the promises where by President Wilson, had persuaded the unbeaten German forces to lay down their arms. On this occasion however, the delegates of the defeated nation were welcomed by a military guard of honor, they were reportedly greeted by the Führer, who as a head of a state might well have awaited their salutations. They had taken particular care that no dishonorable association should attach to this meeting with a vanquished but valiant foe. The French representatives were allowed facilities which were abruptly denied to the Germans in 1918. They found they were enabled to communicate by telephone with their government. And it is clear they were not rushed in their deliberations. Fortunately for them they had to deal with a chivalrous soldier and statesmen to great for any pettiness of mind or conduct. It was made plain to them the object of the negotiation was to procure permanent peace between France and Germany. To (undecipherable) the armor of which Germany had suffered in the past. And to give Germany security in the war which the British government insists on perusing to the bitter end. And bitter it will be for England. Even in the (undecipherable) we awaited the results of these discussions in the forest of Compiègne the question what next was already in millions of minds. To the curious, a sufficient indication should be given by the fact that Germany in settling with France, is taking all necessary precautions to ensure that a complete settlement with England shall be possible in the very near future. We waited for the news and then last night we learned that the German-French Armistice has been signed at 6:50 p.m.
For the English people, the complete collapse of French resistance, after mere six weeks of fighting ought to be a saluted warning. The French forces were better trained, better equipped and more numerous than the British. And the defeat of France within six weeks after the entry of German troops into Belgium and Holland is the most eloquent testimony of what Germany can do in modern warfare. It needs no stressing. The bare fact is so gigantic as almost to pass comprehension. Churchill, (undecipherable), is interested solely in the old world of Jewish international finance. But he cant say that, and he wont. He wants to save nothing but his own skin. In the face of certain defeat, he is exposing Britain to invasion and the horrors of war. The old campaign of lies about German weakness continues in India, unabated. The people seem like dumb driven animals, unable to speak with a voice of their own. Patriotic Englishmen are in prison because they dare to see and recommend the wisdom of peace. And so, even as peace dawns over the French people, twilight spreads over England. And in the night of our sorrow, the men who have ruined and betrayed us will slip away, and leave the people to their fate.
Even though it’s just a transcript, Joyce’s (Lord Haw Haw) smugness is disgusting.
I couldn’t agree more. I sure hope he ends up getting what he deserves. Treason is a hanging offense.
He was convicted of treason in 1945 and hung within a few months.
How can you possibly know that? It’s only 1940.
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