Wannsee Conference II

Lead: In January 1942, a group of high-ranking Nazi bureaucrats met in the Berlin suburb of Grosse-Wannsee. Their host was Reinhard Heydrich, affectionately known as der henker, the hangman.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The men were in Wannsee to plan the implementation of one of Adolf Hitler’s great desires: the continent-wide extermination of the Jewish race and all other groups he felt were genetically subhuman. Heydrich’s career as a German Naval Officer had been cut short in 1931 after an aborted flirtation with his civilian superior’s daughter, and he joined the Nazi SS. His talents soon attracted the attention of Heinrich Himmler, and as a result Heydrich’s rise to power was swift and decisive. After the Nazis came to power he helped Himmler consolidate party control over national police forces. By 1939 Heydrich was in charge of the Reich Central Security Office in charge of all police functions including the secret police, the Gestapo.

Wannsee Conference I

Lead: On January 20, 1942, fourteen high-ranking Nazi officials gathered for a brief afternoon meeting in the Berlin suburb of Grossen-Wannsee. They met to organize the Holocaust.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Adolf Hitler’s leadership style was unique. He would give general orders to his associates and then set them against one another in a bizarre bureaucratic survival of the fittest. Each of his henchmen would compete to demonstrate within his sphere of authority just how vigorous was his support for the Führer’s vision. In no other endeavor was this more clearly demonstrated than in the final solution to Judenfrage, the “Jewish question.

The London Blitz II

Lead: In the nine months of the London Blitz, the capital of Great Britain absorbed 20,000 tons of bombs, endured thousands of civilian deaths, and saw one in six Londoners lose their homes. It only made the English tougher.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Their plan was to destroy the Royal Air Force to prepare for a cross-channel invasion, but Hitler and Goering largely failed and turned to bombing civilian and industrial targets in central and southern Great Britain. London was the main object of their fury and for nine months, Germany rained death and destruction on the precincts of the City, particularly the impoverished districts of East London where were located the docks and industrial installations of commercial activity. According to author Peter Stansky, “the Blitz marked an introduction of modern terror on a large scale.” There was no such thing as the Home Front anymore. Everyone was at risk. It was a new type of warfare.

Read more →

The London Blitz I

Lead: Frustrated because his bombers and fighters could not destroy the Royal Air Force and its support structure, Adolf Hitler, in Fall 1940, turned all of his fury on the City of London.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Like Napoleon before him, hubris and ambition drew Hitler into consideration of a cross-channel invasion of Britain. To do this he had to eliminate the Royal Air Force and challenge the British Navy. All during the summer of 1940 Luftwaffe squadrons hammered away at the airfields of southern England and the aircraft factories that supplied the RAF with its deadly Spitfire fighters. Yet it seemed that the more the Germans tried, the more heroic and desperate became the efforts of those Churchill praised with the words, “never in the field of conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.”

Read more →

Tragedy at the Munich Olympics I

Lead: The tragic murder of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics rested on the crossroads of opportunity inhabited by the West German government and Black September, the spin-off of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: It is not that they didn’t try. Though they were morally and ideologically poles apart, the Nazi government of Adolf Hitler and the democratically elected German Republic attempted to use the Olympic Games, 1936 and 1972, to improve their international public relations. In both cases they largely failed.

 

Read more →

Berlin Spy Tunnel II

Lead:  In 1954 the Central Intelligence Agency dug a 1400 foot tunnel under the border of East Berlin to spy on Soviet military messages. It was an engineering triumph, but there was one hitch. The Soviets knew it was there.

Tag: "A Moment In Time" with Dan Roberts.

Content: George Blake was a member of the British Secret Intelligence Service. During the early days of the Korean War he was captured by the North Koreans and held for three years. Sometime during his prison stay he went over to the other side. In 1954, when the spy tunnel was first discussed by the CIA and its British counterpart, MI6, Blake was in the meeting, took extensive notes, and passed the sketches and drawings to his KGB control officer within two days.

Read more →

Berlin Spy Tunnel I

Lead:  In 1954, at the height of the Cold War, the CIA and British MI6 dug a tunnel under divided Berlin to spy on the Russians. They thought it was a secret.

 Tag: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

 Content: The city of Berlin during the 1950s was divided east and west and was the focus of much tension between the Soviet Union and the western Allies.  It was also crawling with spies. One of those was the CIA's station chief in Berlin, William King Harvey. He received information that the Soviets had laid three telephone and telegraph cables 18 inches beneath the soil near the road to Shönefeld Airport. Over these lines the Soviet military command in Berlin communicated with Moscow. Building on the experience of the British who had conducted a similar but smaller operation against the Soviets in Vienna, Harvey convinced his bosses to construct a tunnel, intercept the cables and tap them.

 

Read more →

Berlin Airlift – Cold War II

Lead: In the summer of 1948 Soviet occupation forces established a full blockade on the City of West Berlin. The allies responded with a giant airlift.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Since the fall of Nazi Germany in 1945, Berlin had been a growing source of bitter contention between the Soviets and their former wartime allies. By 1948, the United States, Britain and France were moving to merge those zones of Germany and Berlin they occupied into a single nation. This posed a threat to Russia and on July 24, 1948 it retaliated with an bold attempt to cut off West Berlin from outside contact and vital supplies of electricity, coal, and food. In a city of 2.5 million there was only food sufficient for 35 days.

 

Read more →