A VOA Snapshot - Part of the continuing coverage in this, VOA's 60th Anniversary Year
VOA first went on the air in 1942, 70 days after the attack on Pearl Harbor. The goal was to broadcast the news to people who only had access to the other side's propaganda. In 1952, VOA's 10th anniversary broadcast used dramatizations to highlight those years.
Behind the Axis Curtain, the era of the sub-cellar of the muffled sound of hand-presses. Picture a small room, in the shadows an anonymous few men and women; perhaps you were one of them. They lean across a table, straining to catch the words from a battered shortwave radio: "Today in the Pacific theater, American forces captured . . .".
But by that 10th anniversary, VOA was focused on a new war - The Cold War.
By 1949, in Moscow, in Prague, people again were gathering in attics and sub-cellars, listening: "This is the Voice of America. In Hungary, the communist government has announced ...".
Those 1952 dramatizations sound corny now, in an era when Europeans can listen to VOA on the Internet and on their car radios. But there are still places in the world where listening to foreign radio is dangerous, and people still have to hide in basements or close the drapes, just to hear the news.
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