September 23, 1938 - A Delicate Pessimism.


This day in 1938 was about the continuing crisis in Eastern Europe between Nazi Germany and Czechoslovakia and a piece of disputed territory Germany claimed was theirs.

As the crisis deepened, on the morning of September 23rd 1938, Czech Ambassador to Great Britain Jan Masaryk delivered an appeal to the American audience about the situation and where things stood.

Jan Masaryk: “My people have gone further in self-restraint, discipline, International solidarity in these last few days than anyone could have expected. And I am more proud than I ever was to be a citizen of Czechoslovakia. We shall study Mr. Hitler’s proposal with goodwill and the same spirit of conciliation which made us swallow many little pills, and bitter pills, in the last few days. But I solemnly declare that we shall not give in on the fundamental issues. We believe in Democracy, humanitarianism, freedom of religion and speech and the importance of the individual.”

Within days the picture would emerge that Czechoslovakia would be forced to give in to German demands and a new word became popular, more for its irony than anything else: Appeasement.

Here is the original newscast with breaking bulletins by Robert Trout, H.V. Kaltenborn and Edward R. Murrow from CBS Radio on the morning of September 23, 1938.

The nature of news gathering was changing rapidly, just like the status of the world in general.


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