VE Day and more: Sound Archives remembering the War and its End
As frequently referred to, public speeches and radio broadcasts played a significant role during the Second World War, from de Gaulles’ speech rallying the Free French over Queen Wilhelmina’s addressing the occupied Netherlands to boost their morale to Winston Churchill’s and King George VI. iconic war speeches. Accordingly, VE day (=Victory in Europe Day) on 8th May 1945, the day of the Allied victory over Nazi Germany, produced some captivating broadcasts. Listening to some of them on the VE day selection of the B.B.C. online archives provides further insight into the spirit of the day. The Imperial War Museum has selected “Voices of the War” ranging from a B.B.C reporter to Winston Churchill. The online soundarchives of Institut National de l’Audiovisuel features some film footage of the German capitulation as part of their broader collection of the Second World War, which includes the famous de Gaulles speeches. Other archives may not have featured a special selection for VE day, but still hold audiovisual collections, partly available online, as for example the Hoover Institution with their collection of Foreign Broadcast Intelligence Service. The Dutch Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies NIOD is currently preparing a search engine for the war time speeches of Queen Wilhelmina; the Czech Radio archives have a Second World War section amongst their “In their own words” series covering the 20th Century (broadcast in English with original audio recordings) and the website of the now discontinued BBC Polish Section holds a couple of wartime speeches. Listening to speeches, radio broadcasts and simple audio recordings offers insight beyond the mere content of the words. Listening to American journalist Ed Murrow’s war reporting from London is just one of many examples. Tune in.