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The_War_of_Lies_and_Laughs

THE SATURDAY EVENING POST 69 SOME OF THE BEST BUSINESS MEN ARE WOMEN THE Penn JOHN A. STEVENSON in a manner aimed primarily at people who move their lips when they read. This stuff, says Edd Johnson, who rides herd on foreign short wave for CBS, is propaganda in the raw—crude, tough, juicy and gristly. National characteristics naturally stick out in radio work. The Germans may broadcast a more flowery style in Spanish than they use in English on us, and obviously put Lord Hawhaw on the job because he speaks the language with the weary fluency of an Englishman out of a farce. The English get Germans or Austrians with impeccably authentic accents to pour their bright ideas into Germany. They have not yet taken the next logical step of hiring a good Hoosier drawl for their news bulletins aimed at the United States, although it would help. But, for all such dodges, British upstageness, German thoroughness and obviousness, French insularity and Italian cynicism are still there in full flavor. That upstage, why-bother-to-telllies pose about British radio sound-offs makes the Germans pretty wild. Those dirty British, they say, occasionally hand out unfavorable news as if it didn't matter, so the world will be deceived into believing all the rest of their criminal nonsense. British broadcasting is further characterized by dignity, suavity, homely little touches, and something Anglophobes call smugness. "Her Majesty the Queen has ordered that her flower garden be plowed up and that flax be planted instead." A Church of England bishop is put on the air to scold the Germans about Nazi concentration camps, evidently in the hope that a real live bishop will impress the Gestapo where massed world opinion has never yet made a dent. Since the war began, every Empire broadcast has ended on this poetic doxology: "And now we shall say good night. Sleep well. Wherever you may be in the colonies, this is a very good night from home." As Mr. Dooley said of' Bryan's speeches, you could set that to music and sing it. London Calling When pumping German-language stuff into Germany, however, the British can and do pour it on. Carefully selected and juxtaposed bits from phonograph records of Hitler's speeches are broadcast into the Reich in an utterly successful effort to make the little man a liar out of his own inimitable mouth. "His words are not worth the paper they are written on," says the announcer, following up, "or the air into which they are shouted." Twitting the Germans on that prohibition of listening to foreign radio: "Your leaders tell you it would be bad for your nerves to listen. But it is not your nerves they are afraid of ; it is your thoughts. And your memory. . . . You get a full ration of lies, but only a half ration of bread." Opening with Ich Hatt' Einen Kameraden, the old German army song of mourning for the fallen, a British officer broadcasts the theory that Hitler had General von Fritsch murdered. A Scotch professor turns on the heat about the Nazi-Soviet pact: " When I was last in Berlin, people said the Adolf Hitler Platz would be renamed Mussolini Platz. Or will it get a new name? Stalin Platz?" Another speaker unctuously sympathizes with Germany about Hitler's removing all Germans from the Baltic countries— what a shame to ruin the 600-year achievements of the heroic old Teutonic Knights ! " Was it merely to get badly needed foreign money? Or was it an order from Stalin?" Plenty of shock value there. Almost as much as in the French radio sound-off to Germany about Von Ribbentrop's bad guessing when he insisted that England and France would not fight: "Ribbentrop, we must warn you. The specter of Roehm is behind your back. Adolf the Beloved is practicing target shooting." Rhineland Raillery Yet, in contrast with Germany, the Allies are watery day in and day out. They can afford to be, say objective observers, because their cause is already pretty well sold to the neutral world. The Nazis, on the other hand, must be in there working all the time if they are to get anywhere at all. They certainly pull no punches—snarling, sneering, cheering, bragging or cajoling— whatever the Nazi mind thinks the occasion calls for. Churchill is al- ways "the old liar "; or "the man of whom Mr. Chamberlain said: ' What, you want me to take that fool into my cabinet?" ; or "the true heir of his mother, who was an American " ; or merely Mr. W. C., the pair of initials that means "water closet" all over Europe. Hore-Belisha, British minister of war, is never mentioned without be- ing called a Jew five or six times. Chamberlain is said, over and over, to have a safe stuffed with the shares of British armament companies. The British propaganda ministry is usually quoted as "The British Ministry of Misinformation." Whereas "the world's greatest liar" for Goebbels or "that champagne salesman" for Von Ribbentrop is about tops at the British Broadcasting Corporation. Spearhead of the German attack is a shrewd and shrewish abusive genius named Fritsche, whose "press re- views" go out on short wave to the whole German-speaking world in a strictly "Aryan German" which uses as few Latin roots as possible. Even rabid anti-Nazis admit that his style of invective constitutes a fine show. The "When did you stop beating your wife?" technique is one of Fritsche's pets. "What about your critical food shortage?" "Where is the Ark Royal?" and so forth. He tells the English that England is fighting two wars—one, lackadaisically, against the Germans; one, with great energy, against the British taxpayer. He often uses that "England will fight to the last Frenchman" crack, cannily attributing it to Mussolini. Grinningly he remarks that Alfred Duff Cooper, the British war hawk, now lecturing in the United States, told a girls' school in Georgia that the Versailles Treaty was just and humane. Glad to see, he says, that Alfred had to go all that way to get somebody to believe him—and just wait till the little girls try to tell papa as much. Amer- icans know better than that. He laughs himself sick over the chivalrous British submarine captain who refrained from torpedoing the Bremen when she steamed right across his sights. To which the British retort, of course, that, naturally, no German could understand that kind of decency. He challenges the British to prove 'they still rule the waves by getting the Queen Mary to Southampton as safely as the Germans got the Bremen home. And he bears down hard on the contrast between Britain's wish to free Austria and Poland, and her keeping India and South Africa nailed down within the Empire. Berlin loves to put eminent Hindus on the air, in spite of British snorts "Many of us can remember a time when it was considered a little unladylike for a wife to know anything about her husband's business affairs. "This has changed, but few people realize how profoundly significant the change is. It is well illustrated, in my opinion, by the records of modern life insurance. "For example, one recent survey of insured families revealed that over 92_per cent of the wives definitely approved of the purchase of life insurance by their husbands. Another example—our records show that in the Philadelphia area more than 20 per cent of those who have bought Penn Mutual insurance are women. "The modern woman's acceptance of life insurance is an indication of her growing business sense. A careful buyer, she is often the real financial head of the house. Without becoming a bit less feminine, she is now the business partner of her husband. "Her approval of life insurance is tremendously important. Without it, life insurance could never have become the national asset that it is today— a great social stabilizer that protects families, educates children, and gives countless people financial independence in their old age. "The Penn Mutual representatives have played a useful part in the everwidening application of mutual life insurance. The conscientious service they render is based not only on an understanding of insurance . . but also on an understanding of people." • Mutual LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY FOUNDED AT PHILADELPHIA IN 1847


The_War_of_Lies_and_Laughs
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