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70 years since Free Europe began broadcasting.  He encouraged the population against communism

70 years since Free Europe began broadcasting. He encouraged the population against communism

Brutal communist propaganda at that time affected millions of citizens living in the region west of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Allied regions of Austria up to the Soviet borders, emphasizing the only possible model of society, denying and fighting democracy, pluralism and social engineering in the name of class struggle and social engineering .. freedom. Aside from temporarily existing illegal magazines and occasional publication campaigns, one’s opinion could not be expressed in Czechoslovakia and other countries.

The Czechoslovak newsroom was the first to speak on air

The situation changed fundamentally on May 1, 1951, when not only the efforts of the US administration, including the National Committee for Free Europe (NCFE), but also the non-governmental association Crusade for Freedom, which culminated in gathering the United States nationwide create a station An independent radio station externally, as a specific platform for officials of exile.

Since the late 1940’s, the United States government has sought to create a radio station whose voice broke through the Iron Curtain, transiting Europe, that could give hope to millions of people living under the guise of communism. The new radio station was based in New York, but individual national newsrooms were located in Munich, Bavaria, in the middle of the former American occupation zone, not far from the border with the Communist Bloc.

Radio Free Europe included not only individual national liberation teams, but also extensive analytical teams that gathered information from behind the Iron Curtain, especially from the hundreds and thousands of refugees, who often became the basis of the broadcast. The content of radio programs was in fact almost everything that listeners could not hear and read due to communist censorship in their countries.

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Thus, it was not only a matter of transferring information about events in the free world, in the United States, Western Europe and elsewhere, but also about formulating and reproducing the information obtained about events in the target countries in Central and Eastern Europe. Not only did correct information become part of this US strategy, but also compete with communist propaganda, which encouraged the population to project resistance, as part of an overall “retreat” strategy.

The Czechoslovak newsroom was the first to start broadcasting. It was the culmination of the efforts of a large group of exiles, led by Pavel Tigrid, a prominent journalist who had first-hand experience sending the BBC to occupied Czechoslovakia since World War II. His intention from the end of 1950 followed Radio Free Europe until the fall of the Communist regimes in Europe: I believe that propaganda and political intent are hidden in every broadcast, because it not only seeks to analyze communist practices and methods and point out the lies of communist propaganda, but also aims to provide listeners with something that does not The communist regime can present it: true. Information, education and entertainment. “

At that time, the Western world faced various levels of aggressive Soviet policy, not least in the most brutal form of warfare on the Korean Peninsula. No wonder that Radio Free Europe has gradually become one of the most important tools of the psychological struggle with the communist bloc, which, despite all the efforts of the authoritarian power apparatus, has not been able to paralyze or completely disable it.

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Tigrid was wrong, the murderous regime remained in power

The ceremonial opening of Free Europe took place at eleven o’clock in the morning, when the medium wave of 417.2 meters first broke out in the Czech Republic “The Voice of Free Czechoslovakia, this is Radio Free Europe” and then in Slovak “The Voice of Free Czechoslovakia, this is Radio Free Europe.”

During today’s first broadcast, RFE’s Czechoslovak Editorial Office Program Director Pavel Tigrid promised to honestly and regularly inform Czechoslovakia listeners about what is happening in the free Western world, how the free world is facing Soviet aggression, how it is uniting militarily and politically, and is receiving increased attention from unification. Europe. “We will tell you what is new and interesting in science and technology, the national economy, trade unions, social sciences, literature, theater, art and cinema. We will read for you every night in books banned in Czechoslovakia. (…) We will read with you the Communist newspapers and agree on how to understand them. We will take you to the camps of Czechoslovak political refugees. Who will tell you what motivated them to leave Czechoslovakia. “

In his speech, Tigrid did not forget to mention tens of thousands of those sentenced by the Communist judiciary to long prison terms or forced labor in concentration camps. But here, he was a little wrong in his imagination: “The belief that a regime that must be assassinated in order to stay in power cannot last long. The regime, which must keep tens of thousands of its citizens in prisons and gatherings, must truly rest on its feet. The regime, backed by a bunch of miscreants and informants, is really in a bad way. The regime, which takes its giants from the ministerial seats straight to the execution site, must be rotting to the roots. “

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Despite the rottenness of the regimes controlling the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, and despite the decay of the Soviet totalitarian regime, it took more than four decades for the final and final collapse, even with the patient contribution of all of Radio Free Europe, of course. Freedom Radio.

Unfortunately, it is necessary to emphasize that Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty are still sought after today, although the situation has changed so much that the editorial board hosts the Free Czech Republic. But this is another chapter in its history.

The writer is historian, deputy to the Democratic Democratic Party, vice chair of the security committee, and member of the Defense Committee.