This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.
Unnamed host introduces Shirer, who speaks about his book on Nazi Germany and Hitler, "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich." Shirer thanks Van Doren. Discussion of his experience in the war years in Berlin. Capture of confidential documents of the Germany government, army, navy, etc. Compares Hitler to Khrushchev, a story of a professor who called Khrushchev a fool and was arrested and convicted. For more on William L. Shirer, please visit http://www.wnyc.org/blogs/neh-preservation-project/2012/dec/24/william-l-shirer/.
Ustinov talks about filming a movie in Berlin and his new book "The Loser."
Van Doren introduces to close the program.
Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection
WNYC archives id: 71194
This is a machine-generated transcript. Text is unformatted and may contain errors.
I think for. Five years. Getting. To New York. From his country. Radio journalist. Warning. Against the danger of Holocaust represented in the rising. He spent seventy. Years. After the Iraq devoted. And. President of the Authors Guild. Of America. And as objective as possible letting the facts speak for themselves and. The fact. All of the. Book was on the bestseller list. There are more than one hundred thousand copies. It is and it's. The writing. That's one of the darkest. Times it is interesting. That there are two hundred forty five pages in Mr Cyrus book one thousand. Said It's not like last struggle. Just chairman Mr Van Doren distinguished authors and ladies and gentlemen I'm not going to let this opportunity slide by without paying by word of. What I read about dog for her Jane is over the long years and adding the Tribune book review for her vast labors. And getting the American people to read a few books she's. Talked realms of people that you not only get enlightened from a book but sometimes you get a lot of fun out of it and incidentally in so doing our country from complete illiteracy sense are already I think about the Sept so-called civilized nations of the last and our reading of books she's also very great friend of American writers giving encouragement when it was most needed and bringing them down to worth at least in my case when I began to think. Rather highly of themselves don't we. Meet here on Late eve of Thanksgiving With Christmas just over the way I find that. Our fellow citizens are in a rather somber mood these days I've just returned from months so-called lecture tour. Of course a lot of them. We don't have to waste our time on there in the somber mood results of the elections the other day but aside from those kind of people. They are frightened to death that we're all going to be blown up by the hydrogen bomb they despair they remind me of the mayor read about in the papers. The other day who was standing on the middle of the Brooklyn Bridge about to jump. Another man came up and said Why are you doing this terrible thing and he said because our world is in such a horrible mess nowadays it isn't worth living any longer I'm going to chop the other things are far from perfect Let's talk them over first they did they went off the Brooklyn Bridge around the block several times to discuss the sad state of our world and they came back to the bridge they both jumped off. It was twenty one years ago and some months that the peace which were. Preserved a. Shattered. I happened to be in that day of September first thirty nine. Because I happened to be there and because I happened some previous years and. Watching and get ready for that day is not the reason I wrote the book on the Third Reich. Consequently the reason for my being here at this moment I'm here in the book was written because. Event occurred at the end of World War two and. It was something that I believe it never happened before in history it was a capture by the Allies and largely by the Americans and the British. Most of the confidential documents of the German government the German army the German navy the German Foreign Office the Gestapo the S.S. I don't believe this ever happened before. The archives of a great country even after it was defeated even after a revolution broke out. By the party that the took over power by themselves this time actually Germany collapsed so quickly everything was picked up for almost everything picked up by the dancing. You may ask well what is it all amount to I think the first place we can say that this best material and writers and scholars will be working on it I should imagine for many years to come. Authentic picture of one of the darkest stages of all time tells us about how the world can get on the road to war and it tells us a great deal about themselves I was one of those persons I suppose. Back in the old days looked at Hitler's Charlie Chaplin moustache. His rowdy matters. And concluded that Hitler was. A. Terrible mistake and I. Make mistake today about another dictator named Mr Cruise ship and that regard I might tell you something that other day I was talking Soviet Russian writers who are making frequent trips to this country to the State Department and I said to one of them what happened in your country. If anybody was still fully calling us to. Tell your story of what happened so one. Day. He said there was a professor at the University of Moscow last spring. Out of a class one day he was feeling frustrated some new bureaucratic orders had come down from the Kremlin that he thought. Teaching ridiculous when it got out that skyscraper must go over the university situated. Claim that in his honest opinion Mr Well I said to these writers what happened. And they said well he was of course immediately arrested tried sentenced to twenty years in prison for calling Mr Gresham for. Five years for slander fifteen years for revealing a state secret. German documents the words of the Germans themselves we now know I think the story of Hitler's nightmare. But I suppose many of us today are also concerned with the aftermath which I do not cover in the book what can we say of the Germans today I must confess to you that when I think of the subject my mind goes back. Forty five when I returned to Berlin where I had been stationed during most of the Nazi time as an American correspondent write personally seeing how savvy German can be when you get in his way and I must say that I like so many Americans I come partly of German stock I have grown up on German poetry. I love I simply get so many of the German music. And so on and yet as a young American I couldn't help but see. Sorry German can be when you get in this way or even when you don't get in his leg it's happened to the Jews. Of. Germany and Eastern Europe of home we Americans are leaving our incredibly comfortable soft easy lives might perhaps remember passing gas chambers burn the bodies in the furnace of between five and six million. Of these hapless Jewish people as a young correspondent I went through Poland with the German army and then through the west France Belgium. Saw Hitler come within an ace I was damaging in Europe is grim gruesome grotesque so. Finally by our victory in forty five it was all over yet Larry had committed suicide in the bunker out of the chancery land with Eva Brown his bride of twenty four hours Dr gobbles his right hand man the propaganda minister had murdered six young children in the bunker there and then he and. His wife had killed themselves Germany as we came up in the West was a mess the ancient towns and cities. And I remember standing. On the debris and burly and I was trying to find our home I never could find it because our whole district was obliterated and I thought to myself well at least by our victory we solve two problems we destroyed one form of to the communism remains we solve a problem that brought my own country. In the World War and my generation in my time at least at long last saw this German problem I couldn't have been more wrong twelve and a half years later. Germany is a main contention in the cold between Russia. And. That's part of the problem the main problem in the end concerns the German people. That in so many ways. They learn any lessons from there. And what can we expect. Country. But the Germans have. A. Right. To get that sort. Of thing. And then. Making it so. That I don't know. He said. I'm Irish. But. They're not coming to Proxima have it's just. And I like that. And. Then coming. To the end. With fixed. In. The same diplomatic. I said. Yes And I said. Tell. Me. In the Weimar Republic. Yes. Yes. Yes and I. Think. It's. Absolutely chilling. Chilling. But. Truly. Unbelievable complexity. Pushed. His. Which gave it a kind of petrol. And he. Said. First. I would like to. Think. I said yes but. Yes. But if. I said yes that's going to be. Destroyed. He said. But. I said. But this is a heavy gun. They must be something to park the. Gun that must be a. Something that we have taken in France one of the that's nice that's my note about Einstein I'm not going to take. Mine. So I suppose you got the stuff really. He said. And made films in Germany then I saw myself in the end. But visit Elyse and say I asked. David just. To make sure if they have the. Commitment to this like. Something quite small motorcycle. Made in the in the county park and he called what. Came back and. We have no documents and the Italian film industry cannot live without us without our help they could not have me. And came out with all the famous Italian pictures who wanted to show. Needed. These were the only people that had them and could repair them I saw him again five years later. With one of those white helmets that dangling and making signals to falling traffic and he said. I said. Yes but now I have a passport because he had outlived. It's rocky period and he was now the official representative of the bong government for the Italian film industry negotiating production Well that's the way things started a little. Bit of an Italian guy from an Italian unit and that's where the idea of the book. Because the Italians had very little left and if. A machine which had been at the time of the with the chain which was lagging between the front and back. This thing. It was in charge of a Neapolitan song with wedding ring all over the place. So. That it if they put the gun then it started raining so we had to wait and about five o'clock I said I think we can take this one meanwhile. They had captured from other people and had. Taylor and nine hundred forty seven. Other people. Major again. Without any documents. And he was standing on the cliff and. Had to go. Really getting into a bad state of this when suddenly I heard a voice from the cliff saying. I don't understand the situation. I said. Except. Me and I saw the wrong side of the lines and taken. The Italians. And the Germans All right give me the telephone number. And his name. To a pulp but. He went into the village. And the women were watching. Everything. By himself was walking down the main road again. About a tennis match. Didn't like to be interrupted and reached a deal with him on the phone with. Papers. Well by. The Italians would have to go back to the barracks. On the night. We left them with the Germans who didn't know each other before but just congregated into this. Didn't belong to them. Which they took for granted according to the quality of the man but because he was wearing. But that's. So that's a situation which can still arise and it was alarming to see how quickly faction became faked. Fiction became fact and and vice versa I've sometimes been accused. Confusing with tragedy but I'm sure that fosters much closer to trying to do it than people think and I'm sure. It's probably the most important element in this world because it is the best yardstick by which one can judge the health of the nation you can't do that. And the day the first. Musical comic began making fun of during the day. And I would just end by saying that I feel this strongly because I'm an optimist and know exactly how sad a place the world can be because it's the pessimist. Out. Right. And you will get some of this atmosphere that he's been talking about not. Like percentage. Sixteen.