Edward R. Murrow and William Shirer Report on Hitler's Anschluss
Murrow gained his first glimpse of fame during the March 1938 Anschluss, in which Adolf Hitler engineered the annexation of Austria by Nazi Germany.
While Murrow was in Poland arranging a broadcast of children's choruses, he got word from Shirer of the annexation — and the fact that Shirer could not get the story out through Austrian state radio facilities. Murrow immediately sent Shirer to London, where he delivered an uncensored, eyewitness account of the Anschluss. Murrow then chartered a plane to fly from Warsaw to Vienna, so he could take over for Shirer.
At the request of CBS New York (most reference books say it was either chief executive William S. Paley or news director Paul White), Murrow and Shirer put together a "European News Roundup" of reaction to the Anschluss, which brought correspondents from various European cities together for a single broadcast. On March 13, 1938 the special was broadcast, hosted by Bob Trout in New York, and including Shirer in London (with Labour MP Ellen Wilkinson), reporter Edgar Ansel Mowrer of the Chicago Daily News in Paris, reporter Pierre J. Huss of the International News Service in Berlin, and Senator Lewis B. Schwellenbach in Washington, D.C. Reporter Frank Gervasi, in Rome, was unable to find a transmitter to broadcast reaction from the Italian capital, but phoned his script to Shirer in London, who read it on the broadcast.
Murrow himself reported live from Vienna, in the first on-the-scene news report of his career: "This is Edward Murrow speaking from Vienna... It's now nearly 2:30 in the morning, and Herr Hitler has not yet arrived."
The broadcast was considered revolutionary at the time. Featuring multi-point, live reports in the days before modern technology (and without each of the parties necessarily being able to hear one another), it came off almost flawlessly. The special became the basis for the World News Roundup — broadcasting's oldest news series, which still runs each weekday morning and evening on the CBS Radio Network.
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