Assignment to Berlin

Assignment to Berlin

Assignment to Berlin

Assignment to Berlin

Excerpt

MY ASSIGNMENT to Berlin came in October 1940. On October 24, a Clipper carried me from New York to replace William L. Shirer as a representative of the Columbia Broadcasting System in the Nazi capital

The Clipper took me to Lisbon. Lisbon, as I saw it, was an international whirlpool into which were swept from every direction, people of all nationalities, races, colours and tongues, none wishing to stay, but all forced to remain long days, weeks, and sometimes months awaiting transportation. Lisbon, with its colourful stucco houses shining from the hillsides through nests of palms and funny bushy-topped trees, and with lush growths of flowers and ferns, was a beautiful spot. Its narrow winding streets, along which passed barefooted women jauntily carrying baskets on their heads, aged wrinkled men on pack-saddled donkeys, boys in two-wheeled carts driving loads of grain behind tiny mules, and tiny continually honking automobiles were interesting. But all this was lost on people in a nervous haste to leave.

It was a week before I was able to quit Lisbon, the first quiet period since Paul White had cabled me in St. Louis to go to Berlin. During those last days in the United States, I had rushed preparing to leave and had had no time to consider all that the assignment meant. In Lisbon the dragging hours . . .

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