70 years ago, on May 3, 1952, the Polish section of Radio Free Europe began broadcasting regular programs in Polish from Munich. During the Polish People’s Republic, RWE became one of the most important sources of objective news for millions of Poles.
At eleven o’clock on May 3, 1952, May Mazurka’s first bar was heard in the air, along with the voice of the announcer: Radio Free Europe Speaks, Voice of Free Poland.
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The first to speak: the president of the Committee of Free Europe, adm. Harold Miller and the first director of the radio station, legendary courier and envoy of the Headquarters of the Army of the Interior and the Polish Government in Exile, Jan Nowak-Jeziorański. “Know that no curtain of falsehood and lies can cover your face – the real face of Poland. […] We also experienced feelings of humiliation and humiliation, when today a group of rebels spoke on behalf of Poland, and an old NKVD spy named Bierut dared to act as president of the Polish Republic,” said Nowak-Jeziorański.
He pointed out that the RWE’s most important task towards the country was to fight to maintain Polish identity and defend society against Sovietization. This tool of fighting is the truth about events in Poland and in the world, and opposes the falsification of Polish traditions and history. He stressed that the broadcasting station would absolutely not call for active resistance, for the creation of an underground, or for armed protests against communist authorities.
RWE’s history began in the late 1940’s. It later became clear that the Soviet Union’s control over Central and Eastern Europe was increasing and US-Soviet relations were deteriorating. In the US, a project was created to create an independent agency to support anti-communist emigrants from America and Western Europe. It was also about propaganda activities, preventing the deepening of Soviet domination and supporting the morale of the people of the countries behind the Iron Curtain.
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On June 1, 1949, the 50-member Committee of Free Europe met, consisting of prominent Americans, incl. influential representatives of American financial and political circles, representing conservatives and democrats. The committee has set a goal of “providing support to political and intellectual leaders while in the US to seek the freedoms they have been deprived of in their own countries.”
Three subcommittees were formed, and the influential American banker Frank Altschul took over the leadership of the Radio Committee. Most of the money for KWE activities comes from CIA funds, although public fundraising is carried out in parallel, announcing to the American and world public that they are the basis of the Committee’s activities.
The Free Europe Committee could – in contrast to the official US government agencies – openly postulate the liberation of Central and Eastern European countries from the yoke of the Soviet Union. The tool for this was Radio Free Europe, which in July 1950 began broadcasting in the native language from New York to the countries behind the Iron Curtain. Initially, the broadcast only lasted half an hour.
On July 4, 1950, the first program for Czechoslovakia was broadcast, and on August 4, 1950, the first radio program was directed to Poland – Głos Wolnej Polski. The Polish program was half an hour and then an hour long recorded in a studio in New York. Then they were sent by airmail to Germany and broadcast from an antenna near Frankfurt.
On June 30, 1994, the Polish Broadcasting Station of Radio Free Europe broadcast its final program.
PAP/RL ed. KS
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