Glos Ameryki

Audio, Glos Ameryki, History, Photo, Poland, Public Diplomacy, Radio, Russia, VOA

WWII Voice of America aired Stalin propaganda to cover up his role in Katyn massacre

WWII Voice of America aired Stalin propaganda to cover up his role in Katyn massacre

From deliberate pro-Stalin WWII propaganda to careless “pro-Puntin bias” — Avoiding propaganda pitfalls at Voice of America

By Ted Lipien

Official documents declassified and released by the National Archives since 2012 show that during World War II and for years afterwards, the U.S. Government-run Voice of America external radio station broadcast Soviet propaganda and disinformation to Poland and to other countries throughout the world with the intention of covering up Stalin’s crimes. This was done primarily in the interest of supporting immediate U.S. military and foreign policy wartime goals set by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) and other high-ranking U.S. officials. It was a far cry from the promise enunciated in what was later presented as VOA’s first broadcast on February 25, 1942 or about that time. The Voice of America did not adopt its full official name until a few years later but it was the same broadcasting organization, first within the Office of War Information (OWI) and after 1945 within the U.S. State Department (VOA staff was reduced in 1945, but many former OWI broadcasters continued to be employed by the State Department. Sometime in early 1942, a broadcaster announced in the first German U.S. shortwave radio broadcast to Germany: “The news may be good. The news may be bad. But we shall tell you the truth.”

WWII diplomatic dispatches and other accounts prove beyond any doubt that following the wishes of the Roosevelt White House, its own parent agency, the Office of War Information–but largely on their own initiative and through the work of some of its staffers who later joined communist regimes in Eastern Europe–the Voice of America, although it was not yet its official name at the time, was guilty of hiding, censoring, distorting and minimizing news about Stalin’s order to kill Polish military officers and other POWs, estimated to number over 20,000, in in what became known as the 1940 Katyń Forest Massacre near Smolensk and at other locations in the Soviet Union.

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Cold War, Glos Ameryki, Poland, Video, VOA

Jerzy Popiełuszko – Vice President George H.W. Bush Visits Slain Priest’s Grave, Poland 1987

During his visit to Poland in September 1987, U.S. Vice President George H.W. Bush took part in a wreath-laying ceremony for Father Jerzy Popieluszko at the St. Stanislaw Kostka Church in Warsaw (September 28, 1987). Voice of America VOA Polish Service director Tadeusz (Ted) Lipien reported on the visit from Warsaw.

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Cold War, Glos Ameryki, History, Media, Poland, Video, VOA

Tomlinson on Voice of America coverage of Pope John Paul II

Former Voice of America (VOA) director and former Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) Chairman Ken Tomlinson, who died recently, told Voice of America two years ago that his most memorable moment at VOA was to visit the Polish Service and help arrange extensive news coverage of Pope John Paul II’s visit to Poland when the country was still under communist rule during the Cold War. The Pope’s visit to Poland helped the suppressed Solidarity trade union to intensify its peaceful struggle for democracy and eventually resulted in the fall of communism. Father Stefan Filipowicz, a Chicago-based Jesuit priest and former director of the Polish Service at Vatican Radio, provided religious commentary from a VOA studio in Washington during the coverage of the papal visit. Live audio transmission from Poland was provided to VOA by Vatican Radio.

Ken Tomlinson and his wife Rebecca later traveled to Rome with VOA Polish Service director Ted Lipien to meet Pope John Paul II who thanked the Voice of America for broadcasting news to his countrymen in Poland under communism.

Thanks to Ken Tomlinson’s support, funding from the Reagan administration and full bipartisan backing in the U.S. Congress, the Polish Service became one of the most successful language services in the history of VOA, with over 70% weekly audience reach in Poland in the late 1980s.

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Cold War, Glos Ameryki, History, Photo, Poland, VOA

Ted Lipien remembers Ken Tomlinson

Kenneth Y. Tomlinson

Ted Lipien remembers Ken Tomlinson

I met Ken Tomlinson for the first time in 1982 when he became Voice of America director and I was in charge of VOA broadcasts to Poland. Ken asked me what the Polish Service needed to expand its news coverage and later made sure we got everything we wanted: more employees in Washington and reporters in the U.S., more overseas correspondents and stringers, more money to cover Solidarity-related news stories in the U.S. and in Europe.

Ken Tomlinson understood that the Polish Service was at that moment in VOA’s history the key to the success of its mission. Our audience grew to over 70 percent of the population and at the end communism in Poland collapsed and democracy was peacefully restored. There is no doubt that Ken Tomlinson, the Voice of America, and especially Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty, helped Ronald Reagan bring down “the evil empire” faster than it would have happened otherwise.

Still during the martial law in Poland in the 1980s, I traveled with Ken and his wife Rebecca to Rome to meet Pope John Paul II. It was a brief meeting at a general audience, but the Pope showed a lot of interest in our work and asked a few questions. He thanked us for VOA news broadcasts to his beloved country.

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Audio, Cold War, Glos Ameryki, Poland, Public Diplomacy, VOA

Martial law prisoners in Poland praised Reagan, Voice of America and Radio Free Europe

Originally posted on December 4, 2013

Today’s political prisoners who are fighting for democracy and human rights are still being held in China, Iran and in many other countries. While much of Central and Eastern Europe, previously under Soviet domination is now free, Belarus and Russia are still ruled by autocratic leaders and pro-democracy forces in Ukraine are struggling to free their country from Putin’s blackmail. Attacks on independent journalists continue in Russia. Media freedom and human rights situation in many other nations can be far worse.

In some countries like Iran, Tibet and China, even in the age of the Internet and smart phones, radio broadcasts remain the safest and still a vital link to uncensored outside information for pro-democracy and human rights activists and their families and supporters, although some individuals find ways to get their news from the blocked Internet sites. Tibetan monks told an NPR reporter that they listen to Voice of America (VOA) shortwave broadcasts. Blind Chinese human rights campaigner Chen Guangcheng said after being granted asylum in the United States that he was able to listen to VOA and Radio Free Asia even while being held in a Chinese prison camp. He did not disclose how it became possible for him to get a radio receiver into prison, but other political prisoners in other countries reported similar feats before. At the very least, their families were able to listen to Western radio broadcasts and pass on news to prisoners during prison visits.

In the early 1980s, America’s attention was on Poland and on Solidarity trade union leaders being interned by the communist regime of General Wojciech Jaruzelski, who on December 13, 1981 had declared martial law. President Ronald Reagan and the rest of America immediately offered their moral and material support to Solidarność.

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Cold War, Glos Ameryki, History, Photo, Poland, Public Diplomacy, VOA

Lech Walesa’s Nov. 15, 1989 speech in Congress was broadcast jointly by Voice of America and Polish Radio

Photograph of President George H.W. Bush and Lech Wałęsa was taken a day before Solidarity leader’s historic speech to the joint session of the United States Congress on November 15, 1989. The historic speech delivered on November 15, 1989 by Solidarity leader Lech Wałęsa to the joint session of the United States Congress was broadcast to Poland in a joint…

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Audio, Cold War, Glos Ameryki, History, Media, Poland, Public Diplomacy, Radio, Video, VOA

Lech Walesa 70th Birthday Stamp – Historic VOA Interviews – 1985 – 1987 – 2002

“It is difficult to imagine what would have happened if it were not for the Voice of America and other sources with the help of which the true information squeezed through, which showed a different point of view, which said that we are not alone and that something is happening in the country — because our mass media did not…

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Audio, Cold War, Glos Ameryki, History, International Broadcasting, Media, Photo, Poland, Public Diplomacy, Radio, Russia, VOA

Zbigniew Brzezinski o Jałcie – About Yalta, 1985

In an article for the Winter 1984/1985 issue of Foreign Affairs, “A Divided Europe: The Future of Yalta,” Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski wrote that “Yalta is unfinished business. Forty years after the fateful Crimean meeting of February 4-11, 1945, between the Allied Big Three of World War II, much of our current (1984/1985) preoccupation with Yalta focuses on its myth rather…

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Audio, Cold War, Glos Ameryki, History, International Broadcasting, Poland, Public Diplomacy, VOA

Importance of U.S.-Polish Ties Underscored by Vice President Bush During 1987 Visit to Krakow

The audio report is in Polish and English. Link to audio. In 1987, the U.S. Department of State upgraded the status of the Consulate in Krakow, designating it as a Consulate General. On September 29, 1987, visiting U.S. Vice President George H.W. Bush led a designation ceremony and spoke about the strength of U.S.-Polish ties, especially ties with Southern Poland.…

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Audio, Cold War, Featured, Glos Ameryki, History, International Broadcasting, Poland, Public Diplomacy, Radio, VOA

We are condemned to reach an agreement in Poland, Walesa told VOA Polish Service in 1987

Poland’s communist regime organized a referendum on political and economic reforms, which was held on 29 November 1987. Around a third of eligible voters did not participate, defying the regime. It was the first time that Communist authorities in Eastern Europe had lost a vote. I covered the referendum for the Voice of America (VOA) Polish Service. After the vote,…

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