Guest Post-Short Wave Radio in World War II
Short Wave Radio was used many different ways during World War II. This is as true for the U.S. and Britain as it was in the occupied countries, Berlin, and Tokyo.
With today’s big screen TVs, cellphones, internet, and streaming video, we forget what a different world of communications and entertainment were available less than one hundred years ago. Radios were large affairs built into furniture cabinets, and contained the ability to pull in AM commercial radio stations as well as short wave transmissions from literally halfway across the globe.
The Italians were the first to see the propaganda uses of shortwave radio in broadcasting news and entertainment in Arabic before they attacked Ethiopia. A few years later, the Germans and Japanese followed them in broadcasting in foreign languages to spread their propaganda. During World War II, the Free French and Vichy French encircled the earth with competing messages in French to all of their colonies.
Every country, allied and axis, forbid their citizens from broadcasting on the amateur shortwave bands. These frequencies, used by individuals to talk to friends and strangers around the globe, are still used today by hobbyists. During the war, they could, and were, used to give away information to the enemy by both sides. The way we remember them today is primarily by the resistance movements in German-occupied Europe, but there was some use of individual radio transmitters in various countries.
After December 7, 1941, U.S. citizens could no longer broadcast on home transmitters.
What people could do, and did, was listen to the war news from shortwave stations all over the world. The New York Times and Movie-Radio Guide, the forerunner of TV Guide, printed the time and frequency each day of broadcasts from various country’s radio stations in English.
One of the broadcasts of the axis powers that was particularly popular was a listing of allied servicemen (they were all men in those days) who had been taken prisoner. There were perhaps over one hundred amateur radio hobbyists who, while they couldn’t broadcast while the U.S. was at war, nonetheless could listen. When they heard a serviceman’s name and hometown, they would post a note to the family to let them know their loved one was being held in a POW camp. Families frequently received several letters telling them their soldier, sailor, or airman had been mentioned on the air as being alive and in good health.
The FBI tried to put a stop to the practice of listening to these broadcasts and notifying families that their loved one was safe, if in a POW camp. They felt it was demoralizing and aided the efforts of the enemy. Some of these listeners who wrote to families were considered to be an enemy agent and investigated for years.
The role of shortwave broadcasts that I write about in this story, Deadly Darkness, concerns spying for the enemy. In Olivia’s next adventure, Deadly Cypher, shortwave will play a major role in her work for the British government.
Deadly Darkness is the sixth book in The Deadly Series by Kate Parker. Available in ebook and print from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Apple.
About Deadly Darkness
Deadly Darkness: A World War II Mystery (Deadly Series)
Historical Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Publisher: JDP Press (February 26, 2021)
Digital ASIN: B08P58VKPY
As Britain prepares for an imminent invasion, the murder of a celebrated Arctic explorer leads to the discovery of a web of Nazi spies on the south coast.
July, 1939. Newlywed Olivia Denis Redmond plans to spend a peaceful honeymoon in the country before war rips her soldier husband away. But when she finds a dead body in the midst of a blackout, Olivia is drawn into the investigation.
Since the police inspector isn’t interested in clues pointing to espionage and blackmail, Olivia must unlock secrets hidden for years in this idyllic village and face the wrath of an unseen enemy.
As danger stalks her, can Olivia expose a cunning killer before she becomes the next victim?
Deadly Darkness, the sixth book in the Deadly Series, is for fans of World War II era spy thrillers and classic cozy mysteries, of intrepid lady sleuths with spunk and smarts. No explicit cursing, sex, or violence.
Start exploring this journey or mystery and intrigue today as Britain and Germany draw dangerously close to war.
About Kate Parker
Kate Parker caught the reading bug early, and the writing bug soon followed. She’s always lived in a house surrounded by books and dust bunnies. After spending a dozen years in North Carolina, she moved to Colorado. The Rocky Mountains are beautiful, but she’d developed a love of wide rivers, warmer and wetter weather, and fast-growing greenery that sent her hurrying back to North Carolina.
Deadly Travel is the fifth book in the Deadly Series, and Kate’s plan is to follow it quickly with Deadly Darkness, both set in 1939 in the days leading up to war. There are at least three more of the Deadly Series coming that will bring the beginning of the war to Olivia’s doorstep. Kate reports that she is having fun creating new stories to entertain readers and chaos to challenge her characters.
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