Under the command of General Eisenhower Allied Naval Forces supported by strong Air Forces began landing Allied Armies this morning on the northern coast of France.
With these words the invasion became official allowing the media to begin openly reporting what was occuring this June 6th morning. Although the media strongly suspected that the German reports were correct that invasion had begun, they chose not to make it official until there was confirmation from the Allies. That is what Communique #1 established.
The reaction was certainly not one of surprise. Much of the networks material had been prepared in advance. They knew essentially what was going to happen, but not when or where. Both NBC and CBS reporters knew that history was recording their reactions. Just how philosophical they wanted to be varied. Robert Trout of CBS began his comments slowly with "This...means...invasion." NBC's Robert St. John who takes up the tones of a preacher in moments like this relayed his comments.
Briefly, Robert Trout introduced Major George Fielding Eliot the Columbia military expert. Eliot really doesn't contribute much at this point who then hands it back to Trout. What becomes disappointing at this point with the CBS coverage is how Trout returns to his pre-announcement tour of the newsroom teletype machines. Granted, there wasn't a whole of information coming in at this point, but NBC brings out one of its then superstars - H.V. Kaltenborn to bring us up to date with his analysis. It should be understood that Kaltenborn's reputation at this time was very similar to the position Walter Cronkite later held in the late sixties and seventies.
A little later into the hour CBS commentator/reporter Quentin Reynolds arrived and gave his reaction. It is one filled with personal experience of working with American G.I.'s. About a minute into his commentary, it is interrupted for another important report from Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force, but then resumes.
One innovative element of radio's reporting which was developed during the war years and implemented with the D-day coverage was the concept of a pool broadcast. A Pool would include broadcasters from the reporting agencies whose reports were shared among all of those agencies. The identification of their affiliation was decidedly absent. One such pool broadcast was a reaction to the invasion by the NBC reporter John W. Vandercook. His report was carried on all networks.
While NBC stuck to simply doing the best it could reporting the breaking news, CBS made attempts to educate the listener on how the news was covered. As with the earlier examples above where Bob Trout references the teletypes, this exchange between the Director of News, Paul White, and one of the CBS men assigned to the London bureau, Charles Shaw demonstrates how reports were presented to the American public.Back to D-Day Home Page