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    Robert Sherwood: Handwritten BBC Address to the French People on the Liberation of Paris. Two pages, 8" x 10.25", August 26, 1944, ruled notebook paper, ink. A draft of his BBC address delivered on the occasion of the Allied liberation of Paris in late August, 1944. Robert Sherwood (1896-1955) American playwright, screenwriter, editor and an original member of the Algonquin Round Table. At the outbreak of the Second World War, Sherwood became active in politics, advocating assisting the allies against Hitler despite U.S. neutrality. In June of 1940 he authored a full page newspaper advertisement entitled "Stop Hitler Now!" arguing that anyone who believed that Germany was not a threat to America was "either an imbecile or a traitor". Harry Hopkins soon took notice of Sherwood and hired him to assist in writing a speech for Franklin Roosevelt. He continued writing for FDR until the end of his administration. He also served as director of the Overseas Branch of the Office of War Information (O.W.I.) from 1942 to 1944. Indeed it was the pressure of Anderson, together with William Donovan, upon Roosevelt, which resulted in the formation of the O.W.I. The office, in conjunction with the BBC, formed the American Broadcasting Station in Europe (A.B.S.I.E.) which is the direct predecessor to the present-day Voice of America.

    Titled by Sherwood "For BBC-ABSIE Paris Program", this historic address reads in part: "The British and American radio has brought you this program commemorating the liberation of Paris. We, your Allies, have been broadcasting to you for four years. We have spoken to the people of Paris - the people of France - who have lived under the tyranny of Nazi Germany and the treachery of Vichy. We have reported truthfully the news of grave Allied defeats. We have told you of the reverses that we have suffered in Greece and Crete, Pearl Harbor and Singapore of Rommel's advances in Libya and of the campaigns that brought the German armies into the fatal[?] streets of Stalingrad. And today we are bringing you news of Allied victory on every front - of the demoralization and disintegration of Germany's once powerful war machine...Paris is liberated - and France is once more free to take her place among the great nations of the earth...We look forward with enthusiasm to the day when the Voice of France from France will be joined with our own voices against our common enemies". The liberation of Paris was a most dramatic event, and Sherwood's address magnificently underscores the importance of the moment. The spectacular landing at Normandy on June 6 was followed by nearly two months of stalemate as the Allies reinforced their positions to begin a breakout which began in earnest on August 1, 1944. By August 13, the Allies had completely liberated most of Brittany and everything south to the Loire River. Two days later, in response to the news, Parisian police and métro workers went out on strike, the post office followed on the 16th. The following day, Vicy President Maréchal Pétan is 'invited' by the Germans to leave for the East. The collaborator Pierre Laval leaves Paris that day under German escort. By the 19th Paris was in general insurrection. Soon, German troops were fleeing the city as rapidly as possible, part of a general retreat throughout France toward Germany. On Saturday, August 26, Charles de Gaulle made his triumphant march from the Arc de Triomphe to Notre Dame signaling the end of German occupation. Sherwood later wrote the screenplay for the Academy Award winning film The Best Years of Our Lives, about returning American soldiers following World War II. Fine condition.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2007
    25th-26th Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
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