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Ed Kennedy's War

V-E Day, Censorship, and the Associated Press

Ed Kennedy

Publication Year: 2012

On May 7, 1945, Associated Press reporter Ed Kennedy became the most famous—or infamous—American correspondent of World War II. On that day in France, General Alfred Jodl signed the official documents as the Germans surrendered to the Allies. Army officials allowed a select number of reporters, including Kennedy, to witness this historic moment—but then instructed the journalists that the story was under military embargo. In a courageous but costly move, Kennedy defied the military embargo and broke the news of the Allied victory. His scoop generated instant controversy. Rival news organizations angrily protested, and the AP fired him several months after the war ended. In this absorbing and previously unpublished personal account, Kennedy recounts his career as a newspaperman from his early days as a stringer in Paris to the aftermath of his dismissal from the AP. During his time as a foreign correspondent, he covered the Spanish Civil War, the rise of Mussolini in Italy, unrest in Greece, and ethnic feuding in the Balkans. During World War II, he reported from Greece, Italy, North Africa, and the Middle East before heading back to France to cover its liberation and the German surrender negotiations. His decision to break the news of V-E Day made him front-page headlines in the New York Times. In his narrative, Kennedy emerges both as a reporter with an eye for a good story and an unwavering foe of censorship. This edition includes an introduction by Tom Curley and John Maxwell Hamilton, as well as a prologue and epilogue by Kennedy’s daughter, Julia Kennedy Cochran. Their work draws upon newly available records held in the Associated Press Corporate Archives.

Published by: Louisiana State University Press

Series: From Our Own Correspondent

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-iv


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pp. v

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pp. vii-xxi

At 3:24 p.m., May 7, 1945, the phone rang in the London bureau of the Associated Press.1 The newsroom, as later described, was filled with cigarette smoke and anticipation. Hitler and Mussolini were dead. The Russians were in Berlin. German forces had surrendered in Baldham, Breslau, the Netherlands, and elsewhere. ...

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pp. xxiii-xxv

In 1950 my father, Edward Kennedy, completed this memoir of his ten-year experience as a foreign correspondent in the Spanish Civil War and World War II. Five years earlier, his breaking the news of the German surrender had been hailed by some as “the scoop of the century” and denounced by others as “the greatest double-cross in the history of journalism.” ...

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pp. xxvii-xxviii

This book owes its existence to my late mother, Lyn Crost Stern, who saved Edward Kennedy’s manuscript from oblivion. She was thoroughly familiar with it, having typed it for my father. After a short and stormy marriage, they divorced, and she remarried a few years later. ...

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pp. 3-15

September 3, 1935, would serve as well as any date to mark the beginning of the prewar period, the start of the buildup for World War II. The postwar era ended in the middle twenties, when the last patch was put on the physical wreckage of World War I. An interlude of precious calm, highlighted by the Truce of Locarno, followed.1

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pp. 16-27

It may have been that I met only pro-fascists in Perpignan, on the French side of the Pyrenees, but everyone I talked to told me to expect the worst in “Red Spain.” I had intended to obtain a Spanish visa there but was advised that it would be better to enter the Loyalist side of Spain without one, for the Spanish consul in Perpignan was for Franco.1...

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pp. 28-47

Italy in 1937 was on the way to war, and the Italian people were already weary of the adventure. “Better a day as a lion than a hundred days as a sheep,” Mussolini told them. He borrowed the slogan from an Italian soldier who wrote it on a wall near the front in 1915. ...

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pp. 48-59

Uneasy peace reigned in southeastern Europe in the fall of 1939. Many there could hardly believe the strange turn of events—a war in Europe going into its second month and still not a shot fired in the Balkans.1 Amidst the relief there was almost a trace of disappointment among some more adventurous...

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pp. 60-85

Egypt is the Nile and the Nile is Egypt, the saying goes. I saw proof of this before setting my foot on Egyptian soil. For hours the plane winged over a tawny expanse of desert, an overwhelming emptiness. Then I saw a green ribbon with a glistening silver thread running through it. ...

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pp. 86-100

Again I found that Cairo had not changed much. The rich Egyptians had got richer from war profits, the poor had become poorer from the high cost of living. Important reinforcements had arrived, and the capital was more crowded than ever. American uniforms were now in evidence...

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pp. 101-112

Algiers, for all its natural charm, was drab compared with Cairo. In Cairo, civil life went on through the war, no more than a little hemmed in; in Algiers, it was ground down until it was hardly noticeable. The military was in full control and in possession of almost every large building and countless homes...

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pp. 113-129

With North Africa and Sicily in the bag, preparations were pushed for something bigger, Operation Avalanche. It was to be the first thrust into Hitler’s Fortress Europe. Handing out assignments for each offensive chilled me. I never could be sure that I would see all members of the staff again. ...

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pp. 130-150

“So you’re going to France,” said stevedores, street hawkers, shopkeepers, and janitresses in Naples when correspondents showed up there for the “secret” embarkment for the invasion of the French Riviera. Everyone seemed fully informed on the impending operation. Yet when the landings were made, the Germans apparently were taken by surprise. ...

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pp. 151-172

Early in April 1945 German resistance on the western front was crumbling fast. Patton’s Third Army was encountering opposition in Bavaria, where the Nazis had dreamed of a prolonged stand in a “national redoubt,” but the Ninth Army, farther north, reached the Elbe, a bare sixty miles from Berlin, on April 11. ...

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pp. 173-187

General Allen arranged a suitable ceremony for my disaccreditation as a war correspondent and my expulsion from France. It was held in his office. The order was read by an assistant adjutant general while Allen looked on sternly and his cabinet stood at attention. A stranger happening into the office at that moment might have thought...

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pp. 188-189

Once the record had been cleared, I was ready to take a new job. I found two opportunities to return to Europe, various offers of posts on newspapers in this country, and a chance to be a Hollywood press agent. I decided to remain in this country; after an absence of ten years it was a new and fascinating land to me. ...

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pp. 191-201

I don’t know much about how my parents first met, but Ernest Hemingway had something to do with it. My mother, Lyn Crost, was working as a reporter for the AP in Washington when the United States entered World War II. She begged for an assignment as a war correspondent but was turned down. ...

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E-ISBN-13: 9780807145265
Print-ISBN-13: 9780807145258

Page Count: 240
Publication Year: 2012

Series Title: From Our Own Correspondent