wwii journalism

On some of the streets the stench — sweet and sickish from dead bodies — is overwhelming.
—  So wrote John F. Kennedy, future president, when in Berlin in 1945 as a journalist just after the war. The war was not cleaned up in a day, and Kennedy saw its grisly aftermath. He even saw Hitler’s bunker. Though JFK speculated that the dictator was not killed. “There is no complete evidence, however, that the body that was found was Hitler’s body,” he wrote. “The Russians doubt that he is dead.”

In the summer of 1945, John F. Kennedy traveled across Europe working as a journalist. The diary he kept during those months reveals a future president trying to make sense of a rapidly changing post-war world.

The leather-bound journal will be put up for auction Wednesday, after sitting quietly for nearly six decades in the hands of a former campaign worker. Bidding is expected to top $200,000.

Now You Can Own JFK’s Personal Reflections On History, For A Hefty Price

Image: The diary that John F. Kennedy wrote during the summer of 1945. (Courtesy of RR Auction)

Clare Hollingworth (b. 1911) is a British journalist, the first war correspondent who reported the outbreak of World War II.

She was working for the Daily Telegraph when she was sent, on 31 August 1939, to Poland, to report the worsening tensions in Europe. The next day, shewas the first to report the invasion of Warsaw by Nazi troops to the British embassy. In the following years and decades, she was a correspondent during various conflicts in Palestine, China, Vietnam, and others.

The last witch trial in Britain took place in 1944, at a time when the U.S. was hell-bent on developing some potentially world-ending magic of its own, and the Brits were preoccupied with planning a little thing called D-Day.

Helen Duncan was sort of the Long Island Medium of her day. She traveled the UK holding seances, offering her patrons closure, and probably only swiping the occasional pocket watch. During one such divination in April of 1944, she told a pair of worried parents that two British battleships – including their son’s, the HMS Barhamhad sunk. Military authorities, fearing a leak of state secrets in such close proximity to the Normandy landings and completely oblivious to the fact that Duncan could have garnered the information from a strikingly un-supernatural source known as “the newspaper,” picked her up and charged her with conspiracy, fraud, and, to top it all off, violation of the Witchcraft Act of 1735. Only the black magic charge stuck, and Duncan was sentenced to nine months in prison. For black magic. In 1944.

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