History Book: The invasion of Poland and Hurricane Camille


NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Monday, August 26th. Thank you for listening to WORLD Radio today! Good morning. I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. Coming next on The World and Everything in It: the WORLD Radio History Book.

Today, a girl missing for 18 years is found alive, and 50 years ago this month, one of the deadliest hurricanes in U.S. history pounds the southern coast.

EICHER: But first, 80 years ago this week, Germany sparks World War II. Here’s Paul Butler.

PAUL BUTLER, REPORTER: We begin today with the invasion of Poland.

NEWSREEL: The German pole begins its ruthless march of conquest and sets the stage for World War II. 

German aggression in the region started more than a year earlier. First it occupied bordering Austria. Not long after, it annexed Czechoslovakia. Hitler then demanded parts of Poland be reunited with Germany. Polish leaders refused. 

Hitler entered into a secret nonaggression pact with Stalin, protecting Germany, at least for the time being, from Russian interference. While Britain and France tried to stop him through diplomatic channels, he strengthened his military presence along the Polish border. Germany’s invasion began on September 1st, 1939. 

NEWSREEL: Tens of thousands of square miles of territory shrink before the movement of lightning armored columns. Poland and the world learn the meaning of a new word: blitzkrieg. 

France and Britain, both allies of Poland, respond by declaring war against Germany on September 3rd. British Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain:

NEWSREEL: I have to tell you now that this country is at war with Germany. You can imagine what a bitter blow it is to me after all my long struggle to win peace has failed…

It took German forces less than five weeks to subdue Poland. But the nation never officially surrendered. Instead it formed the “Polish government-in-exile.” It also effectively undermined occupied forces through a large underground resistance network. 

After the war, Poland fell under Soviet Russian rule, but the underground government continued in exile for decades—until the Polish people elected their first non-Communist president in 1990

MUSIC: [Polish anthem]

Next, August 19th, 1969, 50 years ago this month. 

ELDER: What was once Hurricane Camille has now moved into the Mississippi Delta, north of Jackson….

New Orleans CBS news anchor, Bill Elder. 

ELDER: The President, President Nixon, has declared Mississippi a disaster area…

When Hurricane Camille came ashore, she wallopped the Mississippi Delta with sustained winds of more than 175 miles per hour. Reporter Jim Metcalf witnessed the storm’s fury:

NEWSCAST: Last night during the height of the storm, we were on the second floor of the building, we could feel the building shake—water was coming in around the doors. Our car was parked below. We found it this morning around the corner. It’ll be weeks, possibly months, before the complete toll in lives and property of this storm is known…

Camille killed 143 people in Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. As the storm moved inland it dumped more than 27 inches of rain. Killing an additional 153 people as a result of flooding and mudslides. 

Hurricane Camille remains the second most intense hurricane on record to strike the United States. 

SONG: [Hurricane by The Band of Heathens]

And finally, August 26th, 2009:

NEWSCAST: And good afternoon, we’re live in the CBS newsroom with updates on the breaking news… 

In California, Jaycee Dugard is discovered alive. She was abducted 18 years earlier from Lake Tahoe. El Dorado County Sheriff Fred Koller:

KOLLER: I’m very happy to be in front of you under these circumstances, Jaycee Dugard was found alive in Antioch…[chokes up]…excuse me…

The 11-year old was kidnapped on her way to school in 1991. Her abductor was Phillip Garrido, a registered sex-offender. Three years into her captivity, Jaycee had her first child by Garrido. Three years after that she had a second child. Even though Garrido was under low-level supervision by local law enforcement, no one discovered the three girls living in his backyard—even after a neighbor reported the tents to police. 

In 2009, Garrido inexplicably brought the girls along to the University of California Berkeley campus police department while he sought permission to hold a special event at the university. An observant police officer sensed something wasn’t quite right and investigated Garrido. She discovered that the terms of his parole mandated he was to have no contact with minors. Police arrested him. 

The now 29 year old Jaycee eventually revealed her true identity to the police and was reunited with her mother.

CBS NEWS: Local law enforcement agencies confirm that both Dugard and her mother are here in the Bay Area…

Two years later, a judge sentenced Phillip Garrido to 431 years to life imprisonment while his wife and accomplice was sentenced to 36. 

DUGAURD: I want to thank my mom the hope she has always had for me, even when I was so far away…

Today Jaycee is an advocate for families facing similar trauma.

That’s this week’s WORLD Radio History Book, I’m Paul Butler.


(Photo/NOAA)

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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