The End of the Second World War and the Firing of the Journalist Who Announced It

From an AP story about the end of the Second World War in Europe and the firing of its news correspondent for breaking the embargo on release of the news:

REIMS, France (AP) — Nazi commanders signed their surrender to Allied forces in a French schoolhouse 75 years ago this week, ending World War II in Europe and the Holocaust. Unlike the mass street celebrations that greeted this momentous news in 1945, surviving veterans are marking V-E Day this year in coronavirus confinement, sharing memories with loved ones in private, instead of in the company of comrades on public parade.

Associated Press reporters and photographers covered the war around the world, at great risk. Five AP journalists were killed, including correspondent Joe Morton, who was executed by the Nazis. On May 7, 1945, AP witnessed the Nazi surrender, and was the first to announce it to the Allied public, defying authorities who wanted to delay the momentous announcement. . . .

Edward Kennedy, then AP’s chief of bureau in Paris, was present at the surrender and was the first to report the end of the war in Europe to the United States and the world, bypassing the Allied political embargo.

The news was broadcast unofficially over German radio, but U.S. President Harry Truman and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill had agreed to suppress news of the capitulation for a day, in order to allow Russian dictator Josef Stalin to stage a second surrender ceremony in Berlin.

Kennedy published anyway, angering U.S. authorities. The military suspended AP’s ability temporarily to dispatch any news from the European theater, and Kennedy was called home by AP and later fired.

AP issued a public apology in 2012, saying Kennedy “did everything just right,” because the embargo was for political reasons, not to protect the troops.

“The world needed to know,” AP’s then-President and CEO Tom Curley said. Kennedy ”stood up to power.”

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