General Charles Douglas 'C.D.' Jackson
NBC-Red produced Dear Adolf in cooperation with The Council for Democracy from its flagship station WEAF, New York City
The Council for Democracy
General Charles Douglas "C.D." Jackson was an expert on psychological warfare who served in the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) in World War II, and later as Special Assistant to the President in the Eisenhower administration. Jackson, then the Vice President of Time Magazine, had formed a 'Council for Democracy,' as a lobbying-and-public-relations firm. The Council soon emerged as an effective and visible counterweight to the shrill isolationist rhetoric of the "America First" organization led by Charles Lindbergh. Jackson, an effective propagandist in his own right, shaped a media operation which by 1940 had placed anti-Hitler editorials and articles in eleven hundred newspapers a week around the country.
In the fall of 1940, the Council for Democracy, led by the noted radio broadcaster Raymond Gram Swing, began a media saturation campaign. The Council for Democracy left no doubt as to its main purpose: 'To crystallize and instill in the minds of Americans the meaning, value, and workability of democracy as a dynamic, vital creed -- just as Nazism, Fascism, and Communism are to their adherents."
Jackson further reorganized The Council for Democracy in 1941, "to combat all the nazi, fascist, communist, pacifist" antiwar groups throughout the United States. Jackson was also one of the early proponents of an "institute for democratic leadership," which he'd first suggested to Princeton University in 1941 to counter Germany's own "Fuehrer Schule" propagandists--by using their own concepts. Though Princeton University appeared less than enthused with the concept, The Johns Hopkins University showed far greater interest. Its School for Advanced International Studies (SAIS) was launched in 1943. From 1950 on, the SAIS became one of America's leading centers for education and training in Foreign Affairs.
Stephen Vincent Benet in Library of His New York Home
America's frustration with the prosecution of our second war with Germany had reached a critical juncture after the Pearl Harbor attacks of December 7, 1941. Having realized that we'd commited to several wars at the same time, the war with Germany seemed the most pressing. Americans across the country had begun writing or displaying their own 'Dear Adolf' letters in an effort to vent some of that frustration.
NBC and The Council For Democracy felt it might be the right time to provide the entire nation with a means to vent some of that frustration in a more public forum. Dear Adolf was conceived as a short Summer series showcasing six weekly "letters to Hitler" framed as reflections of specific segments of American society and culture and their 'open letters' to Adolf Hitler.
To that end, NBC enlisted the support of six great actors of the American Stage and Film: Raymond Massey, Helen Hayes, James Cagney, William Holden, Melvyn Douglas, and Joseph Schildkraut. Each actor would portray a representative from a specific segment of society and their combined reflections, observations, and 'messages' to Adolf Hitler.
The format provided each actor the opportunity to address their own 'concerns' to Hitler, then provided a few more examples of other similar letters from representatives of that segment of American society. Though understandably propaganda, it was the right propaganda at the right time. The chance to vicariously vent some of that frustration through people American had grown to trust proved, in practice, to be a cathartic experience to listeners across the nation.
LIFE magazine highlighted the Dear Adolf series with a six-page article in its July 27th 1942 issue
The article published the entire script of the July 26th episode, 'The American Soldier,' as voiced by Private William Holden
The last page of the script for 'The American Soldier'
The Billboard reviewed the second episode of Dear Adolf in its July 11th 1942 issue
Notes on Provenances:
The most helpful provenances were newspaper listings and LIFE magazine.
Bogus Encoding Alert: virtually all circulating collections of Dear Adolf are up-encoded from their original 64-bit encodes to 'fake' 128-bit encodes. This practice renders an identical-sounding recording with the identical sound wave characteristics and content but wastes almost 6 Mbs of storage per recording. The nominal size of a 15-minute, 64-bit .mp3 recording is about 7 Mbs. Whoever's engaging in this practice is simply attempting to give the appearance of a 'near-CD quality' encode to a nominally encoded 64-bit .mp3. Buyers and downloaders beware.
We encounter frauds like the above day in and day out circulating throughout the otr community. In the 'race to the bottom,' apparently it's 'no-holds barred' now. This is most certainly not vintage Radio preservation. It's simply yet another of thousands of online and eBay vintage Radio scams on a par with 'Nigerian inheritance' scams. The more hang-time podcasters can trick naive downloaders into wasting, the longer they can bombard you with all their ads and banner exchanges--all the more opportunity to generate income on their 'free downloading' and 'free podcasting' sites, at your expense. And of course you end up filling up your iPod or other portable device with as much as 40 Mbs of wasted storage in the process.
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[Date, title, and episode column annotations in red refer to either details we have yet to fully provenance or other unverifiable information as of this writing. Red highlights in the text of the 'Notes' columns refer to information upon which we relied in citing dates, date or time changes, or titles.]