Franck Bauer and the epic of Radio London

Franck Bauer tells us, from the pen of his nephew Bernard Crochet, his adventures in the midst of the war on the waves during the years 1940-1944. Through great figures such as journalists Maurice Schumman and Pierre Bourdan as well as General Charles de Gaulles, Franck Bauer looks back on the fight of radiosdetermined to face the propaganda. He gives us with emotion the testimony of his first steps on the radio where he will officiate at the French BBC in Radio London with the program "the French speak to the French".

About Franck Bauer

Franck Bauer was born on July 2, 1918, to a father who was an architect of historic monuments and a mother who was a professor of Philosophy. When war broke out, he decided to embark for England and join the Free French Forces. Before his adventure with the BBC, Franck Bauer had many facets: propagandist, host of a spy ring and spy in the United States. He refused the post of commissioner of the navy to devote himself to radio and in March 1941 joined the Radio London team. It was then that he became a speaker for the show "the French speak to the French".

After the war, Franck Bauer was correspondent for the A.F.P., attached to the cabinet of Pierre Bourdan, secretary general of the Comédie Française, then professor at the Sorbonne. He creates the first public relations firm.

Free French broadcasting ...

The armistice of May 10, 1940 marked the seizure of the occupiers over part of the territory and over the French radio landscape. Following General de Gaulle's call, on June 18, 1940, the radio stations were gradually reorganized across the Atlantic and in the colonies to offer a program of entertainment and support for resistance fighters.

Radio London begins in June 1940 and will offer 17 various programs such as: The French speak to the French, Homage and homeland moderated by Maurice Schumann, Couriers from France or The little academy. In January 1942, Franck Bauer hosted his own radio show devoted to Jazz: Radio Swing Club.

Initiated on June 19, 1940 following General de Gaulle's speech, the famous program The French speak to the French is then called Here France and will start on July 14, 1940 at 8:15 p.m., symbolic day of the national holiday. Jacques Duchesnes, Jean Oberlé and Pierre Lefèvre decide to form a team which will host the program until 1944. Franck Bauer also pays tribute to his former colleagues in this book: Maurice Schumman, Pierre Bourdan (Pierre Maillaud), Jacques Duchesnes (Michel Saint-Denis), Jean Oberlé, Pierre Lefèvre, to name a few. The twenty animated journalists are the subject of a short personal biography recounting their involvement in the team and their links with our author.

Radio London wants to be entertaining and denounces the collaboration and the STO (Service du Travail Obligatoire). She doesn't hesitate to read good and bad news as well as letters from listeners. Radio London is also a means of relaying coded messages intended for resistance fighters and of organizing psychological campaigns against the Germans. The turtle campaign encourages the French to work slowly and the campaign V in 1941 encouraged them to cover the walls and cars with the "V" of victory.

Gradually, the radios of the colonies are used more and more. This is the case of Radio Brazzaville, created at the request of General de Gaulle in October 1940 thanks to which he organized the demonstration of May 11 and Radio Algiers offering quality programming. Franck Bauer also talks about his career at Radio Antananarivo in Madagascar where he commented for a year on current affairs, literary and musical programs from June 1943 to May 1944.

The message of the BBC "The long sobs of the autumn violins wound my heart with a monotonous languor" broadcast on June 5, 1944 announced the Allied landing in Normandy the next day.

... in the face of Nazi propaganda

With Radio Vichy and Radio-Paris, German propaganda, led by Goebbels the Minister of the Reich, is intensifying in France. The occupier will do everything to block the radio of the Free French, in particular through censorship, unsuccessful attempts at jamming, seizures of TSF stations and anti-Semitic broadcasts. The state banned listening to the BBC in October 1940 and punished her with a fine and jail.

Radio Vichy premiered on August 8, 1940 offers 20 hours of variety per week and 16 hours of daily information including family, music, food and culture programs as well as intoxication shows.

The programs are also relayed on the private radios in Toulouse, Montpellier, Nîmes, Agent, Lyon or even on Mediterranean radio. Private French radio stations which depend on subsidies of the State of Vichy are obliged to broadcast propaganda programs. This grant allowed them to record 60 hours per month.

To cope with the BBC show titled The Little Academy, the Germans publish the primer for the use of small children by inventing pejorative expressions. This is the case of the word "Dingaullism" directed against the BBC whose symptoms are described as "an epidemic characterized by a frenzied feverishness, an aggressiveness in total rupture with reality".

Radio-Paris, which mixes propaganda and entertainment, offers a wide musical program and programs on collaboration. It has its own symphony orchestra. We remember the famous slogan of Jean Oberlé which denounces the practices of this radio station: " Radio-Paris lies, Radio-Paris lies, Radio-Paris is German To the tune of the cucaracha. During the liberation of Paris, Radio-Paris will cease broadcasting on August 18, 1944. Two days later, it will sound the Marseillaise followed by a new message "Here broadcasting from the French nation."

Our opinion

Bernard Crochet retraces in nine chapters the epic journey of Franck Bauer while taking care to explain the context of the war on the waves between 1940 and 1944. The reader might be surprised by the change of approach in certain chapters, sometimes chronological and sometimes thematic, but will plunge back with pleasure into the epic of Radio London told in detail and emotion by Franck Bauer.

The author strives to clarify each acronym and illustrates his words with excerpts from radio interventions that we enjoy rediscovering. This is particularly the case with General de Gaulle's appeal on June 18, 1940 and the parodied songs. The well-documented book invites further reading thanks to an indicative bibliography.

Bernard Crochet, historian and journalist, is the author of numerous articles for the Revue des Monuments Historiques. He also took care of cultural engineering (Caen Memorial). He has already published, alone or in collaboration, more than 40 books including Les plus belles bastides du Sud-Ouest and Commanderies and Templar villages with Editions Ouest-France..

Bernard Crochet, Franck Bauer and the epic of Radio London, Editions Ouest France, March 2013

Video: Robbie Vincent - Radio London - recorded Nov 1981 - Jan 1982 - Tapes 23A u0026 24B 1st half (January 2022).