The Price of Truth: The Journalist Who Defied Military Censors to Report the Fall of Nazi Germany
November 27, 2023
Meet VCU Authors: Richard Fine, PhD
Start time: 12:00 p.m.
End time: 1:00 p.m
On May 7, 1945, veteran AP journalist Edward Kennedy’s bypassed military censorship to break the news of Germany’s surrender which he had just witnessed in Reims, France. He did so after authorities had prohibited release of the story for at least another day at the behest of their Russian allies. The Price of Truth recounts the drama surrounding the German surrender and Kennedy’s controversial scoop.
The Paris press corps was furious at what it took to be Kennedy’s unethical betrayal; military authorities threatened court-martial before expelling him from Europe. Kennedy defended himself by insisting that the news was being withheld for suspect political reasons unrelated to military security, and that the American public were entitled to know that the war had ended as soon as possible. No action by an American correspondent during the entire war proved more controversial, and when the dust settled after prolonged national debate, Kennedy’s career was in ruins.
In this talk, Dr. Fine will relate the story of Kennedy’s surrender story, discuss a few of the research conundrums that arose during the work, and indicate how it subverts what we think we know about media-military relations, challenging the accepted view that those relations were amicable during World War II only later to run off the rails during the Vietnam War. Those relations during World War II, when shorn of “Good War” nostalgia, resemble those in Vietnam and thereafter far more than existing accounts would have it.
About the Speaker
Richard Fine, PhD is Professor Emeritus in the English department at Virginia Commonwealth University, where he taught American literature, film, and American studies courses for 42 years. His previous two books were about authorship and intellectual property in the US, but throughout the past decade, his research took a turn toward the relationship of the press and the military during and after the Second World War. FIne is currently working on a book about the press coverage of D-Day when he isn’t chasing his two-year-old grandson around various parks.