H.V. Kaltenborn’s round-the-clock reports on the Munich crisis of 1938 established him so firmly in the public mind as the voice of crisis from abroad, it’s recalled by his biographers that many American radio listeners were not fooled by Orson Welles’ panic-inducing “War of the Worlds” broadcast because Kaltenborn was not on it and surely would have been had the crisis been real.
Like many American correspondants who investigated reports of Nazi brutality as Hitler came to power, such as beatings of Americans who wouldn’t give the Nazi salute, Kaltenborn was known to suspect that the reports were exaggerated. Some biographers suggest his mind was changed when his own son suffered such a beating. H.V.K. acknowledged in later writings that he was slow to alter his view that Hitler was too radical and unstable to achieve power or long hold it.
Among the few American journalists to interview Hitler in the early 1930’s, Kaltenborn was the only one to interview Hitler several times. A few photos from Kalenborn’s book “Fifty Fabulous Years,” published in 1950 by G. P. Putnam Sons, and sent along by Bill Diehl, were recently published on this site. Bill has now sent a long a few pages about those Hitler interviews. Here they are.
End of excerpts from “Fifty Fabulous Years”