VE Day back story: Did the Stripes reporter keep his promise to delay reporting the Nazi surrender?
Published: May 7, 2012
Here’s another take on AP reporter Ed Kennedy’s 1945 scoop on the Nazi surrender 67 years ago today – the story of Stars and Stripes reporter Charles Kiley, who covered the surrender negotiations and (unlike Kennedy) kept his promise to Allied military authorities to delay reporting the actual surrender for 36 hours. David Kiley recounts in the Huffington Post how his father viewed Kennedy’s “cowboy” decision to break the embargo on his own. Good reading in full, though I’ll just quote one point here:
“[L]et's not think for a minute that Kennedy was motivated by ‘the people's right to know.’ Recalling my father's account, I know he said the following to me, though it is not on tape: ‘Kennedy wanted the scoop, plain and simple.’"
Thanks for the on-topic comments so far. Any other thoughts about who did the right thing: Kennedy or Kiley?
Meanwhile, I couldn’t find a full version of Kennedy’s original story online, but here’s a link to the New York Times front page that carried that AP story.
In case you were straining your eyes to read that front page, here’s how Kennedy’s story opens (from a printed collection):
“REIMS, FRANCE, May 7, 1945 (AP) – Germany surrendered unconditionally to the Western Allies and Russia at 2:41 a.m. French time today. (This was at 8:41 p.m., Eastern war time Sunday.)
"The surrender took place at a little red school house which is the headquarters of Gen. Eisenhower.
"The surrender, which brought the war in Europe to a formal end after five years, eight months and six days of bloodshed and destruction, was signed for Germany by Col. Gen. Gustav Jodl.”
One final link, to the story of AP’s apology in the newspaper at which Kennedy was later editor, The Herald of Monterey County, Calif. That story notes a local monument to Kennedy, inscribed with this succinct justification: "He gave the world an extra day of happiness."