Living through any war is a horrific event. Radio was used by many countries to ensure that their troops were in the right places. In a sense the radio was an ally to many people, yet we don’t always realize its importance. World War I also saw many countries using radio to pass messages from place-to-place and person-to-person.
The only problem with using the radio was that others could listen in on the messages being relayed back and forth. This led to the infamous cryptology machines, such as the American ECM Mark II or SIGABA model, that were designed by many countries to send out coded messages that could not be read by anyone else. For every coded message that went over the airwaves, a room of people in another country were listening in to try and decode it.
In the UK, the BBC had a radio station called the Wartime Broadcasting Service. This was created before World War II and didn’t become deactivated until the mid-1990s. The idea was that if a nuclear attack occurred, people could still listen in to the radio for announcements. Luckily this station never had to be used.
We shouldn’t forget that radio played a role as a propaganda tool as well. While the Nazis broadcast radio messages promoting the Nazi way of life, the Americans and various other countries promoted more positive messages. While these were seen on posters as well, the radio was also used as a method for getting the message across – whatever that message might be.
Voice of America is owned by the federal government and started life back in World War II. It provided a source of news and information for many people in many places. The station even broadcast to Germany as well.
Different people did their bit for the effort to keep radio communications open and useful during the Vietnam War. Adrian Cronauer was once a sergeant in the US Air Force and was the man behind the story in the famous film Good Morning Vietnam. He had been interested in the radio since before he was a teenager, but no one could have predicted that he would make such a name for himself on the American Forces Network.
It is clear that in any future wars to come, the radio will very likely still be there as a key player in proceedings.