Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Cold War Radios: Freedom Sky Drop 1955

Cold War Radios: Freedom Sky Drop 1955:

Fascinating example of Cold War broadcasting, where they put a price on freedom. One dollar buys 100 words! And that was a time when Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty were being run by the CIA.

In 1954, the US Crusade for Freedom’s national campaign took place as “Freedom Week”, which began on the birthday of President Abraham Lincoln and ended on President George Washington’s birthday, 22 February.

The Civil Air Patrol, the Crusade for Freedom, and the American Legion sponsored the Freedom Sky Drop project jointly, during Freedom Week 1955. One thousand small airplanes flew over 200 American cities and towns and dropped packets that included hundreds of thousands of,

  • Replicas of the Freedom Bell medallions that were sent to countries behind the Iron Curtain
  • Freedom Scrolls for the signatures of 41 persons
  • Envelopes in which “Truth Dollar” contributions to the Crusade could be mailed
  • Leaflet on Questions and Answers about Radio Free Europe
  • Booklet entitled Your Crusade for Freedom
  • Reprints of the January 1955 Reader’s Digest article “Balloons Over the Iron Curtain”

To the Question, "What Kind of Programs Are Broadcast," the answer was:

Good shows – including national music suppressed by the Communists, religious programs, comedy, world and local news and commentary – better and more complete than that broadcast by the Communist stations in Warsaw, Prague, Budapest, Bucharest and Sofia. Listeners know they are not forgotten by the West.

      The envelopes contained this message, "Put your 'TRUTH DOLLARS' in this envelope now .... Each dollar will pay for 100 words of Truth over RADIO FREE EUROPE."

      But not all cities and towns approved of the Freedom Sky Drop. For example, in Nevada the Crusade for Freedom opened on 12 February 1995, when planes flew over eight cities and dropped 20,000 packets but not over Reno, which did not grant approval.

      In New Hampshire plans to scatter 150,000 leaflets from air-planes were cancelled in Manchester, Concord, Nashua, and Portsmouth when police chiefs objected that fluttering paper would be a menace to motorists.

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