PR Czar Harold Burson: WW II Trials a 'Naive Dream' for Peaceful World

Wednesday, 20 Nov 2013 08:08 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

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Harold Burson, the legendary public relations czar who covered the Nuremberg trials as a military journalist, says the horrific lessons of the atrocities committed in Nazi Germany may never be learned.

"People just are greedy for more territory, for more power," Burson, 92, told "The Steve Malzberg Show," on Newsmax TV.

"If I hadn't lived 92 years, I may have had a different answer. But conflict is part of the human existence."

Story continues below video.



Burson, who co-founded the global public relations and communications firm Burson-Marsteller, was a young newspaper journalist when he was tapped by the Armed Forces Network to cover the Nuremberg trials in 1945.

His reports were aired daily in broadcasts relayed from Germany to the United States, and have been recreated in the new Audible audiobook "Report from Nuremberg: The International War Crimes Trial."

"It was a heady experience for me. I was 24 years old when I was there. I considered myself a fairly competent reporter and writer," Burson said.

"I was one of the very few correspondents there whose product could be heard live . . . I did the writing and they had supplemented me with four . . . people who had been professional news announcers back in the States before they got into the Army."

While none of the original broadcasts survives, Burson kept most of the original scripts, which were used in the dramatic re-creations.

Even though 67 years have passed since the end of the trials, in which top Nazis were tried for unspeakable war atrocities, Burson's memories of them run deep.

"I have some mixed emotions . . . because there was, what we now would say, a naive dream that if you let the people . . . who governed countries know that if they stepped over the line on human rights, if they started a war, that there was a court that would try them and convict them and that they would have to pay a price for it," he said.

"Back then, people were yearning for peace. The president, Franklin Roosevelt, was very strongly instrumental in forming the United Nations. The expectation level was much, much higher than what has proved to be the case.

"In a way, the trial did some good because it set a benchmark, and it has had some success — particularly the Balkan Wars, when the heads of several countries were convicted after their trial. But, on the other hand, it did not realize the objective that people thought it was going to, and that is that we would have a peaceful world after World War II."


See "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV each weekday live by clicking here now.


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