The Naval Period

The Armistice Preliminaries Hastened Through Use of Wireless

Published in The Wireless Age during July 1919, Page 8

This article tells of another important major historic event the Marconi Belmar & New Brunswick Stations were a part of… the Armistice negotiations to end WWI on the 11th month, the 11th day, and the 11th hour.  Why was this done over wireless?  First, the undersea telegraph cables were cut by each side to disrupt war communications.  Second, the ship bound diplomatic method was too slow and the ships were subject to submarine attack.  This was the beginning of radio propaganda.  Please see Bucher’s Practical Wireless Telegraphy to see how the stations worked in pairs.


WHEN the Huns last fall somewhat feverishly indicated the desirability of cessation of hostilities it was the judicious use of wireless by Uncle Sam, in direct communication with the enemy on his own stamping-grounds which hastened the armistice preliminaries and brought the fighting to an end Nov. 11. It wasn’t exactly according to Hoyle. In fact, communicating in such a forthwith and extemporaneous manner in that sort of situation “isn’t done” in well-regulated diplomatic circles, or it hadn’t been until your Uncle Samuel did it.

The story of how it was done was told in the New York Evening Post. It was 12 o’clock noon–one day about ( Oct. 20, last – when every government wireless operator on duty in the allied countries was startled out of his wits by a signal call from the radio-station at New Brunswick, N. J. The operators of the wireless stations of the central powers could not have been more surprised.

“POZ – POZ – POZ – de NFF,” buzzed the wireless.  The allied radio operators saw immediate visions of brazen treachery or equally brazen German spy operations in the United States. They saw visions of an American war-scandal, such as the world had never known, court-martial and firing squads, and possible revolution in America.

For POZ is the radio call for the German government wireless station of Nauen, a suburb of Berlin, and N F F is the radio address of the United States naval sending station at New Brunswick, and the two had not been on. speaking terms for a long time.
There must have been a real Prussian at the Nauen switchboard, for, within two or three minutes, he responded patronizingly: “Your signals are fine, old man.”‘

Whereupon the “old man” in New Brunswick proceeded to dispatch through ether a message which was, not so fine as it was clear. No code was used. The Message sage was in plain English. It was the first of President Wilson’s statements to the German people carrying they suggested that the allies would conduct no negotiations, for an armistice and peace with the German government: as then constituted.

Thereafter Washington was in constant communication with Berlin. Wireless was making history at a faster pace than all the engines of destruction oil the battlefronts had ever been able to set up. Wireless was saving thousands of lives, perhaps millions. The negotiations between Washington and Berlin continued till the day the armistice was signed.

page created December 30, 2000

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