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Thursday, 22 March, 2001, 17:56 GMT
From royal dramas to wartime: 1922-46
Broadcasting has played a key part in people's lives, giving access to historic news events taking place around the globe. BBC News Online recalls some memorable moments.

On 14 November 1922 the first daily radio service, with the code name 2LO, was launched by the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) in London.

The wireless quickly became a social and cultural phenomenon and the monarch learned to use the new medium to address his people.

King George V
George V was the first King to broadcast
On 23 April 1924 George V broadcast for the first time.

Millions heard his voice as he opened the Wembley Empire exhibition.

Traffic was stopped on Oxford Street as crowds gathered to listen on loud speakers.

Four years later, however, the BBC clashed with the government over editorial independence during the General Strike of 1926. With no regular newspapers the country turned to the wireless.

Some politicians, particularly Chancellor Winston Churchill, wanted to take it over. But the BBC's founder Lord Reith fought a tough battle to keep its independence.

Passions also ran high at sporting events, and the first running commentary on a game event was a rugby match in 1927. England v Wales at Twickenham.

Another first was delivered in 1932, when George V broadcast his Christmas message, which had been scripted by Rudyard Kipling.

In May 1935 the country celebrated the King's silver jubilee but within a year George V had died. The BBC broadcast the first royal funeral on 28 January 1936.

King Edward VIII
Edward abdicated to marry Wallis Simpson
Edward VIII acceded to the throne but the constitution prevented the King from marrying American socialite Wallis Simpson who was a divorcee. He abdicated on 11 December 1936.

The coronation of George VI took place in 1937.

World War II

On 1 September 1939 Hitler invaded Poland. Two days later the UK Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain announced that Britain was at war with Germany.

An evacuee
The evacuation of cities at the start of the war was the biggest and most concentrated mass movement of people in Britain's history.

In the first three days of September 1939, nearly 3 million people were transported to the safe haven of the countryside.

BBC Reporter S J de Lotbinière was at Waterloo Station to see off hundreds of schoolchildren on 1 September 1939.

On 10 May 1940 Germany launched their "Blitzkrieg"- lightning war.

Holland and Belgium fell by the end of May, Paris was taken two weeks later.

Winston Churchill
Prime Minister Winston Churchill
More than 300,000 troops were evacuated from Dunkirk and the surrounding beaches in May and June.

At the time, the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill captured the public mood in his most famous wartime speech.

Princess Elizabeth first broadcast to children in the empire on 13 October 1940. Speaking from Windsor Castle she sent a message of "true sympathy."

On 6 June 1944 the Allied forces landed on the beaches of Normandy to begin the liberation of Europe. After D-Day, the BBC's war correspondents reported the events of the last punishing year.

The war in Europe ended on 7 May 1945. The unconditional surrender of Germany was watched by Thomas Cadett.

Atom bomb
Mushroom cloud created by atomic bomb explosion
In the Pacific, the war continued to rage.

On 6 August 1945 the world's first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.

Three days later the US dropped a second atom bomb on Nagasaki.

The Japanese surrendered unconditionally on 14 August marking the end of World War II.

Charting its past, present and digital future
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22 Mar 01 | Entertainment
22 Mar 01 | Entertainment
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