From The movie American Traitor

Radio Caster : This is Berlin calling. Berlin calling the American mothers and wives. And when Berlin calls, it pays to listen in because there's an American girl sitting at the microphone every Tuesday evening with a few words of truth to her countrywomen back home.

This dialogue is from the movie American Traitor based on the World War Two. A caster lives in Berlin and doing propaganda for Germany. She is trying to get American soldiers out of the World War Two. She is telling American soldiers over the radio.

My question is that I am not sure about phrase 'Berlin calling the American mothers and wives'. Is there abbreviation 'Berlin (is) calling the American ....'? Not sure if a caster calls american women. which one is real subjective in this sentence?

I understand she wants people to listen her radio every Tuesday, but I am not sure about two phrases 'Berlin calling ...' and 'a few words of truth to her countrywomen back home' because of the abbreviation or something.

  • This is just the normal conventional way radio stations announced themselves ... London calling, Berlin calling, etc. Dec 16, 2021 at 13:29
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    Perhaps you're getting confused because to call can be intransitive (to attempt to contact someone, as when you get a message on your answerphone This is your mother calling. Please pick up the phone if you're there!) or intransitive (to assign a name, as in We decided to call our son "Loki"). Dec 16, 2021 at 13:48
  • Thank you for a detailed answer!! Is it okay for me to think that a caster wants soldiers to think of her as their wives back home?@FumbleFingers Dec 16, 2021 at 14:20
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    The broadcaster is addressing American women, saying she is one of them. Maybe the intention is to get them to persuade their menfolk not to fight. Dec 16, 2021 at 16:32
  • There was an Irish/US/British broadcaster called William Joyce (nicknamed 'Lord Haw-Haw' by his British listeners because of his accent). He worked for the Nazis in Berlin and started every broadcast 'Germany calling, Germany calling'. Rendered as 'Jairmany calling' by British people. Captured at the end of the war and executed for treason on grounds that many considered trumped-up. Dec 16, 2021 at 20:52

1 Answer 1


"<City> calling" was a conventional announcement for international radio stations in the second world war. "Berlin calling" is basically just the name of the broadcast.

The broadcaster then segues (makes a smooth transition) from the name "Berlin calling" to describe the broadcast. "This is Berlin ( and Berlin is) calling the American wives..."

The sense of "calling" is similar to "calling" on the phone. It means "making contact with". But its use in radio is now 70 years out of date.

And who is the radio broadcaster trying to get in contact with? She is trying to contact "American wives and mothers". Remember this was a very powerful shortwave radio transmitter. It was powerful enough to be listened to in New York. American women would be able to listen to this broadcast. She is not broadcasting to American soldiers she is broadcasting to the wives and mothers of American soldiers.

So she claims to be about to say "a few words of truth to American women back home". She is broadcasting directly to women in America.

A couple of usage notes. Not a "caster" but a "broadcaster". And no "the" before "world war two" (but you do say "the second world war")

  • Have always problem with 'the'. Thank you for a detailed advice. Have a great day ! Dec 17, 2021 at 3:01

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