Charles Wheeler

Charles Wheeler was the BBC’s longest serving foreign correspondent. He died in 2008.

Those Genes!

Charles Wheeler, 17 July 1997

They became, successively, the most influential publishers in the world: Philip Graham, who inherited the Washington Post from his father-in-law, Eugene Meyer, and his shy, self-effacing wife, Katharine, who took over the company when her husband shot himself in 1963. It was Philip Graham who induced John Kennedy to choose Lyndon Johnson as his running-mate in 1960. This was wise and far-reaching advice, for without Johnson on the ticket Kennedy would not have been elected. Consequently, without Graham’s intervention there might never have been a Johnson Presidency, the most eventful in modern times.

‘You’d better get out while you can’

Charles Wheeler, 19 September 1996

It was in Poland that the ice had started to crack. Early in 1956, at the 20th Party Congress in Moscow, Nikita Khrushchev had coupled his denunciation of Stalin with a promise of reform. The speech split the Polish Politburo. Reformers challenged Stalinists. Quietly, political prisoners were released. Censorship was relaxed. In June, a brief workers’ revolt at Poznán, crushed with the loss of some seventy lives, led to the formation of independent workers’ councils in factories across the country, and to demands for the return to power of Wladislaw Gomulka, the Communist leader who had been imprisoned as a Titoist in 1949. By mid-October Gomulka was laying claim to the leadership of the Party.

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