In April 1941 the Nazis invaded Yugoslavia. St. John, reporting for the Associated Press, was then in Belgrade. He fled along with other western journalists and attempted to follow the retreating Yugoslav government to Sarajevo. Thwarted by the quick deterioration of the military situation, he then escaped in a small fishing boat for Corfu, just as it was being overrun by the Italians. Again barely escaping the Axis tide, he traveled across Greece to Crete, where...you guessed it...the British were preparing to evacuate in the face of mounting German pressure. His dramatic chapter about traveling in a Greek troop train as it was strafed by German planes has been anthologized.
During these four momentous weeks he and his small band of reporter refugees had been unable to find telephone or wireless facilities from which they could send their stories out to the world -- no one at home knew what had happened in in Yugoslavia and Greece. When they finally made it to Alexandria and Cairo, where they could wire their stories, they were bedeviled by censors who didn't want the terrible facts, that these men had risked their lives to gather, to be made public. St. John finally arrived back in the U.S. to find a public that was not only oblivious to the atrocities in Europe, but that wished to remain so.