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eign politics and in maneuvering for the next following aggression.
By the time of the occupation of the Sudetenland on 1 October 1938, Fritzsche had become deputy head of the entire German Press Division. Fritzsche states that the role of German propaganda before the Munich Agreement on the Sudetenland was directed by his immediate chief, Berndt, head of the German Press Division. Fritzsche describes Berndt's propaganda as follows:
"He exaggerated minor events very strongly, used sometimes old episodes as new—and there even came complaints from the Sudetenland itself that much of the news reported by the German press was untrustworthy. As a matter of fact, after the great foreign political success at Munich in September 1938, there came a noticeable crisis in confidence of the German people in the trustworthiness of its press. This was one reason for the recalling of Berndt, in December 1938 after the conclusion of the Sudeten action and for my appointment as head of the German Press Division. Beyond this, Berndt, by his admittedly successful but still. primitive military-like orders to the German Press, had lost
the confidence of the German editors." (3469-PS) Fritzsche was accordingly made head of the German Press Division in place of Berndt. Between December 1938 and 1942, Fritzsche, as head of the German Press Division, personally gave to the representatives of the principal German newspapers the "daily parole of the Reich Press Chief.” During this period he was the principal conspirator directly concerned with the manipulations of the press.
The first important foreign aggression after Fritzsche became head of the German Press Division was the incorporation of Bohemia and Moravia. Fritzsche describes the propaganda action surrounding the incorporation of Bohemia and Moravia as follows:
“The action for the incorporation of Bohemia and Moravia, which took place on 15 March 1939, while I was head of the German Press Division, was not prepared for such a long period as the Sudeten action. According to my memory, it was in February that I received the order from the Reich Press Chief, Dr. Dietrich, which was repeated as a request by the envoy Paul Schmidt of the Foreign Office, to bring the attention of the press to the efforts for independence of Slovakia and to the continued anti-German coalition politics of the Prague government. I did this. The daily
paroles of the Reich Press Chief and the press conference minutes at that time show the wording of the corresponding instructions. These were the typical headlines of leading newspapers and the emphatic leading articles of the German daily press at that time: (1) the terrorizing of Germans within the Czech territory by arrest, shooting of Germans by the state police, destruction and damaging of German homes by Czech gangsters; (2) the concentration of Czech forces on the Sudeten frontier; (3) the kidnaping, deporting, and persecuting of Slovakian minorities by the Czechs; that the Czechs must get out of Slovakia ; (4) secret meetings of Red functionaries in Prague. Some few days before the visit of Hacha, I received the instruction to publish in the press very emphatically the incoming news on the unrest in Czechoslovakia. Such information I received only partly from the German News Agency, DNB. Mostly it came from the Press Division of the Foreign Office and some of it came from big newspapers with their own news services. Among the newspapers offering information was above all the 'Voelkischer Beobachter' which, as I learned later on, received its information from the SS Standartenfuehrer Gunter D'Alquen. He was at this time in Pressburg. I had forbidden all news agencies and newspapers to issue news on unrest in Czechoslovakia before I had seen it. I wanted to avoid a repetition of the very annoying results of the Sudeten action propaganda, and I did not want to suffer a loss of prestige caused by untrue news. Thus, all news checked by me was admittedly full of tendency (voller Tendenz] however, not invented. After the visit of Hacha in Berlin and after the beginning of the invasion of the German Army, which took place on 15 March 1939, the German press had enough material for describing those events. Historically and politically the event was justified with the indication that the declaration of independence of Slovakia had required an interference and that Hacha with his signature had avoided a war and had reinstated a thousand-year union between
Bohemia and the Reich.” (3469-PS) The propaganda campaign of the press preceding the invasion of Poland on 1 September 1939 bears again the handiwork of Fritzsche and his German Press Division. Fritzsche speaks of the conspirators' treatment of this episode as follows:
"Very complicated and changing was the press and propagandistic treatment in the case of Poland. Under the influence of the German-Polish agreement, it was generally forbidden in the German press for many years to publish anything on the situation of the German minority in Poland. This remained also the case when in the Spring of 1939 the German press was asked to become somewhat more active as to the problem of Danzig. Also, when the first PolishEnglish conversations took place, and when the German press was instructed to use a sharper tone against Poland, the question of the German minority still remained in the background. But during the summer this problem was picked up again and created immediately a noticeable sharpening of the situation, namely, each larger German newspaper had for quite some time an abundance of material on complaints of the Germans in Poland without the editors having had a chance to use this material. The German papers, from the time of the minority discussion at Geneva, still had correspondents of free collaborators in Kattewitz, Bromberg, Posen, Thorn, etc. Their material now came forth with a bound. Concerning this the leading German newspapers, upon the basis of directions given out in the so-called 'daily parole' brought out the following publicity with great emphasis: (1) cruelty and terror against Germans and the extermination of Germans in Poland; (2) forced labor of thousands of German men and women in Poland; (3) Poland, land of servitude and disorder; the desertion of Polish soldiers; the increased inflation in Poland; (4) provocation of frontier clashes upon direction of the Polish Government; the Polish lust to conquer; (5) persecution of Czechs and Ukrainians by Poland. The Polish Press replied
particularly sharply." (3469-PS) The press campaign preceding the invasion of Yugoslavia followed the conventional pattern. The customary definitions, lies, incitement, and threats, and the usual attempt to divide and weaken the victim, are contained in Fritzsche's description of this propaganda action:
"During the period immediately preceding the invasion of Yugoslavia, on the 16th of April 1941, the German press emphasized by headlines and leading articles the following topics: (1) the planned persecution of Germans in Yugoslavia, including the burning down of German villages by Serbian soldiers; also the confining of Germans in concentration camps and also the physical mishandling of Germanspeaking persons; (2) the arming of Serbian bandits by the Serbian Government; (3) the incitement of Yugoslavia by the plutocrats against Germany; (4) the increasing anti
Serbian feeling in Croatia; (5) the chaotic economic and
social conditions in Yugoslavia." Since Germany had a non-aggression pact with the Soviet Union, and because the conspirators wanted the advantage of surprise, there was no special propaganda campaign immediately preceding the attack on the U. S. S. R. Fritzsche's affidavit discusses the propaganda line which was given the German people in justification of this aggressive war:
“During the night from the 21st to the 22nd of June 1941, Ribbentrop called me in for a conference in the Foreign Office Building at about 5 o'clock in the morning, at which representatives of the domestic and foreign press were present. Ribbentrop informed us that the war against the Soviet Union would start that same day and asked the German press to present the war against the Soviet Union as a preventative war for the defense of the Fatherland, as a war which was forced upon us through the immediate danger of an attack of the Soviet Union against Germany. The claim that this was a preventative war was later repeated by the newspapers which received their instructions from me during the usual daily parole of the Reich Press Chief, I, myself, have also given this presentation of the cause of
the war in my regular broadcasts." (3469-PS) Fritzsche, throughout his affidavit, constantly refers to his expert technical assistance to the apparatus of the Propaganda Ministry. In 1939, apparently becoming dissatisfied with the efficiency of the existing facilities of the German Press Division, he established a new instrument for improving the effectiveness of Nazi propaganda:
"About the summer of 1939 I established within the German Press Division a section called 'Speed-Service.'
* At the start it had the task of checking the correctness of news from foreign countries. Later on, about the Fall of 1939, this section also elaborated on collecting materials which were put at the disposal of the entire German press. For instance, dates from the British Colonial policy, from political statements of the British Prime Minister in former times, descriptions of social distress in hostile countries, etc. Almost all German newspapers used such material as a basis for their polemics. Hereby was achieved a great unification within the fighting front of the German press. The title 'Speed Service was chosen because materials for current
comments were supplied with unusual speed.” (3469-PS) Throughout this entire period preceding and including the launching of aggressive wars, Fritzsche made regular radio broadcasts to the German people under the program titles of “Political Newspaper Review," "Political and Radio Show," and later "Hans Fritzsche Speaks.” His broadcasts naturally reflected the polemics and the controls of his Ministry and thus of the conspiracy. Fritzsche, the most eminent member of Goebbel's propaganda team, helped substantially in making possible, both within Germany and without, the conspirators' plans for aggressive war.
C. FRITZSCHE'S USE OF PROPAGANDA TO FURTHER THE CONSPIRACY TO COMMIT ATROCITIES AND EXPLOIT OCCUPIED TERRITORIES.
Fritzsche incited atrocities and encouraged a ruthless occupation policy. The results of propaganda as a weapon of the Nazi conspirators reaches into every aspect of this conspiracy, including the atrocities and ruthless exploitation in occupied countries. It is likely that many ordinary Germans would never have participated in or tolerated the atrocities committed throughout Europe, had they not been conditioned and goaded by the constant Nazi propaganda. The callousness and zeal of the people who actually committed the atrocities was in large part due to the constant and corrosive propaganda of Fritzsche and his official associates.
(1) Persecution of the Jews. With respect to Jews, the Department of Propaganda within the Propaganda Ministry had a special branch for the "Enlightenment of the German people and of the world as to the Jewish question, fighting with propagandistic weapons against enemies of the State and hostile ideologies.” This quotation is taken from a book written in 1940 by Ministerial Director Mueller, entitled "The Propaganda Ministry." (2434-PS)
In his radio broadcasts Fritzsche took a particularly active part in this "enlightenment" concerning the Jewish question. These broadcasts were full of provocative libels against Jews, the result of which was to inflame Germans to further atrocities against Jews. Even Streicher, the master Jew-baiter of all time, could scarcely outdo Fritzsche in some of his anti-Jewish incitements. Broadcasts by Fritzsche which were monitored and translated by the British Broadcasting Corporation are quite revealing (3064-PS). These radio speeches of Fritzsche were broadcast during the period 1941-1945, which was a period of intensified anti-Jewish measures.