Archive/File: imt/nca/nca-06/nca-06-3469-ps-03 Last-Modified: 1997/01/17 18. When I joined the ministry, the task was limited in time. It was, however, prolonged from year to year. For almost four years I refused to become a government employee of the ministry. I remained as a private employee with mutual right of notice. I remember having refused several times, in writing, an appointment as government counsellor and thus becoming a government employee as intended by Dr. Goebbels. Finally, however, I was so caught by the fine and free work which I could do in the field of organizing the news from 1933 to 1937, that I agreed to my appointment as superior government counsellor (Oberregierungsrat) and thus as a government employee, keeping the old field of work. So far as my income was concerned during my activity within the propaganda ministry, I take this opportunity to declare the following: After May 1933, as an employee in the ministry, I drew a salary of 700 marks monthly. Beyond this I had a monthly income of about 300 to 500 marks for my work with radio and from contributions to newspapers and periodicals. From 1937, after having become a government employee of the propaganda ministry, I drew, until 1945, a salary lowly increasing from 600 marks (a superior government counsellor) up to about 1500 marks (as ministerial director). Here has to be added the very greatly changing single fees averaging monthly about 1000 marks. After 1942 almost all such income ceased. [Page 183] 19. After having become head of the German Press Division, around 23 December 1938 I still had until about the middle of 1939 the possibility to comment freely on the daily paroles [Tagesparolen] in the press conference, while after the middle of 1939 I had to stick to the directions given by Dr. Dietrich. About the summer of 1939 I had established within the German Press Division a section called "Speed- Service" [Schnelldienst]. This "Speed Service" was under the direction of superior government counsellor [Oberregierungsrat] Walther Koerber with a personnel finally of 6 persons. 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. 20. In my position as head of the German Press Division, I was promoted three times within four years. To my knowledge: (a) from superior government counsellor to ministerial counsellor on 28 January 1939, (b) from ministerial counsellor to ministerial dirigent on 9 October 1940, (c) from ministerial dirigent to ministerial director on 16 October 1942. 21. I remained in my position as head of the German press division until 3 November 1942, though from March 1942 until the above mentioned day I belonged to the armed forces. During my service in the army I was in a loose connection with a propaganda company (P.K.) of the armed forces, as soldier with a fighting unit in the Eastern war theater until October 1942. During this period I made broadcasts only three or four times. The acting head of the German press division at that period was in the hands Or my deputy, Erich Fischer. Fischer became my successor on 3 November 1942 as head of the German press division. As to the direction of propaganda concerning important foreign political events between 1936 and 1941 I am able to state the following: 22. Since a long time before the outbreak of the war, all instructions given to the newspapers were summarized daily in the so-called daily parole of the Reich press chief. Also the fast in- [Page 184] structions [Eilanweisungen] issued in the meantime were always incorporated into the next scheduled daily parole, in order to guarantee its completeness. Copies of this daily parole were mailed to each Reich propaganda office. All leading papers received these directives which under the responsibility of the chief editor had to be locked up and kept. 23. In regard to the reoccupation of the demilitarized Rhineland, on 16 March 1936, no propaganda whatsoever was made in advance. I, then chief editor of the Wireless Service, learned of the expected action only on the eve of the invasion from Dr. Goebbels in the presence of Undersecretary [Staatssekretaer] Hanke, later Gauleiter of Silesia. Dr. Goebbels had me called around midnight, described the situation, and asked me to work out [herauszuarbeiten] over the radio as strongly as possible the Franco-Russian agreement as the foreign-political justification of the action. Besides that, he asked me to indicate that the Fuehrer did not consider the other treaties violated, and therefore had decided to keep them. For the press, similar instructions were received by the deputy head of the Press Division, Ministerial Counsellor Stephan, in my presence. The then head of the press division, Ministerial Director Alfred Ingemar Berndt, was already on his way to Cologne with some journalists whom he had called together very quickly. I learned that only in the ministry. Likewise on his way to Cologne, together with some radio specialists, was the then Reich broadcasting director Hadamovsky. Their current reports soon dominated press and radio. The action developed propagandistically [propagandistisch] on the next day without special instructions. I remember only that the question as to whether the French would march was not supposed to be mentioned and discussed in the press. 24. The propaganda in relationship to the Dollfuss Putsch, which took place on the 25 July 1934, is summarized in the following way: I learned at noon about the announcements which the rebels had spread over the Vienna radio. After a careful examination I gave them over the radio by quoting with reserve. Dr. Goebbels requested me to spread information about the extension and success of the rebellion, which was ordered by the so-called Nazi state leader of Austria, Habicht. I refused this because I had recognized his first announcement as wrong and exaggerated. Subsequently, Dr. Goebbels relieved me from my office and installed Habicht as responsible for the radio news. He (Habicht) gave information over the German radio stations which was in- [Page 185] tended to promote the Austrian rebellion movement. When by evening the Putsch was wrecked, I was picked up from my apartment and again took over my office. 25. The incorporation of Austria brought, however, some more complicated problems. Since the Putsch failed against Dollfuss, it was forbidden for the press, with some few exemptions, to occupy itself with Austria at all. Only shortly before the visit of Schuschnigg with Hitler in February 1938, this prohibition was lifted and single, but sharp articles appeared about the Schuschnigg government. The Schuschnigg government was reproached as being alien to the Austrian people, with cruelty in the Woellersdorf concentration camp, and with reliance upon powers hostile to Germany. After the conversation there appeared friendly articles. 26. The news about the sudden setting of a national vote by Schuschnigg was at first withheld by the German News Agency (D.N.B.) by direction of Berndt. After a discussion with Dr. Dietrich, press chief to the Fuehrer, and with Privy Counsellor Aschmann, then press chief of the foreign office, Berndt, finally released information. In addition, however, he instructed all German newspapers to bring this information with big headlines, and to ear-mark it as a breach of agreement with the Fuehrer. All newspapers, which still appeared up to the beginning of the invasion, then brought details about the new fashioned fast vote of the Austrian National Socialists, etc. After the accomplishment of the invasion, which took place on the13 March 1938, the newspapers and radio were full of the speeches which were held and with reports by eye witnesses. The reports came from some dozen journalists who had quickly been called together and who had been sent in airplanes and cars to follow the so-called Fuehrer column. A complete collection of all news issued in relationship to the whole action by the German news agency-(DNB) has been published in book form by Frithjof Melzer. The end and summarization of the entire Austrian action was then presented in a report by Gericke, which was issued in the Berlin Illustrated Newspaper under the slogan "Thus it does not go, Mr. Bundeskanzler." 27. The most decisive issue was the role of German propaganda before the Munich agreement on the Sudetenland, which was occupied on 1 October 1938. This propaganda was directed by Berndt. The action, which at first did not appear to me as an action, started with the lifting of the prohibition, which existed for [Page 186] years in the German press against occupying itself critically with Czechoslovakia. Since about the summer of 1938 the press was asked in the daily directions to busy itself with the problems of the different nationalities of the population of Czechoslovakia, another time with the anti- German orientation of the policy of this state, etc. Especially carefully studied was the entire foreign press, from the standpoint of whether and how it reacted to the same questions. If some useful headings appeared abroad, then by direction they were taken up by the entire German press; or if it appeared more correct, they were taken up by one or another of the well-reputed newspapers or writers. The mission of Runciman offered especially good reason for this. Each time during a conference or discussion-- Berchtesgaden, Godesberg, Muenchen--there was transmitted to the press instructions for the most sensational make-up of reports about the suppression or deprivation of the rights of Sudeten Germans, also about reports on current incidents. These latter represented a very ticklish chapter. They were personally made by Berndt and given to the German News Agency (DNB). He exaggerated minor events very strongly, used sometimes old episodes as new. There even came complaints from the Sudetenland itself that much of the news reported in the German press was untrustworthy. As a matter of fact after the great foreign political success of Munich in September 1938, there came a noticeable crisis in the confidence of the German people to the trustworthiness of its press. This was one reason for the recalling of Berndt in December 1938 after 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.
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