The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: imt/tgmwc/tgmwc-17/tgmwc-17-165.01


Archive/File: imt/tgmwc/tgmwc-17/tgmwc-17-165.01
Last-Modified: 2000/08/12

                                                  [Page 245]

HUNDRED AND SIXTY-FIFTH DAY

THURSDAY, 27th JUNE, 1946

THE MARSHAL: If it please the Tribunal, the report is made
that defendant Ribbentrop is absent.

DR. FRITZ: Mr. President, gentlemen of the Tribunal, first a
very brief explanation. Yesterday I repeatedly mentioned the
Indictment and intend to do so in the course of the
examination. Thereby I mean the presentation of Fritzsche's
case by Captain Sprecher in the morning session of 23rd
January, 1946.

BY DR. FRITZ: Herr Fritzsche, yesterday you spoke of your
radio speeches concerning the Allied propaganda. My last
question is: Did you attempt to split the front of the
Allies by your propaganda?

A. Of course, I attempted to do that. I elaborated on all
ideological and all practical contrasts or differences
between the individual allied nations. I considered that a
permissible method of waging war. At that time I wanted a
split between the Allies just as much as today I wish their
unity, since Germany would be the first victim of any
conflict.

Q. Now, you are accused of assisting in establishing Nazi
control throughout Germany. Did you agitate against
democracy?

A. I never agitated against democracy as such. I spoke
against the democracy of the thirty-six parties, the
democracy which had prevailed in Germany previously, the
democracy under which even strong groups, such as the two
Marxist parties, for example, were powerless. I criticized
foreign democracy on two points only: First, I criticized
those elements which limited the basic thought of
democracies - I believe it is superfluous, and perhaps it
would be misunderstood, to enumerate them today. Secondly, I
criticized the demands of the foreign democracies to force
their form of government on us. According to my knowledge
and information at that time, it seemed unjustified to me.

Q. Well, did you consider dictatorship a better form of
government?

A. I should like to emphasize that at that time, under the
existing conditions and only for a temporary emergency
period, I did; today, of course, I do not. After the
totalitarian form of government had brought about the
catastrophe of the murder of five million people, I consider
this form of government wrong even in times of emergency. I
believe any kind of democratic control, even of limited
democratic control, would have made such a catastrophe
impossible.

Q. You are accused, furthermore, of having spread the
doctrine of the master race. The prosecution makes this
charge indirectly against you. How about that?

A. I never set up or represented the theory of the master
race.

I even avoided this term. I expressly prohibited the use of
this term by the German Press and the German radio when I
was in charge of one or the other. I believe that the term
"master race" played a greater role in the anti-National
Socialist propaganda than in Germany proper. I do not know
who invented this term. To my knowledge, it was publicly
mentioned only by men like Dr. Ley, for example, men - and I
must state this frankly and expressly - who were not taken
seriously by anyone in this connection. It is true, however,
that this term played a great role, without being expressed
openly, among the SS because of its racial exclusiveness,
but people of intelligence, tact, of insight, and with some
knowledge of the world, very carefully avoided its use.

                                                  [Page 246]

DR. FRITZ: Mr. President, at this opportunity, I should like
to offer an affidavit to the Tribunal by Dr. Scharping of
17th May, 1946. Dr. Scharping was Government Counsellor in
the Propaganda Ministry up to the end. From this affidavit I
shall now quote only one sentence from Page 13.

  "In this connection it can be explained that Fritzsche
  always opposed the term 'master race.' He even expressly
  prohibited the use of this word on the radio."

BY DR. FRITZ:

Q. But the prosecution has quoted a passage from one of your
radio speeches to prove their assertion on this point.

A. The quotation is correct, but I ask you to read it
carefully. The term "master race" is rejected in this
quotation for the Jewish and for the German people. The
quotation cannot be misunderstood.

DR. FRITZ: Mr. President, that is in Captain Sprecher's
speech for the prosecution, English text, Pages 31-32.

BY DR. FRITZ:

Q. But you carried on propaganda not only in Germany but
also abroad. What was the difference?

A. In my radio speeches there was no difference. Before the
outbreak of war I made a slight difference in the speeches
for Germany and those for other countries, simply because
the audience was different, and because I had to pre-suppose
a different level of knowledge. During the war my speeches
on the Reich-German radio were simply transmitted over the
short wave stations. What was said for Germany or for other
countries could be controlled by both sides. Moreover, in
the twelve years during which I spoke on the German radio, I
never permitted my speeches to be translated, since that
always involved a differentiation in emphasis. Written
articles can be translated, perhaps official speeches also,
but not rather light and half-improvised chats.

Q. Were your broadcasts abroad criticized internationally?

A. Yes, very frequently. During the war there was often
daily criticism from some country or other. I had these
criticisms collected. I asked for them as documents but my
application was refused by the Court. As far as I know, I am
not accused of inciting war in these criticisms.

Q. Now, you not only acted as a mouthpiece for propaganda
but also as an organiser of it. You are accused of having
helped to create an important instrument for the alleged
conspiracy. The prosecution says that for thirteen years you
aided in the creation of the propaganda machine which the
conspiracy was able to put to such good use. Did you create
the Press organization of the National Socialist State?

A. No, I did not create this organization nor did I have any
part in its creation. It was created by Dr. Goebbels, Dr.
Dietrich and Reichsleiter Amann. When, in the winter of
1938, I became head of the so-called German Press Section, I
attempted to loosen the bonds which had been imposed on the
German Press both
in the material and personal field. For example, I called
back to their work with the Press hundreds of editors of
other parties who had been dismissed in 1933 and 1934. Today
they will be angry with me. I had good intentions at the
time.

In addition to the official Press conferences which were
very strictly controlled, also as far as their records were
concerned, by my superiors, I arranged the so-called
supplementary conferences (Nachkonferenzen) in which I met
the representatives of the fifty or sixty most important
papers, and discussed more freely the possibilities of their
work. I coined the slogan which was often used there:

  "You may write any criticism you like in the German
  papers provided such criticism is not shown in big
  headlines but is buried somewhere in the text in an
  elegant form."

                                                  [Page 247]

Very many German journalists made use of this possibility in
the past twelve years. I should be glad if this work, which
was hidden work, would be honoured in some way today in the
interest of those people who, in part, returned to their
profession as journalists only out of personal confidence in
me.

Of course, I must add that the possibility of criticism was
not unlimited.

DR. FRITZ: Mr. President, on this occasion, with the
approval of the prosecution, I offer the Tribunal a document
as Fritzsche Exhibit 4. It is an excerpt from a letter of
the German Lieutenant-General Dittmar, who frequently
commented on the military situation on the German radio
during the war and who is in British captivity. The well-
known English radio commentator, Mr. Liddell-Hart, has sent
an excerpt from the letter to the British prosecution. I
should like to quote briefly this memorandum which was sent
to me. May I quote this passage?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, you may.

DR. FRITZ: Dittmar writes:

  "The possibility of retaining the critical attitude in my
  radio commentary was due primarily to the silent approval
  and the protection accorded to me by Hans Fritzsche, the
  head of the political radio. I believe that Fritzsche was
  a secret opponent of the regime and that he was glad of
  the opportunity to have found a commentator who
  discreetly expressed ideas which resembled his own and
  which insidiously would tend to reduce confidence in the
  regime.''

Following this quotation, there is another quotation from
the affidavit of Dr. Scharping, which I have already
submitted as Fritzsche Exhibit 2. It is on Page 11 of this
affidavit. It runs:

  "The radio people and the journalists knew Fritzsche's
  tolerance quite well. It repeatedly happened that, for
  example, Fritzsche at his conferences had a copy of the
  Volkischer Beobachter in his hand and commented
  ironically on an anti-Jewish article. I recall that once
  he expressed his criticism in roughly the following
  words: 'A Berlin paper' - then he held the Volkischer
  Beobachter up so that everyone could see it - 'has once
  more, in an editorial, committed more than two errors.
  Perhaps the publisher may yet succeed in getting the
  right idea.'
  
  With such ironical remarks, Fritzsche always had the
  approval of his listeners, but there was some danger for
  him, for Goebbels daily read the records of these Press
  conferences."

BY DR. FRITZ:

Q. Herr Fritzsche, following the statement of Lieutenant-
General Dittmar, one question: Did you feel yourself to be
an enemy of the system, or how does General Dittmar come to
make this statement?

A. I was not an enemy of the system. It would be ridiculous
and unworthy to try to assert that today. But I was
definitely an opponent of any misuse of the system which I
could recognize. What I noticed the most, because it was in
my. field of work, was whitewashing of news during the war.
The aim of all my news policy was realism, and apparently
that is what General Dittmar means in the part of his
statement which has been read here.

I met General Dittmar in December, 1942, or January, 1943,
at the moment when the Sixth German Army at Stalingrad was
surrounded, but when this fact was still being kept secret
from the German people. Together with General Dittmar, in
face of the prohibition, I publicly announced the fact that
the Sixth Army was surrounded at Stalingrad. This caused a
great sensation at the time. In the following months and
year, I always defended General Dittmar and his realistic
presentation of the military situation against all attacks,
not only against the attacks of the Party, but also against
the attacks of the Foreign Office, which repeatedly pointed
out that these objective presentations of Dittmar had a bad
effect on Germany's allies.

                                                  [Page 248]

In connection with this struggle for realistic news service,
later - and I ask permission to mention this briefly - I
waged a desperate battle against the irresponsible
propaganda about miracle weapons. Only one year after Dr.
Goebbels had mentioned the future miracle weapons did I
mention a new type of weapon for the first time. Speer has
mentioned SS Standartenfuehrer Berg, who is said to have
carried on secret propaganda for the miracle weapon in
connection with the Propaganda Ministry. He wrote an article
in Das Reich which attracted much attention, with the
sensational and very promising heading, "We, the Bearers of
Secrets." I had to fight against things like that.

Another especially striking example was this. Another member
of the SS, Hernau, wrote, at the moment when the invasion
had succeeded, an article in which he presented the
situation as if the evacuation of France had been a very
secret trick of the German Command, which was creating the
possibility for a very strong counter-blow. I prohibited
this article in my field, and I repeatedly had to oppose the
irresponsible rumours which were spread in secret about
mysterious weapons. I did so publicly, and I plainly stated
my point of view on the radio against this propaganda.

On the other hand I may point out that at every moment of
the war my superiors always made well-founded promises to
me, first, of some military offensive which was just being
prepared; for instance, a thrust from East Prussia toward
the south, a thrust from Upper Silesia to the Vistula, a
thrust from Alsace toward the north, and so forth. Together
with these promises which were worked out in detail were the
political promises which were mentioned briefly yesterday,
that is the descriptions given by Dr. Goebbels that foreign
political negotiations were in progress with the enemy on
one or the other side.

Q. Another question: Who was in charge of Press policy?

A. Reich Press Chief Dr. Dietrich. He gave very specialized
instructions, mostly in a precise wording, the so-called
"Daily Paroles" of the Reich Press Chief.

Generally he even gave the wording of the commentaries which
were to be added in the Press conference.

For the most part, Dr. Dietrich was at the Fuehrer's
headquarters and received his instructions directly from
Hitler. Dr. Dietrich's representatives were Sundermann and
Lorenz. The second factor decisive for German Press policy
was Reichsleiter Amann, who was at the head of the
organization of publishers. The third factor was Dr.
Goebbels as Reich Propaganda Minister. Dietrich and Amann
were nominally subordinate to him; actually, both had the
same authority as he had, and I always had to adjust
differences in order to obtain co-ordination between these
three authorities.

Q. Did you create the organization of the journalistic news
service?

A. Yes, I did create this organization. In principle, it
originated with me. I may refer to my affidavit, Document
3469-PS (17). I was in charge of the journalistic news
service from about 1934 to 1938. I was proud of the fact
that, at the beginning of the war, even the enemy recognized
the good functioning of this news machine. However, at that
time I was no longer the head of the so-called "news
service" department. As an expert I created this
organization in peace time without thinking of the
possibility of using it during war. The conclusion of the
prosecution that I also determined the contents of the news
service is not correct.


Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.