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                           of the
               International Military Tribunal
                           For The
             Trial of German Major War Criminals

               His Majesty's Stationery Office
                                                  [Page 127]


Fritzsche is indicted on Counts One, Three, and Four. He was
best known as a radio commentator, discussing once a week
the events of the day on his own program, "Hans Fritzsche
Speaks." He began broadcasting in September, 1932; in the
same year he was made the head of the Wireless News Service,
a Reich Government agency. When, on 1st May, 1933, this
agency was incorporated by the National Socialists into
their Reich Ministry of Popular Enlightenment and
Propaganda, Fritzsche became a member of the Nazi Party and
went to that Ministry. In December, 1938, he became head of
the Home Press Division of the Ministry; in October, 1942,
he was promoted to the rank of Ministerial Director. After
serving briefly on the Eastern Front in a propaganda
company, he was, in November, 1942, made head of the Radio
Division of the Propaganda Ministry and Plenipotentiary for
the Political Organisation of the Greater German Radio.

Crimes against Peace

As head of the Home Press Division Fritzsche supervised the
German press of 2,300 daily newspapers. In pursuance of this
function he held daily press conferences to deliver the
directives of the Propaganda Ministry to these papers. He
was, however, subordinate to Dietrich, the Reich Press
Chief, who was in turn a subordinate of Goebbels. It was
Dietrich who received the directives to the press of
Goebbels and other Reich Ministers, and prepared them as
instructions, which he then handed to Fritzsche for the

From time to time, the "Daily Paroles of the Reich Press
Chief", as these instructions were labeled, directed the
press to present to the people certain themes, such as the
Leadership Principle, the Jewish problem, the problem of
living space, or other standard Nazi ideas. A vigorous
propaganda campaign was carried out before each major act of
aggression. While Fritzsche headed the Home Press Division,
he instructed the press how the actions or wars against
Bohemia and Moravia, Poland, Yugoslavia, and the Soviet
Union should be dealt with. Fritzsche had no control of the
formulation of these propaganda policies. He was merely a
conduit to the press of the instructions handed him by
Dietrich. In February, 1939, and before the absorption of
Bohemia and Moravia, for instance, he received Dietrich's
order to bring to the attention of the press Slovakia's
efforts for independence, and the anti-Germanic policies and
politics of the existing Prague Government. This order to
Dietrich originated in the Foreign Office.

The Radio Division, of which Fritzsche became the head in
November, 1942, was one of the twelve divisions of the
Propaganda Ministry. In the beginning Dietrich and other
heads of divisions exerted influence over the policies to be
followed by radio. Towards the end of the war, however,
Fritzsche became the sole authority within the Ministry for
radio activities. In this capacity he formulated and issued
daily radio "paroles" to all Reich propaganda offices,
according to the general political policies of the Nazi
regime, subject to the directives of the Radio-Political
Division of the Foreign Office, and the personal supervision
of Goebbels.

Fritzsche, with other officials of the Propaganda Ministry,
was present at Goebbels' daily staff conferences. Here they
were instructed in the news and propaganda policies of the
day. After 1943 Fritzsche himself occasionally held these
conferences, but only when Goebbels and his State
Secretaries were absent. And even then his only function was
to transmit the Goebbels' directives relayed to him by

This is the summary of Fritzsche's positions and influence
in the Third Reich. Never did he achieve sufficient stature
to attend the planning conferences which led to aggressive
war; indeed according to his own uncontradicted testimony he
never even had a conversation with Hitler. Nor is there

                                                  [Page 128]

any showing that he was informed of the decisions taken at
these conferences. His activities cannot be said to be those
which fall within the definition of the common plan to wage
aggressive war as already set forth in this Judgment.

War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity

The Prosecution has asserted that Fritzsche incited and
encouraged the commission of war crimes by deliberately
falsifying news to arouse in the German People those
passions which led them to the commission of atrocities
under Counts Three and Four. His position and official
duties were not sufficiently important, however, to infer
that he took part in originating or formulating propaganda

Excerpts in evidence from his speeches show definite anti-
Semitism on his part. He broadcast, for example, that the
war had been caused by Jews and said their fate had turned
out "as unpleasant as the Fuehrer predicted." But these
speeches did not urge persecution or extermination of Jews.
There is no evidence that he was aware of their
extermination in the East. The evidence moreover shows that
he twice attempted to have publication of the anti-Semitic
Der Stuermer suppressed, though unsuccessfully.

In these broadcasts Fritzsche sometimes spread false news,
but it was not proved he knew it to be false. For example,
he reported that no German U-boat was in the vicinity of the
Athenia when it was sunk. This information was untrue; but
Fritzsche, having received it from the German Navy, had no
reason to believe it was untrue.

It appears that Fritzsche sometimes made strong statements
of a propagandistic nature in his broadcasts. But the
Tribunal is not prepared to hold that they were intended to
incite the German People to commit atrocities on conquered
peoples, and he cannot be held to have been a participant in
the crimes charged. His aim was rather to arouse popular
sentiment in support of Hitler and the German war effort.


The Tribunal finds that Fritzsche is not guilty under this
Indictment, and directs that he shall be discharged by the
Marshal when the Tribunal presently adjourns.

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