The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Individual Responsibility Of Defendants

Hans Fritzsche

(Part 3 of 8)

[Page 1037]

(1) Establishment of complete Nazi control over press and radio. At the first Goebbels-Fritzsche discussion in early April 1933, Goebbels informed Fritzsche of his decision to place the Wireless News Service within the Propaganda Ministry as of 1 May 1933. He suggested that Fritzsche make certain rearrangements in the personnel so as to remove Jews and other

[Page 1038]

persons who did not support the NSDAP. Fritzsche debated with Goebbels concerning some of these steps. During this period Fritzsche made some effort to place Jews in other jobs.

In a second conference with Goebbels shortly thereafter, Fritzsche informed Goebbels about the steps he had taken in reorganizing the Wireless News Service. Goebbels thereupon informed Fritzsche that he would like to have him reorganize and modernize the entire news services of Germany within the controls of the Propaganda Ministry. On 17 March 1933, approximately two months before this time, the Propaganda Ministry had been created by decree. (2029-PS) Fritzsche was intrigued by the Gobbles. offer. He proceeded to conclude the Goebbels inspired reorganization of the Wireless-News Service and, on 1 May 1933, together with the remaining members of his staff, he joined the Propaganda Ministry. On this same day he joined the NSDAP and took the customary oath of unconditional loyalty to the Fuehrer (3469-PS).

From this time on, whatever reservations Fritzsche may have had, either then or later, to the course of events under the Nazis, Fritzsche was completely within the Nazi camp. For the next 13 years he assisted in creating and in using the propaganda devices which the conspirators successfully employed in each of the principal phases of the

From 1933 until 1942 Fritzsche held one or more positions within the German Press Division. For four years, from 1938 to 1942 the period when the Nazis undertook military invasions of neighboring countries -- he headed this Division. By virtue of its functions, the German Press Division became an important and unique instrument of the Nazi conspirators, not only in dominating the minds and psychology of Germans, but also as an instrument of foreign policy and psychological warfare against other nations. Thus, the already broad jurisdiction of the Propaganda Ministry was extended as follows by a Hitler decree of 30 June 1933:

"The Reich Minister of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda has jurisdiction over the whole field of spiritual indoctrination of the nation, of propagandizing the State, of cultural and economic propaganda, of enlightenment of the public at home and abroad. Furthermore, he is in charge of the administration of all institutions serving those purposes." (2030-PS)

An exposition of the general functions of the German Press Division of the Propaganda Ministry is contained in an excerpt from a book by George Wilhelm Mueller, a Ministerial Director

[Page 1039]

in the Propaganda Ministry. (2434-PS) Paragraphs 14, 15 and 16 of Fritzsche's affidavit contain an exposition of the functions of the German Press Division, a description which confirms and adds to the exposition in Mueller's book. Concerning the German Press Division, Fritzsche's affidavit (3469-PS) states:

"During the whole period from 1933 to 1945 it was the task of the German Press Division to supervise the entire domestic press and to provide it with directives by which this division became an efficient instrument in the hands of the German State leadership. More than 2,300 German daily newspapers were subject to this control. The aim of this supervision and control, in the first years following 1933, was to change basically the conditions existing in the press before the seizure of power. That meant the coordination into the New Order of those newspapers and periodicals which were in the service of capitalistic special interests or party politics. While the administrative functions, wherever possible, were exercised by the professional associations and the Reich Press Chamber, the political leadership of the German press was entrusted to the German Press Division. The head of the German Press Division held daily press conferences in the Ministry for the representatives of all German newspapers. Hereby all instructions were given to the representatives of the press. These instructions were transmitted daily, almost without exception, and mostly by telephone, from headquarters by Dr. Otto Dietrich, Reich Press Chief, in a fixed statement, the so-called 'Daily Parole of the Reich Press Chief.' Before the statement was fixed the head of the German Press Division submitted to him -- Dietrich -- the current press wishes expressed by Dr. Goebbels and by other Ministries. This was the case especially with the wishes of the Foreign Office, about which Dr. Dietrich always wanted to make decisions personally or through his representatives at the headquarters, Helmut Suendermann and chief editor Lorenz. The practical use of the general directions in detail was thus left entirely to the individual work of the individual editor. Therefore, it is by no means true that the newspapers and periodicals were a monopoly of the German Press Division or that essays and leading articles through it had to be submitted to the Ministry. Even in war times this happened in exceptional cases only. The less important newspapers and periodicals which were not represented at the daily press conferences received their information in a different way -- by providing them

[Page 1040]

either with ready-made articles and reports, or with a confidential printed instruction. The publications of all other official agencies were directed and coordinated likewise by the German Press Division. To enable the periodicals to get acquainted with the daily political problems of newspapers and to discuss these problems in greater detail, the Informationskorrepondenz was issued especially for periodicals. Later on it was taken over by the Periodical Press Division. The German Press Division likewise was in charge of pictorial reporting in so far as it directed the employment of pictorial reporters at important events. In this way, and conditioned by the current political situation, the entire German Press was made a permanent instrument of the Propaganda Ministry by the German Press Division. Thereby, the entire German Press was subordinate to the political aims of the Government. This was exemplified by the timely measuring and the emphatic presentation of such press polemics as appeared to be most useful, as shown for instance in the following themes: the class struggle of the system era; the leadership principle and the authoritarian state; the party and interest politics of the system era; the Jewish problem; the conspiracy of World Jewry; the Bolshevistic danger; the plutocratic Democracy abroad; the race problem generally; the church; the economic misery abroad; the foreign policy; and living space [lebensraum]."

This description of Fritzsche's establishes clearly that the German Press Division was the instrument for subordinating the entire German press to the political aims of the Nazi Government.

Fritzsche's early activities within the German Press Division on behalf of the conspirators are described in his affidavit (3469-PS). In a conference with Goebbels the following occurred:

"At this time Dr. Goebbels suggested to me, as a specialist on news technique, the establishment and direction of a section 'News,' within the Press Division of his Ministry, in order to organize fully and to modernize the German news agencies. In executing this assignment given to me by Dr. Goebbels I took for my field the entire news field for the German Press and the radio in accordance with the directions given by the Propaganda Ministry, at first with the exception of the DNB, German News Agency." (3469-PS)

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