Fritzsche was not the type of conspirator who signed decrees, or who sat in the inner councils planning the overall grand strategy. The function of propaganda is, for the most part, apart from the field of such planning. The function of a propaganda agency is somewhat more analogous to an advertising agency or public relations department, the job of which is to sell the product and to win the market for the enterprise in question. Here the enterprise was the Nazi conspiracy. In a conspiracy which depends upon fraud as a means, the salesmen of the conspiratorial group are quite as essential and culpable as the master planners, even though he may not have contributed substantially to the formulation of all the basic strategy, but rather concentrated on making the execution of this strategy possible. In this case, propaganda was a weapon of tremendous importance to this conspiracy. Furthermore, the leading propagandists were major accomplices in this conspiracy, and Fritzsche was one of them.
When Fritzsche entered the Propaganda Ministry, which has been called the most fabulous "lie factory" of all time, and thus attached himself to the conspiracy, he did so with more of an open mind than most of the conspirators who had committed themselves at an earlier date, before the seizure of power. He was in a particularly strategic position to observe the frauds committed upon the German people and the world by the conspirators.
In 1933, before Fritzsche took his Party oath of unconditional obedience and subservience to the Fuehrer, he had observed at first hand the operations of the storm troopers and the execution of Nazi race actions. When, notwithstanding, Fritzsche undertook to bring all German news agencies within Nazi control, he learned from the inside, indeed from Goebbels himself, the intrigue and lies against opposition groups within and without Germany.
He observed, for example, how opposition journalists, a profession to which he had previously belonged, were either absorbed or eliminated. He continued to support the conspiracy. He learned from day to day the art of intrigue and quackery in the process of perverting the German nation, and he grew in prestige and influence as he practiced this
Fritzsche learned a lesson from his predecessor, Berndt, who fell from the leadership of the German Press Division partly because he over-played his hand by blunt and excessive manipulation of the Sudetenland propaganda. Fritzsche stepped into the gap caused by the loss of confidence of both the editors and the German people, and did his job with more skill and subtlety. His shrewdness and ability to be more assuring and "to find," as Goebbels said, "willing ears of the whole nation," -- these things made him the more useful accomplice of the conspirators.
Nazi Germany and its press went into war with Fritzsche in control of all German news, whether by press or radio.: In 1942, when Fritzsche transferred from the field of the press to radio, he was not removed for bungling, but because Goebbels then needed his talents most in the field of radio. Fritzsche is not in the dock as a free journalist but as a propagandist who helped substantially to tighten the Nazi stranglehold over the German people, who made the excesses of the conspirators palatable to the German people, who goaded the German nation to fury and crime against people they were told by him were subhuman.
Without the propaganda apparatus of the Nazi State, the world would not have suffered the catastrophe of these years, and it is because of Fritzsche's role in behalf of the Nazi conspirators, and their deceitful and barbarous practices, that he is called to account before the International Military Tribunal.
(See also Section 9 of Chapter VII on Propaganda, Censorship, and Supervision of Cultural Activities.)
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