In 1933, when Adolf Hitler rose to power, all international news agencies were forced to leave – accept one. The Associated Press (AP), an American-based company was permitted to report from Germany until 1941 when the United States declared war. Actually, the AP was allowed only to report what the Nazis approved.
According to a study by German historian Harriet Scharnberg, the AP agreed to be bound by the “editor’s law,” which required AP to agree not to print any material “calculated to weaken the strength of the Reich abroad or at home.” In addition AP employees were required to provide material for the Nazi party’s propaganda division.
In the 1930s, AP had four photographers, one was a member of the SS propaganda division, but he was not the only one who contributed to the Nazi cause. AP photos, for example, appeared in publications such as “Jews in the USA” and “The Subhuman.”
“While the AP deal enabled the west to peek into a repressive society that may otherwise have been entirely hidden from view – for which Berlin correspondent Louis P Lochner won a Pulitzer in 1939 – the arrangement also enabled the Nazis to cover up some of its crimes.”
AP’s initial response was that it was under intense pressure from the Nazis. Later, AP issued a statement that rejected “the suggestion that it collaborated with the Nazi regime at any time.”