A. POSITIONS HELD BY FRITZSCHE IN THE NAZI STATE.
Fritzsche's Party membership and his various positions in the propaganda apparatus of the Nazi State are shown in two affidavits made by himself (2976-PS; 3469-PS). Fritzsche became a member of the Nazi Party on 1 May 1933, and continued to be a member until Germany's collapse in 1945.
Fritzsche began his service with the staff of the Reich Ministry for People's Enlightenment and Propaganda (hereinafter referred to as the Propaganda Ministry on 1 May 1933, he remained within the Propaganda Ministry until the Nazi downfall in the spring of 1945.
Before the Nazis seized political power in Germany, and beginning in September 1932, Fritzsche was head of the Wireless News Service (Drahtloser Dienst), an agency of the Reich Government, which at that time was the government of von Papen. After the Wireless News Service was incorporated into Dr. Goebbels' Propaganda Ministry in May 1933, Fritzsche continued as its head until 1938. Upon entering the Propaganda Ministry in May 1933, Fritzsche also became head of the news section of the Press Division of the Propaganda Ministry. He continued in this position until 1937. In the summer of 1938 Fritzsche was appointed deputy to Alfred Ingemar Berndt, who was then head of the German Press Division. (The German Press Division, in the Indictment, is called the "Home Press Division." Since "German Press Division" seems to be a more literal translation, it is referred to as the German Press Division throughout this section. It is sometimes otherwise known as the Domestic Press Division.) This Division, as will be later shown, was the major section of the Press Division of the Reich
In December 1938 Fritzsche succeeded Berndt as the head of the German Press Division. Between 1938 and November 1942, Fritzsche was promoted three times. He advanced in title from Superior Government Counsel to Ministerial Counsel, then to Ministerialdirigent, and finally to Mnisterialdirektor.
In November 1942 Fritzsche was relieved of his position as head of the German Press Division by Dr. Goebbels. In its place he accepted from Dr. Goebbels a newly created position in the Propaganda Ministry, that of Plenipotentiary for the Political Organization of the Greater German Radio. At the same time he also became head of the Radio Division of the Propaganda Ministry. He held both these positions in radio until the Nazi- downfall.
There are two allegations in the Indictment concerning Fritzsche's positions for which no proof is available. The first unsupported-allegation states that Fritzsche was Editor-in-Chief of the official German News Agency, Deutsche Nachrichten Buero. The second unsupported allegation states that Fritzsche was head of the Radio Division of the Propaganda Department of the Nazi Party. Fritzsche, in his affidavit, denies having held either of these positions, and these two allegations must fall for want of other proof.
B. FRITZSCHE'S PART IN THE CONSPIRACY TO CONSOLIDATE NAZI CONTROL OVER GERMANY AND TO LAUNCH WARS OF AGGRESSION.
In one of his affidavits (8469-PS), which contains numerous statements in the nature of self-serving declarations, Fritzsche state. that he first became a successful journalist in the service of the Hugenberg Press, the most important chain of newspaper enterprises in pre-Nazi Germany. The Hugenberg concern owned papers of its own, but it was important primarily because it served newspaper which principally supported the so-called "national" parties of the Reich, including the NSDAP.
In paragraph 5 of this affidavit (3469-PS), Fritzsche relates that in September 1932, when von Papen was Reich Chancellor, he was made head of the Wireless News Service, replacing an official who was politically unbearable to the Papen regime. The Wireless News Service was a government agency for spreading news by radio. Fritzsche began making radio broadcasts at about this time, with a success which Goebbels recognized and later exploited on behalf of the Nazi conspirators.
On the evening of the day when the Nazis seized power, the 30 January 1933, two emissaries from Goebbels visited Fritzsche. One of them was Dressler-Andrees, head of the Radio Division of the NSDAP; the other was an assistant of Dressler-Andrees named Sadila-Mantau. These two emissaries notified Fritzsche that although Goebbels was angry with Fritzsche for writing an article critical of Hitler, still Goebbels recognized Fritzsche's public success on the radio. They stated further that Goebbels desired to retain Fritzsche as head of the Wireless News Service on certain conditions: (1) that Fritzsche discharge all Jews; (2 that he discharge all other personnel who would not join the NSDAP; (3) that he employ with the Wireless News Service the second Goebbels' emissary, Sadila-Mantau. Fritzsche refused all these conditions except the hiring of Sadila-Mantau. (3469-PS)
Fritzsche continued to make radio broadcasts during this period in which he supported the national National Socialist coalition government then still existing.
In early 1933 SA troops several times called at the Wireless News Service and Fritzsche prevented them, with some difficulty, from making news broadcasts.
In April 1933 Goebbels called Fritzsche to him for a personal audience. At paragraph 9 of his affidavit (3469-PS) Fritzsche has described his prior relationship with Dr. Goebbels:
(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 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.
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:
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 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:
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:
The reason why the DNB was excepted from Fritzsche's field at this time is that it did not come into existence until 1934.
Later on in his affidavit Fritzsche mentions the sizeable funds put at his disposal in building up the Nazi news services. Altogether, the German news agencies received a ten-fold increase in their budget from the Reich, an increase from 400,000 to 4,000,000 marks. Fritzsche himself selected and employed the Chief Editor for the Transocean News Agency and also for the Europa Press. Fritzsche states that some of the
About the summer of 1934 Funk, then Reich Press Chief, achieved the fusion of the two most important domestic news agencies, the Wolff Telegraph Agency and the Telegraph Union, and thus formed the official German news agency known as DNB. Although Fritzsche held no position with DNB at any time, nevertheless as head of the news section of the German Press Division, Fritzsche's duties gave him official jurisdiction over the DNB, which was the official domestic news agency of the Reich after 1934. Fritzsche admits that he coordinated the work of the various foreign news agencies
The Wireless News Service was headed by Fritzsche from 1930 to 1937. After January 1933 the Wireless News Service was the official instrument of the Nazi government in spreading news over the radio. During the same time that Fritzsche headed the Wireless News Service, he personally made radio broadcasts to the German people. These broadcasts were naturally subject to the controls of the Propaganda Ministry and reflected its purposes. The influence of Fritzsche's broadcasts to the German people, during this period of consolidation of control by the Nazi conspirators, is all the more important since Fritzsche was concurrently head of the Wireless News Service, and thus in control of all radio news.
(2) Use of propaganda to prepare the way for aggressions. The use made by the Nazi conspirators of psychological warfare is well known. Before each major aggression, with some few exceptions based on expediency, they initiated a press campaign calculated to weaken their victims and to prepare the German people psychologically for the attack. They used the press, after their earlier conquests, as a means for further influencing foreign politics and in maneuvering for the net following aggression.
By the time of the occupation of the Sudetenland on 1 October 1938, Fritzsche had become deputy head of the entire German Press Division. Fritzsche states that the role of German propaganda before the Munich Agreement on the Sudetenland was directed by his immediate chief, Berndt, head of the German Press Division. Fritzsche describes Berndt's propaganda as follows:
Fritzsche was accordingly made head of the German Press Division in place of Berndt. Between December 1938 and 1942, Fritzsche, as head of the German Press Division, personally gave to the representatives of the principal German newspapers the "daily parole of the Reich Press Chief." During this period he was the principal conspirator directly- concerned with the manipulations of the press.
The first important foreign aggression after Fritzsche became head of the German Press Division was the incorporation of Bohemia and Moravia. Fritzsche describes the propaganda action surrounding the incorporation of Bohemia and Moravia as follows:
The propaganda campaign of the press preceding the invasion of Poland on 1 September 1939 bears again the handiwork of Fritzsche and his German Press Division. Fritzsche speaks of the conspirators' treatment of this episode as follows:
The press campaign preceding the invasion of Yugoslavia followed the conventional pattern. The customary definitions, lies, incitement, and threats, and the usual attempt to divide and weaken the victim, are contained in Fritzsche's description of this propaganda action:
Since Germany had a non-aggression pact with the Soviet Union, and because the conspirators wanted the advantage of surprise, there was no special propaganda campaign immediately preceding the attack on the USSR. Fritzsche's affidavit discusses the propaganda line which was given the German people in justification of this aggressive war:
Fritzsche, throughout his affidavit, constantly refers to his expert technical assistance to the apparatus of the Propaganda Ministry. In 1939, apparently becoming dissatisfied with the efficiency of the existing facilities of the German Press Division, he established a new instrument for improving the effectiveness of Nazi propaganda:
Throughout this entire period preceding and including the launching of aggressive wars, Fritzsche made regular radio broadcasts to the German people under the program titles of "Political Newspaper Review," "Political and Radio Show," and later "Hans Fritzsche Speaks." His broadcasts naturally reflected the polemics and the controls of his Ministry and thus of the conspiracy. Fritzsche, the most eminent member of Goebbels propaganda team, helped substantially in making possible, both within Germany and without, the conspirators' plans for aggressive war.
C. FRITZSCHE'S USE OF PROPAGANDA TO FURTHER THE CONSPIRACY TO COMMIT ATROCITIES AND EXPLOIT OCCUPIED TERRITORIES.
Fritzsche incited atrocities and encouraged a ruthless occupation policy. The results of propaganda as a weapon of the Nazi conspirators reaches into every aspect of this conspiracy, including the atrocities and ruthless exploitation in occupied countries. It is likely that many ordinary Germans would never have participated in or tolerated the atrocities committed throughout Europe, had they not been conditioned and goaded by the constant Nazi propaganda. The callousness and zeal of the people who actually committed the atrocities was in large part due to the constant and corrosive propaganda of Fritzsche and his official associates.
(1) Persecution of the Jews. With respect to Jews, the Department of Propaganda within the Propaganda Ministry had a special branch for the "Enlightenment of the German people and of the world as to the Jewish question, fighting with propagandistic weapons against enemies of the State and hostile ideologies." This quotation is taken from a book written in 1940 by Ministerial Director Mueller, entitled "The Propaganda Ministry." (2434-PS)
In his radio broadcasts Fritzsche took a particularly active part in this "enlightenment" concerning the Jewish question. These broadcasts were full of provocative libels against Jews, the result of which was to inflame Germans to further atrocities against Jews. Even Streicher, the master Jew- baiter of all time, could scarcely outdo Fritzsche in some of his anti-Jewish incitements. Broadcasts by Fritzsche which were monitored and translated by the British Broadcasting Corporation are quite revealing (3064-PS). These radio speeches of Fritzsche were broadcast during the period 1941-1945, which was a period of intensified anti- Jewish measures.
For instance, in a broadcast on 18 December 1941, Fritzsche declared:
On 18 March 1941 Fritzsche broadcast as follows:
On 9 October 1941 Fritzsche declared over the radio:
And on 8 January 1944 Fritzsche broadcast the following:
Finally, in a broadcast on 13 January 1945, Fritzsche stated:
(2) Ruthless treatment of peoples of the USSR. Fritzsche also incited and encouraged ruthless measures against the peoples of the USSR.
In his regular broadcasts Fritzsche's incitement against the peoples of the USSR were often linked to, and were certainly as inflammatory as, his rantings against the Jews. It is ironic that his propaganda ascribing atrocities to the peoples of the USSR are accurate descriptions of some of the many atrocities committed by the German invaders. Shortly after the invasion of the USSR in June 1941 Fritzsche broadcast as follows:
Evidence to be offered by the Soviet prosecuting staff will prove that representatives of the Nazi conspirators did not hesitate to exterminate Soviet soldiers and civilians by scientific mass methods. The incitements by Fritzsche make him an accomplice in these crimes. His labeling of the Soviet peoples as members of a "sub-human world" seeking to "exterminate" the German people, and similar talk, helped fashion the psychological atmosphere of unreason and hatred which not only made possible these atrocities in the East, but made them appear a holy duty.
(3) Exploitation of occupied territories. Fritzsche encouraged and glorified the policy of the Nazi conspirators in ruthlessly exploiting the occupied countries. In his radio broadcast of 9 October 1941 he stated:
In his affidavit, Fritzsche admits having encouraged the exploitation of foreign countries:
"The utilization of the productive capacity of the occupied countries for the strengthening of the war potential, I have openly and gloriously praised, chiefly because the competent authorities put at my disposal much material, especially on the voluntary placement of manpower." (3469-PS)
(4) Control of German radio. In addition to continuing as the head of the German Press Division until after the conspirators had begun the last of their aggression, Fritzsche was also the high commander of the entire German radio system. In November 1942 Goebbels created a new position, that of Plenipotentiary for the Political Organization of the Greater German Radio, a position which Fritzsche was the first and the last to hold. In his affidavit, Fritzsche narrates how the entire German Radio and Television System was organized under his supervision:
As special Plenipotentiary for the Political Organization of the Greater German Radio, Fritzsche issued orders to all the Reich propaganda offices by teletype. These were used in conforming the entire radio apparatus of Germany to the desires of the conspirators.
Goebbels customarily held an eleven o'clock conference with his closest collaborators within the Propaganda Ministry. When both Goebbels and his undersecretary, Dr. Naumann, were absent, Goebbels, after 1943, entrusted Fritzsche with the holding of this eleven o'clock press conference.
In Goebbels' introduction to a book by Fritzsche, called "War to the War Mongers," he took occasion to praise Fritzsche's broadcasts in this fashion:
It is clear from Goebbels himself that the entire German nation was prepared to lend willing ears to Fritzsche, after he had made his reputation on the radio.
The rumor passed that Fritzsche was "His Master's Voice" (Die Stimme seines Herren). This is borne out by Fritzsche's functions. When Fritzsche spoke on the radio it was plain to the German people that they were listening to the high command of the conspirators in this field.
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.)
Sources: Nizkor. Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression, Volume II, Chapter XVI, pp.1035-1052.