The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Q. Were you his representative there?

A. No. In the last two and a half years I was his
commissioner for broadcasting, and in addition, head of one
of the twelve departments of his Ministry. Dr. Goebbels's
representatives were his State Secretaries. The last one was
Dr. Naumann, who was his successor for one day.

Q. Was Dr. Goebbels your only and direct superior?

A. No. There were many positions between him and me at
first, and still a few later on. This is the first time,
here in the dock, that I am without official superiors.

Q. By the way, whom of the defendants did you know, or with
whom did you have official or personal relations?

A. I had two or three official conversations, shortly after
1933, with Funk, who was then State Secretary in the
Propaganda Ministry, mainly dealing with economic and
organisational matters. I discussed with him the financial
plans for the reorganisation of the News Service.

Then, I once had a talk with Grand Admiral Donitz on a
technical matter. I called on Seyss-Inquart in The Hague,
and on Papen in Istanbul. I knew all the others only by
sight and first made their personal acquaintance during the

Q. How about Hitler?

A. I never had a conversation with him. In the course of
twelve years, however, I saw him, of course, several times
at the Reichstag, on big occasions or receptions. Once I was
at his headquarters and was invited to dinner with a large
number of other people. Otherwise, I received instructions
from Hitler only through Dr. Dietrich or his representative,
or through Dr. Goebbels and his various representatives.

Q. What were your relations with Dr. Goebbels? Were you on
friendly terms with him? Did you meet him frequently?

A. One can by no means say that we were friends. The
relationship was on an official basis, reserved and to a
certain extent formal. I was personally even less frequently
with him than with other of his assistants of my rank. But I
believe he treated me with more respect than any other of
his co-workers. To that extent I occupied a certain special
position. I valued Dr. Goebbels's intelligence and his
ability, at least sometimes, to change his own opinion in
favour of a better argument. I saw him about twice a year
during the first five years. When I was head of a
department, I saw him perhaps once a month. After the
outbreak of war I saw him daily in the course of a
conference of 30 to 50 fellow-workers; and in addition,
about once a week I had a conference on special subjects
with him.

Q. Now we come to the subject of propaganda. Can you sketch
the propaganda system in the Third Reich?

                                                  [Page 240]

A. I will try to. There were three types of propaganda. The
first was the unorganised agitation of the radical fanatics
in the Party. It was present in all fields, in the fields of
religion, racial policy, art, general policy, and the
conduct of the war. As time went by, Martin Bormann became
more and more the leader of this unorganised agitation.

The second type of propaganda was under the Reich Propaganda
Section of the NSDAP. The head of this was Dr. Goebbels. It
attempted to put the agitation of the radicals on a more
presentable basis.

The third type was the State organization of the Reich
Propaganda Ministry.

Q. The prosecution contended at the beginning that you had
been also head of the Radio Section of the Propaganda
Division of the NSDAP. How about that?

A. The prosecution has withdrawn that assertion. They said
that they had no proof. It would have been more correct to
say that this statement has been proved to be false. I refer
to my affidavit, Document 3469-PS (37). There I state, that
I was not, unlike all of my predecessors - as far as I know
- head of the Radio Division of the Ministry, and at the
same time head of the Radio Section of the Party. Today I
supplement this statement by saying that I held no office
whatever in the Party.

Q. You have been accused of having helped Dr. Goebbels
plunge the world into the blood-bath of aggressive war. Is
that true? Did he ever speak with you about aggressive

A. No; I never heard of any intention to wage aggressive
war, either from Dr. Goebbels. or from anyone else.

Q. In the course of this trial, some conferences have been
mentioned here several times at which, it was said, various
aggressive plans were discussed; for example, before the
attack on Czechoslovakia, before the attack on Poland, and
on Norway, and on Russia. Did you participate in these
conferences? Did you hear of them?

A. I did not participate in a single one of these
conferences. I heard of them for the first time here in the

Q. Now, if no plans for an attack were discussed in these
conferences, was there any talk at all about war or the
possibility of war?

A. No; but the danger of war was mentioned as early as 1933;
the danger of war due to the one-sided position of one
disarmed State surrounded by others which were highly armed.
This had to be considered in the light of an inducement to

German propaganda after 1933 underlined this consideration,
and this contention as one of the main reasons, first, for
the demand for disarmament of the other powers and
afterwards for the German demand for equality of armament.
That seemed completely logical to me. But never was the
danger of war mentioned without, at the same time, making a
reference to the German will for peace. That seemed to me

In the summer of 1939, when the danger of war became more
and more imminent, I saw Dr. Goebbels more often than ever
before. I gave Dr. Goebbels a number of little memoranda as,
so to speak, a contribution from my field of work, the News
Service. They were analyses of public opinion in Western
countries, and they repeatedly indicated that England was
determined to go to war in case of a conflict with Poland.

I recall that Dr. Goebbels. was deeply impressed when I once
again gave him one of these memoranda. He expressed his
concern, and decided immediately to fly to Hitler. He said
to me: "Believe me, we did not work successfully for six
years in order to risk everything in a war now."

Furthermore, in the summer of 1939, I knew of some serious
gaps in German armament which partly have already been
mentioned here in the courtroom. Therefore, I was convinced
of the honesty of the peaceful intentions in Hitler's

                                                  [Page 242]

If documents have been submitted during this trial which
indicate that Hitler secretly thought differently or acted
differently, then I am at a loss to form a judgement, since
the documents of the opposite side have not yet been
published. But if what the documents indicate is a fact,
then I must state that I was deceived about the aims of
German policy.

DR. FRITZ: Mr. President, at the beginning of my case, I had
stated that we were unable to produce here the radio
speeches of the defendant Fritzsche. I tried to obtain them
from German radio stations and succeeded in getting at least
a small part from the years 1939 and 1940. I have selected a
few of these speeches which I should like to submit to the
Tribunal as Fritzsche Exhibit 1.

To support what the defendant has just said, I should like
to quote only one sentence from the radio speech of
Fritzsche of 15th November, 1939:

  "The sole reason for war which a nation, that as a whole
  never longs for war, may have at all, the sole reason for
  war which is also morally justifiable, is the threat to
  the existence, to the life of that nation."

And this line, emphasized by the defendant Fritzsche at the
beginning of the war, was adhered to by him during the war
as well. As proof of this, I should like to quote another
passage from the same document, from a radio speech of
Fritzsche of 23rd July, 1940:

  "We Germans have experienced in the course of our
  history, and especially twenty years ago, enough blood
  and tears and human suffering to face things honestly
  now. We knew what war meant, and therefore we did not
  want war. And because the Fuehrer knows it so well, and
  had experienced it himself, he offered on 6th October and
  19th July to make peace."


Q. Did you in any way have anything to do with war
preparations of an intellectual or organisational kind?

A. Not directly, but perhaps indirectly. I demanded the
disarmament of the others, and then equality of armament;
and I advocated the armament (Wehrhaftmachung) of the German
people. The expression "Wehrhaftmachung" is liable to be
misunderstood, at any rate to be easily misinterpreted. I
should like to define it expressly as the ability to fight
in self-defence.

The German people was promised again and again, often by me,
that the restoration of its military power would be only for
defensive purposes.

Q. How and where did you propagate this idea?

A. In the modest sphere of my weekly radio speeches, while
making casual remarks. I was a patriot, but I considered
myself free from Chauvinism, that is, exaggerated
nationalism. To me, as an historian, it was at that time
already clear that, especially in the narrow confines of
Europe, the old nationalism was an anachronism, and that it
was incompatible with modern communications and weapons. At
that time I believed that I saw in Hitler's doctrine also
certain elements for a new type of mutual understanding
among peoples. It was particularly the constantly repeated
thesis that only the nationalism of one people can
understand the nationalism of another people.

Only today have I realised ideologically, but particularly,
of course, materially, through the further development of
arms, that the time of nationalism is past, if mankind does
not want to commit suicide, and that the period of
internationalism has come, for good or evil.

At that time, however, nationalism was not considered a
crime. I advocated it; indeed, everyone advocated it. It can
be seen that it is still advocated today.

Q. Now, the prosecution points out that before every attack,
a Press campaign was launched in Germany, the aim of which
was to weaken the victim of a planned attack and to prepare
the German people psychologically for the new drive.
Although this is stated by the prosecution without as yet
actually referring to you personally, and even though later
no direct charge is made that you organized these Press
campaigns, the prosecution, nevertheless, stress very
strongly your connection with this practice.

                                                  [Page 243]

Now, what facts have you to state about your role in these
journalistic polemics?

A. First, I can only point out that I described the
propagandistic actions in detail in my affidavit, Document
3469-PS (23-33), starting with the Rhineland occupation up
to the attack on the Soviet Union. These descriptions also
contain information about the type and extent of my
participation in these actions. Beyond that, I may emphasize
that any reference is missing in the description made in my
affidavit as to the question of the right in each case. All
attempts at political justification are lacking. I should
like to emphasize explicitly that in each case, in each
action, I believed I represented a good and just cause. It
would be going too far if I were to explain that for each
case, inasmuch as many of these cases have already been
discussed here. I assume, or rather, I hope that the
prosecution will ask questions on this subject, for I assert
that, no matter what the facts may have been in the
individual cases, at every moment from the Anschluss of
Austria on to the attack on Russia, information given to me
and through me to the German public left no doubt of the
legality or the urgent necessity of the German action and I,
as the only surviving informer of the German public,
consider it my duty to be available here for any
investigation of the correctness of this statement of mine,
which is of especial importance for the German public.

Q. Some newspaper headlines are mentioned in your affidavit
which are considered typical of the various states of
tension prior to the individual actions. What have you to
say to that?

A. These headlines are taken without exception from the
Volkischer Beobachter. They were submitted to me and, of
course, I had to confirm their correctness, but I may
emphasize that the Volkischer Beobachter was not typical of
my Press policy. The Volkischer Beobachter generally had its
own direct connections with headquarters and Hitler. Typical
products of my Press policy were papers such as the Deutsche
Allgemeine Zeitung, the Munchener Neueste Nachrichten, and
the Hamburger Fremdenblatt, to mention only a few.

Q. But the prosecution is of the opinion that you, with your
domestic propaganda, also incited the German people to war,
in that you tried to arouse hostile feelings in them towards
other peoples of Europe and the world. In Captain Sprecher's
trial brief, it is said, for instance, that "antagonism
against the peoples of the Soviet Union" and "an atmosphere
of utter and complete unreason and hatred" were created by
you or that you had incited the Germans to blind hatred. Did
you do that?

A. No, I did not do that. Never did I attempt to arouse
hatred against the English, French, Americans, or Russians.
There is not a single word of this kind in perhaps a
thousand speeches which I made before the microphone. I did
speak strongly against governments, members of governments,
governmental systems, but I never preached hatred generally
or attempted to awaken it indirectly as was the case - and I
ask your pardon for my taking an example from the courtroom
- at the moment when a film was presented here and the words
were spoken. "Here you see Germans laughing over hanged
Yugoslavs." Never did I try to awaken hatred in this general
form, and I may point out that for years many anti-National
Socialist statements from certain countries, which were
still neutral at that time, remained unanswered.

Q. Did your superiors demand that you should mark your
propaganda with the stamp of antagonism or to stimulate

A. Yes, that happened frequently, but it was not demanded
that antagonism or hatred should be stirred up against
peoples. That was expressly forbidden, because we wanted to
win these peoples over to our side, but again and again I
was requested to arouse hatred against individuals and
against systems.

Q. Who requested you to do this?

A. Dr. Goebbels and Dr. Dietrich, and both of them
frequently on the direct orders of Adolf Hitler. The
reproach was repeatedly made that the German Press and the
German radio did not arouse hatred at all against Roosevelt,
Churchill or Stalin, but that they made these three
personalities popular as efficient men.

                                                  [Page 244]

For that reason, for years the German Press was forbidden to
mention these three names at all unless, in an individual
case, permission was given with exact instructions.

Q. Do you mean to say that you refused the request to change
your propaganda to incite antagonism and to arouse hatred
and did not carry it out?

A. I should like to outline exactly what I did. When the
reproaches of Dr. Goebbels and Dr. Dietrich piled up, I had
all caricatures from the First and Second World War
collected - from England, the United States of America,
France and a few from Russia. In addition, I had all anti-
German propaganda films which I could lay my hands on
collected. Then, in five or six demonstrations of several
hours each, I presented these caricatures and these films to
German journalists and German radio speakers. I, myself,
spoke only two or three minutes in introduction. It is quite
possible that I created hatred through these showings, but
the condemnation of this means of producing hatred in the
midst of war I should like to leave to the judgement of the
Tribunal. In any case, Dr. Goebbels said later that he was
dissatisfied and we were "bunglers."

I may add one statement. I could have used a method of
carrying out my orders to arouse real hatred, that is, not
one, but a whole group of methods; for instance, to give
only one example, I could have used a German edition of the
last two volumes of the Tarzan series, an adventure series
which was very popular in Germany at that time, and of which
the last two volumes were strongly anti-German. I need not
describe them here. I never pointed out such early products
of anti-German propaganda. I always deliberately ignored
such methods.

Q. If you say that you dispensed with hatred and antagonism
in your propaganda, what means did you use in that
propaganda during the war?

A. During the war, I conducted the propaganda almost
exclusively with the concept of the necessity and the
obligation to fight. I repeatedly painted the results of
defeat in very sombre colours and systematically gave
quotations from the Press and the radio of the enemy
countries. I quoted repeatedly the enemy demands for
unconditional surrender. I used the expression "Super-
Versailles" frequently and did - I emphasize this - describe
the consequences of a lost war very pessimistically. It does
not behove me today to make a comparison with reality.

Q. But could you not learn from the broadcasts of the enemy
that the fight of the Allies was not directed against the
German people, but only against its leaders? Did you keep
that from the German people?

A. On the contrary, I did not keep it from them, but
repeatedly quoted it. However, I called it "incredible." For
example, I once used the trick of quoting the wording of a
medieval declaration of war in which it had already been
said that a war was declared only on the King of France, but
that one wanted to bring freedom to the French people.

THE PRESIDENT: Would this be a convenient time to break off?

(The Tribunal adjourned until 27th June, 1946, at 1000 hours.)

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