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Broadcast Policy in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia

Power Structures, Programming, Cooperation and Defiance at Czech Radio 1939-1945


Peter Richard Pinard

Hitler’s regime invested heavily into radio as the most modern media of its era. First in Germany, later in Austria and the Sudetenland, Joseph Goebbels motivated his Volksgenossen to become active radio listeners. But what approach did the regime take to the first non-German people occupied – the Czechs? How would Czech Radio’s staff and listeners respond to Nazi-dominated programming? What strategies of defiance and what options for cooperation existed? What role did Nazism’s core theme of anti-Semitism play? Which Czech societal groups did the Nazis try to reach most? This book casts a spotlight on the effects of the occupation authorities’ policies on specific programming content, as well as on radio as a medium in the so-called Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia.
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1. Introduction

← 8 | 9 → 1. Introduction


Given the important role that media propaganda played in the creation and maintenance of the totalitarian National Socialist (Nazi) regime in Germany in the 1930’s and 1940’s, reviewing and understanding the latter’s methods and tools is always a useful discipline for the vigilant citizen of today’s functioning democracies blessed with a free press. The longstanding hope here is that by learning from history, one can avoid similar errors in the present and future.

The fact that Hitler’s propaganda and media specialist, Joseph Goebbels, recognized the potential of radio – the most modern mass medium of the times – quickly took control of German broadcasting and harnessed it for the purposes of the Nazi regime, can be considered a part of the conventional historical wisdom on the subject of that specific medium and Nazism. Goebbels’s use and abuse of radio accompanied the Nazis every step of the way along a path that would lead to their expansion into virtually all of Europe and North Africa. Via radio, Goebbels and his team created the justifications for – or as one might express it in modern terminology: the spin – for those very imperialist acquisitions. Due to the nature of radio waves, which is to propagate for hundreds or even thousands of kilometers, Goebbels had a tool at his disposal for influencing not only domestic public opinion, but also that in the rest of Europe and even overseas. For example, in the first two phases of their territorial expansion – the incorporation of Austria and the...

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