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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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2. Goals of the Nazi Occupation of Bohemia and Moravia in General


The dramatic development of events that culminated in the German Wehrmacht’s occupation of the Czech provinces and the establishment of the so-called Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia between 14 and 16 March 1939 had a very long background. The final decades of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy prior to 1918, had already been marred by incidents of conflict between indigenous Czech- and German-speaking segments of the population in the Austrian regions that later became the Czechoslovak provinces of Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia.34 Expressed very simply, bitter cultural and linguistic battle lines had arisen between some of the German-speaking Austrians on the one hand, who sought to maintain their political and cultural domination over an extremely ethnically diverse empire, and some of the Czechs on the other hand, who, after reawakening to the fact of their own distinct ethnic, linguistic and cultural identity in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, sought to develop their own national culture in their homeland.

Against this background, language35 and nationality had the potential to act as fault lines of approval or rejection towards the new, democratic Czechoslovak Republic founded in 1918. Perspectives on the founding of the state differed most radically between the nationalistic wings of the political spectrum of the various ethnic groups. Nevertheless, ethnicity was not a priori a determinant of approval or rejection of the new state. There were Czechs, who sentimentally longed for the lost Empire – such as Josef Opluštil, who will figure heavily in this study, and Germans...

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