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Broadcast Policy in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia

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

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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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4. Broadcasting in the Newly Established Protectorate – 15 March 1939 to February 1940

Extract

The effects of the German invasion of 14/15 March 1939 were immediate and very palpable at Czecho-Slovak Radio. Although, Czech programming is the main focus of this study, the story would not be complete without at least a brief review of the main German-language station located in the Protectorate. With the invasion, Prague II – Mělník entered a new phase of its existence, which included efforts to turn it into a tool of local Germanization/Nazification. In the night of 14 to 15 March 1939, its offices on the first floor of Broadcasting House in Fochova Street 16229 in Prague were occupied rather dramatically by a group of Prague Germans led by the former Radiojournal German Department employee, Georg Schneider, who then proceeded to broadcast news of the approach of German troops.230 The same thing apparently occurred under the leadership of Erich Smutnik in Brno.231 Diller treated these reports with a certain degree of skepticism while writing his Rundfunkpolitik im Dritten Reich in the late 1970’s, and he was correct to do so at the time. Such stories smack of common, post-factum Nazi legend-building such as the stylization of Hitler’s thoroughly unspectacular constitutional assumption of power on 30 January 1933 as a “Machtergreifung,” a “seizure of power,” and Reichssendeleiter Eugen Hadamovsky’s corresponding depiction of his takeover of German broadcasting the same day with nation-wide broadcasts from the Nazis’ triumphal torch-light parade. Like the “Machtergreifung” itself, Hadamovsky’s “Rundfunkrevolution” (“radio revolution”) was actually a completely normal technical linkage of the German radio...

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