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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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7. The Interregnum – November 1941 to March 1942


Within weeks of Heydrich’s arrival in Prague, the decision was taken to reform the entire structure of broadcasting in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. To this end, Goebbels posted Hanns-Otto Fricke to Prague to function as Überleitungskommissar (“transitional commissar”). Why exactly there arose a period of flux between Scurla’s time in office and Thürmer’s take-over in early 1942 is not precisely clear from the surviving documentation. The hypothesis seems reasonable, however, that the heads of broadcasting in Berlin did not have a clear picture of the situation in Prague, as Thürmer suggests in his apology.766 Furthermore, since Goebbels had dispatched Fricke to deal with broadcasting-related concerns in other conquered regions (e.g. in Austria and Poland), Fricke had experience in crisis management. Then after around one month of activity in Prague either Fricke determined that the job required a full-time manager and suggested calling Thürmer home from the front or someone else, presumably Heydrich, lost patience with the pace of change and called for a replacement.

Thus, began a period for Czech Radio, which one could describe as an interregnum between Scurla and Thürmer. This time span also marks the beginning of the end of the Maras era at Czech Radio. The starting date for the interregnum would be identical with Fricke’s arrival in Prague, which must have been some time after 13 November 1941, as he would surely have attended the important meeting on broadcasting with Karl Hermann Frank, Berndt, Gregory and Wolf...

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