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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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13. Conclusions

← 350 | 351 → 13. Conclusions

Extract

If now we look again at the questions raised at the beginning of this study, it seems quite clear that, in terms of the physical nature of their broadcast policy, the Nazi occupiers treated the Czechs in very much the same ways as they treated the ethnic-German segments of the population. This is borne out by the facts of the rise in radio listenership by 48% and the expansion of the station network – Plzeň with preparation work in České Budějovice and Jihlava – during the Protectorate period; the very limited instances of direct punitive confiscations of non-Jewish, Czech-owned radio receivers; and the increase in the average broadcast day by more than five hours between 1939 and 1945, etc. Whether that alone can serve as proof of the Nazis’ intent to Germanize much of the Czech population is, of course, highly questionable. Nevertheless, it does indicate that the Nazis approached the Czech population in the same way in terms of promoting the medium of radio itself, if not ultimately in terms of the actual content of radio programming.

Nazi broadcasting policy in the Protectorate did also play a role in their other strategic goals and objectives throughout Europe. Most notably, the Česká hodina programs’ broadcast via the Reichssender Böhmen was intended to deceive listeners and policymakers abroad as to the real extent of Nazi interference in the so-called Czech cultural autonomy. The implications of that were necessarily the intent to make the Nazi occupation regime appear to be...

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