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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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Hitler’s media expert, Joseph Goebbels, had accompanied the Third Reich’s conquests of Austria and the Sudetenland with massive media campaigns that sought to depict these events for internal and external consumption in a self-serving narrative. Judging by the reactions of much, if certainly not all, of the Austrian and Sudeten-German publics – and also France and Britain – Goebbels’s media strategies worked exceptionally well. However, both Austria and the Sudeten-German regions of Bohemia and Moravia were primarily ethnic-German areas. What broadcasting strategies did Goebbels and his team develop to explain and influence events after the invasion of the Czech provinces and the establishment of the so-called Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia? What role did this imperial conquest and its concurrent media strategies play in the Nazis’ greater plans for expansion in Europe? What does their radio policy in the Protectorate tell us about Nazi plans for the Czech nation? What were the options for Czech cooperation and defiance within the framework of the Protectorate’s main broadcast corporation, Czech Radio, and how did that play out with regard to intra-company relations between Germans and Czechs? Who were the main actors on both sides, and how did they interact with each other?

Based mostly on archival sources, this study seeks to answer these questions. The author determined that the occupation authorities established a media bureaucracy, which eventually came to be known as Department IV – Cultural Policy within the Office of the Reichsprotektor in Bohemia and Moravia. Department IV was badly under-resourced in...

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