German Radio Propaganda in the Soviet Union: A War of Words

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The focus of this study is the content of Nazi radio propaganda to and concerning the Soviet Union. The radio was a new and innovative means for the Nazi regime to directly communicate with the masses of illiterate civilians in the Soviet Union on a daily basis. This study finds that as the war in the east progressed, there was an increasingly stark dichotomy between the positive messages found within German radio propaganda and the harsh reality of the Nazi occupation. It seems almost as though there was a morbid inverse correlation between the amount of violence the Germans inflicted upon civilians (including forcibly sending them to work in Germany) and the amount of radio propaganda exhorting these same civilian populations to join the Nazi cause. It is also important to note that every German radio broadcast to Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union was not propaganda. In fact, by 1943, a great deal of news items broadcast on German radio in occupied territory were administrative in nature. Announcements such as local curfews, blackouts, conscription and mobilization decrees, and warnings were frequently broadcast.