Background: The Zeitschriften-Dienst was a weekly newsletter for magazine editors during the Third Reich, first published in 1939. It was supposed to be confidential. Editors were to keep it locked away, and use it to help guide them in their duties. After November 1941, it was divided into two periodicals. The second, the Deutscher Wochendienst, provided more in depth material on topics. Here, I translate the lead item from an issue in late-September 1941, when it looked like the invasion of Russia was going well. It gives the general guidelines magazine editors were to follow.
For general information about the ZD, see Robert Young, “‘Not this way please!’ Regulating the press in Nazi Germany,” Journalism Quarterly (1987), 787-792.
The source: Zeitschriften-Dienst, 26 September 1941.
Strictly confidential — Not for publication
Issue 126 — 26 September 1941 — Numbers 5389 - 5430
5389: The situation
The past week was marked by new German successes on the Eastern Front. The content of the special announcements and the military reports powerfully refuted English-American and Soviet lies that attempted to influence world opinion during the German silence, which was dictated by tactical concerns. German successes in the Battle of the Atlantic are worthy companions to the successes on the Eastern Front. It is particularly interesting under these circumstances that the warmonger Roosevelt is continuing his provocations, dashing toward war as fast as he can.
Alongside the propagandistic coverage of our great successes, the main task of German magazines over the coming weeks and months will be to inform the German people of the duties of the domestic front during the third war winter, and to provide the spiritual conditions that will give our citizens the strength to overcome winter.
The domestic front must be at the center for the immediate future, regardless of whether the periodical is scientific, entertaining, trade, or class-oriented. It is essential to have a propagandistic feel for the audience, and to write compellingly.
The German people has always overcome the hardest and most difficult times when it knew what it was fighting for. It is therefore important over the course of this winter campaign to repeatedly make clear to the German people, in a factual but compelling way, what it has to expect if Bolshevism and its plutocratic allies in England and America defeated Germany. It must be shown how Jewry, plutocracy, and Bolshevism recruited Germany’s defeated domestic enemies, and have used all available methods to combat National Socialism’s seizure of power after the founding of the new Germany. It cannot be stated too often that their war is not the war of ideals they proclaim, but rather an anti-socialist crusade. It must be constantly repeated that the Führer attempted to maintain peace for the German people and the world up until the last possible moment. Each individual must realize that this is a war for the life or death of the German people, which means also their personal existence.
Statements in the English and American press, the book by the Jew Kaufmann [sic], and other statements clearly show that the German people are to be destroyed. The terrible misery between 1918 and 1933 would almost seem like a paradise in contrast to what each individual German has to expect should these devilish plans of plutocracy and Bolshevism, which means International Jewry, succeed. The German people must therefore be warned against a war of nerves, which is the only form of war our enemies have left. Our people must be told repeatedly that the winner will be he with the better nerves, and that our enemy therefore is attempting to break the nerve of the German people by an unscrupulous campaign of lies, slanders, agitation, etc. The famous phrase that England depends on — that England loses the battles but wins the wars — has become useless, since there is no one left to win the war for England. Bolshevism was England’s last hope. England was prepared to sacrifice all of Europe to it, if only it destroyed the hated Germany. However, Bolshevism is no longer a fighting force. England has already lost the war. It is only a matter of time.
Therefore, the German people must constantly be reminded of the uselessness of English propaganda tricks.
That does not mean we have to carry out a propaganda of illusions. The German people can stand plain talk. It is a politically mature people. The fundamental point to make is that those forces that were defeated in Germany in 1933 are making one more attempt to stop the economic and social rise of the German people, hoping to make it once more an international slave colony. These forces declared war on Germany to exterminate German socialism and to hinder productive people in other countries to come to similar conclusions and thus rise against plutocratic exploitation by making socialist demands.
Up until September 1939, the Führer made constant attempts to preserve peace for the German people, and thereafter to end the war quickly. The other side, however, has used all methods to expand the war they caused.
In this connection, all Germans must be constantly reminded of how it was in the past, and how they lived then. Their memories must be refreshed as to what meat and far consumption was in 1920, two years after Wilson’s peace, and what they are today. German babies in 1920 died by the hundreds of thousands because German dairy cattle were taken by the enemy. They must remember the rations soldiers’ families received from 1914-1918, or 1919-1932, and those of today. They must remember the purchasing power of an unemployed family in 1932 as opposed to the income and purchasing power of today. A worker then could not even buy a fraction of the rations he gets today. They must also be reminded of the military and diplomatic situations of the World War in comparison to the situations today. It is also necessary to constantly repeat how Germany would look if Bolshevism rolled over Germany. There would be an unimaginable blood bath, the slaughtering of millions, the destruction of factories, hunger, terrible misery, the deportations of millions as labor slaves, children subjected to forced education in Bolshevist camps. the extermination of families, socialization of women, the destruction of cultural treasures — all this would threaten Germans.
Over the winter, we have to constantly remind the German people how things look “over there.” Many readers still do not realize that even presumably so rich England has had to ration food and clothing, sometimes even more than in Germany. And the extent of the destruction caused by the German Luftwaffe in England is underestimated. We can also mention the inexhaustible reserves that Germany has at its disposal.
Individual magazines will naturally deal with these matters in a way appropriate for their readership, being sure to discuss them in a way that will have the greatest possible impact on their readers. Magazines read by women should pay particular attention to these issues.
The woman is an essential contributor to the morale of the homeland. She above all must constantly be given the arguments necessary to maintain German morale. She also bears the heaviest burden, and so must be constantly addressed.
German magazine publishers must give particular attention to these issues in the coming months. Every means must be used, from articles to carefully selected pictures, from short commentaries to caricatures, jokes, etc.
The greatest care must be taken to avoid anything in novels, short stories, professional articles, jokes, etc., that could unsettle readers, or even have a negative effect. A foolish and provocative recipe, for example, can do more harm to morale than can be made good by hard educational work. Such things must be carefully considered.
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Go to the German Propaganda Archive Home Page.