German Propaganda Archive Calvin College


Background: The Nazi Party depended heavily on speakers to get its message across. Those speakers needed to be informed. The following is a translation of instructions to speakers in June 1942. After a long period of generally bad news, the Germans finally had a great success. Rommel’s Afrika Korps had captured the fortress of Tobruk. Unlike the campaign on the Eastern Front where the German offensive was making progress but had not crushed the Soviet Union, the capture of Tobruk was a victory that looked decisive. Speakers were ordered to play it up big in coming weeks, using this material to develop their speeches.

The source: Redner-Schnellinformation, Lieferung 36, 27 June 1942.

Speaker Express Information



  1. The geopolitical and military significance of Tobruk.
  2. False optimism in the enemy camp (Tobruk in British agitation, yesterday and today.)
  3. The difficulties of the battle. The incomparable Afrika Korps.
  4. The significance of Rommel’s victory.
  5. Churchill’s crisis?

Field Marshall Rommel ’s victory should be discussed in its full significance in all meetings during coming weeks. The following information provides the necessary material.

1. The geopolitical and military significance of Tobruk.

The Times recently wrote:

“The Mediterranean must be reopened for British shipping. Losses should not be feared, for reopening traffic in the Mediterranean has the same effect for English-American shipping as if the Allies increased their available shipping by half.”

Possession of Tobruk is naturally of enormous significance, since along with the island of Crete it controls shipping lanes from the east to the west and vice versa. The British call the fortress of Tobruk Africa’s Verdun, meaning that the possession of this fortress is of decisive significance in dominating the Mediterranean. Even Churchill called Tobruk the “Waterloo of the desert.” Possession of this fortress with its deep natural harbor means more to the British today than 17 months ago when the battle for this place began. The nearby island of Crete was not yet in Axis hands. Crete and Tobruk together block access to the eastern Mediterranean, as Sicily, Pantelleria, and Sardenia control the Western Mediterranean. The English lose the possibility of reaching Malta from the East via Tobruk, and the chances of opening the Mediterranean for British commercial shipping become fantasy after the fall of Tobruk.

The great efforts the British put into building this fortress shows the value they put on its possession. Even this summer, the English made great efforts to build railway tracks and water pipelines to Tobruk. When they captured Tobruk, they worked to build strong fortifications and extend them far enough into the desert so that the city and harbor would out of range of a besieging army. This proved its value as Axis forces drove the British out of Cyrenaica and Marmarica in spring 1941. The enemy’s then clear naval superiority in the Eastern Mediterranean allowed the fortress to survive despite being surrounded on the land side for months.

Tobruk is also an important advanced position for the front at Sollum, and for the Egyptian front and the entire Egyptian hinterland as far as the Nile delta. The Tobruk harbor was of the greatest significance for supplying Cyrenaica. Stationing English military leadership there proves how important and critical the defense of this place was to them, not to mention the army leaders of the British Eighth Army stationed there. Names such as Wavell, Cunningham, Righti, and Auchinlek make that clear.

The enemy also made major attacks from Cyrenaica and Marmarica in an effort to relieve Tobruk. The positions in North Africa require supplies and tonnage to such an extent that England neglected East Asian positions in favor of this position. South Africans, Indians, and Australians were stationed in this area. The English recognized Tobruk’s strategic importance and defended it accordingly. The difficulty of the battle and the determination with which the British defended this position also shows the significance that the enemy placed on Tobruk, and with justice.

2. False optimism in the enemy camp.

(Tobruk yesterday and today in British agitation.)

Tobruk’s outstanding position was shown by British news reports, which outdid themselves with bombastic predictions during the battles on 19, 20, and 21 June. One could see how little they wanted to recognize our victory, since only a few days before they were relaxed about the great significance of this fortress. English radio on 20 June carried the following reports, and unusually in a new form almost every hour:

Radio London, 20 June:

“The battle in Libya is a dramatic example of the significance of supplying Libya.”

(Very dramatic, since it proved that the British no longer controlled the Mediterranean and that it was therefore impossible to supply Tobruk in a timely and sufficient way.)

London, 20 June, Engl. 8:15 a.m.:

“The defenders of Tobruk do not wait to be attacked, but rather strong columns disrupt the enemy wherever they meet them.”

(Our Afrika Korps thanked them by defeating the “disrupting” British wherever they met them.)

Radio London, 20 June:

“The retreat by the British forces to the defensive zone of Tobruk and to the border robbed the German command of its main goal, namely the destruction of British forces as an effective military formation.”

On the morning of 20 June, the British still said that the 8th Army and the defense of Tobruk was important. That must be established, since we will see how quickly and typically English this opinion changed. In their view the British have always done “great” things, enough to make the chameleon, which lives in North Africa, jealous.

Radio London, 20 June:

“The Germans have not had as rapid a victory as they wished when they began their offensive three weeks ago.

(Here is another example of them setting deadlines, which they use to conceal their defeats.)

“They planned to capture Tobruk and surround and destroy the 8th Army. Tobruk has already survived being besieged for eight months and will continue to hold out. If Tobruk is now surrounded, it will be defended, just as during the 250-day siege of last year. The bravery and quality of the British 8th Army have already saved it from real danger after its heavy tank losses on the heights of Acroma a few weeks ago.”

(That agrees with the facts, since the soldiers of the 8th Armuy saved themselves along with 5 generals by surrendering.)

Radio London, 20 June:

“Rommel does not make us nervous. We know that all the battles of this year are more or less episodes.”

(Episodes? Sure! Just like Drontheim, Andalses, Dunkirk, Greece, and the laughable attempt to open a second front in the West. Only “episodes.”)

Radio London, 20 June:

War correspondent Dimbly said: “The forces in Tobruk are not in a trap. Everyone in the fortress has his sleeves rolled up and is in a fighting rage.”

(Now they are in captivity and can simmer down while waiting for our victory.}

Radio London, 21 June:

“Tobruk has enough weapons and munitions, along with ample provisions. The storehouses of Tobruk are filled with with equipment and foodstuffs. There are also tanks, including many ‘General Grants’ and motorized equipment.”

(Received with thanks, Rommel, Field Marshall!)

Radio London, 21 June:

“The fact is that Rommel after heavy losses has still not taken Tobruk, and Tobruk is defended by the fleet.”

(The fleet sailed off, and by the way, ‘How quickly the dance was over.’)

Radio London, 22 June:

London newspapers make clear that the new danger resulting from the fall of Tobruk is not underestimated. “A drastic and immediate counterattack is necessary to stop the enemy and thrown him back.”

(That will have to happen very quickly, not like the establishment of a second front, or else the big mouths may arrive too late.)

The Daily Mail says that supplies and reinforcements will be a further burden on our shipping. The Daily Herald thinks “that the reaction of the population will be determined and undefeated.” (?)

(The determination of the English people under current circumstances could easily turn against the government.)

The News Chronicle writes: “The good news that Churchill is bringing us from America will not put the fall of Tobruk into the shadows or weaken the reaction in Parliament.”

(But still suppressed.)

Daily Herald:The loss of Tobruk will make our sea routes to Egypt more difficult.”

(And a lot longer.)

Radio London, 22 June:

“The fall of Tobruk is a bitter disappointment, at least at the moment. This feeling is so strong because Tobruk had become a legend. One saw it as the home of heroes who could never be defeated.”

Radio New York from London, 22 June:

“The surprising loss of Tobruk and the British retreat to the Egyptian border raises many questions:

a) How did the Germans succeed without having air superiority? One assumes that the British were badly informed about the Germans, and that the lack of dive bombers was a problem for the British.”

(That depends on whether one uses bombers only for criminal terror attacks against the German civilian population instead of using them at the front. That is the payback for Lübeck, Rostock, Cologne, and other terror attacks by the British air force.)

b) “It seems either that the Germans received tank reinforcements or that they know how to better use their tanks. It is also possible that not as much German equipment was destroyed as was first reported. Our allies have suffered a defeat and must retreat to Egypt. The civilian population in Alexandria is already being evacuated.”

(Self deception in the enemy camp about the German soldier and his leadership over the course of this war has resulted in many people and countries being hauled back to reality from the land of illusions, but always when it was too late.)

Radio London, 22 June:

“The fall of Tobruk came with surprising suddenness, since all reports were that the garrison there had been reinforced.”

(Gives you the best chances for a “successful retreat,” Mr. Churchill.)

An American commentator on the fall of Tobruk:

The commentator from a Philadelphia station said:

“The first blow in Hitler’s long-announced spring offensive has struck in the form of the loss of Tobruk. It looks as if this loss is a heavy blow for the British, but on closer examination one sees that the victory is actually a greater disappointment for the winner than for the loser. The victory was gained on a front that has the least significance for the overall strategic situation.”

(That sounds as if Churchill himself had written this news item. Only the chief liar himself can twist obvious facts like this.)

“Significant parts, for example a quarter of the whole Luftwaffe, had to be taken from the most important fronts to win this victory.”

(They think they know a lot about the use of our Luftwaffe! However, there is enough of it for Kertsch, Kharkhov, Sevastapol, and for the necessary revenge for murderous British bombing!)

Cinsinn station, 20 June:

ºThe British Supreme Command in Cairo released a communiqué that said they wanted to hold the fortress of Tobruk only as long as it served the limited interests of English forces in Libya. It was not to be a prestige victory that would devour masses of material and cause many soldiers to lose their lives unnecessarily.”

(That’s why their soldiers, their weapons, and their enormous military equipment ... were rescued by German captivity.).

3. The difficulties of the battle. The incomparable Afrika Korps.

The great success of German-Italian troops is to be evaluated even more highly because the battles in Cyrenaica and Marmarica took place during a very hot season. Even the enemy thought that major operations were impossible and apparently did not expect further advances through Bardia. Given the high temperatures (30 degrees and above), London thinks itself safe from Rommel’s further blows. As reports from the war theatre state, the troops advanced to battle under cloudless skies under the scorching African sun with no wind. Axis troops showed strong and unbroken ability to defeat enemy armies and force the remains of the enemy troops to the east of Tobruk’s fortifications, where they are subject to the untiring attacks of the German Luftwaffe. The Luftwaffe had a major role in the fall of this strong fortress, equipped with all modern means of defense. The same is true of the navy. As the special announcement on Monday, 23.6 announced, our troops advanced 20 kilometers between 4 a.m. and 4 p.m. Only the achievements and endurance of Axis soldiers are able to win such victories. London and Washington called Tobruk one of the strongest fortresses in the world. And the 33,000 prisoners, uncommonly high for Africa, proves that the British did not withdraw form Tobruk, but rather that it was won by our troops through battle. The endurance of the individual and the collective work of all forces involved resulted in victory.

Our speakers must praise the extraordinary achievements of Axis troops. Above all, it is especially important to praise the Italian troops who made notable contributions in storming Tobruk. Torbruk is a victory of the Axis forces. Regardless of which forces were involved in the battle, be it artillery, tanks, defensive forces or motorized units, they all without exception fought with bitter determination under the terrible scorching sun and almost without rest for the whole day, showing enthusiasm and complete devotion.

These facts find an almost humorous confirmation in the whining claims of the enemy, who said that Rommel showed himself a ruthless commander who didn’t give “exhausted” British troops a chance to catch their breath but rather chased them from one battle to the next, robbing them of a chance of an organized defense. There could be no better praise for the German and Italian fighters of the Afrika Korps.

4. The significance of Rommel’s victory

After the success of Field Marshall Rommel’s victory, Churchill fled to America. Further cooperation with Roosevelt is under an unfavorable star. During his first meeting with Roosevelt, the English fortress in East Asia, Singapore, fell into the hands of the Japanese.

Before he left for Washington he said: “The fortress of Tobruk is defended by General Righti’s troops. The fortress is impregnable.” Rommel had even lost the first round, according to his statement in the Lower House. Now Tobruk is in our hands. The English are asking what effect the loss of at least two divisions and a great mass of war material will have for the future military capacity of the 8th British Army and its positions along the Egyptian border. On Monday, 22 June, German radio announced that the English have already packed up the historical treasures in Cairo and are taking them to Cape Town. The same plundering that happened elsewhere when Tommy had to run. Radio Shenacatedy [sic)] announced on 20 June that the State Department in Washington ordered all Americans living in Egypt to leave the country. (We know what that means!)

The Svenska Dagladet reports from London: Rommel’s general superiority is openly admitted. General Righti has disappeared from the war theatre. Furthermore, England is now forced to supply the Near East over the long way around Africa, since the Mediterranean is restricted because of Axis control of two passages, the straights around Sicily and the passage between Tobruk and Crete.

Naturally, the fall of Tobruk also affected morale in England. The Daily Mirror writes: “The sooner Churchill returns to speak openly and without circumlocution, the better. One gave us so much hope, and we have gotten so little. The fact is that our situation in the Mediterranean is now worse than at any other time during this war. What caused this crisis? People want to know, and they have a right to know.”

There was also shock in America. People realized that Allied troops in North Africa have suffered a very serious defeat. “The First Washington Conference,” announced as having the “greatest gathering of allies,” cannot change the facts.

Two years after Italy’s entrance into the war, the British have not a single usable base left along the sea route from Gibraltar to Alexandria that England has controlled for the past 50 years. Tobruk joins the list with Hong Kong, Singapore, and Corregidor.

The Daily Express wrote in November 1941:

“If we win, we will have pulled the first German fang. We will then be able to shift the large armies in the Middle East to the north in order to help Russia. It will be a changing of the tide.”

We should remind them now of their own words. The results of our victory are clear, and we can only add: The sun that laughed in the morning will weep at noon, and he who laughs last laughs best!

5. Churchill’s crisis?

Commentaries on the effects of the serious defeat that the British suffered in Africa show that morale in England is extraordinarily depressed. Many voices in public, in the press, and also on radio show dissatisfaction with the military leadership, with those against Churchill are particularly loud.

Speakers are instructed not to use such a hopeless situation to predict the future course of the war. Even if Churchill resigns as prime minister for this or some other reason, that will not mean that the war is over. More likely, any successor of Churchill would intensify the war effort.

Above all, the growing advance of Bolshevism in English life is not to be seen as a favorable omen. In Germany after the World War, Bolshevism promoted pacifism. We know today that that was only agitation with a specific purpose. They hoped that promoting pacifist ideas in the broad masses of our people, which they did by using Jewish public opinion to encourage war-weariness and hostility to the military, would strengthen their organization. In reality Bolshevism and communism have never opposed war, but rather have the goal of world revolution, which today’s Soviet Union proves is a way to prepare for a murderous world war.

Today Bolshevism as an ally of Jewish world finance and British plutocracy is not for the moment working for a Bolshevization of England, but rather using war agitation to encourage a great increase in the British will to fight.

Considering these facts and considering the present situation after England’s defeat in Africa, our line is: We can’t imagine a better enemy than Churchill, since he has done such a “good job” of leading the British Empire into collapse that he is for us the best guarantee of the elimination of Britain’s claim to world power.


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