German Propaganda Archive Calvin College


Background: The Nazi Party depended heavily on speakers to get its message across. Those speakers needed to be informed. They received bulletins like the one on this page, intended to provide immediate information for speakers to use. The material was labeled “Very Confidential!,” although there was not all that much secret in it.

The following is a translation of instructions in late September 1942 telling speakers that even in the United States people thought that Germany could win the war. It cites an article by U.S. Secretary of the Interior Harold L. Ickes on the possibility of the Axis powers dominating the world’s oil supply. Icke’s article was published in the 15 August 1942 issue of Collier’s, a general interest weekly magazine. Although some material was omitted in the Nazi version, the translation is basically accurate. I checked the original article.

It followed a common Nazi propaganda strategy of selecting material from the Allied press to demonstrate German prospects for victory. The Nazis, of course, had difficulty securing current American magazines. This appeared six weeks after original publication. The Germans probably got a copy in a neutral nation like Spain or Portugal.

The source: Redner-Schnellinformation, Lieferung 40, 30 September 1942.

Speaker Express Information

Many in the population hold the opinion that we can never defeat America because of its great resources of raw materials and its agricultural production. All our military successes in Europe or against the Soviet Union in the East, even the most decisive, cannot deal a mortal blow to the USA and force it to give up the battle.

However, that fact that the United States has ever-growing difficulties because of Axis military successes and is at risk of final defeat was recently confirmed even by North American Secretary of the Interior Harold L. Ickes. Ickes recently published at article in Collier’s Magazine on 15.8.1942 on the USA’s oil supply that attracted great attention. The North American Secretary of the Interior’s article is well-suited to:

  1. Refute the invincibility of our North American opponent, and
  2. Prove the absolute correctness of the Führer’s clearly-stated and consistent strategic plan to defeat our enemies.

Ickes’s article, the most important points of which follow, is to be used in this sense by speakers. After Ickes listed numerous uses of oil that are essential to a nation’s economic life, he continued:

“Most of us do not even yet know the elementary truths of the oil situation.

The truth is that our own reserves are low and getting lower.

On the other hand, the oil reserves outside the United States are vastly greater than those within the United States. Furthermore, these foreign reserves — some of them actually, and the rest of them potentially — are within striking distance of the Axis powers.

The greatest and richest reserve areas on earth are those of Russia and the Near East. And it is precisely there that the Axis is driving with desperate determination. It is not too much to say that the future of the world will be decided in the Near East (of which the Russian Caucasus is a part).

And if Hitler should defeat the mighty Soviets and capture the Russian oil fields, he would be within easy reach of potentially the richest oil areas in the world — the region of the Persian Gulf. The underground reserves in these fields are believed to be so great that they may exceed the total resources known to exist in the United States. Control of the oil fields of the Caucasus and those of the Persian Gulf area would mean that the Axis would dominate the postwar world.

Let us suppose that in this struggle for the mastery of the world, the Axis powers win. The Axis would then control greater treasures in petroleum than are to be found in all the Western Hemisphere. Controlling the world’s oil wells, Hitler would dominate economic life. All that Hitler would have to do to paralyze the United States or to make it subservient to his will would be to deprive it of the markets and cut it off from needed raw materials from other parts of the world. He would not have to fire a shot or set a single soldier upon our soil to force us back to the economic or social status of two or three centuries ago.

The economic future of the world depends on who controls its oil resources. If Hitler and the Japanese get the world’s oil resources, they will have a good chance of winning the war.”


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