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German wireless propaganda in English: an analysis of the organisation, content and effectiveness of National Socialist radio broadcasts for the UK, 1939-1945

Doherty, M. A. (1998) German wireless propaganda in English: an analysis of the organisation, content and effectiveness of National Socialist radio broadcasts for the UK, 1939-1945. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.85988) (KAR id:85988)


The thesis addresses the issue of German wireless propaganda broadcasts to the United Kingdom between 1939 and 1945. It aims to discover the organisation and purpose behind the broadcasts and to assess their impact upon elite groups and upon the general public. Chapters I provides an overview of the development of political propaganda in the twentieth-century and includes a short literature review of secondary materials on wireless propaganda. Chapter 2 outlines the major technological and organisational developments in wireless broadcasting in the United Kingdom and in Germany and provides an overview of the organisation and staffing of the English section of the Reichsrundfunkgesellschaft, the German state broadcaster. Chapter 3 considers the content and technique of Nazi radio propaganda during the 'Phoney-War', while Chapter 4 continues the story through I 940 and I 941. Chapter 5 looks for evidence for an audience in wartime Britain. It also examines the state of the 'public opinion' in I 939 and 1940 in order to aid assessment. Chapters 6 and 7 examine content and effectiveness from June 1941 to January 1943, and from then to the end of the war. Chapter 8 concludes. The findings are that the organisation was large, but suffered from a number of serious handicaps which were never resolved. Broadcasts were variable in technique and quality, but were sometimes very good indeed. Statistics for audience size are probably exaggerated for the early war, but underestimated for the later period. Dissatisfaction with official sources of news drove the public to German stations for up-to-the-minute war reports. German broadcasts probably had little impact on morale, which suffered for other reasons, but paradoxically helped improve the quality of BBC output. Volume II consists of identification table of British broadcasters, statistical tables, 24 sound recordings and transcripts of 226 radio talks.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Welch, David
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.85988
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Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General)
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D731 World War II (1939-1945)
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of History
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2019 16:23 UTC
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2022 09:43 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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