To sum up: while outwardly more liberal in its "personal censorship" policy than any other belligerent government, the Nazi regime nevertheless waged a relentless war of nerves against its foreign correspondents who desired to retain their independence and individualism. Theirs was a system that enabled us to impart much more information to our readers than we had ever dared hope; but it was one that kept the conscientious foreign newsman in a constant state of jitters.

The German laws regarding espionage were such that anyone of us might at any time, after writing a dispatch displeasing to the regime, have been seized and convicted, had that been deemed opportune. And who can ever tell in Naziland whether a measure is opportune or not? Ask Richard G. Hottelet of the United Press!*


XXIII: The Foreign Press Gets into Trouble

THE tone adopted at the daily press conferences was, on the whole, one of polite persuasiveness, but once in a while the German government representative would forget he was addressing foreigners. Thus on one occasion Braun von Stumm, carefully fastening his monocle in his eye, began dictatorially, "The press to-day will please write . . ." Suddenly he remembered to whom he was speaking. He caught himself, blushed and said, "Gentlemen, the German viewpoint on the question under discussion is . . ."

His senior colleague, Dr. Paul Schmidt, chief of the German Foreign Office press section, sometimes waxed so insolent that we had a difficult time restraining our feelings. This young shadow of von Ribbentrop -- he was barely thirty -- was fond of delivering his pronouncements with deep pathos in his voice. He was not trying primarily to impart news to foreign writers, he was for ever addressing a Nazi mass meeting. And he knew that a transcript of his often brilliant formulations would go up to his superiors, possibly to Hitler himself, certainly to von Ribbentrop, and that he would earn encomium there.

The press conference also afforded Dr. Schmidt an opportunity at times to lecture a foreign correspondent dramatically or to berate him before everybody present. Why did the correspondents stand for this? The answer is obvious. Unlike the German newsmen, who are licensed tools of the government, the foreign correspondents felt they were there to get and interpret the news. If

____________________
*
Hottelet was arrested in 1941 on a charge of espionage. The Propaganda Ministry insisted the indictment was based on activities in no wise connected with news reporting. Few foreign correspodents believed this. He was later released in exchange for a German newsman under indictment in New York.

-226-

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What about Germany?
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Foreword 6
  • Contents 8
  • Illustrations 10
  • I: the Modern Genghis Khan 11
  • Ii: Why Hitler? 19
  • Iii. Preparing the Ground 26
  • Iv: Why Wasn't Hitler Stopped? 36
  • V: "Terror is a Wholesome Thing" 44
  • Vi: the Nazis in Control 52
  • Vii: Fat Years Follow the Lean 60
  • Viii: the Birds of Prey 69
  • Ix: Heil Hitler! 77
  • X: Der Führer in Person 84
  • Xi: Observing the War Machine in Action 96
  • Xii: Lessons Learned from the Enemy 112
  • Xiii: More Lessons from the Enemy 120
  • Xiv: the Westwall 132
  • Xv: Bottlenecks 138
  • Xvi: Hitler's Headaches 149
  • Xvii: is There Another Germany? 161
  • Xviii: the Relapse into Barbarism 177
  • Xix: the Secret Press Instructions 191
  • Xx: the Battle of Words 197
  • Xxi: Shaping a People's Mind 208
  • Xxii: the War of Nerves 218
  • Xxiii: the Foreign Press Gets into Trouble 226
  • Xxiv: Sugared Bread and the Whip 234
  • Xxv: Fishing in Troubled Waters 244
  • Xxvi: A Better Place to Live In 253
  • Xxvii: An Abrupt End to a Long Stay 262
  • Xxviii: What Can Topple Hitler? 272
  • Index 281
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