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German History in Documents and Images
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Joseph Goebbels Speaks to the Editors-in-Chief of the German Press (1940)
The press was one of the Nazi regime’s most important propaganda tools. In 1933, Goebbels's propaganda ministry assumed control over the content and style of the entire newspaper industry by holding daily press conferences. What these conferences actually did was allow for pre-censorship. Journalists who failed to bring their reporting into line with official demands were threatened with banishment from the profession and persecution. After the war began, state control over the press increased dramatically. Press reports put a gloss on the realities of war; victories were glorified and defeats were often ignored. At the same time, the German population was supposed to be cut off from all independent sources of information, such as foreign newspapers and radio broadcasts. This photo was taken at the propaganda ministry. It shows Goebbels addressing the editors-in-chief of the German press. Hans Fritzsche, head of the German Press Department, is seated on the right. Photo by Herbert Hoffmann.