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Otto Dietrich-Reich Press Chief

Discussion in 'WWII General' started by Kai-Petri, Aug 21, 2003.

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    Otto Dietrich

    Reich Press Chief of the NSDAP from 1933 to 1945 and Hitler's chief publicity agent, Otto Dietrich was born in Essen on 31 August 1897.

    A war volunteer on the western front during World War I, he was awarded the Iron Cross (First Class). After the war he studied at the Universities of Munich, Frankfurt am Main and Freiburg, receiving his doctorate in political science in 1921. A research assistant in the Essen Chamber of Commerce, later deputy editor of the Essen Nationalzeitung, Dietrich had also been business manager, after 1928, of the Augsburger Zeitung, a German-national evening paper. Through his marriage - he was the son-in-law of Dr. Reismann, the influential owner of the Rheinische - Westfalische Zeitung - he established links with the representatives of Rhineland heavy industry such as Emil Kirdorf and himself became the legal adviser of a big steel trust.

    On 1 August 1931, Dietrich, who was a convinced Nazi, was appointed Press Chief of the NSDAP and a year later, he joined the SS, rising to the rank of SS - Obergruppenfuhrer in 1941.
    In his role as publicist and press chief, Dietrich organized the great Nazi propaganda campaigns during the elections of 1932, becoming Hitler's constant companion as he endlessly crisscrossed Germany by car and plane. Hitler's envoy in the heavy industrial region of the Ruhr where he helped undermine Gregor Strasser's radical Nazi power - base, Dietrich also used his family connections to mediate between the NSDAP and captains of industry like Fritz Thyssen. Dietrich was an active publicist on behalf of the Nazi Party after the seizure of power, and his documentary work Mit Hitler an die Macht (1933), which represented the Fuhrer's 'peaceful struggle for the soul of the German people'', sold over 250,000 copies. Other publications included Die Philosophischen Grundlagen des Naionalsozialismus (1935), Das Wirtschaftsdenken im Dritten Reich (1936), Weltpresse ohne Maske (1937) and Auf den Strassen des Sieges; mit dem Fuhrer in Polen (1939).

    From 1937 to 1945, Dietrich was State Secretary in Goebbels's Ministry of Propaganda as well as Press Chief of the Reich Government, playing a decisive role in reorganizing the press and in disciplinary matters. The driving force behind the Editors' Law, which castrated the independence of newspaper editors as well as publishers, Dietrich cooked the German news to Hitler's prescriptions, especially after the outbreak of World War II. To ensure the complete regimentation of editors and journalists, Dietrich issued daily directives on how to present the news from the front, which was prepared with Hitler's approval.

    On 22 February 1942, Hitler expressed his admiration for Dietrich's resourcefulness in one of his rambling table talks: 'Dr. Dietrich may be physically small, but he is exceptionally gifted at his job... I am proud of the fact that with his handful of men I can at once throw the rudder of the press through 180 degrees - as happened on 22 June 1941 [the day Germany invaded Russia]. There is no other country which can copy us in that'.

    Dietrich's unquestioning subservience to Hitler, did however, lead him to make mistakes and wildly mistaken prophecies, such as his rash statement on 9 October 1941 before German and foreign journalists. 'The campaign in the East had been decided, ' he declared, '... The further development will take place as we wish it. With these last tremendous blows we have inflicted on the Soviet Union she is militarily finished. The English dream of a war on two fronts has definitely come to an end' (ist endgultig ausgetraumt). In fact, Moscow was not taken and the furious Goebbels had to try and repair the damage. Dietrich nonetheless retained his position and the Fuhrer's confidence until the end of the Third Reich.

    Imprisoned in 1945, he was eventually tried and sentenced in April 1949 to seven years' imprisonment for crimes against humanity. He was released form Landsberg prison on 16 August 1950 for good behavior. He died in Dusseldorf in 1952 at the age of fifty - five. His political settling of accounts with Hitler, the biography of an eye-witness, entitled Zwolf Jahre mit Hitler (Twelve Years with Hitler), which had been composed in a British internment camp immediately after the war, was posthumously published in 1955.

    http://motlc.wiesenthal.com/text/x06/xm0607.html

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    Every facet of daily German life was blanketed with Nazi propaganda. By 1934 Dietrich and his German Press Division controlled 3,097 newspapers and 4,000 periodicals having a total circulation of more than 30 million in a country of 17.7 million households. "We are therefore able to state authoritatively that at least three quarters of all adult Germans are, every single day, subject to the influence of the daily newspapers."18 The German cinema was also used as a tool of propaganda, most notably in Leni Riefenstahl's The Triumph of the Will. These films appealed to German values of family and the importance of motherhood; love of one's country and the honor of defending her in battle and of course the intrinsic significance of race. More than one thousand films were made during the twelve years of the Third Reich, with only a quarter created expressly for political reasons. Films of this type were decidedly unpopular, "even though SA and SS members were eligible for 50% discounts, hardly anyone saw (The Triumph of the Will)."

    http://members.tripod.com/~ssscott/defense.html
     
  2. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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