Radio and propaganda in Nazi Germany

Propaganda through radio broadcasts was a modern method of propaganda and manipulation of the public opinion and was eagerly adopted by the Third Reich officials.

Although radios were available for sale, cheaper sets needed to be developed to allow every family in Germany to acquire a radio. Each German should be able to hear the Fuhrer (Ganz Deutschland hört den Führer)

The "Reichsministerium für Volksaufklärung und Propaganda" headed by Dr. Joseph Goebbels, aligned all radio broadcast stations (Gleichschaltung) in 1933 according the new ideology in the country. Measurement performed in 1933 showed that a simple radio device would be sufficient to receive the major broadcast stations on short and long wave's frequencies over entire Germany. The new government decided to start the development and distribution of cheap radio sets in Germany (called the Gemeinschaftsempfanger). The radio was developed by Otto Griesling and a first batch of 100.000 radios were offered for sale for 76,- RM, which was about half the price of a normal cheaper radio at the time. The price would even decrease to 59,- RM by 1937. It however did not mean that the radio producer lost sales, as it was observed that more expensive radios were also sold more and more.

The radio VE301 was announced Radio Exhibition (Funkausstellung) in Berlin in 1933. The number 301 referred to January 30th, the day of the seizure of power of the party in Germany. Up to 700.000 radio sets were distributed to the shops by the end of May 1934. The radios were produced by many manufacturers. Six different versions of the radio became available in Alternating current, Direct current, both , or working on batteries so that families living in houses without electricity could still listen to the radio. The improved VE301Dyn with electrodynamic speaker was released in 1939 for 65—RM. The VE301Dyn was marked with the swastika at both sides of the station selector.

For more info about the VE301Dyn, click here

Also in 1938, a smaller device, the DKE1938 became available, for only 35,- RM so that even more people could acquire one. It was also promoted to become the second radio to use in the kitchen or other places in the house. The radio was nicknamed Goebbels-Schnauze.

For more info on the DKE1938, click here

For the Olympic Games of 1936, a battery operated transportable model, called the Olympia Koffer DO 36 was produced by the firm Schaleco. It would allow people to go on a pick nick for example and to listen to the radio broadcasts. An external antenna was required for receiving radio transmissions. The Olympia Koffer DO 37 was an improved model with a build in antenna. Only 3000 DO 36 were build and each device received its own serial number. They are extremely rare to find knowdays.

Olympia Koffer DO 36 with serial number 00749 with production date of 30. Juli 1936.

Period advertising.

Radio programs were evaluated by the local Gau radio office on a monthly basis and programming changes proposed. In addition, program proposals to support for example harvest, summer and winter solstices celebrations could be actively proposed.

Public radio sets in restaurants were always under the supervision of party officials and could be confiscated when the devices were not operating well. It was the responsibility of the restaurant keeper to ask for silence when the military reports were broadcasted during the war. Other public places, mass meetings, communities were fitted with radio loudspeakers ('community radio') and under supervision of the NSDAP. The Gau propaganda office was able to assist local groups and communities how to set up community radios and were also handing out brochures with tips.

In some cases, radio sets were given on load by the Dr. Goebbels Radio Fund (3,000 radio sets in Gau Oberdonau) for families who could not afford a radio.

Listening to foreign radio stations was strictly forbidden because of the risk of demoralizing the community and to protect the strength and optism of the people. Rumors – caused by listening to enemy radio stations - were tracked down to the listener and severe penalties were issues.