Wehrmachtbericht

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Goebbels in conversation with Wehrmacht propaganda officers, 1941

The Wehrmachtbericht (German for "armed forces report") was a daily radio report on the Großdeutscher Rundfunk of Nazi Germany, published by the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (OKW) regarding the military situation on all fronts of World War II.

It was redacted by a special propaganda department attached to the Wehrmacht Führungsstab (Chief of Operation Staff) under Generaloberst Alfred Jodl, relying on material delivered by Propagandakompanien within the fighting troops, while private war correspondents were not admitted. All broadcasts had to be authorized by Goebbels' Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda as controlling institution of the German media, which led to a constant rivalry between the ministerial bureaucracy and the Wehrmacht executive staff. Both Goebbels and Jodl considered the Wehrmachtsbericht a vital instrument of home front mobilization under total war circumstances.

The first report aired with the Invasion of Poland on 1 September 1939 and the last was given on 9 May 1945 from Flensburg. After the Invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, the reports broadcast at midday would begin with a fanfare (from Franz Liszt '​s symphonic poem Les Préludes), followed by the announcer saying "Aus dem Führerhauptquartier, das Oberkommando der Wehrmacht gibt bekannt" ("From the Leader's Headquarters, the Armed Forces High Command announces").

Erich Murawski, director of the Department of Military Records, analyzed the reports given by the Wehrmacht and determined four stages in the broadcast style of the Wehrmachtbericht:[citation needed]

  • September 1939-May 1940 - cautious restraint
  • Western Campaign 1940 to end 1941 - exuberance from victories
  • 1942 to Autumn 1944 - camouflage the setbacks
  • Autumn 1944 to war's end - sober liquidation report

References of persons or military units in the Wehrmachtbericht were considered a high military honour and held in high esteem.[citation needed] These references were established by the Oberkommando des Heeres under Generaloberst Walther von Brauchitsch on 27 April 1940. A further award, the Honour Roll of the German Army, was later introduced in mid 1941. Adolf Hitler established the Honour Roll Clasp of the Army on 30 January 1944 as a visible and wearable award for bravery.

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References[edit]

  • Murawski, Erich (1962). Der deutsche Wehrmachtbericht 1939 - 1945, vom 1.7.1944 bis zum 9.5.1945 (in German). Boppoard am Rhein, Germany: Harald Boldt Verlag.
  • Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939-1945 Band 1, 1. September 1939 bis 31. Dezember 1941 (in German). München: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH & Co. KG, 1985. ISBN 3-423-05944-3.
  • Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939-1945 Band 2, 1. Januar 1942 bis 31. Dezember 1943 (in German). München: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH & Co. KG, 1985. ISBN 3-423-05944-3.
  • Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939-1945 Band 3, 1. Januar 1944 bis 9. Mai 1945 (in German). München: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH & Co. KG, 1985. ISBN 3-423-05944-3.
  • Die Berichte des Oberkommandos der Wehrmacht. (5 Bände) Parkland, Köln 2004. ISBN 3-89340-063-X.

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