Wehrmacht Propaganda Troops
Wehrmacht Propaganda Troops (German: Wehrmachtpropaganda, abbreviated as WPr) was a branch of service of the Wehrmacht and the Waffen-SS of Nazi Germany during World War II. Subordinated to the High Command of the Wehrmacht (the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht), its function was to produce and disseminate propaganda materials aimed at the German troops and the population.
Planning and formation
The planning for propaganda activities by the Wehrmacht began in 1938. Joseph Goebbels, the head of Ministry of Propaganda, sought to establish effective cooperation with the Wehrmacht to ensure a smooth flow of propaganda materials from the front. He deferred to the military in setting up and controlling the propaganda companies, but provided assistance in supplying personnel.
Function and operation
The service was subordinated to the Chief of Operation Staff, General Alfred Jodl. Commanded by General Hasso von Wedel, the department oversaw the numerous propaganda companies (Propagandakompanie) of the Wehrmacht and the Waffen-SS, attached to the fighting troops. At its peak in 1942, the propaganda troops included 15,000 men.
The propaganda companies were the only news-reporting units in areas of military operation, as civilian news correspondents were prohibited from entering combat zones. The troops produced the written, audio and film materials from the front and sent them to a processing center in Germany, where they were reviewed by censors, mostly for security purposes. The filtered materials were then forwarded to the Ministry of Propaganda for immediate dissemination. Among the propaganda materials produced was the Wehrmachtbericht, the official news communiqué about the military situation of the Reich, and was intended for both domestic and foreign consumption.
Propaganda publications in support of the war effort by the Wehrmacht and the Waffen-SS included:
- Die Deutsche Wochenschau – weekly newsreel series
- Der Adler – biweekly magazine of the Luftwaffe, the air force
- Our Fighter Pilots – series of Heftroman (pulp booklets), focusing on the Luftwaffe fighter force
- Eagle Library – propaganda series published under the auspices of Hermann Göring, the head of the Luftwaffe
- Blank, Ralf; Echternkamp, Jörg; Fings, Karola; Jürgen Förster; Winfried Heinemann; Tobias Jersak; Armin Nolzen (2008-07-03). Germany and the Second World War: Volume IX/I: German Wartime Society 1939-1945: Politicization, Disintegration, and the Struggle for Survival. Oxford UP. ISBN 9780191608605.
- Kallis, Aristotle (2005). Nazi Propaganda and the Second World War. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-1-4039-9251-2.
- Uziel, Daniel (2008). The Propaganda Warriors: The Wehrmacht and the Consolidation of the German Home Front. Peter Lang AG, Internationaler Verlag der Wissenschaften. ISBN 978-3-03911-532-7.
- Uziel, Daniel. "Wehrmacht Propaganda Troops and the Jews" (PDF). Yad Vashem. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
- Wette, Wolfram (2006). The Wehrmacht: History, Myth, Reality. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-02577-6.
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