Via NY Post: The Associated Press news agency formally cooperated with the Hitler regime in the 1930s — providing US newspapers with material produced by the Nazi propaganda machine, a German historian has revealed.
When the Nazi party rose to power in Germany in 1933, it sought to crack down on both the German press and the international media in the country.
British-American agencies such as Keystone and Wide World Photos were soon forced to shutter their offices in Germany after being attacked for employing Jewish journalists, reported The Guardian, which itself was banned in Germany at the time.
The Associated Press was the only Western news agency allowed to remain in Hitler’s Germany, where it continued to operate until the US entered the war in 1941.
To retain its access, the New York City-based agency entered a mutually beneficial relationship with the Nazis, historian Harriet Scharnberg wrote in an article published in the journal Studies in Contemporary History.
The AP adhered to the so-called Schriftleitergesetz (editor’s law), promising not to publish information “calculated to weaken the strength of the Reich abroad or at home,” Scharnberg wrote. And the news outlet was required to hire staffers who also worked for the Nazis’ propaganda division, The Guardian reported.
One of the AP’s four photographers in the 1930s, Franz Roth, belonged to the SS paramilitary unit’s propaganda division, whose photographs were personally chosen by the Fuhrer. AP has removed Roth’s images from its website since Scharnberg published her findings, but thumbnails remain visible due to “software issues,” the paper reported.
The news agency also allowed the Nazi regime to use its photo archives for anti-Semitic propaganda.
Scharnberg, a historian at Halle’s Martin Luther University, argued that AP’s cooperation with the Nazis allowed them to “portray a war of extermination as a conventional war,” according to The Guardian.
The study also calls into question the AP’s current relationship with totalitarian regimes, according to the Guardian, which said questions have been raised about the neutrality of its office in North Korea. “As we continue to research this matter, AP rejects any notion that it deliberately ‘collaborated’ with the Nazi regime,” an AP spokesman told The Guardian.
“An accurate characterization is that the AP and other foreign news organizations were subjected to intense pressure from the Nazi regime from the year of Hitler’s coming to power in 1932 until the AP’s expulsion from Germany in 1941. AP management resisted the pressure while working to gather accurate, vital and objective news in a dark and dangerous time.”