Wednesday, 18 September 2019

germany calling

On this day in 1939, at the behest of the Ministry for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda, Nazi Germany first broadcast its English language programme, signing on with “Germany calling! Here are the Reichssender Hamburg, station Bremen.”
The usual format for the show included news segments and jazz music performed by an in studio ensemble—which was otherwise banned domestically—presented by a host of announcers known collectively as Lord Haw-Haw, all speaking with an affected aristocratic accent (the BBC dubbed the US pro-Nazi broadcaster, see also, Fred W. Kaltenbach—known for his homey, hayseed “Letters to Iowa”—Lord Hee-Haw). As noxious as the message was, rife with exaggeration, the show had a dedicated listenership in the UK, Canada, America and Australia owing to that it was the only news source from behind the front and occasionally read notices from prisoners-of-war to relatives back home. The programme ended on 30 April 1945 when British troops took Hamburg, Horst Pinschewer, a German refugee who took the name Geoffrey Perry when he enlisted in the army, making the next regularly scheduled broadcast to announce the British takeover.