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When Hitler came to power in 1933, Germany had a well-developed communications infrastructure. Over 4,700 daily and weekly newspapers were published annually in Germany, more newspapers than in any other industrialized nation, with a total circulation of 25 million. Although Berlin was the press capital, small town presses dominated newspaper circulation (81% of all German newspapers were locally-owned). Eight papers published in larger cities, however, had established international reputations. Germany's movie industry ranked among the world's largest, its films had won international acclaim, and it had pioneered in the development of both radio and television. Establishing Control of the Press

When Hitler took power in 1933, the Nazis controlled less than three percent of Germany's 4,700 papers. The elimination of the multiparty political system not only brought about the demise of hundreds of newspapers produced by outlawed political parties; it also allowed the state to seize the printing plants and equipment of the Communist and Social Democratic Parties, which were often turned over directly to the Nazi Party. In the following months, the Nazis established control or exerted influence over independent press organs. During the first weeks of 1933, the Nazi regime deployed the radio, press, and newsreels to stoke fears of a pending “Communist uprising,” then channeled popular anxieties into political measures that eradicated civil liberties and democracy. Within months, the Nazi regime destroyed Germany's previously vigorous free press. By 1941, the Nazi Party's Eher publishing house had become the largest ever in German history, and its main daily newspaper, the Völkischer Beobachter (The National Observer) had reached a circulation of over 1,000,000. The newspaper Völkischer Beobachter (People's Observer), which Hitler had purchased for the party in 1920, announced meetings and other news to members and extended the party's reach beyond the beer hall and Party gathering. Circulation rose along with the success of the Nazi movement, reaching more than 120,000 in 1931 and 1.7 million by 1944. Edited by the antisemitic writer and Nazi ideologue Alfred Rosenberg, the Völkischer Beobachter specialized in short hyperboles of favorite Nazi themes: the humiliation of the Versailles Treaty, the weakness of Weimar parliamentarianism, and the evil of world Jewry and Bolshevism, all of which were contrasted with Nazi patriotic slogans. One Man, One Paper

Der Stürmer was the most notorious, antisemitic newspaper in Germany. Nazi provincial leader [Gauleiter] Julius Streicher, a former schoolteacher turned Nazi activist, edited and directed the paper. The newspaper ran for more than 20 years, from 1923 to 1945, publishing lurid tales of Jewish “ritual murder,” sex crimes, and financial malfeasance. During the Weimar Republic, the outrageous and libelous claims of Der Stürmer frequently resulted in lawsuits filed by outraged politicians and Jewish organizations against Streicher himself and the newspaper. Following the Nazi takeover, however, the fortunes of the paper and its editor skyrocketed. Circulation dramatically increased from 14,000 in 1927 to almost 500,000 in 1935. Though foreign visitors and many Germans, including some Nazi propagandists, found the one-topic newspaper offensive, Hitler refused to close down Der Stürmer, even after a Nazi Party Court stripped Streicher of his political and Party offices because of corruption. During the 1930s, Germans could find Der Stürmer on sidewalks and street corners throughout Germany. Streicher set up numerous display cases to promote his antisemitic propaganda and increase circulation. To fill all these display boxes and subscriptions, he sometimes increased print runs of the newspaper to 2,000,000. Jewish Newspapers as Communal Response

Even as the Nazi propaganda machine hijacked the German press in service of its racist ideology, newspapers published by local Jewish...
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