The Representation of the Holocaust in the British Propaganda Campaign Directed at the German Public, 1938-1945
ABSTRACT British propaganda was an important alternative source of information for the German public. To what extent did it contain information about the persecution and extermination of the Jews by the Nazi regime? This essay reconstructs the coverage of the Holocaust in the German-language broadcasts of the BBC and in leaflets dropped by the Royal Air Force over German territory from the “Reichskristallnacht” of November 1938 until the collapse of the Third Reich in Mai 1945. Furthermore it examines the factors, political and other, that influenced reports about the Jews. Although British propaganda reported regularly about the treatment of the Jews by the Nazi regime, in retrospect it is clear that the reporting on the Holocaust was too infrequent and failed to do justice to the scope of the Jewish tragedy. This failure can in part be explained with the general purpose of the British propaganda campaign: the broadcasts and leaflets were not so much intended to inform the German public about the Nazi crimes committed against European Jewry, but to help the Allies achieve military victory. The study is based on contemporary documents of the BBC German Service and of the British govern-ment institutions engaged in foreign policy and propaganda.