German Propaganda Archive Calvin College

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Background: The Nazi Party depended heavily on speakers to get its message across. Those speakers needed to be informed. The following is a translation of instructions to speakers in May 1943, after the final German defeat in Africa. Particularly interesting is the injunction at the end to avoid all references to Stalingrad.

The source: “Zum Ende des Kampfes in Tunesien,” Redner-Schnellinformation, Lieferung 61, 18 May 1943.


Speaker Express Information

The End of the Battle in Tunisia


 

In the immediate future, our propagandists and speakers will have to give particular attention to the now finished battles in Tunisia The strategic aims of the campaign, which have been covered in the press and radio for a long time, should be stressed. The main goal is to avoid depressed morale because of the outcome. That would be unjust to the soldiers of our Afrika Korps who, aware of their difficult task, fought with willingness to sacrifice and bravery that will forever go down in history as a great feat of German military prowess and German strategic leadership.

The following points need to be considered:

a) After the landing of British and North American forces in North Africa, it was clear to the German and Italian military leadership that the most important defensive task was to hold down the enemy forces for as long as possible, thereby preventing enemy operations from reaching their goals with the expected speed. This defensive task has been achieved to a degree that could hardly have been imagined in advance.

The enemy initially expected to take over all of North Africa in the first attack, and to trap Axis forces between the Anglo-American invasion forces in the west and the British 8th Army to the south. These plans completely failed.

The unexpectedly long Axis defense greatly reduced the men and material available to the enemy, who has to be supplied over long sea routes with limited tonnage, under the continuing attacks of German submarines. This will make future operations more difficult.

b) From the beginning, we realized that we did not have enough shipping in the Mediterranean to transport the troops that would be necessary for an offensive operation. The goal was to hold down as many British, and later American, troops as possible as a way to prevent enemy actions elsewhere in Europe that could hinder the battle in the East, which is the decisive war theater for us.

This was achieved to a degree that we could not have imagined at the beginning. In the course of campaigns so often crowned with proud victories in Africa, we held the British for two years, and the British and Americans together for another six months.

Because of their needs in this campaign, the British and Americans were able to provide only inadequate military assistance to the Soviets. The battles in Africa provided effective support for our Eastern Front.

c) Of particular significance is the fact that the long defense made it possible for us to fully protect Europe. Protected by our brave fighters in Africa, walls, bulwarks, barriers, and fortified positions were built that today guard the north, west, and south of our continent. Behind these walls in the south, a new Africa Korps is forming, based on the many units that returned from Africa. Their rich experiences and their old, never tiring fighting spirit will be transferred to the whole new corps. These tens of thousands burn to have at the enemy, to take firmly into our hands the territory that at the end of this war will finally be in the possession of the new Europe, however much the British and Americans today fight and squabble about their individual pieces of it.

Our speakers should above all speak of the heroic struggle and brilliant military achievements of our African forces. Each German people’s comrade, each man and each woman, and particularly our German youth can be proud that even the enemy, whether willingly or not, has to grant that German and Italian soldiers have fought with a strength and bravery beyond their comprehension. For example, an internal report noted that as a German military band marched to a POW camp, it played German marches and National Socialist songs. According to another report, all German prisoners remain convinced of the final victory of German weapons, and openly say so. We can be proud of the men of the Afrika Korps. We therefore have no right to hang our heads, for those who stopped fighting did not surrender until they were forced to by superior forces, but only after they had no ammunition left.

Speakers should make these facts particularly clear, so that the audience will understand their obligation to be as courageous and fearless as they work here in the homeland. They must be willing to sacrifice, to bear any burden, following the brave example of the men of the Afrika Korps, who fulfilled their duty to the end. They bore their fate, confident in the coming great final victory.

How much more, then, must we do our duty in faith and confidence, for we all are under the same law, but also share the same faithful confidence in the coming German victory.

Under no circumstances may speakers make comparisons between the heroic battles in Tunis and Biseta and Stalingrad. There is no basis for that, either in the general situation or in individual details. Any such comparison is, therefore, to be avoided.

 

[Page copyright © 2008 by Randall Bytwerk. No unauthorized reproduction. My e-mail address is available on the FAQ page.]


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