Background: The Zeitschriften-Dienst was a weekly newsletter for magazine editors during the Third Reich, first published in 1939. Every magazine editor, no matter what the subject, was expected to follow the guidelines it outlined whenever possible. These guidelines were published shortly after the invasion of the Soviet Union. After two years of holding back on attacking the USSR because of the Nazi-Soviet non-aggression treaty, editors now had to suddenly change their tone.
The point at the end that the war with Russia is simply a phase in the war with England displays Nazi optimism at the start of the campaign — they expected Russia would fall quickly, after which Germany could turn its full attentions to England.
For general information about the ZD, see Robert Young, “‘Not this way please!’ Regulating the press in Nazi Germany,” Journalism Quarterly (1987), 787-792.
The source: “Anregungen und Richtlinien für die Zeitschriftenarbeit gegen die Sowjet-Union,” Zeitschriften-Dienst, Nr. 113 (27 June 1941), pp. 3-4.
Strictly confidential — Not for publication
Suggestions and Guidelines for Magazine Articles against the Soviet Union
1. Basically, we can use the anti-Bolshevist magazine material that we used up until 1939, contrasting the Soviet system with the new Germany and its people’s community and social institutions.
2. Great emphasis should be placed on catastrophic activity of the Jews, who as the creators and leaders of Bolshevism bear the greatest guilt. Draw parallels to the Jews in today’s democracies.
3. Magazines should also emphasize the fact that the Soviet leadership — aside from their criminal political nature — lacked the strength and ability to build this rich land. They had more than two decades to put their coffee house theories into practice. They failed miserably. Such rulers have lost any right to govern their country.
4. There are many ethnic Germans living in the former Soviet Union. Until further notice, they are not to be mentioned at all.
5. It should be noted that not only Russians, but also many other peoples live in the former Soviet Union. This is to be noted scrupulously. Speak of Ukrainians, not Little Russians, of White Ruthenians, not White Russians. Only people of the former so-called Greater Russia are to be called Russians. Most members of the non-Russian peoples are hoping we will give them national independence. However, magazines may not discuss in any way such a dismemberment of Russia and the independence of the individual peoples. Prophecies about the future form of the former Soviet Union must be avoided. Instead, use the phrase that the Germans want to free all those living under Bolshevist oppression.
6. We also reject the czarist system that proceeded Bolshevism. It was a reactionary, plutocratic regime. We must absolutely avoid the impression that we want to bring back the czarist era.
7. The Germans are coming not to destroy socialism, but rather to establish social justice. Soviet propaganda deceived the oppressed peoples by claiming that socialism prevailed in the Soviet state. In truth the crassest social injustice prevails there. In contrast to countries like England and America where high capitalism exploits people, the highest form of capitalism prevails in the Soviet Union. The worker is not subordinate to individual big companies, but rather to a single huge concern, the Bolshevist state, which has made him into a slave, a serf.
Bolshevism lied when it told people that it had abolished classes. In reality, the Soviet Union is the worst class state in the world with two sharply separate classes: the beneficiaries of the Bolshevist system (communist party bigwigs and the Jewish leadership) and all the other people, who lack all rights and are oppressed in unimaginable ways.
The Germans will put an end to Bolshevist slavery of workers, farmers, and all other working people. Just as the Germans have gotten rid of exploiters in their own country, they will be sure that social justice prevails in the former Soviet Union. Germany is a socialist and anti-capitalist state.
8. The German soldier comes not as an enemy, but rather a friend of people oppressed by Bolshevism and as their liberator from the Jewish-Bolshevist yoke.
Appropriate themes are as follows.
a) Living standard of the population (food, clothing, housing, heading, lighting) in comparison to other countries, particularly Germany.
b) The situation of workers (exploitation, lack of any rights, miserable social institutions, low pay, piece work system [Stachanov]). Germany, in contrast, has practical socialism, including trustees of labor, NSV, KdF, many other social institutions.
c) The condition of women and children (divorce, poverty and desertion of children). Compare to German conditions, above all institutions such as Mother and Child, care for mothers and expectant mothers in factories.
d) The condition of farmers. Countless farmers have been driven from the fields to forced labor in the frigid north, where they suffer miserable death.
e) Opposition to and bloody persecution of religion as well as any form of belief in God. Examples from past years of Bolshevist rule.
f) The duplicity of Bolshevist doctrine in contrast to the fact that the Führer keeps his promises.
g) Bolshevist terror, which is directed not only against non-Bolshevists, but against its own friends and comrades (e.g., the murder of Tukhatchevsky and the old Bolshevists). Above all those who with pure heart, even if in error, strive for real socialism.
For newspapers with significant foreign readership:
Go to the 1933-1945 Page.
Go to the German Propaganda Archive Home Page.