1920-1939 | Appeasing Hitler | Media propaganda



[ 10 July 1922 ]

On 10 July 1922, the small Kurdish town of Rowanduz, was subjected to the first of a series of bombing raids by the RAF. Group Captain Amyas Borton explained in a telegram to the Chief of the Air Staff, Sir Hugh Trenchard, that the town had been attacked ‘on account of increased Turkish activity and propaganda in this district.’1 


Nazi SA militia enforce a boycott of a Jewish department store in Berlin – Georg Pahl – April 1933 – CC License via Wikimedia.

[ 10 July 1933 ]

Today in 1933, Lord Rothermere, owner of the Daily Mail, penned an editorial eulogy to Hitler’s Germany, comparing the brutal Nazi takeover to the Elizabethan Renaissance. Under the headline ‘Youth Triumphant,’ he explained that ‘there had been a sudden expansion of their national spirit, like that which took place under Queen Elizabeth. Youth has taken command,’ adding that ‘it is Germany’s good fortune to have found a leader who can combine for the public good all the most vigorous elements in the country.’ Rothermere was aware of incidents of antisemitism and violence, but he reassured the newspaper’s one and half million readers that ‘the minor misdeeds of individual Nazis will be submerged by the immense benefits that the new regime is already bestowing upon Germany.’ The newspaper didn’t mention that although it was only six months since Hitler’s National Socialist Party had come to power, these ‘minor misdeeds’ already included

  1. a nation wide boycott of Jewish businesses and shops,
  2. hundreds of extra judicial murders of political opponents,
  3. the forced disappearance and killing of many Jews, including those employed within the civil service and the armed forces,
  4. the mass burning of tens of thousands of ‘decadent and degenerate’ books by Jews, pacifists and liberal intellectuals and
  5. the execution of Jewish inmates inside the newly opened Dachau concentration camp.2

As a result of his exuberant propaganda work for Hitler, Lord Rothermere was rewarded in December 1934, by an invitation to the Reich Chancellery as guest of honour for the first dinner party the Fuhrer hosted for any foreign visitor. The leading Nazi political heavyweights, including Goering, Goebbels and Ribbentrop, were also present.3 Hitler skillfully flattered Rothermere, reminding him that it was his elder brother, Lord Northcliffe, who’s newspaper campaigns for increased munitions production had helped to win the First World War for Britain.4 A few days later, a grateful Rothermere returned the favour, throwing an equally spectacular banquet at the Adlon Hotel next to Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate, attended by Hitler and the usual wake of vultures, Goering and the actress Emmy Sonnemann (soon to be Frau Goering), Joseph and Magda Goebbels and Ribbentrop. As historian Tim Bouverie notes, ‘Rothermere left Germany a confirmed friend of the regime’ and over the next few years, the press baron continued to have privileged access to Hitler and top Nazi officials.5 In return Rothermere dutifully ensured a stream of glowing tributes in the Daily Mail to the Fuhrer and Nazi Germany.


  1. Telegram from Group Captain Amyas Borton to Chief of the Air Staff Sir Hugh Trenchard and other government departments, 11 July 1922, AIR 5/256 accessed at the National Archives.
  2. Lord Rothermere, Editorial in the Daily Mail, 10 July 1933, p10 and for the murders at Dachau see Timothy W. Ryback, “The First Killings of the Holocaust,” 3 January 2012 accessed online at http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/04/opinion/the-first-killings-of-the-holocaust.html  A timeline of some of the key events and Nazi crimes of 1933 is given by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum online  at https://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10007499
  3. Tim Bouverie, Appeasing Hitler: Chamberlain, Churchill and the Road to War, The Bodley Head, London, 2019, p. 53.
  4. Derek J. Taylor, Fayke News: The media versus the mighty from Henry VIII to Donald Trump, The History Press, Stroud, Gloucestershire, 2018.
  5. Tim Bouverie, op. cit., p. 54.

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