Editor of the Manchester Guardian reprimands reporter for anti-Nazi bias

Nazi party rally – 1934.
image via Wikimedia Commons.

[ 12 March 1935 ]

On 12 March 1935, William Crozier, the editor of Britain’s most progressive mainstream newspaper, the Manchester Guardian, reprimanded Robert Dell, the paper’s Geneva correspondent, for allowing his heartfelt distaste for the Nazi regime in Germany to influence his reporting. ‘It simply won’t do, in my opinion,’ he warned the journalist, ‘to treat Germany as an outlaw, or a mad dog; she is entitled to have “equality” whether she is run by Nazis or Communists or anyone else.’1

Dell was 70 years old and one of the newspaper’s ablest and most experienced correspondents, who had been given, among other responsibilities, the task of reporting on the League of Nation’s efforts to curb Nazi Germany’s rearmament.2 A year earlier he had published Germany unmasked: on Germany under the National-Socialist regime, described by the left leaning Daily Herald as a ‘formidable indictment of the Nazis.’3 It was deemed to be dangerously biased by many among Britain’s intellectual elite, most of whom remained either supportive or at least sympathetic to Hitler’s government, and Crozier may have been particularly concerned that critical coverage conflicted with the obvious reporting advantage within Germany if the paper at least appeared to remain neutral.

FOOTNOTES

  1. Crozier to Dell, 12 March 1935, The Manchester Guardian Archives, cited in Franklin Reid Gannon, The British Press and Germany: 1936-1939, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1971, pp. 78-79.
  2. John Hodgson, ‘My Second Country, France: Robert Dell (1865-1940),’ The John Rylands Library Special Collections Blog accessed online at url https://rylandscollections.wordpress.com/2015/04/10/my-second-country-france-robert-dell-1865-1940/
  3. ‘Hitler’s War Prayer for Babies,’ The Daily Herald, 3 July 1934, p. 4.

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