Völkischer Beobachter

The Völkischer Beobachter (pronounced [ˈfœlkɪʃɐ bəˈʔoːbaχtɐ]; "Völkisch Observer") was the newspaper of the National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP or Nazi Party) from 25 December 1920. It first appeared weekly, then daily from 8 February 1923. For twenty-four years it formed part of the official public face of the Nazi Party until its last edition at the end of April 1945.[1] The paper was banned and ceased publication between November 1923, after Adolf Hitler's arrest for leading the unsuccessful Beer Hall Putsch in Munich, and February 1925, the approximate time of the rally which relaunched the NSDAP.

Völkischer Beobachter front page Jan. 31 1933
Front page of the 31 January 1933 edition. The headline reads: "An historic day: First Acts of Hitler's Reich Government – Völkischer Beobachter interviews Reich Minister of the Interior Frick – New cabinet holds first meeting"
Volkischer Beobachter
Metal advertising sign for the Völkischer Beobachter



The "fighting paper of the National Socialist movement of Greater Germany", or "Kampfblatt der nationalsozialistischen Bewegung Großdeutschlands" as it called itself, had its origin as the Münchener Beobachter, or Munich Observer, an anti-Semitic semi-weekly scandal-oriented paper which in 1918 was acquired by the Thule Society and, in August 1919, was renamed Völkischer Beobachter.

Acquisition by the NSDAP

By December 1920, the paper was heavily in debt. The Thule Society was thus receptive to an offer to sell the paper to the Nazis for 60,000 Papiermark. Major Ernst Röhm, who had joined the German Workers' Party, forerunner of the Nazi Party, before Adolf Hitler did, and Dietrich Eckart, one of Hitler's earliest mentors, persuaded Röhm’s commanding officer, Major General Franz Ritter von Epp, to purchase the paper for the NSDAP. It was never definitively established where Epp got the money, but it almost certainly came from secret army funds. This would suggest an early link between the army and right wing radicals like the Nazis.[2] After the Nazis acquired the paper, Eckart became the first editor.

Acquisition by Hitler

In 1921, Adolf Hitler, who had taken full control of the NSDAP earlier that year, acquired all shares in the company, making him the sole owner of the publication.[3]


The circulation of the paper was initially about 8,000, but it increased to 25,000 in autumn 1923 due to strong demand during the occupation of the Ruhr. In that year Alfred Rosenberg became editor.[4] Production ceased on the prohibition of the NSDAP after the Beer Hall Putsch of 9 November 1923, but it resumed on the party's refoundation on 26 February 1925. The circulation rose along with the success of the Nazi movement, reaching more than 120,000 in 1931 and 1.7 million by 1944.[5]

As a propaganda instrument

During the rise to power, it reported general news but also party activities, presenting them as almost constant success.[6] Guidelines for propagandists urged that all posters, insofar as the police allowed, contain propaganda for it, and all meetings should be announced in it, although reports should be sent to the Propaganda Department, which would then forward corrected versions to the paper.[7] Posters did indeed urge reading it.[8] When Hitler was banned from public speaking, it was the main vehicle to propagate his views.[9]

Joseph Goebbels published articles in it to attack the United States for criticizing anti-Jewish measures,[10] and to describe Russia.[11]

The final issues from both April and May 1945 were not distributed.

See also


  1. ^ "Volkischer Beobachter 1945". Wartime Press. 2009.
  2. ^ Shirer, William L. (1960). The Rise And Fall Of The Third Reich: A History Of Nazi Germany. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-0-671-62420-0.
  3. ^ Schwarzwaller, Wulf (1988). The Unknown Hitler : His Private Life and Fortune. National Press Books. p. 80. ISBN 978-0-915765-63-8.
  4. ^ Robert Cecil, The Myth of the Master Race: Alfred Rosenberg and Nazi Ideology p34 ISBN 0-396-06577-5
  5. ^ "Writing the News". USHMM.
  6. ^ Bytwerk, Randall. "Nazis Battle for Harburg".
  7. ^ "Propaganda". calvin.edu.
  8. ^ Early Nazi Posters
  9. ^ Robert Cecil, The Myth of the Master Race: Alfred Rosenberg and Nazi Ideology p. 51 ISBN 0-396-06577-5
  10. ^ Bytwerk, Randall. "Goebbels on the United States (1939)".
  11. ^ Bytwerk, Randall. "Goebbels on the attack on the Soviet Union (July, 1941)".
Alexander von Senger

Alexander von Senger (7 May 1880 in Geneva – 30 June 1968 in Einsiedeln), Swiss architect and architectural theorist.

Hugues Rodolphe Alexandre von Senger was born in Geneva. After his humanistic and technical Matura at the Collège Calvin, he studied at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technologie (Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule) in Zürich, where he obtained 1904 his diploma as architect. He designed the main station of the Swiss Railwais in St. Gallen (1911–13) and the main building (Altbau) of the Swiss Reassurance Company (Swiss Re) in Zürich (1911–14).

In 1931, Senger, along with other Nazi architects such as Eugen Honig, Konrad Nonn, German Bestelmeyer, and especially Paul Schultze-Naumburg were deputized in the National Socialist fight against modern architecture, in a para-governmental propaganda unit called the Kampfbund deutscher Architekten und Ingenieure (KDAI). Through the pages of the official Nazi newspaper, the People's Observer (Völkischer Beobachter), these architects actively attacked the modern style in openly racist and political tones. They placed much of the blame on members of the architectural group "The Ring," calling Walter Gropius an "elegant salon-bolshevist", and calling the Bauhaus "the cathedral of Marxism".

These political connections helped Senger into a professorship at the Technical Hochschule in Munich when increasing political pressure forced out architect Robert Vorhoelzer, who had made the cultural error of modernism in several Bavarian post offices.

Arno Breitmeyer

Arno Breitmeyer (19 April 1903 in Berlin – 20 April 1944) was a German sport official. He began his sports career as a successful competition rower. In 1933 he became editor of the sports section of the Völkischer Beobachter.

Aufruf der Kulturschaffenden

The Aufruf der Kulturschaffenden (translated from German into English as "call to the artists", or more literally "call to the cultural workers" or "call to the cultural sector") was a declaration by German artists of their loyalty to Adolf Hitler. The Aufruf was printed in the Völkischer Beobachter, the Nazi party newspaper, on 18 August 1934, the day before a plebiscite to confirm the merger of the offices of President (the head of state), and Chancellor (the head of government), in the person of Adolf Hitler.

Hitler was appointed as Chancellor of Germany following a general election in January 1933. After the Reichstag fire on 27 February 1933, and elections that returned Hitler to power on 5 March, Hitler moved rapidly to consolidate his power with the passing of the Enabling Act on 23 March 1933, which allowed Hitler bypass the German legislature and pass laws at will. After the death of President Paul von Hindenburg on 2 August, a referendum was passed on 19 August, with 88.1% voting to confirm the merger of the post of President with that of Chancellor, and Hitler became Führer und Reichskanzler.

The declaration states confidence in the leadership of Adolf Hitler, faith in and loyalty to him, and hope for the future. The statement followed similar public statements by others such as writers and poets (the Gelöbnis treuester Gefolgschaft in October 1933) and university professors (the Bekenntnis der deutschen Professoren zu Adolf Hitler, in November 1933).

Among the artists to sign the Aufruf were:

Ernst Barlach (1870-1938), sculptor, writer and artist

Emil Fahrenkamp (1885-1966), architect

Wilhelm Furtwängler (1886-1954), conductor and composer

Gustav Havemann (1882-1960), violinist

Erich Heckel (1883-1970), painter and graphic artist

Hanns Johst (1890-1978), writer

Georg Kolbe (1877-1947), sculptor

Erwin Guido Kolbenheyer (1878-1962), writer

Agnes Miegel (1879-1964), writer, journalist and poet

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969), architect

Emil Nolde (1867-1956), painter

Hans Pfitzner (1869-1949), composer

Richard Strauss (1864-1949), composer

Josef Thorak (1889-1952), sculptorSome works of several of the artists to sign the Aufruf were later condemned as degenerate art.

Der Stürmer

Der Stürmer (pronounced [deːɐ̯ ˈʃtʏʁmɐ], lit., "The Stormer/Attacker/Striker") was a weekly German tabloid-format newspaper published by Julius Streicher, the Gauleiter of Franconia, from 1923 to the end of World War II, with brief suspensions in publication due to legal difficulties. It was a significant part of Nazi propaganda, and was vehemently anti-Semitic. The paper was not an official publication of the Nazi party, but was published privately by Streicher. For this reason, the paper did not display the Nazi party swastika in its logo. The paper was a very lucrative business for Streicher, and made him a multi-millionaire.Unlike the Völkischer Beobachter (The Völkisch Observer), the official party paper which gave itself an outwardly serious appearance, Der Stürmer often ran material such as caricatures of Jews and accusations of blood libel, as well as sexually explicit, anti-Catholic, anti-Communist, and anti-monarchist propaganda.

The newspaper originated at Nuremberg during Adolf Hitler's attempt to establish power and control. The first copy of Der Stürmer was published on 20 April 1923. Der Stürmer’s circulation grew over time, distributing to a large percentage of the German population, as well as Argentina, Brazil, Canada, and the United States. The newspaper reached a peak circulation of 486,000 in 1937.As early as 1933, Streicher was calling for the extermination of the Jews in Der Stürmer. During the war, Streicher regularly authorized articles demanding the annihilation and extermination of the Jewish race. After the war, he was convicted of crimes against humanity, and executed.

Eugen Hönig

Eugen Hönig (9 March 1873, Kaiserslautern, Kingdom of Bavaria – 24 June 1945) was one of Adolf Hitler's architects.

In 1931 Hönig, along with other German architects such as Alexander von Senger, Konrad Nonn, German Bestelmeyer and especially Paul Schultze-Naumburg were deputized in the National Socialist fight against modern architecture, in a para-governmental propaganda unit called the Kampfbund deutscher Architekten und Ingenieure (KDAI). Through the pages of Völkischer Beobachter these architects actively attacked the modern style in openly racist and political tones, placing much of the blame on members of the architectural group The Ring, calling Walter Gropius an "elegant salon-bolshevist", and calling the Bauhaus "the cathedral of Marxism".

Franz Eher Nachfolger

Franz Eher Nachfolger GmbH ("Franz Eher and Successors, LLC", usually referred to as the Eher-Verlag "Eher Publishing") was the central publishing house of the Nazi Party and one of the largest book and periodical firms during the Third Reich. It was acquired by the party on 17 December 1920 for 115,000 Papiermark.In addition to the major papers, the Völkischer Beobachter and the Illustrierter Beobachter, the publishers also printed novels, maps, song books, and calendars. Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf was also published by the firm from 1925 through many editions and millions of copies.

Franz Schrönghamer-Heimdal

Franz Schrönghamer-Heimdal (born July 12, 1881 in Marbach Eppenschlag, Lower Bavaria - died 3 September 1962 in Passau), was a Bavarian Catholic writer and painter.

In 1918 his Das kommende Reich (The Coming Reich) appeared, during the November 1918 revolution in Munich. It laid out a blueprint for the 'ecumenical yet distinctly Catholic-oriented spiritual rebuilding of Germany', and he contrasted the purity of Christ, and his true followers, with the perceived immorality of the Jewish-capitalistic spirit. While Schrönghamer made no secret of his Catholic convictions the coming Reich he envisioned was to be interconfessional, both Christian confessions bonded in a "racial community [Volksgemeinschaft] of the same blood, the same law and the same morals", maintained through "race based eugenic measures." He later claimed [ in a 1933 inscription of the book, sent to Nazi party headquarters] that it had influenced the Nazi party advocacy of the principle of Positive Christianity.Schrönghamer officially joined the Nazi party on 4 February 1920, when it was still known as the Deutsche Arbeiterpartei. He was the party's 222nd member - Hitler, who joined a few months before, had been the 55th. At this time Schrönghamer was "the single most visible figure in the pages of the Völkischer Beobachter, when it served as the unofficial organ of the young völkisch-Nazi movement." Two of Schrönghamer's other writings, Vom Antichrist (late 1918) and Judas, der Weltfeind (mid-1919), both 'flamingly anti-Semitic' were " among the most significant and widely discussed works in Munich at the outset of the Nazi movement. Schrönghamer also exercised a powerful influence over a large number of racist Catholic activists who themselves played important, if subsequently overlooked, roles in the early development and spread of the movement in and around Munich."

Friedrich Würzbach

Friedrich Wilhelm Adolf Würzbach (15 June 1886 – 14 May 1961) was a Nietzsche scholar, Nazi sympathiser and convinced propagandist. He was born in Berlin in the summer of 1886 to a Polish-Jewish mother and German-Protestant father, and died in 1961 in Munich.

Heinz von Lichberg

Heinz von Lichberg, real name Heinz von Eschwege (born 1890 in Marburg, died March 14, 1951 in Lübeck) was a German author and journalist, remembered chiefly for his 1916 short story Lolita. It has been argued that Vladimir Nabokov based his 1955 novel of the same name on Lichberg's story. The story was published in a collection of 15 short stories titled Die verfluchte Gioconda (The Accursed Gioconda).

Born to a family of Hessian nobility, he chose the pen name of Heinz von Lichberg after Leuchtberg near Eschwege, where many battles had been fought. He served in the cavalry during the First World War, and after the war worked as a journalist and author in Berlin. He reported from Graf Zeppelin during its record-breaking flight around the world in 1929, earning a name as a foreign correspondent. He became a member of the Nazi Party in 1933 and worked as a radio journalist and a culture journalist with the Völkischer Beobachter. He left the Nazi Party in 1938 and rejoined the military during the Second World War, serving in the Abwehr military intelligence department. After the war, he settled in Lübeck, where he worked for a Lübeck newspaper and died in 1951.

Lichberg was mostly forgotten, until literary scholar Michael Maar came across his "Lolita" short story and argued in several articles and a 2005 book that Nabokov had derived his story from Lichberg's work.

In Lichberg's "Lolita", the story takes place in Spain.

Hermann Esser

Hermann Esser (29 July 1900 – 7 February 1981) was a very early member of the Nazi Party (NSDAP). A journalist, Esser was the editor of the Nazi paper, Völkischer Beobachter, and a Nazi member of the Reichstag. In the early history of the party, he was a de facto deputy of Adolf Hitler.


The Industrielleneingabe (Industrial petition) was a petition signed by twenty representatives of industry, finance, and agriculture on November 19, 1932, requesting that the President of Germany Paul von Hindenburg make Adolf Hitler the Chancellor of Germany.

There had already been two similar attempts to assist the Nazi party in gaining control of the government, namely a petition by the Wirtschaftspolitischen Vereinigung Frankfurt (Frankfurt Socioeconomic Union) on July 27, 1931, and a declaration by 51 professors in July 1932 in Völkischer Beobachter.

The idea for the Industrielleneingabe had emerged at the end of October 1932 in the Keppler-Kreis (Keppler circle) and was supported by Heinrich Himmler, who worked as a liaison to Brown House. The drafting of the letter was aided especially by Hjalmar Schacht, who was the only member of the Keppler-Kreis with any significant political experience. The Industrielleneingabe was first published in 1956 in the Zeitschrift für Geschichtswissenschaft and is used as evidence to support the idea that big business played a central role in the rise of the Nazi Party.

Konrad Nonn

Konrad Nonn was a German engineer and editor, member of the Nazi party, and a prominent critic of modernist architecture in Germany between World War I and World War II.

In 1931 Konrad Nonn, along with German architects such as Alexander von Senger, Eugen Honig, German Bestelmeyer and especially Paul Schultze-Naumburg, were deputized in the National Socialist fight against modern architecture, in a para-governmental propaganda unit called the Kampfbund deutscher Architekten und Ingenieure (KDAI). Through the pages of Völkischer Beobachter and other journals, these architects actively attacked the modern style in openly racist and political tones, placing much of the blame on members of the architectural group The Ring, calling Walter Gropius an "elegant salon-bolshevist", and calling the Bauhaus "the cathedral of Marxism".

List of defunct newspapers of Germany

This is a list of defunct newspapers of Germany.

Allgemeine Zeitung

Das Andere Deutschland

Das Reich

Das Schwarze Korps

Der Angriff

Der Morgen

Der Pionier

Der Stürmer

Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung

Deutsche Volkszeitung

Deutsche Zeitung in den Niederlanden

Deutsche Zeitung in Norwegen

Die Einigkeit

Die Rote Fahne

Die Fanfare

Financial Times Deutschland

Frankfurter Zeitung

Freie Presse (Alsace), not to be confused with today's Freie Presse (Saxony)


Israelitisches Familienblatt


Münchener Beobachter

Münchener Post

Neue Montagzeitung

Neue Rheinische Zeitung

Norsk-Tysk Tidsskrift

NS Månedshefte



Regensburger Echo

Rheinische Zeitung

Völkischer Beobachter

Vossische Zeitung

Richard Euringer

Richard Euringer (April 4, 1891 – August 29, 1953) was a German writer. Although active starting in the 1920s, he is best known for his later career, in which he was a supporter of the Nazis. His best-known work is probably Als Flieger in zwei Kriegen, published in 1941 by Philipp Reclam Jr. of Leipzig. From 1950 he published under the pseudonym Florian Ammer.

Euringer was born in Augsburg, where he attended Gymnasium. He then became a soldier and officer, and in World War I enlisted as a pilot, serving time on the western front from 1914–16. He fought alongside the Turks in Syria and later took up the position of commander of the Flying School at Lechfeld, Bavaria. In the turbulent years after the war, he was perturbed and roved around, becoming in the process one of the earliest members of the NSDAP. After the war he took up writing, and published several books. Of the numerous novels he wrote, some carry undertones of his war experiences. Some of his most acclaimed works were Fliegerschule 4 (1929), Vortrupp Pascha (1937), Der Zug durch die Wüste (1938), Die Arbeitslosen (1930), and Die Fürsten fallen (1935).Starting in 1931, he became a political-cultural correspondent for the Völkischer Beobachter, a Nazi newspaper. In 1933, his work Deutsche Passion attracted the attention of Joseph Goebbels, gaining him for the first time national attention. In 1933, he also became a director of the libraries in Essen. In this capacity, he identified 18,000 works deemed not to correspond with Nazi ideology, which were publicly burned as a result. In 1934 he became a member of the advisory boards for writing and broadcasting in the Reich. After 1936, he worked as a freelance writer.

The Myth of the Twentieth Century

The Myth of the Twentieth Century (German: Der Mythus des zwanzigsten Jahrhunderts) is a 1930 book by Alfred Rosenberg, one of the principal ideologues of the Nazi Party and editor of the Nazi paper Völkischer Beobachter. The titular "myth" (in the special Sorelian sense) is "the myth of blood, which under the sign of the swastika unchains the racial world-revolution. It is the awakening of the race-soul, which after long sleep victoriously ends the race chaos."The book has been described as "one of the two great unread bestsellers of the Third Reich" (the other being Mein Kampf). In private Adolf Hitler said: "I must insist that Rosenberg's The Myth of the Twentieth Century is not to be regarded as an expression of the official doctrine of the party." Hitler objected to Rosenberg's paganism.Hitler awarded the first State Prize for Art and Science to the author of The Myth of the Twentieth Century. The official document accompanying the prize "expressly praises Rosenberg as a 'person who has, in a scientific and penetrating manner, laid the firm foundation for an understanding of the ideological bases of National Socialism.'"

Theodor Seibert

Theodor Seibert (born 1896) was a German National Socialist journalist and writer. Seibert travelled throughout the Soviet Union from 1926 to 1929 as press representative of the Hamburger Fremdenblatt, the Münchner and the Leipziger Neueste Nachrichten. His book Red Russia criticised Soviet Russia. In the late 1930s Seibert was London correspondent of the Völkischer Beobachter and local head of the German Press Association in London. He was active as an anti-Semitic propagandist, characterising Bolshevism and 'Rooseveltism' as two aspects of 'international Jewry'.

Vossische Zeitung

The Vossische Zeitung (earlier: "(Königlich Privilegierte) Berlinische Zeitung von Staats- und Gelehrten Sachen") was a well-known liberal German newspaper published in Berlin (1721–1934). Its predecessor was founded in 1704. Among the editors of the paper, known colloquially as Tante Voss ("Aunt Voss"), were Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, Willibald Alexis, Theodor Fontane and Kurt Tucholsky.

Until the second year of the Third Reich's reign over Germany, the publication was generally regarded as Germany's national newspaper of record, just as The Times and Le Temps were to Great Britain and France, respectively. At this point, the Vossische Zeitung was dissolved by the official, state-sanctioned political party, the all-powerful NSDAP, which circulated its own nationally distributed newspaper, the Völkischer Beobachter.

Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front was serialised in the Vossische Zeitung in November and December 1928.

Arthur Koestler was the Vossische Zeitung's science editor in the last years of the Weimar Republic. In his autobiography, Koestler strongly criticized the Vossische Zeitung's management for "bending with the times"—for example, dropping the campaign against the death penalty which the paper had carried out for many years, tacitly "getting rid" of Jewish staff (though the owners were Jewish themselves) and hiring new staff with markedly German Nationalist tendencies. Koestler noted that this "betrayal by the flagship of German Liberalism" was one of the factors which at the time made him join the German Communist Party.

No effort was made to revive the Vossische Zeitung after the fall of Nazi Germany.

Wilhelm Dreher

Wilhelm Dreher (10 January 1892 in Ay an der Iller, Neu-Ulm district – 19 November 1969 in Senden) was a German politician with the Nazi Party.

Dreher was a member of the Reichstag, first being elected in 1928 and retaining his seat until the fall of the Third Reich. In the early 1930s he was close to Gregor Strasser for a time. He was recognised within the Nazi Party as an economics specialist and he wrote on this topic for Völkischer Beobachter.

In 1933 he became the Polizeidirektor in Ulm, and an Oberführer in the SS.

Wilhelm Weiss

Wilhelm Weiss (German Wilhelm Weiß) (31 March 1892 in Stadtsteinach – 24 February 1950 in Wasserburg am Inn) was, in the time of the Third Reich, an SA-Obergruppenführer as well as editor-in-chief of the NSDAP's official newspaper, the Völkischer Beobachter

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