Volkischer Beobachter
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Volkischer Beobachter
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"
Metal advertising sign for the Völkischer Beobachter

The Völkischer Beobachter (pronounced ['foelk b?'?o:ba?t?]; "Völkisch Observer") was the newspaper of the Nazi Party (NSDAP) 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.



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)".

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