31 October 2012
Popular Music and the Schlager
Radio as a Propaganda Tool
“The radio will be to the twentieth century what the press was to the nineteenth.” Josef
The Nazis used the Volksempfänger VE301
It was meant to be affordable for all so that their messages would get across; radios were too
expensive for common folk.
o Otto Gressen invented it.
It was ironic that though Hitler hated women in the workforce, yet they were the main
It was made by 28 different domestic manufacturers, not by the government.
The second, smaller model was The Deutscher Kleinempfänger DKE38: “Goebbels’s mouth”
o It also provided Austrian news
o Price went down to 35 marcs
o Has Nazi eagle stamped on it
For workers to listen to the Fuhrer even during working hours, they created the The Deutscher
Kleinempfänger DKE38: “Goebbels’s mouth”
o Every time people heard Fuhrer they had to salute to his speech.
o Had a huge swastika in the center
Paul Mathias Padua, Der Volksempfänger / Der Führer spricht (1939) art displaying people
listening to the radio.
o Also, Leda und der Schwan/ Leda and the Swan (1939)
o There are others rendering Leda, The Swan (aka Zeus) and their offspring which may be
by Leonardo da Vinci or Cesare de Sesto (ca. 1505 – 1510)
The tag found on the models would say: “Think about this: Listening to foreign broadcasts is a
crime against the national security of our people. This is a Führer Order, punishable by hard
labour in prison.”
The only people that were allowed to listen to foreign news were the SS and the Stasi.
A popular concert was a way to find out the situation with family members in the front lines.
Wunschkonzert (Request Concert), 1940
The Nazis were the ones who invented record devices. The allies took the patent way from
Germans and gave it to the Dutch as reparations. They eventually sold the technology to the
“During no previous war had the civilian population been so saturated with information, misinformation,
and propaganda as in World War II. Life without radio was now unthinkable; the family radio set, often
outdated or out of order, was carefully guarded among the most precious household possessions, and
the streams of refugees moving across the defeated Reich and the people of the ruined cities clung to
their receivers, and haggled among themselves for spare parts, valves, and batteries.”
After the war, people wanted indulge in classical/high culture again. One such example was Rudi
Schuricke: “Capri-Fischer” (1943) 31 October 2012
Many people used music as an escape, probably in the tropics to forget all their worries.
An argument presented in one of the articles is that by appropriating the desire to going to
exotic places like Italy, its German’s attempt to colonialize or conquer the area.
Another folk singer was Freddy Quinn:”Heimweh” (1956)
“Astonishingly enough, in the public image, a fondness for Schlager has always been attributed
to a lack of intellect, a lack of class (both in socioeconomic and aesthetic terms), or to an
escapist substitution for unreachable goals, material values, and emotions, which it shared with
an accepted understanding of mass-culture consumption in general. Rarely has an enjoyment of
Schlager been ascribed to a desire for individual, community, and a coherent national identity, a
desire that was practically taboo after 1945.”
o Essentially, Schlager has a bad reputation as having bad taste or kitchy.
But for Germans who have left home, this music brings about nostalgia.
“The vehement reactions of most everyone I told about this paper [were] that the Schlager
consists of nothing but ‘criminal dumbing of the population’ (verbrecherische
Volksverdummung), featuring ‘a miserable fabric of shitty texts’ (ein mieses Gefrecht
beschissener Texte). This has been the only stu