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How Nazi press instructions framed German perceptions of the Spanish Civil War

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This article examines the measures taken by the German Nazi government to regulate and frame the coverage of the Spanish Civil War (1936–1039) in the German press. Primarily they did this through instructions issued at press conferences for the Berlin correspondents of the German newspapers. Although the journalists were forced to destroy their notes of these verbal instructions, some did not follow this command, preserving the written directives. In total, around 500 instructions reference the Spanish Civil War. In the beginning, the German press was asked to remain reluctant concerning the conflict; however, the Spanish Nationalists eventually overcame the Republicans. One of the permanent topics addressed by the Nazi propaganda ministry was foreign intervention in the Spanish Civil War. German intervention in the conflict was continually denied, particularly when German aircrafts bombarded the Basque town of Guernica on 26 April 1937, one of the most heinous war crimes prior to World War II. On the whole, the press instructions presented a distorted picture, full of deceit and hypocrisy. The brutal reality of war was omitted or completely glossed over in the German press.
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Keywords: German Press; Nazism; Spanish Civil War; foreign intervention; framing; press instructions

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

Publication date: October 1, 2016

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  • The Catalan Journal of Communication and Cultural Studies (CJCS) is committed to publishing research and theoretical articles in the fields of media studies, popular culture and cinema, public relations and advertising studies, social communication, new media, language uses in the media, communication and cultural policies, social and national identities, gender studies, sports and leisure, tourism and heritage, among other related issues. CJCS publishes double blind peer-reviewed articles and its aims and scope cover not only Catalan media and cultural systems but also other social contexts.
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