Samstag, 2. Juli 2016

Thomas Mann - Deutsche Hörer! (BBC-Reden 1941 - 1945)

Thomas Mann is widely recognized as one of the greatest German novelists of the twentieth century. Exile from his homeland created the opportunity for him to become a major transatlantic figure as well. The intellectual and civic leadership he offered, especially his public opposition to the worldwide threat of fascism, allowed him to exercise cultural and political influence on both sides of the Atlantic until his death in 1955. Particularly important in this regard were his criticisms of Hitler and the National Socialists in Germany, his leadership of European anti-fascists in exile, his influence on American policymakers during World War II, and his contributions to the debate about German responsibility for the war.

His own works escaped the Nazi book burnings of 1933, but those of his brother Heinrich (1871-1950) and son Klaus (1906-1949) did not. In 1938, after several stays abroad, Mann and his family emigrated to the United States, where, beginning in 1940, he began recording monthly radio broadcasts under the title “German Listeners!” [“Deutsche Hörer!”]. These broadcasts, which were five to eight minutes in length, were transferred to records and sent to the BBC in London. From there, they were broadcast to Germany via long-wave radio. Mann’s addresses became an essential part of Allied demoralization tactics. The number of regular listeners in Germany is estimated to have been small, since tuning in to foreign stations was considered a “radio crime”: anyone caught was subject to severe punishment. Nonetheless, Mann’s attacks still prompted a response from Hitler, who agitated against his famous critic in his own speeches.

Thomas Mann - Deutsche Hörer! (BBC-Reden 1941 - 1945)
(256 kbps, front cover included)

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