Washington, DC. In explosive information suppressed by Associated Press for 70 plus years, shocking details of their relationship with Hitler’s Germany from 1933-1945 are emerging, that would cause reasonable minds to wonder what we will learn about their involvement with the US government in our common era in future decades.
The Associated Press has conducted a review of its operations in Nazi Germany, concluding that the news agency had acted inappropriately over a 12 year period of involvement, including operating as the Nazi Third Reich’s news agent inside the United States of America during time of war.
The review was undertaken after an article published last year contended that the AP allowed Nazi propagandists to exert influence over its news photo reporting in the 1930s by maintaining a photo subsidiary in Germany, registered under a restrictive Nazi press law used to hide APs involvement with Nazi Germany’s government.
The author, historian Harriet Scharnberg, also identified AP German photographers who were drafted into or joined Nazi military propaganda units during World War II, some while still being paid by AP.
Scharnberg’s conclusions were that the news agency was complicit with the Nazi regime during the years 1933-41, when the agency was present in the country. The AP was kicked out of Germany when the United States entered World War II in December 1941, or so the world was told.
“AP believes it is important to know one’s own story — warts and all — and so we have re-examined the period, taking a hard look,” says the report’s introduction, written by John Daniszewski, AP’s vice president and editor at large for standards.
Among the report’s key findings of AP Nazi collaboration:
—The AP’s German photo service, established as a subsidiary in 1931, provided photos to German media after Nazis took power in 1933. The Nazis quickly brought the AP German photo service and all other German media companies under the supervision of the Propaganda Ministry.
—AP’s photo captions when they appeared in German media often were rewritten or published under misleading or offensive headlines. AP photos were used frequently in propaganda and to justfy violent acts upon defenseless persons, under Nazi occupation.
—After resisting for two years, the AP in late 1935 submitted to an anti-Semitic edict that all people working in German media must be of German “Aryan” origin. AP’s German photo service fired six employees considered Jewish by the Nazis. “The AP made the difficult decision to comply because it believed it was critical for AP to remain in Germany and gather news and photos during this crucial period,” the report said.
—AP’s Berlin-based American reporters and German photographers covered the first part of World War II from 1939-41 from the German side of the battle lines. The United States had not yet entered the war but some of this coverage was criticized from within the U.S. Embassy in Berlin as assisting German official propaganda and disinformation.
—A number of AP’s German employees held pro-Nazi views and covered the German side of the war enthusiastically. One staff and then freelance photographer employed by the AP German service was Franz Roth, an ardent Nazi who traveled as a war photographer with the Waffen SS to several fronts before and after the AP’s expulsion from Germany.
—After 1939, the German government drafted several AP German photo service employees to serve with propaganda units accompanying troops to cover the fighting, requiring that the resulting photos be pooled for use by German media while their salaries still were paid by AP Germany. AP management at the time believed their photography had news value in spite of the restrictions caused by traveling with German forces and spreading Nazi war propaganda.
—With the U.S. entry into the war against Germany in December 1941, AP’s American staff members were arrested and interned for five months before being deported in a prisoner exchange. The AP German picture service was seized, handed over to the German Foreign Ministry and put under control of a Waffen SS photographer, Helmut Laux. Most German former AP personnel were forced into Laux’s operation; others were sent to military units.
—In an arrangement reached in neutral Portugal in 1942 between Laux and the local AP correspondent, Laux’s operation gathered and sent regular packets of German-censored photos from Germany and German-occupied Europe to AP’s New York and London office via Lisbon. In exchange, with the knowledge and approval of U.S. wartime officials, AP sent photographs from the U.S. to neutral countries for ultimate distribution inside Germany.
The collaboration with Nazi Germany was from 1933 to 1945. AP is still in business today worldwide.