The Völkischer Beobachter (“Völkisch Observer”, or less strictly “People’s Observer”) was the newspaper of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (NSDAP or Nazi Party) from 1920. It first appeared weekly, then daily from February 8, 1923. For twenty-five years it formed part of the official public face of the Nazi party.
The “fighting paper of the National Socialist movement of Greater Germany” (Kampfblatt der nationalsozialistischen Bewegung Großdeutschlands) had its origin in the Münchner Beobachter (“Munich Observer”), which in 1918 was acquired by the Thule Society and in August 1919 was renamed Völkischer Beobachter. The NSDAP purchased it in December 1920 on the initiative of Dietrich Eckart, who became the first editor.
The circulation of the paper was initially about 8,000 but increased to 25,000 in autumn 1923 due to strong demand during the Occupation of the Ruhr. In that year Alfred Rosenberg became editor. With the prohibition of the NSDAP after the Beer Hall Putsch of November 9, 1923, the paper also had to cease publication, which resumed however on the party’s refoundation on February 26, 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.
Perhaps the most notorious article printed was an interview with Hans Frank, Governor-General of occupied Poland, on June 6, 1940.
“ The occasion was a widely distributed proclamation in Czechoslovakia announcing the execution of seven Czech students. This is what he said: ‘If I had to order a distribution of posters announcing such an event every time I order a shooting of seven Poles, there would not be enough trees in the Polish forests to supply the necessary paper.’”
At the beginning of May 1945, a few days after the German surrender in World War II?, the Völkischer Beobachter ceased publication. Due to the advance dating practices of many periodicals, the last issue was dated 11 May 1945 and contained a review of a survival guide, “Essbares aus deutschen Feldern und Wäldern”.
Foto: Volkischer Beobachter Door Jef-Infojef – Eigen werk, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10565316