To control information is to control the world. This innovative history reveals how, across two devastating wars, Germany attempted to build a powerful communication empire—and how the Nazis manipulated the news to rise to dominance in Europe and further their global agenda. Winner of the Ralph Gomory Prize and the Wiener Holocaust Library Fraenkel Prize, the book has also received an honorable mention and been a finalist for five further prizes.
Information warfare may seem like a new feature of our contemporary digital world. But it was just as crucial a century ago, when the great powers competed to control and expand their empires. In News from Germany, Heidi Tworek uncovers how Germans fought to regulate information at home and used the innovation of wireless technology to magnify their power abroad.
Tworek reveals how for nearly fifty years, across three different political regimes, Germany tried to control world communications—and nearly succeeded. From the turn of the twentieth century, German political and business elites worried that their British and French rivals dominated global news networks. Many Germans even blamed foreign media for Germany’s defeat in World War I. The key to the British and French advantage was their news agencies—companies whose power over the content and distribution of news was arguably greater than that wielded by Google or Facebook today. Communications networks became a crucial battleground for interwar domestic democracy and international influence everywhere from Latin America to East Asia. Imperial leaders, and their Weimar and Nazi successors, nurtured wireless technology to make news from Germany a major source of information across the globe. The Nazi mastery of global propaganda by the 1930s was built on decades of Germany’s obsession with the news.
News from Germany is not a story about Germany alone. It reveals how news became a form of international power and how communications changed the course of history.
The book was a #1 new release in international relations, media studies, and journalism on Amazon.
“This riveting technological chronicle dispels two myths: that the digital era spawned information warfare, and that twentieth-century global communications was largely Anglo-American. From 1900 to 1945, reveals historian Heidi Tworek, Germany strove mightily to achieve world power through news agencies, spoken radio and wireless, urged on by figures from Weimar Republic foreign minister Gustav Stresemann to Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels. A chillingly timely cautionary tale, demonstrating that once elites destroy democratic institutions, a free press cannot prevent further disintegration.”
“Provides much-needed historical depth to the current debate about media power and the age of ‘surveillance capitalism.’”
—The Financial Times
“Tworek reveals how officials in the Weimar government, believing they were acting in the best interests of democracy, created structures to oversee and regulate news supply. This led to policies, such as restricting political advocacy from the radio, intended to forestall inflaming partisan passions. Ironically, it was the state’s tight control over the news supply that allowed the Nazis to swiftly take over the country’s communications channels and remake them to serve their interests.” —The Washington Post
“Shrewd, erudite and timely.”
“A major contribution to our understanding of modern European—and indeed global—history. Tworek underscores the dangers that democratic regimes confront when elites lose faith in democratic institutions—a lesson for our own troubled times.”
—Richard John, author of Network Nation: Inventing American Telecommunications
“As Professor Tworek shows us in this brilliant new book, battles over ‘fake news’—or, as she rightly terms it, information warfare—have a long history. By illuminating earlier attempts to turn words into weapons, she helps us better understand the challenges that we face today.”
—Mary Elise Sarotte, author of The Collapse: The Accidental Opening of the Berlin Wall
“To help us understand the media, Tworek employs some strikingly apt distinctions: between published and public opinion, between the news system and the news vehicle, between the production of news and the art and science of its control. At the end she points out something so simple and brilliant: ‘It’s surprisingly hard to make money from news.’ True! Those trying to understand our crisis in journalism today should start with this book.”
—Jay Rosen, New York University and PressThink
“A riveting and beautifully written account, which combines a history of technology and the media with political narrative, that reveals the largely unknown story of the centrality of communications in Germany’s grasp for world power in the first half of the twentieth century.”
—Harold James, author of Making the European Monetary Union
“Information War, the weaponization of information, Putin, trolls, ISIS, Trump… the vast spread of today’s malign influence campaigns can seem dizzying and confusingly new. However it’s not the first time this has happened, and to understand the underlying issues one needs to see how the competition over the communications space has played out before. Tworek’s book is an expert and readable guide to the wars of information hegemony in the early twentieth century, and one reads it not only to understand the past, but to grasp the present.”
—Peter Pomerantsev, author of Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible: The Surreal Heart of the New Russia
The Routledge Companion to the Makers of Global Business draws together a wide array of state-of-the-art research on multinational enterprises. The volume aims to deepen our historical understanding of how firms and entrepreneurs contributed to transformative processes of globalization.
This book explores how global business facilitated the mechanisms of cross-border interactions that affected individuals, organizations, industries, national economies and international relations. The 37 chapters span the Middle Ages to the present day, analyzing the emergence of institutions and actors alongside key contextual factors for global business development. Contributors examine business as a central actor in globalization, covering myriad entrepreneurs, organizational forms and key industrial sectors. Taking a historical view, the chapters highlight the intertwined and evolving nature of economic, political, social, technological and environmental patterns and relationships. They explore dynamic change as well as lasting continuities, both of which often only become visible – and can only be fully understood – when analyzed in the long run.
With dedicated chapters on challenges such as political risk, sustainability and economic growth, this prestigious collection provides a one-stop shop for a key business discipline.
“This important collection of new surveys by leading scholars represents an essential state of the art summary and reflection on the often neglected major contribution of entrepreneurs and firms to the globalisation of business and provides a comprehensive overview of the evolution of global business in historical perspective, notably on the role of institutions and organisational forms.”
—Robert Read, Lancaster University Management School, UK
“This is a terrific contribution to the broad field of analytical business history, focused on the key actors who have created the global economy. A must read for economists, political scientists, sociologists and strategy scholars with an interest in how international business actually functions.”
—Alain Verbeke, Editor-in-Chief, Journal of International Business Studies
“A major contribution to the history of globalization and capitalism, The Routledge Companion to the Makers of Global Business brings together more than fifty scholars, writing on broad political and social issues as well as institutional and technological ones – from the Great Divergence and the histories of gender and race in global entrepreneurship, to value chains and state-owned enterprise. It is a significant and notable achievement that tells the story of how firms helped build the modern global economy.”
—Walter A. Friedman, Harvard Business School, US
International Organizations and the Media in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries is the first volume to explore the historical relationship between international organizations and the media. Beginning in the early nineteenth century and coming up to the 1990s, the volume shows how people around the globe largely learned about international organizations and their activities through the media and images created by journalists, publicists, and filmmakers in texts, sound bites, and pictures.
The book examines how interactions with the media are a formative component of international organizations. At the same time, it questions some of the basic assumptions about how media promoted or enabled international governance. Written by leading scholars in the field from Europe, North America, and Australasia, and including case studies from all regions of the world, it covers a wide range of issues from humanitarianism and environmentalism to Hollywood and debates about international information orders.
Bringing together two burgeoning yet largely unconnected strands of research—the history of international organizations and international media histories—this book is essential reading for scholars of international history and those interested in the development and impact of media over time.
“Prominent historians and talented young scholars have contributed to this consistent and coherent volume offering a variety of approaches, methods and methodologies. They have zoomed in on the motives, politics and silences of a number of international institutions since the early 19th century. The volume is original and innovates at the level of the optics and perspectives, of the units of analysis and the levels of analysis. It will be a fruitful read for specialists, useful and inspirational for teachers and undergraduate students in history and social sciences.”
—Davide Rodogno, The Graduate Institute, Geneva
“Overall, this volume does an exceptional job of showing the successes and failures that international organizations had in using media to reach the public over the long term of the last two centuries. It offers scholars an excellent model for how to do global history in covering such a wide swath of time and array of countries, and it should prove foundational and influential on a range of new studies about other international organizations.”
—Michael Stamm, Michigan State University
“A welcome and highly illuminating book presenting an underresearched angle of IO-history.”
—Emil Eiby Seidenfaden, Aarhus University