The Associated Press has defended its operations during the run-up to World War II after suggestions it collaborated with the Nazi regime. A German researcher claims evidence proves cooperation between AP and Berlin.
The 169-year-old US news organization responded Wednesday to a paper in the German-language Studies in Contemporary History journal, which claimed it supplied American newspapers with material selected by Germany’s propaganda ministry, and in turn allowed the ministry to use AP images for anti-Semitic propaganda.
“AP rejects the suggestion that it collaborated with the Nazi regime at any time,” AP spokesman Paul Colford in a statement. “Rather, the AP was subjected to pressure from the Nazi regime from the period of Hitler’s coming to power in 1933 until the AP’s expulsion from Germany in 1941.”
But Colford added that the news agency is now reviewing its records to better understand its operations during that period.
New evidence claimed
German researcher Harriet Scharnberg, citing documents and interviews, wrote that she found evidence of more cooperation from the AP than previously disclosed.
She noted that the Nazis gained control of the German subsidiary of AP in 1935 as other news organizations left the country. But she argued that by agreeing to a 1934 German law governing the press, the AP “ceded considerable influence over the production of its news photos to the propaganda ministry.”
It has been reported that this agreement enabled the US agency to keep its Berlin bureau open after most other international news organizations departed or were expelled.
The news agency noted that it won American journalism’s highest award for its aggressive reporting on Hitler’s anti-Semitic purges.
“AP’s Berlin bureau chief, Louis P. Lochner, won the 1939 Pulitzer Prize for his dispatches from Berlin about the Nazi regime,” Colford wrote. “Earlier, Lochner also resisted anti-Semitic pressure to fire AP’s Jewish employees and when that failed he arranged for them to become employed by AP outside of Germany, likely saving their lives.”
Germany declared war on the United States in 1941 and expelled all news organizations from Allied countries.