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G3 Gustav Siegfried Eins (GS1) Black Radio Station: Object, method and effect

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Gustav Siegfried Eins (GS1) was undoubtedly Sefton Delmer's most infamous black radio station due, in the early days of its transmission, to its use of vulgar language and pornography. The salty stories had the intended effect of quickly generating a large audience. It first began broadcasting on 23rd May 1941 and ended, in an illusionary crescendo of Gestapo machine-gun fire, on 18th November 1943. The following Political Warfare Executive report is an appraisal of the object, method and effect of Gustav Siegfried Eins as far as could be ascertained from wartime Britain.

Object

To undermine the morale both of the German armed forces and of the Home Front. This is done both by spreading subversive rumours and by exposing Nazi corruption and mismanagement. As one of the main means of achieving its general end the station also aims at widening the rift between the Army and the Party in Germany.

The station purports to be motivated by purely nationalistic and anti-Bolshevist sentiments, its stated object being among other things to purge Germany of the enemy within. It has taken the line that the war in North Africa and in the Mediterranean is nothing but an ill-conceived Nazi Party adventure, which has been sapping the German armed forces of their power to overcome the Russians in the East, and latterly it has begun to advance the view that Germany's only salvation now is peace with the Western powers, as opposed to the compromise with Bolshevism towards which Himmler and his clique are alleged to be working. Other important lines are that Party bosses are the chief offenders in the graft and black market activity that goes on in Germany, that it is they who are ratting in the face of present difficulties, and that it is the incompetence of the Führer's entourage and even of the Führer himself that is in a large degree responsible for current set-backs.

Broadcasts are directed equally to Germans in armed forces and at home. Yet, although the station's objective is the entire population, it is the traditionally conservative and nationally-minded groups that are probably most susceptible to its appeal.

Method

Transmissions, on an average, last about twelve minutes and always go out at twelve minutes to the hour - so that one German listener has described it as the "twelve minutes to the hour station". The first transmission is at 01.48 and the last at 00.48 the following morning. GS1 is not, however, tied to a routine timetable. Its output varies from one completely new broadcast per day to two or three per week. Broadcasts are repeated every hour during the evening and throughout the night and then again on two and even three successive days according to the subversive value of the material which they contain and the degree of enemy interference with which they have to contend.

The broadcasts are given by a person whom his announcer refers to as "Der Chef", ["The Chief"], and are addressed by inference to key-men of a clandestine organisation of a military character, although they are, of course, plainly intended to be listened-in to by the general public. (The pretence of a clandestine organisation is kept up by the announcer addressing code messages to various members at the end of certain transmissions). The broadcasts are from recorded material and the "Chef" has never attempted to disguise the fact that he is not speaking "live". While the place of transmission is never stated, G.S1 has always maintained a firm pretence of being a purely German station. In fact the "Chef" has frequently left the impression that he is somewhere on the German side of the Eastern Front and he has occasionally complained of jamming both by the enemy without and by the enemy within.

Two voices are used, the voice of the announcer introducing the "Chef" and the voice of the "Chef" himself. The announcer's introduction serves, inter alia, the purpose of building up the "Chef" as the speaker. The scripts are written by the speaker himself.

The manner of the "Chef" is that of a hard-hitting and judicious spokesman on national affairs, who is trenchant, fearless, determined and completely sure of the ground on which he stands. In both his manner of speaking and his phraseology he has very much a style of his own, with a strong leaning towards the language used and appreciated by the Front line soldier. He is well-informed and drives home his arguments with facts that are hard to refute.

There is a considerable degree of coordination between the output of G.S1. and that of other Black stations. "Atlantik" in particular, has been able in its news items to provide a steady obligate to some of the "Chef's" main lines. Some of the "Chef's" speeches have been issued as leaflets.

Effect

Reception seems to vary considerably. Jamming has at times been particularly heavy in Berlin and Leipzig and probably in Central Germany generally. Reception has been good in the Mediterranean, Southern Italy and Greece. Naval men who had listened in at sea or at bases in France found that programmes could not be got in the Baltic ports. On the other hand a German communications officer had heard the station in Russia last February. Reports from Sweden indicate that jamming there has lately decreased. Conditions in Switzerland vary.

Interrogations of prisoners of war continue to reveal that ever-widening audience that the station has gained among members of the German armed forces. It is reported that young German officers regularly listened with some gusto to G.S.1 in Vienna. German troops in North Africa appear to have listened regularly - one POW, a Bavarian landowner, not only listened himself but was told by his housekeeper at home that the broadcasts were popular with local peasants. Several officers and men of U-boat crews taken prisoner in the Atlantic admit having heard it. An Obergefreiter captured in a U-boat in July, said he often listened both at sea and at home in Upper Silesia. A Pole who had been in Vienna and Berlin early this year did not think the BBC had a large audience, but said that everybody was interested in the station which opened with the words: "Hier spricht der Chef".

Striking tribute to the size of G.S.1's German audience has been paid by no less a person than Hans Fritzsche himself, who in two of his regular broadcasts over the Reich Radio last July found it necessary to denounce G.S.1 as of British origin and to refute one of the Chef's stories at some length.

Nevertheless it seems to be widely believed that G.S.1 is a station operating inside Germany or German-occupied Europe. Even a man who was employed by the Reich Radio believed that G.S.1 was a mobile station operating from a German army vehicle. A recent theory was that it was run by members of the Stahlhelm organisation from Sweden.

[Source British National Archives file: FO 898/51]



 

 

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