Discussions on the propaganda, architecture and culture in the Third Reich.
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His ebullient, melodramatic, sneering attacks on the British establishment were far more entertaining than anything the BBC was broadcasting in the early part of the war, and millions of Britons tuned in to him for a good laugh. He was nicknamed Lord Haw-Haw by Jonah Barrington, radio critic of the Daily Express, and the name stuck. His final, drunken broadcast as Germany went down to defeat, which Kenny does print, was a masterpiece of black humour.
On 22 April 1945, when he was still working, Haw-Haw wrote in his diary, ‘Has it all been worthwhile? I think not. National Socialism is a fine cause, but most of the Germans, not all, are bloody fools.’ That is typical of his plain speaking. He was brave and quick-witted and showed no self-pity, but he was also coarse, violent and mentally unbalanced. His trial turned on what duty of allegiance he owed the British Crown. In law, it was very hard to show, as an American and then a German citizen, that he owed any: he had obtained his British passport by deceit, and A. J. P. Taylor remarked that he was hanged for making a false statement on a passport, for which the usual penalty was a fine of two pounds. But by his own lights Haw-Haw was undoubtedly a traitor, a fierce supporter of the British empire who then did all he could to bring about its destruction. He looked forward, in his gloating way, to Churchill’s execution, and would surely have felt contemptuous if the British state had let him off on a technicality.