October 18, 2023

Television in the Third Reich

Do I use the word "interesting" too often? I like to think I'm interested in a lot of different things, so it's certainly possible. Regardless, I recently ran across a documentary on YouTube that I think is interesting, and hopefully some of you will think so as well. It's called Television Under the Swastika, and it takes a look at the development of television in Nazi Germany prior to and in the early years of World War II. 

What's particularly—if you'll pardon the expression—interesting is looking at the technology used to develop and transmit the footage. And then there's the fact that some of the archival footage of actual programming still exists, complete with the presenter giving the obligatory "Heil Hitler" salute. (It was enough to send a bit of a shiver down the spine.) Included also are some clips of television coverage of the 1936 Berlin Olympics, and while it looks pretty primitive to us today, it must have been quite amazing for those who were able to see it back then—there were very few television sets in Germany, so "viewing halls" were created where people could gather to watch the limited programming offerings.

It's about an hour long, but it's in English with English subtitles, so it's easy enough to follow.

I wonder if the timeline of television development would have been markedly different if the Germans had been able to continue their experiments—if they were significantly advanced over either the British or Americans—before the war started. Conversely, would history have changed had television been in a more advanced state, and had someone like Goebbels known what to do with it? Speculation like that could prove to be quite—interesting. TV  


  1. Saved that doc on my YT account--looking forward to it!

  2. What a fascinating recommendation, thank you! As it was Germany Calling was commonly understood to be propaganda and my gut feeling would be that putting Lord Haw-Haw on the telly would be a mistake. Even with his voice alone people knew he was a caricature of a British person and his film-villain appearance would have been even less successful!


Thanks for writing! Drive safely!