In our current moment marred by media monopolies and disinformation campaigns, it is easy to get caught up in the dizzying temporality of the news cycle and think these are new phenomena. Heidi Tworek
’s impressive new book, News from Germany: The Competition to Control World Communications, 1900-1945
(Harvard University Press, 2019), is a necessary reminder that they have a longer history.
News from Germany
explores how elites in academia, business, and government fought over the regulation of news at home and sought to use communications to extend German power abroad. Readers learn that “false news” was a political strategy used by far-right media moguls in the 1920s and 1930s. Readers also learn that people have long debated the fraught relationship between communications and democracy.
Based on a gob-smacking amount of archival research, News from Germany
helps explain everything from the Nazis’ adept use of media to German domination of communications scholarship at mid-century. Readers from across specializations and disciplines need to read this remarkable book.
Dexter Fergie is a PhD student of US and global history at Northwestern University. He is currently researching the 20th century geopolitical history of information and communications networks. He can be reached by email at email@example.com or on Twitter @DexterFergie.