*** boys clothing: depictions in theatrical productions -- European radio trends

European Radio Trends

European radio
Figure 1.--Here we see a British mother and son, we think in the 1930s. Notice the huge radio set in the background. Britain had the highest level of radio ownership in Europe, but it was no where close to American radio ownership. Some of the most momentous radio broadcasts of the 20th century would come over those sets.

Radio in Europe developed upon different lines in the various countries. In almost all countries, the Government played a greater role than in America. Our details as to government reguklation and prgramming is very limited at this time. Hopefully our European readers will be able to provide some insights here. We do have some infomation on radio ownrship. Virtually every American in the 1930s had aadio in the home. The same was not true in Europe, even in Germany one of the most prosperous countries. Radio ownership strongly correlaled with wages. Radio onership was hifgestin Britain followed by France. Germany was a poor third among the major countries. Ownership was relatively low in the Soviet Union. Hitler made a major effort to increase radio ownership, but faced low wages (which he kept low to furher his rearmament program) and the lack of mass production. This difference was to have huge consequences in World War II.


Britain had the highest level of radio ownership in Europe, but it was no where close to American radio ownership. Some of the most momentous radio broadcasts of the 20th century would come over those sets. First the timorus Chamberklain than the booming voice of a primeminister Churchill preparing to answer NAZI agression with thefirce of a free people fully aware of what they faced. "What kind of people do they think we are?" he asked the British people. HBC has very little information about English radio. One of the most famous radio, or wireless as it was called in England, broadcasts of all time took place during the 1930s in England, the abdication of Edward VIII. We know that the British also had commercial entertainment programing similar to American programing. We have noted, for example, of favorites like Just William on British radio. The stories were also broadcast on BBC radio in the 1940s. Child actor John Clark who was the voice of William on radio, until his voice broke that is.


No informationa available.


As in the rest of Europe, radio rapidly developed in Germany after World War I in the 1920s. We do not yet have much information on the nature of German broadcasting in the 1920s, both the commercial development and the government role. We do know that several companies began making home radios. The Germans made very good radios. They tended to be rather expensive. As in many other industrial areas, German companies did not develop the mass production of inexpensive sets. Thus many woekers could not afford a radio. German radio beginning in January 1933 was under the control of NAZI Minister of Propaganda Josef Goebbels. Thus during the 1930s and 40s, the so called Golden Age of radio, all German radio was under the strict control of the NAZIs. We know that programing was tightly controlled and censorded by the NAZIs. We know nothing, however, about actual programming. After Kristalnacht in 1938, Jews were forced to turn in their radios. During World War II, the Germans took many measures to control radio listening in the occupied countries. Nazi propaganda was everywhere and whenever the Germans conquered a country or a place the radio played 'Les Pr´┐Żludes' with all those fanfares by Franz Liszt. Then the voice: 'Das Oberkommando der Wehrmacht gibt bekannt' (the Upper Command of the Wehrmacht announces). After we heard what city was taken from the enemy we had to listen to some stirring Prussian marches until the next victory." [Stueck]



Radio appeared just at the time that Latvia achieved its independence from the Russian Empire. The Bolsheviks tries but failed to restablish control in Latvia. Like other small European countries, Latvia could draw on technological developments in Germny and other countries. We know nothing about the radio industry in Latvia. Hopefully Latvian readwers will be able gto priovide some information. We do not know to what extent radios were manufactured in Latvia. We suspect they were impoeted from Germany and other countries. Nor do we know the extent to which the Government permitted commercial radio to develop, Many Latvians spoke German or Russian and thuis could listen to foreign broadcasts. And because music was an important part of entertaiment broaddcasts, even Latvians who did not speak foreign languages could enjoy foreign broadcastts. As in other European countries, it was mostly middle-class consumers who could afford readers. Most of the German minority did have radios and thus after the NAZI seizure of power could listen to NAZI propaganda broadcasts.


Radio Luxembourg was exciting and challenging in a variety of ways. I'm not sure when it began broadcasting commercially, but transcripts date back to 1933. It was international, broadcasting in three languages (French, German and English). Radio Luxembourg was a commercial and popular success. As Luxembourg was close to Germany, Germans could get listen to news in Germany that was not controlled by the Ministry of Propaganda. Its entertainment-based style was a direct contrast to the formality of the BBC of the day, and it built a large and dedicated listening audience throughout Europe. When German forces invaded neutral Luxembourg in May 1940, the station with its international audience was used as a vehicle for propaganda. Lord Haw Haw broadcast from the station in English during this period. The United States for a brief period after liberation in 1945 took control of the station and briefly used it for propaganda purposes, including mock broadcasts of a fabricated anti-Nazi German army unit in the Rhineland, broadcasting to the German people against Hitler. The script of the first British broadcast after the War, included mocking impersonations of Adolph Hitler. [Ruth Arnold, Sheffield University, January 29, 1999.]

Soviet Union


Arnold, Ruth. Sheffield University, January 29, 1999

Bergmeier, Horst J. P. and Rainer E. Lotz, (Contributor). Hitler's Airwaves : The Inside Story of Nazi Radio Broadcasting and Propaganda Swing (Yale University Press, Book & Cd edition August 1997).

Mezel, Eric. Edited by Jocelyn de Noblet, Industrial Design: Reflecyions of a Century (Centre de Recherche sur la Culture Technique Flammarion/APCI, 1993). 168p.

tueck, Rudi. E-mail message, January 28. 2013.


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Created: 4:30 AM 2/10/2013
Last updated: 4:30 AM 2/10/2013