The story of a journalist in the service of a dictator who offers the Western democracies to surrender and shifts the responsibility for the war to the victim is not a new one. Today we will tell the story of the British William Joyce, better known as “Lord Haw-Haw“.
The current Russian Federation has prominent features that copy the Nazi Germany: from the cult of the leader to concentration camps for Ukrainians and the Hitler Youth. Thus, the idea of buying up “opinion leaders” who will launch attacks on the information front is not Moscow’s know-how. The Nazis understood the power of the mass media as early as the Second World War and particularly, appreciated the invention of the radio from a military point of view.
When the Germans bombed London, 6 to 7 million Englishmen were tuning in to William Joyce’s radio broadcast every evening. The latter, working from Germany, told the British how their troops were suffering losses, and that the real enemy was not in Berlin but in the London Parliament. That is, everything that Moscow is currently doing in relation to Ukraine through its talking heads. We covered this topic already.
The British nicknamed William Joyce “Lord Haw-haw.” His wild ratings worried the English Parliament because the local media reproduced his disinformation, which he carried right into the ears of subjects of the crown. In response, the BBC even began to mock William in a special program to reduce the degree of credibility of his podcast.
William Joyce was born in New York, lived in Ireland as a child, where he began working for English intelligence. In particular, he handed over Irishmen from the IRA, then communists. In the 1930s, he became fascinated with Nazi ideas and even got a scar on his face in clashes with communists. He moved to Germany in 1939 and received German citizenship in 1940. That’s when he began hosting the program “Germany Speaks” that aired until the German capitulation.
In May 1945, William saw British soldiers gathering firewood near the border with Denmark. He offered to help them but underestimated his own celebrity status. Most people did not know his face but Horst Pinschewer, a Jewish soldier of the British army recognized his voice.
Horst was born and raised in Berlin, but was forced to flee Germany after the beginning of Jewish pogroms. He worked as a photographer for The Daily Mirror and was eventually mobilized into the ranks of the British Army as a translator. He survived the landing in Normandy. He interrogated prisoners.
During the detention, “Lord Haw-Haw” showed a passport with a different surname, but Horst Pinschewer’s phonetic ear did not let him down. Further search determined that one of the main propagandists of Nazi Germany was captured.
His trial lasted half a year. He was tried for treason, but Joyce claimed that he was born in the US, and that he started his radio job after receiving German citizenship, i.e, he was not a traitor. The court sentenced him to death by hanging. William Joyce pleaded not guilty and remained faithful to the ideas of Nazism until his death. He is the penultimate Briton to be executed for a crime other than murder.
After the war, Horst Pinschewer returned to live in Germany and hosted a radio broadcast from the same studio from which Lord Haw-Haw once spoke. He became a successful media publisher, a co-founder of the Die Welt newspaper, which would be the largest printed media in modern Germany. He died in 2014.
This is a story about a war crime and legal punishment. Today, Russian propagandists talk about the “staging” of war crimes by Russian soldiers, provoke war, and threaten the world with nuclear strikes. And every apologist of the Russian lies shares the responsibility for the war and war crimes together with the immediate perpetrators.