Max Amann

Max Amann : Nazi Germany

Max Amann was born in Munich, Germany, on 9th February, 1902. He joined the German Army during the First World War where he met Adolf Hitler.

After the war he attended business school and worked in a Munich law firm. Amann joined the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP) and in 1921 became the party's business manager. The following year he became director of the Nazi publishing house, Eher Verlag. This included responsibility for the party newspaper, Volkische Beobachter.

Amann took part in the unsuccessful Beer Hall Putsch. After being released from prison he was elected to the Munich city council. In 1933 he represented the Nazi Party in the Reichstag.

In November, 1933, Amann became President of the Reich Association of German Newspaper Publishers. In this role he established Nazi control over the industry and gradually closed down those newspapers that did not fully support Adolf Hitler.

Amann used his position to increase his own financial situation. Head of the world's largest newspaper and publishing company, Amann income increased from 108,000 to 3,800,000 marks between 1934 and 1944.

Arrested by Allied troops after the Second World War he was sentenced to ten years for war crimes in November 1948. He also lost his property and pension rights and died in poverty on 30th March 1957.

© , September 1997 - April 2014

Primary Sources

(1) Speech by Max Amann at Nuremberg (1936)

The National Socialist seizure of power gave us the task of forming all of German life according to the spirit of National Socialism. The Führer's difficult fourteen-year struggle gave us the character and methods we needed to meet the challenges. A look back on what had been accomplished in the three and a half years since the National Socialist revolution, with its many actions and decisions, shows us that only it allowed us to fulfill our goals, and that it alone is able to find solutions to the problems facing the German people. We need the compass that the Führer gives us through his model and teachings, and to pledge to follow and remain loyal to that which we learned during the struggle for power. The virtues we learned then led to National Socialism's irresistible victory. Had we not had them, we would not have won power, and had we not maintained them, the power we gained would not have restored health and strength to the German people.

Our opponents during the struggle for power believed that they had a successful attack on us in claiming that the onrushing National Socialism had a party program that was limited to generalities, one that allowed no concrete positions on the problems of public and private life. Besides, the program was only designed to deceive the people, and National Socialism would ignore it once in power.

The Führer had already answered these charges in the party's program: It obligated National Socialists to defend the programmatic goals even at the risk of their lives. Even in the earliest days we believed that the few general principles of the program were better suited to deal with the problems of everyday life than a well-developed theoretical structure. This idea has proven its correctness a thousand times over in the past three and a half years.

I am happy to say that in my areas of endeavor in the party and state, a few National Socialist principles have given me the sure foundation for the many difficult decisions I have made. I am also convinced that the German people and the world public, insofar as it is ready to evaluate the situation objectively, will agree that developments in the German press give daily proof of the correctness and value of our National Socialist principles.

A look back before our seizure of power reminds us how numerous the problems of the press once were. Our few newspapers with their limited circulations fought heroically in the front lines to gain power. They stood against several thousands newspapers that represented other ideas and interests. There were many differences between the leading newspapers back then, but there was one thing they all lacked when compared to the National Socialist press: they had lost their connection to the people. They were responsible not to the people, but to some other group, be it parties, churches, economic interests or corporations, or they looked to their own good without considering the general good of the people. Such a press promoted class struggle, the confusion of social standing, religious incitement or moral decay. They did not promote the good of the individual and the strengthening of the community, rather collapse and decay. These newspapers that appealed to people's lowest instincts had lost their national and moral sense of responsibility, and had little influence.

Such a press could not be tolerated by National Socialism, whose task is the mobilization of all good and healthy strengths of the individual and the community, encouraging their expression and development. The German people is being rescued from a fragmentation of parties, classes, interests and special interests to enable them it to find its own nature and its own strengths once more. This requires that the whole of the German press serve German tasks. Our party's press is always a model, for it developed only to serve the idea and thereby the people. The exhausting everyday work aims at reaching that end.

That makes clear the goal of the National Socialism in the area of the press. All that is necessary is to follow a very few National Socialist principles.

1. The good of the German people was the goal from the beginning. The party's fight and our positions on individual issues were never ends in themselves, rather they illuminated each aspect of our efforts in the light of the whole. We knew that the people were our highest treasure. We never wanted to impose an alien dictatorial system, rather through the work of each individual National Socialist to win the confidence of the people. That is the prerequisite for leadership. Loyalty to the people and concern for their welfare is the foundation of the will and actions of National Socialism.

This led to my first task: the transformation of the German press into a true German people's press, a press that eliminated harmful, selfish or foreign elements and served only the people and its welfare. That means that the reader is no longer the object of a press that is harmful or foreign to him. Rather the principle guiding the press is the good of the individual and the community. A government that has as its only task securing the future of the nation can create such a press, and only such a state. In it, the interests of the state, of the community and of the individual agree. What is it that the reader wants from his newspaper? It should acquaint him with daily events both large and small, letting him know how these affect his life and how he can help the whole community. The newspaper should bring him into contact with the community and the community into contact with him, putting him in the center of what is happening. Besides meeting the needs of the individual and the community, which is the highest goal of the press, it should also satisfy his need for relaxation.

The press has a role in the daily life of every citizen, man, women or maturing youth, that cannot be filled by anything else, and the state has the duty to ensure that it can fulfill its role. Any state that is not an end in itself has the duty to see that the only goal of the press is to serve the people. That is why the Führer supported a people's press at the very beginning, and commented on the harmful effects of the press at the time in "Mein Kampf." He declared that it was the duty of the state to stop any misuse of this instrument of public opinion.

2. The idea of the equality of all people stood in contrast to the National Socialist principle of the creative power of personality. The responsibility of the individual replaced the irresponsibility of the masses. The accomplishment principle replaced all other principles for evaluating people. We could therefore have no doubt that the principle of accomplishment also applied to the press, that it was the foundation of a press that served the people. It can be controlled only by people who have the necessary prerequisites of character and will for these important tasks.

As in very area of life, here too competition is important to the full development of abilities. Accomplishment and creativity are therefore the marks of the press in a National Socialist state. All governmental measures concerning the press must serve these principles.

This rules out monopoly control of the press by any single hand. Despite all predictions to the contrary, it is also clear that private ownership of the press, as long as it is consistent with National Socialist views, has been maintained. This is compelling proof for our faithfulness to our party program and the depth of our adherence to the correctness of its principles, since otherwise it would have been easy for us to establish a party-owned press monopoly. That certainly would have been pleasanter for the party press itself. But the party did not choose the comfortable way. In the past three and a half years its own press too has been subordinate to these principles. The party press faced competition and had to improve. It has gained its position as the politically leading press by its own efforts.

3. The affirmation of the creative power of personality and accomplishment in the press proves the falsity of our opponents' claims about National Socialism plans and ideas. Supposedly the press would lose all lose all independence by state ownership and control of its content.

To the contrary, we have created the foundations for a truly independent press!

In the past, the so-called freedom of the press did not mean the press served the people, only that it was independent of the state. It was, however, left under the control of other powers and influences. The freedom of the press can only be secured when it is free from every kind of dependence. The first prerequisite is that only worthy and appropriate people are able to work in the press. The press must also have a sound economic foundation that removes any possibility of influencing it by financial means. Our principle of guaranteeing that the press is formed by the creative power of personality assures the freedom of its contents from outside influences, for such personalities would not work in the press if their abilities were restricted. We also know that a press that is the people's best comrade in their daily struggles can develop only from the work of the newspaper itself. A relationship between reader and the newspaper requires a precise knowledge of the needs of the readership. Also, we have not interfered with, and will not interfere in the future, with the mature variety of the German press, unique in all the world. Such variety would be destroyed by central control of its contents. Of course, the way in which the important questions of a nation are discussed in public does require that the state protect the people from harm. A state that fails in its duty to protect the people from such damaging press activity has lost its right to exist, for the people, not the press is the measure of all things!