Cox, F. Gardner, Jr.
Communist press in West Germany, pp. 5-7 PDF (1.8 MB)
the KPD "information sheets" were able to supply the party with a steady and appreciated income. The "in- formation sheets," which were made to look as much like political party newspapers as the regulations would allow, were then operating under conditions where paper was strictly rationed and subject to price control for the entire publishing industry. They were materially assisted by shipments of precious paper from outside Communist sources. The regulations which hindered publication of political party newspapers were ended in the late summer of 1949. The KPD 'information sheets" developed into tabloid-sized newspapers. As quickly as possible their frequency of publication was increased from once a week to three times weekly, and then, in many cases, to daily. With newsprint no longer rationed, there was less advantage to be gained in receiving paper ship- ments from the Soviet Zone. Also printing costs were higher than before currency reform, and the KPD was losing political ground rapidly. Popular support for the KPD had melted away since the peak days of 1946-1948, and paying customers for the party's publications generally melted away with it. Dur- ing the past year Soviet actions and the party line itself in West Germany have shown many Germans that Com- munism and the best interests of Germany had nothing in common. Today, party printing presses, originally purchased in Western Germany from party funds or shipped in from the Soviet Zone, are operating at a severe loss. KPD headquarters has ordered that strenuous efforts be made to cut coists, boost circulation and increase advertising in order to lessen or eliminate the heavydeficits. At the same time the KPD looks eastward to its source of ultimate support for material help. B ECAUSE COST FACTORS, circulation methods, aid- vertising departments and outside support of KPD newspapers are wholly unlike those of other papers, it is most profitable to examine them as keys to the KPD's system of operations. Salaries of responsible editors are partial or non- existent, since leading party functionaries have editorial responsibilities in addition to their other 'duties. Re- porters and others on the staffs also have dual functions, such as making available classified reports to KPD head- quarters, for transmission via Berlin to upper Communist echelons outside the Federal Republic. By utilizing every paid, and unpaid, party worker in every capacity he can fill, the KPD can hardly expect to reduce over-all costs beyond the bare minimum it has already reached. In recent months, seeking contributions for press facilities, the party has even called for and hailed con- tributions which were made by returned prisoners of war from money they received after their belated return from captivity in the USSR. This would indicate that the barrel is being vigorously scraped for contributions from party members and sympathizers. INFORMATION BULLETIN KFD newspapers are continually pressing for increased circulation. Canvassers are unpaid. Party members or sympathizers are expected to solicit on the job and on their own time. As support for the KPD has melted away, there have also been continuing circulation drives to keep old subscribers from canceling or changing over to one of the 'bourgeois" newspapers. Party members in good standing are required to subscribe as a matter of course. The impression that KPD members collectively own their newspaper is probably fairly general since most of them have been paying out subscription money for it, campaigning for it, and seeking new subscribers for it since days when it was an "information sheet." IN THE ADVERTISING department, bona fide party mem- bers are the solicitors. The work calls for specialized talents. Advertising solicitors must convince representa- tives of shops and firms that it is profitable in. business or in other ways to contribute to the KPD. The current drive for increased advertising is an integral part of the Communist campaign of threats which is being waged overtly and covertly in Western Germany. Those who advertise in KPD newspapers roughly break down into five categories. First and most numerous are those who want to ex- ploit the market represented by the KPD membership. In view of the current internal propaganda against "ob- jectivism" (which includes the sin of reading any news- paper not following the Communist line) these ad- vertisers are partially correct in assuming they cannot reach KPD readers through any other medium. Secondly, there are, of course, advertisements placed by men who are themselves party members or followers; and thirdly, some are placed by firms which feel the expenditure may assist their efforts to sell in the East. Fourth, there lis the contributor who allegedly is motivated by the desire to have factory equipment stay in good working order, and avoid the possibility of entirely unexpected machinery "failures." Such in- centives appear to have been particularly persuasive in areas where the KPD is strongest within the factory groups or within the company's labor force in general. The fifth type of advertiser !is the reputable firm which has given in to a combination of cajoling and long-range threats by 'solicitors." They are told they should play it safe in case. Communist aggression from the East should conquer Germany and elevate the KPD to power. Such firms report that KPD "solicitors" make heavy-handed references to the possibility of a Soviet- inspired move into Germany, even while soliciting ad- vertisements for a newspaper which for months has been piously avowing its desire for peace and the out- lawing of the atom bomb (but not the outlawing of naked aggression). The central party organ, Freies Volk, recently came out with a special supplement prominent- ly featuring advertisements by most of the important Ruhr steel and coal companies. SEPTEMBER 1950 6
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