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Information bulletin
(September 1950)

Cox, F. Gardner, Jr.
Communist press in West Germany,   pp. 5-7 PDF (1.8 MB)

Page 6

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
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.
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.

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