A better world coming

The referenced radio talk, which was recorded in June 1942, demonstrates not only to the way Ross capitalizes on his military experiences in the First World War and his globetrotting career, but also on his will to serve Nazi war propaganda.

Recorded directly after Ross’s return from Africa, the sophisticatedly structured talk was produced by the most effective Nazi propaganda organ, the Reichs-Rundfunk-Gesellschaft.1 Ross, in his usual manner, provides a global perspective sprinkled with historical and anecdotal reminiscences. He contrasts the lack of mobility and accessibility to remote places during the First World War with the current, high-tech war that has “permeated” everything. He remembers how Germany was excluded from global mobility directly after the Great War.2 He also recalls his journey to Canada, after Hitler came to power, on a ship that carried the Swastika flag when safe travel was uncertain, what with anti-Nazi agitation in English-speaking countries. But the current war shows that these backlashes could not hinder Germany from developing its military technologies and enable it to conquer the world.

As an anecdote, Ross mentions his encounter on the Atlantic coast with an American general who was convinced that US harbors could never be occupied by foreign forces. The ocean’s shore is raised to a symbolic level when Ross explains that it has always been an element of American identity (and not only a winter spa). But the case of Pearl Harbor, believed to be  unconquerable, demonstrated the blindness of America’s military strategists and the vulnerability of the country. In this analysis, Ross also points to the advances of pro-Nazi Japan and the fate of Great Britain in the Far East.

Ross concludes by using one of his favorite phrases (“nothing is certain, everything is possible”),3 and assures listeners that a new world certainly will come. In building a better world Germany and its allies will rank first.

Katalin Teller

Der Schriftsteller Colin Ross berichtet über seine Reisen zu verschiedenen Kriegsschauplätzen. 1942 Jun 2. Produced by Reichs-Rundfunk-Gesellschaft. Deutsches Rundfunkarchiv 2580018/K000689143.

Topic: The Great War
Case: Speaking engagements


1 On the policies and profiles of Nazi radio see Horst Pöttker. Journalismus unter Goebbels. Über die Kraft der Radioreportage. In: Zeitschrift für Literaturwissenschaft und Linguistik; 1998; 111 (28); 57-76, http://www.digizeitschriften.de/dms/img/?PID=PPN668632747_0028|LOG_0057&physid=PHYS_0420#navi [accessed Feb 28, 2017]. The radio talk, as the comment in the ARD database suggests, might have not been broadcast because of its poor quality. Its title (The writer Colin Ross reports on his journeys to various war theaters) absolutely fitted propaganda purposes, but was definitely misleading, because Ross had traveled only in Africa during the war. But precisely this trip was not addressed in his talk, because of his disappointment in the lack of Nazi sympathies there; see Bodo-Michael Baumunk. Colin Ross. Ein deutscher Revolutionär und Reisender 1885-1945. Rev. edn. Berlin; 2015 [1999]; 120-121. See Library. The other two recordings of Ross available at ARD archives from 1936 and 1937 were aired. See Library.

2 See the same argument in Colin Ross. Auf deutschem Boden um die Erde: Erinnerungen eines Weltreisenden. 1. Aufl. Köln: Hermann Schaffstein Verlag; 1934; 3.

3 See for instance Anonymous. “Nichts steht fest, alles ist möglich”. Gespräch mit Colin Ross über USA. Bukarester Tageblatt: 1936 Feb 7;  X (2653); 1–2. See Library.

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