The Federal Office of Information between the Nazi Legacy and Democratic Self-Marketing
The Federal Office of Information (Bundespresseamt, BPA) was founded in October 1949 as part of the Federal Chancellery and became a supreme Federal authority in 1958. Its task is to provide information to the government and to communicate the government’s actions and policies to the population. Thus, the Office of Information operates in the field of propaganda, which was doubtlessly for a time tainted by the National Socialists. The project focuses on continuities in the staff and in practices of public communication. The core question is whether the Federal Office practised a kind of information policy similar to that of Nazi propaganda or whether it acted as a democratic institution in a post-war media society, which was liberalised under the influence of its the Western Allies. Case studies will address the negotiations on financial compensation for Israel (1952), the Eichmann Trial, the Spiegel Affair of 1962 and the hostage crisis of the Munich Olympics (1972). In this context, the project will also investigate the visual policy of the Federal Government as implemented by the Photo Department of the BPA (Bundesbildstelle).
The project is part of the larger project on 'The Chancellery. German Federal Democracy and the Nazi Past’.
Dr. Eszter Kiss
Leibniz Centre for Contemporary History
Am Neuen Markt 1
Office: Am Neuen Markt 1, room 2.29
Email: kiss [at] zzf-pdm.de