Original German WWII Braun Volksempfänger VE301W Radio
Original Item: Only One Available. The Volksempfänger (German: [ˈfɔlks.ɛmˌpfɛŋɐ], "people's receiver") was a range of radio receivers developed by engineer Otto Griessing at the request of Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels.
The purpose of the Volksempfänger-program was to make radio reception technology affordable to the general public. Joseph Goebbels realized the great propaganda potential of this relatively new medium and thus considered widespread availability of receivers highly important.
The original Volksempfänger VE301 model was presented on August 18, 1933 at the 10. Große Deutsche Funkausstellung in Berlin. The VE301 was available at a readily affordable price of 76 German Reichsmark (equivalent to two weeks' average salary), and a cheaper 35 Reichsmark model (which was even sold on installment plan).
There is a famous 1936 Nazi propaganda poster, promoting the use of the Volksempfänger. The translated text reads, "All of Germany hears the Führer with the People's Receiver. See photos.
The Volksempfänger was designed to be produced as cheaply as possible, as a consequence they generally lacked shortwave bands and did not follow the practice, common at the time, of marking the approximate dial positions of major European stations on its tuning scale. Only German and Austrian stations were marked and cheaper models only listed arbitrary numbers. Sensitivity was limited to reduce production costs further, so long as the set could receive Deutschlandsender and the local Reichssender it was considered sensitive enough, although foreign stations could be received after dark with an external antenna, particularly as stations such as the BBC European service increased transmission power during the course of the war.
Listening to foreign stations became a criminal offense in Nazi Germany when the war began, while in some occupied territories, such as Poland, all radio listening by non-German citizens was outlawed (later in the war this prohibition was extended to a few other occupied countries coupled with mass seizures of radio sets). Penalties ranged from fines and confiscation of radios to, particularly later in the war, sentencing to a concentration camp or capital punishment. Nevertheless, such clandestine listening was widespread in many Nazi-occupied countries and (particularly later in the war) in Germany itself. The Germans also attempted radio jamming of some enemy stations with limited success.
Much has been said about the efficiency of the Volksempfänger as a propaganda tool. Most famously, Hitler's architect and Minister for Armaments and War Production, Albert Speer, said in his final speech at the Nuremberg trials:
Hitler's dictatorship differed in one fundamental point from all its predecessors in history. His was the first dictatorship, which made the complete use of all technical means for domination of its own country. Through technical devices like the radio and loudspeaker, 80 million people were deprived of independent thought. It was thereby possible to subject them to the will of one man.
However, despite Speer's claim, both Mussolini's Italy and Stalin's Russia had used radio as a tool to influence the masses long before Hitler's rise to power.
This excellent example appears to be complete and is wonderful condition. It even retains the original cord and plug, but we have not tested for fear of damaging it. The Bakelite case is in outstanding condition. The back panel of the radio is complete and totally legible. The vacuum tubes inside still show their shiny “getter flash” inside coating, indicating that the vacuum is still good. We however have no way of testing the tubes or radio for functionality. This is a rare chance to own an iconic piece of propaganda technology from Hitler’s Third Reich.
Dimensions: 15” x 6” x 11”
Weight: 12 lbs
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