Giselher Wirsing

Giselher Wirsing (born Max Emanuel Wirsing; April 15, 1907 – September 23, 1975) was a right-wing German journalist, author, and foreign policy expert who was active during Nazi Germany and the Bonn republic. He was a member of the Nazi party and contributed heavily to the creation and propagation of Nazi propaganda outside Germany.


Early life and studies

Max Emanuel Wirsing was the son of wealthy parents Friedrich and Pauline Wirsing. He had one sibling, an older sister. He studied at various universities, including the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, the University of Konigsberg, the University of Latvia, the Humboldt University of Berlin, and the University of Vienna. During this period, he changed his name to Giselher, and was involved with the student association German Guild.

Beginning in 1928, Wirsing travelled through Central and Eastern Europe. He wrote about his travels in conservative magazine Die Tat. He became friends with brothers Gregor and Otto Strasser, two early members of the Nazi Party and began to associate with others in Nazi circles. He also travelled to the United States in 1930 as an associate of the Abraham Lincoln Foundation, a secret subsidiary of the Rockefeller Foundation.

He eventually completed his studies in economics at the University of Heidelberg in 1929, then obtained his doctorate in political science in 1931.

Nazi associations

In 1932, he published his first book Zwischeneuropa und die deutsche Zukunft ("Inter-Europe and the German future"), followed by Deutschland in der Weltpolitik ("Germany in World Politics") in 1933. He continued to write for Die Tat in association with other right-wing figures such as Hans Zehrer, Ferdinand Zimmermann, and Ernst Wilhelm Eschmann. He was made editor of Die Tat in 1933. In October 1933, at the suggestion of Heinrich Himmler, he was appointed Head of Policy at the Münchner Neueste Nachrichten ("Munich's Latest News").

Also in 1934, Wirsing became an Anwärter, or candidate, for the Schutzstaffel (SS), and began working as an informant for the Nazi intelligence agency Sicherheitsdienst (SD).

On November 1, 1938, Wirsing was promoted to the rank of Hauptsturmführer of the SS (equivalent to captain), and was made chief editor of the Münchner Neuesten Nachrichten in addition to his continuing work as editor of Die Tat (which began publishing as Das XX in 1939). He travelled to the United States in 1938. He also worked as a consultant for the cultural policy department of the Federal Foreign Office, for which he wrote anti-Bolshevik language regulations until the end of World War II.

Nazi party involvement and propaganda

Wirsing formally joined the Nazi Party in 1940. Wirsing gave a lecture at the Frankfurt opening of the Alfred Rosenberg-led Institute for Study of the Jewish Question on March 27, 1941.

He published his view of the government and culture of the United States in his 1942 book Der maßlose Kontinent (The Excessive Continent). The book contrasted the American system, which he believed was manipulated by Jewish influence, with a proposed "new world order" in the form of a German-dominated European hegemony. The book was favored by Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels, who discussed the book in his diary that year.

In 1943 Wirsing became editor of Nazi propaganda magazine Signal, later becoming its editor-in-chief in 1945. Until 1944, Wirsing wrote for the Deutsche Informationsstelle ("German Office of Information") in Berlin. The Deutsche Informationsstelle was an SS propaganda institute specializing in translations of propaganda into various European languages.

He occasionally published under the pen name Vindex, as with the 1944 French-language propaganda booklet Stalinisme: la politique sovietique pendant la deuxieme guerre mondiale ("Stalinism: Soviet politics during the Second World War"). This booklet argued that Soviet imperialism posed an immediate threat to the nations of Europe. A Swedish-language edition was also published, titled Stalinismen. Sovjetpolitiken under det andra världskriget. During the summer of 1944, the German Information Office in Stockholm distributed 7,700 copies of this booklet.

Egmont reports

By September 1944, it had become clear to some Nazi officials that both political and military defeat were impending. General Walter Schellenberg commissioned Wirsing to begin preparing reports considering potential outcomes of such a defeat, based on various sources including SD information provided to Office VI of the Reich Security Main Office. In order to preserve his anonymity and allow for purportedly-accurate reporting, the reports were signed with the name Egmont and became known as the Egmont reports. Between October 1944 and March 1945, twelve or thirteen Egmont reports were written.

Post-war Germany

Wirsing was taken prisoner in June 1945 and soon began to work as a source of information for the United States Secret Service. He undertook a study trip on its behalf through Allied-occupied Germany in 1946, although officially he remained interned. In the internment camp, he advocated making the occupied zone into the forty-ninth American state. He was interrogated by German-American lawyer Robert Kempner in December 1947.

In 1948, during the denazification process, Wirsing was classified as a Mitläufer ("follower"); in other words, a person sufficiently involved with the Nazi party that they could not simply be dismissed as uninvolved, but not so involved as to be charged with any of the war crimes of the Nazi regime. Such persons were typically fined – Wirsing was fined 2000 Reichsmarks, which was reduced to 500 on appeal.

Later that year, Wirsing co-founded conservative Evangelical Christian weekly Christ und Welt , which was an official journal of the Evangelical Church in Germany from 1949, as well as the highest-circulation weekly newspaper in the German Federal Republic until 1963. He became its editor-in-chief in 1954; despite protests from the Social Democratic Party of Germany, including politicians Herbert Wehner and Willy Brandt, he held that position until 1970.

In 1967, German magazine Der Spiegel reported that Wirsing had demanded the "violent elimination of the Jewish element" in the fourth edition of Der maßlose Kontinent, printed in 1943, which they argued had contributed to the "expediency of Auschwitz" and therefore implicating Wirsing in Nazi war crimes. Wirsing threatened Der Spiegel with legal action.

On April 16, 1959, Wirsing published an article in Christ und Welt which described a man he felt was "a second Albert Schweitzer" working in a remote area of Ghana, in West Africa. The man he was describing was actually the Nazi doctor and SS officer Horst Schumann, then a fugitive; he was extradited to Germany in 1966 to be prosecuted for Nazi war crimes.

Personal life

Giselher Wirsing was married twice. His first wife was Ellen Rösler, with whom he had two daughters, including journalist Sibylle Wirsing. His second wife was publicist Gisela Bonn. Bonn and Wirsing wrote several books together.


As author

As editor

Further reading


  1. ^ a b Wistrich, Robert S. (2013-07-04). Who's Who in Nazi Germany. Routledge. pp. 277–278. ISBN 978-1-136-41381-0.
  2. ^ Haar, Ingo (2002). Historiker im Nationalsozialismus. Deutsche Geschichtswissenschaft und der "Volkstumkampf" im Osten (2nd ed.). Göttingen: Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht. p. 80. ISBN 3-525-35942-X.
  3. ^ Printed in: Welt-Kampf. Organ des Instituts, Hoheneichen-Verlag, Nr. 1–2, April–September 1941, S. 22–29.
  4. ^ Janich Oliver: Die Vereinigten Staaten von Europa. (
  5. ^ Blindow, Felix (2015-02-06). Carl Schmitts Reichsordnung: Strategie für einen europäischen Großraum (in German). Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co KG. ISBN 978-3-05-007697-3.
  6. ^ Taube, Mortimer (1944). "The Publishing Activities of the Deutsche Informationsstelle". Quarterly Journal of Current Acquisitions. 2 (1): 86–90. ISSN 0090-0095. JSTOR 29780363.
  7. ^ Martens, Ludo. On certain aspects of the struggle against revisionism - For the unity of all communists, in defence of proletarian internationalism - "PALLAS OPAC recherche sur le web". Archived from the original on 2004-08-20. Retrieved 2008-05-08.
  8. ^ Statens Offentliga Utredningar 1946:86. Den tyska propagandan i Sverige under krigsåren 1939-1945. Stockholm: Socialdepartementet, 1946. p. 246
  9. ^ a b Paehler, Katrin (2017-03-24). The Third Reich's Intelligence Services. Cambridge University Press. pp. 263–265. ISBN 978-1-107-15719-4.
  10. ^ Johannes Schmitz, Norbert Frei (1989), Journalismus im Dritten Reich (in German), München: Beck, p. 179, ISBN 3-406-33131-9
  11. ^ Klaus Harpprecht: Im Kanzleramt. Tagebuch der Jahre mit Willy Brandt. Rowohlt, Reinbek 2000, ISBN 3-498-02956-8, S. 504 (dort auch das Wort vom Trommelfeuer).
  12. ^ "Der SPIEGEL berichtete …", Der Spiegel, 8 May 1967, no. 20, 1967
  13. ^ Kater, Michael H. (2019-04-02). Culture in Nazi Germany. Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-21141-2.
  14. ^ Mit den Kapiteln Führertum: Hitler, Mussolini u. a.; Militär und Staat (u. a. Sadao Araki, Chiang Kaishek, Ibn Saud); Demokratie und Politik: Roosevelt, Edvard Beneš, André Tardieu u. a.; Überstaatliche Hochfinanz (J. P. Morgan); Diplomatie (u. a. Maxim Maximowitsch Litwinow, William Tyrrell, 1. Baron Tyrrell, Nicolae Titulescu)
  15. ^ Häufige Auflagen. Auch in Englisch publiziert. Auf 10 Seiten drückt Wirsing seine Verehrung für Mohammed Amin al-Husseini aus; engl. Fass. S. 141–151.
  16. ^ weitere Beiträger: Theodor Eschenburg; Wolfgang Förster; Erich W. Streissler; Theodor Mulder; Friedrich Wilhelm Christians ; W. Herion; Heinz Markmann; Disk.-Beiträge: Arnold Gehlen; Hanns-Martin Schleyer u. a. Mit diesen Ko-Autoren konnte W. hoffen, wieder anerkannt und als NS-Spitzen-Propagandist vergessen zu sein
  17. ^ Seit April 1939. Beiträge GW belegt: 3. Jahrgang, Heft 2, Mai 1941, Titel: Der Auftakt der großen Entscheidung./ 1. Jg. 1939, H. 2. Schwerpunktheft: Arabien. Angriff gegen Europa. Das Erwachen Arabiens. Hier noch genannt: 31. Jahrgang der "Tat".- Die Zs. war Nachfolger von "Die Tat" und existierte bis 1944. Weitere Mitarb. waren z. B. Heinrich Anacker, Hans Bethge, Erwin Guido Kolbenheyer (alle 1939)
  18. ^ ausführlich zur englischsprachigen Ausgabe "XX. Century", und der damit zusammenhängenden geheimdienstlichen Tätigkeit von Wirsing und Mehnert in Ostasien siehe Lit. Astrid Freyeisen: Shanghai und die Politik des Dritten Reiches., online lesbar, S. 289ff. und öfters

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