Critical Communication History| What Makes “Free” Radio? U.S. Media Policy Discussions in Post-War Germany 1945–1947
Based on archival material, this article documents the debate within the U.S. Military Government (OMGUS) in post-WWII Germany about what institutional setup would ensure “free” German broadcast media. This discussion was tied to debates in the United States and reflected changing domestic and international conditions. From May 1945 until late 1947, U.S. media policies in Germany were in flux. Issues of media ownership, control, and advertising provoked considerable debate, and reasoning shifted regarding what constituted “free” media and, more broadly, democracy. This article’s main concern, therefore, is not whether German broadcast media were truly free, but how OMGUS defined the concept of “free” and justified policy decisions accordingly.