Lord Haw-Haw
Lord Haw-Haw was the nickname
A nickname is "a usually familiar or humorous but sometimes pointed or cruel name given to a person or place, as a supposedly appropriate replacement for or addition to the proper name.", or a name similar in origin and pronunciation from the original name....

 of several announcers on the English-language
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position so as to benefit oneself or one's group....

 radio programme Germany Calling
Germany Calling
Germany Calling was a propaganda radio programme, broadcast by Nazi German radio to audiences in Great Britain and to the United States during World War II....

, broadcast
International broadcasting
International broadcasting is broadcasting that is deliberately aimed at a foreign, rather than a domestic, audience. It usually is broadcast by means of longwave, mediumwave, or shortwave radio, but in recent years has also used direct satellite broadcasting and the Internet as means of reaching...

 by Nazi
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

 German radio to audiences in Great Britain on the medium wave station Reichssender Hamburg
Nordwestdeutscher Rundfunk
Nordwestdeutscher Rundfunk was the organization responsible for public broadcasting in the German Länder of Hamburg, Lower Saxony, Schleswig-Holstein and North Rhine-Westphalia from 22 September 1945 until 31 December 1955. Until 1954, it was also responsible for broadcasting in West Berlin...

 and by shortwave
Shortwave radio refers to the upper MF and all of the HF portion of the radio spectrum, between 1,800–30,000 kHz. Shortwave radio received its name because the wavelengths in this band are shorter than 200 m which marked the original upper limit of the medium frequency band first used...

 to the United States. The programme started on 18 September 1939 and continued until 30 April 1945, when Hamburg
-History:The first historic name for the city was, according to Claudius Ptolemy's reports, Treva.But the city takes its modern name, Hamburg, from the first permanent building on the site, a castle whose construction was ordered by the Emperor Charlemagne in AD 808...

 was overrun by the British Army. This nickname, Lord Haw-Haw, generally refers to William Joyce
William Joyce
William Joyce , nicknamed Lord Haw-Haw, was an Irish-American fascist politician and Nazi propaganda broadcaster to the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He was hanged for treason by the British as a result of his wartime activities, even though he had renounced his British nationality...

, who was German radio's most prominent English-language
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 speaker and to whom it gradually came to be exclusively applied. However, it was also applied to other broadcasters, mostly in the early stages of the war.


Through such broadcasts, the Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda attempted to discourage and demoralize British, Canadian, Australian and American troops and the British population within radio listening range, to suppress the effectiveness of the Allied war effort through propaganda, and to motivate the Allies to agree to peace terms leaving the Nazi regime intact and in power. Among many techniques used, the Nazi broadcasts prominently reported on the shooting down of Allied aircraft and the sinking of Allied ships, presenting discouraging reports of high losses and casualties among Allied forces. Although the broadcasts were widely known to be Nazi propaganda, they frequently offered the only details available from behind enemy lines concerning the fate of friends and relatives who did not return from bombing raids over Germany. As a result, Allied troops and civilians frequently listened to Lord Haw-Haw's broadcasts in spite of the sometimes infuriating content and frequent inaccuracies and exaggerations, in the hopes of learning clues about the fate of Allied troops and air crews. Mass Observation interviews warned the Ministry of Information of this and as a result more attention was given to the official reports of British military casualties.

Origin of the name

The pseudonym
A pseudonym is a name that a person assumes for a particular purpose and that differs from his or her original orthonym...

ous radio critic Jonah Barrington
Jonah Barrington (journalist)
Jonah Barrington was the pseudonym of Cyril Carr Dalmaine the radio critic of the Daily Express, a British newspaper, during the Second World War....

 of the Daily Express
Daily Express
The Daily Express switched from broadsheet to tabloid in 1977 and was bought by the construction company Trafalgar House in the same year. Its publishing company, Beaverbrook Newspapers, was renamed Express Newspapers...

was the first to use the epithet to describe a German broadcaster, in an attempt to reduce his possible impact: "He speaks English of the haw-haw, dammit-get-out-of-my-way-variety". However, the history of the name is somewhat confused; it was actually applied to a number of different announcers. Even soon after Barrington coined the nickname, it was uncertain exactly which German broadcaster he was describing. Some British media and listeners just used "Lord Haw-Haw" as a generic term to describe all English-language German broadcasters, although other nicknames, like "Sinister Sam", were occasionally used by the BBC to distinguish between obviously different speakers. Poor reception may have contributed to some listeners' difficulties in distinguishing between broadcasters.

In reference to the nickname, American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 pro-Nazi broadcaster Fred W. Kaltenbach was given the moniker Lord Hee-Haw by the British media. The Lord Hee-Haw name, however, was used for a time by The Daily Telegraph
The Daily Telegraph
The Daily Telegraph is a daily morning broadsheet newspaper distributed throughout the United Kingdom and internationally. The newspaper was founded by Arthur B...

to refer to Lord Haw-Haw, generating some confusion between nicknames and broadcasters.

Announcers associated with the nickname

A number of announcers could have been Lord Haw-Haw:
  • Wolf Mittler
    Wolf Mittler
    Wolf Mittler was a German radio host and journalist, known as one of the persons associated with the nickname Lord Haw-Haw.He became internationally known as Lord Haw-Haw on the English language propaganda radio programme Germany Calling, broadcast by Nazi German radio to audiences in Great Britain...

     was a German journalist of Polish
    Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

     ancestry. Mittler spoke near-flawless English, which he had learned from his mother, who had been born of German parents in Ireland. His persona was described by some listeners as similar to the fictional aristocrat Bertie Wooster
    Bertie Wooster
    Bertram Wilberforce "Bertie" Wooster is a recurring fictional character in the Jeeves novels of British author P. G. Wodehouse. An English gentleman, one of the "idle rich" and a member of the Drones Club, he appears alongside his valet, Jeeves, whose genius manages to extricate Bertie or one of...

    . Reportedly finding political matters distasteful, he was relieved to be replaced by Norman Baillie-Stewart
    Norman Baillie-Stewart
    Norman Baillie-Stewart was a British army officer known as The Officer in the Tower when he was imprisoned in the Tower of London...

    , who stated that Mittler "sounded almost like a caricature of an Englishman". It has been speculated that it was Mittler's voice which Barrington described; if so it would make him the original Lord Haw-Haw. In 1943, Mittler was deemed suspect and arrested by the Gestapo
    The Gestapo was the official secret police of Nazi Germany. Beginning on 20 April 1934, it was under the administration of the SS leader Heinrich Himmler in his position as Chief of German Police...

    , but he managed to escape to Switzerland
    Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

    . After the war, he worked extensively for German radio and television.

  • Norman Baillie-Stewart
    Norman Baillie-Stewart
    Norman Baillie-Stewart was a British army officer known as The Officer in the Tower when he was imprisoned in the Tower of London...

     was a former officer of the Seaforth Highlanders
    Seaforth Highlanders
    The Seaforth Highlanders was a historic regiment of the British Army associated with large areas of the northern Highlands of Scotland. The Seaforth Highlanders have varied in size from two battalions to seventeen battalions during the Great War...

     who was cashiered for selling secrets to Nazi Germany. He worked as a broadcaster in Germany for a short time in 1939. He was jailed for five years by the British after the war. He later claimed he was the original Lord Haw-Haw. He did have an upper-class accent, but he finally decided it was probably Mittler whose voice Barrington had heard. Baillie-Stewart may have been the broadcaster the BBC referred to by the nickname "Sinister Sam".

  • Eduard Dietze, a Glasgow
    Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and third most populous in the United Kingdom. The city is situated on the River Clyde in the country's west central lowlands...

    -born broadcaster of a mixed German-British-Hungarian family background, is another possible, but less likely, candidate for the original Lord Haw-Haw. He was one of the English-speaking announcers with an "upper-crust accent" who were heard on German radio in the early days of the war.

  • James R. Clark was a young English broadcaster and a friend of William Joyce. Clark and his pro-Nazi mother, Mrs. Dorothy Eckersley, were both tried for treason after the war. Dorothy Eckersley was born Dorothy Stephen in 1893. She later married Edward Clark, a musician, and had a son, James Clark, who was born in 1923. She divorced her first husband and was married to Peter Eckersley, a senior figure working in the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). After ten years of marriage to Peter Eckersley, Dorothy's increasing interest in German National Socialism
    Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

     and Fascism
    Fascism is a radical authoritarian nationalist political ideology. Fascists seek to rejuvenate their nation based on commitment to the national community as an organic entity, in which individuals are bound together in national identity by suprapersonal connections of ancestry, culture, and blood...

     led her to move to Germany with her son, enrolling him (by then aged 17 years) in a German school. Following this move, "...Dorothy Eckersley came to play a key role in William Joyce's fate in Berlin..."

William Joyce

William Joyce replaced Mittler in 1939. Joyce was American-born and raised in Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

 and as a teenager he informed on the IRA
Irish Republican Army
The Irish Republican Army was an Irish republican revolutionary military organisation. It was descended from the Irish Volunteers, an organisation established on 25 November 1913 that staged the Easter Rising in April 1916...

 rebels to the British forces during the Anglo-Irish War. He was also a senior member of the British Union of Fascists
British Union of Fascists
The British Union was a political party in the United Kingdom formed in 1932 by Sir Oswald Mosley as the British Union of Fascists, in 1936 it changed its name to the British Union of Fascists and National Socialists and then in 1937 to simply the British Union...

 and fled England when tipped off about his planned internment on 26 August 1939. In February 1940, the BBC noted that the Lord Haw-Haw of the early war days (possibly Mittler) was now rarely heard on the air and had been replaced by a new spokesman. Joyce was the main German broadcaster in English for most of the war, and became a naturalised German citizen; he is usually regarded as Lord Haw-Haw, even though he was probably not the person to whom the term originally referred. He had a peculiar hybrid accent that was not of the conventional upper class variety. His distinctive pronunciation of "Jairmany calling, Jairmany calling", which could be described as a "nasal drawl", may have been the result of a fight as a schoolboy that left him with a broken nose.

Joyce, initially an anonymous broadcaster like the others, eventually revealed his real name to his listeners. The Germans actually capitalized on the fame of the Lord Haw-Haw nickname and came to announce him as "William Joyce, otherwise known as Lord Haw-Haw".

Later history and aftermath

After Joyce took over, Mittler was paired with the American-born announcer Mildred Gillars in the Axis Sally
Axis Sally
Axis Sally can refer to:*Mildred Gillars, German-American female radio personality during World War II, best known for her propaganda broadcasts for Nazi Germany...

 programme and also broadcast to ANZAC forces in North Africa
North Africa
North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

. Mittler survived the war and appeared on postwar German radio, and occasionally television
Television is a telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images that can be monochrome or colored, with accompanying sound...

, until his death. Baillie-Stewart was sentenced to five years' imprisonment. Joyce was captured by British forces in northern Germany just as the war ended, tried, and eventually hanged
Hanging is the lethal suspension of a person by a ligature. The Oxford English Dictionary states that hanging in this sense is "specifically to put to death by suspension by the neck", though it formerly also referred to crucifixion and death by impalement in which the body would remain...

 for treason
In law, treason is the crime that covers some of the more extreme acts against one's sovereign or nation. Historically, treason also covered the murder of specific social superiors, such as the murder of a husband by his wife. Treason against the king was known as high treason and treason against a...

 on 3 January 1946. Joyce's defence team, appointed by the court, argued that, as an American citizen and naturalised German, Joyce could not have been convicted of treason against the British Crown. However, the prosecution successfully argued that, on the basis of a technicality about having lied about his nationality to obtain a British passport and to vote, Joyce owed allegiance to the king.

The decision to hang him was made perhaps because of the fear his alleged omniscience
Omniscience omniscient point-of-view in writing) is the capacity to know everything infinitely, or at least everything that can be known about a character including thoughts, feelings, life and the universe, etc. In Latin, omnis means "all" and sciens means "knowing"...

 had inspired. As J. A. Cole has written, "the British public would not have been surprised if, in that Flensburg wood, Haw-Haw had carried in his pocket a secret weapon capable of annihilating an armoured brigade". This mood was reflected in the wartime film Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror
Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror
Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror is the third film in the Basil Rathbone/Nigel Bruce series of Sherlock Holmes movies. Made in 1942, the film combines elements of the Arthur Conan Doyle story "His Last Bow" and loosely parallels the real-life activities of Lord Haw-haw...

starring Basil Rathbone
Basil Rathbone
Sir Basil Rathbone, KBE, MC, Kt was an English actor. He rose to prominence in England as a Shakespearean stage actor and went on to appear in over 70 films, primarily costume dramas, swashbucklers, and, occasionally, horror films...

 and Nigel Bruce
Nigel Bruce
William Nigel Ernle Bruce , best known as Nigel Bruce, was a British character actor on stage and screen. He was best known for his portrayal of Doctor Watson in a series of films and in the radio series The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes...

, in which Joyce's broadcasts are shown to predict actual disasters and defeats, thus seriously undermining British morale.

Other contributors

Other British subjects willingly made propaganda broadcasts, including Raymond David Hughes
Raymond David Hughes
Raymond Davies Hughes , from Mold, north Wales, was a Welsh RAF airman who made propaganda broadcasts in Welsh for the Nazi Party during World War II.-Early life:...

, who broadcast on the German Radio Metropole, and John Amery
John Amery
John Amery was a British fascist who proposed to the Wehrmacht the formation of a British volunteer force and made recruitment efforts and propaganda broadcasts for Nazi Germany...

, while others, like P. G. Wodehouse
P. G. Wodehouse
Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse, KBE was an English humorist, whose body of work includes novels, short stories, plays, poems, song lyrics, and numerous pieces of journalism. He enjoyed enormous popular success during a career that lasted more than seventy years and his many writings continue to be...

, were tricked into doing so. An MI5 investigation published after Wodehouse's death found no evidence of treachery.

In popular culture

  • In the 1940s, actor Geoffrey Sumner
    Geoffrey Sumner
    Geoffrey Sumner was a British actor. As well as appearing in a number of films, he was also a commentator for British Movietone News.-Selected filmography:* Too Many Husbands * - narrator* Helter Skelter...

     played Lord Haw-Haw for laughs in a series of Pathé Gazette
    Pathé or Pathé Frères is the name of various French businesses founded and originally run by the Pathé Brothers of France.-History:...

     short subjects named "Nasti" News From Lord Haw-Haw.
  • The 1943 propaganda cartoon Tokio Jokio
    Tokio Jokio
    Tokio Jokio is a 1943 Looney Tunes short directed by Norman McCabe . It is a propaganda film made during World War II mocking Japan in the style of a supposed Japanese film journal broadcast...

    has a scene with an anthropomorphic donkey (wearing a suit and a monocle
    A monocle is a type of corrective lens used to correct or enhance the vision in only one eye. It consists of a circular lens, generally with a wire ring around the circumference that can be attached to a string. The other end of the string is then connected to the wearer's clothing to avoid losing...

     in one eye) reading a radio broadcast. The sign on his desk reads "Lord Hee Haw, Chief Wind-Bag".
  • In various scenes in the 1949 World War II film Twelve O'Clock High
    Twelve O'Clock High
    Twelve O'Clock High is a 1949 American war film about aircrews in the United States Army's Eighth Air Force who flew daylight bombing missions against Nazi Germany and occupied France during the early days of American involvement in World War II. The film was adapted by Sy Bartlett, Henry King ...

    , they have Lord Haw Haw broadcasts, playing to "General" Gregory Peck
    Gregory Peck
    Eldred Gregory Peck was an American actor.One of 20th Century Fox's most popular film stars from the 1940s to the 1960s, Peck continued to play important roles well into the 1980s. His notable performances include that of Atticus Finch in the 1962 film To Kill a Mockingbird, for which he won an...

     and his bomber group. It was a vocal recreation by Barry Jones
    Barry Jones (actor)
    Barry Jones was an actor seen in British and American films, on American television and on the stage.-Biography:...

     (uncredited) for the film.
  • The 1966 World War II film The Dirty Dozen
    The Dirty Dozen
    The Dirty Dozen is a 1967 film directed by Robert Aldrich and released by MGM. It was filmed in England and features an ensemble cast, including Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine, Charles Bronson, Jim Brown, John Cassavetes, Telly Savalas, and Robert Webber. The film is based on E. M...

    includes a propaganda broadcast by an English-accented person said to be Lord Haw-Haw.
  • Joyce's radio broadcasts and the relationship with his wife were dramatised in the 1983 stage play Double Cross, by Thomas Kilroy
    Thomas Kilroy
    Thomas F. Kilroy is an Irish playwright and novelist.He was born in Green Street, Callan, County Kilkenny and studied at University College, Dublin. In his early career he was play editor at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin...

    . Stephen Rea
    Stephen Rea
    Stephen Rea is an Irish film and stage actor. Rea has appeared in high profile films such as V for Vendetta, Michael Collins, Interview with the Vampire and Breakfast on Pluto...

     played the role of Joyce.

External links

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