Lord Haw Haw: Wikis

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William Joyce who was "Lord Haw Haw" to British wartime listeners, now silenced and under arrest, lies in an ambulance under armed guard before being taken from British Second Army Headquarters to a hospital.

Lord Haw-Haw was the nickname of several announcers on the English language propaganda radio program Germany Calling, broadcast by Nazi German radio to audiences in Great Britain on the medium wave station Reichssender Hamburg and by shortwave to the United States. The program started on 18 September 1939 and continued until 30 April 1945, when Hamburg was overrun by the British Army. The nickname generally refers to William Joyce, who was German radio's most prominent English language speaker and to whom it gradually came to be exclusively applied.[1] 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.

Origin of the name

"Lord Haw-Haw" was originally the nickname of James Brudenell, 7th Earl of Cardigan, a 19th-century British general, and the man who led The Charge of the Light Brigade at the Battle of Balaclava. The pseudonymous radio critic Jonah Barrington of the Daily Express 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".[2][3] 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.[4]

In reference to the nickname, American pro-nazi broadcaster Fred W. Kaltenbach was given the monicker Lord Hee-Haw by the British media[5]. The name Lord Hee-Haw was, however, used for a time by The Daily Telegraph to refer to Lord Haw-Haw, generating some confusion between nicknames and broadcasters[6]

Announcers associated with the nickname

A number of announcers could have been Lord Haw-Haw:

  • Wolf Mittler was a German journalist of Polish descent. Mittler spoke a 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[7]. Reportedly finding political matters distasteful, he was relieved to be replaced by Norman Baillie-Stewart. The latter stated that Mittler "sounded almost like a caricature of an Englishman"[8]. It has been speculated that it was his voice Barrington described, which makes Mittler a possible candidate as the "original" Lord Haw-Haw[9]. In 1943, Mittler was deemed suspect and arrested by the Gestapo, but managed to escape to Switzerland[10]. After the war, he worked extensively for German radio and television[11].
  • Norman Baillie-Stewart was a former officer of the Seaforth Highlanders who was cashiered for selling secrets to Germany. He worked as a broadcaster for the Germans for a short time in 1939. He was jailed for five years by the British after the war. For a time he claimed that he was the original Lord Haw-Haw. He did have an upper-class accent, which supported his original claim; however, he later came around to the view that it was probably Mittler whose voice Barrington had heard. Baillie-Stewart may actually have been the broadcaster which the BBC referred to by the nickname "Sinister Sam", while the original "Lord Haw-Haw" may have been Mittler[12].
  • Eduard Dietze, a broadcaster of mixed German-British-Hungarian family background, who was born in Glasgow[13], is another possible, but less likely, candidate for the original Lord Haw-Haw.[4] He was probably, however, one the English-speaking announcers with "upper-crust accents" who were heard on German radios in the early days of the war[14].

William Joyce

William Joyce replaced Mittler in 1939. Joyce was American-born and raised in Ireland. Although a Catholic, as a teenager he informed on the IRA rebels to the British forces during the Anglo-Irish War. He was also formerly a senior member of the British Union of Fascists, 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.[15]

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"[16].

Later history and aftermath

After Joyce took over, Mittler was paired with the American-born announcer Mildred Gillars in the Axis Sally program and also broadcast to ANZAC forces in North Africa. Mittler survived the war and appeared on postwar German television. 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 for treason on 3 January 1946. Joyce's defence team, appointed to him 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 on the basis of a technicality that 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 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".


  • Other British subjects willingly made propaganda broadcasts, including Raymond David Hughes, who broadcast on the German Radio Metropole, and John Amery, while others, like P. G. Wodehouse, were tricked into doing so. An MI5 investigation published after Wodehouse's death found no evidence of treachery.[17]
  • In the 1940s, actor Geoffrey Sumner played Lord Haw-Haw for laughs in a series of Pathé Gazette short subjects named "Nasti" News From Lord Haw-Haw.
  • In the Looney Tunes propaganda cartoon Tokio Jokio (1943) Lord Haw-Haw is caricatured as a donkey called "Lord Hee-Haw" (possibly also a reference to Fred W. Kaltenbach).
  • In the 1949 film Twelve O'Clock High, the unseen Lord Haw-Haw's voice was provided by an uncredited Barry Jones.


  1. ^ Nazi Wireless Propaganda: Lord Haw-Haw and British Public Opinion in the Second World War, Edinburgh University Press, 2000, page 13
  2. ^ Freedman, Jean Rose (1998). Whistling in the Dark: Memory and Culture in Wartime London. University Press of Kentucky. pp. 43. ISBN 0813120764. 
  3. ^ Farndale, Nigel. Haw-Haw: The Tragedy of William and Margaret Joyce, 2005 (ISBN 0-333-98992-9)
  4. ^ a b Kenny, Mary Lord Haw-Haw
  5. ^ Goebbel’s Iowan: Frederick W. Kaltenbach and Nazi Short-Wave Radio Broadcasts to America, 1939-1945, Clayton D. Laurie, Annals of Iowa, 1994
  6. ^ Lord Haw-Haw & William Joyce: the full story, Faber & Faber, 1964‎, page 126
  7. ^ Germany calls again as Lord Haw-Haw goes online, The Irish times, february 4, 2010
  8. ^ Nazi Wireless Propaganda: Lord Haw-Haw and British Public Opinion in the Second World War, Edinburgh University Press, 2000, page 10
  9. ^ Nazi Wireless Propaganda: Lord Haw-Haw and British Public Opinion in the Second World War, Edinburgh University Press, 2000, page 13
  10. ^ Kultur as Bayern
  11. ^ Programm vom Dienstag, den 29. März 1960
  12. ^ Nazi Wireless Propaganda: Lord Haw-Haw and British Public Opinion in the Second World War, Edinburgh University Press, 2000, page 13
  13. ^ Nazi Wireless Propaganda: Lord Haw-Haw and British Public Opinion in the Second World War, Edinburgh University Press, 2000, page 7
  14. ^ Nazi Wireless Propaganda: Lord Haw-Haw and British Public Opinion in the Second World War, Edinburgh University Press, 2000, page 12
  15. ^ Wharam 1995, p. 166
  16. ^ Nazi Wireless Propaganda: Lord Haw-Haw and British Public Opinion in the Second World War, Edinburgh University Press, 2000, page 13
  17. ^ Iain Sproat, ‘Wodehouse, Sir Pelham Grenville (1881–1975)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Sept 2004; online edn, Oct 2007
  • Biggs, Stanley Champion (2008), As Luck Would Have It in War and Peace, Trafford Publishing 
  • Cole, J. A. (1965), Lord Haw-Haw & William Joyce: The Full Story 
  • Wharam, Alan (1995), Treason: Famous English Treason Trials, Alan Sutton Publishing, ISBN 0-7509-0091-9 

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to William Joyce article)

From Wikiquote

If war breaks out, I will fight for Hitler since such a war would be against Jewry.

William Brooke Joyce (24 April 1906 – 3 January 1946) was a propaganda broadcaster for Nazi Germany during World War II, best known by his British listeners as Lord Haw Haw. Controversially, he was executed for treason by the British as a result of his wartime activities.


  • As a young man of pure British descent, some of whose forefathers have held high position in the British army, I have always been desirous of devoting what little capability and energy I may possess to the country which I love so dearly.
    • Peter Martland, "Lord Haw Haw: The English voice of Nazi Germany" (The National Archives, 2003), p. 145. UK National Archives KV 2/245/301a.
    • Letter to the University of London Military Education Committee, 9 August 1922.
  • I don't regard Jews as a class. I regard them as a privileged misfortune.
    • Francis Selwyn, Hitler's Englishman (Penguin Books, 1987), p. 43
    • Speech at Chiswick, 1934
  • We know that England is crying for a leader, and that leader has emerged in the person of the greatest Englishman I have ever known, Sir Oswald Mosley ... When the history of Europe comes to be written I can assure you that his name will not be second to either Mussolini or Hitler.
    • Frederic Mullally, Fascism inside England (Claud Morris Books, 1946), p. 15
    • Speech at Brighton, March 1934
  • I would gladly say 'Heil Hitler!' and at once part company with him, realizing what a pitiable insult it is to such a great man to try to flatter him with such an imitation which he has always disdained. His way is for Germany, ours is for Britain; let us tread our paths with mutual respect, which is rarely increased by borrowing.
    • National Socialism Now, pamphlet issued by the National Socialist League c. 1938
  • If war breaks out, I will fight for Hitler since such a war would be against Jewry.
    • National Socialism Now
  • Germany calling! Germany Calling!
    • Catchphrase used to introduce or begin his talks on German radio.
  • The people of England will curse themselves for having preferred ruin from Churchill to peace from Hitler.
    • Broadcast, Radio Bremen, 2 August 1940
  • The preface is usually that part of a book which can most safely be omitted. It usually represents that efflorescent manifestation of egotism which an author, after working hard, cannot spare either himself or his readers. More often than not the readers spare themselves. When, however, the writer is a daily perpetrator of high treason, his introductory remarks may command from the English public that kind of awful veneration with which £5000 confessions are perused in the Sunday newspapers, quite frequently after the narrator has taken his last leap in the dark.
    • William Joyce, Twilight over England (Internationaler Verlag, Berlin, 1940), preface.
  • Apart from my absolute belief in National Socialism and my conviction of Hitler's superhuman heroism, I had always been attracted to Germany.
    • Twilight over England
  • To conclude this personal note, I, William Joyce, will merely say that I left England because I would not fight for Jewry against the Führer and National Socialism, and because I believe most ardently, as I do today, that victory and a perpetuation of the old system would be an incomparably greater evil for [England] than defeat coupled with a possibility of building something new, something really national, something truly socialist.
    • Peter Martland, "Lord Haw Haw: The English voice of Nazi Germany" (The National Archives, 2003), p. 173. UK National Archives KV 2/245/285.
    • Broadcast, 2 April 1941. In this broadcast Joyce for the first time identified himself, in response to an article in the London Evening Standard which claimed he ran a spy ring in Britain.
  • [Winston Churchill] is the servant, not of the British public, or of the British Empire, but of International Jewish Finance. This charge must be preferred against a man who has so signally violated British tradition in the course of this war.
    • Broadcast, Radio Cologne, 8 April 1943
  • Chuchill has renounced all British interests in Europe and those of his people who are not blind now realise that the pretext for this war was far removed from the cause of it, namely, the subservience of the so-called democratic politicians to their Jewish masters.
    • Broadcast, Radio Cologne, 30 August 1944
  • Bombardment by a new device of centres essential to the British war effort. The action was long delayed, but who can deny that the moment selected for it was chosen most appropriately from the military point of view? Germany has more secret weapons than one.
    • Broadcast, German European Service in English, 17 September 1944.
    • Refers to the first attack by the Vergeltungswaffe-1, or "reprisal weapon".
  • Britain's victories are barren; they leave her poor, and they leave her people hungry; they leave her bereft of the markets and the wealth that she possessed six years ago. But above all, they leave her with an immensely greater problem than she had then. We are nearing the end of one phase of Europe's history, but the next will be no happier. It will be grimmer, harder and perhaps bloodier. And now I ask you earnestly, can Britain survive? I am profoundly convinced that without German help she cannot.
    • J.W. Hall (ed.), "The Trial of William Joyce" (Notable British Trials series, William Hodge & Co, 1946), p. 302
    • Broadcast, 30 April 1945. This was Joyce's last broadcast of the war.
  • I say, Ich liebe Deutschland! Heil Hitler! and farewell.
    • End of Joyce's last broadcast.
  • On this tragic day, the death of Adolf Hitler was reported - Admiral Dönitz takes over as his nominated successor. Reach Flensburg about 8. Have to drink wine for breakfast — as nothing else is available.
    • Peter Martland, "Lord Haw Haw: The English voice of Nazi Germany" (The National Archives, 2003), p. 301. UK National Archives KV 2/250/2, p. 55.
    • Diary entry, 1 May 1945.
  • I know that I have been denounced as a traitor and I resent the accusation, as I conceive myself to have been guilty of no underhand or deceitful act against Britain, although I am also able to understand the resentment that my broadcasts have, in many quarters, aroused.
    • J.W. Hall (ed.), The Trial of William Joyce (Notable British Trials series, William Hodge & Co, 1946), p. 58
    • Statement given by Joyce under caution, 31 May 1945
  • I salute you, Freja, as your lover for ever. Sieg Heil! Sieg Heil! Sieg Heil!
    • Francis Selwyn, Hitler's Englishman op cit, p. 211
    • Last letter to his wife Margaret before he was hanged, 3 January 1946


  • Where is the Ark Royal?
    • Frequent conclusion to broadcasts in 1939-41, taunting the Royal Navy for not engaging the German Navy.

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