“History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”
— Mark Twain

Nazi Propaganda in Shanghai – The XXth Century Magazine

Posted: November 4th, 2015 | 3 Comments »

In my last post on Shanghai’s Book Mart bookstore, patronised almost exclusively by Nazis and Nazi-sympathisers during the 1940s, I promised more information on one particular regular visitor, Dr Klaus Menhert who was perhaps the most able of the Nazi propagandists working in the city during World War Two….and so here’s some more on this particular Nazi as promised.

In July 1941 the Nazi Embassy in Tokyo ordered Dr Klaus Menhert to Shanghai. He had been living in Honolulu. His job was to start a “slick” monthly propaganda magazine for the Nazis, in English, published in Shanghai. The idea was to disseminate Nazi “aims, interests and ideologies to the foreign population of Shanghai”. The magazine was funded directly from the Propaganda Section of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in Berlin and Menhert was paid a salary of 5,000 Reichmarks a month to do the job. Menhert created The XXth Century magazine. The first issue was published in October 1941 and the last in June 1945 (for obvious reasons). Articles were mostly from the DNB and Trans-Ocean German news agencies though notorious collaborators with the German in Shanghai, such as the American Herbert Moy, also contributed. Some vulnerable refugees and stateless residents of Shanghai were forced to contribute to keep their freedom, most notably the stateless White Russian cartoonist Sapajou. The magazine, though slickly produced, was priced artificially low (CRB 3) on the newsstands to generate sales. There was also a Japanese edition (priced at 1 Yen), printed in Shanghai, which accounted for about 50% of the magazines average monthly circulation of 3,500 copies. Interestingly the magazine rarely played up the Japanese war effort or Chinese collaborator Wang Ching-wei’s government (despite it being recognised as the official government of China by Nazi Germany).  Sadly I only have a few pages of the publication on very small res – below. German firms in Shanghai – such as Bosch and Siemens as you can see below – all advertised. I can tell you the offices of The XXth Century were, interestingly, listed as “34 Ta Shanghai Lu – Tel: 16180”. Ta Shanghai Lu was the name briefly attached to what had been Avenue Joffre in the French Concession and was to later be renamed Huai-Hai Road.

Any more information, particularly any scans of the publication gratefully accepted….

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3 Comments on “Nazi Propaganda in Shanghai – The XXth Century Magazine”

  1. 1 Lyndon B said at 3:15 pm on December 23rd, 2015:

    I think you can download all off them here:

    http://evols.library.manoa.hawaii.edu/handle/10524/31941

  2. 2 ANNIE nicol said at 10:03 pm on August 31st, 2017:

    My uncle Klaus Mehnert , was not a Nazi sympathizer. He was faced with a difficult choice to protect his family and find another way to extricate himself and has American wife from the brutalities of the Nazi regime. He chose to move to China to protect his wife and create distance from Germany. He walked a fine line in difficult times to maintain protection. His wife, Enid , was adamant regarding the ugliness of oppression of the Jews or any other minority’s that suffered from target under the Nazi regime. My mother has passed several years ago and it is only now that I am going through her legacy which includes her corespondence with her sister Enid.
    I fondly remember my uncle Klaus as a man who took deep interest in the value of human kind always asked me as as young woman what I thought. As a strong advocate for equality and peace between people I know that this man was part of my direction. So please avoid the labels it is offensive.

  3. 3 Paul French said at 10:56 pm on August 31st, 2017:

    Which label and which detail is it you object to or disagree with exactly? Have you ever actually read XXth Century magazine?


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