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Robert Henry Best: "Best's Berlin Broadcast"

Robert Henry Best
National Archives & Records Administration; Times of Munster, Indiana, USA

In the early 1920s, radio broadcasting offered governments a new way to shape public opinion and behavior. Radio Moscow in the Soviet Union began transmitting its programming internationally in 1929. By 1939, German broadcasts were reaching the European continent, the Middle East, North Africa, and the Western Hemisphere. During World War II, Nazi broadcasts from Berlin and other parts of German-occupied Europe expanded with programming in some two dozen languages.

Government officials quickly saw that audiences were more likely to respond positively to broadcasts from native speakers who had roots in that country. Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels tailored messages to foreign listeners in an effort to generate favorable impressions of Nazi Germany. These broadcasts did not aim to convert listeners into Nazis, but rather to challenge the messages presented by Allied governments.

A number of American men and women broadcast from Nazi Germany. Notorious among them was William Joyce, a New York-born British fascist who took on the nickname "Lord Haw-Haw."1 Most of these broadcasters had been relatively unknown in the United States before they took to the German airwaves. A few were experienced journalists who had been serving as foreign correspondents for American media outlets. One of these was Robert Henry Best, a South Carolinian who began reporting from Europe in the 1920s. 

In his transmissions from Berlin, Best attacked Communism, Jewish people, and the administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. He also denied that he was working for Nazi Germany. In a May 25, 1943 broadcast, Best attacked his critics: 

I have never shouted Nazi propaganda in any microphone anywhere. What I have broadcast and what I
shall continue to broadcast is every word native-born, dyed in the wool propaganda of an America, by an
American, and for America. I am an American born and an American bred and when I die I shall be an
American dead. Awake, America, Awake! Arise! Down with the Judocrats! Oust the Rabbis. BBB Best's
Berlin Broadcast. BBB Triple B. Carry On.2

In 1943, Best announced his candidacy for the American presidency in the 1944 elections. What motivated him is unclear, but certainly his hatred of President Roosevelt and so-called "international Jewry" were key factors. Responding to some of his critics in the United States, Best identified an extremely antisemitic pillar of his platform: "I...demand the head of one of America’s Jewish bankers for every American man or boy who is killed or even wounded in the course of the present war."3

Best's broadcasts—along with those of other pro-Nazi American radio commentators—did not go unnoticed in the United States. In 1943, the US Attorney General charged Best with giving assistance to the enemy. The Federal Bureau of Investigation worked with the Federal Communications Commission to collect evidence of his treason. Transcripts and recordings were made of his broadcasts—one of which is presented here—providing evidence when he was finally arrested and placed on trial. In March 1948, a court found him guilty and sentenced him to life imprisonment and a $10,000 fine. He died in December 1952 while serving out his sentence.

James C. Clark, "Robert Henry Best: The Path to Treason, 1921–1945," Jounalism and Mass Communication, vol. 67, no. 4: 1051–1061.

See transcript of shortwave broadcast by Robert H. Best, May 25, 1943, in National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), RG-65, Files of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Box 78, 100-Ha 103780, Sec. 2, Series 71-150.

See Best's broadcast of May 20, 1943 in NARA, RG-65, Files of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Box 78, 100-Ha 103780, Sec. 2, Series 71-150.

Best refers to Samuel Rosenman, a senior advisor to President Roosevelt. The name is mispelled in the FBI's transcription.

A religious text describing Jewish ceremonial and civil law. Thousands of pages in length, the Talmud is considered to be a definitive corpus of rabbinical writing and teachings stretching over centuries. It is a critical text for study in many forms of Judaism.

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[partial transcript of Best's April 8, 1943 broadcast]

Mr. and Mrs. America and the oncoming generation of young Americans, the generation of Americans whom Roseman [sic]1 and Roosevelt are trying to train as murderers and as the accomplices of murderers.

Friends, fellow-Christocrats, fellow-crusaders for civilisation and fellow-Americans. As your self-appointed correspondent for Europe's New Order and for the progress of civilisation's crusade in a rejuvenated old world, my task is tell you facts and not to ask questions. And this fact I fully appreciate.

Tonight, however, I am forced to put a few questions to you—this for several reasons. I must put some questions to you, because I wish that you put them first to yourself, then to your friends and relatives and finally, to Franklin D. Roosevelt and to the men who are today so vilely misrepresenting you in Washington, both as Senators and as members of the House of Representatives. 

As questions number one for you and for you to pass on to them, as question number one, I repeat-- I should like to ask you whether or not the American flyers who bombed Paris and Antwerp last Sunday and Monday deliberately threw their bombs at the objects which they hit and destroyed or whether they merely hit by chance a Sunday holiday crowd on the Longchamps racetrack and on an athletic grounds where a field day was being held for the benefit of French war relief. In other words, did they deliberately throw their bombs thus or were they so badly trained that they cannot hit what they wish to hit? One or the other must be the case.

Also I should like to ask whether these unthinking men and boys of American mothers deliberately bombed several school buildings in Antwerp and killed in these buildings some 250 Belgian schoolchildren, 180 schoolgirls in one building aline, as well as a hostel in Paris, in which, by chance, that famous American woman philanthropist, Mrs. [inaudible] was lying ill, after so many years of sacrifice in behalf of the American veterans of the war of 1914-1915.

Furthermore, did these same men and boys deliberately bomb so many hundreds of homes of Belgians and French civilians out of a lust for murder, out of criminal carelessness or on the orders of some Jewish or Jewed-up Talmudian maniac in London and Washington?

And finally, were these bombs [inaudible] provail? And, if not, what are you doing to...  [inaudible] the [inaudible] to [inaudible] and to made sure that crimes are not committed again in your name?

Make no mistake on this issue, please. The men and boys who committed those dastardly deeds of murder and arson in Antwerp and Paris last Sunday and Monday did so officially in your name and in the name of every man, woman and child in the United States or American. They were flying in American-made machines and in machines which dared to flount our American flag, as they loosed their American-made bombs upon French and Belgian families. French and Belgian families who, on only a few months ago, were making all kinds of sacrifices at the behest of Paris government, which was still in the service of the present rulers of America and Britain. 

That a number of British men and machines also took part in these raids does not remove or even minimise one iota of the stain which the raiders have placed upon you and upon me, as American citizens, and upon Old Glory, as our national flag.

The instigators of such ruthless raids as those on Antwerp and Paris were, of course, those Talmudian2 terrorists who instigated the war as a whole. For the fact that they were carried out, however, the responsibility rests primarily on Franklin D. Roosevelt, as the Commander in Chief of all of America's armed forces, and on the General whom he has appointed to carry out the detailed phases of Judah's war against civilisation and against humanity.

But if you yourself, if you do not protest them, then the responsibility is yours as well. What goal Samuel Rosenman and Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill hope or expect to achieve through such Talmudian terrorism is beyond my powers of comprehension. This I must confess, frankly, and bluntly. And this I do confess without any feeling of shame-- nay, even with a feeling of pride, because it is impossible for me to stoop sufficiently to discover anything so low as the motives of the men who can devise such devilry.

Archival Information for This Item

Source (Credit)
National Archives & Records Administration
Times of Munster, Indiana, USA
Accession Number NARA, RG-65, Files of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Box 78, 100-Ha 103780, Sec. 2, Series 71-150.
Accession Number Photo: Times of Munster, Indiana, USA, April 11, 1948, 1.
Date Created
April 8, 1943
Duration 00:12:27
Robert Henry Best
Berlin, Germany
Reference Location
Washington, DC, USA
Sound Recording Type Radio Broadcast
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