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Propaganda In Nazi Germany Essay Research Paper

Propaganda In Nazi Germany Essay, Research Paper Propaganda in Nazi GermanyThe rise of fascist Germany has taught society that we must be aware of who controls the media, otherwise we are vulnerable to manipulation by today s propagandists. Propaganda is defined as the dissemination of ideas and information for the purpose of inducing or intensifying specific attitudes and actions.

Propaganda In Nazi Germany Essay, Research Paper

Propaganda in Nazi GermanyThe rise of fascist Germany has taught society that we must be aware of who controls the media, otherwise we are vulnerable to manipulation by today s propagandists. Propaganda is defined as the dissemination of ideas and information for the purpose of inducing or intensifying specific attitudes and actions. Although propaganda was not new a new phenomena founded in Nazi Germany, never before had it influenced public opinion to the extent that it did. By communicating ideas that played on the public s emotions, the Nazis justified their military aggressions, the arresting of their political rivals and their systematic extermination of six million Jews. The Nazis were able to involve themselves in virtually every aspect of the German people s lives through propaganda. The creation of a new ministry intended to promote public enlightenment demonstrates the importance of propaganda to the success of the German National Socialist Party. At the head of this newly created mini!!stry was Joseph Goebbels. Together, Goebbels and Hitler were tremendously effective in their persuasion of the German people. They mobilized the masses, stimulated the German economy during the Great Depression and harnessed the might of German industry and her people in order to create a formidable war machine that nearly conquered all of Europe. Mein Kampf, considered to be the bible of the Nazi party, outlined the importance Adolf Hitler placed on propaganda. In his book, Hitler explained that German troops were ill-prepared for the enemy during the First World War as he wrote,In Germany the school, the press, and comic magazines cultivateda conception of the Englishman s character, and almost more so of hisempire, which inevitably led to one of the most insidious delusions; forgradually everyone was infected by this nonsense, and the consequencewas an underestimation for which we would have to pay most bitterly.Furthermore, he adds that the German soldiers were misinformed as he wrote,After the very first days of battle the conviction dawned on each andevery one of them that these Scotsmen did not exactly jibe with thepictures they had seen fit to give us in the comic magazines and pressdispatches. It was then that I began my first reflections about theimportance of the form of propaganda.Hitler would apply the lessons he learned from Germany s defeat in the First World War to his wartime propaganda campaign in the Second World War. He used alleged evidence of persecution concerning German minorities in the victim country, believing that the German people needed to be educated about the enemy by drawing on the public s emotions.The key to the rise of the German National Socialist s Party, was controlling the tide of public opinion. When Hitler became Chancellor of the Republic, there were over 4,073 newspapers in Germany. The Nazis ran only a small portion of the very diverse press. At the beginning of 1933 they had 121 dailies and periodicals, most of them with low circulation. By the end of 1934 however, the situation had drastically changed in that they now controlled 430 newspapers directly and indirectly. Hitler preached the importance and effectiveness of slogans, by bombarding the public through as many channels of the media as they could as he wrote,It is a mistake to make propaganda many-sided, like scientificinstruction, for instance. The receptivity of the great masses isvery limited, their intelligence is small, but their power of forgettingis enormous. In consequence of the facts, all effective propagandamust be limited to a very few points and must harp on these in slogansuntil the last member of the public understands what you want him tounderstand by your slogan.Propaganda is essentially the art of manipulating public opinion as Hitler wrote, “The art of propaganda lies in understanding the emotional ideas of the great masses and finding, through a psychologically correct form, the way to the attention and thence to the heart of the broad masses.” Joseph Goebbels brilliance accounts for much of Hitler s success. Goebbels, the founder and editor of the official National Socialist periodical Der Angriff (The Attack) became Reichminister for propaganda and national enlightenment in 1933. One historian, George Reuth wrote that,Officially the new ministry was intended to promote enlightenmentand propaganda among the populace as to the policies of the Reichgovernment and the national reconstruction of the German fatherland. The actual purpose was to set in motion a mental mobilization of themasses, to work on them until the people could no longer resist them. The department s assignment, “was to make sure that the press not only informed but also instructed The press had to be a piano, so to speak, in the hands of the government on which the government could play.” This crucial process of bringing the media into line was called Gleichschaltung. An Editor Statute was created that gave newspaper editors responsibilities that had previously rested only with publishers. Now both were subject to direct intervention by the state. The sanctions Goebbels had at his disposal included: removing an editor from the list of those in the profession, issuing a warning, or even sentencing a paper s editor to a concentration camp. In order to communicate to the entire population, Goebbels had the network of stations expanded, ordered Reich loudspeaker columns to be erected on streets and squares, and pushed the production of an inexpensive Volk wireless radio. Reuth wrote that,Goebbels took a particular interest in the radio and soon had completecontrol over it. He considered this medium, now barely ten years old,by nature authoritarian and the instrument par excellence – until sucha time as television should be developed – for influencing the masses. He thought it automatically offers itself to the Total State.Goebbels wife Magda, contributed her services to the regime by broadcasting the first Mother s Day address saying that the “German mother instinctively placed herself at Hitler s side and after grasping his noble spiritual and moral goals, became his enthusiastic supporter and fanatical warrior.” Magda was perfect for public appearances, because she was the perfect fit for the Nazi German clich of a blond, blue-eyed mother of six children. In addition to the changes he made to the newspaper and radio industries, Goebbels saw the importance of the film-making industry. Visual images were the most effective form of propaganda in Goebbels mind. For this reason, “Goebbels sharply criticized the manner in which German film-making was debased by the dictates of capital, and the low level of the routine film produced purely for the sake of box-office returns; he said that German film-makers must learn to regard their profession as a service, and not as a source of profit.” Goebbels felt that film-makers should hold a loyalty to the German state and that they should feel obligated to serve her by educating the masses and no one could do a better job than Goebbels himself. As a result, “In less than five years the film department of the Ministry of Propaganda acquired a monopoly in film production No one could compete with Goebbels as an independent producer.” Examples of Nazi Propaganda films were: Jud Suss, tha!!t put across the anti-Semitic message, Hitlerjunge, Quex, that glorified the past and its youth and Friesennot, that underlined the trials of the Germans living outside the frontiers of Hitler s state. Propaganda had become so entwined in the lives of Germans that,During the six years of peace they allowed themselves, the Nazisinterfered in every aspect of public and private life to an extentunknown in Germany s history. The work of the Germans, theirholidays, the new buildings in their towns, the education of their

children, the newspapers they read, the films they saw, and theradio programs they listened to bore the Nazi stamp. Goebbels principles regarding propaganda are similar to those of Hitler s outlined in Mein Kampf. In his diary he stresses the importance and the value of repetition in propaganda as he wrote, “One must constantly be repeating the same thing in different forms. The public is basically very conservative. It must be thoroughly saturated with our views by constant repetition. Until the message sticks. Only then can one be sure of success.” This message should be communicated through attention-getting mediums such as the radio or film reels. Like Hitler, Goebbels also believed that propaganda should label events and people with distinctive phrases or slogans. Examples of Nazi fabricated stereotypes and slogans were: Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Fuhrer (One people, one nation, one leader) and “The Jews are our misfortune.” Both Hitler and Goebbels recognized that propaganda is most effective when it stirred the emotions of the masses and therefore Goebbels wrote, “Intellec!!tualism is the worst enemy of propaganda.”Through propaganda, Goebbels created the “Fuhrer Myth” portraying Hitler as an infallible demigod. On one occasion before Goebbels presented Hitler to his vast audience, Goebbels saw that the sun would break through the clouds. He timed his own speech so that the God-given light should stream down on Hitler as he took his place on the speaker s rostrum. Goebbels had to give the German people the “impression that what [Hitler] did, or omitted to do, was under the protection of a higher force.” Goebbels heralded Hitler as “the Greater German, the Prophet, the Fighter.” Hitler “the Greater German” as an Austrian, he had experienced racial misery and longed for the creation of the “Greater German Reich”. In addition, he was an individual who was familiar with and shared in the plight of the people, the workers and the soldiers. Hitler “the Prophet” meant that he represented a new political faith in the midst of Germany s post-war misery. Hitler “the Fighter” challenged!! the policy of decay of the Republican government at the time. “It was [Hitler s] aim to unite the German people and to weld them together into a show of strength never seen before He was presented as the last hope of the masses, the shining symbol of the German will to freedom.” Goebbels was effective in aiding Hitler s rise to power, for he presented him as Germany s saviour, rising from the mists with the solutions to Germany s problems and who promised the restoration of the nation s past glory.The creation of the “Fuhrer Myth” was Goebbels crowning achievement in that it gave Hitler the viability as the leader in the Nazi totalitarian state. This point is well summarized by Ernest K Bramsted the author of Goebbels and National Socialist Propaganda as he wrote,Any totalitarian system is bound to aim at a maximum identificationbetween the directing leader and the directed masses. To achieve thisthe leader has to appear at one and the same time as a charismaticsuperman and as a fellow human being. He must be made to seem bothdistant and near, cunning and simple, lonely under the weight of nationaldecisions, but approachable and open-minded towards the masses. Allhis successes are shown in a light that reveals his exceptional infallibilitywhilst any failure or mistake is explained away as a mere hallucination ofignorant onlookers or as a malevolent invention of plotting but frustratedenemies. In an age of mass media, the press, radio, films, etc., can beskillfully employed to project this complex but highly uniform image. Goebbels in an interview with the Editor-in-Chief of the Berliner Tageblatt said that “The State which is governed by an authoritarian regime will not allow itself to be diverted from its path if it is convinced that the path is the right one. In a democratic state, public opinion largely determined the nation s politica” was Goebbels crowning achievement in that it gave Hitler the viability as the leader in the Nazi totalitarian state. This point is well summarized by Ernest K Bramsted the author of Goebbels and National Socialist Propaganda as he wrote,Any totalitarian system is bound to aim at a maximum identificationbetween the directing leader and the directed masses. To achieve thisthe leader has to appear at one and the same time as a charismaticsuperman and as a fellow human being. He must be made to seem bothdistant and near, cunning and simple, lonely under the weight of nationaldecisions, but approachable and open-minded towards the masses. Allhis successes are shown in a light that reveals his exceptional infallibilitywhilst any failure or mistake is explained away as a mere hallucination ofignorant onlookers or as a malevolent invention of plotting but frustratedenemies. In an age of mass media, the press, radio, films, etc., can beskillfully employed to project this complex but highly uniform image. Goebbels in an interview with the Editor-in-Chief of the Berliner Tageblatt said that “The State which is governed by an authoritarian regime will not allow itself to be diverted from its path if it is convinced that the path is the right one. In a democratic state, public opinion largely determined the nation s politicaf the German people. They mobilized the masses, stimulated the German economy during the Great Depression and harnessed the might of German industry and her people in order to create a formidable war machine that nearly conquered all of Europe. Mein Kampf, considered to be the bible of the Nazi party, outlined the importance Adolf Hitler placed on propaganda. In his book, Hitler explained that German troops were ill-prepared for the enemy during the First World War as he wrote,In Germany the school, the press, and comic magazines cultivateda conception of the Englishman s character, and almost more so of hisempire, which inevitably led to one of the most insidious delusions; forgradually everyone was infected by this nonsense, and the consequencewas an underestimation for which we would have to pay most bitterly.Furthermore, he adds that the German soldiers were misinformed as he wrote,After the very first days of battle the conviction dawned on each andevery one of them that these Scotsmen did not exactly jibe with thepictures they had seen fit to give us in the comic magazines and pressdispatches. It was then that I began my first reflections about theimportance of the form of propaganda.Hitler would apply the lessons to read, and by reading I mean– escape from the here andnow–oblivious to my surrounding’s–experience the adventures of the storywith the characters, reading. Not reading because I was told to, reading. Anyway I started reading on a fall day in sixth grade, during class. I’dswiped a paperback copy of Dirty Harry’ from my brother. I’d overheard himsay that the book had some sex scenes, and I was going to find them. The problem was that I couldn’t find anything remotely pornographic bythumbing through the book. So I went ahead and started reading it from thebeginning. I remember that it seemed like a great sacrifice, but I’d doanything in the search for knowledge, even read. That day I got hooked, I don’t doubt that I would have gotten a lot moreoutof my high school education, were it not for my love of crime fiction. Atfirst Rex Stout’s stories of Nero and Archie, then Dick Francis, Marsh,Biggers, on and on. My love of mysteries was only a partial handicap in my life. I finishedschool, and went to work in the Theatre. I started out as a lightingtechnician, went on to film lighting and got a job at CBS doing TV lighting. It was during this time that I started working part time for mysister-in-law’s brother, a Private Investigator who made hisliving servi

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