Hitlers Weapon Of Choice Essay, Research Paper
Hitler’s Weapon of Choice
Nietzche wrote that, “Men believe in the truth of all that is seen to be strongly believed in,” and with the amount of followers that Adolf Hitler had achieved, he had gotten many to believe his words (Hitler: A Study in Tyranny- pg. 384-5). Hitler was a man who could convince thousands that what he had planned for Germany was the only way to become free of war and torment. Propaganda is defined as “the dissemination of ideas and information for the purpose of inducing or intensifying specific attitudes and actions” (Encarta- no page). Hitler’s use of propaganda, as well as the way that he appealed to his audiences, is what drove him to the success that he achieved. The amount of propaganda involved with Hitler’s success was tremendous. The way that he delivered the message of his ideas, leading to the gathering of thousands to launch one of the largest social revolutions known to our time. The speeches he gave, the posters he had printed, and the mass-media dedicated to his word, were all key aspects to this man that brought people together to fight for what “he” believed was right. Followers hung on his every word, waiting to be taught more, waiting to be told what the next course of action was, waiting for him to lead them to a better world. Although, what they thought was the better world for all of them was just better in one man’s mind, Hitler. These political mass meetings were a huge part of Hitler’s influence on his Aryan Subjects. No other leader in history could come close to the charisma of Hitler; even the Italian Fascist Mussolini could not affect the crowd in the way that Hitler did.
Hitler used the same style to deliver all of his speeches, seducing followers in the same manner as he did to become leader. The same elements are found in every speech, contributing to the same effects and results on his subjects. The speeches were all delivered in the late evenings, because he felt that any other time of day was impossible to conjure up the right atmosphere of tension and keyed-up expectation. He always gave examples to the crowd to boost morale; the “‘Unknown Soldier’ to the national hero’, the ‘tiny group of starry-eyed idealists into history’s greatest movement’, and the ‘betrayed and deserted fatherland into a great and powerful nation’” (The Inner Nazi- pg. 55). Hitler made his followers believe that an attack on their leader was also an attack on the ones that he ruled over. This conjured fear in the people’s hearts, because they had to protect their leader against any attacks, which in turn were attacks on themselves. When he delivered his speeches, everyone had to attend, because he believed that there were never enough attendants. The leader placed the idea of ‘strength in numbers’ into the heads of the audience strongly, and made the people believe that they could overcome any other country or race. The people’s attendance was almost an agreement to what Hitler had planned, but it was not clearly expressed what the agreement was. The audience was not being informed of what their part was in the master plan of their leader, but made to perform whatever it was that Hitler had planned. He used a system of ‘elimination of freedom’, which he felt was necessary in the world of mass politics. This meant that he would slowly change the rules, allowing him to gain more and more control over his people. New laws preventing rebellions and attempts to overthrow his government gave Hitler complete control over what happened within the country’s boundaries. It is questionable to many historians whether or not any of this great politician’s speeches and messages ever ceased to contain elements of propaganda. His strongest affirmation was repetition, keeping his speeches on the grounds of knowledge that his listeners would be able to understand, giving him a relation between each group of people in the country. Information is traded in a question-and-answer type form. New information was obtained by an answer to a previously uttered or merely implied question. This was taken over by the mass orator, yet changed into something completely different. Hitler transformed his ‘political meetings’ into an instrument of political assertion. His question-and-answer game demonstrated the unity of the speaker and audience. He asked people what they wanted, but actually gave them a choice in a ‘yes’ and ‘no’ form only. The meaning of his rhetorical Yes or No system of speaking the masses is founded upon three levels. The first being, it promised deliverance from the economic, social, and political complexities the German people were facing at the time. A country in trouble, having no direction, leaving them open for a new way of life, new ideas, and new solutions for problems they did not know they had. The second was a hidden lie, because it hid the changes up front and the hesitations that characterized Hitler’s domestic policies and his diplomatic moves. Finally, it never brought forth No’s, the destructive nature and self-destructive nature of his moves were only part of it, but also the nature of the German’s expectations.
In the case of the battle against the Jews, Hitler places the idea of them being the ones at fault for the troubles by telling his people: “I ask myself: who in fact are these elements that do not want peace, that do not want quiet, that do not want reconciliation, that continue to hound us and that must sow the seed of distrust – who are they really?” (The Inner Nazi – pg. 62-63). With this, and other questions of the same nature addressed to the audience, the only answer the crowd could possibly offer was “the Jews”. He made the people believe and “understand” why the Jews were the only ones to blame for every problem that the Aryan’s encountered. He placed a picture in the heads of his followers that the Jews were lazy and needless. According to Hitler, they were the ones that sat around and did absolutely nothing, while the German people worked hard to support the country, to keep it strong, and to keep peace within the state. He also pointed out that the Jews would take credit for advances made by the German people, when in fact they could never do these things because they were said to be so lazy. An example that Hitler used was that the Jews were like flies hovering around a corpse, prospering from what the Germans created and earned. This aroused fear in the hearts of the crowd, leaving them with the belief that if the Jews were not eliminated; the rest of the world powers would leave behind their country. This is one major way how Hitler turned the Germans against the Jews, letting them commit the crimes of murder and theft, reaping the benefits for his plan to rule the world. At least 6,000,000 Jews were killed while Hitler was in control. Skeletons were kept of the murdered Jews, just as a reminder that the Germans were doing their job that Hitler put forth to them. Hitler turned the Jews into a ‘subhuman’ race in the minds of his followers, and implemented many laws in controlling the Jewish population in Germany. The Jews were not even allowed on the streets after 8 o’clock. The Nazi Propaganda Lords presented the rationale, justification for, and encouragement to mass slaughter on a scale never before known to the world. They further conditioned the Germans – a willing public at the time – to accept the program for the ‘final solution’ of the Jews. ‘Final Solution’ in the minds of the Nazi party, meant total liquidation and death of the Jewish race. This meant that Hitler’s persuasive plans had worked, and that he was on his way to getting exactly what he wanted.
When Hitler became the president and ruler of the country, he promised that there would be no civil war, which put the country’s greatest fear to rest. This was the fear of every elite, power group in Northern Germany, much like the French society before their government was radically changed during their extensive revolution. The thought of civil war plagued the minds of all, and his promise made them place their trust in him more than ever before. This was the first time that any country had such sovereign unity for so short a time, and with such cost attached to their “unity”. Hitler believed that one must fill the minds of the masses with definite, resounding, exciting ideas, without there being room for anything else in their heads. He used images, pictures and slogans, books; anything in which all German’s could relate to and obtain easily. Then these ideas were repeatedly wedged into the minds of the German people. Domestic propaganda was effective in mobilizing the nation even when Germany was struggling through hard times during the war. Symbols and other images have always been very important in catching the attention of audiences according to many psychologists, and Hitler was not going to allow the chance to have more potential followers slip past his grip. Strikingly colored posters were put up everywhere; with easy to understand slogans printed on them, driving home the most important messages that Hitler wanted to send to his public. He used these all the time in his political demonstrations, public addresses, and meetings to calibrate plans of attack. He himself was the designer of the dominant flag, bearing the Swastika, which is still known to everyone in the world as one of the greatest symbols of terror and hate. During his reign, there was no where to go in Germany without seeing that design in your travels. Hitler’s symbol of the ‘revolution’ was being spread far and wide, and with it, the message that the Nazis were on the aim to become the dominant power of the world. The colors that were used on the flag, red, white and black, were also the colors of the old empire, which Hitler thought was “the most brilliant harmony in existence”(The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich- pg. 43-44). He did not use these colors to resurrect the old Reich, but some say since the people knew the colors already, he decided to enhance and develop on something that they were already familiar with, along with the fact that Hitler himself fought for his country under those same colors. With the way that the flag was designed, it made it as simple as possible for people to remember and identify with. The message that came along with it was also easy to remember, ‘down with everyone but Germany and the Nazi revolution’.
The songs that were shouted in the masses of every gathering, the greeting or salutes that became a tradition that can even be seen today, and the unforgettable emblem that was worn on every shoulder of soldier, sometimes common man as well, were the most important instruments of the National Socialist propaganda. Hitler entertained and intrigued the masses with his trademark hand movements; his anxiety, his look of fearlessness, and his attitude toward giving them everything that they need, want and deserve. He promised freedom and at the same times no war, which was exactly what the masses wanted to hear. This all added to the number of people that followed him, and with new followers everyday, his army was growing bigger and bigger, giving him more and more power to complete the task that he had at hand, domination of the world and the elimination of inferior races like the Jews. Hitler’s speeches lasted six or more hours at a time. When he delivered a speech, it was with enthusiasm, generating enthusiasm in all of his listeners as well. His party would use extracts from enemy broadcasts and newspapers to boost morale of the followers, to make them angrier and more impatient for the impending war. What these people did not realize, is that the reason that they were following this man in the first place was the fact that he promised that there would be no war. He said that he would lead them to peace and happiness, and they would not have to worry about the battles and death associated with war.
Also, the Nazi party used film and radio to spread their message, along with the daily press. Nazi ideals and beliefs were being spread everywhere, and Hitler made sure that there was no part of Germany not receiving his message. Hitler was a prophet of ‘total war’, and he suavely implanted the message into his people’s heads. The main weapon that was used by Hitler through all his speeches and other public addresses, was the idea of repetition. This was used to implant his ideas and views into the minds of all his listeners as strongly as possible. Every speech was basically just an expansion of what he had said in one of his previous addresses. The masses heard his message over and over, leaving them with the impression that what Hitler had to say must be important, since he was saying it so many times and trying to make it so clear to them. Whatever it was that he was saying, would make its way to the heads and hearts of the masses, and finally had them so deep in his grasp, that they were willing to give their lives for his cause as well as the country.
Hitler was a man of utter impatience in subtle situations, making his way to quick decisions, and rarely thinking about the consequences of what he had planned for his people. Anyone that crossed his path towards world domination, was either an accomplice, or an enemy. This led to the privacy of his thoughts and ideas, because so few could be trusted. He never really carried on a one-to-one conversation; he would either speak to the masses, or keep to himself. Hitler had to have control over every major group in society and every other member of that society, or do away with it if it resisted against his movement. His dream was to have one ‘unitary’ nation, the Aryan race, with no one private individual belief or conviction, no single act of courage, but anything that contributed to the ‘totality’ of his country. Any great leader wants these things for their country, but no other leader has gone to the lengths that he did, with the consequences that would follow. He wanted every member of the nation to act together so that the German’s would be so unified that no other nation would even be a contender in the fight for world power. Hitler lied to and deceived the Germans, corrupting their minds with his personal views and beliefs, bringing them together as they wanted, but bringing them into war with the world. War is not what the people of his country wanted in the first place, this was a promise that Hitler made when he was elected the leader, but led them with out expecting battle. The age, in which Hitler lived, was one that wanted a deliverance from speculation, catastrophe-mindedness and bleak heroism. The people wanted to be led towards a simple resolution and goal with their nation in mind. There was so much chaos and destruction of the lives within the country, and the people were growing more and more impatient for this deliverance. They needed someone that would guarantee their survival, and Hitler was the man to do it, because of the way he portrayed the feelings of the nation over the whole situation. He knew how the people were feeling, and he was going to be the ‘one’ that would use this to take control of the entire population, and eventually the rest of the world. Hitler believed that the age in which he lived and ruled, was in dire need of this type deliverance. He knew that the problems Germany was facing were complicated at the time, and realized that the people would be easy to convince that there could be a way to get out of all these problems realistically. He would be the savior, the one that would lead them to the light. Hitler stuck into the hearts of the Germans at the right time, when they were weak, scared and extremely vulnerable. He knew that they would follow him, because they were so desperate for a way to avoid war within the country that they would do anything to keep that from happening. Hitler delivered that solution, and gained a following that would help him in his plot to put the rest of the map under his control.
During the rise of this huge propaganda campaign, the three main men involved in all this were Hitler, Joseph Goebbels, and the Reich Press Chief, Otto Dietrich. They accomplished their task to the degree never before dreamed of in terms of technical efficiency, range, depth and intensity, and impeccable timing. Hitler once said, “With the help of a clever persistent propaganda, even heaven can be represented to the people as hell, and the most wretched life as paradise….”(The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich- pg. 244-245). Hitler knew that the minds of the people could be convinced that what he wanted was right for them and the rest of the world. These first ideas of the ‘propaganda war’ were originally printed in Mein Kampf, one of Hitler’s most famous books. The Nazi Propaganda Lords planted speakers in every public square, urging and inciting riots against minority elements such as the Jews.
They also told every editor in the press what type of material was desired and what was forbidden, to spread to message of the Nazi party, and not what others had to say against them. He also used every other group and organization for his own purposes, and exterminated all others that he did not need, or felt would get in his way. This was a prime example of power abuse, which should have been recognized and halted way before Hitler’s power became as controlling as it did. There were 3,097 newspapers instructed daily by Hitler and his two contemporaries. At the time, Germany had the highest newspaper coverage in the world, exceeding the United States of America and France. The tremendous importance of the role played by the press in implementing the plans and objectives of Hitler cannot easily be exaggerated. The development of the press as a weapon was the most important single aspect of propaganda as a whole. “Hitler, early in his career stated that the printed word has a magic of its own, and it was not an accident that he selected the poisoned pen of Otto Dietrich to be the supervisor and controller of the press”(The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich- pg. 245). Press propaganda was one of the strongest bases of Hitler’s rise to power and a main reason that he continued to hold that power for so long. This aroused German sentiments in favor of them, and thus influenced the German ‘public opinion’.
Hitler and his party used many different forms of propaganda to persuade the people of Germany into following them. One of these was Nazi-Anthropology, which basically means lying to the people about the past of German society. Anthropologists that worked for Hitler would go to other countries and gather pieces of history, dug up from the ground, and then told the people that the items were of German descent. This meant that Germans were the initial settlers of the land, and that they were the rightful owners of it. They convinced and persuaded the Nazi followers that they should fight for the land back from the people settled there, and bring it back into the hands of Hitler and his country. The Nazi party gained control in extremely ugly ways. The Nazis appealed to the highest German values and perverted them for the cause of the Nazi party. They used the lowest instincts of an unhappy nation, and built a successful campaign based on ‘idealism’ and hatred. The war that they were involved in did more than reinforce the basic elements of National Socialist ideology, it proved that there was an apparatus of totalitarian media control that could in fact affect public attitudes and morale during a global conflict. The 1936 Olympic Games, held in Berlin, may have been the most significant turning point in the Nazi movement. Worldwide, people were watching it on television, or listening to it on the radio. This was the stage that Hitler was waiting for to get his message across to everyone, not just the German society. The swastikas were hung around the entire forum, and troops were parading around showing their loyalty to the country’s leader. The Olympic Games were one of the most important days in Hitler quest. The opening ceremonies implanted the Nazi symbol into the heads of many people around the world. Hitler, at this time, was not only the leader of Germany, but also a leader to many others, who acted out his will on other parts of the globe.
Hitler and his Nazi Propaganda Lords are most likely the best remembered users of propaganda in history. They convinced and persuaded an entire nation that they were the ones that everyone should listen to, and the people of the country should follow exactly what they say. Hitler turned an entire country against the Jews and the rest of Europe, eventually putting them up against the most dominant forces in the world at the time. With the use of the traditionally colored flag, brightly decorated posters, and Swastikas printed everywhere, he caught the eyes of every man, women and child in the country. He addressed the people in a manner that he was equal to them, and they were equal to him. Hitler was an incredibly smart orator, and knew when to give these public addresses, when to hold a meeting, and which place to have people attend the functions. He picked two of the most influential people, next to him of course, to help him obtain enough followers so he could complete his quest for world domination. The media was a key instrument in his gain of power, and since he had total control over what was aired, his message was being spread everywhere. His beliefs became the beliefs of many others, and he became one of the most influential persons in history, which could bring about world chaos with one speech and his trademark hand movements. Hitler achieved what he had always wanted, and reaped the benefits for his span as the leader. He basically eliminated the Communists, the Jews, and the Slavs. Eventually, Hitler and his people overpowered more of Europe. His use of propaganda to appeal to his followers allowed him to take control of them, making the people act out the beliefs of a man that ending up having great power over an entire continent, and an even greater effect on the on the rest of the world’s society as a whole.
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