Nazi Propaganda Essay

1314 words - 6 pages

Describe how and why propaganda was used in Nazi Germany. Discuss how effective the Nazi propaganda was.

Propaganda is a form of communication used to persuade and is the opposite of providing impartial information as it only presents, or supports, one side of an argument. In theory, propaganda is a tool to direct the public opinion and by extension, the actions of the public.

In Nazi Germany, propaganda was ever present as an aspect of the everyday life of the nation. The Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda, with Joseph Goebbels as its leader, strategically influenced and gradually changed the public opinion of the nation and formed Germany into a conform body. However, it is ...view middle of the document...

Gradualism, because the ideas, the nation was being exposed to, were radicalized gradually so by the beginning of the war in 1939 and in the war years following, the public became immune, even ignorant, to many things that would have been unimaginable in 1933.
This slow, gradual change can be seen on the laws which were slowly but constantly getting more radical and strict. Many new laws changing those from the Weimar period were passed (eventually, the racist policies of the regime became laws, e.g. the year 1935 brought The Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honour and The Reich Citizenship Law, both became known as the Nuremberg Laws). One could say the regime wanted to appeal to the wishes for law and order in the society, which were only natural after what Germany had been through during the years after the First World War.
Propaganda is about putting information in a certain way, Germany was a police state but the regime was supported by public. One could argue this was due to the way information was given to the public - newspapers informing about crime rate falling, portraying those touched by the not so nice side of this regime as the sick elements of the body of the German society (“asocial elements”, thieves, murderers, rapists, communists, homosexuals), affirming that the good citizens would only profit from the new state of things.
Also, in 1936, the Summer Olympics were held in Berlin and Nazis used this event to show off both to Germans and internationally. After all, what could be a better opportunity to prove that the Aryan race really is the superior, strongest one?
The most obvious practical aspect of propaganda in Nazi Germany and one that became symbolic for this regime, was the Hitler salute. This change of the social code became a mandatory, everyday greeting, showing obedience and support of the regime. It is so deeply associated with Nazism that to this day, it is a criminal offense in Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic to perform this greeting. Together with Horst-Wessel-Lied, Hakenkreutz (Swastika) and the German eagle, the Hitler salute was the symbol of identification of German people with Nazism.

Totalitarian regimes need propaganda. They aim it against any opposition to the regime and often also use it to mold the public opinion to create or strengthen the support of war.
In the early years, Nazis used propaganda to spread their ideals among the people. When they seized power in 1933, even though they won the March election, they got under 45 percent of the votes. This meant that if Adolf Hitler wanted to have stronger support, people had to be exposed to the nationalist, racist, anti-semitistic and anti-Bolshevik ideas of the party more, so that those who did not vote for the party in 1933 would eventually change their opinion.
The presence of the anti-semitic...

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