The 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 ministry 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 cultivated
a conception of the Englishman's character, and almost more so of his
empire, which inevitably led to one of the most insidious delusions; for
gradually everyone was infected by this nonsense, and the consequence
was 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 and
every one of them that these Scotsmen did not exactly jibe with the
pictures they had seen fit to give us in the comic magazines and press
dispatches. It was then that I began my first reflections about the
importance 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...