The Forms of Propaganda Used by the State in Nazi Germany
One of the purposes of dictatorship was to give the Nazis control of
people's lives. The more control they had, the more easily they could
put their aims into effect. The job of controlling people thus became
one of the main tasks of the Nazi state.
Party propaganda was evident throughout German society and served as a
means by which the state could effectively reach every German and
summon absolute loyalty to the Nazi party.
Following the Nazi party's rise to power in 1933, Hitler established
the Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda headed by Joseph
Goebbels - who was a master of propaganda that used all means at his
disposal to perpetuate the Hitler myth and propagate Nazi values. The
Ministry's aim was to eliminate all original thought and ensure that
the Nazi message was successfully communicated through the widest
variety of forms of communication available. Propaganda was used to
promote the ideological goals of the Nazi regime, convert passive
acceptance of Nazi rule into active support, stress the need for
'lebensraum' and the overturning of the Treaty of Versailles. In
addition to these aims, propaganda was also intended to conjure
beliefs of Aryan supremacy, the Jewish menace and communist danger.
Propaganda became a key element in welding together the political
attitudes of the nation. People in Nazi Germany could not talk, write
or even think freely. Goebbels used every known technique of
propaganda to make sure of this.
The Germans, with the encouragement of the Nazis, were enthusiastic
newspaper readers. Germany had over 4700 daily newspapers in 1933.
However, all that the public read was to be passed through official
agencies and approved. Goebbels made certain that the press put across
Nazi views. Non-Nazi newspapers were taken over and many private
newspapers were bought by the Nazi publishing company, until
two-thirds of the press were under its control. Newspaper editors were
required to attend a conference each day where they were told what
news they could print. The press department of the Ministry of
People's Enlightenment and Propaganda directed journalists on what
line they should take with their articles.
The Nazis succeeded in muzzling the press to a large extent. However,
due to the bland, sterile journalism that came as a result of this,
there was a 10% decline in newspaper circulation in these years.
Radio, which was one of the main forms of media during this time, was
also used extensively as a medium through which propaganda was
dispensed. There were more radios per head of the population in
Germany than in any other country in Europe. Hitler and Goebbels both
realised the potential of this medium and used it on a massive scale.
When he came into power, Goebbels brought...