Nazi Propaganda

Aims of Propaganda

The main aims of NAZI propaganda were to establish coordination between the government and the population, to abolish resistance and encourage people to support them. Goebbels wanted a spiritual mobilisation of the German people.

Propaganda Methods

Goebbels was given an entire propaganda ministry to oversee the work of organisations covering the press, radio, film, literature, theatre, music and arts. He therefore had enormous power over German cultural life. They limited newspapers, censored articles, and circulation of conformist newspapers declined. They use radio broadcasts to give Hitler the opportunity to talk directly to the German people, they mass produced cheap radios so that all Germans could access them, and they dismissed many people working in radio in order to bring it under the control of the Reich. They used film and cinema as a key propaganda medium and Goebbels was personally responsible for approving every film made in Germany after 1933. All films to some extent contained political messages. Parades and spectacles were put on and the theatre of these rituals were proof that German people were behind the regime. There were other forms of propaganda, as Hitler believed the arts were an expression of race, and only Aryan art was worthy. This was followed by a book burning in Berlin in 1933 of un-German books written by Jews or Marxists.

Effectiveness of Propaganda

The Nazi regime placed great emphasis on the effort to indoctrinate the German population.Hitler and Goebbels were skilled propagandists but it is difficult to gauge the success of their skills as it was total indoctrination.It was more successful when aimed at the young, whose opinions were not fully formed. Where Nazi propaganda was aimed at deeply held beliefs, such as religion, it was less successful.

Hitler Myth

Nazi propaganda depicted Hitler as both charismatic superman and man of the people. A veritable industry of paintings and posters showed Hitler in familiar ‘renaissance pose’, alongside the propaganda slogan: Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer (‘One People, One Nation, One Leader’). The slogan was used to great effect in 1938, with the Anschluss (‘union’), when Germany joined in union with Austria. In 1941, Goebbels claimed that the Hitler Myth had been his greatest achievement. The Hitler Myth helped to sustain the regime in power, masking its failings and inconsistencies.

Extent of Totalitarianism

Through Gleischaltung, the Nazis set out to coordinate every aspect of individual and family life under the Party control. They exercised control over everything, all information including education, newspapers and propaganda and censorship. There were some pockets of resistance and non-conformity but the fear of punishment deterred any open defiance.

Who was Nazi propaganda most successful on?
Your answer should include: Young / Young People
What was the Hitler Myth?
Your answer should include: Nazi Propaganda / Hitler / Charismatic / Superman / Man of the People
Explanation: Nazi propaganda depicting Hitler as both charismatic superman and man of the people.
To what extent did the Nazis have full control?
Your answer should include: Almost Total / Resistance / Non-Conformity / Fear of Punishment
Explanation: Almost total - there were some pockets of resistance and non-conformity but the fear of punishment deterred any open defiance.