Between the years 1933 and 1939 the Nazi regime in Germany grew incredibly fast. Hitler entered the National Socialists cabinet in January 1933, and two months after this, Hitler had strengthen his political power by supposedly, entirely legal means. In order to consolidate their power as a strong political party, the Nazis were determined to convince people of the value of their regime. One of the most direct means to convince the German people of the value of the National-Socialist ideas was through propaganda that appeals to the emotions and feelings of the German people after the crisis they had to experience after the First World War. In this paper I will attempt to identify the methods used by the Nazi party in order to acquire the attention of the people and to establish the National-Socialism as the main party in Germany, as well as the importance that the Propaganda had in the outcome of the National Socialist regime and of the actions taken by them during the years of the Second World War. To achieve this I will analyze Germany’s situation in the period of 1933 to 1939, where the National Socialist regime achieved its main aim -to become the main political power in the country- using propaganda as the main way to get the people´s attention that would lead them and would give support to all the path of actions that were taken during the years of the war. I will analyse, for example, the importance of various legislative and administrative changes made by Hitler, the achievement of economical recovery as something that was used to appeal to the honour of the German people who were devastated by the consequences of the First World War, the creation of the sensation of fear through the use of imagery and language to control the people and how every ideal of the National-Socialist party was developed through propaganda.
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B. Summary of Evidence
Although there are other very important factors to attribute the consolidation of power of the National Socialists, propaganda was definitely one of the major causes of this. Even though it is extremely difficult to measure the exact extent in which propaganda affected the Nazi consolidation, the huge propaganda campaign in which Hitler was portrayed as the savoir of Germany, had an enormous impact and influence on the German people.
The master propagandist of the Nazi regime, Joseph Goebbels, was convinced that the Ministry had the mission of achieving “mobilization and mind of spirit on Germany”  . In 1930 he became the headmaster of the propaganda division of the National-Socialist party, in this position he built the basis of the mass manipulation through propaganda. When Hitler finally achieved power he was named Minister of Popular Illustration and Propaganda and it was then when he became determined to switch the ideals and the mind of the German people to act in favour of the Nazi party. As a consequence of the idea of changing the German people´s mind as well as other National Socialist thoughts, Joseph Goebbels created a propaganda campaign in which Hitler was portrayed as a great man that helped the economical recovery of Germany -that was an important appeal to the German people considering the economic crisis they had to assume after the First World War-; he was portrayed as Germany’s saviour. Goebbels, in his attempt, to consolidate Nazi power and convince German people to support them, used the technique of total propaganda. In other words, the government had control over the media  . Goebbels took control of the newspapers, and although their writing style did not change, most the newspapers promoted fascism and Nazi German nationalism.
Thanks to Goebbels´ work and the impact of the total propaganda technique, he was undoubtedly responsible for the rise of Hitler to the power and too the centre of the political situation in Germany. His position as the Minister of public enlightenment and propaganda, gave him an absolute control of the mass communications media such as the press, radio, cinema and others. The culture created by the propaganda technique implemented and used by Goebbels created an entirely new era of mass manipulation. After they tested the effectiveness of the ministry of propaganda, and when the Nazi party was convinced about the importance of mass manipulation through media, they decided to split the Ministry into seven different departments. Once they had taken over most Germany, the propaganda ministry was split into seven different departments that included Radio, Film, Theater, Music, Literature, Visual Arts and, of course, Propaganda. Every aspect of the life in Germany was permeated by the Ministry, the re-education and the mobilization of mind and spirit of the German People stopped being just an ideal of the National-Socialist party and became a fact and a way to proceed to accomplish a Nazi state with Nazi ideals supported by all the German people.
As the Nazi party was trying to convince German society that the National Socialist regime was the best for them, they were also taking part of the World War II. It was extremely important to convince people that fighting was necessary in order for Germany to stay stable. Propaganda played a highly important role in the confidence of German people that supported the war, the ministry of propaganda made sure that the moral of the German people and of the soldiers fighting the war stayed focused on the ideals of the Nazi party. Most of Nazi German propaganda consisted of material sustaining the wartime effort. Besides this, Hitler and the higher Nazi leaders encouraged racism and wished to begin the extermination of races that they considered inferior. Although there were already some unhappiness’s between the German Jews and other Germans, it was still necessary to convince the German population that action against them was necessary. The Nazis used the idea of the “perfect and pure race” that was planted into the people´s mind and that would lead to atrocities such as the Holocaust.
They used posters stating facts like this to assure that the idea of the “pure race” would become important to every German person: “The Aryan race is tall, long legged, slim. The race is narrow-faced, with a narrow forehead, a narrow highbuilt nose and a lower jaw and prominent chin, the skin is rosy bright and the blood shines through …. the hair is smooth, straight or wavy – possibly curly in childhood. The colour is blond.” Of course, to state the priority of the German Maser Race, the propaganda ministry made the people believe that one of the reasons why Germany was defeated in the First World War (and that would lead to all the economic problems and the shattering of the German spirit) was because the German race had become impure when the Aryans began marrying non-Aryans. This implied that, in order to make Germany a strong country again and to make the people strong and confident, the Nazi party had to ensure the purity of the Aryan race. The use of the word pure was fundamental in Nazi propaganda.
“Propaganda must not investigate the truth objectively and, in so far as it is favourable to the other side, present it according to the theoretical rules of justice; yet it must present only that aspect of the truth which is favourable to its own side. (…) The receptive powers of the masses are very restricted, and their understanding is feeble. On the other hand, they quickly forget. Such being the case, all-effectivepropaganda must be confined to a few bare essentials and those must be expressed as far as possible in stereotyped formulas.”  This would explain why the use of simple words and formulas that appeal to the emotions of the audience were effectively used in Nazi propaganda  .
These kind of statements, written by Hitler himself, prove that not everything said by the government was truth and that they were trying their best to convince people of the “truths” expressed in stereotyped formulas and repeated incessantly though every type of media communication owned by the Ministry of propaganda. It also shows Hitler’s main intention by introducing Nazi propaganda, which was to convince everyone that the National Socialist regime was the best for Germany. Even when there were lots of types of propaganda, all of them ended in the same conclusion and had the same intention of persuading people to support the National Socialist regime ideals – and everything implied by them-.
Some historians think that the main reason why the Nazi Germany regime remained in place was, in fact, due to the fear factor created by the Nazi propaganda and the language used to appeal to people  . Language became, through the use of propaganda, a tool to manipulate and to lead society to obey without question the government and the radical ideas the Nazi party had. Organizations such as the SS  would work to wipe out anyone who didn’t agree with what the Nazi propaganda said. Although the fear factor influenced and was seen in a large majority, it affected a small minority. Thanks to this fear people would stop speaking about issues related to the National Socialist regime, they stopped disagreeing about what the Nazi party was trying to impose. We could say that both fear and propaganda were the main factors that may have helped to consolidate the Nazi power. Nazis justified their actions through the use of propaganda, the manipulation of language and images, the emotions and fears of the people and the idea of the pure race. An important example of this fact is what is known as The Night of the Long Knives, an opertation that took place on June 30th 1934 where the SS executed a series of political leader who were opposing to the Nazi ideas and to Hitler himself. The SS executed seventy men on charges of treason. Most of them were members of the SA also known as Sturmabteilung (Storm Section) or Brownshirts. This organization was openly against the National Socialist regime. This series of executions obviously caused more fear in society and decreased their rebellion intentions.
C. Evaluation of Sources.
Source 1:Randall L. Bytwerk ,” Bending Spines: The Propagandas of Nazi Germany and the German Democratic Republic”.
This source’s main purpose is to show why the Nazi propagandas had such a fast effect and how it impacted society from that time. It examines the range of techniques used by Nazis. It talks about how people were embraced by the propaganda; it describes how the propaganda was in control of basically every media of communication that is what made it a very good source for this paper. However the book also says that the effect of the propaganda did not last much and it explains that in a way, Nazi propaganda failed since they expected more of their propaganda than what it actually was able to do. This is one of the weaknesses if the source since it is a contradiction to what I am trying to prove which is that the Nazi propaganda had a huge effect in the outcome of the Nazi regime.
Source 2:Kallis, Aristotle A. Nazi Propaganda and the Second World War.
This is a great source since it analyses every aspect of the effects of the Nazi propaganda, it explains how society was affected by it. It shows different kinds of perspectives, as the first source this one also says that the effect of the Nazi propaganda was not as big or as shocking as it is generally thought. It explains that the National Socialists were expecting propaganda to have a greater effect that what it had, however it had a part of the influence in the outcome of the Nazi regime.
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Anyone who produced, distributed, broadcasted, published or sold any form of media or press had to first join one of the propaganda ministry departments and follow all the publishing rules they had. Hence, without the ministry license to practice their businesses, all artists, writers, publishers, producers and directors could not work in their field. Along with these guidelines, they brought up the prohibition of all Jewish newspaper and media. Due to the abolition of every anti-Nazi publications and media in general, public felt that the overall mood of all the media was pro-Nazi. German people knew that disagreeing could cause a calamity, the terror present in German society at the Nazi time of government was ultimately what caused the consolidation of power in the Nazi Germany. The Nazi party conducted some symbolic acts such as the ceremonially book burning in 1933 that was proclaimed as an action against the un-German spirit that wanted to end with all the Jewish intellectualism through a purge by fire, all of this was proclaimed by the Press and Propaganda Ofiice of the Deutsche Studentenschaff (Student Association). Without a doubt, the propaganda used by the Nazis was influential on the actions of the German society, the popularity of the propaganda used in ht theatre and in the movies was evident if we consider the increase of movie viewers between 1933 (1 million viewers) and 1942 (250 million viewers). The moral and confidence of the German people was increased as well through propaganda and even through architecture  . All the arts were involved with the propagation of Nazi ideals. The significant number of movie viewers was thanks to Goebbels’ idea that movies should not be overly propagandists and must be entertaining. However as in every other media, the ultimate goal was to influence people and drag them into Nazism. Goebbels considered that the appropriate propaganda to be used in the movies should be using dramas centred on historical and influential figures.
There were also some very straightforward war films that contained clear pro-German and pro- nationalistic messages, other films that performed a slightly different propaganda function, such as 1936 Olympia, which showed that Germany could put on a magnificent show for the Olympics. The huge success of the films during this period conveyed to the public the sense that Nazi regime was a regime of modern progress, breaking barriers in technology, convincing public that remaining with the Nazi party would be the only solution in order to progress.
The Olympic Games of 1936 were handed to Berlin before the Nazis came to power, and Hitler thought of this as the perfect opportunity to demonstrate the world how efficient the Nazi Germany was. The Berlin Olympic Games were also the perfect scenario for the Nazis to prove the “power of the Master Race”. The Nazis gave an outstanding performance in the use of radio for the reporters. Twenty transmitting vans were put at the disposition of the foreign media along with 300 microphones. The radio broadcasts at the Olympics were given in 28 different languages. The director of NBC in America congratulated the Nazis for this service; this was a great triumph for the Public Entertainment and Propaganda MinistryRadio could also be considered as one of the greatest and most convincing propaganda. For example the ‘Volksempfanger’; in 1933, 4.5 million German houses had broadcast access and were listening to it. This was thanks to the availability of inexpensive radios. A factor of success of the radio was its personal nature, while the cinema was experienced with others, the radio had the ability for the Nazi party to talk to people in their own home, and also they could share it with the public thanks to the speakers in the streets.
The National Socialist regime held absolute control over Germany between the years 1933 and 1939. The Nazis dominated every aspect of the everyday life of ordinary people and made it almost impossible for people to escape the influence of Nazism in their family, their work, and even thinking. Even though the Nazis did bring some prosperity to Germany in economic ways at that time, the overall Nazi regime was based on terror and it was centred on the transformation of Germany which could only be completed by affecting the lives and thoughts of most, if not all of the German citizens. Most of the Nazi ideals were mainly promoted through films, radio, theatres and newspapers controlled by the National Socialist regime. There was no way of avoiding it; it was spread across every form of entertainment and media of communication. A significant percentage of Germans seem happy with Nazi control, however, those who were not, were harshly punished by either the Gestapo or the SS. The propaganda used in the wartime had a massive effect in people causing lots of German Citizens to join the National Socialist ideas and helping the Nazis to gain control over almost every German citizen.
F. Sources and Word Count
Word Count: 1994
Bytwerk, Randall L. Bending Spines: The Propagandas of Nazi Germany and the German Democratic Republic. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 2004.
Kallis, Aristotle A. Nazi Propaganda and the Second World War. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.
Nazi and East German Propaganda, Guide Page, German Propaganda archive.
The Holocaust History Project ,< http://www.holocaust-history.org/>
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