Propaganda within Nazi germany was taken to a new and frequently perverse level. Hitler was aware of the value of good propaganda and he appointed Joseph Goebbels as head of propaganda.
Propaganda is the art of persuasion - persuading others that your 'side of the story' is correct. Propaganda might take the form of persuading others that your military might is too great to be challenged; that your political might within a nation is too great or popular to challenge etc. In Nazi Germany Dr Joseph Goebbels was in charge of propaganda.Gobeels official title was Minister of Propaganda and National Enlightenment. Hitler and many of the higher Nazi leaders harbored racism and wished to begin the extermination of races they deemed inferior.This anti-Semitic material formed the second main body of German propaganda. It was implemented through the recently invented radio, as well as through speeches from the main Nazi leaders. Posters and other visual material were also widely circulated and vital to the persuasion. Much other visual and printed material, such as books and leaflets, was only circulated to specific groups, such as Nazi party members or soldiers. However, almost all the propaganda was spread though a variety of media.
As Minister of Enlightenment, Goebbels had two main tasks: His main tasks were to ensure nobody in Germany could read or see anything that was hostile or damaged to the Nazi Party and the views of the Nazis were put across in the most persuasive manner possible.
To ensure success, Goebbels had to work with the SS and Gestapo and Albert Speer who might produce articles defamatory to the Nazis and Hitler while Speer helped Goebbels with public displays of propaganda.
Why was so much effort put into propaganda?
At no time up to 1933, did the Nazi Party win a majority of votes at elections. They may have been the largest political party in 1933, but they did not have a majority of support among the people. Therefore, those who had supported the Nazis needed to be informed on how correct their choice was with an emphasis on the strength of the party and the leadership. Those who opposed the Nazi Party had to be convinced that it was pointless continuing with their opposition. The fact that Goebbels had so much power is indicative of how important Hitler thought it was to ensure that the people won over or intimidated into accepting Nazi rule.
This poster, second from the top shows that spies are listening which were not particularly common in wartime Germany. However, they were important to the propaganda effort. These implied that spies were everywhere and would hear any gossip or loose talk about the war effort and the implication that spies were close and listening in also helped to bring the reality of war home to most people. In most cases, this served to make the public work harder and be more careful about conservation, two of the main other reasons for propaganda. As long as the public felt threatened, they would obey commands that would, in their eyes, remove that threat.
This poster, third from the top which reads “One People, One Reich, One Führer,” was a piece of one of the most important parts of the German propaganda. By establishing a rudimentary worship for the Führer who was a leader that was almost mythological,Adolf Hitler was established as the absolute head of the government and to some a semi-deity. This inspired the public to work harder and do more for the Reich, having been convinced by the Führer propaganda that the war was a sort of holy quest or crusade. The Führer worship also helped instill pride in Germany and the Reich among the German population. This type of propaganda was also heavily reinforced by speeches and radio broadcasts. Goebbels himself often spoke about Hitler members, showed Hitler being adored by the public, especially by the German youth. This type of propaganda was very important to the Nazi cause in that it defined the Führer as an embodiment of all the good of the Nazi Reich and also persuaded many people to further follow its commands. This helped in the war effort and also generated pride in the German nation and the Reich.
Posters like this one at the forth from the top, which advertises the Nazi film “The Eternal Jew,” served to dehumanize the German Jews. The film which is “The Eternal Jew” itself compares the Jewish people to rats. By dehumanizing Jews, the Nazi leaders began to prepare for Hitler’s “Final Solution stereotypes about cheating with money. The propaganda was able to play off the existing racial difficulties in Germany has well as ,to enhance the original nationalistic pride of the German people that they were somehow chosen or holy.
This picture at the fifth from the top, which depicts a supposedly innocent German citizen paying a Jewish man as the he sprays lies onto him. This is probably because propaganda that demeans races or political groups, other than the enemy, does very little to boost or aid the wartime effort. However, propaganda of a type very similar is much more common than thought today, and comes to us in the form of political cartoons or political advertising. Political cartoons often demeanor mock groups based of stereotypes or prejudices. Although the purpose of these cartoons is undoubtedly different from the German anti-Semitic propaganda, many comparisons can be drawn between the two.
German propaganda was extremely important to the course of World War II. By taking control of the media and only printing or broadcasting Nazi material, the Reich was able to effectively flood Germany with its propaganda. This, which is combined with the genius of men like Joseph Goebbels, created one of the most potent barrages of wartime propaganda in history.