At age of 35, Joseph Goebbels, became indispensable for Adolf Hitler. Goebbels, a brilliant man who wasted his talents for unspeakable evil purposes, didn’t ended up well. As Ministry of Campaign of the German Reich, his main responsability was to ensure that the Nazi message was successfully communicated through art, music, theater, films, books, radio, educational materials, and the press.
According to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Encyclopedia
Creating a Propaganda Ministry was a novel idea for a country at peace. Governmental propaganda organizations had tended to be temporary committees necessitated by war or disguised as ministries of information. Indeed, Goebbels initially opposed the term propaganda, recognizing that in popular usage, both in Germany and abroad, it was associated with lies.
Even after the ministry had been in existence for a year, he proposed changing its name to Ministry of Culture and Public Enlightenment, but Hitler vetoed this proposal.
In today’s post, I will be collecting some of his tactics and quotes, for the sake of reflecting on his way of thinking. I’m also extending an invitation to compare his initiatives to some of the ways Propaganda is created and implemented nowadays (Hi there Climate Change, LGBT, Socialism, Pro Choice and Feminist activists!). All this with a view to look back and keep History fresh in our minds in case we want to avoid the fails of the past.
Control of Film, Radio, Theater, and the Press
Though Goebbels himself enjoyed a lot influence (As a hypnotic orator he was second only to Hitler-charm is deceitful) film, radio, theater, and the press largely fell under Goebbels’s jurisdiction (this power over the press was shared with the head of the Reich Press Chamber, Max Amann, the Nazi newspaper magnate, and after 1937 with Otto Dietrich, head of the Reich Press Office).
Journalists or editors who failed to follow the instructions could be fired or sent to a concentration camp. Reflecting in his diary on the press’s loss of independence, Goebbels, a one-time journalist, wrote: “Any man who still has a residue of honor will be very careful not to become a journalist.”
His Media Mix
The role of film. Films in particular played an important role in disseminating racial antisemitism, the superiority of German military power, and the intrinsic evil of the enemies as defined by Nazi ideology. Nazi films portrayed Jews as “subhuman” creatures infiltrating Aryan society.
The Rol of Mobilizing the Population (A.K.A. Unending Protests)
The Nazi regime used propaganda effectively to mobilize the German population to support its wars of conquest until the very end of the regime. Nazi propaganda was likewise essential to motivating those who implemented the mass murder of the European Jews and of other victims of the Nazi regime. It also served to secure the acquiescence of millions of others—as bystanders—to racially targeted persecution and mass murder.
The Role of Newspapers. The newspapers and printed cartoons in Germany followed and supported the directions of the films but also instilled in civilians the message that jews were not only ”subhuman” but enemy of the German reich. Another responsibility was,
Covering Up Atrocities and Mass Murder.
During the implementation of the “Final Solution,” the mass murder of European Jews, SS officials at killing centers compelled the victims of the Holocaust to maintain the deception necessary to deport the Jews from Germany and occupied Europe as smoothly as possible. Concentration camp and killing center officials compelled prisoners, many of whom would soon die in the gas chambers, to send postcards home stating that they were being treated well and living in good conditions.
Quotes From Joseph Goebbels
”There was no point in seeking to convert the intellectuals. For intellectuals would never be converted and would anyway always yield to the stronger, and this will always be “the man in the street.” Arguments must therefore be crude, clear and forcible, and appeal to emotions and instincts, not the intellect. Truth was unimportant and entirely subordinate to tactics and psychology.”
”Propaganda works best when those who are being manipulated
are confident they are acting on their own free will.”
”This is the secret of propaganda: Those who are to be persuaded by it should be completely immersed in the ideas of the propaganda, without ever noticing that they are being immersed in it.”
”The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly – it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over.”
”It is the absolute right of the State to supervise the formation of public opinion”.
”The English follow the principle that when one lies, it should be a big lie, and one should stick to it.”
”If you tell a lie long enough, it becomes the truth.”
”If you tell a lie, must be a big one and stick to it.”
”There is no need for propaganda to be rich in intellectual content.”
”The masses need something that will give them a thrill of horror.”
Based upon Goebbels’ Principles of Propaganda (pp 419-442) by Leonard W. Doob, he had 19 principles; I picked 5 that caught my eye to keep it short. I encourage to read the full list on Vox Populis Sphere
1. Propagandist must have access to intelligence concerning events and public opinion.
2. Propaganda must be planned and executed by only one authority.
a. It must issue all the propaganda directives.
b. It must explain propaganda directives to important officials and maintain their morale.
c. It must oversee other agencies’ activities which have propaganda consequences.
3. Propaganda must affect the enemy’s policy and action.
a. By suppressing propagandistically desirable material which can provide the enemy with useful intelligence
b. By openly disseminating propaganda whose content or tone causes the enemy to draw the desired conclusions
c. By goading the enemy into revealing vital information about himself
d. By making no reference to a desired enemy activity when any reference would discredit that activist.
4. Propaganda may be facilitated by leaders with prestige.
5. Propaganda must be carefully timed.
a. The communication must reach the audience ahead of competing propaganda.
b. A propaganda campaign must begin at the optimum moment
c. A propaganda theme must be repeated, but not beyond some point of diminishing effectiveness.
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