The Nazi regime in Germany implemented itself swiftly and effectively the National Socialists had only three Nazis in a cabinet of twelve in January 1933, yet within two months Hitler had consolidated his political power by entirely legal means . With this, came the need for support from the German public. For a regime to consolidate its power people could be too afraid to rebel against it, or they could be convinced of the value of the regime, or a combination of both. In the National Socialist era, the latter was used. In the period of 1933-1939, this was achieved by a number of methods, notably the use of propaganda, the various legislative and administrative changes, Hitler’s personal charisma, the achievement of economic recovery and the ‘reign of terror’. The extent to which each contributed to the consolidation of National Socialist regime is an issue that has remained in discussion, and is to be addressed in this essay.
Although the relative importance of factors is in debate, it is certain that propaganda was one of the major causes of consolidation of power. As the historian Ian Kershaw emphasises, It was plain from the beginning that the regime would attach a high priority to the steering of opinion . However, the exact extent that propaganda affected the Nazi consolidation of power is extremely difficult to gauge, for a number of reasons. For instance, although the Nazi film Triumph of the Will by Leni Riefenstahl may have been a success (and regarded as a brilliant achievement in todays film industry), there is no evidence to suggest that the film depicting Nazi strength affected a great deal of people. For instance, many Germans felt the film was too long and was extremely repetitive. In addition, market research was non-existent, and there were very few non-Gestapo polls to analyse the success of this enormous propaganda campaign, which was conducted primarily by one man.
From 1933 to 1939 Hitler aimed to achieve a “social revolution” in Germany. Through his concept of volksgemeinschaft, meaning ‘people’s community,’ he hoped to transform Germany into a strong country based on traditional peasant values. Historians have debated how far Hitler actually achieved a “social revolution.” Some, such as Schoenbaum have argued that ...
Joseph Goebbels, master propagandist of the Nazi regime was seen as man who represented the propaganda campaign. As he said himself on 25th March 1933 The Ministry has the task of achieving a mobilisation of mind and spirit in Germany. It was Goebbels that created the Hitler myth which portrayed an image of the Messiah-like figure and a man who was the saviour of Germany, in line with the publicising of the economy and so forth. In doing so, Goebbels, although he spoke of his contempt of it at the 1934 Party Congress, used the technique of total propaganda, through which the government controls not only the media, but also culture. Goebbels was intelligent enough to realise that without variation people would soon get tired of the same message. Therefore, Goebbels took control of the newspapers in a subtle way the writing style of the newspapers did not change, but now all the newspapers promoted fascism.
As Goebbels said himself; ‘We don’t want everyone to blow the same horn at all, but only want them to blow according to one plan… not everyone has the right to blow what he pleases.’ As Goebbels was largely responsible for bringing Hitler to the centre of the political stage, he was rewarded on 13 March 1933, with the position of Reich Minister for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda, which gave him total control of the communications media which was the radio, press, publishing, cinema and the other arts. From this, a new generation of manipulation was brought forth. Once the takeover was complete, the propaganda ministry was split up into seven different departments administration and organization, propaganda, radio, press, films, theatre, and adult education. Anyone, who produced, distributed, broadcasted, published, or sold any form of cinema, media, press, or literature had to first join one of the departments and then follow all rules of the department head. That person was usually Joseph Goebbels.
... Propaganda was used in many media covering methods. One of the ways the Nazis used propaganda was through newspapers and the press. Goebbels and the Propaganda ... questions, they just followed their leader blindly. ?Had Germany won the Second World War, these young people ... the movie theaters to watch propaganda filled films about war. Karl Ritter, a fanatical Nazi, film director, glorified death in ...
Therefore, without a license to practise their businesses, all artists, writers, publishers, producers, or directors could not work or do any business in their field. Also along with these guidelines, came the prohibition of all Jewish newspapers, radio, and cinema. Certainly, due to the eradication of anti-Nazi publications and media in general, the public must have felt that the general mood of all the media was pro-Nazi. Therefore by disagreeing they would step out of the public mood, and the terror of not conforming due to the total propaganda they were subjected to contributed greatly to the consolidation of power in Nazi Germany. This terror was accentuated further by direct acts of rebellion against the old order, such as the book burning during the Spring of 1933 . Two of Goebbels favourite mediums were cinema and the radio.
Images of colossal gatherings and marches conveying a grand, powerful Germany and newsreels of Hitler’s addresses – although the newsreels often lapsed into the inaccurate, they were excellent for boosting morale and achieving confidence in the regime. Undoubtedly, Nazi propaganda films were increasingly popular and thus influential – in 1933, the number of moviegoers was 250 million; in 1942 it was 1,000 million . This was due to Goebbels realisation that films should not be overly propagandistic, and must be entertaining. However, the ultimate goal was to influence people into Nazism without their knowing. The typical types of film that Goebbels considered appropriate vehicles for propaganda were the costume dramas that centred on the great Prussian leaders and other influential figures . There were also of course straightforward war films that contained relatively straight pro-German and pro-nationalistic messages, and other films that performed a slightly different propaganda function, such as 1936 Olympia or von Baky’s 1943 film Mnchhausen.
While Olympia showed the world that Germany could put on a magnificent show for the Olympics, Mnchhausen showed the world that the German film industry did not lag behind Hollywood in its use of special effects. The great achievements in film during this period conveyed to the public the sense that the Nazi regime was a regime of modern progress internationally, breaking new barriers in technology, furthering convincing the public that remaining with the party would be the only solution in order to progress. Probably Goebbels greatest propaganda asset was the Volksempfnger the people’s receiver. In 1933 4.5 million German households had broadcast access, and in 1940 16 million households were listening. This was to do with the availability of inexpensive radios: the VE (Volksempfnger) 3.31, selling at 76 Marks was available after the Nazi takeover. At 35 Marks, the DKE (Deutscher Kleinempfnger), later released was “the cheapest radio set in the world.
What responsibility does the press have in keeping the public informed while at the same time, respecting the privacy and sensibility of individuals The press has the power to influence virtually all areas of our lives. Words and images are combined to produce various messages and meanings. All that is presented to us undoubtedly has an effect; whether it be positive, negative or neutral. In some ...
A factor of the success of radio was its personal nature. While the cinema was experienced with others, radio had the ability for the Nazi party to talk to people in their own homes, but they could also share it with the public due to the radio speakers in the street. The invasive nature of propaganda is made clear because political broadcasts were often made during working hours, and workers often had their work suspended in order to listen to Hitler . With such large audience figures in both cinema and radio, the Nazi message was overwhelming, and the fear of being ostracised ensured that opposition was small. Therefore, this section of propaganda can be seen as the most successful, as the personal nature of the radio and its swift, easy permeation into the public domain ensured it was widely received. If historians generally agree about the impact of the radio, there is more debate over the usefulness of the press.
Stephen J. Lee describes the press as problematic as a propaganda tool, whilst Richard Gruberger places heavier emphasis on its power, citing Goebbels opinion that it had a similar effect to the radio The reader should get the impression that the writer is in reality a speaker standing behind him. However, both highlight the lack of imagination and creativity in the press under Nazi rule that was not so much the case with radio. Between 1933 and 1945 the number of state owned newspapers increased from 2.5% to a staggering 82% . Because of this, a bland style of writing consequently followed due to the amalgamation of the press and led to a decline in readership. Any increase in certain newspapers in reality could be blamed on compulsory subscriptions due to being members of the Nazi Party or the Hitler Youth.
Hitler and the Nazis used many techniques to make there enemies like the jews and communists the enemies of the people of germany, one way they did this was to put Anti-Semitism on the school curriculums, in math problems for example ‘A plane on take off carries 12 bombs, each weighing ten kilos. The aircraft makes for Warsaw , the centre of international Jewry. It bombs the town. On take ...
Overall, the press was never hugely successful in generating support for the party, or in the consolidation of power on a large scale, due to its oppressive censorship which led to a decline in popular interest. In addition, peoples interest in art, literature and culture in general declined in interest under the Nazi regime. Although painters such as Kampf and Ziegler provided stereotypical images of the traditional Nazi ideal, emphasizing the importance of blood and soil values, the work was of distressingly low quality. In addition, the music that was banned under the Nazis (for example, jazz and swing) was astonishingly resilient. Groups called the Jazz Youth and Swing Youth frequently organised illegal dances to celebrate their love of American music and popular culture. Although this would suggest quite a serious threat to the Nazis, (namely the dissent of youth), this was not the case.
The historian Frank McDonough emphasises that the Swing and Jazz clubs were more a natural youthful desire to have a good time rather than to offer political resistance to the regime. The quality of the new Nazi culture that had been created is also an issue. SJ. Lee raises the interesting question that any negativ ….