How did the Nazis use propaganda during the Holocaust?
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How did the Nazis use propaganda during the Holocaust?
The Nazis used propaganda during the Holocaust to do a few things. The first thing it was used for was to make sure that nobody in Germany read or saw anything that could potentially damage the Nazi party or make the Nazi party be seen in a negative way. The second thing it was used for was to make sure that the Nazi parties’ views were shown in the most persuading way possible. The third thing it was used for was to make sure that the people in Germany who had supported the Nazis during the elections had made a completely correct choice and that their party was strong and their leadership was too. The fourth and final thing it was used for was to show those who had opposed that Nazis in the election that there was no point in continuing to oppose the Nazis and Hitler. “The function of propaganda is to attract supporters, the function of organization to win members… Propaganda works on the general public from the standpoint of an idea and makes them ripe for the victory of this idea….” – Adolf Hitler, 1924. To make sure that everyone in Germany thought in the right way Joseph Goebbels who had just been made Minister for Propaganda and National Enlightenment in the March of 1933 set up the Reich Chamber of Commerce in the same year.
The fact that Hitler appointed Goebbels into such a high position with so much power shows that Hitler thought it was very important to win people over or intimidate them into accepting the Nazi rule. This Chamber of Commerce handled art, music, films, literature, radio etc. To make any of these things you had to be a member of the Reich Chamber. The Nazis decided if you had the suitable papers etc. to become a member of the Reich Chamber. Anyone who wasn’t allowed be a member wasn’t allowed publish any work or perform any music etc. If you were disobedient to this rule the punishments were very severe. This policy meant that Nazi Germany had a system of censorship. People within the country could only read, see and hear what the Nazis wanted you to. Therefore if you believed what you heard Hitler and the Nazi leaders believed that opposition would be very small and anyone who practised opposition would be easy to catch. The Nazi party used different types of media to spread their propaganda and achieve their propaganda aims. Newspapers
Even before Hitler and the Nazis came to power the National Socialist German
Workers’ Party or Nazi party were spreading newspaper propaganda. The official daily newspaper of the Nazi party was The Völkischer Beobachter or “The People’s Observer” and it had been the Nazi’s official newspaper since December 1920. It was used to show the weaknesses of parliamentarism which is a form of democracy and to show the evils of the Jewish and Bolshevik area of cities. In 1926 it was joined by Der Angriff or “The Attack” which was a weekly newspaper at first but then became a daily paper. It was started by Goebbels for the Nazi party. It was mainly had content about attacks by political opponents and Jews. It was most famous for its anti-Semitic cartoons by Hans Schweitzer. Other newspapers included:
Das Reich. This was a publication that was aimed at people who were foreign and who had a high intellect. Der Stürmer. This was the most highly anti-Semitic of them all. Das Schwarze Korps. This was an SS publication that aimed at people with a high intellect. All of these newspapers and publications were used by the Nazis to spread propaganda before but especially during the Holocaust but also after Hitler’s rise to power in 1933 all the regular press became under total Nazi control. Newspapers In occupied countries
In Ukraine after the Nazis took control of the newspapers most newspapers only printed articles from German agencies. This caused more anti-American and anti-British than anti-Communist ones. Speakers
During the Holocaust the Nazi party depended heavily on speakers to make its propaganda presentations. Hitler in Mein Kampf which was a book that he wrote that translated as “My struggle” realised that it wasn’t written down content that caused change but spoken word as people don’t read things that they disagree with but would stay to listen to a speaker. Also speakers have their audience in front of them so they can see their reaction and change their speech o persuade their audience. Speakers were very important for the Nazis when the Nazis didn’t want certain information to be heard by foreigners who could read newspapers and other forms of media. Books and Textbooks
In May 1933 the Nazi party held their first book burning. Here they burnt any book that didn’t agree with the Nazi’s beliefs in a public book burning. Some Nazis went to libraries and got rid of the books there that didn’t agree with the Nazis beliefs. This in a way was a sort of terror tactic as from then on the German people knew which books were seen as not suitable by the Nazis and were then scared into not reading it. An example of propaganda in a book is a book called Der Giftpilz or “The Poisonous Mushroom” which first came out in 1938 in Germany and is a book about the problem with Jews and is a book aimed for children. It is a book about a boy called Franz who is picking mushrooms with his mother in the woods. His mother shows him a few types of poisonous and edible mushrooms and then compares the edible or “good” mushrooms to good people and the poisonous or “bad” mushrooms to bad people. She then explains that the most dangerous of all people are the Jews. The Nazi’s highest priority for their propaganda was the youth of Germany. 97% of teachers belonged to the Nazi party in 1937. The most important topic that the teachers had to teach was the topic of races and the problem of the Jewish people. Even fairy tales were used to spread further propaganda. Cinderella was now a tale about how the prince rejects the stepmother’s daughters as they have alien blood while Cinderella has pure racial blood. Film
The Nazis produced lots of films to spread their propaganda. Film content focused mainly on the Jews, how great Hitler was, a Nazi’s true way of life and how badly Germans were being treated in Eastern Europe. Leni Riefenstahl was allowed to have a free reign in making and producing Nazi propaganda films. She was a young film producer who had impressed Hitler with her ability. She made “Triumph of Will” which is thought to be one of the greatest propaganda films despite what is in it. The cinemas were controlled by the Nazis. “Hitlerjunge Quex” was made in 1933 and told the story of a boy brought up in a communist family in Germany but who then joined Hitler youth and was then murdered by the Communists for doing so. “The Eternal Jew” was a film made Jews into villains and compared them to rats that spread diseases. Not all films in the cinema were serious and had a political message. Goebbels ordered comedies to be shown in the cinemas so that Germany looked happier and more light hearted. Radio
To make sure everyone could hear Hitler speak Goebbels set up a sale of cheap radios. They were called “People’s Receiver” and cost 76 marks and a smaller radio cost 35 marks. He believed that if Hitler was to give speeches then the German people should be able to hear them. Loud speakers were put up on streets so that people could not avoid Hitler’s speeches and Cafes were ordered to play public speeches by Hitler. As well as broadcasting in homes radios were used to broadcast messages to occupied countries and to their enemies. The United Kingdom was one of the main targets where William Joyce broadcasted regularly. Joyce was first heard on German radio on the 6th of September 1939 where he read the news in English but he became famous for his propaganda broadcasts. He was killed for treason in 1946.but also added allegations of servicemen’s wives being unfaithful. The United States was also broadcasted to through Robert Henry Best and “Axis Sally” Mildred Gillars. Best was a freelance journalist in Vienna that attacked the influence of Jews in the US and Roosevelt’s leadership. Gillars was a teacher in Germany who broadcasted on mainly the same things as Best but added in her speeches about servicemen’s wives being unfaithful.