Nazi Germany Propaganda, Culture and Mass Media

Andrew Burke
Note by , created over 2 years ago

Hitler believed massively in the power and importance of propaganda. As part of our study series on Germany and the Nazi's, we explore the elements of the Nazi propaganda machine in this learning note.

Andrew Burke
Created by Andrew Burke over 2 years ago
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Page 1

The Propaganda Machine

The Nazis could not control the state through fear alone. Hitler believed massively in the importance of propaganda. Propaganda could either impress and inspire or intimidate and discourage the opposition. The Nazis had a genius in Joseph Goebbels, who was the minister for 'enlightenment and propaganda'. Through 12 years of Nazi rule, Goebbels kept control of public opinion and used every resource to make people loyal to Hitler and the Nazis. Propaganda made people wary of disagreeing with the message or contradicting it. Germans got into the habit of saying nothing about propaganda. 

The Nuremberg Rallies

Goebbels organised huge rallies, marches, torch-lit processions and meetings Nuremberg rallies were the most famous of these, held every summer  The rallies brought some colour and excitement into people's lives and gave them a sense of belonging to a great movement  The rallies demonstrated the power of the state and convinced others to fully support the Nazis 1933 - 'Rally of Victory' - first monster rally where 500,000 took part 1934 - 'Rally of Unity and Strength' - Leni Riefenstahl filmed the entire rally and made a film Triumph of the Will  1935 - 'Rally of Freedom' - reintroduction of compulsory military service and the Nuremberg Laws are passed (discrimination towards Jews) 

Page 2

The Media and Culture

In contrast to the free expression allowed in the Weimar Republic, Nazis strictly controlled the media and all aspects of German culture. Throughout this period, Goebbels received support from the Gestapo and SS in carrying out his work. When Goebbels wanted to silence any opposition, he sent the SS and Gestapo to take care of business. 

Case Study: Olympics 1936

Goebbels greatest challenge - came with the Olympics in Berlin in 1936. Many were opposed to hosting the Olympics Games in Berlin, but Goebbels promised Hitler it would be an amazing  propaganda opportunity to showcase Germany both domestically and internationally. Goebbels and Hitler also believed that the games would demonstrate their doctrine that the Aryan race was superior to all others.  Goebbels had a new 100,000 seated stadium built for the games He brought in television cameras for the first time and other technological equipment There were guests and competitors from over 49 countries  Those attending were struck by the fanatical devotion to Hitler from the clear presence of the army and SS Germany came top of the medal table However, to Goebbels and Hitler's dismay, a black athlete, Jesse Owens, became the star of the games Owens won four gold medals and broke two world records While ten black members of the America team won 13 medals between them  This defied everything the Nazis were teaching about Aryan superiority  Propaganda was evident to foreign visitors and it backfired on the Nazi regime  Picture below shows Jesse Owens standing on podium one after winning gold

Page 3

Volksgemeinschaft (National Community)

One of the key aims of the Nazi state was the creation of a National Community of Aryan Germans, loyal to Hitler and the state. Workers and farmers would no longer see their loyalty to their own social group but to Germany and its leader. Hitler's policies towards each group were designed to help win utter and complete loyalty towards himself and the German state.