Nazi Propaganda

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Most Nazi Propaganda was ineffective. Explain why you agree or disagree with this statement.

The Nazis used propaganda to a great extent in Germany. It was impossible to escape and millions of ordinary Germans came across Propaganda every day. Not all the propaganda in Nazi Germany was successful but I believe that overall propaganda was massively successful in gaining Hitler and the Nazis support and influencing Germans with Nazi ideas and attitudes. By dominating all aspects of society many Germans were well informed about the policies of the Nazis and the success of the propaganda used made Hitler extremely popular amongst Germans.

However despite my opinion not all Nazi propaganda was successful. For example the exhibit of “Degenerate Art” attracted two million visitors, whilst the exhibition of “Great German Art” only attracted 600,000 visitors. The Degenerate Art exhibition reflected the disruption of established values under the Weimar Republic. The work included unsettling subjects, unnatural colours, and distorted forms. The exhibition of “Great German Art” aimed to glorify Nazis and German people, but also to indoctrinate ordinary Germans on how they should and should not live their lives. It is obvious from the two exhibitions that Germans did not support this view.

A successful use of propaganda was film. Goebbels used film to deliver subliminal messages and reinforce prejudices. It was also used to make Germans feel more relaxed about their own lives, so that they could escape from the pressure of everyday life. Goebbels addresses a careful divide between propaganda and entertainment. This is what made cinema such a successful medium. Goebbels films varied from comedies, adventure to political films, which were based upon the mocking of Jews, communists and praising the Aryan race and Hitler. Films such as Leni Riefenstahl's ' Triumph of the Will' succeeded in portraying how powerful Hitler and the German people were, however to Goebbels it was too political. This did not matter as the film greatly promoted Nazi policies. In 1933, the number of American films shown in German cinemas was 64. This number dropped to 5 in 1940. Also between 1933 and 1945 there were well over a thousand films made during the Third Reich. From these figures it is clear that film was a continual success.

However propaganda wasn’t always effective when it was trying to prove that the master race was superior. During the Berlin Olympics in 1936, the Nazis wanted to show the world how well organized, modern and superior the Aryan race was but they failed. Jesse Owens, a black athlete, won many medals at the event and became very popular with the German crowd. Although Germany as a nation won the most medals it was a huge disappointment for Nazis as a whole because Nazis wanted the crowds full attention on the Aryan athletes however the real star was Jesse Owens.

One of the most powerful propaganda instruments was radio. Radio allowed Hitler to speak directly to people in their own homes. Goebbels formed the Reich Radio Company, which allowed him to control all local radio stations. Millions of very cheap radios called ‘The Peoples Receiver’ were made. These were very successful as by 1939, over 70% of German households owned a radio. By 1941, there were 15 million radio sets in private ownership. The radios could not pick up foreign stations, which was crucial for Hitler, as he didn’t want Germans to hear what other nations were saying about the Nazi policies and the treatment of Jews.

One of the Nazis greatest successes during their years in power was the way they managed to portray Hitler’s popularity. During the Reichstag elections in 1933, less then half of the electorate voted for Hitler and the Nazi Party. By the end of 1934, Goebbels had created Hitler as a ‘symbol of the nation’ and a ‘peoples chancellor’. Through the use of Nazi Propaganda the ‘Hitler Myth’ was established. Hitler was portrayed as...
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