The Role Of Propaganda In The Nazi Dictatorship
Propaganda was one of the most important forces that allowed the Nazi Party to retain control over the German people and to spread their campaign of death and destruction all across Europe. Propaganda was, in fact, one of the first functions that Hitler established when he became the chancellor of Germany in 1933.
Joseph Goebbels was the Nazi Party minister in charge of propaganda throughout the entire course of World War II. He left behind many writings that demonstrate his belief that campaigns of propaganda and disinformation were appropriate tools to deceive people within the country and outside of it.
With full power over all aspects of art and media, he was able to put this belief into practice the world over. He controlled and had final approval over all aspects of “culture.” Nothing could be broadcast, published, displayed in galleries, or publicly performed in any way whatsoever without his approval.
In order to ensure that absolutely everything the German people saw was firmly rooted in the Nazi Party propaganda of “Aryan purity,” he established guidelines that were to apply to all forms of performance. Thousands of bureaucrats worked to ensure that these guidelines were followed, and those who failed to do so could be punished, imprisoned, or even executed.
Nazi propaganda was intended to give Germans the belief that all was well within Germany and that the war against the Allies was always proceeding according to plan. However, it was also used to terrorize people in Germany and make dissent less likely. Those who tried to raise their voices were often the subjects of propaganda campaigns.
When Germans began to tire of war and it seemed like the country’s resources were exhausted, the propaganda machinery only grew more loud and insistent. Goebbels was a powerful orator, and he made speeches virtually on a daily basis decrying the Jewish people. Germans were encouraged to act on this propaganda by attacking, spitting on, robbing, and oppressing the Jewish people in any way that they saw fit.
Up until the very final days of the war, Goebbels continued to produce propaganda. As the war effort turned against the Nazis throughout 1944 and the Soviet Red Army approached, he kept making speeches to convince the German people that a powerful “super weapon” would soon rescue the war effort.
In May of 1945, shortly after Hitler’s suicide, Goebbels also committed suicide in Hitler’s bunker. His body, partially burned, was recovered by Russian forces.