Using your own knowledge and all the sources, assess the effectiveness of Nazi propaganda

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Nazi propaganda was portrayed in a variety of ways. These included through speeches, culture, the media and films. Goebbels had chief control over Nazi propaganda and had to ensure that it was based on the Nazi beliefs and ideologies. However he realised how important it was to keep the propaganda subtle, without over exposing it, otherwise its effectiveness would have been hindered. It is clear that there is strong evidence suggesting that there were both flaws and successes in regard to Nazi propaganda. Obviously, there were those who were taken in by it and those who rejected it.

The extent to which this was the case is difficult to determine as it is difficult to judge whether those in support were genuinely drawn in by the propaganda. The effectiveness of Nazi propaganda can be judged on two levels. Firstly how effectively the Nazi’s were in carrying out their propaganda, and secondly how effective were they in achieving their desired results from it. Source 1 indicates that the efficiency in which Nazi propaganda was carried out was quite successful: ‘these were directives issued in the course of daily briefings at the Propaganda Ministry and transmitted to all editorial desks in the country.

This is clear evidence suggesting Nazi propaganda was controlled and circulated efficiently, and that the general overall organization concerning propaganda was very well structured. Furthermore, ‘as soon as the editors concerned had assimilated their instructions they were duty bound to destroy every trace of them and sign affidavits to that effect. ‘ In short, any unwanted information was removed from newspapers and only that which would either benefit the Nazi regime or, at least was not be detrimental to it was left untouched.

Therefore this shows that Nazi propaganda was at least very effectively displayed to the German people and it was now up to them to make up their minds. I believe the reliability of the evidence in this source can be trusted as is from a history book by an author who has no reason to lie. Furthermore, he is mainly focusing on facts, meaning there is little chance for him to be biased in portraying them. Source 2 also supports the view that the Nazis carried out their propaganda techniques effectively.

Relating back to the censorship tactics regarding newspapers in source 1, the Deutsche Wochenshau ‘was the only source of information the Germans received of the outside world. ‘ ‘The Nazis also made extensive use of film because they recognised… that film was one of the most influential means of reaching a mass audience. ‘ This shows that Nazis acknowledged the best ways to carry out Nazi propaganda, so tactically made ‘extensive use’ of them. Furthermore, Goebbels, as head of his own credit bank, ‘advanced considerable sums to filmmakers who spoke the language of National Socialism.

This further highlights the effort put behind Nazi propaganda in ensuring its effectiveness. I feel the information given in source 2 can also be trusted as again it is from a recent history book that is focusing on facts rather than opinions. Again source 3 supports the view that the Nazis were very much in control of their propaganda, and in choosing which institutions they utilized it: ‘We make no bones about the fact that the radio belongs to us and to no one else. This underlines the fact that the Nazis were in absolute control to use propaganda where and how they pleased. The source goes on to show how Goebbels dictates the style in which journalist are permitted to write: ‘At all costs avoid being boring… in a way which is modern, up to date, interesting, instructive, but not schoolmaterish. ‘ This relates back to source 1 in which Goebbels states ‘Any person with the slightest spark of honour in them will take good care in future not to become a journalist.

The idea that journalists must be imaginative and interesting supports the view that Nazi propaganda was effective to some, but not all. As shown in source 5, some people found these Nazi influenced newspapers to be instruments which ‘had become a remorseless hammer beat of superlatives which… successfully defeated their own ends. ‘ Some people could see what the Nazis were attempting to do; ‘… a rather turgid sheet, which had the reputation of having developed quite a technique in camouflaged reporting. Furthermore, ‘It seemed that others had been brought up to think likewise. ‘ This supports the view that Nazi propaganda was ineffective, and there were a considerable amount of people who were not taken in by it. Source 5 finishes by stating that The Times was ‘often sold out. ‘ This can support both views. Either the Nazi propaganda was ineffective to many, as people were buying an alternative paper, or that the Nazis were carrying out their propaganda techniques effectively, as people were only able to read what they wanted them to.

The evidence given in sources 3 and 5 cannot be relied upon too heavily as they are both written by people on the opposite ends of the spectrum. Goebbels in source 4 is likely to be supporting the ways in which Nazi propaganda was carried out, whereas an opponent of the regime as in source 5 is likely to be dismissing them. Furthermore they only represent one persons view, giving a limited viewpoint to how other groups felt. Source 4 continues the view that Nazi propaganda was very ineffective; ‘… nthusiasm had fallen to the point where Northeimers had made themselves conspicuous at the beginning of celebrations. ‘ In brief, many people did not want to attend Nazi propaganda speeches and resorted to hiding so that they didn’t have to go. As a result, the Nazi’s were left with no choice but to force people to attend these meetings: ‘The entire population of Northeim must appear! ‘ This shows the desperation of the Nazi Party who now had to force people into listening to their propaganda against their own free will. It also exposed weaknesses to itself in that people had lost confidence for them.

People were told that it was their ‘duty’ to attend meetings and ‘to bring several others. ‘ The Nazis were forced into making desperate attempts in order to gain support from these ‘bored’ and ‘exhausted’ people. This source is also limited in its usefulness and reliability. It only focuses on a ‘Single German Town’ so is not representative of the whole population. Moreover, it only looks at the years 1934-1935. These years could have been a ‘blip’ for the Nazi Party or on the other hand, things may have got increasingly worse for the Nazis.

From my own knowledge I know that Nazi propaganda was largley effective. Goebbels realized the importance of having a perfect, profound, and above all credible image if he wanted be successful with his propaganda. He tried to achieve this through a variety of institutions. Cinema attendance figures increased with more and more people going to see Nazi influenced films. In 1933 the number of moviegoers was 250 million; in 1942 it had increased to 1,000 million. Goebbels and his propaganda ministry made the films entertaining whilst incorporating propaganda into them as well.

Hitler was represented by a great, influential figure such as a king or a war hero. This proves that Nazi propaganda was working effectively, and many were taken in by what they were watching. In 1933 4. 5 million German households had radio access. The Nazis were able to influence people directly. In 1940 up to 16 million households were able to listen to the radio. Propaganda transmitted by radio became the most effective tool of all as it allowed the Nazis to influence the highest number of people at any one time.

A factor of the success of Radio was its personal nature. While the cinema and rallies were experienced with others, the radio had the enigmatic ability for the Nazi party to communicate with people in their own homes. This therefore increased the effectiveness of Nazi propaganda as people were targeted when they were most vulnerable. Political broadcasts were often made during working hours during in which time work was suspended so that the workers could listen to the Fuhrer. However, many people questioned the credibility of what they were being told.

Furthermore, people began to realize that the Nazi regime was more concerned with helping themselves than the German people. Youngsters in the Hitler Youth Movement also questioned the Nazi policies. An ex-Hitler Youth member quoted from Life in the Third Reich ‘every order I was given contained a threat. ‘ This kind of resentment to the Nazis also drove other young Germans away from such Nazi organizations. Thus the Edelweiss Pirates and other organizations were formed as an alternative to the Hitler Youth. They were anti-Nazis and would often perform activities such as assaulting Hitler Youth members.

The audacity of these young people’s actions, in the face of severe punishments, underlines their commitment to resisting the system that tried to influence them. To conclude, the Nazi’s propaganda programme, was in many respects was very successful. There were a large majority of people who genuinely believed and supported what they were being told. By the late 1930’s Hitler was admired by 90 percent of all Germans. Many others, who were not so indoctrinated by it, were at least pleased to see a regime that was intent on making Germany a powerful nation again.

There were also people who could see straight through it, but were too scared to act out, so instead just chose to tolerate it. Lastly there were also those opposed to the regime. However, I believe this was a minority to in comparison to these other groups, so therefore they could do little to prevent the force of the Nazis and their propaganda machine. Overall, whether or not German people were actually taken in by Nazi propaganda, it was generally effective in ensuring support and votes for the party.

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