Was propaganda used mainly to reassure, or to frighten
We can evaluate whether propaganda was used mainly to reassure or to frighten the German public by looking individually at each medium of propaganda used by the Nazis.
Newspapers were used mostly to reassure the German people by informing them of the successes of the German army abroad, their rallies and the powerful speeches of the Nazi leaders. It also reassured them by neglecting to include news of Nazi losses, even as they became more frequent towards the end of the war. However, one could argue newspapers frightened Jews through some of their clearly anti-Semitic articles.
Film, like newspapers, was used mostly to reassure the majority of the population whilst deliberately scaring Jews. The Nazis’ intention to reassure can be seen through the lack of overtly propagandist films, which was only about one sixth of the films they produced. The best illustration of the Nazi film industry’s anti-Semitism was the film Der Ewige Jüde, which compared Jews to rats.
At first glance, posters would have appeared to reassure the German people with positive slogans like ‘Ein Reich, Ein Volk, Ein Führer’, encouraging Germans to be proud of their country and the work their leader was appearing to do. But on the other hand, some posters had an underlying tone which frightened some through anti-Semitism and other through pressurizing them into agreeing with Nazi views that weren’t their own, like the image of the perfect mother.
Radio was used to reassure. Radios could only report news similar to what is describe above under newspapers. It was important to this form of propaganda reassured rather than frightened as it faced competition from foreign radio whose signals could still be picked up by older radios. However, the implementation of this medium of propaganda was frightening, with loudspeakers erected in public squares and workplaces.
Art both reassured and frightened the German public. The bans may have pleased some sections of society who found the art of the Weimar era too shocking. It would have frightened the artists whose work was banned after Entartete Kunst and their fans. However, on the whole, the Nazis’ actions on art avoid mass culture, so the majority of the population was not affected by the Nazis’ influence on this medium of propaganda.
The Nazis’ effect on literature in the Third Reich caused the German population to be frightened, apart from a minority who would have agreed with the Nazi actions. The book burning of 1933 would have shown the Nazis to be especially radical, which would have frightened some conservative Germans.
In conclusion, overall Nazi propaganda was intended to reassure the majority of the German public. This was because the Nazis needed the population to think their government was successful, and could not risk the majority of their citizens not taking their sides, as this may have lead to a revolution against them.