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How did the Nazis use propaganda to win the hearts and minds of the German people

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Introduction

How did the Nazis use propaganda to win the hearts and minds of the German people? According to Joseph Goebbels on the Third Reich, "Propaganda was our sharpest weapon in conquering the state and remains our sharpest weapon in maintaining and building up the state." These words would prove fateful for the German nation in years to come. How they could have been swept into the schemes of such a turbulent government is something to be debated. Throughout the 1920s and early 1930s, Germany had been left in a state of disarray socially, economically and politically. The German people had become disillusioned and vulnerable by their fragmented governing. The problems facing the nation opened a window to the Nazis to employ their propaganda skills, winning the hearts and manipulating the minds of their people, indoctrinating them with their Weltanschauung; a new fascist ideology. "Propaganda attempts to force a doctrine on the whole people... Propaganda works on the general public from the standpoint of an idea and makes them ripe for the victory of this idea." It was Adolf Hitler's book Mein Kampf in which he first advocated the use of propaganda to spread the ideals of National Socialism, promoting anti-Semitism and anti-Marxism. ...read more.

Middle

It demonstrated discipline and motivation. Schools and youth groups were used by the Nazis to achieve their aims from starting early. These two major institutions were used to train up impressionable individuals to mould for the Volksgemeinschaft. Their parents were adhering to the regime so were willing to volunteer their offspring. Hitler did achieve his wish for indoctrinating an entire generation to his way of thinking, yet their intellect lacked hope for future leaders of society. Hitler Youth set up in 1926 focused on offering fun and adventure to the young as it organised an array of activities ranging from camps to sport and military training. As it became more popular, the compulsory group became less successful as more emphasis was put on military training as opposed to leisure. Greater energy was put towards a more physically based education and academic education was downgraded. Girls were taught to become good homemakers and boys, good military leaders. From 1935 all textbooks had to be approved and eventually the Nazis realised the adverse effects of their education policy and strove to reverse its anti - intellectual stance. Overall, It failed as this tight regime made for outright rebellion and non-conformism materialising in the form of alternative youth groups such as the Edelweiss Pirates who became disillusioned by the Hitler Youth biased ideology. ...read more.

Conclusion

In retrospect, many will realise how they were swept into a vacuum of myths and falsehoods but at the time, it seemed better to believe this revolutionary government's ideas. It was better than the alternative option of non-conforming as it was evident that the nation's interests were adhered so it became unnecessary to dispute. It could still be argued as to whether it was Nazi instilled fear which forced the German people to comply, as they battled denial of the harsh reality around them or they simple became caught up in Hitler's manipulative game which seemed to act as the saviour to their troubles. By Mariella de Souza 12EAS. Later, as word of Nazi genocide spread to Allied nations, the Nazis used propaganda for a very different reason: to cover up atrocities. The Nazis forced concentration camp prisoners to send postcards home, stating that they were treated well and living in good conditions. In June 1944, the Nazis permitted an International Red Cross team to inspect the Theresienstadt ghetto in the former Czechoslovakia. In preparation for the visit, the ghetto underwent a beautification program. In the wake of the inspection, the Nazis produced a film using ghetto residents to show the benevolent treatment Jews supposedly received in Theresienstadt. When the film was completed, almost the entire "cast" was deported to the Auschwitz extermination camp. force to be reckoned with. ...read more.

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