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How effective was propaganda in affecting the way people acted and thought

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Introduction

How effective was propaganda in affecting the way people acted and thought? The Nazis used various methods of propaganda before and throughout the Second World War in order to gain total control of the German people. Of course, it was a gradual process but surely enough, the country soon became a totalitarian state; with every aspect of society monitored and controlled by the government. Manpower played a huge role in this, with Gestapo, SA (which became the SS after the Night of the Long Knives, regular police and Nazi party members ensuring discipline and communal support of the Nazi ideals. With Minister of Propaganda, Joseph Goebels, at the helm the propaganda machine had huge influence both on the way people acted and thought. Or so it seems; but how effective was it in reality? Propaganda was incorporated into everything; indoctrination of schools was common, as children were particularly vulnerable and grew up in a society that taught them no different. ...read more.

Middle

Of course, it would be easy to say that this had huge impact on the German people and all agreed with the government. However, this was not the case! This is obviously true of some but for the rest, it was usually a fa�ade. The Nazi police state made it difficult and dangerous for Germans to object out rightly without facing the threat or reality of death or imprisonment. In itself, this would mean an adjustment in action for the majority of society who would have to appear as though they were adhering to the Nazi "code of conduct". Outwardly, many German people may appear to be "good Nazis" while their way of thinking lay unaffected. It could be said that aspects of propaganda were more effective than others due to the sheer mass of it in the country at the time. For example, radio speeches and rallies may have increased support for the F�hrer as they were somewhat personalised from a leader to his people. ...read more.

Conclusion

In conclusion, I feel that it was more sectorally effective than nationally, as children were perhaps the most targeted sect of society with the biggest effect. Also, it may be that certain aspects of the propaganda itself were better than others as the methods would have been highly efficient and successful if the policies weren't so preposterous. In spite of this, I believe that it will definitely have created a feeling of nationalism which in turn will have affected the way in which people behaved and thought. It may not have been in the way that the Nazis expected as, ultimately, their goal was to gain supporters and almost brainwash society into following them blindly and without question. But the sheer bombardment of the same message will largely have impacted upon behaviour within society, breeding a sense of suspicion among friends and fear in communities. Therefore, harassment and intimidation from the forces (such as the Gestapo, Staat-Polizei and SA members that still existed) played a role alongside the propaganda, which "encouraged" citizens to comply at least outwardly with the Nazis and its expectations. ...read more.

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