• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month
Page
  1. 1
    1
  2. 2
    2
  3. 3
    3
  4. 4
    4
  5. 5
    5
  6. 6
    6
  7. 7
    7
  8. 8
    8
  9. 9
    9
  10. 10
    10
  11. 11
    11

How significant was Nazi Propaganda in maintaining Hitler in power in the years 1933-39? The appointment of Adolf Hitler as chancellor of Germany in 1933 should

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Lee Waring HIS103 How significant was Nazi Propaganda in maintaining Hitler in power in the years 1933-39? The appointment of Adolf Hitler as chancellor of Germany in 1933 should, in theory, have been nothing more than merely a change of administration. However, from the start of their 'seizure of power' the Nazis were prepared to apply this power in 'revolutionary' ways. (Fest, 1974, p.373). In the elections of 1933 that resulted in Hitler's chancellorship, the Nazi party only managed to gain 43.9% of the vote; yet by 1939 they had the support of the majority of the German population. There has been much debate during the last fifty years, questioning how Nazism managed not only to have initially attained their power, but also, how they managed to maintain this power and so effortlessly and rapidly gain the support from the majority of the German people (Fest, 1974, p.374). There have been many factors which have been used to explain Hitler's maintenance of power from 1933-39, and the significance of propaganda has often been given much of the credit for this. William Shirer, who lived and worked in the Third Reich during the first half of its existence, wrote that no-one who has not lived for years in a totalitarian land can possibly conceive how difficult it is to escape the...consequences of a regime's calculated and incessant propaganda. (Shirer, 1962, p.248) However, what this essay will attempt to show is that whilst the significance of propaganda in maintaining Hitler in power cannot be underestimated, it is not all-pervasive; even Goebbel's "full bag of tricks could not turn black into white" (Kershaw, 1991, p.89). In order for propaganda to succeed it could, perhaps, be argued that it must have been able to exploit and 'interpret' existing political values, and also exploit Hitler's successes in both domestic and foreign policy. Moreover, underlying all of these arguments is the existence of terror and repression within the regime which cannot be ignored if attempting to ask why Hitler was able to maintain power from 1933-39. ...read more.

Middle

C.W. Guillebaud, a Cambridge Economist, emphasised the economic successes achieved during the Third Reich, such as solving the economic stagnation and problems of mass unemployment, as a cause for Hitler's maintenance of power. (The Third Reich - Politics and Propaganda, 1995, p.59). Figures show that compared to 1933 when over one third of the population were unemployed, by 1939 only 74 thousand people were unemployed and that there were over 1 million job vacancies. This is a massive achievement on the part of the regime and although Guillebaud goes on to say that there was a 'cynical book-keeping manoeuvre' in spring 1933 which wiped 1 million off the unemployment register, by autumn 1933 there was real work creation. (The Third Reich - Politics and Propaganda, 1995, p.59). It must be said that many of these jobs were created in 'labour camps', but nevertheless a considerable number of people were 'offered' tasks and jobs which, perhaps, boosted their self esteem and offered opportunities for promotion (Peukert, 1987, p.72). The economy also experienced an economic 'boom'. This was partly due to Hitler's re-armament programme, and partly due to an increase in industrialisation through programmes such as building the Autobahns, but nevertheless GNP rose from 58 thousand million in 1932, to 93 thousand million by 1937. (Peukert, 1987, p.69). However, although it could be argued, perhaps, that the 'successes' were enough on their own to guarantee Hitler in power, one cannot ignore the way in which propaganda exploited these successes. Even where there was some opposition, from industrial workers for example, who saw the economic 'miracle' in terms of increased working hours and reduced wages; they still welcomed the restoration of full employment and the economic upturn as portrayed in the propaganda. (The Third Reich - Politics and Propaganda, 1995, p.88) Propaganda also played an important role in convincing many workers that the economic 'miracle' was a direct result of Hitler's leadership. ...read more.

Conclusion

Furthermore, whilst Hitler clearly used violence as a means of repression following the 'seizure of power,' Kershaw tells us that his was not a constant over time. (Kershaw, 1991, p.63). He goes on to say that the numbers in concentration camps after the initial terror surge, fell for some years with numbers not rising again until 1938/9. Kershaw then goes on to say that the terror and repression was also highly selective, aimed only at people associated with Left Wing parties, or at an 'unloved' tiny majority such as Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, beggars and other 'anti social elements.' (Kershaw, 1991, pp.62-4). In conclusion, whilst the significance of propaganda cannot be ignored when considering how Hitler was able to maintain power from 1933-39, it would be an "over simplification to think of the German public as a 'tabula rasa' upon which the regime drew whatever picture it wished" (Welch, The Third Reich - Politics and Propaganda, 1995, p.51) Without concrete achievements, propaganda alone would not have been able to sustain the positive image of Hitler. Arguably, much of Hitler's popularity, perhaps, came from the scale of his both his domestic achievements and his many foreign policy successes after 1933. There are those however who would argue that Hitler's maintenance of power was possible because the "opposition was crushed, broken, cowed and neutralised through unprecedented and unmitigated levels of repression by the Nazi state" (Kershaw, 1991, p.75) and therefore that the "weakness of the opposition [was] the strength of the regime."(Kershaw, 1991, p.65). Nevertheless, the basic consent for Hitler lay, perhaps, due to one of Goebbels' most significant successes. Through the use of propaganda and the creation of the 'Hitler myth,' it was possible to separate Hitler from the increasingly negative image of the Nazi party (Welch, Nazi Propaganda, 1983, p.185) and the positive image of Hitler was then used to counterbalance the use of terror. Indeed Emil Lederer, a contemporary observer argued that winning over the masses was not merely more important than brutality as a means of control, but was the "necessary pre-requisite for the use of terror."(Hiden et al, 1983, p. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Germany 1918-1939 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Germany 1918-1939 essays

  1. How was Hitler able to win Power by 1933?

    Hitler's talent as an energetic public speaker was second to none, his passion and strong beliefs on the ways Germany should be governed inspired the German people at a point when national morale was low. Hitler believed that he had been called by God to become dictator of Germany and furthermore the world.

  2. How important was the Enabling Act to Adolf Hitler?

    The SA were Nazis but not completely loyal to Hitler. Many were law unto themselves and Hitler could not always control them. They demanded that the Nazi Party carry out its socialist agenda and that the SA take over the army.

  1. Free essay

    How important was propaganda to Nazi control over Germany in the years 1934-39?

    Education was changed dramatically it was anti Jew because Hitler wanted all young people to grow up hating Jews. The main function was to create Nazis p.e was the main lesson, to make them fit for war when they were older.

  2. Did Hitler succeed in creating a Volksgemeinschaft?

    The future role of the girls was to be good mothers and be the perfect housekeeper and wife for the working men. Their lessons were based around looking after the home and family. Biology lessons were used to teach Nazi racial ideas i.e.

  1. 'The Hitler State'- how valid is this view of the Third Reich?

    After the enabling act there was no limit to its power and after another law passed on the 10th Feb 1936 it placed the Gestapo above the law, allowing them to decide what it was themselves. They may have become so powerful because they had the willing support of the people who frequently volunteered information.

  2. To What Extent Was Nazi Germany a Totalitarian State 1933-1939?

    Women were encouraged to domestic work in society. Many women were supportive of this policy with the creation of the women's front in 1933. However women who worked professionally were attacked by this policy. For instance from 1936 no women could serve as a judge and women were no longer accepted for jury duty.

  1. What was the role and significance of Joseph Goebbels in the Nazis regime 1933-45?

    Goring's relationship with Himmler, Hess and Goebbels was not good because he believed that they anted to steal power. Goebbels was disliked by all of the Nazis because they called him "Black Dwarf" or "Our little doctor." However, Goebbels was closely associated with the let-wing views of Rohm and Strasser and Speer was a close ally to Goebbels.

  2. To what extent did the Nazis achieve an economic miracle in Germany between 1933-1939?

    Autarky, as already mentioned, means self-sufficiency. In other words, Hitler wanted Germany to be less dependant on imports. Hitler's idea of autarky involved three key features. They were to expand domestic production, develop substitutes for certain raw materials and to expand abroad in countries such as Austria and Czechoslovakia.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work