Goebbel’s Propaganda Principles

Published: 19th March 2015 06:08 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th March 2015 06:08 AM   |  A+A-

Every Nazi man and woman espoused the racist ideology of their party and poured venom on the Jews  whenever they got the opportunity to do so. But Hitler had appointed one man in this government whose sole task was propaganda for the Nazi Party.

In 1933 when Adolf Hitler became chancellor of Germany, he named Joseph Goebbels (1897-1945) who was his trusted friend and colleague, to the key post of minister for public enlightenment and propaganda.

Goebbels’ task was to present Hitler to the public in the most favourable light, regulate the content of all German media and, most importantly, to foment anti-Semitism.

Goebbels’ brutal campaign forced Jewish artists, musicians, actors, directors, newspaper and magazine editors into unemployment. He staged a public burning of books that were considered un-German and spearheaded the production of Nazi propaganda films and other projects. 

Goebbels was fiercely loyal to Hitler and remained in this post till the end of World War II in 1945.  It was crystal clear that Germany had lost the war and it was a matter of time before the Allies stormed German cities. Rather than suffer the ignominy of surrender, Hitler and his partner Evan Braun committed suicide.

On May 1, 1945, following the suicide of his mentor, Goebbels and his wife poisoned their six children and then killed themselves.

Goebbels was born in 1897 in Rheydt, Germany, an industrial city located in the Rhineland. Due to a club foot caused by an attack of osteomyelitis in his childhood, which causes a swelling of the bone marrow, the young Goebbels was exempted from service in the German army during World War I.  He concentrated on academics, studying literature and philosophy and went on to earn a PhD in German philology from Heidelberg University.

Today, Goebbels’s name is synonymous with the poisonous Nazi party propaganda and his virulent campaign of anti-Semitism. In light of his despicable record, the biggest irony is that Goebbels favourite school teachers were Jewish and at one time, he was even engaged to a young woman who was part-Jewish.  How could he have betrayed his Jewish teachers and friends in this way?

Goebbels became a member of the National Socialist German Workers’ (Nazi) Party, the cornerstone of which was German pride and anti-Semitism. It was only a matter of time before the ambitious Goebbels became acquainted with the organisation’s leader, Adolf Hitler. This was a time when Germany was passing through trying times and inflation had wrecked the German economy. The morale of the German citizenry was at its nadir.

Hitler and Goebbels were both ambitious and realised that the time was ripe for potent devices like words and images to be used to exploit this discontent. Hitler was particularly impressed with Goebbels’ ability to communicate his thoughts in writing and Goebbels was enamoured by Hitler’s talent for engaging with large crowds and employing words and gestures to whip up German nationalistic pride.

history.jpgThis relationship based on mutual admiration would catapult both men to dizzying heights of power for the entire duration of the war until their decimation when the game was over for Germany.

Goebbels quickly rose up the ranks of the Nazi Party and was soon a part of the charmed circle in the highest echelons of the party and in 1928 he was elected to the Reichstag, the German Parliament.

As the Nazi Party propaganda director, the resourceful Goebbels started working on his strategy of creating the myth of Hitler as a brilliant and decisive leader and the massive political gatherings presented Hitler as the saviour of a new Germany.

Goebbels ensured that the strategic placing of movie cameras and microphones at pivotal locations enhanced Hitler’s image and voice. This strategy was immensely successful and soon the German people became convinced that their country would regain its honour only by giving unwavering support to Hitler. 

Goebbels had an iron hand over the content of German newspapers, magazines, books, music, films, stage plays, radio programmes and fine arts and any  opposition to Hitler was brutally censored.

His twin objectives of presenting the chancellor and the Nazi Party in the most positive light possible and stirring up hatred for Jewish people were enormously successful and Hitler could not have found a better man to carry out his murderous mission.


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