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Background: This essay was published a year after the Nazis took power, and is part of an effort to persuade propagandists that their work had only begun. It comes from the Nazi monthly for propagandists.

The source: “Das Wesen der heutigen Propaganda,” Unser Wille und Weg, 4 (1934), pp. 299-301.


The Nature of Contemporary Propaganda

by Alfred Dietz


The struggle of our movement entered a new phase with the seizure of power [in 1933]. After years in the opposition, since the already historic date of 30 January 1933 the entire responsibility for the nation rests on the shoulders of the men who created the movement, and who pressed courageously onward in good as well as bad days. This fundamental transformation of every area of life requires changes in methods within the party and its subsidiaries.

Naturally propaganda, from the beginning the decisive factor in our movement, is not immune. It was and will remain a tool of our movement. Not everyone seems to have understood the instrumental character of propaganda. More than ever before, the idea and worldview of our Führer are at the center of our struggle. Propagandaís only goal is to serve them, to support them in word and picture along the entire battlefront.

Its task is to free those who today still are rooted and anchored in the foreign ideas of liberalism and Marxism, to make them feel, think and act according to National Socialism, to bring them to the point where they judge and evaluate everything according to National Socialist principles.

The sole task of the propagandist today is to support the will and policy of the government and to help anchor its laws in the people. To do that, it is necessary to keep informed on current events.

Not what was, but what is, that must be the center of the propagandistís work. The rapid pace of events forbids that we stay mired in the past.

It is therefore necessary that local group leaders make every effort to appoint the best activists to the post of propagandist. They must always be in the position to adjust to conditions, to find new ideas and methods that will attract and inspire the people. Not just any party member is suited to be a propaganda leader just because he has been given the task. Only the best is good enough to be a propaganda leader.

We do not have the right to sit back and enjoy the glories of our power, rather we have the duty to secure and increase it. We make a grave error if we believe that we can use power to order the people to attend our mass meetings and meetings. He who behaves in such a way proves that he has learned nothing. How often did we see during the System period [1919-1933] that despite all the pressure and chicanery direct against us, it was we who emerged the stronger. He who uses force today proves only that he has not realized that brute force achieves the opposite of its goal. Propaganda has nothing to do with compulsion; methods that use compulsion have nothing to do with propaganda.

The task of propaganda is to communicate the nature and content of our will to the broad masses in the most simple and understandable way. “Propaganda acquaints the masses with particular facts, events, necessities, etc., whose significance thereby becomes clear to them.” (Hitler: Mein Kampf)

National Socialism cannot be understood only from the rational point of view. The propaganda leader has the task of finding the proper emotional form to appeal to the inner nature of the various groups within the population. One must avoid getting lost in details. Propaganda must always avoid the mistake of becoming cramped. Rather, it must be “popular and its intellectual level must be at a level so as to be understood even by the least intelligent of those to whom it is directed.” (Hitler: Mein Kampf)

The referendum of 19 August shows that 10% of the German people still do not support us. We must do everything possible to win the greater part of them for the National Socialist state.

We must once again hit the streets and go door-to-door, we must speak to people individually, just as we did when we were in the opposition. We must do everything in our power to show the laggards the infallible rightness of our will. Free yourself of the sentiment entirely out of character for a National Socialist: “It isn’t worth talking to him!”

Our propaganda carried the power and strength of the Führerís idea and worldview to the people. Now propaganda leaders must see to it that the idea is driven deeper and deeper into the German people.

 

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