Background: The Nazis had a large corps of propagandists at the local level, who needed training. Some of the best material for such propagandists comes from the Austrian part of the Reich, perhaps because propagandists there needed to be trained rather quickly after Hitler took over Austria in 1938. In any event, this is a translation of a small book published in 1942 that told propagandists what they needed to know. It was intended primarily for local group propaganda leaders, but notes that it will also be useful for anyone engaged in making party propaganda. It provides a detailed summary of what the Nazi propaganda system expected to happen at the local level, though as this book sometimes notes in passing, things did not always work as they were supposed to.
As background, the Reichspropagandaleitung was the Nazi Party’s central propaganda office. The country was then divided into Gaue, or regions. They were divided into counties (Kreise), which were further divided into local groups (Ortsgruppen). There were propagandists at each level.
The source: Franz J. Huber, ed., Propagandisten-Fibel. Herausgegeben vom Gaupropagandaamt Oberdonau der NSDAP (Wels: Leitner & Co, 1942).
A Propaganda Primer
This handbook for propagandists was prepared by the following officials of the Gaupropagandaamt [Gau propaganda office] Oberdonau of the NSDAP: Leo Bauer, Robert Gessner, Ferri Hietler, Friedrich Koch, Walther Streitfeld, Karl Struckl, and Herbert A. Zieband. It was put together by Dr. Franz H. Huber.
This book is not available in bookstores, but rather exclusively at offices of the NSDAP.
Reichspropagandaleiter Dr. Goebbels:
Gauleiter August Eigruber:
Table of Contents
Words from the Reichspropagandaleiter
Words from the Gauleiter
This little booklet brings together the most important tasks of the propagandist. It is primarily intended to guide the activity of the Ortsgruppenpropagandaleiter of the NSDAP [local group propaganda leader], but with appropriate allowances it is also useful for the work of all other propagandists of the movement, no matter what position they may hold in the party’s divisions or affiliated organizations. Their task is to thoroughly present the entire German people with the National Socialist worldview, and to explain to it the achievements of the leadership of the party and state. The tremendous significance of this task has been proved by the war, in which the work of propagandists is critical for general morale and thereby for the spiritual powers of resistance of the German people. Obviously, effective propaganda is possibly only when it is unified. Only unified slogans spread by a tightly organized organization explain the power of National Socialism’s ideas during the struggle for power, which won over millions of the German people until first the majority, then the entire population, supported Adolf Hitler. The tested methods of propaganda and all the related areas that influence general morale and make it possible to lead people were, therefore, maintained after the takeover of power.
The whole propaganda of the NSDAP and its divisions and affiliated organizations, is in the hands of the Reichspropagandaleiter [Goebbels]. He determines their propaganda activities. The most important areas relevant to this task are “active propaganda,” culture, film, radio, and finally cooperation with all divisions, clubs, and other relevant organizations, which are organized into the so-called Reich Ring (Gauring, Kreisring, Ortsring). There are also other particular areas, such as press propaganda, which must maintain contact with the NSDAP press apparatus, the Reich Federation for Damage Prevention, and other groups that in most cases function only at the Reich or Gau level.
This system corresponds to the various areas of the movement’s propagandists, who are in direct contact with the population, in particular the local group propaganda leader of the NSDAP. His subordinates include the heads of various departments — although they often exist only on paper, given personnel shortages — and he is responsible for the overall conduct of propaganda within his area. The entire propaganda of the NSDAP, its divisions and affiliated organizations, is under his authority. He is also responsible for the propaganda work of all other offices within his area, and is responsible for ensuring their unified cooperation. The local propaganda ring assists him in this task.
The Organisationsbuch der NSDAP [the party organization handbook] provides little information on the ways and means with which the propaganda leader is to carry out his responsibilities. Ordinarily, he will receive detailed guidelines from above for particular campaigns. However, in the future, as in the past during the domestic struggle, the first rule for each propagandist will be to use his own initiative. The propagandist in the local group is the one nearest to the people. He has the most direct contact with the manifold changes in the moods and attitudes of the various circles within the population. He sees with his own eyes and hears with his own ears what party members and citizens think of actions by the leadership of the party and state. He knows the personal influence he has and can constantly check the impact he is having and find better ways to carry out his duties.
We now turn to the most important tasks of the local group propaganda leader. We will not provide dry and barren rules, but rather lively and understandable answers to the questions the propagandist faces in his daily work.
Other areas of propaganda, for example film, radio, etc., are rather precisely defined by their nature. The area of “active propaganda” is essentially unbounded. In general, one cannot exhaust the scope of propaganda in a barren plan. That is even less possible with active propaganda. It includes all methods of influencing the population, in as far as they are not covered by particular areas like the press, radio, etc. Your most important method of propaganda is probably the spoken word in mass meetings, meetings, cell evenings, and not least, face-to-face propaganda. However, “active propaganda” also works with pictures, with the written word in any form that seems useful, with posters, leaflets, showcases, etc. The following points give an overview of the most important parts of the varied work of an active propagandist in the local group, which will probably fall into the personal responsibility of the local group propaganda leader just about everywhere.
Each local group has showcases and bulletin boards for the NSDAP, its divisions and affiliated organizations, and of other clubs and bodies. These showcases are a mirror of the local group. If all the showcases are in order, one can be almost certain that the overall state of the local group is good. The local group propaganda leader is not responsible only for the party’s showcases, but also for those of all other offices. He must ensure that they look good, are up-to-date, and are consistent with National Socialist thinking. Only a good and constantly updated showcase fulfills its task. A bad showcase not only does no good, but is harmful. The local group propaganda leader should note bad showcases, or those of divisions, organizations and clubs that are not maintained at all. If several warnings do not result in improvements, he should either use them for another purpose or have them removed altogether.
All showcases and announcement boards that belong to the NSDAP are under the direct supervision of the Ortsgruppenleiter, and must be exemplary. Fresh material is regularly available for this purpose:
The “Picture of the Week” consists of four current pictures with a common theme. Each local group gets it weekly.
Each local group subscribes to the “Slogan of the Week.” It can either be posted as a whole or put in a showcase, appropriately cut into sections.
The “Quotation of the Week” provides a quotation from a leading German in elegant form. It provides a good focus for a showcase, and can be supplemented with pictures.
Periodically, particularly for national occasions, local groups receive material from the showcase service of the Reichspropandaleitung or the Gau propaganda office, which naturally should be the center of showcases.
Beyond that, each enterprising propagandist can find his own material in the daily press and illustrated magazines to use in showcases, providing a personal note as well as variety. The local group itself usually subscribes to a useful major newspaper or illustrated magazine.
The material used in showcases must be used in an attractive way. Random clippings and pictures may not be posted in a jumble, but rather everything must be organized and should have a clear theme. Less is usually better than more in this regard. It is best to have two or three items with a suitable background and appropriate text.
If one lacks the necessary talent in drawing and handwriting, he must get an assistant, who can usually be found without much difficulty in the ranks of the Hitler Youth.
The following four pages have pictures from a single town, including this picture of a nearly completed model showcase.
2. Poster propaganda
The principles for showcases apply as well to posters. Posters are normally used to advertise meetings and other party gatherings, but also in special cases for general information. There are picture and text posters. When poster propaganda is used for one purpose or another, they must be posted in all available places. There are three possibilities:
The following principle is important in hanging posters:
An outdated or weather-damaged poster in no way beautifies the area. Each poster should thus not only be hung well and in a timely manner, but should also be removed or covered over when it is no longer relevant.
3. Leaflet propaganda
Showcases and posters reach the public by themselves. Leaflets and flyers usually are effective only with personal contact. Leaflets and flyers for major events are usually organized at the Reich or Gau level. However, it is both possible and recommended that local groups use these propaganda methods to advertise local events. At times when it is necessary to save paper, one will limit them to the most necessary occasions.
As already mentioned, personal contact between propagandists and the public is necessary if leaflets and flyers are to be effective. Leaflet propaganda is most effective when the distributor does not simply give them out in silence, but rather personally explains something about them that makes their importance clear.
Leaflets coming from higher authorities, naturally, are to be distributed as fast as possible. Block leaders and block wardens often resist such tasks, saying that they are not message boys. Their feelings are understandable, given the general level of overwork, but it is not acceptable. Distributing leaflets, notices, and announcements was one of our best tactics during the period when the party was illegal. Then arrest and ruin threatened those party members who diligently and enthusiastically distributed NSDAP leaflets. Even though no one will be arrested today for distributing NSDAP leaflets, today is still a time of struggle, a struggle against indifference, against being comfortable, against complaining, against cowardice, sometimes even against treason. Today and in the future, the propagandist has job after job to do. That is his contribution to the struggle, and the small tasks that block leaders and block wardens perform are no less important than work during the period of illegality. Distributing NSDAP leaflets is no mere piece of busywork, but rather active and important work in service of the National Socialist idea!
4. Banner campaigns
Banners have proved to be a particularly effective method of propaganda. Each local group should have a supply of banners ready for various occasions. They can be made of cloth or waterproofed paper. They can be used over streets, on building walls, railway stations, other heavily-traveled areas, and particularly at mass meetings. Banners with their headlines are both advertising and decorative, but they must be well-cared for. Banners torn by wind may not be allowed to hang for days, but should either be immediately repaired or removed. Whenever possible, banners should be hung and removed by trained personnel (fire departments, technicians). After use, banners should be dried, cleaned, and kept for the next occasion. A local group with a supply of good banners will not be caught by surprise.
5. NSDAP public meetings
Organizing and carrying out NSDAP public meetings is doubtless one of the most important jobs of a propaganda leader. This theme is therefore treated in a separate chapter of this book.
6. Major events
Major events require special preparations. These include events that will attract 5,000 participants or more. They are of the most varied natures, including:
In each case, the propagandist is partially or fully responsible for the preparation and conduct of the event, and must therefore be fully aware of everything that is done.
We will consider the most common form of major event as an example: the mass meeting. First, the meeting hall must be secured. If an appropriate hall is available, it must be used. Normally, however, there will not be an enclosed space large enough for the mass meeting, which therefore has to be held outside. The best option in an enclosed area. Only in case of absolute necessity should one use open fields, sport fields, etc.
The first requirement is the appropriate decoration of the space, particularly the speaking platform, where the flags and standards will be displayed. The buildings around the space must be decorated with flags. The entire place should be a forest of flags.
All methods of propaganda should be used to ensure a large attendance. The affiliated organizations and factory groups should march in together. The organization of the marching should always be done by the SA or the SS, with the police providing the necessary barriers. To encourage the largest possible attendance of citizens, newspapers, radio, posters, leaflets, and loudspeaker trucks should be used and each citizen should be invited personally by his block leader to attend.
Special assistance for first aid, the fire department, technical assistance, and the Reich Labor Service should be secured in good time. A loudspeaker system should be reserved with the radio office in the Gau propaganda office. Arrangements should be made for radio coverage. Proper lighting needs to be arranged for evening events, as well as spotlights and searchlights.
The press must be invited to major events. They can be invited through the Gau press office.
7. Slide shows
It took much time and effort for public slide shows to gain their proper place in the propaganda system. To understand their importance, one must realize that one can reach and win citizens through them who otherwise do not visit National Socialist meetings.
The following principles apply to slide shows:
In advertising, including posters and other methods, the word “film” may not be used. That will only deceive the visitor and achieve the opposite result from that which is intended, namely disappointment. It is also very important that the equipment is tested at least an hour before the beginning so that any technical problems can be resolved.
The course of a slide show is the same as any other NSDAP public meeting. The Ortsgruppenleiter opens the meeting in uniform, and turns the meeting over to the speaker. He should speak for about 20 minutes about the political situation and current events, then turn to the theme, and in the darkened hall allow the pictures to speak. The speaker should not read the text that accompanies the slides, but speak extemporaneously. When possible, the latest newsreel should be shown after the slide show, followed by 10 to 15 minutes of further comments by the speaker once the lights come on again. After the speech, which at the most should run 75 minutes, the Ortsgruppenleiter will close the slide show by honoring the Führer [by leading the audience in shouting “Heil Hitler!”]
If a slide show follows these rules, its success is assured. Such speeches will be in constant demand in the local group. One must always remember that a slide show is not entertainment, but rather serious educational work to strengthen our people’s desire to achieve and build its will to resist.
All exhibitions also fall under the responsibility of the propaganda leader. Under current conditions, these are almost always limited to big cities. However, the Reichspropagandaleitung plans to prepare smaller exhibitions that can also be used at the county level. Thus, propagandists may have to deal with exhibitions. It is also possible to organize a local exhibition to strengthen propaganda activity. These might include art exhibitions, agricultural shows, local slide shows, and above all exhibitions on the local achievements of the NSDAP that can be presented in words, pictures, and displays. Such exhibitions can be particularly valuable in rural areas. A propaganda leader in a larger local group should therefore always try to secure exhibitions. If he succeeds, appropriate decorations are necessary, along with a ceremonial opening and appropriate press coverage.
9. Face-to-face propaganda
Today no less than during the struggle for power, face-to-face propaganda is an essential part of National Socialist propaganda. There are always events and measures that for various reasons cannot be covered in the press or on the radio, but which citizens must know about. It may be announcing and carrying out a new policy, or informing the population about an event. Since in these cases all other means of reaching the broad masses of our people are ruled out, the instruction to “spread this by face-to-face propaganda” must be taken seriously by all propagandists. Only in this way can we prevent false opinions and therefore nip the resulting morale problems in the bud. NSDAP block leaders and members of clubs are the first to pass on the information they receive. Face-to-face propaganda is the best way to deal with rumors, which must be answered by propagandists immediately with the appropriate information. Normally, the slogans and material for face-to-face propaganda will be provided by the Gau propaganda office. However, when it is necessary in a particular area, propaganda leaders should act on their own initiative.
10. Caring for soldiers and the wounded
Caring for soldiers and the wounded is one of the most pleasant of the party’s tasks. Propagandists in particular have many opportunities in this regard. Above all, the propagandist should be sure that returning comrades are informed of work in the homeland, that they are provided with brochures and books, etc. If a hospital is in the area, the local group propaganda leader must see to it that the wounded receive regular care. They should be provided with reading material as well as events at the hospital in ways that both entertain them and provide worldview instruction.
* * *Those are the most important points relevant to active propaganda in the local group. Applying them will result in smoothly functioning, broad, and fruitful propaganda.
NSDAP public meetings are treated in a separate chapter, given their particular importance in the area of active propaganda. The significance the Führer places on meetings is plain from the following sentences:
The NSDAP uses public meetings to fill the German people with its political will. Therefore, the meeting, in which the speaker uses his entire personality to transmit the will of the Führer, is the main weapon of National Socialist propaganda. Keeping this weapon always sharp and powerful is the most important task of party leaders and propagandists. The public meeting gives the party leader an instrument with which he can influence the mood of the population as the time and the conditions require. It is therefore not enough simply to hold a meeting. A meeting must be thought out. The public will always judge the party by the way it conducts its meetings. If the meetings are good, they will have a favorable attitude toward the party. If they meetings are bad, they will have a bad attitude about the party. And higher party offices will evaluate a local group by the success of its meetings.
1. Preparation and organization
The timing of meetings is primarily determined by the relevant political leader. If for some reason there is to be a wave of meetings or a campaign, this will usually be decided by the Gau propaganda office in consultation with the county leaders. A wave of meetings is when a series of mass meetings is held on one day or in a few days. If there is to be a mass meeting in a local group, the appropriate meeting hall should be secured promptly. Naturally, only the largest and most attractive available hall in each area will be chosen. In consultation with the local ring for National Socialist Public Education and Propaganda, an overlap with the meetings of other formations, clubs, or organizations is to be avoided. A party event may not get lost in the midst of a flood of other attractive activities. Conditions in some areas are such that not every day or every time is suitable for a meeting. Since attracting as many people as possible is important, timing must always be considered.
Once the date of a meeting is firm, it is time to use all available means of propaganda to encourage attendance. The necessity of reaching every individual with advertising is often overlooked. Just as during the struggle for power, each citizen must be reached. Each party member is obligated to bring one or two people along. The Ortsgruppenleiter will have instructed block and cell leaders to encourage attendance through appropriate face-to-face propaganda. It has proven effective to distribute flyers that give the topic, speaker, place, and time of the meeting. The political leader will call on his subordinate political leaders, and on the wardens of the party’s subsidiary and affiliated organizations. Contact men of all the other organizations who are part of the local Ring for National Socialist Public Enlightenment and Propaganda will be invited to a planning meeting and instructed to promote attendance by members of their groups. Organizations like the NSKOV, the Reich League of Veterans, the SA, the SS, the NSFK, the HJ, and BM, etc., should attend as a group. The political leader will work with the head of the DAF [German Labor Front] to inform all companies and shops in their area about the meeting. They should sign a paper stating that they have been informed. The military, the Reich Labor Service, and other agencies will also be invited. Students or schools will inform parents about the meeting. In short, everyone in the whole community should know that the party is holding a meeting on this or that day. The advertising will be supplemented by hanging posters and, if possible, by a short news item in the press.
3. Decorating the meeting hall
The arrangements for the meeting hall are a separate chapter of meeting propaganda. Each meeting, both in its decorations and in the speech that is its center, must be conducted in a way that will give citizen a clear picture of the inner strength and unity of the party. The scale of the meeting determines its appearance. The Gau propaganda office provides a series of options that take account of various meeting spaces. Providing models for large meeting halls is very difficult, for here the scale of the room has a major impact. If difficulties arise in such cases, one can turn to the Gau propaganda office, which will make suggestions. Despite the temporary nature of the decorations, one should always avoid bad taste and carelessness. Artificial greenery is not an option. There will usually be electric lighting. In such cases, gold garlands and gold oak leaves may be used. Pictures and busts of the Führer must be of the appropriate size. Using real greenery is encouraged. Take care in securing appropriate tree branches and flowers. Before cutting branches from trees, contact the forester or the local farming leader. Since the meeting hall will be used often, it is advisable to secure decorations that can be used repeatedly. This is particularly true for party symbols, flags, wreaths, white and red cloth, etc. Party symbols, if at all possible, should be hand-made. The speaker’s platform should be decorated in a way that does not obstruct the decorations on the wall behind it. A hand-made podium is recommended, with a carved wooden eagle, since this will be used repeatedly. The seating layout must correspond to the hall. (Remove restaurant tables, etc.!) Keeping an open center aisle is essential when there is to be an entrance march with flags. In larger halls, pleated cloth wall hangings with folds leading to a central point are much more effective than flat cloth hangings, particularly with proper illumination. The use of three-dimensional swastikas, party symbols, etc., is to be preferred over two-dimensional ones. Remember that everything must fit the given hall. Securing artistically-trained assistance is recommended. The drawings provided give suggestions for a variety of conditions. They show what is possible. Using them as a starting point, each propagandist will be able to find the proper solution.
4. Caring for speakers
After the date has been chosen or assigned, the county office will send the local group a meeting notice that names the speaker for the particular meeting. The local group will confirm the details with the speaker, giving him the meeting place and the desired topic, and also mentioning any particular problems and the nature of the population. The speaker will confirm the date, inform the local group of his arrival time, state whether he will arrive by train or car, and whom he will contact. From this moment on, the local group is responsible for caring for the speaker. It will find a suitable room for the speaker to sleep in, and be sure the room is heated. In short, it will do everything it can to make the speaker comfortable, who after all is not coming for his own amusement, but rather is giving up his scarce free time to serve the movement.
Although the confirmation form provides some information on the nature of the local population, the speaker should be informed of other relevant information, such as the number of those serving in the military, the number of casualties, social conditions, NSV activities [the Nazi Party charity], area contributions to the Winter Relief charity collection, etc. Provide this information well in advance, so that the speaker can incorporate it into his speech. The meeting itself must begin at the stated time. Party members should serve as models of punctuality to other citizens. The owner of the hall should agree not to serve food or drink once the meeting begins, and to ban smoking (hold to this strictly!). We have to completely break the old habit some have of seeing an NSDAP meeting as a kind of entertainment during which a comfortable citizen can be instructed by the speaker about political events while enjoying a glass of beer. All too often, political leaders sitting in the front rows do not find it worth the effort to applaud the speaker, since they appear to have heard it all so often before. The speaker does not need to persuade or win over party members and political leaders, but rather those citizens who are not yet within our ranks. Party members and political leaders must always remember that their applause will influence everyone else around them. Success depends on them.
5. Course of a meeting
The speaker’s speech is the center of the meeting. The meeting follows this course:
6. Evaluating meetings
Immediately after the meeting, within at most three days, a report is to be sent to the county propaganda office, which will pass it on to the Gau propaganda office. The meeting report form should include a report of the meeting and the effectiveness of the speaker. This report should be detailed and objective, since only accurate speaker evaluations can keep local groups from being assigned speakers who are not up to the task. A short press report should also be sent immediately by the local group press leader to the county office, which will pass it on to the Gau propaganda office.
7. Is your meeting successful?
A meeting will be bad
A meeting will be bad
A meeting will be bad
A meeting will be bad
A meeting will be bad
A meeting will be bad
A meeting will be good
The Führer still considers a well-run meeting to be the most important and valuable work the party does.
8. Examples of meeting halls
Fourteen pages of example of well-decorated meeting halls follow. Here are two examples:
The task of the local group ring is to ensure unified propaganda leadership. This involves the following duties:
To accomplish these tasks, all relevant organizations, including those of the party, all clubs, and all public bodies, including all such organizations as [these I will list in their German form]:
If they are represented in the local group, they should name a contact person responsible for relations with the ring regarding propaganda. It is also particularly important to include any clubs or bodies active in the local group, including:
The head of the group is the contact person. If all organizations in the local group are included, then the propaganda leader has an organization in his hands that encompasses the entire population, and with which he can carry out any task. Once the organization is complete, work can be started that involves all propagandists.
1. Coordinating propagandists.
This best done through monthly meetings at which the local group propaganda leader provides basic instruction on current propaganda campaigns and organizes the work of the ring.
In addition, there are directives and instructions from the county and Gau propaganda offices. These include publications in the Gau propaganda office’s newsletter, which serves to instruct, advise and spur on propagandists, wherever they are.
It is particularly important to train all Gau ring members in face-to-face propaganda. We have already noted that this means of propaganda is one of the strongest weapons of National Socialist public enlightenment. The success of face-to-face propaganda, however, depends to a large degree on how well it reaches the broadest audience. This is the job of the local group propaganda leader or the local group ring, who can reach not only the subsidiary and affiliated organizations of the NSDAP, but also all other organizations and clubs, which ensures that the slogans to be spread actually reach the whole population in the fastest possible way. When slogans are given out for face-to-face propaganda during meetings, participants must be told repeatedly that this kind of propaganda is particularly important, and that all efforts are to be made to spread them. If the local group ring works together effectively, then the complete success of face-to-face propaganda is assured.
2. Coordinating propaganda campaigns
Obviously, there can be no overlapping in planning the propaganda for the local group, the county, and the Gau, as for example when two different events occur on the same evening. Either one is full and the other empty, or both are only half-full.
The ring is responsible for arranging things so that there is no overlap, and that success is assured. Members must therefore announce events at least three weeks in advance. Events that have county-wide significance need to be announced to the county office, and approved by it. The local group ring reports to the county ring at the end of each month on all events, including their nature, number, and attendance, which in turn makes a report on all events in its area to the Gau ring. Party events have priority over all other ones. The local group should prohibit all other events when the party is holding a meeting, mass meeting, ceremony, etc. However, the weekly roll calls of the subsidiaries and affiliated organizations, club committee meetings, etc., do not need to be reported. However, events like marches, flag presentations, festivals, in short, any event that will attract a large audience, must be reported. This should be done on the form provided by the local group.
The following principles should be followed when organizing a mass meeting:
The propaganda leader calls together the representatives of the various groups, discusses the course of the mass meeting, assigns the groups that will organize the barricades, instructs the SA on the entrance of the flags and the HJ on the fanfares, and secures a band, if necessary. He also organizes the posters, encourages all members to attend through face-to-face propaganda, or else orders them to appear as a group.
For ceremonies, too, the local group propaganda leader works with ring members to arrange the program, assign particular tasks to other organizations, and encourage all members to support and attend the ceremony. Ceremonies may require a music or singing group.
A particularly important task is to work with clubs and public bodies whenever possible. As mentioned before, the task of the ring is to provide unified propaganda leadership. For familiar reasons, the whole population will not attend the party’s meetings. But it is still necessary to bring National Socialist thinking to all citizens, to help them make it their own. That can be done in the most varied ways. Since events are announced in advance, the local group propaganda leader knows that this or that group is holding an annual meeting that every member will attend. He arranges with the group’s chairman to show a filmstrip or a short film, and for an NSDAP speaker to appear. In this way, citizens will be reached who would not attend a public meeting. One does not have to wait for an annual meeting, but rather one can encourage the chairman to hold a meeting on this or that theme. If we make other organizations part of our propaganda campaigns, we give them a National Socialist character, assigning them tasks that contribute to our propaganda campaigns! For example, one can arrange for the amateur photographers’ club to take pictures of the events, monuments, and landscape of the local group area, which perhaps can be used for a picture book published by the county organization. The group thus engages in cultural activity. One should also check to be sure that major meetings of clubs include a picture of the Führer and a swastika flag. When clubs are supported and cared for in this way, propaganda will be successful.
3. Coordinating propaganda resources
The local group propaganda leader should be sure to see advance copies of all posters, leaflets, and pamphlets that will be used for propaganda. This, too, will ensure unified propaganda. Before a brochure is printed, a copy must be sent to the Gau ring office in the Gau propaganda office for its approval.
Before securing national symbols such as pictures, busts, and plaques of the Führer, check with the Gau propaganda office to see if they are approved.
The local group propaganda leader also can support the Gau propaganda office’s “merchandise” department. This handles the sale of certain books, brochures, magazines, pictures, busts, posters, and other propaganda materials approved by the Gau propaganda leader. It provides these whenever requested by local groups or other offices. Remember that no subsidiary and no club can sell publications, books, or newspapers without the approval of the propaganda leader. Within the party, this area is exclusively the responsibility of the “merchandise department.” The local group propaganda leader is responsible for the order slips, for the correct addresses of purchasers or subscribers, and for an accurate statement of the office involved. The local group propaganda leader should return improperly filled out forms.
If one surveys propaganda work in local groups, one sees that in most cases the cultural area leaves much to be desired. Indeed, often it seems that people do not even realize that the local group should carry out independent cultural activity. In this area, even the best directives are only suggestions that require a thorough knowledge of local conditions. This discussion should contribute to an awareness of cultural responsibilities and an understanding of their nature.
1. General Matters
The Führer has assigned a large part of cultural activity to propaganda to care for and administer. For a long time, many, especially the “cultured,” did not understand what culture and propaganda have to do with each other. They did not understand either one.
Art in particular, its encouragement and use, is the responsibility of propaganda. Within the party, this means the appropriate use of art for meetings and ceremonies of every variety.
The party, and thus the local group propaganda leader, must also supervise culture.
After cleansing German art (literature, visual arts, theater, music) from the poison of the liberal-Jewish-Marxist era, it has become the most important and purest thing that we could and can use to strengthen our own inner lives, to lift us above the ordinary, to build and inspire National Socialist community, but also to promote understanding for the German spirit and attitude among other peoples.
That explains why the Führer assigned the administration of art, and its use, to propaganda.
2. Ceremonies and events
The new community created by the National Socialist revolution results in the need for new and particular care for this community, its feelings and its desires: freedom, honor, work, posterity, heroic sacrifice, the common good before the individual good.
As he often says, the Führer considers the care and use of art for his people a noble mission, requiring a fanaticism that is convinced that all great human cultural achievements develop from the creative sense of the community. Art flows from and is an expression of a community’s soul, of its ideals. Thus, art must be an appropriate part of the party’s ceremonies.
The local group, as one of the most important constituent elements of the National Socialist community, must feel obligated to ensure that a community is influenced by art, and that the community in turn lends its strength to art, thus encouraging in growing measure the mutual relationship between the National Socialist community and National Socialist artistic leadership.
The local group propaganda leader, or if he is not up to the task, the culture leader, must see to appropriate ways of incorporating art into all ceremonies and meetings in a way consistent with National Socialist ideals. The Gau propaganda leader issues “directives” in each case.
National Socialist ceremonies include music, literature, and the visual arts.
The visual arts should influence the decoration of the room in which the ceremony will be held.
The Führer gave fundamental and thorough instructions on ceremonies at the 1938 party rally. As he said in his speech at the cultural meeting:
Decorating our ceremonial rooms is in large part a matter of taste, and taste cannot be taught; it is innate. Those who have taste do not need rules. Above all, it is necessary to use national symbols in a manner consistent with the Law for the Protection of National Symbols. The swastika, pictures, busts and plaques of the Führer, flags, and standards must be placed in the right place in a dignified way. Here one should remember that all busts and plaques of the Führer that are displayed in public places must have the approval of the Reichsleitung of the NSDAP. When ordering busts or plaques of the Führer, the name of the artist should always be sent to the Gau propaganda office, which will check with the Reichsleitung of the NSDAP. It is best to check first with the Gau propaganda office. National symbols like the swastika and symbols of authority should gradually be secured in appropriate form. Tattered items made of paper should finally disappear.
If the local group still does not have an NSDAP community room, it will have to use a meeting room in a restaurant for ceremonies. In such cases, all signs of the normal uses of the room should be removed, if necessary by covering the walls. Swastika flags may not be used for this purpose. Our symbols of battle are not decorative wall hangings. Swastika flags facing the audience are permissible only in gatherings having a military or heroic theme, as well as those that have to do with the party’s battles.
Natural plants should provide greenery and flowers. Avoid tawdry, ugly, and cheap paper items. The local group must ensure that green plants are available during winter.
The platform, podium, or lectern should have no decorations, not even a red banner with a swastika. They should be well made, and if appropriate, be framed by flowers and greenery.
Photographs of what is done should be sent to the Gau propaganda office, both to benefit others and to receive suggestions.
Music is the second essential art for a ceremony. Depending on conditions in the Gau there are two possibilities:
The people’s musical bands are trained by the Gau leader under the authority of the Reich Federation and regularly supplied with suitable music so that they are particularly suitable for party events. Soloists should be cleared with the music expert in the culture office of the Gau propaganda office, and also when an event requires alterations from the relevant directives.
The musical offerings must be within the capabilities of the bands or singing group.
Literature is usually represented in events in the reading of German literature. Selections should adhere strictly to the “directives” of the Gau propaganda office until the culture office has given the local group propaganda leader or his delegate authority to select reading material. Literature can have long-lasting impact on the mood and worldview of citizens, whether for good or ill.
3. Visual arts
It is important that the party’s music be standardized to ensure its effectiveness and consistency. The musical instruments of bands must be brought to consistency with the Altreich [Germany before the takeover of Austria]. The local group propaganda leader should work with the mayor to see that the area supports its local band. A number of Jews are still represented in the music libraries of bands and other music groups. The local group propaganda leader should supervise the de-Judification of these collections.
7. Popular Culture
The popular arts are no less important than real art. Popular art includes customs and rural art and music. These should also be supervised and collected by the culture office of the local group. Experience should be gathered in the entire area. Above all, be sure that offerings in the countryside, including those of the KDF [Kraft durch Freude, a Nazi cultural organization], are not excessively influenced by big-city thinking. The rural world has other expectations and feels differently than the city. Correctly balancing cultural offerings will lead to big success in the whole cultural area. The task is difficult, and therefore worth one’s full efforts. This whole range of activities should be done in cooperation with the Reichsnährstand [the Nazi agricultural organization]. Occasional reports on work in this area should be sent to the Gau propaganda office. In cultural work, one should be guided by the high value the Führer places on the area, as indicated by his remarks in his culture speech at the Party Rally of Labor in 1937:
The party’s propaganda today considers film as film as one of the most important methods, both in terms of its significance and effectiveness. Countless movie theatres keep the German leadership in touch with the people through newsreels, but also through educational and entertainment films. Consistent effort has made it possible to bring films even to citizens who live in an area that does not have a film theater. Especially there, films have particular importance. since these citizens rarely attend other events, theatrical productions, concerts, and speeches. Film also has a cultural task. The following four points should guide one’s work:
Successful film work proves that the party is on the right track to provide citizens with relief from their isolation by providing relaxation and entertainment, ideas and knowledge, experience and worldview, thus fulfilling important political, propagandistic, and cultural tasks.
The local group propaganda leader and his local group film office leader need to know what their duties are. The film office in the Gau propaganda office will assist them. The range of necessary tasks in the local group is shown by this summary:
1. Preparing for a showing:
3. Conducting a film showing:
4. After the film:
5. The day after the event:
7. Newsreel suggestions:
8. And now, ten commandments for the local group film leader!
Propaganda leaders and radio leaders responsible for radio often underestimate its importance. The broadcasting stations themselves hardly do all that is needed. This popular and most modern method of propaganda must also be considered from the standpoint of the listener. This is a wide and varied area, the most important points of which are:
1. Reception in restaurants.
This leaves much to be desired. Every sort of receiver is to be found, and they squeak out more or less well the offerings and news the radio provides to the noisy guests. The duty here is to help out. Very few radio fans realize that, according to a regulation from the Reich Ministry for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda, the party is responsible for overseeing all public radio sets. Owners of sets that do not function well can turn to the party for repairs. If there is resistance in this regard and the set is not repaired, the local group can turn to the Gau radio office and have the equipment confiscated. Of course, restaurants should be quiet when the Wehrmacht military report is read. The host should request that guests keep silent. This is best done by hanging a sign, which can be secured from any large printing shop.
2. Community radio.
Community radio is a project of the party that includes all areas that have a loudspeaker system, or will receive one. The radio leader is responsible for seeing to it that all public equipment, e.g., loudspeakers in public places and their amplifying equipment, are supervised by the NSDAP. This ensures that the same equipment is used everywhere, and that it can be used when necessary for larger mass meetings in neighboring areas. It is particularly important that the equipment be the same. It is not permissible to have various kinds of equipment, since nothing is worse that trying to connect differing types of equipment together in case of need. The mass meeting suffers as a result from bad sound. The radio leader should therefore work together closely with the mayor. There are various types of systems of community radio. Each town or local group that wants to set up a system can request a small brochure from the radio office in the Gau propaganda office that gives all necessary details. Remember that the radio office in the Gau propaganda office will set up and maintain the equipment without charge, as long as there is no careless damage or improper usage.
3. Mass meetings.
If the local group holds a mass meeting, there will usually be a loudspeaker system. It will either have one itself, or borrow it. In both cases, the leader of the radio office is responsible for setting up or ordering the equipment, and for informing his superior office, the radio office in the county propaganda office. Provide the dates, the nature of the place where the equipment will be used, e.g., the availability of electricity, the nature of the square or place, the hall, the expected attendance. There must be appropriate help in setting up and taking down the equipment. Experience shows that it is easier to secure help in setting up than in taking down. One cannot expect that he who loans the equipment will disassemble the heavy loudspeaker system and load it up by himself.
4. Caring for soldiers.
Radio has a special responsibility to care for soldiers, namely by establishing the often necessary rapid connection between the homeland and those at the front. The birth of a child, or the serious illness of a wife or parents, can be sent to soldiers in the field most quickly by radio via so-called comradely service. The procedure is outlined in regulations issued by the Gau propaganda office. They are to be followed exactly, for only in that way it is possible to communicate with soldiers in the field. It should not be necessary to point out that the support of a doctor or party leader is required in all cases. Otherwise, a message cannot be sent.
5. The radio trade
Current conditions mean that radio sets or spare parts are hard to get. This is, of course, the result of the war. Given the tightness of supply, the radio trade cannot possibly meet the demand. Citizens must be informed of this not only by the radio trade, but also by the party. The necessity of community-owned radio sets should be mentioned in this regard.
6. Program evaluation
As the Gau regulations state, an evaluation of radio programming should be submitted each month. These reports together provide the information necessary to make changes in programming. Several suggestions from our Gau have already been followed by the entire radio schedule, for example, the introduction of a news report at 5 p.m. on Sundays. Do not simply criticize programming, but rather pass on complaints and suggestions that will give the radio system an overview of how its programming is received! Each person involved in radio sees as his most pleasant task helping radio programming meet the wishes of as many of our citizens as possible.
7. The Dr. Goebbels Radio Fund
The Dr. Goebbels Radio Fund has provided about 3,000 radio sets in Gau Oberdonau. These sets — and this must be emphasized — are the property of the party. They are not gifts to the recipients. They do not own them. The Reich Minister for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda has ruled that only the poorest citizens may receive these sets. Thus, they may not go to party offices, divisions or affiliated organizations of the NSDAP, schools, the military, or hospitals. If that has happened, it is the duty of the local radio officer to remove them and put them to their intended use. There must, of course, be a signed receipt, which can be secured from the relevant radio office in the county offices. Defective sets provided by the Dr. Goebbels Radio Fund can be repaired by the above-mentioned office, unless the damage is due to carelessness or improper usage. Lost sets must be replaced. The agent in the radio office is responsible to the party, and has full responsibility for the sets.
8. Program contributions.
The radio office in the Gau propaganda office assists in radio programming. The help of local groups is particularly desired in this area. There is a card file listing all those who might be useful in future programs. This includes, for example, good popular choirs, quartets, or quintets, brass bands, etc. The most varied customs can also make for a good program, e.g.., harvest, summer and winter solstices, etc. Local artistic treasures and artworks, natural features, cultural monuments, and the protection of nature also provide good material for radio broadcasts. Nearly every town has someone who is interested in these matters, and who can provide assistance. Send all suggestions to the radio office in the Gau propaganda office so that they can be considered.
9. Foreign stations.
As before, listening to foreign stations is prohibited. The leader of the radio office in the local group’s propaganda office has a broad field for his educational work here. He must use every opportunity to remind citizens that enemy broadcasts have the goal of demoralizing the German people with poison, and also that the ban on listening greatly increases the force of our propaganda, since we do not have to devote energy to refuting every individual enemy lie. Sudden rumors usually have their origin in enemy stations. Often the source of such rumors, and thus the listener to such broadcasts, can be determined. They receive the most severe penalties. It is the duty of everyone to adhere to the ban on listening to foreign stations that the Führer has ordained to protect the military strength of our people.
The local group propaganda leader supervises the local representative of the Reich Federation for Damage Prevention (Reichsarbeitsgemeinschaft Schadenverhütung). To fill this position, he needs to select a party member or citizen who is able to win others for this purpose. The guidelines for this person and his fellow workers are in the handbook of the RAS. The main points are:
This area, too, leaves considerable room for personal; initiative. In the local area, on the street, as well as in factories, the RAS leader will find a rich field for his activity, which will spare individual citizens and thereby the whole people’s community damage and loss.
Although propaganda does not have its own fundamental methods, as the quotation from the Reichspropagandaleiter states at the beginning of this book, I feel obliged to summarize certain fundamentals and technical details regarding propaganda in the local group.
As experience proves, local groups often assign various offices to party members without providing much instruction. The office is thus filled on paper, and the advice “from above” is thought to be enough. The chosen or assigned propaganda leaders generally know little about their major and very important work. Most propagandists begin by thinking that their work has primarily to do with showcases, meeting hall decoration, and flags. Not infrequently, this leads to mistakes that have a bad effect on the entire local group. Either the propaganda leader’s remaining tasks are taken on by the political leader for the area or by other members of the local group staff, which means there is no clear, unified approach to propaganda, or they do not get done at all, which doubtless slows down the whole local group. Thus, the Gau propaganda office in Oberdonau has sought to set down in this brochure the essential tasks of a local group propaganda leader, such as:
The purpose is to provide local group propagandists with a small reference work.
This publication, of course, makes no claim to completeness. It has two goals:
I expect all propagandists to read this book carefully and to carry out all its tasks faithfully. I also expect that county and local group leaders, in instances where this has not so far been the case, will see their propaganda leader not only as one of their most important and closest colleagues, but also that they will give him practical help in carrying out his duties by involving him in all discussions.
Rudolf Irkowksy, Gaupropagandaleiter
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