Background: Hitler’s takeover of power on 30 January 1933 required a major shift in focus on the part of the Nazi Party in general, and its propaganda arm in particular. This article, written by the Gau propaganda leader of Hanover, discusses what to do with the flood of new members into the party. It advises them avoid criticism, to modestly do their duty, and to respect old party members who may lack education and polish, but who found their way to Nazism earlier than the more educated people flocking to join the party after Hitler’s takeover of power.
The source: “Neue Wege unserer Propaganda,” Unser Wille und Weg, 3 (1933), pp. 189-192.
New Ways of Propaganda
Our strength, the cause of our success, lies in the principle: ‘We are led” and “want to know that we are led.”
Therefore we do not want any of the former “beloved” debates, regardless of whether it is a gathering of party members in a small town, in a city, at a membership meeting, in a city council, or in the Reichstag. The person in charge, after deep thought or following directives from above, wants to be nothing but a tool of the worldview of National Socialism and its Führer.
Since the takeover of power we have buried yet another post-war phenomenon: criticism.
We want to act, not talk. It is perhaps better to act in the wrong way than to talk, debate, and criticize, but never get to doing anything.
Old party members fully understand this, but all of the new members do not yet understand, They should and must learn, however, or else stay out of the way. Some new party members came to us after overcoming great difficulties, and quickly found offices and prestige. We are not small-minded, and realize that was necessary in some cases for important political reasons. The principle, however, must remain, and for that we have the new Germany to thank.
A new party member, therefore, has the duty to treat old party members with the greatest respect and modesty, even if he has an office — indeed, perhaps even more so in that case.
Our Führer wants to win over the whole people, and anyone who comes to us honestly is welcome, as they should and can testify. Rising from the bottom is one of the proudest German characteristics.
New party member, if you hold an office remember what we expect and demand of you!
Our Führer sees those in the party and the S.A. as the fighters for and foundations of his goals. If you want to be part of this honor guard, prove it through your readiness to begin at the bottom. Each in his place with simplicity and modesty.
Do everything through the party for Germany!
And remember that others preceded you in serving the party — surrounded by hopelessness, poverty, and terror. It is much easier today.
We therefore expect that you will show understanding and consideration for an old fighter. He may have defects, he may have criticized you in the past — but he stood in battle, and was rough and loud. He suffered — and you watched.
Alongside the meetings of all members of a local group, it is necessary to hold meetings for new and old members. We do not want to make distinctions, but the new party member has a lot to learn, and it will be good if he recognizes this himself.
There may be one or another among the new members who is better educated than an old party member — but the old party member affirmed National Socialism earlier — if perhaps only from his feelings. Our knowledge is simple — but the world has become so complicated that the simple often is not seen.
Such meetings as I suggest — if well prepared and carried out — will give new life to new party members by our clear and simple explanations.
Regular and repeated training remains absolutely necessary, as required by the recent directive from the Reichspropagandaleitung. It should begin with the points of our party program, our official party documents, and our Führer’s works. Such training must also include the party’s other activities. Each should do what we old party members did: face-to-face contact, distributing newspapers, discussing things in apartment buildings, distributing leaflets, selling tickets for the party’s meetings. March comrade, regardless of the weather, without fuss, without your membership badges. You were a professor, but became a common solder in the World War, and were proud of that. Do it again! It is not what you “get” from it, it is for the sake of your fatherland!
Germany will not grow from the old ways. It seethes and grows. There are some things that you do not immediately understand, things perhaps that we should not understand. It suffices that our Führer knows. Still, you should learn about things that are unclear. It is, therefore, necessary to pair a new party member with an old one, who an answer his questions and give advice. Perhaps the new party member will not be satisfied with the answer. In that case, you may turn to the next level of the party in the county office. But do not fall into the error of others: to think that you know better or to criticize!
We want a free Germany. We want the same to be true of your own thinking and feeling. You should keep that, but only use it to benefit your people! If you do not like something, talk with your superior. Tell it to him calmly and wait for an answer. People have their differences, and no one is perfect. That has to be accepted. Destructive criticism or standing to the side, however, makes you harmful.
Pay attention, comrade!
Regardless of all other concerns, the good of the people is our holiest task.
Become an idealist — and your daily troubles will seem small!
We have buried Germany’s ancient evil — let it rest in peace!
We are marching forward — join us!
The question is not “what” one does in propaganda, but rather “how” one makes it. This principle remains, and only he is a proper propaganda leader who understands the “how” and can put it into practice.
Laws, regulations, bans, and terror restricted the form of our propaganda for years. We had to adjust our propaganda to the moods of the System [the Nazi term for the period 1918-1933]. We had to be inventive, turning the evil intentions of others to our benefit. Today we have flexibility, so the slogan is: “Change our methods.”
Broad, inspiring political political education and promotion remains necessary. More specialized approaches are also necessary. The finely organized life of the German people requires that, but so also the inclinations and connections of individuals, whether because of occupation or interest, makes such specialized propaganda necessary. This can even involve matters that are not political.
The best way to get political direction in such areas as cultural and military affairs, sport, regional matters, the youth, women, etc., is to work with the relevant party department. There are even more specialized matters, such as singing, the fire department, nature, wildlife, etc. Here, too, we need to be involved and make a connection to our worldview, even if it seems hopeless.
Your job, propaganda leader, is to find opportunities! Keep educating our people’s comrades until you find a way to reach them. That is your duty!
Nothing will happen without us.
As a result of Coordination (Gleichschaltung), all of these institutions are available to us. Propaganda leader, you need only act!
If well prepared and well thought out, things will be forced to fall into line with our thinking without having to make it obvious.
Propaganda may not stay the same in pace and form, lest it become boring and tiring. Battles, attacks, and major campaigns must be fought with the most varied weapons.
Propaganda leader, today the party controls the structures that can help you. The state today is our friend!
Propaganda leader, take action!
Go to the 1933-1945 Page.
Go to the German Propaganda Archive Home Page.