Background: This is an article from the Gau propaganda office in Salzburg that outlines Nazi propaganda activities for the coming winter. Most of it came from the Reichspropagandaleitung, and was passed on to lower-level propagandists. The invasion of the Soviet Union had been in progress for four months, and although the Wehrmacht had made substantial progress, the leadership realized that Russia was going to be harder to conquer than they had expected. Particular emphasis is placed on face-to-face conversations. For a similar plan for spring 1942, see this page.
The source: “Erläuterungen zur Propaganda-Aktion 1941/42,” Politischer Informationsdienst, Gauleitung der NSDAP. Salzburg, Gaupropagandaamt 1 (1941), #9, pp. 3-16.
Details of the Propaganda Action 1941/1942
Theme: Germany’s Victory — Food and freedom for our people and for Europe!
I. Ideological Section
1. Meaning and Purpose:
The great military victories on the Eastern front that even put the historic victories of the World War in the shadows prove the incomparable accomplishments of the German soldier and the unique military leadership of the Führer and his military commanders. Although the National Socialist leadership, in contrast to the World War, has not organized perpetual victory celebrations, these victories should nonetheless strengthen the German people’s powers of resistance and their behavior.
There must be a single thought at the center of our propaganda: “German victory.” Just as we old National Socialists gave our full strength for the victory of the movement within Germany during our struggle for power, so today all our other problems must be secondary to our main efforts: “The victory of Germany.”
The National Socialist movement with all its affiliates and organizations has the task of leading the people in a way that will strengthen the people’s spiritual ability to resist and build understanding of the sacrifices and privations that were the foundation of victory during our struggle for power, and remain so today. These tasks are particularly important for the coming winter months, which will inevitably bring greater burdens for each citizen.
The impact of these efforts and their impact on the whole attitude of our people should find its expression in the Winter Relief campaign [the annual fund drive for the Nazi Party charity].
Last winter, the Winter Relief drive raised over 900 million marks. This year’s result should be even higher. Reaching that goal is another important goal that we have.
2. Content of the propaganda action
a) The old battle of the National Socialist movement
The presentation of the battle of the National Socialist movement should be a central component of the propaganda action. The Führer began the battle to save the German people from complete collapse, and it has now reached its decisive stage in the battle for the final destruction of the Bolshevist threat. It began with the defeat of plutocratic pseudo-democracy, and will end with the elimination of the Jewish drive for domination over the European continent, thus finally ensuring the freedom of the German people. Just as the German people experienced unprecedented progress in every area after the National Socialist movement took power in 1933, giving the German Reich power it had never had before, Europe after our victory will also experience a new blossoming under National Socialist leadership.
We face the same enemy: “Jewry.”
It led every party, whether on the right or left, against us during the struggle for power, and now it drives entire peoples into war against us. After all other means have failed, it is ready to turn all of Europe over to Bolshevism, its only goal being to destroy Adolf Hitler and his people. An essential part of the propaganda action must be to clearly show that international Jewry is the cause of this war, and that it is our most important enemy.
Each German must be a fighter for peace!
The struggle with Jewry affects each individual German personally. The Jew is pitiless in his hatred. Our response must be just as pitiless. The life of every German is at stake, so each must contribute to the battle.
b) Previous successes
Constant mentions and clear summaries of our previous great successes in this struggle will give each citizen the sure confidence in victory that he needs to carry on. Comparisons with the individual phases of our struggle for power and political development after the takeover of power show the Führer’s sovereign control of all political and military problems and prove that our absolute confidence in victory is justified.
Where Adolf Hitler leads, there is victory!
This slogan must become the clear conviction of every people’s comrade.
c) The Führer is our model
Our final triumph must this time, too, be a unanimous affirmation of thanksgiving by the German nation to the Führer — indeed, not only from the German nation, but from all of Europe. The Führer took up the battle to save the German people alone. He took on the battle alone, was always on the attack, and by consistently following his program first led the movement to victory step by step, then led the entire German people upwards to its present greatness.
He will also finish this final part of the great battle victoriously.
Not only does the whole German people look today to him alone, but all foresighted men in other European nations as well. He is the shining model for each German man and each German woman. The Führer deserves the thanks of the whole nation. The most visible expression of this thanks should be even better results for the Winter Relief campaign 1941/42.
Each German, particularly those in the homeland, must remember that at a time when millions of the Führer’s German soldiers are risking their lives, it is only a small sacrifice for him to give more to the Winter Relief than he did in the past. His gift to the Winter Relief is an outward sign that he is taking an active part in the great events of the age, that he is himself filled with unshakable confidence in victory, and that he is ready to play his part in our people’s fateful struggle. His sacrifice for the Winter Relief is his personal thanks to the Führer. The slogan is:
“We believe in victory and will sacrifice.”
The military conflict was intended as Bolshevism’s destructive blow against Germany. It has become the decisive event in the liberation of Europe not only from the Bolshevist threat, but also from Jewry, which formerly kept itself to the background in the history of nations.
We must hammer into people’s minds that what the Führer predicted when he spoke to the German Reichstag on 30 January 1939 has now become established fact:
II. Technical Aspects
1. Propaganda methods
The following methods will be used in the propaganda action:
On 1) Mass meetings and other meetings.
The mass meetings and other meetings will be organized by the propaganda leader of the area, depending on the available resources. Because of difficulties in the transportation system, it will not always be possible to organize a large number of meetings. Individual events thus are of particular propaganda importance. Every meeting, even the smallest, must be well prepared. If at all possible, the larger county seats should organize mass meetings to have a lasting propagandistic impression. Planning should be started in a timely manner, and speakers should above all be requested from the county and Gau propaganda offices in a timely manner.
The Reichspropagandaleitung [the party’s central propaganda office] in cooperation with the relevant offices of the Supreme Command of the Wehrmacht will make available winners of the Knight’s Cross and also wounded soldiers, who can speak before the political speaker of their experiences at the front. All speakers will receive the necessary information from the Reichspropagandaleitung. Since speakers will receive instructions to include an affirmation of thanks for the Führer in their speeches, which they will say should find visible expression in the Winter Relief campaign, volunteers for the Winter Relief campaign with the standard collecting tins will take up a collection after each meeting, just as was done during the struggle for power. The propaganda leader should check with the local offices of the NSV [the party’s charity] or the Winter Relief to be sure that the collecting tins are available and to arrange for them to be immediately taken to the local office of the Winter Relief after the meeting.
on 4) Film showings with speakers
Past experience has shown that film showings with speakers — particularly after the newsreel — have very good success. The fact that a film is shown is a good draw. Good use should be made of this kind of meeting, alongside regular public meetings and mass meetings, during this propaganda action.
On 5) Slide shows
The following slide shows are appropriate:
A slide show demonstrating the clear differences between National Socialist and Bolshevist social policy is being prepared. These slide shows are also in preparation:
On 6) Film showings by the Gau film offices
Besides film showings with speakers, the following films can be shown, particularly in areas without a movie theater [the party had mobile film vans for such areas]:
On 7) Cultural ceremonies
There are special guidelines for cultural ceremonies and the use of cultural means (see the Gau newsletter, #11, November 1942).
On 9) Military lectures
Military lectures supplement the public meetings and mass meetings. Care must be taken to be sure that these meetings are not only interesting lecture evenings on military matters, but also that they express our political fighting will.
On 10) Exhibitions
In conjunction with the propaganda action, exhibitions prepared by the Reichspropagandaleitung can be used by county offices. The exhibition “The enemy of the world,” which shows Jewry as the true enemy and war criminal, will be ready by the beginning of the action. Further exhibitions are in preparation.
On 11) Text posters
The Reichspropagandaleitung will issue text posters as special editions of the Parole der Woche, which will cover both broad issues as well as immediate matters.
The Gau propaganda offices will themselves prepare the text posters announcing their meetings. If possible, these text posters will not only announce the meeting, but include further propaganda statements and arguments.
On 12) Picture posters
Picture posters will be continually released by the Reichspropagandaleitung with appropriate slogans and sent to the Gau and county offices to pass on to the local groups.
On 13, 14 and 15)
The Parole der Woche, the Wochenspruch der NSDAP, and the Bild der Woche will appear in their usual form. They will pay particular attention to the Winter Relief campaign, along with the regular fundamental arguments and daily events.
On 16) Face-to-Face propaganda
Well-directed face-to-face propaganda must be an important element of the propaganda action. The Gau will provide regular material through its information service to the local groups for party members, particularly political leaders. The local group propaganda leader is responsible for ensuring that this information reaches all political leaders in an appropriate form. This political information will above all provide block leaders and Winter Relief volunteers with the arguments they need in collecting door-to-door and on the street. Our political information service will focus on the slogan:
“We believe in victory and will sacrifice.”
If any kind of event or rumor has a particularly serious effect on the general mood, it should be reported immediately to the county propaganda leader, who will pass it on to the Gau propaganda leader. If it concerns something that needs to be generally known, the Gau propaganda office will use the political information service to provide information that will allow political leaders to provide compelling arguments that will answer those with bad morale.
2. Implementation of the propaganda action
a) Duration of the propaganda action
The propaganda action begins immediately, and continues until 31 March 1942. There will be a pause between 15 December 1941 and 15 January 1942.
Propaganda leaders should immediately begin to prepare for an effective planned and organized propaganda campaign. It is particularly important to secure the cooperation of the party’s divisions and affiliated organizations. The greatest importance is placed on their participation in the meetings, for which all necessary preparations should be made. It is not enough simply to put ads in the newspapers or hang posters the day before. Rather, each propaganda leader must give his full efforts, using all means at his disposal, to ensure that each meeting, be it the smallest or the largest, will be packed. Mass meetings should be heavily publicized in the local press.
Each National Socialist meeting must be an expression of our people’s unity and absolute confidence in victory!
c) Proclamation by the Gauleiter
A proclamation by the Gauleiter, on official stationery, along with a newsletter from the Gau propaganda office, is to be given to all party members and officials immediately. The Gauleiter’s proclamation, which went out ahead of this newsletter, should not only make it clear to them that they are to attend the meetings themselves and encourage others to attend as well, but also that their behavior and statements should everywhere and at all times make clear that they are convinced followers of the Führer. They should not avoid conversations with the population, but rather lead them in positive directions. Their example and their behavior must lead other citizens to the same positive fighting spirit. As was true during the period of struggle, each party member is obliged to bring along at least one other person to the meeting.
d) Membership meetings
Insofar as local groups have not yet held a membership meeting, or if it is necessary to hold an additional meeting due to the Winter Relief campaign, such meetings should be held immediately. The Gauleiter’s proclamation should be read, the purpose of the propaganda action explained, and the speaker should make an appropriate appeal to be active participants in the battle, just as during the period of struggle.
These remarks outline the general plan of the direction and goals of our propaganda action in the coming months. They provide basic information on the directives from the Reichspropagandaleitung. It is now the task of propaganda leaders, and all propagandists of the movement, to follow these guidelines in intensive individual propaganda activity. The counties and local groups can, of course, add their own activities, particularly in supporting and promoting the Winter Relief campaign.
Salzburg, 14 October 1941
Gau Propaganda Leader
Tasks of the Organization
Our goal for everything we do in the war winter 1941/42 is to ensure that history records:
The Führer made the decision and carried it out. The Wehrmacht fought for it with the personal engagement of every individual German soldier.
The homeland assured the decision by steadfast work, absolute desire for victory, and the cheerful willingness to sacrifice by the entire German people!
As part of the winter campaign 1941/42, every organization is to be involved, not only those that are members of the county or local group propaganda ring. In the coming months, all organizations should pay particular heed to the following points”
1. Propaganda must be unified in every area. Nothing may be done, no pamphlet distributed, no poster hung, no propaganda activity of any kind implemented, without the prior approval of the Gau, county, or local group propaganda ring.
2. Along with its own particular tasks, each organization must be a propaganda office for the activities of the NSDAP. Organizations must ensure that their members receive a general understanding of the party’s direction, and see all important questions from the standpoint of the entire people’s community.
3. The members of all organizations, from the large divisions of the NSDAP to the smallest club, must do more than in the past for face-to-face propaganda. The slogan for the coming months is:
There can be no shop, no tram, no bus, no market, no pub, no work place, and no private visit that you do not use for face-to-face propaganda!
This must be the case not only if you meet some complainer, for here it is obvious that one must respond in the proper manner immediately. But more than that, it is necessary that each of us take the initiative in face-to-face propaganda, even if one has not heard a contrary opinion.
It is important to treat the Jewish Question in its full range and importance. In this regard, we stress the Jew Kaufmann’s book, excerpts of which recently appeared with the title
He is a personal adviser to Roosevelt. All organizations should do everything they can to see that this pamphlet has the necessary mass distribution!
4. Education about the Bolshevist world threat. The Führer’s statement that 1941 will bring the decision, or crown our success, must be constantly repeated. In face-to-face propaganda, questions about this are to be answered by saying that the Führer had in mind dealing with the Bolshevist world threat. From the beginning of his struggle, the Führer recognized this threat as the greatest danger for the German people, indeed for all of humanity. Nearly every Nuremberg rally was used to warn the world repeatedly of this danger.
Had the Führer succeeded through the treaty in forcing the Soviet leaders into peace, Bolshevism would have suffocated in its own inability. It had either to leap across its borders, or perish if restricted to the Soviet Union. When the Führer realized that the Bolshevist leaders understood this, and had no intention of taking the treaty seriously — but rather were using it, along with their Jewish masters, to prepare the destruction of Germany and Europe — he immediately took or continued the appropriate countermeasures.
The Führer was the only one who knew the danger that threatened us from the East.
It is now time to remind individual citizens of how little they knew of the great masses of troops that were being gathered in the East. When someone says today that the danger from the East was underestimated, this applies to nearly every German people’s comrade. Only the Führer saw the seriousness of the threat, and took the appropriate countermeasures.
If Germany today were led not by National Socialists, but rather by democrats, and if we did not have the Führer, Bolshevist hordes would already have flooded over and destroyed Germany.
The Führer saw that Jewry wanted to attack Germany in 1941, but was able to turn events in Germany’s favor rather than Bolshevism’s.
Proof that the Führer foresaw the seriousness of the struggle is clear not only from the preparations he made, but also from his proclamation of 22 June, in which he spoke of the concerns he had, and of the seriousness of the battle. This should be used in conjunction with his New Year proclamation.
6. We can never thank the Führer enough for what he has done for us!
This basic idea must guide all our face-to-face propaganda.
7. In this connection, it is important to mention that even before the NSDAP power, it sought the same goal: victory over Bolshevism. To a certain extent, the Führer’s battle even then was against Bolshevism, which was preparing for the day when it would be ready to assault Germany. From this standpoint, the NSDAP made such a contribution to the survival of the German people as to justify the leadership claim of the party for all time. Every active member of the party can therefore be proud of his role in supporting the Führer’s work.
The period of struggle is also an example for us that whenever things seemed calm, the Führer was preparing for major activities. The Führer considers every possibility in advance, even the worst, so that everything he does meets with success.
8. We can express our thanks in a practical way through the Winter Relief campaign. This year, it not only proves the willingness of the German people to sacrifice, but also is a visible expression of the thanks the German people owe the Führer. This is the best way to refute the enemy’s lies.
It is the way to win the biggest battle against our enemies in the homeland.
The whole propaganda for Winter Relief must be planned and carried out from this standpoint.
9. As we connect the struggle of the NSDAP for Germany with our thanks to Führer and the party, it is also a matter of honor for us propagandists to show the German people the thanks that we owe to our Wehrmacht.
Every time a victory is announced, the German people must realize that these successes are not to be taken for granted, but rather are the result of the military leadership of our Führer and of the willingness of each individual soldier to risk his life!
The victories in the East are unique in world history. The enemy would be overjoyed if he could announce even one victory that was only partly as great as our victories have been. This is one of the most important tasks of person-to-person propaganda. We have be sure that the greatness and significance of these victories are realized.
10. We can express our thanks to the front by treating the injured with appropriate care and providing the survivors of the fallen with the necessary support. If we meet an injured soldier in public, no matter how much of a hurry we may be in, we let him go first, for example. For survivors of the fallen, we want to provide as much assistance as possible. Neighborly assistanceshould be particularly given to them.
The face-to-face propagandist must take particular care when he meets a citizen who means well, but does not see things rightly. For example, people often wish that field post packages could be heavier than is now allowed. As understandable as this desire is, one must say that allowing for heavier field post packages would reduce supplies of munitions, replacement parts, and other necessary material for the front. The Führer has ensured that soldiers receive what they need at the moment, even without field post packages. And the example of the World War proves that supplies are what are most important to soldiers. Thus, anyone who thinks of our soldiers must realize that this critical task has to be met.
12. In influencing morale, the actions of the leadership always have to be explained. For the duration of the war, this applies particularly to the ban on listening to foreign radio stations. Listening to foreign radio stations is a crime against the security of our people. The Führer has ordered the most severe prison terms. Effective person-to-person propaganda has to do more than oppose malicious listening to foreign broadcasts. Even those who listen from careless curiosity or by accident receive the same penalty. Listening to foreign radio stations is treason.
13. This discussion of face-to-face propaganda should not close without reminding propagandists that letters from our soldiers deserve particular attention. Letters that mention the “Soviet Paradise” are the best support for our face-to-face propaganda, insofar as they deal with social conditions in the Soviet Union. It is necessary to remind people that our present standard of living, despite all the shortages caused by the war, is far better than that under which the population ruled by the Soviets existed for two decades.
14. The organizations are to carry out their entire propaganda in ways consistent with these guidelines, and supplement them as appropriate for their particular area. However, such additional activities must always be cleared beforehand with the Gau, county or local group propaganda ring leader. It is obvious that organizations may compete with each other over the coming winter to prove that they have realized their duties in cooperation with the party in this great battle for the fate of the German people.
Signed: Tießler, Reichsamtsleiter
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