Background: During World War II the Nazi propaganda
system faced considerable challenges. Many experienced propagandists were
drafted, replaced by inexperienced newcomers. This article outlines the
basics of what a Nazi propagandist at the local level needed to know.
It comes from the monthly publication of the Gau Propaganda Office
There are many organizations and titles listed, which could be translated
in several ways. To avoid confusion, I am leaving most of them in German.
I do translate commonly known terms, such as the various chambers of culture.
The source: “Merkblatt fur den Propagandisten im Gau Weser-Ems,”
Monatsblätter der Gaupropagandaleitung Weser-Ems der NSDAP.
, 7 (1942), #3, pp. 10-13.
Guidelines for Propagandists
in Gau Weser-Ems
As a result of frequent staff changes in the propaganda offices at the
county and local group levels, we provide this summary of the current
guidelines and directives for propagandists, which will help to avoid
Party and Propaganda
The propaganda of the NSDAP and its subordinate and affiliated organizations
is in the hands of the Reichspropagandaleiter,
who is charged by the Führer with overseeing the entire propaganda
system. He :
- Determines all matters having to do with the public face of the movement
in the German Reich, including its subordinate and affiliated organizations.
- Ensures that the party apparatus and its subordinate and affiliated
organizations follow the cultural will of the Führer.
He has control over the entire German radio system, organizationally,
culturally and economically, and works to ensure that the whole German
nation is filled with the National Socialist worldview. He also is responsible
for disseminating information about the accomplishments of the leadership
of party and state.
The press and film are also at his disposal for these purposes.
An organization reaching from top to bottom ensures the systematic accomplishment
of the propaganda system’s goals.
Propaganda leaders are appointed by the party at the Gau, county
and local group levels to see that the appointed tasks of propaganda are
accomplished in all areas.
They work closely with party leaders.
It is located in Oldenburg, Meinardusstraße 4. The telephone number
is 6361. The Film Office is located at Parkstraße 5, telephone 2848.
To avoid delays, all mail should be addressed to the appropriate office,
not to the official in charge personally.
Party and State
The Reichspropagandaleiter of the NSDAP is also Reich Minister
of Propaganda and Public Enlightenment, and also President of the Reich
Chamber of Culture.
The same is true in the Gau offices.
The Gaupropagandaleiter of the NSDAP is head of the “Propaganda
Department” in the Gau office. Its subsections include Active
Propaganda, the Propaganda Ring, Culture, Radio, and Film. He is simultaneously
head of the Reich Propaganda Office for Weser-Ems.
The Reich Propaganda Office Weser-Ems
The Reich Propaganda Office is a branch of the Reich Ministry for Propaganda
and Public Enlightenment. It is responsible for all government propaganda
and cultural tasks in the Gau, e.g., for general propaganda,
the press, radio, film, theater, literature, visual arts, music, and tourism.
The Reich Chamber of Culture, Landeskulturwalter, Gau Weser-Ems
The Gaupropagandaleiter is further, as the direct subordinate
of the President of the Reich Chamber of Culture, the Landeskulturwalter.
The heads of the individual chambers are responsible to him: visual arts,
the Reich Chamber of Literature, the Reich Chamber of Theater, the Reich
Chamber of Music, and the Reich Chamber of Film.
The Propaganda Ring
The Propaganda Ring has Reich, Gau, county, and local group offices.
Its task is to ensure the unity of propaganda with regards to the public
appearance of the party and its subordinate and affiliated organizations,
and to provide general guidelines for propaganda.
The following units of the party and its subordinate and affiliated organizations
are a part of the ring:
- SA, SS, NSKK, NSFK
- HJ, BDM
- Amt für Handwerk und Handel (DAF)
- NSG “Kraft durch Freude” (DAF)
- Volksbildungswerk (DAF)
- Hauptamt Wirtschaftsberater
- Hauptamt für Volkswohlfahrt (NSV)
- Hauptamt Presse
- Amt für Volksgesundheit (NSD-Aerztebund)
- Amt für Agrarpolitik (Reichsnährstand)
- Amt für Erzieher (NSLB)
- Rechtsamt (NSDJ)
- Amt für Kriegsversorgung (NSKOB)
- Amt für Beamte (RDB)
- Amt für Technik (RDT)
- Amt für Rassepolitik
- Amt für Kommunalpolitik
The organizations in Propaganda Ring I also constitute the Radio Working
Propaganda Ring II:
- Deutscher Reichsbund für Leibesübungen (Turn- Sport- und
- Deutsches Rotes Kreuz
- Handwerks-, Industrie- und Handelskammern
- Kameradschaftsbund Deutscher Polizeibeamten
- Reichsbund der Haus- und Grundbesitzer
- Reichsbund der Kinderreichen
- Technische Nothilfe
- Volksbund für das Deutschtum im Ausland (BDA)
- Wirtschaftsgruppe Gaststätten- und Beherbergungsgewerbe
- Reichsbund der Kleingärtner und Kleinsiedler
- Reichsbund für deutsche Seegeltung
Areas controlled by the Office for Active Propaganda
Mass meetings, the meeting system, speaker assignment and training, slide
shows, the picture archive, posters, publications and exhibitions, propaganda
leadership, ethnic propaganda, damage prevention, reports.
Major gatherings and mass meetings
Large gatherings that involve more than one county require the prior
approval of the Gaupropagandaleitung. Secure approval 4-6 weeks
Every public meeting is not a “mass meeting.” The term “mass
meeting” is only to be used for large meetings!
The platform must always be inspected in advance. Only 90% of the allowable
number of people may be on it.
Sound systems should be inspected by the head of the Radio Office in
Reporters, photographers, and cameramen at large meetings addressed by
leading figures must wear an official armband and have an ID card.
The Organisationsleiter approves membership meetings, and roll
calls. The meeting arrangements, speakers, etc., go through the Propagandaleiter.
The party’s public meetings are under the authority of the area’s political
leader. The Propagandaleiter is responsible to him for the preparations
and technical arrangements. Public meetings by subordinate and affiliated
organizations will be approved by the relevant political leader only in
exceptional circumstances. People may not be compelled to attend meetings.
Drinking and smoking are prohibited at all membership and public meetings.
All speakers at public meetings must follow the speaker information material
published by the Reichspropagandaleitung or the Gaupropagandaleitung.
All county speakers or candidates must be certified by the country, all
Gau speakers by the Gau. Each must have the appropriate
For meetings by the military, the head of the military speaker system
in the Gaupropagandaleitung is responsible. There is close cooperation
with the offices of the Volksbildungswerk.
Speakers on military themes and military speakers are assigned only by
the Gaupropagandaleitung through the Office of Military Speakers.
The NSDAP slide show system
The Gaubildstelle is responsible for slide shows. Slide shows
and speakers must be requested through this office. A list of material
is always available.
The Gaubildstelle maintains an archive of pictures of important
events of the history of the movement.
Amateur photographers are members of the “Reichsverband deutscher
Fotoamateure,” which is under the local picture head.
Dates for meetings of the subordinate and affiliate organizations (Reichsring
I and II)
By the 20th of each month, all planned local group meetings for the coming
month must be reported to the local group leader, and all county gatherings
to the county leader. The county or local group leader will approve such
meetings by the 25th of the month, after consultation with the Propagandaleiter
and the Organisationsleiter. The local propaganda leader will
report by the 25th of the month to the county propaganda leader, and he
by the 27th to the Gaupropagandaleitung, the desired speakers
Guests of Honor
The heads of the party, state, army, and economic and cultural life should
be invited as guests of honor. In addition, old party member, wounded
veterans, wives and mothers of soldiers, and active party members, along
with outstanding workers and farmers, should also be invited.
Publications, posters, medals and the like
Four copies of all political material, including brochures, text and
illustrated posters, slides shows, and medals must be submitted to the
Gaupropagandaleitung in advance. Unapproved materials may be
Applications for slide shows in film theaters must be submitted to the
office of the Gaupropagandaring in the Gaupropagandaleitung.
The party’s public bulletin boards must be under the supervision of a
party leader. Empty display windows should also be used for propaganda
purposes by the party.
Requests for paper to be used for propaganda purposes should be submitted
to the Gaupropagandaring in the Gaupropagandaleitung.
Exhibitions and Fairs
All political and economic exhibitions and fairs, along with those responsible
for them, must be announced to the Gaupropagandaleitung 4-6 weeks
in advance. There should be close contact with all party offices, government
offices, and organizations.
Reichsarbeitsgemeinschaft Schadenverhütung (RAS)
The Reichsarbeitsgemeinschaft Schadenverhütung is responsible
for carrying out propaganda actions to reduce harmful problems in the
area of health and the economy, including superstition (occultism and
fortune telling), alcohol, accidents, fraud, occupational illnesses, fire
prevention (home and forest fires), waste, venereal diseases, cancer,
noise, poisonous mushrooms, agricultural pests, plagues, tuberculosis,
and traffic safety, in cooperation with the appropriate offices of the
party, the state, and the police. Those involved include the DAF, the
Amt für Volksgesundheit (NS-Aerztebund), and the Reichsnährstand.
Its head is the propaganda leader, who appoints an expert to carry out
the duties in this area. The Gaupropagandaleitung can provide
guidelines for the RAS experts.
The Reichsleitung has ordered all propagandists to submit a
monthly activity report to their political leader, and to their superior
Reports are to be carefully and thoroughly prepared, and submitted on
The press in the National Socialist Reich serves the interests of the
state and the people. This determines its tasks and organization. Newspapers
and magazines should follow the instructions of the Reich Ministry for
Propaganda and Public Enlightenment, or of the propaganda offices at the
Gau level. The editor holds a public office. To fulfill his duties,
he must be able to make independent decisions. No party office or government
office therefore has the right to exert any pressure on the press. Any
special wishes should be expressed through the Reich Propaganda Office.
The press conferences held by the Reich Propaganda Office also give all
party and government offices the opportunity to speak to the editors in
the Gau. Press tours involving a large number of journalists
may be organized only with the approval of the Reich Propaganda Office.
Complaints about the press should also be made through the Reich Propaganda
Although Dr. Dietrich as Reichpressechef holds both the party
and state positions, authority is divided in the Gaue. The Gau
Press Office represents the interests of the party and its organizations.
It publishes the NS-Gaudienst for the Gau press, which
provides material from the party and its organizations. Naturally there
is close cooperation between the press director in the Reich Propaganda
Office and the Gaupresseamt. Both cooperate, for example, in
organizing press conferences and press tours.
Professional matters are handled by the relevant officials in the Reich
Chamber of the Press.
The war has had a major impact on the Radio Department (cultural radio,
organization, technical aspects, radio propaganda and advertising, loud
speaker installations, record player installations, record archives).
The introduction of the unified national radio program has meant that
the Gau only rarely can broadcast a program. Negotiations with
the Reichsendeleitung and the transmitters in Hamburg and Cologne
by the party and its divisions go through the Radio Department in the
Gaupropagandaleitung. The representatives in Propaganda Ring
I and II also form the Rundfunkarbeitsgemeinschaft for the Gaue
and the counties. The Radio Department has a number of sets of loudspeaker
equipment and record players, and also has a record collection. These
are available at cost. The Radio Department also can advise on building
loudspeaker installations or community radio listening facilities.
Divisions of the Film Department:
Film prints, box office, technical matters, youth and school films, press,
film archive, the state office of the Reich Chamber of Film.
Party film showings
Local groups are responsible for party film showings. The propaganda
leader and the film leader of the local group are responsible for the
propagandistic and technical preparations. The films are provided through
the Film Office in the Gaupropagandaleitung.
Invitations to film showings in movie theaters
Invitations to film premieres, unless they come from the film distribution
company or theater owners, are sent only in the name of the Reich Minister
for Propaganda and Public Enlightenment or, in the Gau, the head
of the Reich Propaganda Office or the Gauleiter. Exceptions require
the prior approval of the Reich Minister for Propaganda and Public Enlightenment.
The film archive of the party and amateur film-makers
To improve the holdings of the film archive in the Gaupropagandaleitung,
copies of all amateur films that have any significance to the Gau
should be sent to it.
Amateur film-makers should be members of the “Bund Deutscher Filmamateure,”
under the direction of the Film Department heads in the counties and local
Suggestions for the newsreel
May be made through the Gaupropagandaleitung. Suggests may be
made at any time.
The propaganda leader or cultural office director is responsible for
art as an expression of the National Socialist worldview. He encourages,
advances and supervises it, encouraging its use in the party and its subordinate
and affiliated organizations.
Jurisdiction of the Culture Department
Holidays and ceremonies, programs, caring for soldiers (RPA), the Gau
Culture Ring (culture-political working group), NS-Kulturwerk
(work with the public and lay audiences), village culture, theater, visual
arts, music, literature.
The state office of the Reich Chamber of Culture, the Reich Chamber of
Music, the Reich Chamber of Literature, the Reich Chamber of the Visual
Police responsibility in cultural areas
A directive from the Führer expressly gives the Reich Propaganda
Ministry police powers in the cultural area. This includes national holidays,
state ceremonies, the press, radio, national songs, the visual arts, music,
theater, film, literature, advertising in the economic and travel areas,
exhibitions, fairs, and advertising.
Culture Ring (culture-political working group
All those in the divisions and affiliated organizations of the party
charged with cultural matters from the Culture Ring. The following may
also be included:
- The department heads for propaganda, training, DAF, teachers (NSLB),
city policy, the press
- Leaders of the women’s and farmers’ groups
- The department heads for film, radio, the KdF wardens and the officials
for ceremonies and popular education.
- The cultural officials in the state councils and mayors’ offices
- The music officials oft cities and counties
- The head of the musicians’ group
- The head of the lay groups joined in the “NS-Kulturwerk”:
Niederdeutsche Bühnen, amateur theater groups, singing clubs, choirs
and orchestras (also their directors), ethnic and local organizations,
- The heads of music groups of the party’s divisions, the Wehrmacht,
the RAD, etc.
- The head of the Reich Chamber of Literature (representative of the
- The head of professional theaters and orchestras
- Heads of public libraries, literary societies, and lecture clubs
- The representatives of the Reich Chamber of Visual Arts
- The heads of art clubs, artists’ societies, experienced gardeners,
and heads of tourism and beautification organizations
- The editors and culture reporters of the press
The holding of ceremonies within the NSDAP is exclusively under the control
of the Hauptkulturamt der NSDAP, Reichsleitung or its subordinates,
with the exception of ceremonies of birth, marriage, and death (Lebensfeiern)
and all internal party ceremonies involving training in our worldview.
The Propagandaleiter or the Kulturhauptstellenleiter
are exclusively responsible for the content and carrying out of these
ceremonies. Of course, the cooperation of other offices is desired and
In organizing ceremonies, one should follow the suggestions in the Neue
Gemeinschaft [A monthly magazine]
of the Hauptkulturamtes der NSDAP and the Propagandaringes
Weser-Ems of the Gaupropagandaleitung.
According to a ruling by the President of the Reich Chamber of the Visual
Arts, all architects are obliged to volunteer their services by giving
advice in organizing the visual aspects of National Socialist ceremonies.
The terms Morgenfeier, Feierstunde, Sonntagsfeier, etc.
One regularly encounters events called Feierstunde, but which
have nothing at all to do with the real meaning of the term.
An opera or operetta premiere that for some reason takes place on Sunday
morning is not a Morgenfeier. Concerts, variety shows, lectures,
and the like are not Feierstunden.
All offices and cultural officials are responsible for ensuring that
the terms Morgenfeier, Feierstunde, Sonntagsfeier, and so on are
always reserved for events that take place under the auspices of the party.
The Gauleiter has charged the Gaupropagandaleiter with
responsibility for a unified and planned leadership and promotion of all
cultural activities in rural areas. No organization in the Gau
may make an exception without without prior consultation or agreement
with the Gaupropagandaleitung. The same is true for the counties.
Popular and lay culture activities (“NS-Kulturwerk”)
All lay cultural groups, amateur theatrical groups, amateur orchestras,
singing clubs and choirs, ethnic, dance and costume groups, are joined
in the “NS-Kulturwerk” as the official party organization for
culture-political activities and their incorporation in National Socialist
All amateur orchestras are members of the “Reichsbund für Volksmusik.”
Theater premieres (approval and permission)
Besides the professional theaters, “regular” theaters include
all amateur, lay and open air states that present performances more than
six times annually. They require permission from the Landesleiter
of the Reich Chamber of Theater. The season plans of all “regular”
theatrical groups must have the approval of the Reich Dramaturg in the
Reich Propaganda Ministry.
The “Niederdeutsche Bühnen”, as a regularly performing
group, is part of the Reich Chamber of Theater.
“Occasional” public theatrical performances, up to five times
annually, require previous consultation by the organizer with the party
(NS-Kulturwerk) and the county council or mayor’s office. Amateur theatrical
productions require the approval of the Gaupropagandaleitung,
Culture Office (“NS-Kulturwerk”), if not previously authorized
by the “Propagandaring Weser-Ems.”
“Reichswerk Buch und Volk”
All literary organizations and lecture societies are organized in the
“Reichswerk Buch und Volk,” and enjoy the support and protection
of the Reich Ministry of Propaganda and the Reich Propaganda Offices.
To avoid scheduling conflicts, close cooperation with the Volksbildungswerk
and the party are necessary.
All public concerts require the approval of the city or county music
Art exhibitions require the prior approval of the head of the Reich Chamber
of Visual Arts through the Landeskulturwarter (Gaupropagandaleitung).
Applications must be made three weeks in advance to the head of the Reich
Chamber of Visual Arts.
Erecting memorials and monuments
The head of the Reich Chamber of Visual Arts should be consulted in erecting
all memorials and monuments.
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