Background: This article from the Nazi Party’s monthly for propagandists
appeared just after Hitler’s takeover of power. Although this is the February 1933 issue, it was clearly written before Hitler’s takeover of power on 30 January. It deals with a problem the system had — keeping its speakers employed. There were bursts of activity during election campaigns, but afterwards activity diminished and party members who depended on what they earned from speaking to public meetings faced difficulties. The article was obsolete when it was published.
The source: Leopold Gutterer, “New Method en der Propaganda,” Usere Wille und Weg, 3
(February 1933), pp. 31-33.
New Methods of Propaganda
by Leopold Gutterer
Propaganda may never ossify. It would be wrong to hold to a long-proven method, saying when faced with a new proposal that since it has not been tried there is no promise of success. Local groups and other party offices often claim that everything will take care of itself, and that it is no longer necessary to stir oneself from a “well-deserved” rest and lethargy to take on new and hard work.
The first task to improve our propaganda is to make fanatics among our party members in all Gauge, counties, local groups, and strong points.
The events of 13 August, the unfulfilled expectations of the seizure of power, paying dues for years and other things — this we must openly admit — has cooled and reduced the enthusiasm and intensity of many.
Nothing, however, has so far been lost. The task now is to properly explain to party members, to make it clear to them, why the Führer had to act as he did in order to build unshakable belief in victory and in the Führer. The most important task of the Gauleiter and their party comrades is to build a core that knows but one thing: Either to win with Adolf Hitler, or to fall with him. [The election in] Lippe has shown that this is possible, where the Führer himself showed the way. A united party membership filled with unshakable faith is the prerequisite for coming victories, and therefore for final victory. It is also the guarantee for implementing our idea and for the continuance of our strength.
I have written these sentences after considerable thought because I am convinced that trying new methods of propaganda will not have the expected successes without this foundation.
A tiny NSDAP with blind faith and fanaticism has won the great victories of our movement. A large NSDAP whose activity and will to victory are multiplied a thousand-fold will turn the world upside down.
To build this foundation, it is not necessary to provide theoretical, programmatic, and worldview literature, but rather to give the follows faith in their own people, in the power of personality, and the will to action.
Who is better suited to the task than the Gauleiter, who have led the organization from its tiniest beginnings who know the Führer best, who best understand him and his mission, and who possess his complete confidence.
New methods have to be added to the tested ones used so far: We need “missionaries.” (The name missionary is used here to make clear what is meant. In practice one could use a term we have still not decided on, for example “proclaimer” (Künder).
Gau speakers, who are usually unemployed between elections and too often don’t have enough even the necessities of life, will be used for door-to-door propaganda. Many people’s comrades never come to our meetings despite all our public invitations. That may be because they are our opponents, or because they have given up hope, or that are just to lazy and indolent. It cannot be the case that none of them can be won over to us. If they do not come to us, we must go to them. Sure, they will sometimes turn us away, but a quiet, friendly approach by a “missionary” will usually get a foot in the door. Beginning with a conversation about the economic situation of the person visited, a capable “missionary” will know how to interest the people’s comrade in our political goals, to make clear to him the determination of our political activity, and thus to provoke thought. Even if the person is a determined opponent, he will at least sense a unique will for victory and the fighting spirit of our movement.
The Lippe election showed that. The opponent had not expected our face-to-face propaganda. The most they could do to respond was senseless rage, disparaging and mocking comments in the press. But many of the people’s comrades we visited bought a ticket for a Hitler meeting, and thus heard the Führer himself. They never otherwise would have thought about attending these meetings. Reports from the “missionaries” active during the Lippe election campaign almost unanimously reveal that they, although initially doubtful about the value and likelihood of success of this new propaganda method, were convinced by the results.
And if one does not simply send out “missionaries” at random, but rather brings a system to it by building a list in the local group of likely prospects, this propaganda method has to have significant success.
This propaganda cannot be banned during political “truces” and the like. It can keep on going.
If one assumes visits last 10-30 minutes and that an individual speaker can visit 15 to 20 families day, one can keep all Gau speakers fully employed.
The local groups where these “missionaries” are working should provide room and board without cost for them, which should be possible everywhere, and perhaps a per diem to cover costs, which can partially be covered by inexpensive pamphlets, building stones, charity tickets, etc., that the “missionary” himself can sell. Most Gau speakers in Gau Süd-Hannover-Braunschweig have welcomed this opportunity to keep employed.
One should try to assign these forces in a way appropriate to their abilities. Those best suited to talk to farmers should be sent to farmers, others better suited for working class circles should be sent to workers.
If all Gaue would work in this way, one could assemble the appropriate forces from all Gaue into special “storm battalions” for use in provincial or city elections. “Missionaries” from Hanover were the man forces in Lippe.
I ask our propagandists to comment on this. In the next issue of Wille und Weg I will provide more details on the basis of election results from towns in Lippe and reports from the “missionaries” were worked there.
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