German Propaganda Archive Calvin University

Background: The German defeat at Stalingrad in early 1943 had clear effects on the Nazi propaganda campaign. For the first time, propaganda had to consider seriously the fact that Germans were beginning to wonder if Germany would lose the war. These are the directives put out by the party’s Central Propaganda Office (Reichspropagandaleitung) shortly after the defeat at Stalingrad that outline the propaganda campaign. The plan was received by a range of people involved in organizing and presenting Nazi propaganda, and is an interesting example of the propaganda system’s response to a major crisis. The plan is dated two days after Goebbels’s total war speech, which set the tone for post-Stalingrad German propaganda. The campaign ran through the end of March, at which point Goebbels instructed the press to drop it, lest the public get bored by constant repetition of the same themes. However, the party’s speaker corps was instructed to relate the campaign to the meetings surrounding Hitler’s birthday on 20 April 1943.

The source: “Anweisung für antibolshewistische Propaganda-Aktion,” 20 February 1943. The document is the work of the Main Office (Hauptamt) for Propaganda. The original is at the Bundesarchiv Berlin (signature NSD 12/74).

Directive for the Anti-Bolshevist Propaganda Action

A. Basic Guidelines

The war forced upon us by our enemies has reached its decisive stage. Everyone today realizes that in the final analysis this is an historic struggle between National Socialism and Bolshevism. The fateful question the German people, and all of Europe, face is:


Consistent with this slogan, the task of propaganda is to make the facts and their consequences clear to the German people, and also to the other peoples. For the time being, propaganda against the plutocratic Western powers will be secondary to the propaganda against Bolshevism. In conjunction with our anti-Bolshevist arguments, these opponents, Churchill and Roosevelt above all, are to be presented as accomplices and toadies of Bolshevism. Bolshevism is the main enemy we have to fight against, which is the most radical expression of the Jewish drive for world domination.

To make plain the nature of Bolshevism, its aims, its methods and the results of its brutal use of power, we will mobilize all our defensive capacities and the full willingness of all people’s comrades to carry this war through to a victorious conclusion, come what may. Under the slogan

Europe wins with Germany or sinks into Bolshevist chaos

We will unite all of Europe’s healthy strengths into a great anti-Bolshevist front.

The entire propaganda against Bolshevism should be guided by the following fundamental points:

1. The battle against the Bolshevist system.

Our battle is directed entirely against the Bolshevist system, not the Eastern peoples, not against pan-Slavism and not against Russia’s political and national unity. We fight Bolshevism as a destructive Jewish idea that, were it to reach its goal, would bring vast misery and the complete destruction of all cultural values. In short, it would bring chaos.

2. Our battle against Bolshevism is a defensive war. >Bolshevism’s goal is world conquest and world revolution as the core of its political program, and it has pursued this goal consistently from the beginning. A fundamental part of the Bolshevist program is to lead the world into tumult and revolution in order to weaken the peoples and make them easy victims of Jewish-Bolshevist domination. Stalin wanted to use the tactic in this war, too. Only because the Führer clearly saw Bolshevism’s goal and acted just before the Bolshevist leaders did has Germany, and indeed all of Europe, been protected from the threat of Bolshevist attack. We are fighting a defensive war for the life and freedom of the German people, and ultimately for the other peoples of Europe as well.

3. Bolshevism is the same as it always was. Our propaganda should prove that Bolshevism’s goals and methods are the same as they always were. One cannot speak of a transformation or change in Bolshevist practices. The results of Bolshevist rule would be just as terrible today as in the first days of the Bolshevist revolution or in the years after when they ruled the Eastern peoples, or what their rule has most recently shown in various areas of Europe. We will focus primarily on the most recent past (robbery, murder, plundering, forced deportations, confiscation of property, depopulation of whole areas, the atrocities of the Bolshevist army, etc., in Spain, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland, the Ukraine, Bessarabia, etc.)

4. Only Germany can defeat Bolshevism and save Europe.

We must show clearly that only the German military is in a position to successfully resist the gigantic Bolshevist war machine, and that only it has the strength to defeat the Bolshevist enemy. Neither England nor America, nor any other power, can stop Europe from falling under Bolshevist control if the German military is defeated. They could not stop it, and would also not want to. The most recent statements by leading English and American politicians make this fact ever clearer.

5. Bolshevist rule would affect everyone.

The fate that would befall the German people, each person without exception, under Bolshevism must be made clear. As the Führer said in his proclamation, the lot of millions of Germans would be the hardest and most miserable slave labor in the Siberian tundra. The wretched existence of millions of working people in the Soviet Union, the ruthless system of forced labor, and the horrible conditions in the forced labor camps speak clearly and make brutally clear what the fate of our working people would be.

6. Only a total war will lead to victory.

Like us, our Bolshevist opponent has recognized that this is a matter of life and death. It therefore conducts the war in a brutal and hard manner. The full hardness of the enemy is shown by its ability to keep the millions of people it ruled living in abysmal social conditions and terrible privation for a quarter of a century while it built up its powerful offensive force that it intended to use against us. The Bolshevist rulers are waging a total war in every regard. They have no regard for human, cultural, or economic matters, but rather they consider only what is of value for their infernal war machine. The only conclusion we can draw in the face of what would happen to our people in the event of a Bolshevist victory is that we must be just as hard and determined in mobilizing everything for total war.

7. Our thanks to the Führer.

The ultimate conclusion of this propaganda action must be the absolute affirmation of the whole people to the Führer. The Führer alone led the NSDAP to power ten years ago, and thus built a protective wall against the Bolshevist danger that year by year grew more dangerous for Germany and for Europe. The Führer alone had the genius to see the imminent threat of a Bolshevist attack and prevented it through his heroic decision, thus sparing our people from infinite misery, sorrow, and horror. The Führer created the German military, the sword that alone is able to defeat Bolshevism.

We will win because Adolf Hitler leads us!

This slogan must be the logical conclusion of this action.

The thanks that we owe the Führer for saving our people is so great that we can never repay him. The least that he can demand of us is a faith in him that can be shaken by nothing, regardless of what happens, a faith that will flow like a river of power through our people and lead to victory. We owe him absolute allegiance. More than ever, everyone’s slogan must be:

“Führer command, we will obey!”

B. Technical details

1.) Speakers

a) All party speakers will receive detailed directives in the usual way that will briefly outline the fundamentals of the propaganda action. This information will be sent by the Reichspropagandaleitung to the Gau offices, and passed on by them to Gau and county speakers.

b) Speaker meetings are to be organized in every Gau in which the Gau propaganda leader will review the basic directives of the action for the speakers. The Reichspropagandaleitung will send a Reichsredner [one of the party’s elite corps of speakers] to each meeting. They will have participated in a meeting in Berlin on 15-16 February. These speakers will provide further guidelines for participants. Speakers should then immediately inform the Amt Rednerwesen in Munich of their availability. It will then assign speakers.

2) Meetings

a) The current meeting action will focus exclusively on the anti-Bolshevist slogans. Every Gau in addition is to prepare and carry out a major meeting campaign. The general theme of the meeting campaign is to be

“Victory or Bolshevist Chaos!” The theme can be phrased in different ways over the course of the campaign.

b) Particular effort should go into organizing factory meetings using the best speakers that are available. We have discussed this with the leadership of the German Labor Front. It will inform its Gau wardens.

3.) Showcases

a) The showcase material being prepared by the German Propaganda Studio and sent to the Gau offices will focus on anti-Bolshevist propaganda. They have already received, or will shortly receive, the first one with the theme: “What we faced.” The Gau propaganda leader should give this showcase material his close attention and be sure that it is used well.

4.) Posters, stickers and banners

a) The Gaue will first receive a poster by Mjölnir with the theme “Victory or Bolshevism.” Further posters are in preparation and will be sent to the Gaue when available. When hanging the posters, be sure that their effectiveness is not reduced by other posters. The Central Office for Politically Important Poster Actions has been informed, and instructed to reserve areas for these posters.

b) It is further planned to provide the Gau propaganda offices with text banners, small posters, and stickers to post in public transportation and in publicly available offices (police, post offices, ration card offices, economic offices, labor offices, etc.). The Gau propaganda leaders have already received appropriate instructions to work out a careful plan for their effective use in the above-mentioned places so that the material can be used immediately. The railway will receive appropriate material from us centrally. c) Appropriate slogans should also be put on the outsides of trams, postal vehicles, etc. We are checking to see if stencils can be prepared to produce such slogans. Further information will follow.

5.) Pictoral Propaganda

a.) The “Picture of Week” will focus in coming weeks almost exclusively on anti-Bolshevist photo material, and will appear with a significantly larger print run. As in the past, these will be sent to the local groups. The Gau propaganda offices should send appropriate directives ordering that all party showcases be available for displaying the “Picture of the Week,” as well as the small text posters and banners. The Central Propaganda Ring Office will issue instructions for the action to the divisions and affiliated organizations.

b.) The Gau propaganda offices will shortly receive a current “Picture Report on Current Events” to use in the propaganda action. This will have 40-50 slides that will require about three quarters of an hour. The speaker will have about a half an hour after that to discuss the political situation and the need for the measures for the successful conclusion of the war with Bolshevism. This slide show will above all be useful in smaller communities. The Gau propaganda offices should inform the Main Office for Propaganda immediately as to how many copies of the picture report they will need.

6. Pamphlets.

Two anti-Bolshevist pamphlets will be prepared, which will be available at bookstores and newspaper kiosks.

The Gau propaganda offices must immediately make preparations for all the actions and measures discussed above and, of course, use their own initiative to develop broad propaganda action against Bolshevism in their area. Above all, be sure to provide the reports called for in the plan.

Signed: Froelich


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