Background: A characteristic of Nazi propaganda was the meeting campaign, when dozens or hundreds of meetings were held in an area within a few days. This is the summary of the remarks made by Gauleiter Sauckel in Thuringia to a meeting of Nazi speakers in May 1941, just before such a campaign, which was to run from 20 - 26 May. Rudolf Hess had just flown to England, and the instructions are to discuss the matter only indirectly. The invasion of Russia would begin in a month, but of course there was no mention of that.
The source: “Tagung der Kreisredner im Kreishaus Weimar am 17. Mai 1941,” Kreis Eisenach collection, University of Michigan Special Collections. The originals are being returned to Germany, but the document is available on microfilm (reel 4, box 2, folder 13).
Guidelines and Thoughts of the Gauleiter on the Meeting Campaign:
Meeting of County Speakers in Weimar on 17 May 1941
Nothing is to be said, either in word or print, about the Hess case. It is absolutely forbidden for speakers to use the name Hess or the term “deputy Führer” in public meetings. The Führer’s expressed wish is that there should be complete silence about the Hess case in Germany. In party propaganda, the case should be used in a positive manner.
The party must present the people with a picture of absolute unity and discipline. What has happened is a test of our spirit.
Our task in meetings is to firm up the people’s absolute confidence in the truth of what the government says, and to direct their attention solely to the Führer. Without directly mentioning the Hess case and without mentioning a specific person, one can clearly and in general refer to the test that the party and the people have recently faced. People’s comrades should realize that the Führer and the whole people will not be diverted in any way from the battle against stubborn England, without speaking openly of the Hess case.
The simplicity and clarity of German news reporting:
At the beginning of a speech, mention the absolute truthfulness and reliability of the statements made by Germany’s leadership, in particular the German Wehrmacht reports and other recent publications. The German Wehrmacht reports are exemplary in their conciseness, modesty, and truth, which distinguish them clearly from enemy reports, and also from those of the World War. This time, the German people should not be carried away with the rush of victory. Through these clear reports, it should develop an unshakable confidence in the leadership.
Necessity of the war:
England’s lies and stubbornness should be clear. The German people has learned from history, and will continue on its path The Führer has made numerous peace offers. Now, he will not be turned from the necessary final reckoning, even if an idealist is of a different opinion.
The German people’s accomplishments:
The German people should be thanked for its accomplishments, using examples from the front, factories, and labor. Alongside soldiers, the German worker and the German woman deserve special mention. These accomplishments are possible only because of the firm and deep relationship between the Führer and the people. The Führer brings the nation to the greatest exertion. The Gauleiter said: “Even if the Führer suffers a blow that hurts him, the people stands totally behind him!”
A test of fate:
One may use examples from history, e.g., the Roman battle against Hannibal, drawing the conclusion that we think we are just as hard as the Romans who in the end defeated Hannibal, despite his early victories. Each people will face trials during this gigantic battle. It is “a little question of fate as to whether the faith and confidence of our people is strong enough, or whether it will fail as it did in 1918!”
That fact that this meeting room is so packed is proof that the German people has already passed this test. Sacrifices have to be made in this struggle. If someone loses his nerve, that has no impact on the efforts of the whole people. A company must continue the attack even if its captain falls; someone else must take over leadership. A factory, too, does not stop working if the director falls.
A people’s comrade should remember that fate during such a war tests not only the average person, but also men in high and the highest positions.
The current situation:
The situation in Europe is brilliantly clear! “Only sick minds are nervous!” Clear-minded, thinking people who understand the true balance of forces are incapable of doubt. Briefly mention the food situation and the reduction in the meat ration as the result of two million additional workers (prisoners).
The NSDAP is a strong instrument of leadership:
Just as have soldiers at the front, thousands of men and women in the party have and will continue to do their duty. “It makes no difference if one should fail.”
The party stands completely behind the Führer. Even after hundreds of years, the nation will be guided by the Führer’s thoughts and deeds. The great things now being accomplished will be a monument that may last a thousand years.
The party is the Führer’s instrument, which helped his idea to victory. The Führer’s decision in 1919 to found the party, though he was a simple front soldier, had enormous impact. His idea was realized through the party. The party is and remains the most splendid leadership instrument ever created by a people.
The Führer’s idea, and the power of our Wehrmacht, will gain victory. Even now, our situation is incomparably better than that of the World War, even when compared to 1916, the most successful year (English Channel, the Southeast, Salonika). The Führer has no weaknesses or ties. He knows but one thing: to lead the people to victory! “No event, however major, will affect the balance!”
Adolf Hitler is untouchable!
In conclusion, mention once again the absolute reliability of official reports. There can be no doubt about the Führer’s truthfulness and purity of motive.
Any doubt would be a sin against the fate that has given us Adolf Hitler.
The Führer is Germany!
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