Background: Hitler’s takeover of power on 30 January 1933 required a major shift in focus on the part of the Nazi Party in general, the its propaganda arm in particular. Instead of attacking the government, propaganda now had to support it. In this article, which appeared about three months afterward, a member of the Reichspropagandaleitung staff outlines the direction party propaganda should now take. Although everything he proposes did not happen, much did, and it is an interesting example of how the party worked to adjust rapidly to the new situation.
The source: Unser Wille und Weg, 3 (May 1933), pp. 119-123.
What Has to Be Done?
by Hugo Fischer
We must strive for specialist speakers. We need only experts and preachers. We can no longer unleash anyone who can put a few words together on the people. We have sometimes had speakers who were catastrophically ignorant. How often have we had party members with nothing else to do who thought they could be speakers. They often lack knowledge and skill. They may be good fighters, but not teachers, prophets, and preachers of a gospel. We must reduce the number of speakers, but train those with really outstanding abilities to be an elite.
One way will be speaker courses lasting several days, with talks be well-known experts, another providing selected study materials for speakers, with careful criticism of the books and articles recommended. We also need a kind of psychological graining for speakers, as well as tests that are not modeled after the old bourgeois examinations, but rather must come out of practical life itself. The individual speaker must also have a chance to speak at these speaker courses, to discuss his own experiences and give encouragement. This is part of the testing process, for from his reports one will be able to determine his abilities and knowledge.
It is also important that a speaker has as much general education as possible, either based on his past, or what he has learned. Confusions about personalities in German history or thinking that Argentina is in Asia can have catastrophic effects. Unfortunately, such things have happened too often.
Training in personal propaganda (Kleinarbeit)
Even more important than direct speaker training is training the whole party membership for personal propaganda.
Many directives along these lines have been given, but very little has been done. Marxism, however, recognized the value of such propaganda, and did it. That was one of its main strengths. Each party member must be able to hold his own in conversations with opponents on the job, in the back yard, at home, and in business. Each individual cell leader must follow a system in his work.
That is not easy to accomplish, but it is absolutely necessary. The idea of our Führer, which is an expression of the German soul, lives in the heart and blood of each National Socialist. However, this idea slumbers in the soul of many (even National Socialists), overpowered by the waste products of the past decades. The result is that he cannot express the idea in his heart with persuasive force. The propaganda leader’s duty is show the man at the front how to clear away the slagheap of the past and find ways to express his feelings and wants, how to express his great ideas. One cannot demand that the ordinary person read Hitler’s Mein Kampf and speak about it. That would be too much for him.
Mein Kampf is the bible of National Socialism.
One does not read the Bible in one sitting.
Oral instruction is better for most people than reading books. Reading will follow if one is introduced to the right material. Reading material is more easily understood when the reader has had it explained to him in advance.
Therefore, it is necessary to bring together at the county level, or several counties together, party members from various occupations who are capable of listening, of mastering the material, and of passing it on. These party comrades will come together in a central place for an evening, or perhaps on a Saturday and Sunday. And not only once, but rather often (about 4-5 times in weekly or bi-weekly sessions), with a 4-5 week break, followed by more sessions of the same type. Party members will then use what they learned in their local group, and in discussion evenings for party members and guests brought by those members. They will speak not only at discussion evenings, but rather will train people in their county and local groups so that they will be able to conduct personal propaganda on the job and with their acquaintances.
What will these courses cover? What will the curriculum be?
First, they have to learn to think psychologically, in a short, crisp, clear speech. They must understand the condition and nature of the German people’s soul under the current situation. They must be taught not only what to say, but how to say it.
This will be followed by discussing individual topics, such as economics, town policy, state policy, job creation, or whatever else is necessary. The talk must not be too long, and must have a clear organization that can best be handed out to participants on paper. It must be expressed in a clear, disciplined manner that does not hopelessly confuse people, but rather deepens their understanding. That will lead to a good conclusion of the talk. It is a very good idea to ask the individual participants to write down questions about the topic beforehand, which they will know in advance. The speaker will then know what things are particularly unclear, and will therefore adjust his talk knowing which points need to be clearer and more comprehensive, which things may be evident to him (as an expert), but not as comprehensible by the masses as he may have thought. These written questions can also be dealt with during the breaks, or dealt with orally at some point.
Such expert talks should also provide reading material, but not in the form of dry books. Copies of the reading material should be available for display. In each case, the speaker should point out what is particularly valuable and worthwhile in each book or pamphlet, and what is of less value.
These courses should include oral training on how to organize and carry out personal propaganda (particularly for the local group leader and the local group propaganda leader). They must be told how to organize sections and cells (down to the block level), and how to carry on systematic, useful work. This material cannot simply exist on paper, otherwise it will be more a burden than an advantage for the movement.
In this regard, it is absolutely necessary that exact training be provided for all community council members so that they are not confused by government measures.
Everyone must be able to hold his own in local political matters. A local representative known to be unfamiliar with such matters will not have the necessary confidence of the voters, whereas he who gives the impression of a man who is confident, who knows what he is talking about and what he wants to do, will certainly win the confidence of the masses.
The Meeting System
Although meeting activity has largely subsided after the elections of 5 and 12 March 1933, it has to be greatly intensified both in cities and in the countryside.
However, these meetings must have more an educational nature than only an election campaign nature.
The idea that propaganda through meetings is superfluous now that the Führer has the power of the Reich is false. Now more than ever when National Socialism’s most important problems have to be solved, public meetings are the government’s best help. The government can only carry out its measures successfully, some of which will be unpopular, if the whole people understands them.
It is, therefore, absolutely necessary that, along with radio and film, meetings work together to bring the whole people behind Hitler’s government.
It is very good if the local mayor speaks to public meetings about the conditions he found when he took office. Cases of corruption are to be revealed to the public with ruthless clarity. Only when the people realizes the huge task of cleaning up the mess in the Black-Red Aegean stables will they understand the coming measures to rescue the people and Reich. That means that the actions and great work of the Reich government be presented and explained to the people every day. And, of course, it is necessary to repeat constantly the great achievements of our movement over the past 14 years, and particularly in recent months.
So-called German Evenings should be organized between public meetings. These are most suited to increasing the financial strength of local groups. It is important that they have a sound artistic and cultural foundation.
Membership meetings should first of all focus on the members who have joined us in recent years. Those members who joined us in 1932/33 should receive a special invitation, with mention of the importance of deepening their political knowledge. In addition, discussion evenings should be organized at which the newly trained speakers can speak about various topics.
The “Day of the Awakening Nation” and the “Day of Potsdam” have shown how effective radio programs about the actions of the Reich government are. Radio listening rooms should, therefore, be established throughout the Reich. Each place, even the smallest village, should have a so-called radio listening room, a room in which programs of propaganda importance can be heard over loudspeakers. If the people of each area know that the NSDAP always sets up loudspeakers for appropriate programs, they will quickly get used to coming to the room when a program is announced by posters or announcements on the town bulletin board. Establishing radio listening rooms will ensure that that part of the population that is not financially able to purchase a radio receiver, and does not want to go to a restaurant [which often had radios], will still have the opportunity to hear important radio programs.
Education about the Jewish Question
The atrocity propaganda of International Jewry has brought interest and understanding of the Jewish Question to the foreground. The introduction of the numerus clausus gave many people’s comrades opportunity for the first time to think about the racial question. It is, therefore, a good idea to take advantage of the current interest in the Jewish Question.
The concept of “International Jewry” is easier to understand today since Jewry has made its world organization clear through its atrocity propaganda, whereas it formerly hid its influence behind such concepts as “democracy, Marxism, pacifism, etc.” We can, therefore, assume that the widest circles are aware of the existence of a Jewish world organization.
Our task is to reveal the activities and dangers of this organization not only for us, but also for all other peoples. This will give our movement enormous new strength for its future tasks.
We have to make up for lost time in this area, since the daily political battles of recent years forced ethnic questions into the background.
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